Specialized Mode of Feeding of the Star Vampire


Star Vampire illustrations by Christopher Burdett (2012 Fantasy Flight Games)

On Earth larger animals that are composed of millions of cells need a way to get nutrient and oxygen supplies to all of these cells, while at the same time transport waste products away from these cells.  This is the purpose of a circulation system.  Most multicellular animals have some sort of circulation system.  There are exceptions such as rotifers, which are freshwater microscopic animals that are composed of only a few thousand cells, but for the most part most animals – insects, mammals, reptiles, mollusks, echinoderms – all have some sort of circulation system.  Even the Elder Things (also known as the Q’Hrell), based on the anatomical investigations of the doomed Lake Party, have been confirmed to possess some type of circulation system.

For a circulation system to function, that is to supply cells with nutrients and oxygen and remove waste products and carbon dioxide, some type of conveyance system is required. That conveyance system is blood. Blood is a type of tissue (specialized collection of cells that performs a specific function) that performs these necessary physiology functions. Blood itself is composed of red and white blood cells suspended in blood plasma. Blood also contains proteins, glucose, mineral ion and hormones. Given how rich blood is in proteins and lipids, it’s not surprising that many animals have adapted to feeding on the blood of other animals as a form of predation or parasitism.

engorged%20females%20by%20day_www-tickapp-tamu-edu Ticks feed exclusively on blood as ectoparasites (www.tickapp.tamu.edu)

Some of the more commonly known haematophagic (that is, blood feeders) animals include lampreys (feeding on fish), leeches, mosquitoes, ticks and vampire bats. However, there are other blood-feeding animals that we normally do not think of as being haematophagic such as some birds (hood mockingbirds and oxpeckers) and insects (Gatekeeper butterflies). Given the nutritional value of blood, more animals probably feed on this fluid tissue that we realize. While some haematophagic animals pose a real and substantial threat to the health of humans, such as mosquitoes and ticks, this is not due to their feeding but as a result of them being vectors for microbial diseases such as the Zika virus, the West Nile virus and the Lyme disease bacterium Borrelia burgdorferi. Also the many of the haematophagic species are more parasitic in nature; quietly and carefully taking a blood meal before the victim realizes what is being done.

Mosquito Bite     

Mosquito before and after feeding on a blood meal (www.jcehrlich.com)

True predatory haematophagic species are somewhat rare in nature. If you are predator and want to consume your prey, why just go for the blood? There are plenty of other parts and organs that are highly nutritious as well. Thus, true vampires, species that feed exclusively on the blood in a predatory nature (resulting in the immediate death of the prey), are not well known in Terran biology. This certainly does not mean it is not possible to have a highly specialized predator that feeds exclusively on blood.  Probably the closest thing on Earth that functions in that capacity are spiders.

Spiders are a specialized group of terrestrial arthropods that inject venom to kill or incapacitate their prey and then inject digestive enzymes into their prey to liquefy their tissues. Thus, in this case, the spiders are feeding on all of the tissues and organs not just the blood. However, there are a few jumping spiders found in East Africa that specialize in hunting and feeding on mosquitoes filled with human blood (www.iflscience.com).

star_vampire_by_butttornado-tentaclesandteeth-d7eon44 Star Vampire by Butttornado (www.deivantart.com)

In the case of “The Shambler from the Stars,” the star vampires appear to feed exclusively on the blood of its victims. In this tale the unnamed victim is raised into the air and attacked, his neck torn and the blood was “…spraying like a ruby fountain.” However, as the blood fell it stopped and disappeared in mid-air, which was coupled with a sucking noise. The body of the victim was quickly drained of blood – it “became shrunken, wizened, lifeless” and then dropped to the floor.

14566243_10209683087407637_5634000613604804429_o Attack of the Start Vampire by Jb Lee

As the invisible star vampire was draining the blood of its victim, it started to become visible. It was described as “…red and dripping; an immensity of pulsing, moving jelly; a scarlet blob with myriad tentacular trunks that waved and waved. There were suckers on the tips of the appendages, and these were opening and closing with ghoulish lust…The thing was bloated and obscene; a headless, faceless, eyeless bulk with the ravenous maw and titanic talons of a star-born monster. The human blood on which it had fed revealed the hitherto invisible outlines of the feaster.”

Once filled with its blood meal the thing immediately departed, apparently with the book as well. Unlike Terran life the star vampire appears to feed exclusively on blood in a very aggressive manner. It did not appear to feed on another other part of the body. This may be an evolutionary advantage. If the star vampire is part of the inter-dimensional plankton (i.e. “From Beyond”) as previously hypothesized, summoning it with the book may only give it a short period of time to feed before it must return to its own dimension or Space-Time. This would explain its immediate appearance and disappearance and why did it not bother to attack the other person in the room. Digesting organs and bone takes time; even with the most powerful digestive enzymes. Thus, draining the blood would be the quickest way of obtaining sustenance before you had to return to your own Space-Time.

