Steven Marc Harris

"When occultism dissociated itself from the worst excesses of Dennis Wheatley and Titus Crow, it castrated itself, for the worst excesses of Dennis Wheatley and Titus Crow are where it's at."-- Lionel Snell

Thirty years ago, the world renowned occultist and researcher of the Cthulhu Mythos Cycle, Titus Crow, died during a freakish storm that destroyed his house on the outskirts of London. While our world has changed considerably since that time, there are still many who feel that Titus Crow's untimely demise deprived us of a brilliant man and an intelligent scholar whose wisdom is sadly lacking in today's world of instant gratification and shallow sensory pleasures.

Today, all over the world, but particularly in Western Europe, there are now to be found devotees -- occultists, authors, artists, and amateur archeologists -- whose work acknowledges a special debt to Titus Crow. Few people, however, know who Titus Crow was. To them, he remains an obscure figure that seems to only have importance in a bygone age. Yet such an assessment is too quickly made when one realizes the full range of Titus Crow's life and influence.

* * *

Titus Crow was born January 2, 1916, on the outskirts of London. 1 Little is known of Titus Crow's early life, presumably by Crow's own choice since he frequently stated his own feeling that his life didn't take any particular direction until W.W.II. He was baptized on December 19th at St. Magnus Church and was notable for being the last to be baptized in the ancient baptismal chambers that had dated back to the time before the Roman occupation of Britain. Records of the church show the Crow family to have been members and benefactors of the church for several
generations. 2

Much of Titus' youth was spent traveling along with his father, a respected if not well-known archeologist who worked with the Oriental Institute, on his many trips to the Middle and Far East. In 1934, Titus Crow decided to attend the University of Edinburgh and study archeology to obtain a formal degree. 3 It was during the spring of 1935 that an event occurred that would dictate the rest of Titus Crow's life. It was the discovery and purchase of a rare copy of the Cthaat Aquadingen 4 While Titus had always had an interest in the occult (an interest he blamed on an overactive curiosity), it wasn't until his obtainment of the tome did he approach the subject with serious scholarship. While Crow never went into any detail as to how he came across the book, claiming as he did that the story was innocent enough for telling but too full of unlikely coincidence for the hearing 5, it was his discovery that much of the information in the book's text and illustrations were in accord with recent discoveries in the field of archeology that struck him most. The revelation to him that occult lore seemed to be a tradition reaching far back into humanity's past inspired Titus Crow to perform critical examinations of grimoires and books of hidden history using the intellectual tools of research and science. It was this interest that made Titus Crow the first to catalogue by specialized subject the magical texts contained in the Bibliotheque Nationale in Paris.

It was also the Cthaat Aquadingen that forced Crow into the study of cryptography. While parts of the book were written in plain Latin, other parts were written in a code and only alluded to by the normal text. 6 Crow attempted to break the code and wrote a paper for a professor on the use of numerology in the construction of sixteenth century manuals of magic that would one day find its way into the hands of the British Government.

For several years, Titus Crow would live as a pauper in Edinburgh while traveling by train during the weekends to London to stay with his parents. While at Edinburgh, Titus Crow became best friends with a chemistry student named Taylor Ainsworth. Together Crow and Ainsworth would analyze and reconstruct formulas and chemical compounds mentioned in the texts that Crow was studying, a hobby that almost turned into disaster in the winter of 1937 when both Crow and Ainsworth almost burned down the Old College building. 7

During the spring of '37, Crow came down with a serious illness which caused him to be bedridden. Unfortunately for Titus, his father was about to conduct an expedition to the site of Megiddo in Palestine and he was unable to join him. It would be the last time that Titus Crow would see his father alive. 8

In 1938, a young boy of 14, who was sent from America to London, would once again change Titus Crow's life. That boy was Henri-Laurent de Marigny, the only son of the great New Orleans mystic Etienne-Laurent de Marigny. It was this famous mystic that paid for a grey stone house in the Highgate area of London for Henri and paid for a Mr. and Mrs. Adams, a professional butler and maid, to look after him. 9 The reasons behind the elder De Marigny's actions have never been clearly understood, especially by his own son. The only instructions given to Mr. and Mrs. Adams was that Henri would be raised to be a proper gentleman and the only thing given to Henri was a letter of introduction to Titus Crow. From that moment on, Titus Crow and Henri-Laurent de Marigny became fast friends and Mr. and Mrs. Adams would deplore Crow's influence over the boy with his ghost stories and slight-of-hand tricks. For the rest of Crow's life, he would consider Henri his best friend.

