Well after midnight in a newsroom high up above the city, a strange story comes tip-tapping in down the night wire. John Morgan, the night wire expert, turns the morse code into words and the words reveal a mystery. A town no one has heard of is brought to a standstill by a weird fog. This weird fog rolls right out of the graveyard and in it are seen twisted wailing forms. But this tale is stranger even that that. But you’ll have to listen to find out why. This pulp story from 1926 was a favourite of HP Lovecraft. Even its author is an enigma. Or is he? The story inspired Stephen King to write The Mist in 1981 which was made into the 2007 movie of the same name.
“H. F. Arnold was an American pulp-era writer who wrote only three published stories. Despite this low output, ‘The Night Wire’ (1926), first published in Weird Tales, is considered the most popular story from the first golden age of that magazine. Lovecraft is said to have loved this story. “
Arnold’s only other published stories were The City of Iron Cubes in the March/April 1926 edition of Weird Tales, and When Atlantis Was in the October and December 1937 issues of Amazing Stories. Who is who is an enigma. The content of The Night Wire suggests he was a newspaper man in a big city in the USA.
We have dates for his life as 1902 until 1963, making him 61 at the time of his death, and 24 when The Night Wire was published. How we know his dates, I’m not certain.
If you read most anthologies, we don’t even know if he was really called H F Arnold. But then someone called William Russo did some research and found out a lot about him.
Here’s a link to the full story
It turns out that he was Henry Ferris Arnold who graduated from the Mid-West and went to work in Hollywood working in publicity (we’d call it marketing now) for movies. He started at Goldwyn Studies and became Sam Goldwyn’s Director of Publicity.
There’s something about that night radio DJ thing. Play Misty for me. Other associations are being on night shift. Film noir.
The Weird Anthology
The Night Wire read by by E F French
William Russo’s review on Good Reads
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