Вы находитесь на странице: 1из 58

CRYPT OF

CTHULHU
A_Pu^_T^]^U^r_an^ Theological Journal

St. John's Eve 1984

CONTENTS
Editorial Shards 2
The Necronomicon John Dee's Translation
, 3
By Frank Belknap Long
The Revelations of Glaaki 4
By Ramsey Campbell
Cthaat Aquadi ngen 5
By Brian Lumley
The Third Cryptical Book of Hsan (,

By Gary Myers
The Necronomicon Concerning Them from Outside
:
... 7
By Lin Carter
The Book of Eibon : The Unbegotten Source 9
By Lin Carter
Confessions of the Mad Monk Clithanus :

The Incantation of the Elder Sign 12


By Lin Carter
The Necronomicon - The Origin of a Spoof 14
By Colin Wilson
Preface to The Necronomicon
By L. Sprague deCamp
The Case of Simon's Necronomicon 21
By Robert C. Carey
Lovecraft's Necronomicon An Introduction
:
25
By Robert M. Price
Reconstructing De Vermis Mysteriis 30
By Robert M. Price
Some Notes on the Eltdown Shards 34
By Robert M. Price
The Pnakotic Manuscripts A Study :
38
By Robert M. Price
Prehuman Language in Lovecraft 43
By Will Murray
Fun Guys from Yuggoth 43
R'lyeh Review 4g
Mail- Call of Cthulhu tn

1
2 / Crypt of Cthulhu

Debatable and Disturbing:


EDITORIAL SHARDS
Oneof the central features of the Cthulhu Mythos, undone of fans' favor-
ite features of it, is the shelf of fictitious grimoires that figure prominently
in tale after tale. The notion of a mere book that might contain truths so
unsettling as to blast one's sanity is powerfully evocative when well em-
ployed. But even when not used to fullest advantage, the forbidden book
never fails to engage the interest of the more-or-less intellectual crowd
that so loves Lovecraftian fiction. They are lovers, readers, collectors*
of books, the rarer and more esoteric the better. For them the Necronomi-
con is the fantasy counterpart to the fabulous and legendary Arkham edition
of The Outsider and Others So we suspect that this issue of Cryptof Cthulhu
.

devoted to the Books of the Mythos will be one of our most appreciated,
because of the treatment no less than the theme.

First we present brand-new scriptural texts from the pos se s sed penmen
themselves: Frank Belknap Long with a new passage from the Necronomi-
£on, the John Dee translation of which was his own contribution to Mythos
lore; Ramsey Campbell with a hitherto-unknown fragment of The Revela-
Glaaki; Brian Lumley offering a prophetic warning from the Cthaat'
Aquadingen Gary Myers rendering an enigmatic pericope from The Cryp-
;

tical Books of Hsan and Lin Carter unveiling a few pages from the
;
Necro-
nomicon the Book of Eibon and the Confessions of the Mad Monk Clithanus
, ,
!

Memorize them carefully before the Inquisition seizes your copy of this
magazine !

A special trilogy of articles lay bare the secrets of three separate


Necronomicon hoaxes perpetrated in recent years. Two are by the per-
petrators themselves: Colin Wilson and L. Sprague deCamp. The third
is the work of Robert C. Carey, someone with both proximity to the prin-
cipals in the case and detective skills rivaling those of Jules de Grandin.

Many Mythos texts function primarily as names dropped in the


of the
course of a story to generate the proper atmosphere. Yet it is always fun
to collate thedisparate references and to try to come up with a fuller pic-
ture that the name-dropping author may have had in mind. Four articles
deal thusly with four of the forbidden books, some more prominent, some
less: the Necronomicon De Vermis Mysteriis
, the Eltdown Shards and
, ,

Pnakotic Manuscripts Will Murray provides a similarly synoptic


.

treatment of the phenomena of "Prehuman Language in Lovecraft. "

Robert M. Price, Editor


St. John's Eve 1984 / 3

THE NECRONOMICON
JOHN DEE'S TRANSLATION

(Retranslated into slightly more modern phrase patterns


here and there, but without the slightest departure from
the original text otherwise.
)

Paragraphs Seven and Eight - Page 30, Book Three


It must
not be thought that the powers capable of the
greatest
wickedness appear to us in the form of repellant
familiars, and
other, closely related demons. They do not. Small, visible de-
mons are merely the effluvia which those vast forms of destruc-
tiveness have left in Their wake--skin scrapings
and even more
tenuous shreds of evil that attach themselves to the living like
leeches from some great slain leviathan of the
deep that has
wreaked havoc on a hundred coastal cities before plunging
to its
death with a thousand hurled harpoons quivering in
its flesh.

For the mightiest powers there can be no death and the


hurled
harpoons inflict, at most, surface injuries which heal
quickly. I
have said before and I shall say again until my tardily
earned wis-
dom is accepted by my brethren as fact- -in confronting that which
always been and always will
^
a master of magic can know
only self- reproach and despair if he mistakes a
temporary victory
for one that he can never hope permanently
to win.

--Frank Belknap Long

(Who refuses to discuss


how these few lines came
into his possession. )
4 / Crypt of Cthulhu

THE REVELATIONS
OF GLAAKI
"Who has heard the songs of the dead? Who
has seen the ropes of faces that gather in the sky-
on that night of the year? Who has shared the
dreams of the eye that watches our speck of cos-
mic dust and is seenbyallyet remarked by none?
Not the thousand Gothic hacks with their Cerberus
novels, that guard nothing but the enemies of man-
kind; for as these hollow men disseminate their
dummy terrors, so They beyond the rim grow
unspeakably stronger for our ignorance- - so Their
grasp roots deeper in our secret souls ..."

--Ramsey Campbell
St. John's Eve 1984 / 5

CTHAAT AQUADINGEN
FOUND AMONG THE EFFECTS OF
HENRI- LAURENT DE MARIGNY:

... It was the chance observation during a recent re-read-


ing of Lovecraft's "Call of Cthulhu, " an alleged fiction,
that:

"Ph'nglui mglw'nafh Cthulhu R'lyeh wgah'nagl fhtagn" con-


tains precisely the same number of words (including the split
words, except R 'lyeh - -and, indeed,
) the same number of letters
--as the supposed translation:

"In his house at R'lyeh dead Cthulhu waits dreaming, "


and
the subsequent discovery of the key, which prompted
me to apply
It to a certain paragraph in my photocopy of
Titus Crow's
Cthaat Aquadingen ,
one which had for long caused me a degree
of cryptographic concern.

My delight was only tempered by the warning inherent in what


was revealed; which was this:

And in the Final Days of Man's Domin-


ion,whenhis Power shall be as the Power
of Suns, the Lord of R'lyeh shall seek
Him out the Minds of Great men. Leaders
of Nations, beguiling them with Lies that
they war upon & destroy one another;
aye, & the very World with them! And
Azathoth shall reign supreme, St Cthulhu
safe in the Deeps of R'lyeh, awaiting His
time until Men are become Monsters.
And when all the World reels in Dark-
ness, then shall Cthulhu rise Him up, St
Chaos St Madness hold dominion over
all. . . .

--Brian Lumley
6 / Crypt of Cthulhu

THE
THIRD CRYPTICAL
BOOK OF HSAN
For the Old Ones were born of the primal fire
which later gave birth to the stars, and with that
fire They have burned down the ages.

And because man burns with the same fire,


but dimly through smothering ashes, he is drawn
to the fire that burns brightly in Them, even as the
moth is drawn to the flame.

And as the flame consumes the moth, so the


greater fire consumes the lesser and burns the
brighter thereby.

But the ecstasy the moth knows in the instant


of its immolation, who can tell?

- - Gary Myers
St. John's Eve 1984 / 7

THE NECRONOMICON
CONCERNING THEM FROM OUTSIDE

Book II, Chapters VI and a portion of VII

The John Dee Translation


as edited and modernized by

Lin Carter

VI. CONCERNING THEM FROM OUTSIDE


Now as have said unto thee, the
I into this Universe, and made of it
Old Ones bestow great and potent Their empire and dominion.
powers upon those of men that please Now, few They were in number
Them; and these dread and awful at the time of Their coming-hence
Entities be neither gods nor demons, into this Universe; but as They had
but are beyond all limitations of Good good cause to fear that They should
or Evil even as They dwell beyond even be pursued hither by the Elder
all boundaries of time or space; They Gods, They did spawn exceeding vile
are immortal and eternal and undy- and potent Beings to swell Their
ing, and They abide from everlasting ranks and to strengthen Their might.
to everlasting, for They are not com- Such of these, the latter-born, was
posed of Matter as we know it, and even Great Cthulhu, Him who was
neither are Theyin Their origins spawned by Yog-Sothoth upon shad-
true inhabitants of this Universe at owy Vhoorl deep in the twenty- third
all, but in the Beginning were native nebula; and Who in turn, upon remote
to another. There it was that They and ultratelluric Xoth, the dim green
were brought into being by the Elder double sun that gleameth like a dae-
Gods to be the servants and the thralls monic eye in the blackne s ses beyond
thereof; but the Elder Gods wrought Abbith, mated with Idh-yaa to the
better than They knew, and in the Begetting of His Spawn, Ghatanothoa,
fullness of time did They wax ex- and ythogtha,and Zoth-Ommog, and
ceeding great in Their Power, and One Other, concerning Whom I do
wise and subtle and crafty in Their not care to speak. And many another
Thought. And in the time that fol- did they beget: and, it is whispered,
lowed, it came to pass that They that the last and latter-born of Them
rose up in rebellion against Those All was even Vulthoom, Who now re-
that had made Them, who were even sideth upon the World of the Twin
the Elder Gods, and They fled forth Moons.
from that region of existence, or And many there were Who chose
dimension of space, or plane of be- to make Their empery upon the sev-
ing, wherein had They been cre- eral stars and worlds of this Uni-
ated by Their erstwhile Masters; verse, but many Others that came
and They came hither and entered hither and descended upon this Earth,
8 / Crypt of Cthulhu

which some say had once, untold ing to everlasting, came hither in
aeons of time before, been even a Their wrath and followed into this
part of that Place wherein had They Universe Those that had been Their
formerly dwelt under the dominion Servants; and They paused upon that
of the Elder Gods. And, lo the El- ! sphere They called Glyu-Vho, which
der Gods waxed exceeding wroth to is of the stars of space, wherefrom
be thus deserted and deceived by to reconnoitre; and They beheld to
Their Slaves and They vowed to pur-
;
Their Rage that the Rebellious Ones
sue Their rebellious Thralls into were arrayed against Them as if for
whatsoever region of existence They war; wherefore did They rise up in
had fled, and there should They fall full wrath, and They chose One of
upon the Old Ones and seize and bind Them to be the leader of Their host;
Them with mighty spells, and cast and He bade Them to assume an aw-«
Them into everlasting prisonment. ful Shape, even the likeness of Towers
Who had durst defy Their Creators. of Flame, that in such form They
And thus it came to pass that the should fall upon the Earth to punish
Elder Gods, abandoning the Universe Those that had transgressed against
which They had ruled from everlast- Their Creators.

VII. THE PUNISHMENT OF THE OLD ONES


And it be known by the
came to and cast down, and chained in the
Elder Gods that He that had un- adamantine fetters of the Elder Sign.
wisely and rashly counselled His And whether This One was Lord
Brethren to stand fast and to oppose Kthanid, which name the Scribe ren-
with all Their Might the coming- dereth as The Veiled Eminence, or
hence of the Elder Gods, was even some Other, such as hoary Nodens,
one Cthulhu. Aye, and it was so, the Lord of the Great Abyss, or even
true and veritably: for Great Cthu- Vorvadoss the Shining Hunter, none
lhu, Who had by this epoch of time there be can say for certain.
firmly established His dominions And so They descended upon the
over allof the seas andoceansof the Earth in all Their Might and Majesty,
Earth, and over all that dwelt therein, and They smote down the Old Ones,
had urged His Brethren that They and brake Their Power, and scat-
flee no further from the wrath of the tered Them afar, and chained Them
Elder Gods, but take a stand and fast on distant worlds and stars, or
match Their Might against Them in the black, unwholesome chasms
from Glyu-Vho, for in that conflict of the Deep; and against these bonds
mayhap Old Ones should bear
the the Old in all Their im-
Ones raged
away the triumph. When this was potence, but could not burst them
known. Him of the Elder Gods that asunder. Nor did the Veiled Emi-
had the commanding of the Host nence forget His oath to whelm and
thereof, and to Whom was assigned fetter Cthulhu, for They came to-
the punishing of the Rebels, sware gether face to face, these two, and
Him a mighty oath that Cthulhu in They did battle, and it was Lord
especial should be whelmed utterly. Kthanid bore away the victory . . .
-

St. John's Eve 1984 / 9

THE BOOK OF El BON


THE UNBEGOTTEN SOURCE
First translated by Clark Ashton Smith; new recension
by Lin Carter

NOTE: The third part of the Book arisen from her teeming fens, or
of Eibon is entitled "Papyrus of descended upon her from beyond the
the Dark Wisdom," and
consists of stars, andeach has reigned over the
a treatise of considerable length on
primordial Earth in its turn. But in
theogony (or, perhaps, "demonolo- the flux of unmeasurable ages each
gy'would be the mot juste
'

It di s
) . has gone down at length into the dust,
cusses the hidden origins of the and strange and terrible are the leg-
Earth, the creation of the first of ends whispered of their doom. In
the Old Ones, the cause of their re- truth, it has been writ that many are
bellion against the Elder Gods, the the newly-founded cities whose foun-
war between the two groups of di- dations are reared upon the sundered
vinities, the flight into this dimen- shards of forgotten cities crumbled
sion of space /time by the Old Ones, into dust, and by the world forgot.
and so on--a capsule his tory of the Of all Earth-dwellers, none is
Elder World, no less. more ancient than that frightful
That Clark Ashton Smith had in- abomination whose enigma is mer-
tended to translate this section, in cifully hidden from the knowledge of
whole or in par t, from the XIII Cen- men behind the name of Ubbo-Sathla,
tury Norman-French of Gaspard du as a ghastly visage may hide its lin-
Nord, seems evident from his in- eaments behind a mask. It is said
clusion of the title "Papyrus of the that the Unbegotten One lay wallow-
Dark Wisdom" among a list of fu- ing in the bubbling slime of Its lair
ture literary projects. That he did from the Beginning, as It shall wal-
not do so is regrettable, but he did low at the End, and that Ubbo-Sathla
render one passage, consisting of is destined to be the last of all living
seventy- six words in his slightly things upon this Earth as It was the
abridged ve r sion, and incorporated first; for Ubbo-Sathla is both the
it in his story "Ubbo-Sathla.
" (The source and the end. Before the com-
passage which he eliminated, by ing of Tsathoggua or Yog-Sothoth or
the way, is marked in that story by Cthulhu from the stars, Ubbo-Sathla
ellipses. ) dwelt in the steaming fens of the
My work in translating Book III new-made Earth: a mass without
of the Eibonic text is, as yet, un- head or members, spawning the gray
finished. But here is the first formless efts of the prime, and the
chapter. --Lin Carter grisly prototypes of terrene life.
And though there be many of Its
I. The Unbegotten Source spawn that leagued with the Begotten
of Azathothin thatwar the idiot Chaos
Unthinkably more ancient is this raised against the Elder Gods, Ubbo-
Earth than we dare to dream, and Sathla knoweth naught of contention
innumerable are the marvels and the nor of change, nor even of Time it-
mysteries of her shadowy and for- self, being changeless and eternal.
gotten prime. Race upon race has From the very Beginning, Ubbo-
10 / Crypt of Cthulhu

Sathla abides in the teeming slime first of the Old Ones able to flee
pits of gray-litten Y 'qaa, ceaselessly from the wrath of the Gods, and, en-
casting-forth the mewling prototypes tering this Universe, traverse its
of all earthly life. And all earthly starry abyss so that they mightagain
life, it is told, shall go back at last join forces with Ubbo-Sathla; but the
through the great cycle of time to Gods pursued Their rebellious ser-
Ubbo- Sathla. vants and defeated them at length, in
Now, upon remote and terribly- that conflict whereof Iwill hereafter
guarded Celaeno lie hidden those speak. Yet this is the reason why
glyph-engraved tablets of star- the Old Ones, although scattered afar
quarried stone which the Azathoth- and prisoned in far places by the
spawn rashly thieved from the cita- Gods, have for ages sought, as they
del of the Elder Gods, which was the seek to this day, the conquest anS
fir st of their acts of rebellion against dominion of the Earth, for within
Those thathad created their progeni- its depths Ubbo-Sathla guardeth the
tor; yet even those immemorial Elder Keys, whereby even the Gods
Records contain little concerning the may be whelmed and trodden down.
source and creation of Ubbo-Sathla. Thus it was that even in the dim,
But as concerns the secret origin of forgotten aeon of the Dawn, it is said
this Earth they preserve a dreadful Ubbo-Sathla writhed in hideous and
secret, that untold vingtillions of unceasing fecundity in gray-litten
aeons ago, 'twas Ubbo-Sathla, very Y'qaa, forever guarding the Elder
twin to Azathoth, and with Its brother Keys. And there have been those of
Chaos very first of all the Old Ones humankind who have betimes unwise-
whom the Gods shaped from nothing- ly and imprudently sought to pene-
ness by concentration of Will alone, trate into the fastnesses of Its abode,
who wrested this planet from its which lies beneath Mount Voormith-
coign. adreth in the central provinces of
It is written that among the Rec- Hyperborea, to steal from Ubbo-
ords stolen from the Gods were cer- Sathla even that which It once stole
tain tablets of ultratelluric stone from the Gods.
which, even unto this very hour, doth Of one such, the antehuman sor-
Ubbo-Sathla preserve and guard in cerer Haon-Dor, I have aforetime
the depths of Y'qaa, and for the theft writ; this mage formerly dwelt in
thereof was Ubbo-Sathla bereft of wit dim boreal kingdoms whose very
and reason, when the Gods rose up names have been forgot, and rashly
in Their wrath. It is said that these did the ill-advised Haon-Dor make
tablets are none-other than the Elder his descent into the abyss of Y'qaa,
Keys, and that they are graven with where the mindless Demiurge lay
the secrets of the power of the Gods vast and swollen amidst the rolling
Themselves, and that by the use and miasmic slime, and from one
merely of a single Key was Ubbo- horrific glimpse of That which he
Sathla able to cause this Earth to fall sought, recoiled shuddering. And
into our Universe far from that un- he abides yet beneath Voormithad-
thinkably alien plane beyond the cos- reth, as doth Ubbo-Sathla, and shuns
mos of matter and of time, where the companionship of men and the
the Elder Gods reign and rule forev- mockery of the light of day.
er. And the secret of this power But now I would speak of the nine
had the Unbegotten One imparted to ultratelluric races that have infested
Its brother Chaos, whereby were the this Earth from the prime, and the
St. John's Eve 1984 /II

first to come voyaging thither were why were theElder Keys hidden in
the star-headed crinoid things we the gulf of Y'qaa? Perhaps because
call the Polar Ones for that they they were the most precious of all
reared their monolithic cities in re- the thieved Elder Records, and the
gions contiguous to the austral pole. Azathoth- spawn sought a well-con-
cealed place in which to hide them?
Translator's Comment :
And another question: if Ubbo-
Sathla is "bereft of reason and of wit"
At first glance, at least, there (that is, the senses), how could the
seem to be certain puzzling contra- entity have made use of the power of
dictions in the text, one of which can the Keys to remove this planet from
easily be resolved. This is, Eibon the universe of the Gods, or possibly
clearly names Ubbo-Sathla as "the have "imparted" the secret of inter-
Unbegotten Source," but a ways fur- dimensional travel to Azathoth and
ther on explains that the Elder Gods the others? Frankly, it makes no
created the two brothers, Ubbo- sense to me !