The next year, 1939, saw the start of the Second World War and Titus Crow's decision to not complete his studies. 10 It was during this self-imposed exile from academia that Titus Crow was approached by the War Department and asked if he would be willing to consider working for their code-breaking division. Apparently, an old professor of Crow's had had enough forethought to keep Crow's paper on codes and then pass it along to a friend in British Intelligence when the war broke out. Titus Crow jumped at the chance and that December he formally joined the War Department as a consultant to the Government Code and Cipher School at Bletchly Park. 11

Unknown to Titus Crow at the time, events in Germany were conspiring to make Crow's knowledge of the occult an essential part of the war. Josef Goebbels, the Propaganda Minister in Nazi Germany, had commissioned in November of that year a Swiss astrologer named Karl Ernst Krafft to decipher the verse quatrains of Nostradamus in such a way to indicate the success of Nazi aggression upon Europe. Soon after this, a Romanian official living in London wrote to Krafft, an old friend, asking him if his decipherment of the quatrains was reflective of his own beliefs. When Krafft wrote back saying that they were and that he was working for the Nazi hierarchy, the Romanian quickly passed this information to the War Department. By August of 1940, it became obvious that the Nazis were as interested in the occult for their war effort as they were about guns and gasoline. British Intelligence found that the Nazis had set up in 1935 an organization devoted to tracking down magical and occult tomes under the name of Special Unit H (Sonderkommando H) and were heavily involved in archeological digs under the department known as Ahnenerbe. A call quickly went out by the War Department for their own experts in occultism and archeology. As might be expected, Titus Crow fit the requirements wonderfully. A group of occultists were brought together under the auspice of Ludwig von Wohl, a Hungarian astrologer who had written several religious books and knew some of the Nazi astrologers and occultists personally. For the rest of the war, Titus Crow worked with the Cryptography and the Occult sections of the War Department. 12

After the war, Crow refused to divulge much of what happened during those years. What we do know is that he mostly worked at the British Museum for both divisions in the Rare Books Department. 13 There he would seek solutions to codes in olden textbooks on the subject that Britain's enemies had hoped the world had forgotten, and Crow would also look up obscure references that would be found among the Nazi occultist's papers when and if they were smuggled out during the war years. Titus Crow was also responsible for the inclusion of a few dark allusions to be found within an astrological magazine called Der Zenit that was secretly distributed in Germany with the hope that its predictions for German defeat and false attacks by the Allies would become effective propaganda devices.

Only one specific incident of those years is known to us today apart from the hints and suggestions of recently released documents. That incident is the Nazi's acquisition of the fabled Necronomicon. In the early summer of 1944, a coded message was intercepted on its way to Heinrich Himmler by an undercover agent. The code used in the missive was of a sort never seen before and eventually it found its way into the hands of Titus Crow. After a few days, Crow eventually discovered that the code was a variant of a code used by the Carbonari, a secret society popular in both Germany and Italy during the early 1800s. What the message said, however, took a bit more detective work since it merely told of how a scholar of pre-Germanic languages had killed himself during the translation of the "Gothic text of the 700s" and that the unit was requesting another scholar for their needs. What puzzled Crow was that there shouldn't be any books from the 700s written in Gothic since that language hadn't been in use since 200 AD! After another week of research, however, Titus Crow discovered what the "Gothic text" was and the answer chilled him to the bone. In a work by Joachim Kindler called My Understanding of the Great Book, Kindler refers to a copy of the Necronomicon written entirely in Gothic. What is worse, this particular version of the Necronomicon is free of allusion and allegory making it easy to use the devastating spells and knowledge contained within. The news that the Nazis had gained possession of the Necronomicon and, worse, a powerful version of that forbidden text, caused Crow to panic and he went to inform the heads of the War Department in person. Crow was adamant that the book had to be tracked down and destroyed. Eventually, many years after his first telling of the tale, Crow revealed that the destruction of the Gothic Necronomicon was never confirmed, but that it was known that Hitler had a copy of the Necronomicon hidden in his bunker where he took his own life. Whether this copy was the Gothic version or a personalized translation from the Gothic, Crow was never able to say, or willing to speculate about. 14

