Arkham (//) is a fictional city in Massachusetts, part of the Lovecraft Country setting created by H. P. Lovecraft and is featured in many of his stories, as well as those of other Cthulhu Mythos writers.
- 1 Arkham in Lovecraft's stories
- 2 Appearances
- 3 Other appearances
- 4 See also
- 5 References
- 6 External links
Arkham in Lovecraft's stories
Arkham is the home of Miskatonic University, which figures prominently in many of Lovecraft's works. The institution finances the expeditions in both At the Mountains of Madness (1936) and The Shadow Out of Time (1936). Walter Gilman, of "The Dreams in the Witch House" (1933), attends classes at the university. Other notable institutions in Arkham are the Arkham Historical Society and the Arkham Sanitarium. It is said in "Herbert West—Reanimator" that the town was devastated by a typhoid outbreak in 1905.
Arkham’s most notable characteristics are its gambrel roofs and the dark legends that have surrounded the city for centuries. The disappearance of children (presumably murdered in ritual sacrifices) at May Eve and other "bad doings" are accepted as a part of life for the poorer citizens of the city.
The precise location of Arkham is unspecified, although it is probably near both Innsmouth and Dunwich. However, it may be surmised from Lovecraft's stories that it is some distance to the north of Boston, probably in Essex County, Massachusetts.
A more recent mapping of Lovecraft Country reinforces this suggestion, with Arkham being situated close to the location of Gordon College; in Lovecraft's work this would presumably be replaced by Miskatonic University itself. The real-life model for Arkham seems to be, in fact, Salem, its reputation for the occult appealing to one who dabbles in the weird tale.
Arkham Sanitarium appears in the short story "The Thing on the Doorstep" and may have been inspired by the Danvers State Insane Asylum, aka Danvers State Hospital, located in Danvers, Massachusetts. (Danvers State Hospital also appears in Lovecraft's stories "Pickman's Model" and The Shadow over Innsmouth.).
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Note: dates are the year written.
- "Herbert West–Reanimator" (1921–22); first story to mention "Miskatonic University"
- "The Unnamable" (1923)
- "The Silver Key" (1926)
- "The Colour out of Space" (1927)
- "The Dunwich Horror" (1928)
- "The Whisperer in Darkness" (1930); Albert N. Wilmarth is described as a folklorist and assistant professor of English at Miskatonic University.
- At the Mountains of Madness (1931); one of the ships is named Arkham
- "The Shadow over Innsmouth" (1931), first to mention "Arkham Historical Society"
- "The Dreams in the Witch House" (1932)
- "Through the Gates of the Silver Key" (1932–1933)
- "The Thing on the Doorstep" (1933); first to mention "Arkham Sanitarium"
- "The Shadow out of Time" (1934–1935)
Arkham also appears in the Cthulhu Mythos tales of other writers since Lovecraft's death. Among them:
- Bloch, Robert. "The Creeper in the Crypt" (1937)
- Brennen, Joseph Payne. "Forringer's Fortune" (1975)
- Brunner, John. "Concerning the Forthcoming Inexpensive Paperback Translation of the Necronomicon of Abdul Alhazred" (1992)
- Campbell, Ramsey
- "The Tomb Herd" (1986)
- "The Tower from Yuggoth" (1986)
- Jens, Tina L. "In His Daughter's Darkling Womb" (1997), mentions "Arkham Industries"
- López Aroca, Alberto. Necronomicón Z (Spanish novel published by Ediciones Dolmen, 2012)
- Lumley, Brian. The Transition of Titus Crow (1975)
- Price, Robert M. "Wilbur Whateley Waiting" (1987)
- Shea, Michael. The Color out of Time (1984)
- Smith, Clark Ashton. "I Am a Witch" (19??)
- Thompson, C. Hall. "The Will of Claude Ashur" (1947)
- Wilson, F. Paul. "The Barrens" (1990)
- Howard, L. Jonathan. "Johannes Cabal: The Fear Institute" (2011)
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- Arkham is the setting for all of the stories in the 2006 anthology Arkham Tales published by Chaosium.
- In the novel The Arcanum, Lovecraft himself is said to have been involved in solving a case involving a witch cult in Arkham.
- In the novel The Atrocity Archives, a philosopher is attracted to Arkham due to the "unique library" there.
- In the novel The Jennifer Morgue, the occult branch of the American intelligence community, code-named "Black Chamber", is headquartered in Arkham.
