Fiction writer ordered not to photograph grave of H.P. Lovecraft
Surely H.P. Lovecraft wouldn’t have minded having his headstone photographed by two of his biggest fans. Especially on his birthday. Not to mention that one of these fans, Caitlin R. Kiernan, has cited Lovecraft as one of her main influences in writing her own horror/fantasy novels and short stories.
The other fan is Kiernan’s partner, Kathryn A. Pollnac, a photographer who has been visiting Lovecraft’s grave since 1989.
As soon as the two women pulled up to the headstone at Swan Point Cemetery outside of Providence, Rhode Island, a security guard pulled up in a white car and told them they could not take photos. He then accused them of not having any respect for the dead.
Kathryn asked if he had any respect for the living because it was apparent that he did not.
This caused him to lose his temper, which made Kiernan believe he may have been drunk. This is how she describes the incident on her blog:
“He unleashed a stream of profanities at Spooky and me both. No, this does not make much sense. Within seconds, he was threatening to “call the PD” and proclaiming that he was “kicking us out.” So, yes, I was being kicked out of the cemetery where HPL is buried, where I’d only come to pay my respects and leave a plastic frog (I’ve been visiting the spot since 2000, Spooky since about 1989), where our great offence was snapping exactly two photographs of one of the most photographed headstones in New England. I said something to Kathryn, to the effect that we should just get back in the car, which was parked very nearby. The man continued to shout an inexplicable stream of threats and obscenities, including a couple of homophobic remarks. I only wish we’d had a tape recorder, or that Spooky had not been so rattled that she’d had the presence of mind to turn on the camera’s video, because I really wish that we had a word-for-word transcript.
“As Spooky was getting into the car, I finally looked him in the eye and said the only thing I said during the entire encounter (which elapsed over the space of maybe three or four minutes, start to finish, at the most). I pointed a finger at the man and, very quietly, I said, “You will be reported.” He screamed, “You do that, you piece of shit!.” This is the only time I got a clear look at the man. He was white, late middle-aged, seemed to have about three-days worth of beard (salt and pepper), and spoke with a heavy regional accent (don’t ask which one). I am fairly certain that he had been drinking, and he may have been intoxicated. He certainly acted like a belligerent drunkard.”
Kiernan has vowed to continue fighting for her rights by writing letters to the Providence Journal newspaper as well as the people who run Swan Point Cemetary.
“…I urge anyone else whose had trouble with Swan Point security to come forward. Last night, I was appalled. Today, the whole affair seems utterly unreal. If we’d been tagging gravestones or smoking weed or performing some obscene ritual to raise Cthulhu, even then his behaviour would have been questionable. As is, it was abusive and inexcusable (and, I suspect, illegal).”