Once the war finished, Crow found himself without work. 15 Penniless and depressed, Titus Crow eventually took on a job with a man in Surrey named Julian Carstairs and known as "The Modern Magus." Carstairs had developed a reputation during the First World War as an advocate for using magical rituals against the enemies of Britain. 16 Throughout January 1946, Titus Crow spent time with Julian Carstairs until his employer disappeared on February 1st. After a police investigation, the Julian Carstairs estate was divided up according to his will. Interestingly, though Carstairs predictably bequeathed his land and magical items and books to his coven, he had given almost his entire financial holdings to Titus Crow. With his newfound wealth and his newfound opportunity to pursue his archeological and occult interests, Titus Crow spent the next decade exploring the world and acquiring dozens of rare texts and objects d'art. 17

During the 1950s, Titus Crow gradually built a reputation of being an expert upon grimoires and pre-20th Century works of magic. Scattered throughout various publications, one can find the name Titus Crow either as the author, or more often than not, as a personage thanked in the bibliography for his help and knowledge. Such mentionings could be found in archeology journals, occult publications and even in an article on aesthetics! It was also during this time that Crow began to correspond with various individuals such as Wingate Peaslee in Arkham, Massachusetts and Wilhelm Reich in Rangely, Maine.

In 1950, during an amateur archeological investigation around Hadrian's Wall near the town of Sunderland, Titus Crow met with a 13-year-old Brian Lumley who was visiting the area with his father. 18 Later, during the 70s after Crow's unexpected death, Lumley would come to record and publish the memoirs of Titus Crow as a series of short stories.

In 1953, Titus Crow purchased from an auction house a strange clock called De Marigny's Clock. According to the auctioneer, the clock was the same clock involved in the Swami Chandraputra episode of 1932 and owned by Etienne-Laurent de Marigny. It was a strange device that resembled a grandfather clock except for its haunting coffin shape, its four hands and how it ticks out of rhyme. Crow would spend the remainder of his life researching and trying to understand the clock. 19 If his fragmentary notes on the subject recovered after his death are any indication, the clock's loss during the same localized freak storm that killed Crow is a loss for science and history.

It was also during the 50s when Titus Crow eventually bought Blowne House. A sprawling bungalow located at Leonard's Walk Heath just outside of London, it was built in 1892 on a site of local folklore. Supposedly, it was here that a hanging of William Fovargue, an accused wizard, was committed in 1675 on his way to London for a trial. A tree at the site was known locally as Billy's Oak and was considered haunted. Needless to say, the Victorian attitude of enlightened skepticism won the day and cut the tree down to make way for the house. The two owners of the house prior to Crow claimed that the spirit of William Fovargue was present in the house, a sentiment shared by Titus Crow himself, though he claimed the spirit was benign and more a conversation piece than anything harmful. 20

By the time the 60s came into being, Crow had become something of an established personage in the occult. There are numerous incidents where Crow was consulted by writers, occultists, scientists and curiosity seekers. His most famous accomplishment was prior to the sixties when Crow found himself face to face with the most infamous black magician in London at that time, James Gedney. Gedney had started a small nightclub known as the Demon Club, though records of the time show that the Club itself was owned by a Geoffrey Arnold. In any case, the Demon Club was known as Gedney's place and he used the locale to recruit and maintain a devil cult dedicated, it was said, to the powers of sin and Satan. Various witnesses attested to the fact that Gedney and Crow had exchanged harsh words at the Demon Club previous to the discovery by a cult member of Gedney's corpse laying upon the front seat of his car in front of his house. An autopsy performed on James Gedney gave the cause of death to be heart failure by natural causes. Though the police cleared Titus Crow of any involvement, a rumor quickly went through the occult community that Crow and Gedney had become embroiled in a magical duel that ended with Gedney's death. Years later, after Crow's death, Brian Lumley published an account of the incident claiming that Gedney had attempted to kill Crow through the use of an old spell and it was Crow's quick thinking that turned the curse back onto the sender. Whatever the truth of the matter, it was to become the most familiar exploit of Titus Crow. 21

