Haydon Atwood Prescott was without a doubt a remarkable man who certainly had a colourful career as poet, scholar, explorer, artist, novelist, and, some would say, raving lunatic! It's true that he died in strange circumstances in the Roundway Mental Institution, at Devizes, Wiltshire, apparently driven to madness by his experiences during his Cambodian Expedition of 1943, but he left behind a body of work which, despite it's bizarre subject matter, is compelling reading for connoisseurs of the weird and macabre
His two slim volumes of verse were published in the late 1920's by Charnel House of London. Whispers From the Void (1926) and Strange Songs From the Stars (1927) were the culmination of a three month period of fevered writing undertaken by the nineteen year old Prescott in 1925. He accredited the sudden and intense burst of inspiration which produced this outré and uncanny verse to a vivid dream he experienced on March 23rd of that year. In this dream, he said, a cyclopean underwater city rose from the waves of the Pacific. The frothy waters teemed with weird aquatic, humanoid life, which he named as 'Deep Ones' and he said these creatures were the minions of mighty Cthulhu who had "seeped down from the stars" and for "strange aeons" would dream, imprisoned in the sunken city of R'lyeh. But there would come a time when the stars were right and Cthulhu would rise from the ocean's depths to rule the Earth once more!
This dream was a turning point in Haydon Atwood Prescott's life (and it's this incident, say sceptics, that marks the first manifestation of his unstable mental condition).

He developed an interest in archaeology, anthropology and the occult and began to build what would become an extensive library of rare and esoteric books (now in the collection of the British Museum).  Many of these books concerned the ocean's depths, particularly the Pacific, while others were suppressed volumes of arcane and supernatural lore. He also developed an interest in fantasy and horror fiction and subscribed to the pulp magazine Weird Tales, which featured stories by his favourite writer Howard Philips Lovecraft. He avowed that Lovecraft's tales of the 'Cthulhu Mythos' were not in fiction at all, but hard fact thinly guised as pulp tales!
For the remaining years of his life, Prescott immersed himself in the world of the weird. He corresponded with many like minded individuals, including the author and artist Robert Blake, the explorer Frederic Seddon Plowright and the poets Edward Pickman Derby and Ariel Prescott (no relation). He began to make a name for himself in the field of Pacific archaeology and in March 1936 he undertook the first of his two fateful expeditions to the Pacific.
On his return from his expedition to the Pacific islands in August 1937 he immediately began work on his anthropological volume Down Amongst The Deep Ones: The Cthulhu Legend Cycle in the Pacific (Williams & Wilson, London 1939) which effectively destroyed any burgeoning career he might have had in the field of anthropology.

Following this Prescott turned to fiction to get his views across and penned his epic novel The Behemoth From Below which remained unpublished at his death but which saw print in 1952. Disillusioned by his failure to get this work published Prescott embarked on another expedition, this time into the depths of unexplored Malaysia and Borneo. He was the only survivor of this ill fated venture. What happened to his companions will never be known as Prescott returned to civilisation with his mind shattered, mumbling almost incoherently about "eyes that suck and scream".
Haydon Atwood Prescott died on November 16th in his security cell at Roundway Mental Institution. The manner of his death baffled both doctors and police. Strange sounds were heard emanating from his room in the small hours of the night, followed by frenzied screams and cries for assistance. When the locked and bolted door was finally thrown open they found Prescott dead on his mattress. His body was pallid and damp, his hair wet and his face, strangely contorted in death, bore strange circular marks like splayed fingerprints.
Autopsy showed that Prescott's death was by drowning and that his lungs were filled with salt water!
Prescott's estate and effects:

On his death Haydon Atwood Prescott's estate was handled by Arthur Stephens (1902/1964) Aand passed on to his eldest son Brian Stephens (1925/1997) on his 21st birthday in December 1946 and then on to Brian's eldest son, Lin Paul Stephens (1957/1979) on his 21st birthday in November (1978). At Lin’s untimely death the estate was passed into the hands of Steve Lines, where it resides to this day.

Below is a listing of the major items in the inventory, many of which are still in the collection of Steve Lines.

1A collection of Weird Tales magazine. Also copies of Whispers, Outré and Grotesque.
2Two pictures by Richard Upton Pickman (National Gallery)
3One picture by Robert Blake (National Gallery)
4A very rare Hannes Bok rough sketch for Pickman's Model. There are some who say the sketch was drawn from life)      
(Collection of Ralph Matthews)
5Vast collection of unpublished Prescott paintings and black and white illustrations. (Collection of Steve Lines)
6The Prescott artifact collection (see elsewhere for details) (British Museum)
7The Necronomicon (John Dee)  (whereabouts unknown though it is suspected to be in the possession of Steve Lines)
8The Sevenford Seals by Ramsun Kabell (Goatswood 1913)  (Ralph Matthews)
9A collection of Charnel House first editions, including both his volumes of poetry and the following:
  The Secret Watcher by Halpin Chalmers (Charnel House)
  Night Gaunt by Edgar Henquist Gordon (Charnel House)
  Visions From Yaddith by Ariel Prescott (Charnel House) 1927
  The Screaming Soul by Stephen Phillips (Charnel House) 1928
  Ghouls & Gugs & Twisted Horrors by Jack B. Ford (Charnel House) 1928
The Stairs in the Crypt by Robert Blake (Charnel House) 1929
10     His voluminous boxes of papers, including the original longhand draft of his novel. The poems for his two volumes of            poetry (plus many unpublished). Notes for the R'lyeh Revelations and much more.