- Arkham appears in several scenes in The Illuminatus! Trilogy. It is mentioned that the Arkham Police Department often has to deal with local cults and disappearing professors from Miskatonic.
- Arkham is the last name of the main character and her family in the Costa Rican horror goth novel Un grito en las tinieblas; la vida de Zárate Arkham (Scream in the Darkness: Life of Zarate Arkham).
Film and television
- Arkham also appeared in the movie The Haunted Palace (1963), starring Vincent Price, which is based on Lovecraft's The Case of Charles Dexter Ward.
- Arkham is the name of the mental hospital mentioned in The Rage: Carrie 2, which is about certain characters who survived the events in Carrie.
- "Arkham" is the codename used for a plan to assassinate Mr. Parker in NBC's television show The Pretender.
- Arkham also appears as the town in the movie Die, Monster, Die! starring Boris Karloff and Nick Adams, though in this film the town is located in England. (This film is based upon Lovecraft's "The Colour out of Space".)
- The character of Lauren Hutton in Someone's Watching Me! lives in the Arkham Towers.
- Arkham appears in "The Collect Call of Cathulhu", an episode from The Real Ghostbusters, when members of the Ghostbusters go to Miskatonic University to get information on how to stop Cthulhu.
- Arkham Asylum is the name of the heavily fortified insane asylum located on the outskirts of Gotham City in the various Batman media.
- In Universal Pictures' 1940s Mummy films, the sinister priests are usually referred to as members of the Temple of Karnak, but in The Mummy's Ghost (1944), this becomes the Temple of Arkham.
- Arkham is the name of a system of caves serving as a labor prison in the ABC miniseries Empire.
- Arkham Sanitarium is both the name and the setting of a film currently in post-production by UK production company Survivor Films Ltd.
- Arkham was also seen in the 2003 film Beyond Re-Animator starring Jeffrey Combs, the third installment of the Re-Animator series.
- WWE NXT Superstar "Simon Gotch" is billed from Arkham, Massachusetts.
- In the DC Universe, Arkham Asylum is a high-security asylum for dangerous psychopaths where many Gotham City supervillains, including the Joker, are kept under guard. There is also a graphic novel titled Arkham Asylum: A Serious House on Serious Earth, as well as the video games Batman: Arkham Asylum and its sequels Batman: Arkham City and Batman: Arkham Origins. In the fictional universe, it was run by the Arkham family, namely Amadeus Arkham, giving it its name.
- The ARCAM Corporation in the manga Spriggan took its name from the fictional city of Arkham.
- In The League of Extraordinary Gentlemen, Arkham is mentioned in Allan and the Sundered Veil, The New Traveller's Almanac and The Black Dossier.
- There is a passing reference to Arkham in the 2000 AD comic strip Defoe, where it is referred to as a colony of Satanists.
- Arkham is a setting for roleplaying games based on the Mythos, such as Call of Cthulhu.
- The third Shadow Hearts video game (Shadow Hearts: From the New World) features a visit to the fictional Arkham University, based in Boston, Massachusetts. H. P. Lovecraft himself appears as a professor at the university, conjuring up demons for the heroes to fight at their request.
- Arkham is one of the antagonists in the video game Devil May Cry 3: Dante's Awakening, the father of "Lady". It is also noted that the character Arkham's alter ego is Jester, a character that closely resembles the DC comics character Joker and his mutated demonic form in one of the boss battles closely resembles the Cthulhu Mythos monstrosities.
- In the web-based roleplaying game Urban Dead, there are two suburbs, named Old Arkham and New Arkham. Some players have even started to refer to a specific area as Miskatonic University.
- Arkham Horror is a cooperative adventure board-game themed around H.P Lovecraft's Cthulhu Mythos. The game has players exploring the town of Arkham as they attempt to stop unmentionable horrors from spilling into the world.
- MechWarrior 2 features a level named Arkham Bridge with a song so entitled.
- The city of New Arcadia from Penny Arcade Adventures: On the Rain-Slick Precipice of Darkness is a spoof of Arkham.
- In the game Call of Cthulhu: Dark Corners of the Earth, the main character, private detective Jack Walters, is admitted to the Arkham Mental Institution after seeing Yithian creatures and hence becoming seemingly insane during a raid of a Boston home.
- In the stealth action game Batman: Arkham Asylum, gameplay takes place inside the Arkham Asylum Mental Health Care Facility. It also appears in its sequels Batman: Arkham City and Batman: Arkham Origins.
