It manages to build an eerie aura about the titular character and his home, despite the story's length. Rumor has it he was once captain of an East India clipper; since he pays for all his purchases with antique Spanish coins, rumor also has it he’s hidden a considerable fortune in his ramshackle house. Right off the bat, old HP lets us know how foreigners of any and all extractions are undesirable sorts, since the three guys in question are quite simply criminals. The Terrible Old Man is a remarkable thing: a succinct Lovecraft story. So that's cool, I guess. Most locals take care to avoid the man and his house.

Don't try to rob creepy people who talk to mysterious bottles named after people. She currently lives in a Victorian trolley car suburb of Providence, Rhode Island. Another pattern may be squirming under the surface. Is TOM some form of demon, or vampire? Angelo Ricci, Joe Czanek and Manuel Silva, three robbers, learn about the old man's supposed hoard of treasure and resolve to take it. “The Terrible Old Man” (1920)—first published in an amateur magazine—is not “terribly” good. Know what would be really awful? "The Terrible Old Man" might be the most normal of Lovecraft's stories, the most "normal" one I've read, anyway. There are more things in heaven and earth, and they are all pretty terrifying. Howard Phillips Lovecraft, of Providence, Rhode Island, was an American author of horror, fantasy and science fiction. I doubt TOM was the most reputable of sea captains. It is the first Lovecraft story set in New England, making it a landmark of sorts, and it has one detail—the disturbing description of the bottles with which the Old Man converses—which shows the distinctive Lovecraftian touch. In a tale as ironic as this one, I wonder if we should only take that remark at face value. H. P. Lovecraft has been the object of much criticism and discussion due to his more or less evident 'prejudices' regarding race and ethnicity. The story, about the fate of three would-be robbers of the titular old man's house, has been criticized by Peter Cannon for being an openly xenophobic polemic against immigration. (Presumably these names can be heard due to breaks in the window from the “wicked missiles” hurled by the boys.).

Is he really that defenceless as it seems? It was written on January 28, 1920, and first published in the Tryout, an amateur press publication, in July 1921.

Then the PURSE ate him. I did not know anything about it prior to starting it. There's an extremely obvious element of xenophobia and racism in The Terrible Old Man.

When the Terrible Old Man addresses these bottles with names like Scar-Face, Long Tom, Spanish Joe, and Mate Ellis, the pendulums vibrate in seeming response. Ricci and Silva go inside to "interview" the old man about the treasure, while Czanek waits outside in the getaway car. Each bottle contains a bit of lead suspended like a pendulum.

These three criminals wanted to break into his house and steal the gold, that he worked so hard for when he was young. Those who had visited the property had seen bizarre collections of stones in the front yard and observed the old man carrying on conversations with mysterious bottles on his table, which make "certain definite vibrations as if in answer." Why does he keep his crew as lead pendulums swinging in bottles? Lovecraft's xenophobia is a powerful force in his work.

While some readers might be overwhelmed by the story's century-old language, other readers seeking a cautionary tale about the risks of criminal life and the danger of assumptions about capabilities of others should be entertained.

A fairly underwhelming short regarding a strange old man who lives alone and ends up brutally murdering three men who attempt to rob him. A surprise ending complicates the plot's conclusion, and its usage invites multiple readings to understand the story.

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