This article uses material from the From Beyond article on the Lovecraft wiki at Fandom and is licensed under the Creative Commons Attribution-Share Alike License.
Created: February 2017
| Updated: February 2017
Read this story in the library
"From Beyond" is a short story by writer H. P. Lovecraft. It was written in 1920 and was first published in The Fantasy Fan in June 1934 (Vol. 1, No. 10).
The story is told from the first person perspective of an unnamed narrator and details his experiences with a scientist named Crawford Tillinghast. Tillinghast creates an electronic device that emits a resonance wave, which stimulates an affected person’s pineal gland, thereby allowing them to perceive planes of existence outside the scope of mundane reality.
Sharing the experience with Tillinghast, the narrator becomes cognizant of a translucent, alien environment that overlaps our own recognized reality. From this perspective, he witnesses hordes of strange and horrific creatures that defy description. Tillinghast reveals that he has used his machine to transport his house servants into the overlapping plane of reality. He also reveals that the effect works both ways, and allows the denizens of the alternate dimension to perceive humans. Tillinghast's servants were attacked and killed by one such entity, and Tillinghast informs the narrator that it is right behind him. Terrified beyond measure, the narrator picks up a gun and shoots it at the machine, destroying it. Tillinghast dies immediately thereafter as a result of a stroke. The police investigate the scene and it is placed on record that Tillinghast murdered the servants in spite of their remains never being found.
The book Science-Fiction: The Early Years describes the concepts of "From Beyond" as "very interesting, despite stiff, immature writing".S. T. Joshi judges it "unlikely that 'From Beyond'...will ever be regarded as one of Lovecraft's better tales", due to "its slipshod style, melodramatic excess and general triteness of plot".
Joshi also considers Crawford Tillinghast's references to the pineal gland to be a joke at the expense of René Descartes, who proposed that this gland was the point of mediation between the material body and the immaterial soul.
"From Beyond" was adapted into a 1986 film of the same name by horror director Stuart Gordon. Gordon has also written or directed such Lovecraft adaptations as Re-Animator (1985), Dagon (2001), and an episode of Masters of Horror (2005) entitled "Dreams in the Witch House". The short story was also the inspiration for the 2013 horror film Banshee Chapter, which loosely adapts the short story and 1986 Gordon film.