“Fishhead” by Irvin S. Cobb

FISH HEAD   Irvin S. Cobb (1876-1944) © 1985 Necronomicon Press   cover art by Robert H. Knox

FISH HEAD
Irvin S. Cobb (1876-1944)
© 1985 Necronomicon Press
cover art by Robert H. Knox

Yesterday I read “Fish Head” by Irvin S. Cobb in The World’s Greatest Horror Stories, edited by Stephen Jones and Dave Carson.  Though the cover above is from a 1985 chapbook, the story was originally published in 1913 in The Cavalier and was one of Lovecraft’s favorites.  The link above will take you to the Gaslight text.

I highly recommend reading the story.  Although there is little action and what little there is is contained in the last two pages, the story is very effective at setting up a suspenseful mood just in telling the telling the story of Reelfoot Lake and its mysterious inhabitant called “Fish Head” because of his resemblance to a catfish.

I suspect that Cobb, who was a native of Paducah, Kentucky situated near Reelfoot Lake, probably drew upon actual visits to Reelfoot to describe the atmosphere and environment in such realistic detail that, to me, almost seems to reverberate with a sense that one is experiencing the lake as vicariously as one can.

“Fish Head” is an interesting study in the use of language creating atmosphere, mystery, and suspense by the use of description alone.   Please read it at your first opportunity.  You won’t regret it.

Thoughts?  Comments?

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