In 1961, Titus Crow and Henri-Laurent de Marigny became involved in the mysterious death of the noted archeologist Benjamin Sorlson. Sorlson had become known as something of a maverick archeologist in the field of pre-Roman Britain. Early in 1961, Sorlson claimed to have gotten a lead in tracking down a burial site for a Viking warlord in northeast Britain. Unfortunately, Sorlson never accomplished his goal of finding the burial site due to a heart attack on his way back to London. Needless to say, the coincidence of Titus Crow being involved in another case of heart failure led to a thorough police investigation that once more turned up nothing incriminating. 22

It is during this time that Titus Crow began to have his fictional stories published in well-read magazines. In 1961, his story, "Yegg-ha's Realm," appeared in an issue of the pulpish Grotesque. The story caused an uproar when Crow subtitled it "a short story based on a true event." For the next three issues, Grotesque became a battleground over the story in its letters page. To his credit, Crow never backed down from his original statement and replied to each complaint in the manner he himself was addressed in. 23 It was also this story that brought Titus Crow and the brilliant artist Chandler Davies together.

Titus Crow had long known of Davies and would himself author a study of the man's
24 Now, thanks to the furor over "Yegg-ha's Realm," Titus Crow and Chandler Davies met and agreed to work together on Crow's next book. Unfortunately, Davies died in May of 1962 and was not able to complete his illustrations for Crow's book, though its eventual publication saw more than seven original Davies illustrations included within. 25

In 1963, Titus Crow found himself the subject of a chapter in Gerald Dawson's Forbidden Books!. 26 Its style gave Crow the air of being far more mysterious and sinister than in reality, but it did honestly attempt to present Crow's position on why certain books should and would continue to be kept from the public at large. While Titus Crow himself found fault with the book (feeling that its presentation encouraged dangerous tampering with such books), he never publicly made a fuss over it and even presented a signed copy to his friend Henri-Laurent de Marigny that same year.

Late in 1963, Titus Crow became involved with a peculiar incident involving the then recent eruption of Surtsey. Apparently a researcher, named Thelred Gustau, had discovered a metallic capsule that had arisen from the sea floor at the same time as the volcanic island. Upon opening the capsule, Gustau found various items such as a small monkey-like skull with one eye-socket, a dagger made from the tooth of an enormous beast, a silver whistle and a few other small treasures. But it was what was contained at the bottom of the container that drew Gustau's attention most. Runebooks and scrolls and documents, all of fine skins no thicker than paper, but lubricated in a way which left them supple. Thelred Gustau asked Titus Crow with help in translating the ancient documents and books. After spending a couple months on a partial and incomplete translation, Crow claimed that the document was a work entitled Legends of the Olden Runes and it was supposedly written at a time 20 million years ago by a humanlike wizard named Teh Atht who lived in a forgotten land called Theem'hdra. It was, if it could be proved, evidence enough to change every history book in the world. 27 Luckily, Crow didn't go out on a limb with his reputation in claiming the validity of the work since a carbon dating in 1968 showed that the manuscripts were no more than 20 years old. Crow accepted the evidence with a shrug and suggested that the chemical solution used to maintain the books over the centuries could have very well affected the dating process. In any case, Crow was willing to accept the carbon dating of the scientists if they were able to identify the animal whose skin was used for the pages of the books. Titus Crow's challenge has not yet to this day been answered.

During the early spring of 1964, Henri-Laurent de Marigny would later claim that Titus Crow was behind the death of the international industrialist Sturm Magruser V due to Crow's belief that Magruser was the most recent incarnation of the Antichrist! Magruser was the original genius behind the notion of a Strategic Defense Initiative for a country against nuclear weapons. His plan was to create a dome of force that would completely enclose the British Isles from outside attack once activated. Magruser seemed to have ample evidence from experiments among the Pacific Islands, but he claimed that the technology level of the time was not sufficient enough to allow his "dome of force" to exist without an excessive amount of energy released. For this reason, Magruser needed seven atomic bombs to be used to produce the energy needed and these were promised to him. But before he was able to furnish a workable "dome of force," Sturm Magruser V died suddenly the very same night the atomic weapons were delivered and the entire project was called off. It wasn't until 1982 when Henri-Laurent de Marigny's account, originally written in 1980, was published that any connection between Titus Crow and Magruser's death were made. 28

