H.P. Lovecraft and Time Travel

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“I think I am probably the only living person to whom the ancient 18th century idiom is actually a prose and poetic mother-tongue.”

“-leaving the sunny downstairs 19th century flat, and boring my way back through the decades into the late 17th, 18th and early 19th century by means of innumerable crumbling and long-s’d tomes of every size and nature – “

“I am certainly a relic of the 18th century both in prose and in verse.”

Based on these quotes, taken from S.T. Joshi’s I Am Providence: The Life and Times of H.P. Lovecraft (2013), H.P. Lovecraft felt trapped in the future. He frequently talked about “the supremely rational 18th century” when great strides in physics, astronomy, chemistry and biology were made. A large part of Lovecraft’s own philosophy of life was based on Hugh Samuel Roger Elliot’s Modern Science and Materialism (originally published in 1919), which in turn is largely based on the rational thought and science of the latter half of the 18th century and 19th century.

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By the end of the 19th century, it was thought that the Laws of Nature and Life were fully understood. This is why Einstein’s Theories of Relativity were initially distressing to some scientists as well as Lovecraft. While Lovecraft did eventually resolve his view of the Universe with Einstein’s theories, as can actually be seen in the evolution of his stories, he experienced this same concern over his view of the cosmos with quantum theory. While Lovecraft’s view of the cosmos was indifferent and uncaring relative to humanity and all life, it was based on the cosmos functioning under well-established rules and laws of nature (Newton’s Laws of Gravitation, Darwin and Wallace’s Theory of Evolution, etc.) like a large machine. The Theories of Relativity and Quantum Mechanics shook this up and thus Lovecraft’s philosophy. Such “strange science,” coupled with his preference for the literature of the previously centuries (see above), made Lovecraft pine to live in the 17th, 18th or early 19th century.

finlay_lovecraft H.P. Lovecraft as an 18th century poet by the great Virgil Finlay.

Given Lovecraft’s wish to live in a simpler time, it is not surprising that time travel would periodically show up in his stories. As previously discussed, tales such as “The White Ship” and The Shadow Out of Time, are examples of moving out of our perceived linear, Newtonian flow of time. Einstein essentially linked Space with Time, which means that if a stable and large enough wormhole could be created, time travel may be possible. Suddenly, time was not simply linear.

yith-2014 The Great Race were expert time travelers (illustration by Steve Maschuck)

To Newton and the physicists that followed, Time was thought of as an arrow; once shot it can’t change its course and moves linearly in one direction. With Einstein’s Space-Time as described in his Theory of General Relativity, space (and therefore time) could be warped. Thus, instead of Time being thought of as an arrow, it was more like a meandering river; gently speeding up in riffles and slowing down in pools with small eddies of backflow (Parallel Worlds: A Journey Through Creation, Higher Dimensions and the Future of the Cosmos by Michio Kaku; 2005).

This concept of Time having backflows, whirlpools or forks did worry Einstein, particularly when one of his contemporaries, W. J. Van Stockum, in 1937 found a solution to Einstein’s equations that permitted for the possibility of time travel (Michio Kaku, 2005). Other mathematicians and physicists, for example Kurt Gödel in 1949 and Kip Thorne in 1985, identified various solutions to Einstein’s equations and potential ways to travel in time. Beyond the equations, the methodologies to achieve time travel vary from traveling around an infinitely long cylinder close to the speed of light to traveling around the circumference of the known universe a little faster than its rotating, to the creation of two wormholes traveling at the speed of light, connected with a “bridge” of negative energy. Matter can be thought of as positive energy, gravity can be thought of as negative energy (Michio Kaku, 2005).

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Based on these mathematical calculations, using Einstein’s equations, General Relativity does allow for the possibility of time travel. However, in all cases the problem is one of energy. The amount of energy needed to bend, twist or warp time (Space-Time) is so high that Einstein’s equations actually break down and quantum theory takes over (Hyperspace: A Scientific Odyssey Through Parallel Universe, Time-wraps and the 10th Dimension by Michio Kaku, 1995). Thus, while on paper time travel is possible, it’s the engineering that limits its development.

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In many of the potential scenarios for time travel, such as using the gravitation forces of a black hole for the needed energy, the forces / energies would surely destroy us before any time travel occurred. However, many of Lovecraft’s entities are either from Universes with a different set of natural forces and laws or possibly from outside the known multiverse altogether. Thus, the Old Ones may have the ability to harness these forces and energies and use them to travel multiple Space-Times. However, as I have previously hypothesized the “weakness of the Old Ones” is the fact that they cannot form a stable and consistent form of matter in our Space-Time. This is why I believe the Old Ones have not yet dominated our Universe and why they even have any dealings with humanity. We need to provide them with something within our Space-Time, whether its “opening a door” on this side of reality or providing a part of us (e.g. DNA); both of these scenarios are exemplified in “The Dunwich Horror.” However, the one story that I believe best supports the “weakness of the Old Ones” hypothesis is “The Dreams in the Witch-House.”