Sathla and Azathoth by sheer will- Keep in mind that the text of
power, concentrated thought-waves, Eibon, originally written in the
perhaps. But this apparent incon- Tsath-yo language of Hyperborea,
sistency is merely a matter of vo- went through numerous translations
cabulary: "begotten" and "created" into emerging tongues- -the Kishite
do not at all have the same meaning. Recension, made shortly after the
The actual meaning of the word "be- doom of Sarnath, the Punic version,
gotten" is "fathered," and to be cre- the lost Latin translation by Phillipus
ated out of nothingness is not the Faber, the Graeco-Bactrian, and,
same as being fathered. finally, du Nord's own Norman-
A more curious and baffling in- French. As with any ancient text
ternal contradiction is that in one rendered from language into lan-
place Eibon states that from the be- guage something gets lost in the
ginning (i. e. from the moment of
, translation, or elided, or omitted.
being, created), Ubbo-Sathla was a I suspect the text of Eibon as we
witless and mindless thing, while in now have it is to one degree or an-
another passage he tells us that the other corrupt and filled with omis-
Elder Gods destroyed Its intelligence sions or scribal errors.
--the powers of rational thought- --Lin Carter
for Its part in the acts of rebellion.
This may have been a careless slip
by du Nord, or even a scribal error
in the Graeco-Bactrian text he was
working from; or, just possibly,
Eibon was hinting at some enigma
concerning Ubbo-Sathla which, for
whatever reason, he did not wish to
discuss.
Another element in the text which
rather baffles me is the precise role
played by Ubbo-Sathla in the rebel-
lion. If It "knows naught" of conten-
tion, then It obviously played no part
in the rebellion. If that is so, then
12 / Crypt of Cthulhu

CONFESSIONS OF THE
MAD MONK CLITHANUS
THE INCANTATION OF THE ELDER SIGN
By August Derleth and Mark Schorer; missing text restored by Lin Carter

NOTE; In their story, "The Horror five points of which marking the di-
from the Depths, " first published rections of the earth* and the secrej:
in 1940 under anothe r title Derleth , place beyond the earth from which
and Schorer quoted briefly from the the Things of Evil had first come:
Confessions of Clithanus. I have the holy ones meanwhile whispering
recently found a copy of this ob- the secret words, the words known
scure book in the library of the only to them, translated by them into
Union Theological Seminary in this language from the ancient gib-
Manhattan, and looked up the pas- berings in which the Elder Gods had
sage. I discovered that they omitted given them the potent words, which
forty- seven words (probably for are as follows: Things walking in
story-reasons), and that in three the darkness. Things notof this earth.
places a word was mistranslated. Things belonging to the damned hosts
The opening line, which they omit, of Evil, get you down into the name-
reveals, most interestingly, that less kingdoms under the seas. Get
the entire passage is not only bor- you down and remain, by the power
rowed from the Necronomicon of the five-pointed stars, blessed
(from which Clithanus frequently and sacred, made potent by the pow-
quotes), but seems to be nothing er of the Elder Gods who loathe the
less than the ritual incantation by evil you work in all existence.
which the powers of the Elder Sign O Elder Gods, from your impen-
may be evoked. etrable fastnesses, look down and
I here give the relevant passage confirm, extend your power once
in full, having corrected the mis- more. Go down, you Evil Ones, and
translated words. r emain forever in eternal darkness.
- - Lin Carter Hosts of mad Cthulhu, spawn of un-
speakable Hastur, loathsome brood
xxix. The Incantation of the of Yog-Sothoth, get you down into
Elder Sign everlasting sleep.
Never again may you rise on the
And as Alhazred has written, the fair earth. Go, in the name of the
Evil Ones may only be driven back Elder Gods, you Old Ones, whom
and held down by the power of the once you sought to displace. Go now,
blessed stars laid out over the water and the power of the five-pointed star
in the form of one great star, the shall forever hold you below the sur-
face of the earth, and in the hidden
and lost sea- kingdoms of the vast
* The four cardinal directions? --LC unknown
m

St. John's Eve 1984 / 13

As it was of old, so shall it ever chanting this incantation aloud, it oc-


be, for the Elder Gods rule forever, curs to me that what we might actu-
and here we evoke their power ally have here is the spell by which
against all that is evil. the star-stones are energized- -that
is,rendered potent, or blessed, or
Translator's Comments: charged with power.
A parenthetical note: glancing
While I have not yet found this in- through the Confessions I could not
,

cantation in the Necronomicon, that help noticing that the Mad Monk
may be because the last few books characteristically uses the term "the
intowhich the Alhazredic text was Evil Ones" when referring to the be-
divided (probably by its Greek trans- ings more commonly called "the Old
lator) consist of spells, formulae, Ones. " I wonder if this could per-
liturgies, ceremonials, recipes, in haps be where Derleth picked up the
which I have little or no interest. term, which his later, and wider,
This ritual will probably be found in reading in the forbidden books caused
that place. him to abandon the first usage in fa-
Clithanus himself calls this an vor of the later, more common one?
"invocation, " while it reads more I'd like to thank a friend of mine,
like an exhortation, a prayer, or a reclusive scholar who lives in Lan-
even an exorcism. Since we know caster County, Pennsylvania, in a
that on many occasions the star- town aptly called Tophet, for his
stones from Mnar have been used help in translating this rite anew
successfully by men against the from the rather barbarous Medieval
Great Old Ones and their minions Latin of Clithanus.
without the necessity of reading or --Lin Carter
14 / Crypt of Cthulhu

The Necronomicon
THE ORIGIN OF A SPOOF
By Colin Wilson

Ever since the publication of The seemed to have the idea that all they
Necronomicon in 1978, I have been had to do was to imitate the basic
receiving letters from readers who Lovecraft formula. And this formu-
take it perfectly seriously, and who la, as we all know, is deceptively
want further details about its magi- straightforward. The writer ex-
cal procedures. I suppose that is a plains that he is cringing in a garret
kind of compliment to its spurious in Arkham- -or Innsmouth- -commit-
air of authenticity. An even greater ting his awful story to paper by the
compliment was an indignant article light of a guttering candle. Sixmonths
by Gerald Suster, himself a serious ago, in the library of Miska tonic Uni-
student of magic, in a London "un- versity, he came across an ancient
derground" newspaper, denouncing manuscript written inmediaeval Ger-
the book as a cynical piece of com- man. He ignored the advice of
. . .

mercial opportunism. The fact that the doddery old librarian, and pro-
he found it necessary to denounce ceeded to practise its magic spells
such an obvious spoof indicates that in the hills behind Arkham. Even
we succeeded beyond my original the violent death of the old librarian
expectations failed to deflect him from his fool-
In fact, anyone with the slightest ishness. And now, too late, he real-
knowledge of Latin will instantly ises that he has unleashed the Thing
recognise it for a fake --it is sub- on the inhabitants of Massachusetts.
titled "The book of dead names"-- . . Even as he writes, he can hear
.

when the word "necronomicon" ac- an ominous creaking on the stairs,


tually means the book of dead laws. as if an oversized elephant is trying
The editor of Crypt of Cthulhu , to tiptoe on its hind feet. But . . .

Robert Price, has asked me to ex- even as the door creaks open, he
plain how the book came about, and continues to write: "I can hear its
I do so willingly. hoarse breathing, and smeli its
In 1976, I was approached by an loathsome graveyard stench. . . .

old friend from my Soho days, George Aaaarg ! . . . .


"

Hay, who was at one time a leading One of the chief contributors was
disciple of L. Ron Hubbard. He had a brilliant young computer expert,
been asked by the publisher Neville David Langford, who worked at an
Armstrong— who runs Neville Spear- atomic energy establishment (and
man Limited- -to edit a spoof volume who has since written some excel-
about the Necronomicon He asked
. lent science fiction). He had the
me if I would be willing to contribute amusing idea of producing a lengthy
an introduction. My first response computer analysis that was supposed
was one of suspicion. No writer to prove the real existence of the
wants to have his name associated Necronomicon. And, in the usual
with a bad joke. So I asked to see way, the experts who worked on it
the material he had collected. were found slumped over their com-
It was awful. The writers all puters, their heads crushed to a
St. John's Eve 1984 / 15

horrible pulp, while strange reptilian Madame Blavatsky and Rudolf Stein-
footprints walked across the room, er. But as 1 wrote The Occult it ,
and vanished out of the open window. slowly became clear to me that tra-
Most of the other stories followed ditions about magic and "the spirit
roughly the same line. world" have an extraordinary simi-
Now I had myself been responsible larity in all ages and all continents.
for a certain amount of Lovecraftian It was astonishing to discover, for
fiction--! will not go so far as to call example, that Eskimo shamans held
it parody--and could see instantly
almost precisely the same belief as
what was wrong. Lovecraft himself the shamans of Siberia, those of
enjoyed playing the scholarly game, Northern Japan, and of African witch
dragging in his references to the mad doctors and Red Indian medicine
Arab Abdul El Hazzredor the insane men. Even so. The Occult was ba-
German scholar Von Junzt. In my sically "sceptical" in outlook--for
few ventures into the genre (The Mind example, 1 took it for granted that
Parasites The Philosopher s Stone
, '
,'

the kind of powers possessed by


"The Return of the Lloigor"), 1 had witches are basically nonharmful,
attempted to go one stage further, and that the mediaeval witch perse-
and make the various references cutions were based upon the hysteria
sound still more authentic, drag- of the inquisitors. It was some years
ging in chunks of archaeology, an-
later that it struck me that 1 had ac-
thropology, and demonological magi-
cepted without question certain ac-
cal lore. It is a very easy game to
counts of the magical power of Afri-
play if you happen to have a turn in
can witch doctors (for example, to
that direction.
cause rain), yet had rejected com-
So obviously, the first thing to do pletely the notion that the North Ber-
was to find someone who really knew
wick witches could have caused the
something aboutmagic, and persuade storm which almost drowned James
him to concoct a book that could have VI of Scotland- -and 1 held be-
to this
been a perfectly genuine magical lief in spite of the fact that the witches
manuscript. 1 turned to my friend had confessed to the attempt to sink
Robert Turner, a one-time member the ship without being tortured.
of a Gerald Gardner witchcraft cov-
Later still, when writing a his-
en and the head of a contemporary tory of poltergeist phenomena, 1
magical order. slowly came to accept the view of
Before 1 go any further, let me Guy Playfair, that poltergeists are,
explain that, unlike Lovecraft, 1 am in fact, "spirits" and not some un-
by no means a sceptic about "the conscious power of the human mind
supernatural. " 1 was always con- --even though, by that time, 1 had
vinced, for example, that poltergeist discovered in the new science of
phenomena really occur, although 1 split-brain physiology a possible ex-
was inclined to believe that these planation of the origin of the forces
are due to some unknown power of that can cause objects to fly around
the unconscious mind. When, in the
the room without anyone touching
mid-1960s, 1 was commissioned by them.
Random House to write a book about Now the problem of concocting a
"the occult," 1 decided to accept be- spoof Necronomicon was simply that
cause the idea sounded amusing, and Lovecraft himself remained a scep-
because 1 had always been interested tic to the end of his life. If he had
in the lunatic fringe of cosmology- been a genuine student of magic- -or
from Hoerbiger and Velikovsky to even of spiritualism- -it might have
16 / Crypt of Cthulhu

been possible to concocta story about enough material to go on. I turned


a genuine magical work which he used to another friend, Dominic Purcell,
as the basis of his fiction. The real a professor of economics at the Uni-
problem, therefore, was to explain versity of Vienna. Dominic wrote
how a man who was known to be a the "Hintersoisser letter. " From
sceptic could possibly have made use then on, it was plain sailing. The
of a genuine magical grimoire. Still, Necronomicon was actually identi-
the problem presented no real diffi- fied as a magical compilation by a
culty to the author of a dozen or so number of Arabs, including the cele-
novels --since a novelist is, by pro- bratedalchemist Alkindi. The manu-
fession, an ingenious liar. The an- script was tracked down in the Brit-
swer, I decided, lay in Lovecraft's ish Museum, and the magical code
father, Winfield Lovecraft, who died was solved with the aid of a computer,
of syphilis when Howard was a child, (this is where David Langford came
and about whom very little is known. in--and it was necessary for him to
1 claimed to have come upon evidence scrap his original essay and write
that Winfield Lovecraft was a Free- a new one based on material provided
mason- -which, in America towards by Robert Turner). My friend L.
the end of the 19th century, was com- Sprague de Camp --the author of the
monplace enough. But I went on to standard biography of Lovecraft-
claim that Winfield Lovecraft had was persuaded to writea short essay
drifted into Egyptian Freemasonry, about the young Lovecraft- -making
founded by the "magician" Cagliostro no mention of the Hinterstoisser
and that the Egyptian Freemasons theory, but giving the volume that
studied various ancient volumes on additional touch of authenticity. A
transcendental magic, such as the couple of the original essays on
Key of Solomon and the Sacred Magic Lovecraft were thrown in for good
of Abra-Melin the Mage Next, I
. measure, and the thing was finally
invented a German scholar named completed.
Stanislaus Hinterstoisser, the found- I should mention that Gerald Sus-
er of the Salzburg Institute for the ter's accusations about commercial
Study of Magic and Occult Phenom- opportunism were wide of the mark
ena. It was Hinterstoisser who had - -I doubt whether the book has
made
insisted that The Necronomicon was most of its contributors more than
a real book and that it had been be- about LI 00 each. But it gave its
queathed by Cagliostro to his fol- compilers a great deal of harmless
lowers. pleasure. And I am fairly sure that
Now it was a fairly straightfor- Lovecraft would have accepted it as
ward matter of persuading some a compliment.
scholar to impersonate Hinterstois-
ser, and to write me a letter explain-
ing how he had succeeded in track-
ing down the original Necronomicon AD RATES
which was translated in 1571 by Dr. Full page (6 3/8" x 9 3/4") $25
Half page (6 3/8" x 4 7/8"
John Dee, the English magician. It or 3" X 9 3/4") $13
required a scholar who spoke fluent Quarter page (3 3/8" x 2 3/8"
or 3" X 4 7/8")
German, and I approached my friend $7

Ellic Howe, the author of a classic Please do not exceed exact dimen-
sions. Camera ready copy. (And
study of the Order of the Golden don't make it look too amateurish. )
Dawn. But Ellic felt that he had not
St. John's Eve 1984 / 17

Preface to The Necronomicon


By L. Sprague deCamp

(Fourteen years ago, Alan Nourse and I were in Iraq on


our way to India. We spent three days in Baghdad, seeing
the city and visiting the ruins of Babylon and the Parthian
palace at Cte siphon.
Six years later, when George Scithers published A1 Azif
(
The Necronomicon by "Abdul Alhazred," I concocted a fan-
)

ciful account of my doings in Baghdad on January 2, 1967.