For the rest of the 60s, Titus Crow and De Marigny found themselves involved in various adventures. From an encounter with an individual claiming to be Count Dracula to the breaking of a code nearly two thousand years old, the years continued to bring them face to face with various supernatural occurrences and dangers. 29 By 1968, Titus Crow found himself considered by many to be an expert in the fields of the occult, amateur archaeology, paleontology, cryptography, antiques and in particular studies of the works of art by individuals such as Aubrey Beardsley, Chandler Davies, Hieronymous Bosch and especially Richard Pickman. 30

It was at the start of 1968 that Titus Crow began to investigate the mysterious disappearance of Sir Amery Wendy-Smith and his nephew which occurred thirty-five years earlier in 1933. Sir Amery was considered one of the most promising explorers of the late 1920s. His specialization was the African continent and his declaration that he had discovered a lost city on the eastern side of the land mass came as a shock to the historical community. Before Sir Amery Wendy-Smith was able to publish the results of his findings, however, he disappeared during a minor earthquake, with his nephew following a few days later in another minor earthquake in Yorkshire. The coincidence of these two related men being lost in such similar fashions caused many to see the event as something of a publicity stunt on the part of the nephew who was a struggling writer at the time. Their lengthy vanishing, however, had made the case more legitimate. By the end of that spring, Titus Crow claimed to not only to have solved the mysterious disappearance of the Wendy-Smiths, but had also claimed that it was related to the recent seismic activity at the time and certain ancient prehistoric monuments. His correspondence on the topic among his friends promised to reveal the circumstances behind the disappearances as well as having an article published on the subject by 1970. A promise that Titus Crow would not be able to keep. 31

It was also during this time that Titus Crow and is friend Henri-Laurent de Marigny joined with the Wilmarth Foundation of Miskatonic University under the leadership of Professor Wingate Peaslee. The Wilmarth Foundation was started by Albert N. Wilmarth, a professor of English at Miskatonic University in 1937. The original purpose of the Foundation was the study and collection of folklore. This included not only the recording of certain oral traditions, but also the collection of written accounts. The WIlmarth Foundation was unique in that it approached folklore in a much different fashion than most other folklore departments around the country. Firstly, the Wilmarth Foundation was a pseudo-official entity that was partially supported by the university but mostly gained its funding from its members. This allowed the Foundation a certain amount of freedom in its projects and in its publications while also giving the Foundation the opportunity to be a vital part of the university's campus community. Secondly, the Foundation's approach towards folklore was different in that it followed Dr. Wilmarth's proposition that all folklore is based on kernels of truth. Thus, rather than just providing a receptacle for localized myths and legends, the Foundation would actively investigate such stories with an eye towards discovering their origins. By the 60s, it was this dedication to investigating folklore that inspired the Foundation to begin an interdisciplinary investigation, with the psychology department, into the notion of psychic powers. It was also during the 60s that the Wilmarth Foundation made the forward thinking decision to become an international organization studying and recording the folklore of various nations. While the Foundation, and various other folklore departments, had previously studied foreign instances of folklore, the Wilmarth Foundation was the first to suggest setting up localized permanent centers in those nations that would be affiliated with the Foundation's center in the United States. It was this move towards expansion that brought Titus Crow into the Foundation as the first and head member of the British section of the Wilmarth Foundation. 32

The summer of 1968 saw Titus Crow as head of the British branch of the Wilmarth Foundation and, as such, most of his time was spent in organizational duties. Though Crow did have time to involve himself with an archeology dig site of a 1st century Roman priest, usually such matters were minor in their effort and only major in their impact. 33