Walter Gilman, a student at Miskatonic University, is working on some multidimensional mathematics and quantum mechanics for his graduate work. Indeed, for time travel since General Relativity begins to break down into the quantum level, both need to be united in higher dimensions – in fact up to 10 or 11 dimensions; our four dimensions plus six to seven others folded and tucked out of our reality. Accessing these higher dimensions may be a way of entering hyperspace, a means to travel vast distances and times. Indeed, this is what both Walter Gilman and the witch Keziah Mason succeed at doing. However, the vast amount of energy needed to open these higher dimensions are not available to us so how do they do this?  Essentially, the available energy is provided by Nyarlathotep. Thus, using math or magic (to the Old Ones probably the same thing), one gains access or the attention of the Old Ones. The Old Ones provide the energy needed for this hyperspace travel and get something in return. Signing Nyarlathotep’s book in blood may be providing a sample of DNA the Old Ones need to attempt to enter and remain in our Space-Time. Of course the question remains – if we truly want to time travel, is it only achievable if we establish some sort of pact or agreement with the Old Ones? Will we as a species be able to harness, control and utilize the enormous forces and energies needed for interdimensional, interstellar and inter-time travel?

the-dreams-in-the-witch-house-jhc-by-h_-p_-lovecraft-2-2120-p The Dreams in the Witch-House, illustrated by Pete Von Sholly

I would like to conclude with a quote from Michio Kaku (1995) that every much sounds like Lovecraft:

“Einstein’s equations, in some sense, were like a Trojan horse. On the surface, the horse looks like a perfectly acceptable gift, giving us the observed bending of starlight under gravity and a compelling explanation of the origin of the universe. However, inside lurk all sorts of strange demons and goblins, which allow for the possibility of interstellar travel through wormholes and time travel. The price we had to pay for peering into the darkest secrets of the universe was the potential downfall of some of our most commonly held beliefs about our world – that its space is simply connected and its history is unalterable.”

 

I believe Lovecraft would absolutely agree with this – we are finding out the universal machine does not necessarily operate the way we think it does. Next time we will talk about time paradoxes and how Lovecraft handled them in his stories. Thank you – Fred.

The White Ship and the Effect of Gravitational Time Dilation

the_white_ship_by_sleepwalkerx51                                                                        The White Ship by Sleepwalkerx51 (www.deviantart.com)

When Basil Elton crosses the bridge of moonbeams to reach the White Ship, he is leaving our Universe and entering that of the Dreamlands. While the fundamental forces of nature in the Dreamlands are very similar to ours, there do appear to be some very minor differences. Such differences, however slight, could explain the strange ways (at least to us) how things operate in the Dreamlands.

Once on the White Ship, Elton and the bearded travel past many lands with the first being the land of Zar, where “dwell all the dreams and thoughts of beauty that come to men once and then are forgotten.” The ship sailed past the splendid terraces and phosphorescence oceans of Zar; the Captain says those who go to Zar never return to their homeland. Zar may be an inter-dimensional connection or bridge to another Universe, neither ours or the Dreamlands. Entering Zar may led one to a Universe where life as we know it cannot exist.

After Zar were the mighty spires of Thalarion, City of a Thousand Wonders. According to the Captain “only daemons and mad things that are no longer men” live in the City Thalarion and it is ruled by the eidolon Lathi. Obviously, while Thalarion appears wondrous, something in the City either kills people or drives them insane. It should also be noted that through this voyage the White Ship is following a bird with glossy plumage that “matched the sky.”

thalarion_by_hecatonchir314-d46487g Thalarion by Hecatonchir314 (www.deivantart.com)

After Thalarion came Xura, the Land of Pleasures Unattained. While the shores of this land was composed of lovely groves and woodlands and beautiful singing and laughter could be heard, the wind from Xura brought a horrible odor “…with the lethal, charnel odor of plague-stricken towns and uncovered cemeteries.” Xura may be a City of ghouls that have somehow created an optical illusion to lure unsuspecting sailors to the shore.

Finally, following the azure bird the White Ship finally comes to the harbor of Sona-Nyl where “…there is neither time nor space, neither suffering nor death…” If this is to be taken literally, then Space-Time as we know may not operate either specifically in Sona-Nyl or possibly in the entire Dreamlands Universe. This will be discussed in more detail when we cover the Dreamlands in the future; however, this idea is an important component to the conclusion of this tale. It should be noted that Elton lived in Sona-Nyl for many years.

sona_nyl-2011-02-15-tws-001-864 The harbor of Sona-Nyl by Jason Thompson (www.mockman.com)

While in Sona-Nyl Elton becomes restless and he starts to see the azure bird and hears tales about Cathuria, the Land of Hope. Elton convinces the Captain of the White Ship to take him to the Cathuria, which lies beyond the basalt pillars of the West. Even though Elton is very content in Sona-Nyl, he feels he would experience unheard of delights in Cathuria and that it is far more beautiful than Sona-Nyl. Was this yearning of Elton’s, to go to Cathuria his subconscious telling him that he did not belong in the Dreamlands? The Captain warns Elton that the seas are perilous where the Cathuria lies but yet he still agrees to take him to the Land of Hope.

the_white_ship_by_verreaux-d33gbo6                     The White Ship by Verreaux (www.deviantart.com)