The Necronomicon was a sinister unwritten volume of magi-
cal spells invented by H. P. Lovecraft for his fantasy sto-
ries in Weird Tales The work, he said, was written in the
.

eighth century by a mad Arabian poet, who suffered the spec-


tacular fate of being devoured by an invisible entity before
terrified witnesses.
Lovecraft's scholarly use of this fictitious volume con-
vinced many that the book existed, and innumerable people
have plagued librarians and booksellers for copies. Having
decided that, if the Necronomicon did not exist, it should,
George Scithers hired an artist to decorate blank pages with
a series of squiggles vaguely resembling Arabic and Syriac
writing.
I composed the preface, telling how the Iraqis sold me
the manuscript after three of their savants had tried to
translate it and disappeared under strange and sinister
circumstances. George's edition, comprising 348 copies,
promptly sold out.
I hope you get a chuckle out of this introduction- -but 1

also trust that you will not take it seriously. 1 may wish to
go back to Iraq some day, and I do not want this little hoax
to complicate my visit. )

Duria* is a village in northern Akkadian or As syro- Babylonian. The


Iraq, on the borders of the Kurdish- traditional written form of the lan-
speaking part of the country. Other- guage, of which this book provides
wise much like hundreds of other an example, was developed in the
Iraqi villages, made of mud huts of fourth century of the Christian Era
the same sad beige or dun color, it by Assyrian Christian priests and
is noteworthy in being the last place missionaries.
to speak Duriac. This is the only As with other Semitic tongues,
living tongue de scended from ancient this is a very compact script, ignor-
ing unstressed vowels and combining
two or three characters into one.
*Also spelled Douria, Douriyya, fee. This fact makes translation difficuit.
18 / Crypt of Cthulhu

Like the related Hebrew, Arabic, and throughout the Islamic world, my
Syrian languages, Duriac is written friend was a mine of gossip. On this
from right to left. occasion, he told me what he had
When, in 1967, Alan Nourse and I heard about my codex.
were on our way to India (my own The sale, it transpired, had been
purpose being to gather material for authorized on a high level of the
my book Great Cities of the Ancient Directorate General. Written on
World) we tarried several days in parchment in the little-known Duriac
Baghdad to visit the ruins of Babylon script, this manuscript had beenun-
and Cte siphon. While shopping for earthed by a clandestine digger in
antiques to take home, I was ap- the tombs of Duria but had by devi-
proached by a member of the Iraqi ous routes come into the hands of the
Directorate General of Antiquities, Directorate General of Antiquities.*
with whom I had had correspondence One of Iraq's foremost archaeolo-
about photographs of archaeological gists, the internationally respected
sites. This man said hehadamanu- Ja'afar Babili, was assigned the task
script to sell. This was a strange of translating the book into modern
proposal from such a source, since Arabic. This official had scarcely
the Iraqi government tries by severe begun when he jubilantly announced
penalties to suppress unauthorized that it was a complete- -or nearly
export of archaeological materials, complete- -copy of Alhazred's cele-
and most employees of this depart- brated Necronomicon or Kitab Al-
,

ment are conscientious in the dis- Azif to give it its original title.* The
charge of their duties. original Arabic versionhas not been
I inquired into this matter but met seen for many centuries, albeit ru-
only polite evasion. Here, my con- mors of its existence continue to
tact said, was an interesting curi- circulate in esoteric circles. **
osum for which the department had From study of the script, Babili
no use; did I want it or not? Since concluded that this translation ante-
the price seemed reasonable and the dates A. D. 760 The traditional date
.

codex, if it proved worthless, would


at least make an amusing coffeetable
ornament, I bought it, packed it, and *The name "Abdul Alhazred" is a
thought no more about it until I passed corruption of a lost original, which
through Beyrut on my way home. passed through several languages
I have several friends in Beyrut. before it reached its present form.
One of these is a successful tourist Philetas spelled it Ap./3St;\ A\x“?P'')<'8

guide whose name, for obvious rea- . .Its original form may have
.

sons, I prefer not to give. When been Abdallah Zahr-ad-Din, or Ser-


this man learned that I was in Leb- vant-of-God Flower-of-the-Faith.
anon, he looked me up and spent an
evening with me. My friend, I may **For existing editions of the Nec-
say, takes a more objective, com- ronomicon, see H. P. Lovecraft:
monsensical view of the Israeli- Arab "History and Chronology of the Nec -
conflict than is general in the Arab ronomicon ," Oakman; Rebel Press,
countries. This time, he felt that 1936; in Beyond the Wall of Sleep ,

his old friendship withme outweighed Sauk City: Arkham House, 1943; and
any duty he might have felt towards inMarkOwings: The Necronomicon;
the Arab cause. A Study, Baltimore: Mirage Press,
By virtue of his many connections 1967.
St. John's Eve 1984 / 19

of the composition of the original is brokenthe secret of the pre-Sumer-


A. D. 738, which provides a terminus ianRawson tablets from Ur and thus
a quo .Babili also pointed out that, cast light on the dark places of pre-
whereas the script is skillfully exe- Sumerian Mesopotamian history.
cuted throughout most of the work, Professor Abdalmajid had been
its quality markedly deteriorates on at work for three days when he, too,
the last eight pages, as if the scribe disappeared. He lived alone in a
were working in haste or under se- small house on the outskirts of Bagh-
vere pressure. It has not yet been dad, in the Kadhmiyya District.
established whether the Duriac ver- Hence his absence was not noted for
sion include s all of the original Ara- several days. When, however, he
bic text, or whether, instead, the failed to appear for several of his
scribe condensed, abridged, or ab- classes, the police were called in.
stracted the concluding portions of In Abdalmajid' s study were found
the Arabic text. spatters of blood on floor, walls, and
Babili went on with his translation ceiling, but of the missing professor
until, a few weeks later, he disap- no other trace was found.
peared. No trace of him was ever Although there is doubtless a ra-
found; neither was any plausible rea- tional explanation for these disap-
son for his vanishment ever adduced. pearances, they nevertheless display
He was a sober, hard-working, con- a disturbing similarity to the legend-
s cientious official and a devoted fam- ary fate of Alhazred himself. This
ily man; nonetheless, he was gone. eccentric literary man is reported
Babili' s subordinate Ahmad ibn-
, to have been devoured alive by an in-
Yahya, was provisionally promoted visible monster before scores of
to his chief's place. He, too, pro- terrified witnesses.
ceeded with the translation of the With three disappearances in a
Ne cronomicon Ibn-Yahya was a
. row, the Directorate General took
bachelor of more free-living habits thought before entrusting the manu-
than his predecessor; still, nobody script to anyone else. Despite its
had ever accused him of lack of de- revenues from petroleum, Iraq is
votion to his profession. After two far from being an advanced country
weeks, ibn-Yahya' s landlady reported and could not afford such a drain
that she had heard screams from the upon its limited scholarly personnel.
modest apartment that he occupied At this time, the Directorate was
on the Musa al-Kadhim. Entering under the domination of Dr. Mah-
the apartment with her pass key, she moud ash-Shammari, a devoted-
found the rooms empty. No more not to say violent- -nationalist. Ten-
was heard from Alimad ibn-Yahya. sion was rising between the Arab
The next Iraqi scholar to under- states and Israel.
take the translation was Prof. Yuni Asa result of what Arabs deemed
Abdalmajid of the University of Bagh- one-sided support of Israel, the
dad. He began the task when other United States was unpopular in Iraqi
members of the Directorate General political circles, and Doctor ash-
of Antiquities hesitated to continue Shammari was one of the most ex-
the workof their vanished predece s treme anti-Americans. His plan
sors. Professor Abdalmajid was was to smuggle the manuscript into
considered a little eccentric by his American hands. Then, if the com-
colleagues, who nevertheless ac- ing Six-Day War—which he foresaw—
knowledged his brilliance. He had took the course that in fact it did.
ZO / Crypt of Cthulhu

the manuscript should be left in prepared to draw logical inferences


America, to wreak its woe upon from the evidence, even though they
American scholars. Doctor ash- contradict his long-held beliefs. Let
Shammari considered any harm done us assume that this book is in truth
to individual Americans as but a just the N e c r onomi con and that it is in-
requital for what he viewed as Amer- deed possible, by reciting the spells
ica's crimes against the Arabs. If herein, to invoke entities from Out-
the American government improb- side. On this assumption, a possi-
ably changed its policies to favor the ble answer to the disappearances of
Arabs, the Iraqis could pass a word the Iraqi scholars is that, in making
of warning to their American col- their translations, they unconscious-
leagues and thus save them from the ly subvocalized the passages as they
fate of Doctors Babili, ibn-Yahya, wrote them. Hence the spells took,
and Abdalmajid. effect and the spooks appeared, as
Thus I learned of the true nature if they had been pur pose fully invoked.
of my purchase. My friend advised But, since these scholars lacked the
me to destroy the book, but I scoffed arcane knowledge required to keep
at his fears. After all, I have been these beings under control, the en-
known for decades as an uncompro- tities destroyed the unwitting sor-
mising rationalist and materialist, cerers.
with no belief whatever in gods, So if any reader be so rash as to
ghosts, demons, or other spooks. I undertake the translation anew, let
was familiar with the allusions to me urge that he have a care not to
the Necronomicon in the stories of move his lips or mutter as he does
H. P. Lovecraft but was notprepared so. We have all, I am sure, been
to admit the reality of his Ancient annoyed in libraries by people who
Ones or other supernatural entities. mumble as they read; but never be-
In fact, I long disbelieved in the ex- fore has this petty offense been pun-
istence, even, of Alhazred and his ished by the fates that befell Doctors
portentous Necronomicon . Babili, ibn-Yahya, and Abdalmajid.
Still, I left Beyrut with the sen-
sation of traveling with a ticking L. Sprague deCamp
package in my gear. Back home, I S. S. France, on the high seas
have pondered what to do with my March 11, 1973
sinister little codex. I could not
translate it myself, for I am no
learned Semiticist; it is all I can do This article first appeared in its
to manage a few sentences of tour- present form, with the parenthetical
ist'sArabic. I finally decided to let introduction, in 1981. It appears
my colleagues publish the facsimile here by permission of the author.
of the original manuscript, which
you have in your hands. Then, if
somebody wishes to dare the fate of
Doctors Babili, ibn-Yahya, and Ab- SubsCRYPTions
dalmajid, he has been warned.
My only further suggestion is this. 8 issues for $16. 00 in USA and

While the disappearance of the Iraqi Canada, $22. 00 in other countries,


savants is probably a matter of coin- to be paid in U. S. funds.
cidence, with prosaic, mundane ex-
planations, a rational man must be
St. John's Eve 1984 / 21

The Case of Simon’s


Necronomicon
By Robert C. Carey
In considering the hideous and ab- problem of the 1973 Owlswick Press
horred Necronomicon three unfor- edition^; it is an Arabic script of
tunate possibilities present them- some kind, is allegedly only random
selves: (1) H. P. Lovecraft actu- type, is apparently a few pages re-
ally stumbled across some crum- peated frequently, and so on. Nice
bling tome of elder lore and incor- binding, though.
porated it into his work. Frankly, I The Necronomicon of the Swiss
doubt very much that anyone can artist H. R. GigerS captures certain
prove that one, although he did un- elements of primal horror. And
dertake some reading in magic, and while it consists primarily of air-
knew enough to create an air of un- brushed paintings and not worm-
speakable authenticity. (2) H. P. eaten prose, the atmosphere is
Lovecraft and his circle of friendsl there.
made it all up; it is total fiction; it 1 really enjoy the Hay/Wil son/
never existed. No doubt most sane Turner Langford / Hinter stoisser /
/
folks would be happy to leave it at DeCamp / Frayling / Carter / Stamp
that; yet there always seems to be version; essays are great.7
all of the
an inherent contradiction in Love- The grimoire itself, however, is too
craft's life between his rational much like extracts from The Lurker
mind and the truth of his dreams as At The Threshold for my tastes; while
expressed in his stories. Besides, I read and enjoy the Derlethianhere-
I seem to have the damned book right sies^ as indiscriminately as the rest
here on my shelf, so it must be real, of the Mythos, 1 am always aware
hey? Which leads us to: (3) Certain that he is not quite the "real thing."
modern occultists, most notably No Coke, Pepsi.
Kenneth Grant, ^ have suggested that This brings us up to the subject
the Necronomicon exists not in the of this article, the one we all know
material world but on the Astral and love, the Necr onomicon^ "Edited
Plane (which may or may not be with an Introduction" by Simon. No
Jung's collective unconscious), and doubt you have seen it on the best-
that certain gifted magicians and selling paperback rack of your
artists gain access to it through friendly neighborhood books tor e and
dreams and carry parts of it over into one must admit that as purported
,

the physical realm: inner becoming Necronomicons go this is the best


outer reality. Perhaps as a result attempt. Of course it claims to be
of this, people who read Lovecraft authentic, as well.
and go looking for the Necronomicon As it happens, I worked at the
can find books of various editions Warlock Shop in Brooklyn Heights
and forms bearing that title. 3 Most (two blocks from where Lovecraft
of these attempts can be dismissed lived) some years ago, at the time
fairly lightly. when its owner Herman Slater was
We will pass quickly over the working with Simon to get the Book
22 / Crypt of Cthulhu

published. I can therefore testify like the Enuma Elish (or Seven Baby-
that yes, Virginia, there is a Simon; lonian Tablets of Creation ), such as
he is a monk Eastern Orthodox
in the the "MAKLU" and "MAGAN Texts";
Church and extremely well-read in thefirst is a collection of exorcisms
the field of magick. If the Book ac- the se cond contains part of the crea-
tually needed an author, he is well tion story mingled with the Descent
suited. of the Goddess Ishtar to th e Nether
It is claimed in various places W orld The chapters "Of The Zonei
.

that an actual ancient manuscript and Their Attributes," "The Book of


was for a time in Simon's posses- Entrance, and Of the Walking, " and
sion, acquired from two monks or a "The Incantations of The Gates" de-«
wandering bishop or something, scribe a fairly straightforward sys-
written in Greek or maybe Sumerian tem of planetary magic based on en-
or something, and translated by vari- tering the Gates of the sun, moon,
ous people (now messily deceased, and the five traditional planets (Mer-
no doubt) under Simon's direction cury, Venus, Mars, Jupiter and Sat-
and now unfortunately unavailable for urn) under their Babylonian god-
study. This may or may not strain forms. In classical western magic
your credulity; Imust say thatl never there are many such forms, mostly
got to see the sucker, although I did based on medieval astrology and al-
hear about various forms of chaos chemy or on the spheres of the
disrupting their efforts from time to Qabalistic Tree of Life, rather than
tirne;!^ demonic interference, no on the seven-tiered ziggurat.
doubt. Other parts contain a stronger
Looking at the text itself, we be- mixture of Lovecraftian elements
gin with the effective and intelligent with ancient language andmyth. "The
introduction by Simon, which lays Conjuration of the Fire God, " and
out a pattern of connections between "The Conjuration of the Watcher, "
the fiction of Lovecraft, the magick "The Book of Calling" and "The Book
of Crowley, and their mutual ground- of Fifty Names, " and the "URILIA
ing in the mythology of ancient Su- Text" (R'lyeh Text? merge the twin
)

meria andmodern occultism. Indeed, strands fairly smoothly; while the


these legends of the Sumerians seem two parts of "The Testimony of the
to contain certain startling and sin- Mad Arab" are as might be expected,
,

ister parallels of language and mean- almost wholly Cthulhoid.


ing with the Cthulhu Mythos. There What is happening here is the use
are accounts of the battles of demi- of the Sumerian language for goetic
gods with darkly divine or demonic purposes, not unlike the "barbarous
entities, exorcisms of monsters and names of invocation" howled by sor-
titans, the struggle between chaos cerers of other traditions as they
and order, light and darkness. Can seek their altered states of con-
these be the archetypes that no one sciousness. The texts and gods
likes to talk about? Casting a skep- and forces of ancient Babylon, scat-
tical eye on the grimoire itself, one tered and forgotten as they were,
suspects that Lovecraftian and Su- have been unified into a coherent and
merian themes have been interwoven self-contained magical system, in
by a reasonably sophisticated hand much the same way as other contem-
at a fairly recent date. porary witches andmagicians redis-
Much of the material is simply cover and synthesize. Such people
lifted whole from Sumerian sources are more concerned with results
St. John's Eve 1984 / 23

than with cultural or ideological pu- with a few terrifying statistics.


rity. "Success is your proof. "12 He informs me that since 1977
The "Fifty Names"13 raise one there have been three editions of the
of the more
interesting questions deluxe hardcover version (about ten
here; although they may indeed be thousand copies in all) and five edi-
ancient titles of the god Marduk, tions of the Avon paperback (totaling
where did all the sigils, seals, and about seventy-eight thousand), for a
diagrams of the gates scattered grand total of eighty-eight thousand
throughout the Book come from? Necronomicons in print- -a chilling
They do resemble certain Arabic and thought, since Lovecraft himself only
Tantric figures in some ways, 14 in allowed for about seven worldwide. 17
that they tend to be square rather It continues to sell steadily, and
than circular in form, but they have there have been full-page advertise-
little incommon with similar West- ments in national magazines like
ern forms in sources like the Greater Omni and Heavy Metal . Analyzing
h Lesser Keys of Solomon and the his order list for the first few years,
Almadel 1 5 Parallels have also been
.
Simon estimates that slightly over
noticed with the ve-ves of voodoo, 16 half of the buyers are male, and that
another system that still deals with some 20-30% of the mail-orders
the dark side (instead of desperately come from various branches of the
trying to ignore it as most organized military (do you find that as sinister
religions do). Some scholars have as I do?). Simon also lectures fre-
attempted to trace voodoo back quently on the subject at Manhattan's
through Africa to its Egyptian, and The Magickal Childe (formerly the
thus eventually Sumerian, roots. In Warlock Shop) He has appeared fre-
.

any case, if there is indeed an actual quently on radio and television and
antique manuscript lurking in the will be running a weekend seminar
woodpile here, these diagrams and in June. He says he does not get an
figures may spring from it. Another incredible amount of crank mail un-
possibility is that they may be the der the circumstances.
work of L. K. Barnes, who is ac- I suppose from this that we may
knowledged in the book's dedication conclude that even if the Necronomi-
and elsewhere describedl^ as an con did not exist it would be neces-
artist of Lovecraftian orientation. sary to invent it; and that a shrouded
This is pure guesswork, however. reputation can turn into a concrete
Such things tend to emerge from reality the moment your back is
veils of mystery. turned; and if enough people believe
At anyrate, the que stion of whether in something it must be true. Wiz-
we are dealing here with a work of ards are out there performing these
fiction, an artful mingling of fact and rites, so perhaps we can't really call
fabrication, or the real thing indeed H. P. Lovecraft "fiction" anymore
is completely irrelevant to most of (an unsettling thought). "Reality" is
the people who buy this book. Many a lot like silly putty, and plenty of
have read nothing at all by Lovecraft; active cults have had stranger be-
they enter this system with utter sin- ginnings than this one. Pleasant
cerity and practice it with unabashed dreams, kids.
dedication. Simon has received many
letters and testimonials from com- FOOTNOTES
pletely satisfied customers, and he
has been kind enough to provide us ISee Lin Carter's "H. P. Love-
24 / Crypt of Cthulhu

craft: The Books" in The Shuttered Crowley, various editions.


Room Other Pieces by H. P. Love- l^See Liber AL vel Legis (The
craft & Divers Hands, ArkhamHouse, Book of the Law ), also Crowley.
1959. 13Simon has also published a Re-
^All of Kenneth Grant's books con- port on the Necronomicon 1981,
,

tain some discussion of HPL. See from Schlangekraft Inc. / Barnes


theTyphonian Trilogy, Nights ide of Graphics Inc.; this contains new in-
Eden and Outside the Circles of
, troductory material, technical ad-
Time published by Frederick Mul-
, vice and feedback on the use of the
ler Limited, London. Fifty Names and their seals.
^Consider the alternate worlds ^ '^
Oriental Magic by Idries Shah,
theory in L. Sprague deCamp and E. P. Dutton & Co. , 1973.
Fletcher Pratt's The Incomplete En - l^ Secret Lore of Magic by Idries,
chanter , various editions. Shah, Frederick Muller Ltd. 1965.,

"^
AL AZIF (The Necronomicon )
I6 ve- Ves and Secrets of Voodoo
by Abdul Alhazred, Owlswick Press, by Milo Rigaud.
1973. 1 The History and Chronology of
^H. R. Giger's Necronomicon , the Necronomicon H. P. Lovecraft;
,

Sphinx Verlag, Basel, 1977. various editions.