In the summer of 1969, Titus Crow went on a whirlwind tour of the United States leaving Henri-Laurent de Marigny in charge of the British branch of the Wilmarth Foundation, spending time in such exotic locations as New Orleans, the wilds of Oklahoma, New York City and, naturally, New England. Crow was fascinated by the local customs and his new-found friends in the Wilmarth Foundation, which helped pay for the tour. 34 With Titus Crow's return that September, Crow was in a state of excitement concerning De Marigny's Clock. Apparently, thanks to information gained during his stay at the Arkham headquarters of the Wilmarth Foundation, Crow had discovered similar hieroglyphs as were written upon the very same clock he had purchased almost fifteen years before. Crow was also about to embark on a study of Stonehenge and the Salisbury Plain area. His notes on this planned study exist only as fragments, but what little exist appear to suggest that Crow was going to place the notion that Stonehenge was built to keep track of the stars on its head. 35

None of these projected plans, however, came to pass. On October 4, 1969, Titus Crow and Henri-Laurent de Marigny found themselves together at Blowne House at night during a freak storm. Within a few hours, the storm managed to not only uproot several of the ancient trees upon Leonard's Walk Heath, but it also managed to crack the foundation of the house and cause the roof to collapse in upon itself. An investigation the next morning came to the conclusion that there were no survivors to the disaster. The lack of finding the bodies of Titus Crow and Henri-Laurent de Marigny was put down to the fire that destroyed much of the house before morning. All that remained after the storm struck was a crumbling brick chimney and charred pieces of lumber. According to Titus Crow's will, the remains of Blowne House and the land it was built on were to become the property of the Wilmarth Foundation. To this day, Blowne House has remained empty and the remaining rubble can still be found amid the weeds and shrubs. 36


Thanks go to Daniel Harms' The Encyclopedia Cthulhiana without which this brief sketch would have gone untried.-- Steven Marc Harris

Disclaimer: Titus Crow, Henri-Laurent de Marigny and any other tangentially mentioned characters created by Brian Lumley remain his copyrighted property. No infringement of any copyright is intended.



1 Lumley, Brian. "Lord of the Worms" (1983). [return]

2 Lumley, Brian. "Inception" (1987). Also see Von Braun, Peter. "St Magnus and Titus Crow: A Historical Inquiry" (1998) for the argument that the church used by the Crow family was indeed St. Magnus Church. [return]

3 Lumley, Brian. "Lord of the Worms" (1983). [return]

4 Lumley, Brian. "The Horror at Oakdeene" (1977). [return]

5 Titus Crow to Wingate Peaslee, 12 September 1961. [return]

6 Lumley, Brian. "Billy's Oak" (1970). Lumley, Brian. The Burrower's Beneath (1974). [return]

7 Lumley, Brian. "Lord of the Worms" (1983). Taylor, Evan. "The Ainsworth Folly" (1988). [return]

8 Lumley, Brian. "Lord of the Worms" (1983). [return]

9 Lumley, Brian. "Name and Number" (1982). Lumley, Brian. The Burrower's Beneath (1974). [return]

10 There seem to be two different theories as to why Crow never finished his doctoral degree in archeology. There are those which suggest that Crow came to the realization that any career he might make in this field would never correspond enough with his own interests to make it worth the effort. Years spent behind a desk writing papers on orthodox topics for small minded journals didn't appeal to him. Others have suggested that Crow's childish interest in the occult kept Crow from developing the discipline necessary for success in academia. More than likely, both sides of the debate are right. Whether the condemnation rests on the establishment or the man depends, one would guess, on where one's own interests lie. [return]

11 Lumley, Brian. "Concerning Titus Crow" (1987). [return]

12 Sklar, D. The Nazis and the Occult. Additionally, Ms. Sklar, in a letter to the author states that Von Wohl's, and therefore Crow's, work was done specifically for MI-6 during the war. Interestingly, this "occult" section of MI-6 appears to have served more of a conformational role for paranormal intelligence obtained by a covert independent government agency known simply as PISCES. She says, "While MI-5 and the SOE [Special Operations Executive] seemed to tolerate and benefit from the spiritualist based agency, MI-6 resented its independence and mistrusted its information unless it was confirmed by more traditional sources. Von Wohl and his small group were able to provide MI-6 with their own occultists, and yes, their own psychics, with which to reevaluate the information provided them through what they viewed as unreliable means." D. Sklar, letter to the author, 17 May 1999. Also see Detwiller, Dennis et al. Countdown (1999). [return]

