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“ A: There is no grand scheme of things.
B: If there were a grand scheme of things, the fact - the fact - that we are not equipped to perceive it, either by natural or supernatural means, is a nightmarish obscenity.
C: The very notion of a grand scheme of things is a nightmarish obscenity.
”
 
 
  Thomas Ligotti - “My Work Is Not Yet Done”
Added by: Dr. Locrian on 06-09-2007 #1

“ Your eyes are now fused with those fantastic lenses, and your sight is one with its object. And what exactly is that object? Obviously, it is everything that fascinates, everything that has power over your gaze and your dreams. You can not even conceive the wish to look away. And even if there are no simple images to see, nonetheless there is a vision of some kind, an infinite and overwhelming scene expanding before you. And the vastness of this scene is such that even the dazzling diffusion of all the known universes cannot convey its wonder. Everything is so brilliant, so great, and so alive: landscapes without end that are rolling with life, landscapes that are themselves alive. Unimaginable diversity of form and motion, design and dimension. And each detail is perfectly crystalline, from the mammoth shapes lurching in the outline against endless horizons to the minutest cilia wriggling in an obscure oceanic niche. Even this is only a mere fragment of all that there is to see and to know. There are labyrinthine astronomies, discrete systems of living mass which yet are woven together by a complex of intersections, at points mingling in a way that mutually affects those systems involved, yielding instantaneous evolutions, constant transformations of both appearance and essence. You are witness to all that exists or ever could exist. And yet, somehow concealed in the shadows of all that you can see is something that is not yet visible, something that is beating like a thunderous pulse and promises still greater visions: all else is simply its membrane enclosing the ultimate thing waiting to be born, preparing for the cataclysm which will be both the beginning and the end. To behold the prelude to this event must be an experience of unbearable anticipation, so that hope and dread merge into a new emotion, one corresponding perfectly to the absolute and the wholly unknown. The next instant, it seems, will bring with it a revolution of all matter and energy. But the seconds keep passing, the experience grows more fascinating without fulfilling its portents, without extinguishing itself in revelation. And although the visions remain active inside you, deep in your blood - you now awake. ”
 
 
  Thomas Ligotti - “The Spectacles in the Drawer”
Added by: Dr. Bantham on 06-09-2007 #2

“ We leave this behind in your capable hands, for in the black-foaming gutters and back alleys of paradise, in the dank windowless gloom of some galactic cellar, in the hollow pearly whorls found in sewerlike seas, in starless cities of insanity, and in their slums . . . my awe-struck little deer and I have gone frolicking. ”
 
 
  Thomas Ligotti - “The Frolic”
Added by: Dr. Bantham on 06-09-2007 #3

“ De Plancy's Dictionnaire Infernal characterizes these demons, in the words of an unknown translator, as the one who glistens horribly like a rainbow of insects; the one who quivers in a horrible manner; and the one who moves with a particular creeping motion. ”
 
 
  Thomas Ligotti - “The Lost Art of Twilight”
Added by: Dr. Bantham on 06-09-2007 #4

“ Gaunt immortality in black and gold,
Wreathed consoler hideous to behold.
The beautiful lie of a mother's womb,
The pious trick - for it is the tomb!
”
 
 
  Thomas Ligotti - “The Lost Art of Twilight”
Added by: Dr. Bantham on 06-09-2007 #5

“ There seemed to be a power to this prodigy, but it was a terribly quiescent power, a cataract of the purest light plummetting silently in the blackness of space. If it could have spoken it might have told, in a soft and reverberant voice, of the lonely peace of the planets, the uninhabited paradise of clouds and an antiseptic infinity. ”
 
 
  Thomas Ligotti - “Mrs. Rinaldi's Angel”
Added by: Dr. Bantham on 06-09-2007 #6

“ Commending me to an absolute cure, he will have immured another soul within the black and boundless walls of that eternal asylum where stars dance forever like bright puppets in the silent, staring void. ”
 
 
  Thomas Ligotti - “Dr. Locrian's Asylum”
Added by: Dr. Bantham on 06-09-2007 #7

“ And it was this very remoteness from the designs of my dream universe, this feeling of fantastic homelessness amid a vast alien order, that was the source of unnameable terrors. I was no more than an irrelevent parcel of living tissue caught in a place I should not be, threatened with being snared in some great dredging net of doom, an incidental shred of flesh pulled out of its element of light and into an icy blackness. In the dream nothing supported my existence, which I felt at any moment might be horribly altered or simply. . .ended. In the profoundest meaning of the expression, my life was of no matter. ”
 
 
  Thomas Ligotti - “The Sect of the Idiot”
Added by: The Silent One on 06-09-2007 #8

“ ... these hypothetical houses, the ones now absent, may at some point change places with those which can be seen, in order to enrich the lapses in the landscape and give the visible a rest within nullity. And of these houses now stretching high or spreading low there will remain nothing to be said, for they will have entered the empty space, which are merely blank faces waiting to gain features. ”
 