After 31 days on the sea the crew of the White Ship beheld the basalt pillars of the West and Elton began to hear signing the closer the came to the pillars. The pillars were enshrouded in mist and once the ship sailed between them the mist lifted and the singing ceased. Beyond the pillars there was no Cathuria. Instead what they found was “…the distant thunder of falling waters, and to our eyes appears on the far horizon ahead the titanic spray of a monstrous cataract, wherein the oceans of the world drop down to abysmal nothingness.” The White Ship fell over the massive falls and amidst the crashing Elton could hear the shrieks of men and things that were not men. Later, after the crash, Elton realized he was on the platform of his lighthouse. He climbed into the lighthouse and determined that based on calendar of the wall and the time of night he was only gone for about an hour. All of the years Elton spent in the Dreamlands translated to only less than an hour in our Space-Time. The next morning Elton found some wreckage on the rocks, a single shattered of white spar (mast of a ship), at the base of the lighthouse as well as a strange dead azure bird. Elton never saw the White Ship or any other visitor from the Dreamlands ever again.

pillars_maija_pietikainen_www-epilogue-net                                                     The Basalt Pillars of the West by Maija Pietikainen (www.epilogue.net)

The large difference in time, where years pass in the Dreamlands but only less than an hour elapsed in our Universe, may be due to a multiverse version of gravitational time dilation. First described by Albert Einstein in the early 20th century as a result of his Theories of Relativity, gravitational time dilation is essentially the fact that the weaker the gravitational potential (or the farther away from a source of gravitation), the faster time passes. In turn, the stronger the gravitational field (or the closer one is a source of gravitation), the slower time passes. This has actually been demonstrated to occur. For example, time differences in nanoseconds have been measured between atomic clocks at varying altitudes. More impressive, due to its large gravitational effects, the earth’s core is approximately 2.5 years younger relative to its surface (www.wikipedia.com). Is it possible that the gravitational field in the Dreamlands in general is weaker compared to our Universe, resulting in a multiverse version of gravitational time dilation? We will talk more about time and gravity in the Dreamlands in future articles; however, it would be an interesting experiment to have a set of ghouls each with an atomic clock, have one enter the Dreamlands and come back and then compare their atomic clocks.

thewhiteashipillustratedbyjason-eckhardt565                               The White Ship, illustrated by Jason Eckhardt

Finally, when the White Ship goes over the edge of the massive waterfalls, this gives the impression that the Dreamlands is a “flat planet.” Indeed, most of the exoplanets discovered over the last 10 years that are located within the proposed “habitable zone” are larger than Earth, so the Dreamlands world may be substantially larger than our planet. I hypothesize that the Dreamlands is not a “flat world” but instead may be substantially larger than Earth and/or has not yet been explored the way we have explored and mapped our planet. Additionally, I hypothesize that the Dreamlands continent may be an incredibly larger plateau and the “edge of the world” may be a larger oceanic version of the African Rift Valley Falls found on our world.

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main_africa_air_great_rift_valley1_www-easternafrica-wordpress-com       African Great Rift Valley (www.easternafrica.wordpress.com)

If the Dreamlands world is moderately to substantially larger than Earth, then it’s gravitational time dilation should be slower than ours, not faster as documented in “The White Ship.” However, as previously mentioned slight differences in the fundamental forces in the Dreamlands compared to ours could explain these large differences in time. Thus, even though the Dreamlands world could be more mass relative to the Earth (and so all things being equal time would run slower in the Dreamlands), differences in the basic properties of the mass, energy and forces may alter the Space-Time of the Dreamlands relative to our Universe. Of course as previously suggested, the Dreamlands world may be a similar size as the Earth and just hasn’t yet been completed mapped.

CaptainoftheWhiteShip_Skeelar_dev.jpg                     Captain of the White Ship by Skeelar (www.deviantart.com)

Obviously, some comparative investigations, simultaneously run in both our Universe and the Dreamlands, would help to support or disprove these proposed hypotheses of the Dreamlands. Next time we further explore time and the Dreamlands in H.P. Lovecraft’s “The Silver Key.” Thank you – Fred.

The White Ship, Part 1: What is a Bridge of Moonbeams made of?

“Lovecraft’s tale [The White Ship] is meant to be interpreted allegorically or symbolically, and as such enunciates several central tenets of his philosophical thought.” – S.T. Joshi (I Am Providence: The Life and Times of H.P. Lovecraft; 2013).

hp_lovecraft_the_white_ship_by_mtlyddon-d5vtqrk H.P. Lovecraft’s “The White Ship” by Mtlyddon (www.deivantart.com).

Lovecraft’s stories, particularly those of the Dunsanian Cycle, do convey a specific, yet important, component of Lovecraft’s philosophical outlook on the world, the Universe and reality. This has been discussed by both Joshi as well as other authors such as Darrell Schweitzer.  I highly recommend his essay “Lovecraft and Lord Dunsany” in Discovering H.P. Lovecraft (edited by Darrell Schweitzer; 1995). However, here we focus on possible scientific interpretations of Lovecraft’s tales within the confines of our known sciences. In the case of his Dunsanian Cycle of stories, discussions of the Multiverse are warranted, specifically when considering the Dreamlands.

