"The Horror at Martin's Beach" is a short story by H. P. Lovecraft and Sonia H. Greene (1883-1972). It was written in June 1922 and first published (as "The Invisible Monster") in November 1923 in Weird Tales (Vol. 2, No. 4, 75–76, 83).
Plot Summary Edit
On May 17th 1922 the crew of the Alma killed a 50 foot sea creature at sea after a lengthy 40 hour battle. Its preserved corpse bore trange anatomical irregularities such as a single large eye and rudimentary forelegs and six-toed feet in place of pectoral fins. After inspection by marine biologists, it is revealed to be just a juvenile.
Captain Orne toured the coast with a custom made maritime museum in the hull of a huge ship. Sailing south he stopped at Martin's Beach where he made vast amounts of money from admission fees until the ship was lost in a storm on the morning of July 20th. Despite an extensive search by Orne and the scientists who had hitherto swarmed the specimen neither the wreck nor its cargo were ever found and the hunt was abandoned on August 7th.
The next day on the 8th the account relys on conflicting eyewitness reports including that of the narrator. Higlighted by a low moon a distinct ripple rolled across the sea before the horror was heralded by a pained cry from the black reefs. Two life guards tossed out a life-preserver on a rope only to be slowly dragged towards the sea. Captain Orne and others joined the effort but soon decided that a whale must have swallowed the cushion. Upon deciding to leave the rope in order to harpoon the creature he found that his hands were held in place by some unknown force. The other good samaritans immediately realised that they too were stuck and despite their struggling they were all pulled slowly beneath the waves to the horror of an onlooking crowd who were soon forced back to the hotel veranda by a storm. Alongside the vanishing line of heads the narrator thought he saw a great cyclopean eye which let off a last ear splitting satanic roar.
- The Narrator - A witness to the horror at Martin's Beach who tries to make sense of what they saw.
- Professor Ahon - Author of "Are Hypnotic Powers Confined to Recognised Humanity" an article that publicised the event.
- Captain Orne - Captain of the fishing boat Alma and captor of the Sea Monster.
- Gloucester - Home port of the Alma.
- Martin's Beach - A wealthy resort district.
- Wavecrest Inn - A fashionable hotel with grand towers and a large ballroom, perched on a cliff overlooking the beach.
- A cottage colony atop a hill to the north.
References in other Media Edit
The story has been included in at least four collections of Lovecraft's works:
- Something About Cats and Other Pieces, Arkham House, 1949. Facsimile reprint by Books for Libraries Press, 1971.
- The Horror in the Museum and Other Revisions. Sauk City, WI: Arkham House, 1970. As "The Invisible Monster" by Sonia Greene
- The Horror in the Museum and Other Revisions. Edited by S. T. Joshi. Sauk City, WI: Arkham House, 1989. As "The Horror at Martin’s Beach" by Sonia H. Greene
- The Loved Dead and Other Revisions. New York: Carroll & Graf Publishers, 1997.