We’re back, and we’re tearing into the ripe meat of another Lovecraft story. This time we discuss the charnel pleasures and toothsome delights of Pickman’s Model. While there is nothing of the cosmic about this tale, it is one of Lovecraft’s best-known works, and perhaps the purest horror story he ever penned. It introduces us to Lovecraft’s version of ghouls, although they weren’t fully integrated into his wider Mythos until The Dream-Quest of Unknown Kadath.

pickman's model

Put down your lunch and wave to the nice listeners.

The above picture is probably the iconic rendition of Pickman’s Model, by beloved pulp artist Hannes Bok. In the episode, Paul mentions that this image also reminds him of one of the covers of the Grafton editions of Lovecraft’s work. While its subject may lack the distinctive snout and hooves of Lovecraftian ghouls, and is rather more corpulent, it still sort of fits the (grave) mould.

haunter of the dark cover

Not every model is a size zero.

As usual in our story episodes, we talk about the different elements we can steal for our games, as well as mentioning various film and television adaptations. Specifically, we discuss the Pickman’s Model episode of Night Gallery, as well as Professor Peabody’s Last Lecture and their adaptation of Cool Air; Volume 4 of Lurker Films’ H P Lovecraft Collection, which is devoted to Pickman’s Model and includes the feature film Chilean Gothic; and Pickman’s Muse, an independent feature which, unusually, sets Richard Upton Pickman at the heart of the events of The Haunter of the DarkI reviewed Pickman’s Muse as part of the 2013 October Horror Movie Challenge.

pickman 6

Don’t let the lack of ghouls put you off. There are many fine films that fail to depict the consumption of human flesh.

This episode also sees more singing. It obviously didn’t see the singing in time, otherwise it would have run off in the other direction. If you haven’t encountered our outre musical endeavours before, I had best explain that this is the way we give thanks to our bravest and most generous Patreon backers, whose praises we literally sing.  This time, inspired by our topic, we have tried to integrate some glibbering and meeping into one of our numbers. It was an interesting experiment, but it has left us with some unwholesome appetites.


Our backing choir will now join us in a bone-shaking rendition of I Ain’t Got No Body…

Speaking of music, we make mention of a far more melodious and less sanity-blasting number, in the form of a fun, catchy RPG-related song titled Party Killer, from our friends Kat and Sarah. Well, here it is!

We have a fresh and meaty segment of our new Q&A feature, Ask Jackson. As the earthly vessels of the ascended spirit of Jackson Elias, we are empowered to ask his advice about all matters eldritch on behalf of our listeners. If you have some hideous conundrum weighing on your mind, simply use the Contact Us page to let us know what it is, and Jackson will provide you with his shining wisdom before you know it. This episode sees the first question to involve a visual component, in the form of the brochure depicted below. Pay close attention, for your very life could depend on it.


If you think those are fronds in his maw, you are just the kind of naive fool that ends up devoured.

This episode also includes an unexpected and delightful piece of interaction with one of our listeners. Frank Delventhal sent us a couple of mysterious packages from Germany, packed with eldritch goodies. You can listen as we unwrap them on air and try to work out just how he managed to bend a bunch of six-inch nails into such unnatural configurations (having seen photographs of Frank’s workout regimen, I still maintain that he used his bare hands). You can see some photographs of the lovely presents below!

Frank Pressies 1 Frank Pressies 2 Frank Pressies 3 Frank Pressies 4

Blimey, this was a busy episode! I’ve written scenarios shorter than these show notes. Congratulations if you made it all the way through them!

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10 comments on “Pickman’s Model

  1. Graham Jul 12, 2016

    I was listening to a reading by the main host of the Monster Talk Podcast (Blake Smith, who really gets into the character of Pickman, btw.) and at the end of the reading (linked below) he speculated that “Pickman’s Model” was H.P Lovecraft’s creative response to M.R James’s “Canon Alberich’s Scrapbook”. Your thoughts?


    • I like that theory. It’s been at least 20 years since I last read Canon Alberich’s Scrapbook, and my memories of it are superficial, but now I’ve scanned the relevant passages again, I can definitely see the similarity.

      Considering how much Lovecraft wrote in his letters about his inspirations and the development of his ideas, I wonder if he ever mentioned a link in any of them. My cursory bit of Google research hasn’t turned anything up.

  2. A friend of mine did a short audio drama based on Pickman’s Model

    http://oneeighteenmigration.blogspot.com/p/interim-stories.html The Muse of Molly Malloy.

    I haven’t listened in a while, but I remember really enjoying it.

    • Oh, nice! Unfortunately, the links from the page to the various MP3 files seem to be broken. I wonder if your friend let their Libsyn account expire.

  3. http://traffic.libsyn.com/nineteennocturne/Christian_Haunton_-_118_Migration_One_Shot_-_The_Muse_of_Molly_Malloy.mp3

    That should work.

    Reminds me I should give him crap for making a really good story (118 Migration) then not finishing it … {:0p

  4. Enjoyable show as ever.

    I’d like to offer some thoughts as to the possible origins of Lovecraft’s ghouls: Margaret Murray’s “The Witch Cult in Western Europe”, in particular her thesis that witches and their supposed connection to fairies was inspired by an actual race of diminutive humans, driven out of most of Europe and forced underground. See https://sentinelhillpress.wordpress.com/2014/10/22/october-ganza-22-ghouls-fairies-murray-and-lovecraft/

    (Christopher Smith Adair presented a gamified version of this thesis in the most recent issue of the Arkham Gazette as well. 🙂 http://drivethrurpg.com/product/157349/The-Arkham-Gazette-3 )

    Regarding the look of ghouls, I assume you’re familiar with Lovecraft’s ghoul sketch? http://chrisperridas.blogspot.com/2008/08/lovecraft-drawing-and-pickmans-model.html

    As for tunnels under Boston, see https://sentinelhillpress.wordpress.com/2015/10/18/october-ganza-day-18-ghoulish-boston-part-1/

    • Good stuff, Bret! Thanks!

      I had seen Lovecraft’s sketch before, but forgot about it until you mentioned it. The world did not lose a great artist when Lovecraft decided to focus on writing. 🙂

      • (that reminds me I have an overdue email for you…)

        One other point I wanted to add – I suspect Lovecraft’s naming selection of Richard Upton Pickman (“R. U. Pickman”) might have been deliberate, or is that a pun too far?

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