^See also "Excerpts from the Nec-
ronomicon" by Philippe Druillet, in
the special H. P. Lovecraft issue of
Heavy Metal October 1979.,

7 The Necronomicon, or The Book


of Dead Names ; Neville Spearman
Ltd. 1978.
,

refer, of course, to the obses-


sive duality between the Elder Gods
and the Great Old Ones (or, as some
might have it, the E. G. vs. the
G. O. O. s). I find true Lovecraft
more existential myself.
9Ne cronomicon edited by Simon;
hardcover, 1977, Schlangekraft, Inc. /
Barnes Graphics, Inc. paperback ;

editions 1980 on from Avon.


1 Oconsider the many accidents and

troubles that S. L. MacGregor


Mathers experienced in the transla-
tion of The Book of the Sacred Magic
of Abramelin the Mage , Dover, 1975;
SHUDDER STORIES
first edition 1900. These are dis- New weird menace fiction by Robert
cussed inaccounts of the
various E. Howard, Carl Jacobi, and Hugh B.
Hermetic Order of the Golden Dawn Cave. Fabian cover. $3. 00.
by Francis King, Ellic Howe, and
Ithell Colquhoun.
TWO-FISTED DETECTIVES
llSee Liber Samekh Theurgia Three unpublished detective stories
Goetia Summa (Congressus cum (plus one synopsis) by Robert E.
Daemone in the appendix of Magick
)
Howard. Fabian cover. $4. 50.
in Theory Practice by Aleister
St. John's Eve 1984 / 25

Lovecraft’s Necronomicon :

An Introduction
By Robert M. Price

There is no more famous or im- ronomicon A. D. 950 by The-,

portant book in the Cthulhu Mythos odorus Philetas.


than the Necronomicon of the mad 3. Burnt by Patriarch Michael
Arab Abdul Alhazred. It is well- A. D. 1050 (i. e. , Greek text)
known, yet there are several inter- . (Arabic text now lost).
. .

esting facts about it that escape most 4. Olaus translates Greek to Lat-
people's notice. As our title indi- in, A. D. 1228.
cates, we will limit our exposition 5. Latin and Greek editions sup-
to deal only with the Necronomicon pressed by Gregory IX, A. D.
asH. P. Lovecraft himself conceived 1232.
and developed it, leaving aside the 6. Black letter edition. Germany
elaborations of his successors and --1400?
imitators. 7. Greek text printed in Italy-
1500-1550.
The Mad Author 8. Spanish translation of Latin
of the Necronomicon text--l600? Beyond the Wall (

of Sleep p. xxix). ,

Firstwe mustaskafter the origin


of the fabled book. Appropriately, Lovecraft later "corrected" two of
it came to Eovecraft in a dream: these dates, giving 1567 as the date
"The name Necronomicon (nekros, of the Italian printing, 1623 for the
corpse; nomos, law; eikon, image = Spanish edition (letter to James Blish
An Image [or Picture] of the Law of and William Miller, Jr. May 13, ,

the Dead) occurred to me in the 1936). Another date that stood in ob-
course of a dream, although the ety- vious need of correction was that
mology is perfectly sound" ( SL V, given for Olaus Wormius Latin ver- '

p. 418, 1937). No it isn't. S. T. sion, since Olaus actually lived three


Joshi knows his Greek better than centuries later!
Lovecraft did, and on analogy with The verisimilitude created by
Manilius' As tronomicon with which
, such painstaking detail (when cor-
HPL was familiar, Joshi shows that rect! together with the various hints
)

Necronomicon would actually have about the book's "abhorrent, " "ob-
to mean simply "Concerning the jectionable, " and "mad" character,
Dead. " naturally makes the reader curious,
Lovecraft went on to write a bib- eager to gain a glimpse of the hellish
liographical history of the volume tome. But as is well-known, mere
thus created. Basically it runs thus: glimpses are all the Old Gent ever
saw fit to provide. In a letter to
1. A1 Azif written circa A. D. 730 James Blish and William Miller, Jr.,
at Damascus by Abdul Alhaz- Lovecraft disavowed the task of writ-
red. ing the infernal volume; "As for
2. Translated intoGreekas Nec- bringing the Necronomicon into ob-
26 / Crypt of Cthulhu

jective existence--! wish indeed that Mosque comes to a climax- - the dele-
I had the time and imagination to as- tion being curiously uniform in the
sist in such a project but I'm
. . . copies at Harvard & at Miskatonic
afraid its a rather large order--es- University." (SL III, pp. 218-219).
pecially since the dr eaded volume is Also compare his words Duane
to
supposed to run to something like a Rimel (February 14, 1934): "As for
thousand pages! I have 'quoted' from writing out the hellish and forbidden
pages as high as 770 or thereabouts. Necronomicon --that would be quite
Moreover, one can never produce an order, though I might manage to
anything even a tenth as terrible and produce an isolated chapter now and
impressive as one can awesomely then" (SL IV, p. 388). This is about
hint about. If anyone were to try to all he did--even less. All we have
write the Necronomicon it would , are the "unexplainable couplet" in*
disappoint all those who have shud- "The Call of Cthulhu," the long pas-
dered at cryptic references to it. " sage in "The Dunwich Horror, " the
It would, thus, have been too much shorter one in "The Festival, " and
even for Lovecraft to write a text the redaction of E. Hoffmann Price'
that would live up to all the mind- original in "Through the Gates of the
blasting P/R he had given the Nec- Silver Key. "
ronomicon Yet HPL himself had
. Incidentally, W. Paul Cook shares
already seen the solution to this a tantalizing recollection of one more
problem— simply produce an "expur- passage from the Necronomicon now ,

gated" version that would still leave lost. One night, sitting in a ceme-
a good bit to the imagination. "As tery with Cook and Donald Wandrei,
for writing the Necronomicon . . . "Howard gave us an impromptu ex-
itwould be quite a job in view of the tract from the shuddery 'Necronomi-
very diverse passages and intima- con' of the mad Arab Abdul Alhazred
tions which I have in the course of which was quite equal to any of his
time attributed toit! Imight, though, published quotations from that
issue an abridged Necronomicon- source." ("An Appreciation of H. P.
containing such parts as are consid- Lovecraft," Beyond the Wall of Sleep ,

ered at least reasonably safe for the p. 436. ) Oh to have been there!
perusal of mankind! " (to Robert E. Let'sfaceit: from our standpoint
Howard, May 7, 1932, SL IV, pp. this failure to provide even a bowd-
39-40). Or as Lovecraft put it in lerized version is really unforgiv-
the letter to Blish and Miller, "the able. We could well have traded a
less terrible chapters, which ordi- few reams of his letters for even an
nary himian beings may read without abridged Necronomicon from his
danger of laying themselves to seige pen. But alas, now the job is left to
by the Shapes from the Abyss of Aza- other hands.
thoth. "
That Lovecraft realized how well Speaking with Many Voices
thisgimmick could work is evident
from a playful statement to Clark The real problem in writing the
Ashton Smith (November 18, 1930): Necronomicon would have been the
"Abdul mentioned your ghoul, & told second one Lovecraftmentioned,
of other adventures of his [in Irem namely trying to come up with one
the City of Pillars]. But some timid book that could embrace the many
reader has torn out the pages where contradictory allusions made to it in
the Episode of the Vault under the Lovecraft's stories. For the book
St. John's Eve 1984 / 27

is evoked in many different ways, as him, and he writes solely to warn


a sort of all-purpose source for eerie readers away from it. This, surely,
atmosphere. The protean book is is the sense of the passage quoted in
sometimes an occult bible, some- "The Festival, " where Alhazred
times a demonology like the Malleus warns readers how to dispose of the
Maleficarum sometimes agrimore,
,
bodies of wizards so they will not
sometimes abook of curiosities. The return as the Kingsport folk them-
only consistency is that it is always selves have done! Yet remember
a voice of nightmare reminding the that in the same story, the undead
characters and readers alike that Kingsporters revere the book as
ancient myths are about to explode scripture! So even within one story
into daylight reality. the conception of the Necronomicon
The Necronomicon is said on oc- changes. The same inconsistency is
casion to contain prescriptions for evident in Alhazred’s references to
religious rites. Keziah Mason "in- Yog-Sothoth. Is he for him or against
toned a croaking ritual" from the him? The Alhazred quoted in "The
book in "The Dreams in the Witch Dunwich Horror" and described in
House. " Randolph Carter makes the "History of the Necronomicon"
"obeisances" the text requires be- worships Yog-Sothoth and yearns for
fore 'Umr-At-Tawil in "Through the his return to the ear th, whereas ac-
Gates of the Silver Key. " In "The cording to a letter to Clark Ashton
Festival," the slugs bow piously when Smith (December 25, 1930), "Alhaz-
the book is held aloft by their coven- red mentions [Yog-Soth-oth] with. .

leader. The Outer Ones copy its . manifest reluctance in the Necro-
ritual "hieroglyphs" in "The Whis- nomicon " (SL III, p. 242). In "The
perer in Darkness. " Horror in the Museum" there are
In a letter to James F. Morton even protective sigils to imprison
(March 1937), Lovecraft notes that creatures like Rhan-Tegoth, remi-
the Necronomicon contains "incan- niscent of Derleth's five-pointed
tations" (SLV, p. 428). One of these, star-stones. According to the pas-
addressed to Yog-Sothoth, runs in sage in "The Festival," Alhazred is
part: "N'gai, n'gha'ghaa, bugg-shog- even so conventionally orthodox that
gog, y'hah; Yog-Sothoth, Yog-Soth- he believes, not in the Old Ones, but
oth. ..." ("The Dunwich Horror," in the "devil, " like a good Muslim
p, 179). Similar magical recipes should.
are mentioned in The Case of Charles A related issue is that of Alhaz-
Dexter Ward where we find that the red’s equivocal mode of expression.
"VII Booke" of the Necronomicon We are constantly told that he "hints"
gives instructions for how to raise at this or that. We find at least four
the dead from their "essential salts" different rationales for this. First,
(p. 143), whence, presumably, the in some references Alhazred knows
title "The Image of the Laws of the a truth so terrible he will only re-
Dead. " Similarly, Ephraim Waite veal part of it, fearing for his read-
of Innsmouth "found. in the Nec- . . ers' sanity. In "The Whisperer in
ronomicon . the formula" for
. , Darkne s s " we read of "the monstrous
mind- transference ("The Thing on nuclear chaos beyond angled space
the Doorstep, " p. 293). which the Necronomicon had merci-
Alhazred abruptly changes his fully cloaked under the name of Aza-
tune in other references. Suddenly thoth" (p. 262). Similarly Walter
sorcery is shocking and hateful to Gilman "had seen the name 'Azathoth'
28 / Crypt of Cthulhu

in the Necronomicon , and knew it (p. 89). Alhazred is "protecting too


stood for a primal evil too horrible much. " He is aware of a truth that
for description" ("The Dreams in the is too horrible for him, and he tries
Witch House," p. 258). Again, in to repress it.
"Whisperer" we hear of "the fearful The fourth reason for the lack of
myths antedating the coming of man overt clarity in the Necronomicon
to the earth- -the Yog-Sothoth and is to disguise an esoteric truthfrom
Cthulhu cycles- -which are hinted at outsiders by veiling it in symbolism
in the Necronomicon" (p. 223). Such (cf. Matthew 13:10-13, "The .disci-
consideration for his readers' men- ples came to him and asked,. 'Why
tal health has even led the old Arab do you speak to the people in para-
to censor his own text! In a letter bles?' He replied, 'The knowledge
to Smith (December 3, 1929), Love- of the secrets of the kingdorh of heav*
craftnotes thatAlhazred "left some- en has been given to you, but nof to
thing unmention'd & signified by a them. Whoever has will be given
row of stars in the surviving codex more, and he will have an abundance.
of his accursed & forbidden Necro- Whoeverdoes not have, evenwhat he
nomicon." (HPL thinks it had some- has will be taken from him. This-is
thing to do with the desertion of Com- why I speak in parables. "). In "The
moriom) SL ( III, p. 87). Call of Cthulhu," it is said that "there
But within one of these same tales, were double meanings in theNecro-
the reason for Alhazred's reticence nomicon which the initiated
. . .
'

changes (again, with the atmospheric might read as they chose. ."] (p. . .

demand moment), so that his


of the 146). "Medusa's Coil" involves "Hid-
sketchiness stems from ignorance. den traditions and allegorical rriyths
In "Whisperer" it now seems that . . hinted of in the Nec'ronotnicon"
.

"the crazed author of the Necronomi - (pp. 290-291). Even Wilbur Whate-
con had only guessed in the vaguest ley must exercise the requisite pa-
way [at the] worlds of elder, outer tience and occult insight in his Search
entity" such as Yuggoth (p. 227). for the key formula invoking Ybg-
That Alhazred knows a truth he Sothothif he is to penetrate the "dis-
himself fears and so speaks of itonly crepancies, duplications, and am-
in hushed tones is his third motive biguities which made the matter of
for secrecy, and the dominant one in determination far from easy" (p. 174).
At the Mountains of Madness The .

star-headed Elder Ones are "above A Book of Wonders v.


all doubt the originals of the fiendish
elder myths which things like the . . . We move from his manner of pre-
Necronomicon affrightedly hint sentation to consider next a sampling
about" (p. 55). In the same story of the occultmatter s Alhazred treat-
we hear of the gigantic amoeboid ed. First and most famously, he at
servants of the Elder Ones. "These least mentions elder beings includ-
viscous masses were without doubt ing Cthulhu, Yog-Sothoth, Azathoth,
what Abdul Alhazred whispered about '
Umr - At - Tawil, Shub - Niggurkth,
as the 'shoggoths' in his frightful Tsathoggua, and Nyarlathotep, all of
Necronomicon though even that mad
, whom are explicitly mentioned in
Arab had not hinted that any existed surviving quotes or allusions. Also
on earth. ..." (p. 58). No, he "had there are generic references to "Old
nervously tried to swear that none Ones," "Elder Things," and "Shog-
had been bred on this planet. ..." goths," as we have seen.
St. John's Eve 1984 / 29

Second, there are certain "name- fabled plateau of Leng" At the Moun -
(
less cults" which Alhazred cata- tains of Madness pp. 5, 66).
, Though
logues. One is the "corpse-eating discuss it he did. He even seems to
cult of inaccessible Leng.in Central have alluded to the lost continent of
Asia, " the "sinister lineaments" of Mu since Love craft notes the pres-
whose "ghastly soul- symbol" are ence of a "passage Nec xii, 58-584)
( .

"described by the old Arab demon- in Naacal hieroglyphics" (letter to


ologist" in "The Hound" (p. 155). Price, ibid. Muvian glyphs in the
).
But Alhazred only "suggests" the Necronomicon are mentioned also in
existence of "a cult that sometimes "Out of the Eons" (p. 135). Lastly,
gave aid to minds voyaging down the it may surprise, even disgust, some
aeons from the days of the Great readers to know that Alhazred im-
Race" ("The Shadow out of Time, " plicitly refers to "Glyu-uho" (Betel- *

p. 389). geuse), the home of Derleth's "Elder


Third, a related phenomenon de- Gods. " Lovecraft is advising Der-
scribed by Alhazred is visionary ex- leth on the latter's story "The Return
perience, facilitated by one or an- of Hastur"; "In the Necronomicon ,
other occult aid. "Through the Gates Abdul Alhazred would no doubt have
of the Silver Key" contains a passage used both the primal name--letus
wherein Alhazred speaks of 'Umr- say Glyu-uho or something of the
At-Tawil as a "Guide" to supramun- sort--and the new Arabic word Ibt
dane knowledge. The story is poorly
thought out at this point, since Al-
— J auzah (Betelgeuse) which the
astronomers around him were be-
hazred is made first to warn against ginning to evolve" (January 30, 1933,
seeking 'Umr's aid, then to give in- ^IV, p. 146).
structions for how to obtain it! At
any rate, we find that "a whole chap-
ter of the Necronomicon had . . . In our brief study of the Necro -
taken on significance when [Carter] nomicon of the mad Aryan H. P.
had deciphered the graven signs on Lovecraft, we have found that he
the silver key" which unlocked the seems to have had no one uniform
door to 'Umr's realm (p. 406). In At conception of the book save as a
the Mountains of Madness thereTs source of ancient arcana. Thus the
mention of "the dreams of those who Necronomicon appears wearing a
had chewed a certain alkaloidal different face depending on what kind
herb, " and who had seen visions of of atmospheric effect HPL wanted to
Shoggoths. Here, it seems clear, we achieve. Abdul Alhazred might whis-
see implied at last the source of Al- per cringingly of horrors too fear-
hazred's own occult revelations. some even for him. He might pose
How else had he seen the Shoggoths? as the guru spinning allegories for
Fourth, Alhazred mentions vari- the elect. He might be a supersti-
ous far-flung places, some not of the tious chronicler of legends, under-
earth we know. There was apparently standing only dimly the marvels of
quite an extensive discussion of "the alien technology. He might be a
Vaults of Zin" since they are "well ranting occultist or a shocked and
known to all students of Alhazred" pious heresiologist. The only con-
(letter to E. Hoffmann Price, Decem- sistency in the portrait was that the
ber 20, 1932, ^IV,p. 122). And Arab and his book could be called to
as already noted, Alhazred "was re- witness to whatever eerie tale Love-
luctant to discuss . . . the evilly craft told.
30 / Crypt of Cthulhu

Reconstructing
De Vermis Mysteriis
By Robert M. Price
Each member of the Lovecraft ( Weird Tales , September 1935). ^
circle tried his hand at creating a Prinn was a Flemish knight who
tome worthy of being placed on the marched off to the Holy Land in the
shelf alongside HPL's own Necro - Ninth Crusade (i. e. , the Seventh, if
nomicon , and most of them suc- the two children's crusades are
ceeded. In many passages wherein omitted). At some point he was cap-
Lovecraft has occasion to mention tured by the Muslims ("Saracens")
the Ne c r onomi c on he also notes the and became a slave of certain Syriaij
presence of Robert E. Howard's wizards and thaumaturges, learning
Unaussprechlichen Kulten Clark , their secrets and trafficking with evil
Ashton Smith's Book of Eibon and , spirits. Having become a potent sor-
two of Robert Bloch's creations, cerer in his own right, he traveled
Cultes des Goules and De Vermis to Egypt and gave birth to a cycle of
Mysteriis The last named is devel- legend that spread his reputation
oped at some length by its creator, across North Africa. His time was
and it will be our task here to re- spent delving for occult secrets in
construct from the scattered refer- forbidden tombs. Eventually he re-
ences in Bloch's tales just what can turned to his Flemish homeland to
be known of that repository of luna- pursue his blasphemous studies in a
cy and evil. ruined mausoleum dating from Ro-
Bloch had originally titled the man times, surrounded by familiar
nefarious work simply Mysteries o f spirits and conjuring up devilish en-
the Worm but Lovecraft advised
, tities from the stars. He came to
him to spruce it up with a little eru- grief during the witch- trials, being
dition. Prinn's immortal work
"If captured and tortured. While await-
is in La tin, you ought to give the title ing death in his cell he wrote De Ver -
in that language --hence my change mis Mysteriis After its posthumous
.