 
  Thomas Ligotti - “The Greater Festival of Masks”
Added by: Juan Borgia on 06-09-2007 #9

“ But the secrets of such a book are not absolute: once they are known, they become relegated to a lesser sphere, which is that of the knower. Having lost the prestige they once enjoyed, these former secrets now function as tools in the excavation of still deeper ones, which, in turn, will suffer the same corrosive fate. And this is the fate of all true secrets. Eventually the seeker may conclude - either through insight or sheer exhaustion - that this process is neverending, that the mortification of one mystery after another has no terminus beyond that of the seeker’s own extinction. ”
 
 
  Thomas Ligotti - “The Spectacles in the Drawer”
Added by: Dr. Bantham on 06-09-2007 #10

“ The sky had hidden itself behind a leaden vault of clouds, depriving us of the crucial element of pure sunlight which we needed to burn off the misty dreams of the past night. And a vine-twisted stone wall along the property line of the farm was the same shade as the sky, while the dormant vines themselves were as colorless as the stone they enmeshed like a strange network of dead veins. But this calculated grayness was merely an aspect of the scene, for the colors of the abundant woods along the margins of the landscape were undulled, as if those radiant leaves possessed some inner source of illumination or stood in contrast to some deeper shadow which they served to mask. ”
 
 
  Thomas Ligotti - “The Shadow at the Bottom of the World”
Added by: Dr. Bantham on 06-09-2007 #11

“ Even when we ventured to lay our hands on that mass of darkness, we found only greater mysteries. For there was almost no tangible aspect to it, merely a hint of material sensation, barely the feel of wind or water. It seemed to possess no more substance than a few shifting flames, but flames of only the slightest warmth, black flames that have curled together to take on the molten texture of spoiled fruit. And there was a vague sense of circulation, as though a kind of serpentine life swirled gently within. ”
 
 
  Thomas Ligotti - “The Shadow at the Bottom of the World”
Added by: Dr. Bantham on 06-09-2007 #12

“ In sleep we were consumed by the feverish life of the earth, cast among a ripe, fairly rotting world of strange growths and transformation. We took a place within a darkly flourishing landscape where even the air was ripened into ruddy hues and everything wore the wrinkled grimace of decay, the mottled complexion of old flesh. The face of the land itself was knotted with so many other faces, ones that were corrupted by vile impulses. Grotesque expressions were molding themselves into the darkish grooves of ancient bark and the whorls of withered leaf; pulpy, misshapen features peered out of damp furrows; and the crisp skin of stalks and dead seeds split into a multitude of crooked smiles. All was a freakish mask painted with russet, rashy colors—colors that bled with a virulent intensity, so rich and vibrant that things trembled with their own ripeness. ”
 
 
  Thomas Ligotti - “The Shadow at the Bottom of the World”
Added by: Dr. Locrian on 06-09-2007 #13

“ The sinister, the terrible never deceive; the state in which they leave us is always one of enlightenment. And only this condition of vicious insight allows us a full grasp of the world, all things considered, just as frigid melancholy grants us full possession of ourselves.
We may hide from horror only in the heart of horror.
Could I be so unique among dreamers, having courted the Medusa - my first and oldest companion - to the exclusion of all others? Would I have her respond to this sweet talk?
”
 
 
  Thomas Ligotti - “The Medusa”
Added by: Dr. Bantham on 06-09-2007 #14

“ Nevertheless, while I was deprived of the privilege of a natural rest, there may have also been some profit gained: the awful opulence of the dream, a rich and swollen world nourished by the exhaustion of the flesh. The world, in fact, as such. Any other realm seemed an absence by comparison, at best a chasm in the fertile graveyard of life. ”
 
 
  Thomas Ligotti - “Mrs. Rinaldi's Angel”
Added by: Dr. Bantham on 06-09-2007 #15

“ Oh, blessed puppets, receive My prayer, and teach Me to make Myself in thy image. ”
 
 
  Thomas Ligotti - “Mad Night of Atonement”
Added by: Dr. Bantham on 06-09-2007 #16

“ Indeed, winter is not so much the holiest time as it is the holiest place, the visible locus of the divine. ”
 
 
  Thomas Ligotti - “Mad Night of Atonement”
Added by: Dr. Bantham on 06-09-2007 #17

“ But the Creator's taste for the unreal has required something to be real in the first place, and then to wither into ruins, to fail gloriously. Hence - the World. Extend this premise to its logical conclusion and you have - curtain! - the Creator's Great Design. ”
 
 
  Thomas Ligotti - “Mad Night of Atonement”
Added by: Dr. Bantham on 06-09-2007 #18

