Great podcast on this short story. I'm new to the weird and speculative fiction genre and am enjoying discovering these stories as you cover them.
Your points about the unreliable narrator are all very good. I still like it despite its flaws. For me it adds to the creepy factor as the narrator struggles to explain what he doesn't understand. The scene descriptions are my favorite part of this story, what great language.
I hadn't made the Ponce de Leon connection either, I thought the place was much older, say from the time when the continents were all one giant landmass.
A side note about the fountain of youth. Ponce de Leon wasn't looking for it, the term appears nowhere in the official documents for his expedition which were very explicit as to his goals. The fountain of youth story came out later, but would be the one Lovecraft knew.
(Sorry about this non-substantive question in this area, but I don't know where to ask it at this website: my notification page doens't work for more than a week (it shows how many notifications I have, but at the same time won't show them) - are there other memebers with the same problem?)
I liked this 'writing workshop' episode, especially since I am a beginning (horror/weird) writer myself. I'm afraid I make some of the mistakes you mentioned (like I don't quite think out all that's happening in my stories myself, and some of my tales are based upon my sleep paralysis hallucinations (lucky me)), but I do consider this first book with tales I'm writing for my publisher, as some sort of try out (though I hope someone wants to read it ;-) (It's in Dutch though)).
Like Daniel Falch, I also thought of the graveyard as something way way older than historical times (but I think I may be prejudiced by reading the other, later tales of Lovecraft over and over again). I'm not familiar with the Ponce de Leon stuff, so that sort of historical-legendary tales also didn't came into my mind when reading it.
I really like Lovecraft's Randolph Carter tales (I even named one of my earlier literary/philosophical blogs 'The Library of Randolph Carter'), but I believe there's some debate about the question if the Carter in this tale is the same as the Carter in the other tales. I like the Randolp Carter tales 'The Silver Key' and 'Through the Gates of the Silver Key' and in some way or the other I think there's some reminiscence there to this story. One of my favorite Lovecraft stories is his much undervalued story (I think) 'The Dream-Quest of Unknown Kadath', but I think it has to do with my preoccupation with dream tales.
I once read 'The Beast in the Cave', but can't remember it well, so I'm looking forward to re-reading it.
I'm glad you read liked this one, and if you're new to Lovecraft you're in for some real delight when we get to his masterpieces.
The age of the cemetery is really fascinating to me. Lovecraft definitely plays up its age and mysteriousness, so we all think that we're dealing with something that predates European settlement. But then he describes a cemetery very much like one we could go visit. This is one of the elements that he really masters in his later work.
We'll be covering Lovecraft's "The Beast in the Cave" later this summer, which is a story that he wrote as a teenager. I'm really looking forward to it -- I've been getting a lot out of looking at these early stories.