As initially discussed in the previous article “Supporting Evidence of M-Theory on the Nature of the Multiverse in Lovecraft’s “The Statement of Randolph Carter,”” the Dreamlands may be a Universe adjacent to ours, which may provide evidence for the M-theory. That is, matter and energy are composed for strings vibrating in 11 dimensions (of which we can perceive – our Space-Time).  Three of the four fundamental forces of nature (electromagnetism, strong nuclear and weak nuclear) are open loop strings that that have their ends bound to one brane (our Universe). However, gravity, or the particles of gravity called gravitons, are closed loops strings and so they can freely exist and move from one brane to another (Dark matter, Dark Energy, Dark Gravity: Enabling a Universe that Supports Intelligent Life by Stephen Perrenod; 2013). This, essentially, is M-theory – it integrates string theory with the multi-dimensional structure of reality (hyperspace). The key to M-theory is that it demonstrates that sub-atomic particles are confined to our brane but gravity, being a distortion of hyperspace, can flow between and among the Universes (Einstein’s Cosmos: How Albert Einstein’s Vision Transformed Our Understanding of Space and Time by Michio Kaku; 2004).

brane_world_www.abyss.uoregon.edu                                                 A model of M-Theory and string Theory – are the Dreamlands another Brane (Universe)? (www.abss.uoregon.edu)

So what does all of this have to do with Lovecraft’s “The White Ship?” I hypothesize that most if not all of Lovecraft’s Dreamland stories are expeditions or at least a documentation of an adjacent brane (Universe) in the existing Multiverse. Specifically, the Dreamlands is an adjacent brane to ours with very small modifications to the nature of its elementary strings, which results in slight variations in the operation of its four fundamental forces. Such variations need to be extremely small since substantial diversions result in the absence of matter as we know it or mass or the universal coalescence of some type of proto-matter. In the case of the Dreamlands, the modifications are extremely slight relative to our Universe to allow for the creation of matter and the evolution of life but they are still different enough to result in some variation in their Space-Time and the operation of the four fundamental forces. Lovecraft’s “The White Ship,” written in late 1919, documents one person’s travel from our brane to the Dreamlands brane and how it impacted his life. It is one of Lovecraft’s first of a series of tales about the Dreamlands brane.

whiteship_blewzenblog1 The White Ship by Alvaro Nebot (www.blewzenart.blogspot.com)

In the tale the lighthouse keeper Basil Elton tells about a white ship that always comes out of the south when the moon is full and high, whether the ocean and winds are rough or calm. The ship always moves smooth and silent over the waters, whatever state they are in, with its sails full and its oars moving rhythmically. This here may be indicative of the white ship not be a part of our Space-Time. Regardless of the weather, the white ship always had the same appearance, coming in smoothly and silently.

Once night the old, bearded captain of the White Ship asks Basil to accompany him on his journeys and Basil accepts. Basil walks over the waters on a “bridge of moonbeams” and onto the ship. This bridge of moonbeams may have been composed of some type of luminescent material to guide Basil to the ship. However, if the bridge was truly composed of “moonbeams,” the light it is composed of may originate from the Dreamlands and have inherently different properties than light in our Universe.

standard_model2_416_www.phys.org_Imagecredit_AAAs                                                                      Standard Model for Particle Physics showing the bosons and fermions (from http://www.phys.org; Image credit: AAAS).

In our brane (Universe), light is composed of photons, which are massless particles called bosons and are force carriers (for light this is the electromagnetic force); this is in contrast to fermions, which are particles that have mass.  In our Universe it is the massless property of photons that allows them to spread over large distances without restrictions associated with energy conservation and allows the electromagnetic (EM) force to exert its influence over a long range (Particle Physics: A Very Short Introduction by Frank Close; 2004). However, this is in our Universe. In another brane, such as the Dreamlands, the fundamental forces of nature may behave very differently. In this case, if the photon has an extremely small mass, even if it were a fraction of mass of an electron, this would limit the potential influence of the EM force in the Dreamlands relative to other forces of nature such as gravity. The coalescence of nebula into stars would be a slower process relative to our Universe and stars in the Dreamland would generally burn dimmer relative to ours. This could also have profound influence on Time within the Dreamlands so the rate of time passing would be different in the Dreamlands relative to our Universe (a little more on this later).

h_p__lovecraft_s_the_white_ship_by_cheesecake_weasel-d624gsf                                        Walking over to the White Ship on a bridge of moonbeams by Cheesecake Weasel (www.deviantart.com)

Getting back to the bridge of moonbeams, if indeed photons had some amount of mass in the Dreamlands, then maybe it is possible to walk on light in that Universe, the way we walk on a bridge built with matter adhering to the EM forces at work. Obviously, a great degree of research and exploration of the Dreamlands would be required to confirm this hypothesis of light with mass. More than likely the bridge was some type of generated repulsive field using EM or nuclear forces and possibly giving off light as a by-product.

Next time we will discuss Basil Elton’s journey into the Dreamlands on the White Ship. Thank you – Fred.

Supporting Evidence of M-Theory on the Nature of the Multiverse in Lovecraft’s “The Statement of Randolph Carter

warren_meets_his_doom_by_pickmans_model                     Warren meets his Doom by Frohickey (www.deviantart.com)

When Harley Warren entered the under-ground crypt in that forgot graveyard in the Big Cypress Swamp, he discovered something that cost him his life.  He had an idea something aberrant was lurking in that tomb, which is why he would not let his friend Randolph Carter go down with him. However, what Warren thought was down there and what was revealed to be there were probably two very different things. To analyze exactly what was down in that under-ground tomb, I want to discuss H.P. Lovecraft’s “The Statement of Randolph Carter” from both a macro-scale and a micro-scale.