in two places (in yr ms.) toDE VER- publication it was everywhere sup-
MIS MYSTERIIS (concerning /of the pressed, but authorities could -not
worm/the mysteries). " (January 25, prevent fugitive copies from falling
1935 SL V, p. 88).
, So De Vermis into the hands of certain seekers.
Mysteriis it became butnot very
. . . There were at least two editions,
often. Bloch of course retained Love- the original Latin and an English ;

craft's interpolations in"TheSham- translation. |

bler from the Stars "(the manuscript What of the content of the book? i

he had sent HPL), but he seldom re- In its initial appearance in "The ;

ferred to the book by its Latin title Shambler from the Stars," it seems |

again. Usually it was simply Mys - to be primarily a book of invocations. ‘1

teries of the Worm . Prinn is depicted mainly as one who


What is to be known of the author deals with spirits, and of course the '

of De Vermis Mysteriis ? Fortu- whole story is heading toward the "

nately Bloch was not stingy with de- ill-fated invocation of the Shambler
tails,and readers got to know Prinn itself. (Lovecraft provided Bloch
pretty well when he was introduced with the Latin formula of invocation:
in "The Shambler from the Stars" "I've supplied jus t a tantalising frag-
St. John's Eve 1984 / 31

ment of that hellish invocation: 'Tibi, wealth of material on the legends of


magnum Innominandum, signa stel- Inner Egypt"("The Secret of Sebek").
larumnigrarum et bufaniformis Sad- It is this last subject matter which
oquae sigillum (To the great. . . '
forms the chief concern of all three
Not- to-be -Named / the signs / of the stories. It seems that in ancient
stars/black/and/of the toad-shaped/ Egypt, the real rulers behind the
Tsathoggua/the seal. )" (SL V, . . throne were the priests of certain
p. 88). We also hear of "such gods "dark nature-gods, " whose worship
of divination as Father Yig, dark
remained underground until the ac-
Han, and serpent-bearded Byatis" cession to the throne of Nephren-Ka
being mentioned in the text. It is who elevated the bloody worship of
implied that they, too, could be the godsSebek, Bubastis, Anubis,
invoked to reveal their secrets. But and Nyar lathotep. However, the out-
the book is also said to contain rages of the Pharaoh and his follow-
"spells and enchantments." To this, ers were so great that the lot of them
one item of information is added in were deposed and either entombed
"The Faceless God" Weird Tales ( , alive or exiled.
May namely that Prinn had
1936), In "Fane of the Black Pharaoh"
learned some unspecified knowledge Prinn's volume informs us thatNeph-
of Nyarlathotep in the course of his ren-Ka and his personal attendants
travels "in Saracenic lands. " (at least a hundred) were entombed
In the next several stories in which in a secret vault beneathmodern-day
Prinn's book occurs, it is barely Cairo and that in one last orgy of
mentioned, merely being enumerated Promethean blasphemy, Nephren-Ka
along with several other works like sacrificed those with him to Nyarla-
the Necronomicon . We find it so thotep in returnfor prophetic knowl-
listed,with no further role to play, edge of the future ages of Egypt. Be-
in "The Secret in the Tomb" (WT, fore he himself expired he was able
May 1935), "The Suicide in the Study" to inscribe that entire future history
(WT, June 1935), "The Grinning on the walls of the tomb. Prinn adds
Ghoul" WT June 1936), "The Dark
( , that descendants of the Black Pha-
( WT
Demon" November 1936), and
, raoh's followers still maintain their
"The Mannikin" WT April 1937). ( , cult, having as their special duty to
By the way, in none of these tales is guard the body of Nephren-Ka till the
the Latin title used. day of Resurrection.
De Vermis Mysteriis (with this A similar tale is told by Prinn of
form of the title) crops up again in a the human- sacrifice cult of croco-
set of three of Bloch's "Egyptian" dile-headed Sebek in "The Secret of
series of stories, "The Brood of Sebek. " Here the salient point is
Bubastis" ( WT , March 1937), "The that Sebek' s priests had earned with
Secret of Sebek" ( WT , November their sacrifices the god's promise
1937), and "Fane of the Black Pha- to guard their bodies till the Resur-
raoh" ( WT December
, All 1937). rection should come. In "The Brood
three allude to Prinn's chapter called of Bubastis" we learn from Prinn
"Saracenic Rituals," which "revealed that the ghoulish cat-goddes s s hier-
'

the lore of the efreet and the djinn, ophants escaped the persecution and
the secrets of the Assassin sects,
fled to Cornwall, where the story
the myths of Arabian ghoul-tales, itself takes place.
the hidden practices of dervish cults."
Actually the three stories build
Also within it might be found "a great upon one another in sequence. In
32 / Crypt of Cthulhu

"The Brood of Bubastis," the cult of people don't. . even believe in.
. . . .

Bubastis is aminority religion which [and contained] cold, deliberate di-


merely gets out of line and is ex- rections for traffic with ancient evil.
punged by the religious establish- . ." Invocations are back in view,
.

ment for its heretical practices. In just as in "The Shambler from the
"The Secret of Sebek," the Bubastis Stars, " and with no more pleasant,
persecution is mentioned, and some though slightly less gory, results.
"never named abomination" is said Here deals are struck with devils,
to have ended Nyarlathotep-wor ship, with the standard back-firing out-
but Nephren-Ka is not mentioned, come.
though heretical priests are said to Bloch mentions "Prinn's Grim-
rule behind the throne. This is a oire " (no fuller title is given) for the
much higher status than implied in last time in his 1961 story "Philtiie
"The Brood of Bubastis. " Finally, Tip. " This is one of his humorous
Nephren-Ka appears as the figure- (pun)chline stories, so it is not sur-
head of the whole movement in "Fane prising that the use of the esoteric
of the Black Pharaoh. " volume is scarcely traditional. This
Two years later Bloch employed time we have to do with a "formula
Prinn's book again in "The Sorcer- for a love philtre. . . Here--this
.

er's Jewel" which appeared in one from Ludvig Prinn's Grimoire,


Strange Stories February 1939, un-
, in the English edition. " The atten-
der the pseudonym Tarleton Fiske. tive reader will have noted that so
Prinn' s book appeared only under the far the only actual quoted words from
English title Mysteries of the Worm . Prinn have been Lovecraft' s incanta-
This time we hear of a new section, tion "To the great Not-to-be-Named,
"Prinn's chapter on divination. " The signs of the black stars, and the seal
jewel of the title is an ancient Egyp- of the toad- shaped Tsathoggua. "
tian seer-stone called "The Star of "Philtre Tip" provides us with the
Sechmet," and Prinn gives a partial only Prinn logion to come from Bloch
history of the gem, hinting at its himself. Following a list of ingrer
whereabouts between the times of its dients (not itself quoted), we hear of
ownership by Gilles De Retz and the predicted effects of the love po-
Rasputin. (This would seem to be tion; "Themeerest droppe, if placed
an anachronism, as Prinn seems to in a posset of wine or sack, will
have died in the 15th century. ) transforme ye beloved into a veri-
In "Black Bargain" WT May
( , table bitche in heate. " (We leave it
1942), the book is the central occult to the reader to figure out the trick
prop. It is referred to as " De Ver - ending. )

mis Mysteriis 'Mysteries of the


, We started out mentioning hOw
Worm. '" "It was something . . . Lovecraft approved Bloch' s new vol-
that told you how you could compound ume and went on to mention it cheek-
aconite and belladonna and draw cir- by-jowl with the Ne c r onomi con in
cles of phosphorescent fire on the his own stories. In fact he mentions
floor when the stars were right. it three times, in "The Haunter of
Something that spoke of melting tal- the Dark," where Robert Blake stum-
low candles and blending them with bles across a treasure-trove of for-
corpse-fat, whispered of the uses to bidden books in the Starry Wisdom
which animal sacrifice might be put. Church, including "old Ludvig
It spoke of meetings that could be Prinn's hellish De Vermis Mys -
arranged with various parties most teriis." Alonzo Typer finds "a first
St. John's Eve 1984 / 33

edition of old Ludvig Prinn's De Ver- entertaining tales in the Cthulhu My-
mis Mysteriis " on the shelves of the thos, it is not for them that he is
van der Heyl house ("The Diary of most widely known. Of course, he
Alonzo Typer"), and protagonist is most famous for the masterpiece
Peasley in "The Shadow out of Time" Psycho And in that novel there is
.

peruses the book among the special one scene with special significance
collection at Miskatonic University. to Mythos buffs. When, near the end
In all three cases the book is simply of the book, Lila Crane is furtively
includedin a group of grimoires, and exploring the eerie old Bates house
its contents are never described by and stumbles onto Norman's cache
HPL, except in a letter to Henry Kutt- of old books, every Lovecraftian
ner (February 19, 1936) in which he reader ought to experience a sense
says De Vermis Mysteriis is one of of de ja vu , especially since one of
several books which "repeat the most the titles is a favorite of Lovecraft's,
hellish secrets learnt by early man" mentioned by him in precisely such
(
SL V, p. 226). It is interesting to contexts. "Here Lila found herself
note that, having produced the Latin pausing, puzzling, then peering in
title, HPL used it in every single perplexity at the incongruous con-
reference, whether in letter or fic- tents of Norman Bates' library. A
tion, never once using Bloch' s origi- New Model of the Universe The Ex- ,

nal English title. tension of Consciousness The Witch- ,

Another member of the Lovecraft Cult in Western Europe Dimension ,


circle using De Vermis Mysteriis in and Being ." One is tempted to won-
his own fiction was Henry Kuttner, a der: may there possibly have been
friend of Bloch's. He borrowed the an earlier draft of Psycho in which
musty text for his "The' Invaders" Bloch nostalgically placed Mysteries
(
Strange Stories ), February 1939, un- of the Worm Cultes Des Goules
, ,
der the pseudonym Keith Hammond). and the Cabala of Saboth for exam- ,

It seems that weird fiction writer ple, onNorman Bates shelves? One '

Michael Hayward gets his ideas for is also tempted to pester Bloch with
stories by using a drug to awaken the question. We did. His answer:
ancestral memories. He has de- "Since there was no 'earlier draft'
rived the formula from De Vermis of Psycho , I couldn't have mentioned
Mysteriis given with both Latin and
, the titles you list. Nor would 1, in
English titles. "The Mysteries of a novel where the accent is on real-
the Worm gave a list of precautions ism rather than fantasy." Oh, well.
to be taken before using the drug-- =!<
^
the Pnakotic pentagon, the cabalis- Many of Robert Bloch's early
tical signs of protection. The Mythos stories are contained
. . .
in Lin
book gave terrible warnings of what Carter (ed.). Mysteries of the Worm
might happen if those precautions (Zebra Books, 1981). "Black Bar-
weren't taken--it specifically men- gain" and "Philtre Tip" are included
tioned those things--'the dwellers in in Bloch's collection The Living De-
the Hidden World,' it called them. " mons (Belmont Books, 1967). "The
These last are typically rugose and Brood of Bubastis" and "The Sor-
tentacled critters with a huge, sin- cerer's Jewel" were never, to our
gle, faceted eye and a puckered ori- knowledge, reprinted in book form,
mouth.
fice for a Kuttner's "The Invaders" has just
One last item of idle curiosity. been reprinted in Etchings and Od-
Though Robert Bloch wrote several yssey^ #4.
34 / Crypt of Cthulhu

Some Notes on
the Eltdown Shards
By Robert M. Price
H. P. Lovecraft's invented Nec- from the Eltdown Shards": ". . . .

ronomicon proved to be so stimulat- And it is recorded that in the Elder


ing that several of his correspon- Times, Om Oris, mightiest of the
dents and fans could not resist con- wizards, laid crafty snare for the
cocting their own. Thus Howard's demon Avaloth, and pitted darkmagic
UnaussprechlichenKulten and B lo ch's against him; for Avaloth plagued the
De Vermis Mysteriis to name just
, earth with a strange growth of ice
two of a larger number, were born. and snow that crept as if alive, ever*
Lovecraft welcomed this and would southward, and swallowedup the for-
henceforth make bibliographical ests and the mountains. And the out-
notes to the new books. Quite often, come of the contest with the demon
he made better use of the-new texts is not known; but wizards of that day
than their creators did. Two exam- maintained that Avaloth, who was not
ples of thi s would be Willi s C onove r s ' easily discernable, could not be de-
Ghorl Nigral about which HPL wrote
, stroyed save by a great heat, the
an effective little vignette or story means whereof was not then known,
fragment (see Selected Letters V, although certain of the wizards fore-
p. 299, or Conover's Lovecraft at saw that one day it should be. Yet,
Last p. 65), and Richard F. Sea-
, at this time the ice fields began to
right's Eltdown Shards which Love-, shrink and dwindle and finally van-
craft used as a fictional prop three ished; and the earth bloomed forth
times around 1935. There is an in- afresh. "
triguing handful of notices about the Lovecraftused the Eltdown Shards
Shards of sufficient interest to de-
, in one of his own stories, "The Shad-
serve exploring, yet small enough to ow out of Time, " which was written
make the job manageable. in the period from November 1934
The Eltdown Shards were named through March 1935. (He composed
in imitation of "The Piltdown Man," "Fragment from the Eltdown Shards"
the newly-discovered remains of a during the same period. The sole
)

species of prehistoric man, which reference in "Shadow" is to the men-


eventually turned out to be a hoax. tion of "that obscure, transgalactic
The Eltdown Shards were a set of world known in the disturbing Elt-
clay fragments, presumably pieces down Shards asYith." This is given
of clay tablets like those discovered in the story as the primeval home of
in Asshurbanipal's Library. As to the Great Race, though it is not
general conception, they were obvi- stated that they themselves were
ously parallel to Lovecraft's own mentioned in the Shards But this
.

"mouldy Pnakotic Manuscripts, " a isprobably to be inferred, especially


parallel made explicit by Lovecraft since "The Challenge from Beyond"
himself (see below). The first ref- (written in August 1 935) summarizes
erence to the Shards is an actual a considerable stretch of the text
quoted passage, writtenby Lovecraft having to do with the Great Race, as
to preface Searight's tale "The Sealed well as with the worm-like race of
Casket, " for Weird Tales March ,
space explorers encountered in that
1935. It is called simply "Fragment story. Basically the tale told in the
St. John's Eve 1984 / 35

Eltdown Shards concerns the hostile What might the reports of the Great
encounter between the two races of Race and the wizard Om Oris have
astral projector s, occasioned by the to do with each other? Probably
space-probes of the centipede race. Lovecraft just liked the Eltdown
These references to the Eltdown Shards as an atmospheric prop and
Shards in "The Shadow out of Time" attributed this or that item of ancient
and "The Challenge from Beyond, " lore to its pages. But there is a clue
both connected with the Great Race in the"Fragment" that we should not
of Yith, would seem to be the basis overlook. Om Oris was able to van-
for Lin Carter's attribution of the quish Avaloth despite his era's igno-
Shards to the Great Race ("H. P. rance of the necessary means for
Lovecraft: The Books"). But this doing so. We might speculate that
ascription maybe questioned. First, Avaloth was defeated with the supe-
note that the manner in which the rior knowledge of the Great Race,
name "Yith" is referred to in "Shad- one of whom had temporarily ex-
ow" implies that we are dealing with changed minds with Om Oris. But
a cross-reference to a collateral this is nothing but speculation. At
text, like the "old hindu texts" men- any rate, with the Great Race out of
tioned in the same story. The idea the running, we have no idea who did
is that several ancient myths and write the Shards.
texts refer to the era of the Great In "The Challenge from Beyond,"
Race, without necessarily having Lovecraft provides the most exten-
been written by them. And "The sive data about the Shards and how
Challenge from Beyond" refers to they came to be current in the pres-
the escape of the minds of Yith into ent day. We learn that "those de-
ear th' s far future as a fait accompli, batable and disquieting clay frag-
and one long past at that. Ever since ments called the Eltdown Shards
then "the whereabouts of the sinister
, [were] dug up from pre-carbonifer-
cube from space [discussed in the ous strata in southern England thirty
Shards] were unknown." So the Elt- years before [= around the turn of
down Shards would seem to post-date the century]. Their shape and mark-
the Great Race by a good many years. ings were so queer that a few schol-
Beside s this whereas the Great Race
,
ars hinted at artificiality [= not prod-
predated humanity, Lovecraft' ucts of nature, but of ancient work-
"Fragmentfrom the Eltdown Shards" manship], and made wild conjectures
refers a human civilization that
to about them and their origin. They
was in a past already remote ("The came, clearly, from a time when no
Elder Times") from the standpoint human beings could exist on the
of the chronicler. Finally, from globe. ..." Already, we have a
"The Shadow out of Time," we know problem. The "Fragment from the
not only that the archive s of the Great Eltdown Shards" implies the Shards
Race were bound in codice s of metal- are a record which, though ancient,
lic sheets, but also that those records is much more recent than the "pre-
survived intact to the present day. carboniferous" date given in "The
By contrast the Shards are, as we Challenge from Beyond, " A human
have seen, incomplete clay frag- civilization is described, whereas
ments . in "Challenge, " they were written
By the way, an interesting pos- "when no human beings could exist
sibility of connecting the various ref- on the globe. "
erences to the Shards presents itself. "About 1 91 7 a deeply learned Sus-
36 / Crypt of Cthulhu

sex clergyman of occultist leanings according to "The Challenge from


- -the Reverend
Arthur Brooke Win- Beyond. " (This discrepancy was
ter s -Hall- -had profes sed to identify first pointed out by T. G. L. Cock-
the markings on the Eltdown Shards croft in his "Addendum" to Lin Car-
with some of the so-called 'pre-hu- ter's glossaries in The Shuttered
man hieroglyphs' persistently cher- Room . )
ished and esoterically handed down The linkage with the Pnakotic
in certain mystical circles, and had Manuscripts is made complete in a
published at his own expense what letter to Searight dated February 13,
purported to be a 'translation' of the 1936, only a few months after the
primal and baffling 'inscriptions. '" completion of "Alonzo Typer." Love-
The resulting text consisted of a craft says that, "Curious parallel-
"narrative, supposedly of pre-human isms betwixt them [the Pnakotic
authorship. ..." ("The Challenge Manuscripts ! and the Eltdown Shards
from Beyond"). have been pointed out- -as if both
It is apparently the translation of
were remote derivations of some
Winter s-Hall that August Derleth oc- immeasurably anterior source, on
casionally refers toinhis stories as this or some other planet. " Here
"The Sussex Manuscript. " And the we find a distinction implicitly drawn
"prehuman hieroglyphs" are prob- between ancient traditions underlying
ably to be identified with the Pnakotic the Shards and the redaction of those
Manuscripts to which Love craft
,
traditions in a written text. This
would soon explicitly connect the schema harmonizes well with the
Shards .
earlier data concerning the Great
If the information supplied in "The Race and the conflict of Om Oris
Challenge from Beyond" conflicts with Avaloth. The latter material
with the "Fragment from the Eltdown would have been included later by
Shards," no less does it fail to har- the (human) redactors and tra-
monize with that given in "The Diary dents, while the former would have
of Alonzo Typer" (writtenin October been received by them from some
1936), wherein the Eltdown Shards prehuman and extraterrestrial
are name-droppingly citedalong with source.
the Pnakotic Manuscripts "Ihadnev-
: The final reference, in a letter to
er seen the text of the Pnakotic Manu- Henry Kuttner, written only three
scripftls or of the Eltdown Shards days later than that to Searight,
before, and would not havecomehere merely reiterates the prehuman ori-
if I had known what they contained." gin of the book, only this time the
Typer read the text in book form in whole book, and not justits sources,
the deserted van der Heyl mansion, seems to be in view. It "antedates
where it must have lain since at least the human race like the Pna-
. . .

