H.P. Lovecraft’s “The Festival” may be a documented account of an individual having contact with beings from another world or even parallel universe. More than likely this is another example of the close proximity between our space-time reality and that of the Dreamlands, which exists in another universe.
Kingsport by JMD3 (www.deviantart.com)
As we have previously discussed, one current theory on the structure of reality is that our universe is a four-dimensional island on a “brane” in higher dimensional spaces. Our 4D brane is a lower-dimensional object, floating in a higher-dimensional space (Robert Adler, The Many Faces of the Multiverse – in New Scientist: The Collection, Issue Two: The Unknown Universe, editor Graham Lawton, 2014). In a way, our universe can be thought of as a circle drawn on a balloon, quickly expanding in area as the balloon inflates and increases in volume. This is why the universe “appears” to us as being flat, even though we know it to be curved. Indeed, this has been experimental verified by the WMAP (Wilkinson microwave anisotropy probe) satellite. Based on the inflationary universe theory, the expansion of the universe happened so quick and so fast that whole regions of the universe will forever be beyond our reach (Michio Kaku; Parallel Words: A Journey through Creation, Higher Dimensions and the Future of the Cosmos, 2005).
Proposed Timeline for the Inflationary Universe Theory (www.nature.com)
So according to the inflationary universe theory our universe (or at least our part of the universe) is expanding and according to some of the more generally accepted versions of the theory an accelerated expansion of specific areas of the universe may give rise to budding and the creation of new or baby universes through other big bangs. Attempting to fuse these concepts on the structure of the universe / multiverse with the known physical forces has proven to be very difficult, something that even Einstein failed to do. Currently, the leading theory that has supporting evidence to fuse the multiverse (inflationary universe theory) with the natural forces and varying particles of matter (string theory) together is the M-theory.
As previously mentioned our universe can be thought of as a 4 dimensional brane existing in an 11 dimensional hyperspace (Kaku, 2005). Two branes can be floating microscopic distances away from each and their boundaries can give rise to higher dimensional space, which in turn may serve as a conduit between our universe and another. Thus, it is through the multi-dimensional hyperspace that it may be possible to cross from one brane (or universe) into another. The creation of new universes can give rise to space-time with varying sets of natural laws, which may or may not be conducive to matter and life as well define it. In fact, string theory predicts that there will be approximately 10500 universes (Robert Adler, 2014), each with its own set of physical laws, some similar to ours and others being very different.
The creation of new universes through a budding or bubble process on our 4D Brane (www.wired.com)
So what does this all have to do with a sleepy little New England town during the Yuletide season? Well, of all of the locations identified or suggested by Lovecraft as having connections to other universes, Kingsport seems to be a particularly active site. This connection to another universe through Kingsport has been mentioned in other stories by Lovecraft, such as in “The White Ship” and “The Strange High House in the Mist.” While the Dreamlands are somewhat mentioned in both of these tales, there is no mention of the Dreamlands in “The Festival.” Still, the connection between Kingsport and the Dreamlands in the other tales supports the idea that what is documented in “The Festival” is another instance of an inter-universal connection through multi-dimensional hyperspace.
The protagonist reached Kingsport in the early evening of Yuletide Eve and states “…on toward the very ancient town I had never seen but often dreamed of.” Right away this indicates that the protagonist has been to a “Kingsport” found in another universe, possibly the Dreamlands. Perhaps he was getting reality and his dreams confused.
The other Kingsport was very different from the Kingsport found in the protagonist’s space-time. The “other” town seemed to be disorienting and somehow not quite right. All of the homes appeared to be ancient, no motor cars were seen and while the protagonist was told there were trolleys in Kingsport, there was no evidence that such a mode of transportation was present. No overhead wires were seen. Also, we find out later there is a hospital near the old churchyard on Central Hill in the Kingsport in our space-time. There was no such hospital near the old churchyard in the evening, Yuletide Kingsport.
More evidence that the protagonist was not in our space-time in his Yuletide visit to Kingsport was his description when he turned to look outside of the church threshold and states “…I turned once to look at the outside world as the churchyard phosphorescence cast a sickly glow on the hilltop pavement. And as I did so I shuddered. For though the wind had not left much snow, a few patches did remain on the path near the door; and in that fleeting backward look it seemed to my troubled eyes that they bore no mark of passing feet, not even mine.” In this “Dreamlands Kingsport” is gravity slightly different relative to Earth’s or are the density of water and the structure of ice slight different?
The “Great White Church” in Kingsport, illustration by Alan D’Amico (www.alandamico.wordpress.com)
In the caverns underneath the church there is “…a belching column of sick greenish flame.” This strange green-colored light casts no shadows and produces no heat like practically all other sources of light familiar to us. The next day when the protagonist is found half dead clinging to some driftwood in Kingsport Harbour (after the previous evening’s bizarre Yuletide rituals, which we will discuss in the next episode), he finds himself in the “Real-world Kingsport” with motor cars, trolleys and buildings of more contemporary architecture. So the story essentially begins with the protagonist being in the Dreamlands and ending up in our space-time.
The sickly green column of light in the underground caverns of Kingsport, illustration by Dark Precipice (www.deviantart.com)
All of the ideas presented in the story support the hypothesis that “The Festival” documents an encounter in an alternative universe, more than likely the Dreamlands. Next time we will focus on the sentient beings and their hybrid steeds the protagonist encounters in the underground grotto underneath the church. Thank you – Fred.