From a macro-scale perspective, Warren may have stumbled into a portal in that tomb that connects our Space-Time to another Universe. There are a unique sub-group of Lovecraft’s tales that hint at the possibility that our Universe is some connected or super-positioned onto another one. Stories such as “The White Ship,” “Pickman’s Model,” “The Nameless City,” “The Festival,” and “Celephais” all provide evidence for the existence of another Universe and the possibility for entities from one Universe visiting the other. The portal or bridge between the two Universe could be a specific location in our Space-Time, the use of some type of alien technology or methodology, or simply dreams. The under-ground tomb in that Floridian swamp may have been one of these portals and Warren may have found this out through the book he was carrying, written in alien characters. It has been questioned whether or not this book is perhaps at least a partial translation of the Necronomicon (Joshi, 1999; Klinger, 2014).  Similar to Walter Gilman in “Dreams in the Witch-House,” Warren may have found a formula or methodology that could be used to access higher dimensions to open a portal to another Universe.  If indeed Warren opened a portal and peered into it, it would help explain some of this statements to Carter such as “God! If you could seed what I am seeing!”, “Carter, it’s terrible – monstrous – unbelievable!”, and “It’s too utterly beyond thought – I dare not tell you – no man could know it and live – Great God! I never dreamed of this.” Are these statements Warrens attempt to understand what he was seeing – a portal that opened up from one Universe (or brane) to another and what was on the other side?

warren 1_SaraBardi_www.dreamquestofunknownkadath.com                                                                                                    Harley Warren by Sara Bardi (www.dreamquestofunknownkadath.com)

Modern cosmology is not considered the pseudoscience it was in the past and current hypotheses on the nature of reality may help to explain what Warren experienced.  Super String theory (also known as String theory) is an attempt to describe a unified field theory (a theory for everything) that would unite all four forces of nature (gravity, electromagnetism, strong nuclear force and weak nuclear force), based on tiny, micro-atomic strings vibrating in 10 or 11-dimensional Space-Time. A strong point of String theory is that it integrates gravity, where other theories cannot. A weak point of String theory is that it cannot provide solutions for every aspect of its model. Thus, a number of solutions are being investigated for M-Theory (essentially an extension of String theory) that include super-symmetry as well as the possibility of adding another dimension into the calculations (www.mkaku.org). For the sake of this discussion, Warren may have opened a portal from our Space-Time brane to another brane (potentially the Dreamlands). Additionally, our brane and the Dreamlands brane may be a series of branes that are single parts of a complex Multiverse that extends into our Space-Time as well as into higher dimensions.

040400sci-universal-theory_A_SteveDuenes_NewYorkTimes Proposed ideas of M-theory and the Multiverse (illustration by Steve Duenes of the New York Times)

From a micro-scale perspective, we have very little information on what the “things” or entities were that Warren encounters in the under-ground tomb. Two hypotheses are proposed.  First, they may be the individuals that were somehow brought back to life through some unknown mechanisms but possibly similar to Dr. Herbert West’s serum in “Herbert West – Reanimator.” Possibly the unique environmental conditions under-ground and/or being adjacent to the portable to the Dreamlands brane, reanimates the dead. This would explain the statement “…why certain corpses never decay, but rest firm and fat in their tombs for a thousand years.” Of course a recently dead individual would probably understand how to use a telephone and speak English so the chilling response Carter gets at the end of the tale would be understandable.

the_statement_of_randolph_carter_by_cheesecake_weasel-d6lmu64 The Statement of Randolph Carter by Cheesecake Weasel (www.deviantart.com)

An alternative hypothesis is the entities are not reanimated dead but instead ghouls, creatures that may be an extreme variation of human genetic / evolution and/or the result of some type of genetic disease (possibly triggered by a virus or prion). Under a certain set of circumstances humans can visit the Dreamlands brane but ghouls seem to accomplish this with a higher degree of ease and frequency relative to humans. Indeed, ghouls may take advantage of this ability as a means of traveling largely unseen from graveyard to graveyard. Whether this ability is largely based on an intrinsic, genetic ability of the ghouls or of knowledge / technology on how to utilize dreams and access portals to move between the branes is largely unknown.

ghoulsgraveyard1_MarkFoster_hplovecraftart.blogspot.com Ghoul’s Graveyard by Mark Foster (www.hplovecraftart.blogspot.com)

If the ghoul hypothesis is correct, the idea of certain corpses that never decay and appear to be firm and fat may be ghouls posing as the dead to avoid being discovered. If this is the case, then Harley Warren did more just examine dead bodies in the tomb. Maybe Warren knew this under-ground tomb in Florida was one of the points where our Space-Time’s brane connected to another (the Dreamlands brane?) and he somehow accessed or opened this connection. This would have easily upset the ghouls, either posing as the dead or possibly coming from the other brane entering ours to find Warren. To keep their existence, as well as the ability to travel to other universes a secret, it is not surprising that the ghouls would kill Warren and tell Carter that “…Warren is Dead!” Using superstition to keep knowledge on the nature and structure of Space-Time, reality and the Multiverse a secret is a re-occurring theme in many of Lovecraft’s writings.

tle_081_www.littleempire.blogspot.com

The climatic scene from Lovecraft’s “The Statement of Randolph Carter” as shown in Lego format (www.littleempire.blogspot.com)

Next time more evidence of the M-theory in Lovecraft’s writings will be presented in a discussion of his tale “The White Ship.” Thank you – Fred.