- In the MMORPG World Of Warcraft: Wrath Of The Lich King, the monster 'Darkspeaker R'khem' is named after Arkham.
- Splatterhouse (2010 video game) takes place in the setting of Arkham, Massachusetts.
- There is a street called Arkham Avenue in Kingsmoth, the first Area of the MMORPG The Secret World.
- In the game BioShock Infinite, the protagonist, Booker DeWitt, is employed by the Arkham branch of the Pinkerton National Detective Agency, as shown in his contract displayed in the game's loading screens.
- Grindcore band Discordance Axis have a song entitled Radiant Arkham.
- Avant-garde rock artist Bob Drake's song, "Kaziah's Pet," is set in Arkham.
- Deathrock band Rudimentary Peni not only makes a reference to Arkham in their song "Arkham Hearse", but also numerous other H. P. Lovecraft references throughout their musical catalogue.
- Alt-country musician Ryan Adams wrote a song called "Arkham Asylum," which he and The Cardinals have performed live since September 18, 2006.
- Heavy-metal band High on Fire mentions Arkham in a song entitled "The Face of Oblivion" on the album "Blessed Black Wings".
- Hip Hop group Common Market (band) wrote a song called "Escaping Arkham" one of five songs on the album "The Winter's End EP".
- Arkham Asylum, an institution in the DC Comics universe, named in honor of Lovecraft's Arkham
- Arkham Horror, a board game set in Arkham, where the players war against the Cthulhu Mythos
- Lovecraft Country
Other fictional settings from the stories of H. P. Lovecraft:
- Cf. "About Arkham House" web site.
- "Lovecraft, Howard P. (1999) . "The Thing on the Doorstep". In S. T. Joshi and Peter Cannon (eds.). More Annotated Lovecraft (1st ed.).". New York City, NY: Dell. ISBN 0-440-50875-4. With explanatory footnotes. 1999 (1933). Check date values in:
- The actual location of Arkham is a subject of debate. Will Murray places Arkham in central Massachusetts and suggests that it is based on the small village of Oakham. Robert D. Marten rejects this claim and equates Arkham with Salem, and thinks that Arkham is named for Arkwright, Rhode Island (which is now part of Fiskville). Lovecraft himself, in a letter to F. Lee Baldwin dated April 29, 1934, wrote that "[my] mental picture of Arkham is of a town something like Salem in atmosphere [and] style of houses, but more hilly [and] with a college (which Salem [lacks]) ... I place the town [and] the imaginary Miskatonic [River] somewhere north of Salem—perhaps near Manchester." (Joshi & Schultz, pp. 6–7.)
- August Derleth stated in his writings: "Arkham ... was Lovecraft’s own well-known, widely used place-name for legend-haunted Salem, Massachusetts, in his remarkable fiction". (Cf. "About Arkham House" web site.)
- Joseph Morales notes in his "A Short Tour of Lovecraftian New England" (web site) that Danvers "is mentioned in passing in some of Lovecraft's stories, and might also be the inspiration for HPL's fictional Arkham Sanitarium".
- Lovecraft, Howard P.
- At the Mountains of Madness, and Other Novels (7th corrected printing), S. T. Joshi (ed.), Sauk City, WI: Arkham House, 1985. ISBN 0-87054-038-6. Definitive version.
- Dagon and Other Macabre Tales, S. T. Joshi (ed.), Sauk City, WI: Arkham House, 1987. ISBN 0-87054-039-4. Definitive version.
- The Dunwich Horror and Others (9th corrected printing), S. T. Joshi (ed.), Sauk City, WI: Arkham House, 1984. ISBN 0-87054-037-8. Definitive version.
- Harms, Daniel (1998). "Arkham". The Encyclopedia Cthulhiana (2nd ed. ed.). Oakland, CA: Chaosium. p. 10. ISBN 1-56882-119-0.
- Joshi, S. T.; David E. Schultz (2001). "Arkham". An H. P. Lovecraft Encyclopedia. Westport, CT: Greenwood Press. pp. 6–7. ISBN 0-313-31578-7.
- "About Arkham House Publishers". Archived from the original on 6 January 2006. Retrieved January 19, 2006.
- Joseph Morales. "A Short Tour of Lovecraftian New England". Archived from the original on 7 May 2006. Retrieved April 16, 2006.
- "Lovecraft's Map of Arkham", from The Cthulhu Mythos: A Guide