“ It is the old surfaces that must be stripped away and disposed of. Time to leap from that summit of illusion our world has achieved, a glorious plummet after so many centuries in which we erred on the side of excellence. When all the Creator had in mind was a third-rate sideshow of beatific puppetry. But our strainings for progress were not useless; they were simply mistaken as to their ultimate aim. For it is modern science itself which will enable us to realize the Creator's dream, and to unrealize all the rest. See for yourselves. Look what is happening to the flesh of these future puppets, and to their eyes: wax and wood and shining glass to replace the sad and cumbersome structures of biology. ”
 
 
  Thomas Ligotti - “Mad Night of Atonement”
Added by: Dr. Bantham on 06-09-2007 #19

“ Now he directs you to a part of the room where there is soft music and dancing. But there are no windows in this room, only tall smoky mirrors, and as you pass from one end to the other you are caught between foggy looking-glasses facing their twins, creating endless files of somnambules in a false infinity beyond the walls. Then you dance with our host, though while he is gazing straightforwardly at you, you are gazing abstractly at the ceiling. O, that ceiling! In epic contrast to the capricious volutions of the rest of the room--designs tendriled to tenebrosity--the ceiling is a dark, chalky blue without a hint of flourish. In its purity it suggests a bottomless pool or an infinite sky wiped clean of stars. You are dancing in eternity, my quadrillioning mannequin. And the dance is indeed a long one, for another wants to cut in on our gracious host and become your partner. Then another. And another. They all want to embrace you; they are all taken in by your frigid elegance, your postures and poses like frozen roses. I am only waiting until everyone has had bodily contact with your powers of animal magnetism. ”
 
 
  Thomas Ligotti - “Drink to Me Only With Labyrinthine Eyes”
Added by: G. S. Carnivals on 06-09-2007 #20

“ Aside from my teaching, I had for some years been engaged in various anthropological projects with the primary ambition of articulating the significance of the clown figure in diverse cultural contexts. Every year for the past twenty years I have attended the pre-Lenten festivals that are held in various places throughout the southern United States. Every year I learned something more concerning the esoterics of celebration. In these studies I was an eager participant - along with playing my part as an anthropologist, I also took a place behind the clownish mask myself. And I cherished this role as I did nothing else in my life. To me the title of Clown has always carried connotations of a noble sort. I was an adroit jester, strangely enough, and had always taken pride in the skills I worked so diligently to develop. ”
 
 
  Thomas Ligotti - “The Last Feast of Harlequin”
Added by: G. S. Carnivals on 06-09-2007 #21

“ The only thing that seemed to occupy that floor was an undiluted darkness, a darkness far greater than the night itself, a consolidated darkness, something clotted with its own density. 'The nocturnal product,' I could hear the spectacled student reminding me in a hollow voice. 'Drowning in the pools of night.' ”
 
 
  Thomas Ligotti - “The Night School”
Added by: G. S. Carnivals on 06-09-2007 #22

“ And now the crying of the swans had begun to sound from the lake and through the fog and into the house. Their shrieks were echoing everywhere, and he might have predicted as much. Would he soon be required to add his own shrieks to theirs, was it now time to be overcome by the wonder of the unknown and the majesty of fate; was this how it was done in the world of doom? ”
 
 
  Thomas Ligotti - “The Prodigy of Dreams”
Added by: G. S. Carnivals on 06-09-2007 #23

“ And if here, then everywhere and at every time. Just a little doubt slipped into the mind, a trickle of suspicion in the bloodstream, and all those eyes, one by one, will open to the world, will see its horror as it has never been seen before. Then: no belief or body of laws will guard you; no friend, no counselor, no appointed personage will save you; no crowded schoolroom, no locked bedroom, no private office will hide you. Not even the solar brilliance of spring is protection against the horror. For the horror eats light and digests it into darkness. ”
 
 
  Thomas Ligotti - “Professor Nobody's Little Lectures on Supernatural Horror”
Added by: G. S. Carnivals on 06-09-2007 #24

“ 'Our bodies are but one manifestation of the energy, the activating force that sets in motion all the objects, all the bodies of this world and enables them to exist as they do. This activating force is something like a shadow that is not on the outside of all the bodies of this world but is inside of everything and thoroughly pervades everything--an all-moving darkness that has no substance in itself but that moves all the objects of this world, including those objects which we call our bodies. While I was in the throes of my gastrointestinal episode at the hospital where I was treated, I descended, so to speak, to that deep abyss of entity where I could feel how this shadow, this darkness, was activating my body. I could also hear its movement, not only within my body but in everything around me, because the sound that it made was not the sound of my body. It was in fact the sound of this shadow, this darkness, which was a powerful roaring--the sound of strange and bestial oceans moving upon and incessantly consuming black and endless shores.' ”
 
 
  Thomas Ligotti - “The Shadow, The Darkness”
Added by: G. S. Carnivals on 06-09-2007 #25

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