Early 20th Century Technology in “The Statement of Randolph Carter”

SoRC_Andrew_Brosnatch                               The Statement of Randolph Carter by Andrew Bronsnatch

In H.P. Lovecraft’s “The Statement of Randolph Carter,” written in 1919 (The Call of Cthulhu and Other Weird Stores by S.T. Joshi, 1999), several relatively new forms of early 20th century technology were utilized. First is the electric lantern. As Harley Warren and Randolph Carter travel through the Big Cypress Swamp in the dark they use electric lanterns to find their way. The first commercially successful, portable electric lantern used a dry cell battery and was available for purchase before the end of 1896 (www.candlepowerforums.com). The Acme Electric Lamp Company held the patent for the electric lantern. Unfortunately for Acme the electric lantern was short-lived as its popularity declined with the increased availability of the tubular flashlight, which was invented in 1898 (www.candlepowerforums.com). Ironically, while potable electric lighting was a relatively new technology, by the time electric flashlight was readily available, the electric lantern was rendered obsolete. Thus, even by 1919 the use of an electric lantern would have been thought of by at least some as antiquated.

vintage-antique-1920-s-1930-s-electric-flashlight-lantern_www.tearpeak.com                                                                                              A vintage electric lantern (www.terapeak.com)

antique-flashlight-lot-early-electric-flashlights-French-Rayolite-Winchester-Laurel-Leaf-Farm-item-no-nt718153-3           Antique electric flashlights

In contrast to the electric lantern, very little information is readily available on the portable telephone outfit, used by Henry Warren to communicate with Randolph Carter above-ground.  As Leslie S. Klinger has noted in The Annotated H.P. Lovecraft (2014) on “The Statement of Randolph Carter,” information on a phone system as described by Lovecraft – where two telephones are directly connected to each other by wire – is not widely available.  Apparently, Frederick F. Strong filed a patent application in 1905 for a portable telephone unit where two phones were connected with wire (Klinger, 2014).  However, in Lovecraft’s day, technological advances in the telephone technology was occurring at an accelerated pace, similar to the advances in the home computer through the 1980’s or current advances in hand held electronic devices.

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1912dub1_www.earlyradiohistory.us

Indeed, in the early 20th century as the quality and range of telephone technology increased, there were discussions of having “a wireless telephone outfit in a suit-case–or in any other convenient carrying receptacle–complete, and requiring only connection at any ordinary electric-light socket to make it capable of operating over a distance of fifty miles…” (from Technical World Magazine, 1912).  Additionally, the first coast to coast long-distance telephone call was in 1915 between Alexander Graham Bell in New York City and his formal assistant Thomas Augustus Watson in San Francisco.  By 1904 more than three million phones in the United States were connected to manual switchboard exchanges. Given the quick-based, technological evolution of the telephone, it was not surprising that Warren and Carter had a portable telephone outfit. However, what is surprising is the “thing” deep within the Earth knew how to operate the device. The next article will be a discussion of the creatures Harley Warren encountered underground. Thank you – Fred.

the_fate_of_harley_warren_by_frohickey The Fate of Harley Warren by Frohickey (www.deviantart.com)

The Hounds of Tindalos, Part 5: Final Thoughts on the Hounds

HofT_JbLee The Hounds of Tindalos by Jb Lee

Unlike H.P. Lovecraft’s “From Beyond” where a device is constructed that generates a particularity unique electromagnetic field that directly stimulates a part of our brain called the pineal gland, in Frank Belknap Long’s “The House of Tindalos” Halpin Chalmers consumes a drug that alters his brain chemistry and allows his consciousness to temporarily travel outside of the Space-Time of our Universe. In these travels Chalmers encounters beings that “have no bodies, and they move slowly through outrageous angles.” These are the Hounds of Tindalos.

Even in the absence of drugs or mental illness, the mind is constantly generating hallucinations and the anterior cingulate cortex is the key part of the brain that allows us to distinguish between external stimuli and those that are internally generated our mind (The Future of the Mind: The Scientific Quest to Understand, Enhance, and Empower the Mind by Michio Kaku, 2014). Unfortunately, in many forms of mental illness, including schizophrenia, the system that allows us to separate real (external) and imagined (internal) stimuli is damaged or is not correctly operating. Additionally, consciousness (at least for humans) can be defined as “the process of creating a model of our world in space and time (especially the future) by evaluating many feedback loops in various parameters” (Kaku, 2014). Thus, one of the outcomes of this is that mental illness is largely a disruption of the checks and balances between competing feedback loops (Kaku, 2014). This means that since we evolved in a Universe / reality of Space-Time – that is, three spatial dimensions and one of time – are minds and associated consciousness recognize linear time and uses this to make predictions for future actions. Mental illness and drugs can alter, modify or damage this perception.

