W.H. Pugmire (1951-2019)

Writer W.H. Pugmire, 67, died March 26, 2018 in Seattle WA. Pugmire was best known for his Lovecraftian fiction, and was a beloved figure in horror fandom.

Wilum Hopfrog Pugmire was born Wiliam Harry Pugmire on May 3, 1951, and grew up in Seattle, where he became locally famous for his vampire character “Count Pugsly” while employed at the Jones Fantastic Museum. Pugmire was raised Mormon and did his mission in Northern Ireland. Upon his return, came out as gay and left the church, though he rejoined decades later.

The self-described “Queen of Eldritch Horror” began publishing with “Whispering Wires” in 1973 and produced scores of stories, many gathered in chapbook and full-length collections, among them Tales of Sesqua Valley (1997); Dreams of Lovecraftian Horror (1999); Tales of Love and Death (2001); Sesqua Valley and Other Haunts (2003), The Fungal Stain and Other Dreams (2006); Weird Inhabitants of Sesqua Valley (2009); The Tangled Muse (2010); Gathered Dust and Others (2011); Some Unknown Gulf of Night (2011); Uncommon Places: A Collection of Exquisites (2012); The Strange Dark One: Tales of Nyarlathotep (2012); Encounters with Enoch Coffin (2013, with Jeffrey Thomas); and Monstrous Aftermath: Stories in the Lovecraftian Tradition (2015). He co-wrote one novel, Witches in Dreamland (2018) with David H. Barker. He was also a prolific poet and essayist.

Pugmire went into hospice care in late March after a stay in a cardiac intensive care unit.

6 thoughts on “W.H. Pugmire (1951-2019)

  • March 27, 2019 at 3:57 pm
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    Wilum was an excellent human being and he will be missed.

    He left behind plenty of work, much of it excellent.

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  • March 29, 2019 at 7:02 pm
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    A genuine loss of a kind and talented member of the community.

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  • March 30, 2019 at 9:17 pm
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    Just heard about this, and I cannot say how hard this hits. Not only was Wilum a writer I admired and respected tremendously; he was also one of the gentlest and kindest human beings I’ve ever had the privilege of knowing. The world is a little bit emptier of joy and beauty now.

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  • March 31, 2019 at 3:56 am
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    We at Chaosium were sad to hear the news. Of Chaosium and the Call of Cthulhu RPG he generously said (to Lovecraft e-zine, in 2015), “I love their gaming manuals and use them as reference works in writing my own weird fiction. I love those books because their authors REALLY KNOW THEIR LOVECRAFT and are quite imaginative and brilliant themselves.” A couple of W.H. Pugmire’s stories featured in Chaosium anthologies, but it is unfortunate that we never got to work with him more closely – he had created his own vividly-realised Mythos setting for his fiction, the Sesqua Valley in the Pacific NW, and was held in very high regard by everyone who knew him, both as a writer and as a person. Rest in Peace.

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  • March 31, 2019 at 10:17 am
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    I only knew him as both a writer and online friend, but his work in the Lovecraftian tradition was innovative and beautiful.

    May he join the other fans made good in the hereafter.

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  • April 2, 2019 at 12:41 pm
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    I had the good fortune to meet Wilum in person at MythosCon in 2011 and at NecronomiCon in 2013. Our mutual love of the works of H. P. Lovecraft sealed our friendship. It has been heartening to witness Wilum’s resurgence in print in recent years, and sad to see it cut short by his untimely death. Hopefully, a “Best of Pugmire” collection will be forthcoming to pay tribute to the talent of this generous, gentle soul and gifted writer.

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