1872 when the van der Heyls disap- kotic Manuscripts. "
peared. Clearly, the Eltdown Shards How consistent was Lovecraft's
are now pictured along the lines of conception of the Eltdown Shards ?
the Pnakotic Manuscripts as prehu- Basically, most of his references
man scriptures (like the Theosoph- can be harmonized, making the whole
ists' Book Dzyan also mentioned
of , into a chronicle composed of various
in "Alonzo Typer"). Here the Shards strata, the earlier traditions stem-
have been translated (or at least ming fromt prehuman and unearthly
transcribed) in bookform long before sources. The only really irrecon-
the time they were even discovered cilable conflict concerns the question
St. John's Eve 1984 / 37

of whether we are dealing with a book Alonzo Typer" and the letters to Sea-
passed down through the centuries, right and Kuttner. The reference in
* or a collectionof fragmentary baked "The Shadow out of Time" may bear
clay tablets discovered at the turn either interpretation. Of the two
of the present century. The latter possible conceptions of the Eltdown
version, implied in the parallel with Shards, Lovecraft seemed finally to
^
"Piltdown Man, " actually appears prefer that which made them little
only in "The Challenge from Beyond," more than a variant version of the
while the former was already im- Pnakotic Manuscripts This is really
.

plied in the "Fragment from the Elt- too bad since the version in "The
down Shards, " and was made more Challenge from Beyond" was more
or less explicit in "The Diary of unique and picturesque.
38 / Crypt of Cthulhu

The Pnakotic Manuscripts :

A Study
By Robert M. Price
H. P. Lovecraft's fictitious Nec- consistent throughout.
r onomicon is only too familiar to We first hear of them in the short
most readers, and it has spawned a tale "Polaris" (1918), where the
host of imitations. Some of these scholarly narrator recalls that, "I
have been appropriately eerie in gave each day to the study of the*
their own right, e. g. , Von Junzt's Pnakotic manuscripts. " Of their
Unaussprechlichen Kulten , Prinn's contents, we are told only of "some
De Vermis Mysteriis Another evoc-
. lore of the skies which I had learnt
ative title that might easily be taken from the Pnakotic manuscripts. "
as merely another sequel totheNec- This scribe lived in ancient Lomar,
r onomicon is Lovecraft's own Pna- in the Polar north.
kotic Manuscripts But this would
.
This detail squares with "The
be a mistake, for said manuscripts Other Gods" (1921), wherein the doc-
actually predate Alhazred's tome in ument is referred to as "the Pnakotic
the development of HPL's imaginary Manuscripts of distant and frozen
library. While they lack the sinis- Lomar." Also in this story, we be-
ter, nightmarish quality of the Nec - come aware of an important distinc-
ronomicon the Pnakotic Manuscripts
, tion between earlier and later strata
are if anything even more mysteri- within the text. It contains relatively
ous, since Lovecraft left many ques- recent material including legends of
tions about them unanswered. At the past, stories about characters
least he never satdown and systema- and events already deemed ancient
tized the data concerning them as he at the time of writing. For instance
did with the Necr onomicon (see his there is the legend of "Sansu,who is
pamphlet "History of the Necronomi- written of with fright in the moldy
£on"). We will seek in small mea- Pnakotic Manuscripts. " "Now it is
sure to remedy that situation by told in the moldy Pnakotic Manu -
piecing together the fragmentary scripts that Sansu found naught but
hints left here and there by Love- wordless ice and rock when he did
craft. climb Hatheg-Kla [like Mt. Olympus,
Interestingly, though Lovecraft's the reputed home of the gods] in the
references to the Pnakotic Manu - youth of the world." So even though
scripts range over eighteen years the text is ancient ("moldy"), the
(1918-1936), he seems to have had events related therein are presented
either a fairly developed, compre- as being so much older that the text
hensive picture in mind from the is relatively recent.
start, or a fluid concept which he Yet the story also mentions
embellished in a harmonious way. "frightful parts of the Pnakotic Man -
Unlike the Ne c r onomi con which often uscripts which were too ancient to
changed conception in the course of be read. " Furthermore, it is im-
Lovecraft's fiction, the idea of the plied that the se paleologean passage
Pnakotic Manuscripts remain pretty were prehuman in origin, the product
St. John's Eve 1984 / 39

of the "Other Gods" (the Dreamland sources.


equivalent of the Great Old Ones) In At the Mountains of Madness ,

themselves. For written there amid written the very next year, the nar-
indecipherable prose is a symbol like rator seems to imply both a prehu-
that engraven on a cliff-face by the man and extraterrestrial origin for
Other Gods in the story. This note the Manuscripts "A few daring
.

is the first of several to the effect mystics have hinted at a pre-Pleis-


that the oldest kernel of material in tocene origin for the fragmentary
the text is of extraterrestrial origin, Pnakotic Manuscripts, and have sug-
which, by the way, would fit in nicely gested that the devotees of Tsathog-
with the presence of astronomical gua were as alien to mankind as Tsa-
lore in the manuscripts as mentioned thoggua itself. " The connection of
in "Polaris. " Who would know the this passage to that in "The Whis-
stars better than aliens who have perer in Darkness" is evident not
traveled between them? only from the reference to Tsathog-
Six years later (1927), Lovecraft gua, but also by the mention in the
repeated much of this information in very same paragraph of "that un-
The Dream-Quest of Unknown Ka - pleasantly erudite folklorist Wil-
dath .He adds the notice that "the marth. " Taken together, the hints
last copy of those inconceivably old suggest that Tsathoggua's minions
Pnakotic Manuscripts" is preserved (who according to "The Mound," were
in the Dream World, having been indeed prehuman, even presaurian)
carried there "by waking men in for- were responsible for some of the
gotten boreal kingdoms," i.e., Lomar earliest portions of the Pnakotic text;
under imminent threat of the
the Tsathoggua itself is mentioned in the
Gnophkeh invasion. "These manu- text; the oldest texts are prehuman;
scripts . . . told much of the gods. so were Tsathoggua's worshippers.
II
So once again the core of the Pnakotic
The elderly zoog,who in Dream- canon is ascribed to an unearthly
Quest is the source of this informa- race, albeit a different one than the
tion, must have had a spotty memo- "Other Gods" mentioned in the story
ry, for at least one copy seems to of that name.
have survived in the waking world. But we have not exhausted the
The scholarly recluse Henry Akeley references to the Pnakotic Manu-
assumes that Albert Wilmarth has scripts in At the Mountains of Mad -
read it. In "The Whisperer inDark- ness We find that the Manuscripts
.

ness" (1930), Akeley shares in mention not only Tsathoggua and its
breathless excitement the revela- amphibian cohorts, but also a dif-
tions of the Mi-Go concerning "great ferent group of aliens, the star-
worlds of unknown life down there; headed crinoids. The Antarctican
blue-litten K'n-yan, r ed-litten Yoth, "Elder Ones" or "Elder things" (or
and black, lightless N'kai. It's from "Old Ones," and thus, like the "Other
N'kai that frightful Tsathoggua came Gods," an analog to the Great Old
--you know, the amorphous, toad- Ones) discovered by the Miskatonic
like god- creature mentioned in the University Expedition were "above
Pnakotic Manuscripts. ..." The all doubt the originals of the fiendish
phrasing here implies that the infor- elder myths which things like the
mation about N'kai and Tsathoggua' Pnakotic Manuscripts and the Necro-
coming from there is new knowledge, nomicon affrightedly hint about. "
not already available in the Pnakotic Similarly, "there may be a real and
40 / Crypt of Cthulhu

monstrous meaning in the old Pna- unrelated data. In "Through the


kotic whispers about Kadath in the Gates of the Silver Key" (193Z-33),
Cold Waste. '' (Kadath, of course, Randolph Carter enters an "extension
turns out to be the city of the Elder of Earth which is outside time, and
Ones. From these references, we
) from which in turn the Ultimate Gate
would guess that the Elder Ones were leads fearsomely and perilously to
mentioned in the later, purely human the Last Void which is outside all
portions of the Manuscripts since , earths, all universes, and all mat-
the aliens are already, it is implied, ter." "There were hints of it in the
the object of both fear and legendary cryptical Pnakotic fragments. " . . .

embellishment. But remember that While Lovecraft was working on the


this story earlier makes the Pnakotic story, he wrote to E. Hoffmann Price,
Manuscripts prehuman. We may his collaborator on the tale, and
suppose that, once again, there are the letter again mentioned the text;
prehuman portions as well as pas- "The Pnakotic Manuscripts mention
sages penned by human scribes, as the subterranean gulf of Zim" or
is implied in "The Other Gods. " "Vaults of Zin. " Both these refer-
Lovecraft draws together all the se ences seem to be dead ends. Noth-
strands in a letter to William Lum- ing more is said about either matter
ley not quite two months after the discussed, and neither reference has
completion of At the Mountains of anything to do with what has gone be-
Madness .We discover that the fore.
"'Pnakotic Manuscripts' are
. . . In "The Horror in the Museum"
supposed to be the workof the 'Elder (1 933), there is butpassing reference
Ones' preceding the human race on made to "the prehistoric Pnakotic
this planet, and handed down through fragments. " Another tale written
an early human civilization which the same year, "Out of the Eons, "
once existed around the north pole." mentions a similarity between Mu-
Presumably it was this civilization vian hieroglyphics and "certain pri-
(Lomar, or perhaps Hyperborea-- mal symbols described or cited in
see below) which added the "fright- . .The Pnakotic fragments. " It
.

ened" stories of Sansu and Kadath, is worth noting only that Lovecraft
supplementing the original core toyed with substituting the terminol-
stemming from the Elder Ones. The ogy "Pnakotic Fragments" for "Pna-
Elder Ones have, by implication, kotic Manuscripts" in the period
been melded together with the Other 1932-33.
Gods, and presumably with the Tsa- The second group of passages that
thoggua- spawn as well. The gaping remain to be considered essentially
question left us is how the Manu- reinforce what we have already es-
scripts made it from one end of the tablished. Ina letter to Duane Rimel
globe to the other, since the Elder dated 1934, Lovecraft speaks of "the
Ones lived at the south pole, while non-human sounds [of prehuman
Lomar was at the north! (Perhaps aliens, which] were known to certain
the texts passed through "the inner human scholars in elder days, and
city at the two magnetic poles" men- recorded in secret manuscripts like
tioned in Wilbur Whateley's diary!) the Necronomicon, the Pnakotic
Among remaining references
the Manuscripts etc." The phrase "el-
,

to the Pnakotic Manuscripts we may ,


der days" recalls the "elder myths"
distinguish two categories. One set and "Elder Ones" of At the Mountains
of passages add new and seemingly of Madness. In this letter the link
St. John's Eve 1984 / 41

between those Elder Ones and the Mss. are lacking. They were brought
human (Lomarian) guardians of the down from Hyperborea by a secret
Pnakotic traditions is made clearer. cult (allied to that which preserved
The latter translated, or translit- the Book of Eibon), & are in the se-
erated, the scriptures or lore of the cret Hyperborean language, but there
former. Yet so great was the ob- is a rumour that they are a transla-
scurity arising from the alien char- tion of something hellishly older --
acter of the material thus handed on, brought from the land of Lomar & of
that these ancient portions of the fabulous antiquity even there. That
Manuscripts soon became indeci- they antedate the human race is free-
pherable. They were "too ancient ly whispered. Curious parallelisms
to be read" with understanding. betwixt them & the Eltdown Shards
About a year later, in "The Shad- [Searight'sown creation, and used
ow out of Time, " Lovecraft again by HPL
in "The Challenge from Be-
underlined just how "ancient" these yond, "
"The Shadow out of Time, "
texts were. The story concerns the and "The Diary of Alonzo Typer"]
"Great Race of Yith, " an intelligent have been pointed out- -as if both
species whichhad flourished 50 mil- were remote derivations of some
lion years before the birth of the hu- immeasurably anterior source, on
man race. And "Of all things sur- this or some other planet. " Again,
viving physically and directly from the Manuscripts at least portions of
,

that aeon-distant world, there re- them, are prehuman and extraterres-
mained only certain ruins of great trial in origin. And the transmis-
stones in far places and under the sion of the manuscripts is clarified
sea, and parts of the text of the further: not only did a human "civili-
frightful Pnakotic Manuscripts. " zation" receive them from the Elder
This comment would seem to be the Ones, but specifically a "secret cult"
sole basis for Lin Carter's ascrip- handed them on through the years.
tion of the core portions of the Pna- One last note: might the passage
kotic Manuscripts to the Great Race of the Pnakotic Manuscripts through
of Yith ("H. P. Lovecraft: The Hyperborea have been the occasion
Books"). But note that all the text for the interpolation of references
says is that the Manuscripts date to Tsathoggua, such as that men-
from the Great Race's era, which tioned by Akeley? Probably not,
however was coterminous with that since Lovecraft specifically refers
of the star -headed Elder Ones (with to a "human civilization" and "hu-
whom the Great Race warred). The man scholars" receiving the texts
Pnakotic texts are no more directly from the Elder Ones, whereas he
associated with the Grea,t Race than describes the "Hyperborean wor-
are the undersea ruins (R'lyeh?) shippers of Tsathoggua" as "furry"
mentioned in the same context. And and "prehuman" ("The Shadow out of
Lovecraft had explicitly attributed T ime " )

the Manuscripts to the Elder Ones. In our study of the enigmatic Pna-
Thus the attribution of authorship to kotic Manuscripts we have inferred
,

the Great Race would seem to be that this title must refer to a col-
gratuitous. lection of materials of heterogene-
Finally, in a letter to Richard F. ous nature and origin, some of them
Searight in 1936, we meet with Love- prehuman, extraterrestrial, and no
craft's last mention of our text. longer decipherable. These older
"Exact data regarding the Pnakotic portions stem from some group or
42 / Crypt of Cthulhu

groups of aliens, certainly including The transference of the Pnakotic lore


the crinoid Elder Ones, but perhaps from nonhuman to human hands also
also others such as the "Other Gods” marked its transference, oddly, from
and the Tsathoggua- spawn. The the south to the north pole. All in
more recent fragments seem to look all, Lovecraft's conception of the
back to this primordial era with Pnakotic Manuscripts was both com-
loathing and fear, which no doubt prehensive in its scope, and consis-
increased as familiarity with that tent in its usage throughout his fic-
age and its inhabitants decreased. tion.
St. John's Eve 1984 / 43