The_Future_of_the_Mind_bookcover

The Liao drug ingested by Chalmers in “The Hounds of Tindalos” may have altered his perception of reality, particularly in reference to time, giving his mind “access” to components of our reality not normally perceived by us (as the Resonator does in “From Beyond”).  Specifically, in the case of “The Hounds of Tindalos” Chalmers’s mind was provided access to outside of our Space-Time.  This access beyond our or any other Space-Time may be similar to the circumstances that occurred in Clark Ashton Smith’s “Ubbo-Sathla.”

Stepping out of our (or any) Space-Time is very different than using a wormhole to enter another part of our Universe or using extra-dimensional travel to enter another Universe.  To be completely out of Space-Time would be an unnerving condition for the human mind and this certainly seems to be the case for Chalmers.  While in the beginning of the tale Chalmers appears to be a little eccentric and perhaps even bipolar (which may have actually made him more susceptible to the Liao drug), after he has taken the drug and is outside of Space-Time he appears to suffer from a mental breakdown. His mind, attempting to perceive the absence of time, or perhaps even meta-time, attempts to compensate by observing a wide array of historical events in human history. Additionally, Chalmers also documents the presence of other entities that either exist or visit outside the Space-Time, which includes a mysterious It that can move “through strange curves and outrageous angles,” the Doels (more on them in future articles) and of course the Hounds of Tindalos.

the_hounds_of_tindalos_by_nottsuo-d9sed54 The Hounds of Tindalos by Nottsuo (www.deivantart.com)

We know the Hounds exist outside of Space-Time but we don’t know if they originate from there. Were they visitors who got stuck outside and have remained there? Or maybe they are the refugees from a long dead Universe, living on the outskirts of our Space-Time. The one thing we do know is once an entity from our Space-Time is recognized by the Hounds, they can easily track that entity (in this case Chalmers) to their Space-Time, entering it through angles. However, to what end? Once the Hounds recognize an entity, what do they want with it?

When the Hounds eventually track down Chalmers investigators found him stretched out on his back in his apartment dead.  He was naked and his chest and arms were covered with a foul-smelling bluish pus, ichor or slime. His head was removed from his neck and was laying on his chest. While his head was “twisted and torn and horribly mangled,” there was no trace of blood. This may be a key point in reference to the Hounds. They exist outside of Space-Time but if they encounter an entity from a specific Universe, they lock on their “scent.” What this scent is we don’t know; it could be signature of DNA, the entity’s consciousness, brain activity or other life signature, or some other factor associated with being bound in Space-Time. Once the Hounds have the scent eventually they find their prey and apparently feed on their blood. However, it appears that they cannot survive too long in our bound Space-Time and immediately disappear back into the void outside of Space-Time.

49-hound of tindalos                                                                                  The Hound of Tindalos by Michael Bukowski (www.yog-blogsoth.blogspot.com)

In conclusion, anyone doing research on the structure and nature of reality, particularly if this research includes surveys or investigations outside of Space-Time, whether this includes the use of drugs, sensory deprivation or high particle physics, need to be wary of The Hounds of Tindalos.  I do want to mention that Mr. Jim Moon will be posting a reading of “The Hounds of Tindalos” very soon and you can find that on www.hypnogoria.com or on iTunes at the Hypnobobs Podcast. Please look out for that since Jim’s readings of weird tales is always extremely enjoyable.

Next time we will H.P. Lovecraft’s “The Statement of Randolph Carter.” Thank you – Fred.

the_hounds_of_tindalos_by_douzen-d8iem99 The Hounds of Tindalos by Douzen (www.deviantart.com)

The Hounds of Tindalos, Part 4: Can Life Exist Without Enzymes?

hound_of_tindalos_experiment_2_by_kingovrats-d6c30bz  The Hounds of Tindalos – Experiment 2 by KingOvRats (www.deviantart.com)

An excerpt from Frank Belknap Long’s “The Hounds of Tindalos”

Report of James Morton, chemist and bacteriologist:

            My dear Mr. Douglas:

            The fluid sent to me for analysis is the most peculiar that I have ever examined. It resembles living protoplasm, but it lacks the peculiar substances known as enzymes. Enzymes catalyze the chemical reactions occurring in living cells, and when the cell dies they cause it to disintegrate by hydrolyzation. Without enzymes protoplasm should possess enduring vitality, i.e., immortality. Enzymes are the negative components, so to speak, of unicellular organism, which is the basic of all life. That living matter can exist without enzymes biologists emphatically deny. And yet the substance that you have sent me is alive and it lacks these “indispensable” bodies. Good God, sir, you realize what astounding new vistas this opens up?