13 Lumley, Brian. "Lord of the Worms" (1983). [return]

14 Detwiller, Dennis et al. Delta Green (1997). Lumley, Brian. "Name and Number" (1982). [return]

15 Lumley, Brian. "Lord of the Worms" (1983). [return]

16 Arthur Binglow. "A Modern Magus!", The Sun, 20 May 1917. Carstairs wrote a letter asking for an apology for taking several statements he'd said during an informal get together in London out of context. The short apology hidden in the next edition of the newspaper was the last piece written by that reporter before dying from an absurb electrical accident at his home the following day. [return]

17 Lumley, Brian. "Concerning Titus Crow" (1987). It should be pointed out that there are those that feel that Crow never received any money from Carstairs' estate, but instead his sudden wealth prior to the 1960s was a result of a family inheritance. [return]

18 Lumley, Brian. Preface to "An Item of Supporting Evidence" (1987). [return]

19 Lumley, Brian. "De Marigny's Clock" (1971). [return]

20 Lumley, Brian. "Billy's Oak" (1970). [return]

21 Lumley, Brian. "The Caller of the Black" (1971). [return]

22 Lumley, Brian. "The Viking's Stone" (1977). [return]

23 Lumley, Brian. "An Item of Supporting Evidence" (1970). Crow was also the author of other less controversial pieces of fiction such as "The Failings of our Future King," "When the Dead Awake" (a marvelous re-interpretation of the tchod rites of the lamas of Tibet), and "Rain of Blackness," among others. Some have suggested that Crow may have been behind a hoax work called Jack the Howler, published in 1961, though no evidence of such authorship has come to light. [return]

24 Lumley, Brian. "Concerning Titus Crow" (1987). [return]

25 Lumley, Brian. "The Fairground Horror" (1976). [return]

26 Lumley, Brian. "Billy's Oak" (1970). [return]

27 Lumley, Brian. "Name and Number" (1982). Lumley, Brian. "Introduction to The House of Cthulhu" (1984). Staplehurst, Graham. "Ancient & Modern" (1986). [return]

28 Lumley, Brian. "Name and Number" (1982). [return]

29 Lumley, Brian. "Titus Crow vs. Dracula" (1975). This item was a script submitted to Marvel's black and white Dracula Lives comic book magazine, which ran in the early 1970s. The story was never published due to the cancellation of the series just before the Titus Crow story was to be released. [return]

30 Lumley, Brian. "Concerning Titus Crow" (1987). [return]

31 Lumley, Brian. The Burrower's Beneath (1974). [return]

32 Lumley, Brian. The Burrower's Beneath (1974). Also see Price, Robert M. "Wilbur Whateley Waiting" (1987). [return]

33 Mooney, Brian. "The Tomb of Priscus" (1994). [return]

34 Lumley, Brian. The Burrower's Beneath (1974). Lumley, Brian. The Transition of Titus Crow (1975). [return]

35 Lumley, Brian. The Burrower's Beneath (1974). Lumley, Brian. The Transition of Titus Crow (1975). For more about the direction of Crow's Stonehenge research see Lumley, Brian. "In the Vaults Beneath" (1971). [return]

36 Lumley, Brian. "The Black Recalled" (1983). [return]



Of the eleven major "short story" Titus Crow accounts covered by this essay, only five of them give any specific date as to when they occur. So it is reasonable to wonder how the chronology of these narratives can be constructed. Luckily, Brian Lumley took the time during the compiling of the various chronicles in the The Compleat Crow of putting them in the chronological order that they take place. By another stroke of luck, the first two selections and the penultimate selection are of the dated narratives, thus giving us the following structure:

(1) "Inception" (Winter 1916)
(2) "Lord of the Worms" (Winter 1945-46)
(3) "The Caller of the Black"
(4) "The Viking's Stone"
(5) "The Mirror of Nitocris"
(6) "An Item of Supporting Evidence"
(7) "Billy's Oak"
(8) "Darghud's Doll"
(9) "De Marigny's Clock"
(10) "Name and Number" (March 1964)
(11) "The Black Recalled" (November 1977)