Prehuman Language in Loveeraft


By Will Murray

In addition to being treasure According to the story, the sec-


troves of elder lore, the dark books ond formula is "no more than the
cited inH. P. Love craft' s many sto- first written syllabically backward
ries are rich in linguistic arcana. with the exception of the final mono-
Specifically, they contain multitudi- syllables and of the odd name Yog-
nous examples of what Loveeraft Sothoth " .This is an oversimplifi-
liked to call "prehuman language, " cation in that it ignores the fact that
the speech of the Great Old Ones who the line-ranking is inverted as well,
inhabited the earth before the advent but this doesn't affect the words in-
of man. Loveeraft dished out exam- volved.
ples of this tongue sparingly, but he It's interesting to note that the
seems to have done so with great many apostrophes invariably mark
care, as if these transcribed ap- syllable breaks in these incantations.
proximations carried real meaning But more than that, some seem to
and were not merely a function of act as word separators as well. Al-
atmospheric verisimilitude. though they were new when originally
Perhaps for Loveeraft, they did presented in this novel, certain
possess meaning, for certain words words imbedded in these formulae
and phrases --or their phonetic appear by themselves in many later
equivalents--recur again and again stories.
in HPL's stories and letters. Some Yog-Sothoth is one, of course.
are obviously names; others convey But so is the curious coinage 'Ngah,
less clear resonances. All defy in one form or another. More on it
ready understanding while seeming later. A phonetic equivalent to
to be almost accessible in a mad- Uaaah - - Ya --also reappears in sub-
deningly tantalizing way. sequent stories. Geb does not, but
Early instances of prehuman lan- itshould be pointed out that it is the
guage in Loveeraft' s fiction occur in name of a minor Egyptian deity. Ai,
The Case of Charles Dexter Ward on the other hand, is the Greek cry
and amply illustrate a basic reality meaning "woe!" Reversed, it be-
of this language- -that written-down comes that oft-heard prehuman cry
versions of what may originally have la I Make of this what you will. 1

been spoken words are always ap- These two formulae contain both
proximate and subject to aural inter- primary characteristics of Love-
pretation. These are the twin for- craftian prehuman language: the
mulae for raising the dead from their hyphenated proper names and the
"essential salts" and returning them high incidence of apostrophes, which
to granular form later; also serve to mark mis sing or doubt-
ful letters. Various keys are given
Y'AI'NG'NGAH OGTHROD AI'F in this novel to suggest phonetic in-
YOG-SOTHOTH GEB'L--EE'H terpretations of the first formula.
H'EE--L'GEB YOG-SOTHOTH On page I6l, it is overheard as "Yi-
F'AI THRODOG 'NGAH'NG AI'Y nash - Yog-Sothoth - he-lglb-fi-thro-
UAAAH ZHRO dag" with the terminal shout given
44 / Crypt of Cthulhu

as "Yah!" An older text than the Linguists know that grammar is


one giving the formulae as rendered a function of the mind and that while
above spells the first line of the ini- several combinations of words can
tial formula as "Aye, cngengah, convey the same meaning ("Dead
Yogge-Sothotha," providing an unex- Cthulhu waits dreaming in his house
pected "c" and "e" in place of the at R'lyeh" is just as sound as Love-
apostrophes in the second word, craft's translation), the arrangement
which was elsewhere pronounced as must conform to instinctive language
"nash. "
patterns. Thus, "In his house at
Obviously the rules of spelling and Cthulhu R'lyeh dead dreaming waits,"
pronunciation in prehuman speech among others, is an unworkable
are not easily deciphered. This is grammatical transformation, and one
also true of syntax, as is clear from which the mind quickly perceives a«
the first and most famous example false.
of the tongue given in "The Call of The human mind, that is. Per-
Cthulhu. " This is the line which haps to the minds of the Great Old
reads: Ones, that or some other arrange-
ment is perfectly intelligible. But
"Ph'nglui mglw'nafh C thulhu the fact remains that for us, prehu-
R'lyeh wgah'nagl fhtagn. " man syntax appears inaccessible.
This is probably a deliberate act on
and translates as; Lovecraft' s part, although the prin-
ciples of Transformational Gram-
house at R'lyeh dead
"In his mar alluded to here were unknown
Cthulhu waits dreaming. " in Lovecraft' s time.
While this may be so, there are
Lovecraft informs us that R'lyeh indications that individual words car-
is the undersea palace of the entity ry definite meaning. Not content to
Cthulhu. ft would seem that "fhtagn" lace his stories with prehuman lan-
probably means "waits" because the guage extracts, HPL rattled them
line is compressed to "Cthulhu fht- off in his letters as well. One is a
agn" later in the story. ^ ft might variant on the "Call of Cthulhu" ex-
possibly mean "Cthulhu dreams" in- tract, and is from a letter to Clark
stead, but "fhtagn" is unlikely to Ashton dated December 3,
Smith
mean both "dreams" and "dreaming." 1929 . reads: "Yug! n'gha k'yun
It
We would expect some change in bth'gth R'lyeh gllur ph'ngui Cthulhu
verb-form. In any event, there are Y zkaa. ..."
nine English words to the phrase, Several of these words are famil-
and if we count the apostrophes as iar. There is a Y'kaa in "The Hor-
word breaks (disregarding the one ror in the Museum. " "Ph'ngui" is
in R'lyeh, of course) there are nine only one letter different from " ph'n -
prehuman words in the original, too. glui " and " n'gha " is very close to
,

But the arrangement of those words '"Ngah" from the Charles Dexter
makes generating a grammatical W ard formulae. Various forms of
structure--and thus translating the 'Ngah appear throughout Lovecraft'
rest of the words- -virtually impos- stories and letters. Two separate
sible. No syntactical arrangement, letters to Smith, one dated October
in which R lyeh wgah'nagl separates
' 17, 1930, and the other dated No-
the subject- verb combination "Cthu- vember 7, 1930, make references
lhu waits, " works. to "the year of N'Gah" and "the Seal
St. John's Eve 1984 / 45

of N'Gah" respectively. Other forms in some improvisations of his own.


include "n'ggah" (Lovecraft to Long, The first begins thusly: "Ygnaiih .

» November ZZ, 1930) and "n'gha'ghaa" . . ygnaiih . . . thflthkh'ngha . . .

("The Dunwich Horror"). Yog-Sothoth ." To this is added: . .

More interesting is the frequency " Y'bthnk h' ehye - n'grkdl'lh


. . . . .

%
of incidence where a variation of this .
". A second attempt starts off in
word appears with a variation of prehuman, but ends up in English
" k'yun " as in the phrase "n'gha
,
crying: " Bh-ya-ya-ya-yahaah - -e '

k'yun " cited above in the December yayayayaaaa ngh'aaaa . . . . . .

3, 19Z8, letter. Other variations in- ngh'aaa h'yuh. HELP!


. . . . .

clude " N'ggah-kthn-y'hhu " (Love- l HELP! ff--ff--ff- -FATHER!


. . .

craft to Smith, October 7, 1930) and, FATHER! YOG-SOTHOTH!"


just possibly, the mention of "The It's odd that the word N'gai (which
^
Worm Bgngghaa- Ythu- Yaddith" in a also appears at the end of "The
January 1931 letter to Smith. All of Haunter of the Dark" in the disjointed
these fall under the heading of whim- muttering "la ngai ygg . . . . . . .

sical scribblings, perhaps, but it's . . ") comes out as "Ygnaiih" ver-
interesting that in "The Whisperer bally. It's also odd that the com-
inDarkness," which was being penned pound word bugg-shoggog is left out
during the same months these letters of the spoken version of the quote.
were composed, reference is made Except for the lack of capitalization,
to an ". unpronounceable word or
. . this word seems to be a name, yet
name, possibly N'gah-Kthun ." This Wilbur's brother leaves it out of the
name (even in the letters it is most incantation. Perhaps bugg-shoggog
often hyphenated, a sure indication is not a proper name, but a general
that it is a name) appears in a dif- term, like horse or cat. This is
ferent form in the 1933 revision, pure speculation, of course, but it
"The Horror in the Museum" thusly: could be that bugg-shoggog is a term
"Spawn of Noth-Yidik and effluvium meaning one of the off spring of Yog-
of K'thun." See also "the Black Sun Sothoth. While the word is not re-
Gnarr-Kthun" (HPL to CAS Septem- peated within the story, it crops up
ber 11, 1931). quite mysteriously two years later
We don't know what N'gah means. in a letter to Frank Belknap Long
Kthun vaguely echoes Cthulhu, but dated March 14, 1930. HPL men-
this needn't be meaningful. It might tions in passing that Clark Ashton
just be that these were sounds that Smith is sending him pieces of dino-
Lovecraft found especially alien. saur bone, whereupon he lapses into
Certainly N'gah is a special favorite prehuman, saying "YSSShh . . .

of his. bugg-shoggog n'ghan ?" . . . . . .

N'gah is done to death in an un- Later, he adds a solitary " W'ygh " .

translated line from the Necronomi- The monosyllabic "ya," probably


. con (from "The Dunwich Horror") a variant of also survives into
which reads: "N'gai, n'gha'ghaa, other writings, for some reason as
bugg-shoggog y'hah Yog-Sothoth
, ; ,
"Ya-R'lyeh ("The Electric Execu-
Yog-Sothoth " As with the formulae
.
tioner, " cf. "laR'lyeh!" in "The
from Charles Dexter Ward spoken , Man of Stone"), a cry that seems to
versions are given later in the story. appear only in HPL' s lette rs and re-
Here, they are spoken by Wilbur visions. A variant, "Y'aaah!" is
Whateley' s inhuman brother, who has found in "The Curse of Yig, " and
difficulty with the words and throws "The Shadow out of Time" mentions
46 / Crypt of Cthulhu

a Cimmerian chieftain of 15, 000 BC seem. When, near the end of The
named Crom-Ya. Again, there is Dream-Quest of Unknown Kadath ,

an inner logic in which a word is at- Randolph Carter mounts a Shantak


tached to a known name. ^ Another bird, Nyarlathotep exclaims, "Hei!
possible variant may be Y'ha-nthlei, Aa-shanta 'nygh You are off!" Aa-
!

the sunken city of "The Shadow over shanta would seem to be the prehu-
Innsmouth. " man original of what HPL anglicized
While Lovecraft's letters and sto- as "Shantak. "
ries are rife with other examples of Fourth, there's a tendency to col-
prehuman language, it would serve lapse prehuman words when render-
no clear purpose to cite them all. ing them in English. One letter ex-
Instead, certain general observa- tract (HPL to CAS, October 7, 1930)
tions can be made about this tongue. includes the name Cthua, possibly
First, the language is absolutely an elided version of Cthulhu. This
riddled with apostrophe marks, kind of word compression could ex-
which seem to standfor missing let- plain the odd "la .ngai
. .
ygg "
. . .

ters and also serve as word divi- fragment scribbled by Robert Blake
sions. Where we know the exact as doom descends upon him at the
missing letters, there seems to be climax of "The Haunter of the Dark."
no discernible pattern: the marks Earlier in his terminal writings, he
can stand for consonants as well as began free-associating names from
vowels. Probably these marks are the Cthulhu Mythos,but they are the
a carryover from the Arabic text standard English spellings. Among
of the Necronomicon , inasmuch as them areShaggai and Yuggoth, which
that language is also heavily fes- might be represented as Ngai and
tooned with apostrophes. ygg respectively, in prehuman.
,

Secondly, pronunciation of these Lastly, while there are recog-


words is itself problematical, as nizable patterns to Lovecraft's con-
Lovecraft reports many variant pro- struction anduse of prehuman words
nunciations of a single name. For and phrases, there may not be a sys-
example: Relex for R'lyeh; Clooloo tematic logic to the language as a
and Tulu for Cthulhu; Xinian for K'n- whole. But neither is Lovecraft
yan; log-Sotot for Yog-Sothoth, and guilty of free-associating sounds in
others. In some cases, letters do the manner of Robert Blake. As al-
not even remotely correspond to ac- ways, he seems to have given as
tual sounds those letters are sup- much thought to his linguistic ex-
posed to represent. When this hap- tracts --the total sum of whichprob-
pens we may be dealing with written ably wouldn't fill a single printed
variants produced by adaptation to page --as he did to his carefully
the speakers' native languages, as worked-out plots. If there's a key
in the case of John= Johann= Juan= to translating the tongue of the Old
Jon=Yahya=Yokhannon, etc. Ones, it has so far not been redis-
Thirdly, there is evidence to sug- covered. But the haunting possibility
gest some prehuman words have sur- remains that the writer who trans-
vived into human languages. For lated his own initials into the prehu-
example, the name of the living dead man Eic'h-Pi-El may have left a
men in "The Mound" is y 'm-bhi , Rosetta Stone of sorts buried in one
which approximates the West Indian of his stories or letters ... if
term, jumbee also spelled zombie.
, only we knew enough to recognize
The reverse is also true, it would it.
St. John's Eve 1984 / 47

NOTES ^Speculation; Lovecraft often


spoke of "Great Cthulhu." Let's sup-
» lla seems to equate to the variants pose ya means great. Thus, we have
hei ei and U. There is also a River
, , Great R'lyeh, Grom the Great, Great
Ai mentioned in several dreamworld Nthlei, and even "Great Shub-Nig-
stories, though this may have sim- gurath!" if we include the variant
^
ply been borrowed from the city Ai "la." Or substitute some other like
in Joshua 7:2ff. adjective; they all work. Another
^Fhtagn is elsewhere rendered word that works this way is ho. See
as fthagn ("Out of the Eons"), fhtaghn Yian-Ho ("The Diary of Alonzo Ty-
("The Electric Executioner") and per" and "Through the Gates of the
fhgthagn (HPL to Frank Belknap Silver Key"), Shaurash-ho (HPL to
Long, November 22, 1930). CAS, August 1 932), all proper names. •
48 / Crypt of Cthulhu

Fun Guys From Yuggoth: Steve Behrends

FROM

The Good News


Necronomicon
(TODAY'S ENGLISH VERSION)

Yea, and curse the Heavens at the a vapour in blackness, for the years
price of dates, grin to the Merchant are Their moments.
whose rugs you have stolen, weep at Think you not of Shoozt' thwagah.
the camel-drops upon your new san- Who sudseth undisturbed in caverns
dals, yea, even unto that day when deep at the Moon's pole; of Hastur,
the Unwisely Beckoned, Who wacketh
On all we know the Great shall the Aether to confetti with His en-
tread crusted Wings; of Vilyeh-Dodjhok,
In ages looming e'er ahead. theick From the Stars, Who hangeth
like a plum from his dung-builded
Think you only of the grit in your house in residential Bang Dwah; of
goat's milk, your woman's baneful Drowsy Cthulhu, Who playeth unend-
nagging, your enwormed meat-pies, ing rounds of canasta with the fishes
and think you not of in nasty R'lyeh; of Dwllay-Tch'ch,
Who is Source and Father of all pus-
The cessation of your heart and balls and boils, and Who aideth not
breath in the digestion of celery and hard
By Those Who eternal live in cheeses . . .

death. Of all These think you not, nor


yet of the children of strange times
Think you not of the Thingies to come: of Abu Ben Hastur, who
Awaiting at Nights 's Tent-Flap, Who was great fun at parties; of Rugose
push the Lands through the Heavens, Ruth, who never found love; of pop-
and Who sow the eves with shadows. ular Jim-Bob Niggurathof the many
Such were They when the World was manhoods . . .
St. John's Eve 1984 / 49

R’lyeh Review
Richard L. Tierney, "The Fire of "blind idiot god" of Lovecraft' s pan-
Mazda" in Orion's Child #1 (avail- theon who "chanced to mould [the
able from Orion Press, P. O. Box earth] in play, " a close parallel to
75, Hartford, OH 44424-0075, for the Gnostic Demiurge.
$2. 50, plus $1. 00 for postage). Simon himself represents the in-
carnation of part of the "sundered
(Reviewed by Robert M. Price) soul" of the Lord of Light. Though
not an element of Simonian Gnosti-
Orion's Child is an ambitious new cism, this does match the myth of
magazine whose professed aim is to Manichean Gnosticism, wherein the
"bring to you the very best of the Primal Man, or Man of Light, was
type of stories so loved during the identifiedwith Ormuzd, or Ahura
Golden Age of the genre. " By in- Mazda, the Lord of Light, in earlier
cluding "The Fire of Mazda" in its Zoroastrianism. The Primal Man's
first issue, they have certainly got- soul was trapped and scattered
ten off on the right foot. This is the throughout the material world, giv-
latest of Tierney's chronicles of ing it order where there had been

Simon of Gitta, a fantasy hero who chaos


is both swordsman and sorcerer. "The Fire of Mazda" also intro-
He is the latter because Simon rep- duces Simon's love interest, Helen,
resents Simon Magus, or Simon the a mysterious figure who also incar-
Sorcerer, mentioned in Acts 8:9-llff. nate s the primal spirit of light. Here
Simon was credited by early Chris- we have a vestige of Simonian Gnos-
tian heresiologists with being the ticism. The historical Simon trav-
founder of Gnosticism. Whether this eled with a reformed prostitute
is correct or not, there is definitely named Helen, whom he said repre-
known to have been a Simon who sented Ennoia, the primordial
founded one of the many Gnostic Thought whom he had rescued from
sects. The Simon stories all pre- bondage in the brothel of the mate-
suppose a cosmology based largely rial world.
on Gnosticism with some Zoroastrian "The Fire of Mazda, " then, makes
and Cthulhu Mythos elements thrown careful and imaginative use of vari-
in. This is less explicit in the earlier ous items of Gnostic lore, as does
tales such as "The Scroll of Thoth, " the Simon series generally. But
"The Ring of Set, " and "The Sword there is good writing here as well,
of Spartacus," but it is prominent in especially the scene in Chapter I,
"The Fire of Mazda." Here we learn when Simon first beholds a vision of
of the creation of the material world Helen in the stormy skies above
by the evil Demiurge Achamoth, or Rome. There is also a good treat-
Azathoth. Actually, in the Gnostic ment of the ambivalent character of
systems Achamoth (a corruption of Simon's mentor Dositheus (another
Hokhmah, the personified Wisdom historic Gnostic sect-leader) who is
of the Old Testament) was the mother willing to stoop to using black magic
of the misbegottenDemiurge, but the in order to destroy the greater evil
temptation is great to identify Ach- of Rome. (By the way, "Seed of the
amoth with the Demiurge since the Star God," which appears here next
name is so close to Azathoth, the issue, is a sequel to this story. )
50 / Crypt of Cthulhu

MAIL-CALL OF CTHULHU
That illo for "The Haunter of the bers and other frontier-story writ-
Dark" [cover, Crypt #22] is strik- ers, especially those appearing in
ing work and please congratulate the Adventure Magazine We can be sure
.

artist--! have never seen a better Howard drew from this particular
likeness of me novel because the name of the nar-
Your issue is great, too. The rator-hero of "Wolves Beyond the
piece on HPL and Isadora Duncan is Border," Gault Hagar's son, comes
most intriguing. from the names of two families in
--Robert Bloch Chambers' novel: the Hagers and
Los Angeles, CA the Gaults.
Howard may have also read one
Thank you for Crypt #22. I was or more of Chambers' other Ameri-
much impressed by Doctor McNa- can Revolutionary novels, as well as
mara's piece on Love craft' s dreams. Fenimore Cooper's novels in the
If it had been available when I wrote same setting; but The Little Red Foot
Lovecraft it would have affected my
, is the one we can be sure of. It is
book. always risky to say that any vora-
About S. T. Joshi's piece onRob- cious reader like Howard had not
ert W. Chambers, I can add a point. read the works of some predeces sor
Chambers wrote four novels laid in "Thendara" is a special case.
Upstate New York at the time of the The name is used by Chambers' Iro-
American Revolution: America The ; quois a couple of times; but I don't
Little Red Foot and one other whose
; know whence Chambers got it. There
name escapes me and which I can't was no place of that name in Upstate
find in my notes. At least one of New Yorkuntil the early 1920s. Then
these. The Little Red Foot directly, my father, who owned the tract that
influenced Lovecraft' s fellow fanta- included the sawmill village and rail-
sist Robert E. Howard. Howard took road stop of Old Forge, launched a
the scenery for his Conan stories real-estate development in the re-
directly from that novel in "Beyond gion. One of his people had an Iro-
the Black River," "The Treasure of quois dictionary, and the region blos-
Tranicos, " and "Wolves Beyond the somed with Iroquois names. Old
Border, " the latter two published Forge became Thendara; the Spec-
posthumously in 1967 with substan- tacle Ponds, Lakes Tekeni and
tial changes and additions by me, in Easka, &c. I was startled when I
the collection Conan the Usurper . came upon Howard's "Thandara, "
The scenery was that of the Mohawk knowing that REH had never been
and Black River Valleys and theAdi- within a thousand miles of Herkimer
rondacks. Real places mentioned by County, NY. But Chambers' book
Chambers, such as Canajoharie, revealed the source.
Caughnawaga, Oriskany, Sacandaga, --L. Sprague deCamp
Schoharie, and Thendara, became Villanova, PA
Howard's Conajohara, Conawaga,
Oriskonie, Scandaga, and Thandara. Crypt 22 is a very good issue.
The Piets were the Iroquois Indians Cover by Koszowski: excellent! He
of that time, as described by Cham- has a real talent and seems to im-
St. John's Eve 1984 / 51

prove each time I see him. Dave it until it'sjust the right shape. It's
Carson was round my
place the other all creativity. The guy who comes
night and saw this; he called it great along and bites bits out of it (or even,
but he did point out that it was sup- on the other hand, says, "Wow!--
posed to be a three -lobed burning that's great! A terrific piece of" .

eye, not a three-eyed burning lobe! . etc.) is only describing what the
.