This report at the conclusion of Frank Belknap Long’s “The Hounds of Tindalos” is one of the rare instances where a direct scientific analysis was conducted on an entity thought to originate from beyond our Space-Time. I want to address two points made by Mr. Morton in his report. First, Morton mentions that the blue, viscus, biological material sent to him lacked enzymes, which are essentially globular proteins that catalyze almost all biological reactions in cells (more on this later). However, I want to analyze his statement – “Without enzymes protoplasm should possess enduring vitality…”

The development and use of the microscope in the 17th century by Antoine van Leeuwenhoek and Robert Hooke revealed a microscopic world of unicellular life, such as the animalcules, as well as the idea that cells were the biological building blocks of organisms. As microscopes became more powerful the details within the cells revealed components such as organelles and cytoplasm. Initially, the material inside the cell was called protoplasm and thought of as a mystical substance that gave life its “vital” forces; such ideas were thought to correlate well with Aristotle’s concept of the soul, which lead to the concept of vitalism (Life on the Edge: The Coming Age of Quantum Biology by Johnjoe McFadden and Jim Al-Khalili, 2014).  Vitalism was a popular idea in the 19th century and essentially stated that life was animated by a special force absent from non-living material.

antonie-van-leeuwenhoek-animalcules                                                                          Illustration of some of the animalcules Antoine van Leeuwenhoek observed in his microscope (www.famousscientists.org)

Through the 19th century and into the early 20th century biochemical compounds were identified within the cell and subsequently synthesized in the laboratory.  Eventually these compounds were called enzymes and it was eventually revealed that they operate under the same natural laws of physics and chemistry of non-living matter, vitalism gave way to mechanistic materialism (Johnjoe McFadden and Jim Al-Khalili, 2014).  H.P. Lovecraft was a firm materialist so he would not have been very supportive of vitalism.  In contrast, Long had a completely different view of vitalism in “The Hounds of Tindalos,” where enzymes are the negative component of the cell, limiting the potential for vitality to secure immortality. So what exactly are enzymes?

Enzymes are essentially catalysts to biochemical functions. This means they essentially “speed up” (by “speeding up” they lower the activation energy threshold so the reaction can occur) biochemical reactions that otherwise would move at a rate far too slow for life to exist (Johnjoe McFadden and Jim Al-Khalili, 2014).  For example, collagenase is an enzyme that breakdown down animal collagen fibers. In the presence of this enzyme this form of decomposition takes about 30 minutes; however, in its absence it would take more than 68 million years. Clearly, enzymes are “vital” to life on Earth.

tindalos 900pKLTurner_lovecraftbestiary.blogspot.com Hound of Tindalos by K.L. Turner (www.lovecraftbestiary.blogspot.com)

According to the report provided by Morton enzymes are a “negative component” of life, responsible for the eventual death of the cell. In fact, enzymes are better described as “the engines of life” (Johnjoe McFadden and Jim Al-Khalili, 2014).  All of life, at least life as we understand it, depends on enzymes for its operation. From metabolism, to photosynthesis, to respiration, to decomposition, to the replication of DNA, all biochemical activities are reactions depends on enzymes. In a way, enzymes can be thought of as little biological nanomachines.

If the Hounds of Tindalos have no enzymes, as least as we recognize enzymes as globular proteins, how do their biochemical reactions operate? A number of hypotheses are being proposed.

  1. While the globular protein enzymes are the catalysts for life on Earth, many some other organic or inorganic substance serves as the catalyst for the Hounds physiology. For example, a simple mixture of hydrogen gas and oxygen gas has no recreation; however, if finely divided platinum is added, an explosive reaction occurs and water is created (Elements of Biological Science by William T. Keeton and Carol Hardy McFadden, 1983). The platinum (an inorganic element) is the catalyst in this reaction. Thus, in Hound physiology, some otherwise unknown or unidentified element or compound may serve as the catalyst, or enzyme.

 

  1. An alternative hypothesis is based on the fact that if the Hounds themselves are not just from another Universe but are entirely out of Space-Time (of our Universe or others) then time may not work for them as it does for us. Their biochemistry may not be limited to the constraints of our Space-Time, even when they enter ours. This means that their biochemistry is not “time-dependent” like ours and thus may function without the need for catalysts such as enzymes. Of course this may indicate that their existence in our Space-Time may be very limited or even fleeting; staying too long in our Space-Time, the Hounds may eventually succumb to the erosion of time and their biochemistry may cease to function.

 

  1. Yet another hypothesis may be associated with the fledging field of quantum biology, which attempts to explain and predict biology (particularly at the biochemical level) using concepts developed through quantum mechanics. This would be a whole series of articles onto themselves and may aid in our attempts to understand the Old Ones; however, for now this discussion will be limited to the subject of enzymes. From a quantum perspective, enzymes (catalysts in general) can be understood through Transition State Theory (TST). The intermediate stage between prior to and after the enzyme has reduced the activation energy threshold to accomplish its biochemical goal is called the Transition State. It is hypothesized that the Hounds from Tindalos can somehow keep their atoms in a perpetual transitional state, avoiding the need for enzymes. Such “quantum tunneling” would avoid the need to overcome the activation energy threshold in our standard biochemical reactions.

 

212_Enzymes-01_www.cnx.org Enzymes lower the activation energy threshold to allow biochemical reactions to occur faster.  Do the Hounds of Tindalos avoid this through “quantum tunneling?” (www.cnx.org)

Of course there may be other alternative hypotheses or we as a species in this Space-Time may be unable to comprehend how the biology of the Hounds of Tindalos even operates. Our limited five senses may be unable to understand the Hounds. However, even if this is the case, this will not stop us continuing to attempt to under the nature of entities from outside of our Universe or even Space-Time. Next time we wrap up our discussion on “The Hounds of Tindalos.” Thank you – Fred.

a_hound_of_tindalos_by_dhaem17                                A Hound of Tindalos by Dhaem17 (www.deivantart.com)