The Ghost Eater
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Created: February 2017
| Updated: February 2017
"The Ghost Eater" is a horror short story by H. P. Lovecraft and C. M. Eddy Jr. published in the March 1924 issue of Weird Tales. It was Lovecraft's third such collaboration with Eddy.
An unnammed narrator sets out on journey from Mayfair to Glendale, Maine on foot, but must traverse a dangerous wood on the way. He believes will take only a day. When he can get no one to be his guide, he sets out on his own, but is soon exhausted from the heat and falls asleep until it is nearly sundown. Upon awaking he sees an oncoming storm and frantically searches for shelter.
He sees a light and follows it to a home built in a clearing. Inside is a kind old man with a limp that offers him food, but does not eat with him. The old man is not talkative, and the narrator retires in an upstairs guest room. As he takes his lamp with him, he notes how the old man's eyes reflect the light. Fearful of the possibility of being robbed, he poses the bed as if it were occupied and sits watch in a corner chair.
Late in the night he is awoken by heavy steps on the stair, and the narrators door begins to open. He hides, and a tall unfamiliar man enters the room and proceeds to lie down in the bed and go to sleep. Determined to rouse the man, he moves to touch him, but find his hand passes through the man's body.
He hides again in terror as more footsteps are heard, these with a limp. A huge gray wolf with luminous eyes and a lame paw comes into the room and proceeds to eviscerate the sleeping apparition. The narrator flees in terror.
Finally arriving in Mayfair the next morning, he finds refuge at the Lafayette House but does not reveal his ordeal. The proprietor is amazed he would travel through the "Devil's Wood" on the night of the full moon. The proprietor proceeds to tell the tale of Vasili Oukranikov, a Russian immigrant who built a home in the woods.
Oukranikov was reported to be a werewolf and devil worshiper. People reported being chased through the woods by a huge gray wolf. After a local shot the wolf in the foot one night, the suspicious of the townfolk were confirmed when Oukranikov returned to town with a limp. In time, Oukranikov sent to Feodor Tchernevsky, the so-call "Count", to pay him a visit. The Count was warned of the danger of Oukranikov and had compatriots follow in case of danger. At some unspecified point they stormed the house, and found a huge gray wolf feasting on the corpse of the Count. They killed the wolf, buried it in the house and burned the house to the ground. The proprietor asks if the narrator saw anything on his journey, but he denies it.