Carter, Myers, Howard, Mosko- author did- -usually inadequately and


witz, Tierney and Fulwiler were all always (where analysis is concerned)
splendid, which is what you'd expect. inaccurately. Whether the story is
To answer, very quickly (I hope) good or bad, the critic can't know
S. T. Joshi's letter. Yes, I would what the author put into it, or didn't.
like to read unadulterated HPL. If As to why it was written- -especially
you, S. T. are going to do some-
,
when the author is dead and can't
thing about it (which is to say, con- confirm or deny- -how can the analyst
vince a publisher he should give us hope to get it right? I mean, I write
a complete Love craft without error s) a story because I want to write a
then I'm on your side. I'm on your story- -not because when I was a kid
side anyway: I never read anything my father screwed my cat. Or I was
by you that I didn't find interesting kept on a bookshelf til I was sixteen.
and informative. But each to his own: Or my wooden leg has dry rot. (He
I personally don't think it matters didn't; I wasn't; it has not, inciden-
whether theos/deos, vita/vitta, schon/ tally. )

schon. I haven't time to thinkitmat- bad is OK if you


To say a story is
ters Maybe that's the difference be-
I believe you could do better. To say
tween a scholar and a writer, eh? one superb is to admit that you
is
But excuse me if I don't agree couldn' do better — and that' s a hard-
with you whenyou say, "There is just er thing to do. As for your list of
as much creativity in a brilliant anal- author/analyst/critics: yes, thank
ysis as in any work of fiction. " No you, you've proved my point. For
way. A chicken can lay an egg, but my money they've all earned the
the egg has to become a chicken fir st right to be critical! (Except maybe
before it can lay an egg. Let's take Lovecraft, who, not understanding
it logically and from square one: sex, could hardly hope to give a fair
Just assume that from this mo- treatment to romance.) Yes, I know
ment forward no one writes another he was a male and proved he was a
word of fiction. What are all you male. There's a tree in my garden
critics and analysts going to do for that does that every spring. I've no
the rest of your lives? I mean, doubt he could do it, I'm just saying
there's an end to your "creativity"! he didn't understand it. I don't think
But the sustained creativity of a writ- my tree does either.
er, which he puts into his stories, is But it's my opinion anyway that
enormous. He's writingit out of his there are a lot of critic /analysts
own original thoughts, not merely about who shouldn't criticize and
describing (or distorting) what some- couldn't analyse to save their souls.
one else has written. He has to take Phil Pannagio, in his letter in 22,
the germ of an idea, play with it, throws light on just such a case.
plant it in his brain, let it take root God help me, when I die, please
there, nurture the bloody thing and don't let anyone start writing essays
finally, when it starts to put up a on why I wrote this or that! I write
shoot, water it and train it and prune stories because it's better than
52 / Crypt of Cthulhu

humping coal or cleaning streets or just as bad. But when you link them
being a toilet attendant. 1 imagine all together, including all the good
the people I take issue with have lines, and read them and begin to
their reasons, too, but they can't be feel the mood, then something quite
the same as mine because toilet at- different emerges. I like the story,
tendant is definitely preferable. for all that I know it's not superbly
But the truth will out. Eventually written. Even if the writing is bad,
one of these Jungian/Freudian ex- there's some thing behind it which is
ploiters of the dead will smuggle a brilliant! But if I had heard only the
piece of fiction into print, and when critic's voice, why!- -I might not
that happens there'll be a hell of a have wanted to read "The Hound" in
lot of us punched-holes-in, berated, the first placeHeaven forbid (The
!
!

bruised and battered, proven scrib- same author / critic / analyst has it,
blers out here just waiting to join the that "The Music of Erich Zann" is
ranks of that long list of yours and "crude. " Parts of it may be, but
turn critics in our own rights (You ! overall it's a gem! And the same
will of course understand that the guy has written a couple of "Mythos"
main body of these anti-characters things to show how good he can do it.
[antibodies?] is chiefly active in the Well, I don't know if he fooled you
Lovecraft circle / Mythos related but he didn't fool me. Cardboard!
fields. ) Lovecraft, even at his worst, gave
To close: Awriterof fiction is a me a certain frisson . He may not
man who tells lies for money. That's have been the world's best writer,
his job, by which he eats. The bet- buthe didhave one of the finest imag-
ter he lies the more his readers like inations.
him. Critics on the other hand are Genuine scholarship- -like yours
supposed to tell the truth about what --I admire. Genuine criticism has
they read or the way they interpret to haveits good points. Genuine
it; but occasionally it's an excuse to analysis may be of value to minds
glorify themselves and say "Hey, that way inclined. But when critics/
look how clever I am! " Which is to analysts /and scholars crit, an, and
say that every nowand then they are schol just to see their names inprint,
bigger liars than the writers! that's a different bag of shoggoths
A coroner carrying out an autopsy entirely . . .

can be brilliantly "incisive"--but --Brian Lumley


when he's finished carving up the London, England
body, will he ever be brilliantenough
to build a new one ? Dear Mr. Lumley,
Something else to think about:
even your author /critics occasion- Though I hate your style and de-
ally make a crap of it. One such, cidedly think U stinks indeed--this
(in my opinion vastly overrated and is of course what I meant when croak-
dry and tasteless as cardboard on a ing all my hatred and sickening at
hot day) has it that the second para- your smell--I gladly found with great
graph in HPL's "The Hound" is "an amusement that you have a good sense
atrocious piece of writing not,
. . . of humor, if nothing else, and I wanted
as one might suspect, a piece of juve- you to know I certainly appreciated
nilia. " Now, I'm just about ready it, reading "Comments on Robert M.
to agree with him- -about that para- Price's 'Brian Lumley- -Reanimat-
graph There are others in the story
! or.'" Youknow, frogs have their own
St. John's Eve 1984 / 53

peculiar behavior, and St. Toad is me, and I doubt it did him. Viola-
often the target of numerous misun- tion of natural laws is at least as
derstandings. Of course you hardly fascinating as it is fear-inspiring.
know me for I don' t hang around your Personally, I would love to violate
sock drawer at all. It possesses the restrictions of time, space and
some strange misty effects on my natural law, but would be horrified
proboscis The thing in your
. . . to see them violated by anyone else.
drawer a couple of weeks ago couldn't I'd never trust anyone but myself
be me, for I was on a business trip with such powers !

with Yibb-Tstll aboard a time-and- --Richard L. Tierney


space- traveling clock. But maybe Mason City, lA
next time ?
Anyway, I've taken an indisputable In "A Weird Tales Filmography,"
interest in the multiple ways to avoid p. 37, col. 2, 1. 8, "It was not re-
your literary invasion; thanks for leased in the U. S. " should read "It
your gracious help. Yet, frogs rarely was not released in the U. S. until
need a scuba while diving . . . 1970." Crypt #22]
[

So, I wanted you to be assured I I must disagree with Steve Mari-

was sensible to your deliciously conda's conclusion that "The House


squamous sense of humor, really! of the Worm" couldn't possibly have
And if indeed being a coprocephaloid been the provisional title of "The
makes my smile not too evident, hav- Shunned House. " As indicated by
ing it where my mouth should be, I these passages from Selected Let -
wish my thoughts regarding your ters I, it was not the New Jersey
s you wouldn' t take as a personal
tyle house alone, but also the memories
attack. It wasn't. You might be one it evoked of another house, that
Ithaquaof a bad writer, you sure are sparked the writing of the story:
a fine humorist, never refusing to
grin . . . It reminded me of the Babbitt
--Patrice deG. Joubert house in Benefit Street, which as
Ripon, Quebec, Canada you recall made me write those
lines entitled The House in 1920.
I read Hoffman's "Supernatural Later its image came up again
Horror in Love craft" and thought it with renewed vividness, finally
good. This sort of horror is hard to causing me to write anew horror
put a finger on. Personally I find story with its scene in Providence
"real-world" horror much more hor- and with the Babbitt house as its
rifying, but itis. lacking in fascina- basis (p. 357).
tion. Nothing fascinating about being
mauled by animals, knifed by punks, Riding home on the subway, I was
lynched by rednecks or paralyzed in struck with the memory of weird
a car wreck. In such real-world dis- things I had seen at twilight in
asters the horror is in the scuzzi- Elizabethtown, and other weird
ness of it all--the realization of be- things of longer ago- -and at once
ing undone by forces inferior, stupid, realised that I was about to write
even mindle ss. I find tales of such a story (p. 359).
things unpleasant, and would never
read a story for horror alone. No, The plot germ of this story may
fascination's the thing. Lovecraft's have been gestating in Lovecraft's
"wrongness" never really horrifys mind for years - -possibly since 1 920,
54 / Crypt of Cthulhu

when he wrote "The House. " Circa of old rumour that the soul of the
1922 , he wrote the following in his
devil-bought hastes not from his
Commonplace Book :
charnel clay, but fats and in-
structs the very worm that gnaws:
Horrible Colonial farmhouse & till out of corruption horrid
life
overgrown garden on city hillside springs, and the dull scavengers
--overtaken by growth. Verse of earth wax crafty to vex it and
"The House" as basis of story. swell monstrous to plague it.
Great holes secretly are digged
Lovecraft later crossed out this
where earth's pores ought to suf-
entry and wrote beside it " Shunned
fice, and things have learnt to
House "--indicating the ideawasused
walk that ought to crawl" (Dagon,
in writing the tale.
p. 195).
In letters written in February 1924,
HPL said his idea for "The House of
I think this passage makes clear
the Worm" was"partly shaped"(SL I, the meaning of the title "The House
p. 295)and had "for some time "been
of the Worm. "
simmering unwholesomely in my --William Fulwiler
consciousness" (p. 304). I believe
Lovecraft had the Babbitt house idea
Duncanville, TX
in mind
at this time, but didn't fully I read Sam Moskowitz's article
develop the plot of the story until on Buchan with interest, since I re-
eight months later, when the sight of cently read Buchan for the first time
the New Jersey house stimulated his while researching an anthology. But
imagination. Therefore, there is no I wonder why Sam didn't go right to
contradiction in Lovecraft's refer- the obvious source and discuss the
ence to "The Shunned House" as a three stories that Lovecraft actually
"new" story. mentions "The Green Wildebeast, "
,
As Professor Dirk W. Mosig has "The Wind in the Portico," and "Skule
observed, "The Shunned House" is Skerry. " These are all to be found
thematically related to "The Festi- in Tales of the Runagates Club (1928),
val" (1923). The fate of the dead which we can be sure Lovecraft read.
wizard in the former tale is explained That he read The Watcher at the
in the translated passage from the
Threshold is only conjecture.
Necronomicon which serves as the Of course Runagates Club was
terminal paragraph of "The Festi- published too late to be a formative
val":
influence on Lovecraft, but I am sure
it appealed to him as the work of a
"The nethermost caverns, " kindred spirit. "The Wind in the
wrote the mad Arab, "are not for Portico" is especially Lovecraftian
the fathoming of eyes that see; for
in its premise and structure. In it,
their marvels are strange and
one scholarly gent is visiting the
terrific. Cur sed the ground where
house of another, who has excavated
dead thoughts live new and oddly the altar of the ancient Celtic god
bodied, and evil the mind that is Vaunus. Needless to say, no good
held by no head. Wisely did Ibn comes of this. Vaunus is a thorough-
Schacabao say, that happy is the ly frightful fire entity, and the med-
tomb where no wizard hath lain, dlesome scholar (the owner of the
and happy the town at night whose house, not the narrator) meets an
wizards are all ashes. For it is unspeakable end. The story has the
s

St. John's Eve 1984 / 55

characteristically Lovecraftian be- Novel of the Black Seal" in The Three


ginning, slowly-paced, with lots of Impostors (1895), with which Love-
local color, suspicions raised and craft was thoroughly familiar.
only partially allayed, more explo- Is there any actual evidence that
rations of the nature of the phenom- Lovecraft ever read The Watcher
enon, and finally, a half- seen horror at the Threshold ?
in the night which confirms the pro- --Darrell Schweitzer
tagonist's worst suspicions. The Strafford, PA
protagonist has a little more spunk
than the typical Lovecraftian one. Your magazine continues to be a
He tries to save his friend, but is fas cinating forum for Love craft lore,
driven back by the flames, and ends though I could do without the deadly
up in the usual state of confusion, dull R. E. Howard entry ["The Fear-
delirium, and lingering dread. Master, Crypt #22].
" in
The other two stories mentioned Allen Koszowski's cover for #22
are not especially Lovecraftian, al- was marvelously lurid and dramatic.
though "Skule Skerry" has all the Risque Stories #1 was quite a
fear-drenched atmosphere that HPL treat. I look forward to further is-
regarded as so important. sues, as well as the premiere issue
There is another Buchan fantasy of Shudder Stories.
collection. The MoonEndureth (1912) It was quite admirable for you to
which also bear s investigation in this print Brian Lumley's rather scathing
light. I haven't readit yet, but I note reply your article on his works.
to
that the story "Space" is synopsised Such controversy galvanizes the at-
in this manner by Bleiler in his Guide
mosphere of your publication, as
to Supernatural Fiction "Hollond, a
: well as revealing abit about the per-
mathematician, discovers the nature sonality of the author.
of space and the laws governing it; Keep up the good work! The high
he can move about freely in hyper- quality of Crypt reflects well upon
space while he sleeps. But psycho- its founder and editor. My best
logically, the discovery is almost wishes go to you for all your future
unbearable, because of presences in endeavors.
space. "
--Peter H. Gilmore
Well, doesn't that sound awfully New York, NY
familiar? I shall have to read it. It
sounds like a lower-key versionof Crypt #22 was a good one, start-
"Dreams in the Witch House. " ing with Allen Koszowski' s outstand-
Wedon't need to look to Buchan, ing cover. When I look at something
finally, for the source of the Love- like that it makes me feel that, as
craftian concepts of an older race artists, we're all just twiddling our
lurking in the remote parts of the thumbs. Beautiful.
British Isles, which menace man- The rest was typically fascinat-
kind, pursue haple s s victims through ing. But someone should look into
lonely glens, etc., etc. (I am refer- Weird Tale on TV as a follow-up to
ring to the synopsis of "No Man's the " Weird Tales Filmography. "
Land" on page 15.) "NoMan's Land" --John Borkowski
may be as typical a story as Love- West Haven, CT
craft, or Buchan ever wrote, but of
,

course Arthur Machen wrote it first. [Fulwiler is already working on it!


This is almost a synopsis of "The --Ed. ]
56 / Crypt of Cthulhu

I wanted
to drop you a note to tell goth tissue from which to breed
you I enjoyed issues 20 & 21 of Crypt. s tone -lifter s
.
., andother proto-
.
However, I would like to point out to plasmic matter to mold into phos-
Mr. Schultz that there is no "lack of phorescent organisms for lighting
continuity" in Lovecraft's Fungi from
purposes" (emphasis mine). Sorry,
Yuggoth please advise him to read
;
Lumley, but you've lost this round.
Stanza ^36 of the poem. (Seems aw- "Reuterdahl, Relativity and the
fully simple, doesn't it?)
'Aimless Waves'" was, to my mind,
Likewise, you may wish to advise the gem of the issue. The confusion
Mr. Joshi that the "young poet in of fact and fiction was complete,
Dunedin" from his edition of Saturn- ^t
was well written, and truly enter-
Allan Brownell Grayson, a taining
friend of Whitehead's. The poem "The Unpleasant Dreams of H. P.
was written c. 30 May 1931. (I owe Lovecraft" was an important essay.
this information to Mr. Kenneth
W. I knew most of what it had to say,
Faig, Jr. )
but it was good to see it all in
one
--Elmer R. Mudgett place, and stated so cleanly and con-
Wauwatosa, WI cisely.
"Supernatural Horror in Love-
Crypt #22 was a good issue, not craft's Literature"
spectacular, but a nice effort.
was also inter-
esting. Yet I feel, much as we love
I am trying to restrain myself
on him, we cannot credit HPL with "es-
the subject of "The Fear-Master"
chewing as 'tradesmanlike' any com-
as I am too furious to do so reason-
mercial considerations. " Indeed,
ably.
his revisions alone are almost purely
Brian Lumley's comments were
commercial, but a number of good
amusing (his defense of himself, not points are made. Especially regard-
his weak humor). But Im had better ing old movies.
learn to read his HPL. His own --Jeffrey Weinberger
quote: "The Old Ones had. Shog-. .
Cambridge, MA
"

NEXT TIME

wruten some excellent fiction carrying on the


Weird Tales

of SiuThu^
his-^n. Crypt
devoted to Richard L. Tierney
ture these items of Tierneyana: and wilTf^

"The Howler in the Dark" by Richard L. Tierney


"Seed of the Star-God" (a new
"Simon of Gitta" adven-
ture) by Richard L.
Tierney

"An Interview with Richard L. Tierney"


plus two new sonnets and more!

evefyXlrfroV°''>"^^""^ done
versI arLld fantasy fiction and
contemporary Dovecraft
scholar shir

Copyright © 1984
"Preface to The Necronomicon" by L. Sprague
deCamp
All other material by
Cryptic Publications
Robert M. Price, Editor
35 Elmbrook Place
Bloomfield, New Jersey 07003

on p. 37 by Mike MacKenzie
Til
I
T
lustrations on pp. n
and 13 by Rodolfo A. Ferraresi
Cover art by Peter H. Gilmore

(At the base of Peter H.


Gilmore's "Stele of Cthulhu "
the top row of hieroglyphs
reads "Crypt of Cthulhu.’
The bottoin reads "Great One,
Serpent Demon, Ter-
rible One. ")

Оценить