This allows us to narrow down numbers 3 through 9 as taking place between 1946 and 1964, a large enough space of time to discourage anyone. However, while we aren't given exact dates in the tales themselves, we are given some clues. And of these clues, the most important is given to us in "The Mirror of Nitocris," where De Marigny says, "Just as thirty-five years earlier the inexplicable possessions of one Mohammed Hamed had attracted archaeologists of the caliber of Herbert E. Winlock to eventual discovery of the tomb of Thutmosis III's wives, so now did Abu Ben Reis's hinted knowledge of ancient burial grounds . . . suffice to send Brown-Farley to Cairo to seek his fortune." (117) De Marigny's reference was to Winlock's excavations in 1926. If we take the reference literally, this places the narrative in the year 1961. This puts numbers 6 through 9 between 1961 and 1964. In The Burrower's Beneath, we are told that the events of "The Viking's Stone" take place in the same year as "The Mirror of Nitocris," thus giving us spring (the season mentioned in the tale itself) of 1961 and placing "Mirror" later that year, more than likely summer given that we are told that it isn't fully night until 9 p.m. in the tale.

Another clue as to chronology appears, not in the Crow canon, but instead reveals itself in the account "The Fairground Horror," published in The Disciples of Cthulhu edited by Edward P. Berglund. In that narrative, the artist Chandler Davies plays a small but memorable role. He is shown to be a friend of Crow's and we are told that Davies kills himself in May of 1962. Since Davies plays a role in the Crow tale "An Item of Supporting Evidence," where he introduces himself to Crow, and we know that the tale takes place after the summer of 1961, it seems safe to bet that the events of "Item" take place either autumn of '61 or winter of '62. I've chosen the former simply because it is reasonable to assume that the incident of "Item" was the beginning of a more trusting Davies/Crow relationship than its full extent given the manner Davies treats Crow in "Fairground."

The next few narratives after "Item" are either '62, '63, or '64. Given the passage of time referred to in "Darghud's Doll," between it and the events of "Billy's Oak", it would appear that there is at least a year separation between the tales. Also, "Name and Number" takes place towards the beginning of 1964. So while "De Marigny's Clock" might fit in early 1964, "Darghud's Doll" can't accompany it. This means that "Darghud's Doll" must be 1963, which in turn means that "Billy's Oak" is 1962 (which also in turn means that Blowne House was built in 1892 as per the references to the house being 70 years old in that tale). Sections of "De Marigny's Clock" seem to imply that the story is taking place in the autumn, which would give it the year 1963 and assures us of the year of "Darghud's Doll". The dating of "De Marigny's Clock" also gives us the date of 1953 for Crow's purchase of the clock, as is revealed in the story, and also by implication his ownership of Blowne House to keep it in, though this last speculation is far from certain.

So we arrive at the following chronology:

(1) Inception (Winter 1916)
(2) Lord of the Worms (Winter 1945-46)
(3) The Caller of the Black
(4) The Viking's Stone (Spring 1961)
(5) The Mirror of Nitocris (Summer 1961)
(6) An Item of Supporting Evidence (Autumn 1961)
(7) Billy's Oak (1962)
(8) Darghud's Doll (1963)
(9) De Marigny's Clock (Autumn 1963)
(10) Name and Number (March 1964)
(11) The Black Recalled (November 1977)

As you can see, this leaves "The Caller of the Black" without any dating. This is especially troubling since it is the most famous of the Crow chronicles. The only clues we are given is that Crow is living in Blowne House, owns a Mercedes and has a reputation as an occultist. This firmly moves the story between 1950 and 1961 since Mercedes didn't begin selling personal cars after WWII until 1950. If we assume that Crow would have bought a more stylish model (and one that would seem to have lasted until 1969 as mentioned in The Burrower's Beneath), then that would push the tale back to 1955 or even 1958. Aside from that, it seems that "Caller" is the one item in our list without a definite date. I've referred to the account as taking place during the 50s since it carries that lounge club atmosphere so telling of that period and the fact that of our possible years, the 1950s constitute 90 percent. [return]

© 2000 Edward P. Berglund
"Titus Crow: A Sketch of His Life": © 2000 Steven Marc Harris. All rights reserved. A previous version of this originally appeared in the alt.horror.cthulhu newsgroup.
Graphic © 1999 Erebus Graphic Design. All rights reserved. Email to: James V. Kracht.

Created: May 16, 2000; Current Update: August 9, 2004