1926Whispers From The Void (Charnel House, London)
1927Strange Songs From The Stars (Charnel House, London)
1939Down Amongst The Deep Ones: The Cthulhu Legend Cycle in the Pacific (Williams & Wilson, London)
1952The Behemoth From Below (Seymour & Goldstein, New York)
1953The R'lyeh Revelations were published (Smith & Smith, London)
1969The R'lyeh Revelations were reprinted. (Yarnak Press, London)
2000The R'lyeh Revelations third edition. (Dreamtime Press, Cardiff)
2002Down Amongst The Deep Ones: The Cthulhu Legend Cycle in the Pacific (Aten Books, Avebury)
2002The Behemoth From Below (Aten Books, Avebury)
2003Dreams From A Diseased Mind (BJM Press) Edited by Steve Lines
Notable dates

1906:Haydon Atwood Prescott born 20th November.
1925:Wrote all the poems for his two books in a three month fever of writing Mid                   April/mid June.
1926:Whispers From The Void Published. June. Charnel House, London
1927:Strange Songs From The Stars Published. August. Charnel House, London
1935:Brian Stephens born in Portsmouth.
1936:Expedition of the Pacific Islands March. Polynesia etc. September
1937:Returned from expedition. August
1938:Wrote Down Amongst The Deep Ones
1939:Down Amongst The Deep Ones Published in March
1941:Wrote The Behemoth From Below
1942:Inspired by the artists in Weird Tales Prescott spend most of the year                          working on paintings and black and white illustrations of the outré and                          bizarre. If he sent any to Weird Tales, Wright must have rejected them as                     none appeared in that magazine.
1943:Cambodian Expedition including Malaysia and Borneo. Returned December.                 the only  survivor.
1944:Committed to Roundway Sanatorium, Wiltshire in January. Started work on                  the R'lyeh Revelations
1945:Continued working on the R'lyeh Revelations. Dies at Roundway on                              November 16th
Introduction to
The R'lyeh Revelations
Haydon Atwood Prescott (1906 - 1945)

The notes and sketches which make up Prescott's the R'lyeh Revelations were based partly on his manuscript copy of the R'lyeh Text, (the English translation by Lord Rochester), and from hints and suggestions from such works as the Liyuhh, Joachim Feery's Notes on the Cthaat Aquadingen, and Gantley's Hydrophinnae.  The main bulk of the work however,  was inspired by the discoveries he made on his Pacific expedition of 1936/37. Prescott worked on these manuscripts and paintings throughout 1944 and 1945 while he was incarcerated within the walls of Roundway Mental Institution, until his strange and horrific death there in November 1945.

Prescott's collection of books was presented, at his request,  to the Miskatonic University of Arkham, Massachusetts, USA in February 1946 and are included in Dr. Llanfer's catalogue of the library's occult, arcane, religious and archaeological holdings, published in 1951. Also passed on to the Miskatonic was Prescot's collection of artefacts (statuettes, stone tablets, wooden masks, cloth samples etc.) which are on permanent loan to the British Museum in London. An unpublished novel was also discovered amongst his effects. The Behemoth From Below (written 1941) was  published in 1952 by Necromancer Press in the USA.

The content of the R'lyeh Revelations centres around the 'Great Old One' Cthulhu and his imprisonment in the sunken city of R'lyeh, somewhere beneath the waves of the Pacific. It tells that he sleeps a sleep of deathlessness and that when the stars are right he will rise again. It concentrates heavily on illustrations rather than text, and some illustrations (rather like the paintings of Richard Pickman) give the vague, nagging feeling of having been drawn from life!

For a more complete picture of Prescott's theories of a pre-human Pacific civilisation see his famous (or infamous)  Down Amongst The Deep Ones: The Cthulhu Legend Cycle in the Pacific published by Williams & Wilson of London in 1939. In fact R'lyeh  Revelations can be seen as a companion piece to that work, illustrating many of the aquatic and amphibious denizens of the deep mentioned with its pages. His novel The Behemoth From Below also deals with the same themes, albeit in fictional form.

The fact that Prescott was confined to Roundway in 1944, immediately after his disastrous expedition to Cambodia and Borneo (of which he was the sole survivor)  leads many scholars to suggest that he was tainted with madness throughout his career, and that all his works are the product of a sick and diseased brain. After all, they suggest, his two slim volumes of poetry, published by Charnel House in his younger days, were banned by most booksellers because of their blasphemous, lewd and fantastic content.

The R'lyeh Revelations are published here for the first time with notes and annotations by Lin Paul Stephens. You may take it all as a fanciful conceit, or the ravings of an unbalanced mind. Far better that than to, even for a moment, accept the cataclysmic notion that the R'lyeh Revelations are based on hard solid fact and it was this very notion which drove Haydon Atwood Prescott to the brink of madness and beyond!

Cover to the first hardback edition of DOWN AMONGST THE DEEP ONES, published by Williams & Wilson in 1939
Cover to the first Hardback edition of
published by Smith & Smith in 1953
A short biography of HAYDON ATWOOD PRESCOTT
(1906 - 1945)
Charnel House 1927
Cover to the first paperback edition of DREAMS OF A DISEASED MIND
published by BJM Press in 2003