The Haunter of the Dark: a Partial Chronology

Pieced together by me, based on the text of the story.

Here be Spoilers:

1810-1815: (date approximate) a Gothic Revival stone church is built on Federal Hill, Providence, Rhode Island.

1844: May: Professor Enoch Bowen returns to Providence from his expedition in Egypt.

1844: July: Professor Bowen buys the old Free-Will church on Federal Hill.

1844: December 29: Dr. Drowne of Fourth Baptist warns against Starry Wisdom in sermon.

1845: 97 people in Starry Wisdom congregation by end of year.

1846: 3 disappearances & first mention of Shining Trapezohedron.

1848: 7 disappearances; stories of blood sacrifice begin.

1849: Francis X. Feeney joins Starry Wisdom.

1851: Photograph of Starry Wisdom church taken.

1853: Investigation of Starry Wisdom comes to nothing. Stories of sounds in the church begin. Death and confession of Francis X. Feeney to Father O’Malley?

1857: Story of Orrin B. Eddy.

1863: 200 or more laypeople in Starry Wisdom congregation.

1869: Irish boys mob Starry Wisdom church after disappearance of Patrick Regan.

1872: March 14: veiled article published in J (identification of newspaper mine).

1876: 6 disappearances. Secret committee calls on Mayor Doyle.

1877: February: “Action promised,” (by Mayor?)

1877: April: Starry Wisdom church closes.

1877: May: Federal Hill Boys (gang) threaten Dr. (Enoch Bowen?) and vestrymen.

1877: 181 persons leave Providence before the end of the year.

1880: (date approximate) Ghost stories about church begin.

1893: Edwin M. Lillibridge enters church, dies.

1935: late April: Robert Blake explores Federal Hill on foot, locates and enters church.

1935: June: Blake breaks the cypher.

1935: early July: Rumors from Federal Hill about new sounds from church published in local newspapers.

1935: July 16-17 (night): failure of streetlights on Federal Hill leads to panic among residents, claims of sounds, article in The Journal.

1935: July 17: 2 reporters from The Bulletin investigate the church during the day, publish article.

1935: July 30-31 (night): Blake sleepwalks, has nervous breakdown.

1935: August 8: the great storm strikes Providence, Rhode Island, just before midnight.

1935: August 9: 2:12 am: city-wide power failure.

1935: August 9: 2:35 am: Incident at the church; Robert Blake dies.

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One Response to “The Haunter of the Dark: a Partial Chronology”

  1. A good piece of sleuthing. I’m always a sucker for timelines and maps. As far as it goes, the early to mid 19th century is part of the “Second Great Awakening” that spawned a number of interesting churches, causes, and movements, some of which are still with us today, in one form or another. Certainly Lovecraft’s Church of Starry Wisdom, which would be yet another incarnation in the line of an old, old cult, would also be in about this time frame as well.

    The founding of the original Free Will Baptist Church well predates both the first and second Great Awakenings, and the historical church on Federal Hill dates to 1873, neither are actually in the story as Lovecraft’s Free-Will church and the fictional church on Federal are just that – fictional, but a lot of fun.

    I was surprised to find that Jorge Borges mentions the Shining Trapezohedron in his short story, The Aleph (1945) and appears an anthology of his works, Collected Fictions (1999 in English) a thick tome well worth reading for the HPL fan.

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