Although it is not often, if at all, discussed among his devoted scholars and biographers, H.P. Lovecraft’s description of the townsfolk of Dunwich in his classic short ‘The Dunwich Horror’ leave one with little doubt that the writer must have visited Sunderland at some point:
“Two centuries ago, when talk of witch-blood, Satan-worship and strange forest presences were not laughed at, it was the custom to give reasons for avoiding the locality. In our sensible age [. . .] people shun it without knowing exactly why. Perhaps one reason – though it cannot apply to uninformed strangers – is that the natives are now repellently decadent, having gone far along the path of retrogression [. . .] They have come to form a race by themselves, with the well-defined mental and physical stigmata of degeneracy and inbreeding. The average of their intelligence is woefully low, whilst their annals reek of overt viciousness and of half-ridden murders, incests and deeds of almost unnameable violence and perversity.” (2007: 180)
Sound like Mackems to me!
Lovecraft, H.P. (2007) ‘The Dunwich Horror,’ The Whisperer in Darkness Ware, Herts.:Wordsworth Editions Ltd. pp178-216