ShamblerFromTheStars watermark.jpg                  Star Vampire by Nick Gucker (www.nickthehat.com)

What is almost as scary as the star vampire’s extremely aggressive, predatory nature is that it appears to be sentient, cruel and malevolent. It could be heard cruelly laughing when it appeared and after it was done feeding. Additionally, taking the book indicates that while it may enjoy someone reading from the book and summoning it so it can feed, this tome was not meant for humans. So some unknown reason, in spite of getting a quick meal, the star vampire did not want humans to have access to Ludvig Prinn’s De Vermis Mysteriis.

de_vermis_mysteriis__mysteries_of_the_worm__2_by_herbertw-d6s8gjl.jpg De Vermis Mysteriis by Herbertw (www.deivantart.com)

Next time we dive into the second part of the Bloch – Lovecraft – Bloch trilogy, “The Haunter of the Dark.” Thank you – Fred.

Is the Shambler from the Stars another form of inter-dimensional plankton?

the_shambler_from_the_stars_by_leselwyn                     The mystic from Providence in “The Shambler from the Stars” by Leselwyn (www.deviantart.com)

Robert Bloch’s “The Shambler from the Stars” is the first of a trilogy of stories written by Bloch, Lovecraft and then Bloch again. Over the next month we will discuss the science associated with these three stories, starting with Bloch’s “The Shambler from the Stars.” In this tale the protagonist takes a book, the De Vermis Mysteriis – translated to be Mysteries of the Worm – written by Ludvig Prinn, to a friend in Providence, Rhode Island. While not explicitly stated, his friend “a mystic dreamer in New England” is supposed to be H.P. Lovecraft. While the friend is reading the book out loud, an entity appears and kills him by essentially draining all of his blood. When the entity first appears it is completely invisible to human eyes.

ludwigprinn_gregponychuk Ludvig Prinn by Greg P. Onychuk

Our perception of vision originates from light, which is a portion of the electromagnetic spectrum, hitting an object, being reflected off its surface and entering our eye.  The reason why most plants look green is that the photosynthetic pigment chlorophyll absorbs the reds and blues and reflects the greens, which then enter our eye. However, if light is not absorbed or reflected an object may be invisible.  In nature near-invisibility can be achieved by allowing light to pass through an organism. Examples include moon jellies (see below). Their nearly invisible, more transparent, appearance makes it difficult for predators, which may include tunas, sharks, swordfish, sea turtles and other jellies, to see the moon jellies.  The transparent appearance of the jellies probably makes it easier for them to also capture zooplankton for food since these micro-animals are fairly light sensitive.

moonjelly A moon jelly

jellyfish_richardmodlin-com                                                                                       Moon jellies floating in the oceanic plankton; note how difficult they are to see (www.richardmodlin.com)

Similar to the moon jelly, the freshwater, predatory zooplankter Chaoborus (also known as the glassworm or the phantom midge) is almost transparent, making it difficult for fish to visually find and feed on them, as well as making it difficult for smaller zooplankton to evading this predator. Both of these planktonic examples show that being nearly invisible has an ecological advantage in both avoiding being captured and consumed by predators as well as being able to capture unsuspecting prey. Given this ecological value to near invisibility, more than likely these values also apply to the invisible entity the protagonist’s friend calls up by reading aloud from the De Vermis Mysteriis. While not given a specific name in the tale, there are references in Prinn’s tome of “invisible companions” and “Star-sent servants,” the entity is frequently referred to as a “star vampire.”

chaoborus_8687333746_6cca39451c                                               Freshwater predatory zooplankter Chaoborus, also known as the phantom midge.

In “The Shambler from the Stars” it is suggested a number of times that the summoned star vampire is from distance space. However, I propose the hypothesis that the star vampire is similar to the entities experienced in the tale “From Beyond” when the resonator is turned on. After the mystic from Providence was done reciting the passage the protagonist states that they hear thundering tones that seem to original from far away and yet was burning in his brain.  The room went cold with a sudden wind that shrieked through the house. These conditions are similar to what is experienced when the resonator is activated. Thus, the star vampire may be another planktonic denizen floating in the inter-dimensional plankton, where it cannot perceive us and we cannot perceive it. As we know, when the resonator is activated the inter-dimensional barriers are lowered and perception is achieved. Is it possible that some of the passages in the De Vermis Mysteriis lower these same inter-dimensional barriers? Perhaps the mystic from Providence did not summon the star vampire but instead lowered the barriers to allow a star vampire to see in our Space-Time.

star_vampire_by_clone_artist Star Vampire by Clone Artist (www.deviantart.com)

Unlike the inter-dimensional plankton in “From Beyond,” the star vampire remained invisible even when the inter-dimensional barriers were lowered. However, once it begins to feed it unfortunately becomes very visible. Thus, next time we will discuss the feeding habits of the star vampire and make additional comparisons between it and moon jellies. Thank you – Fred.

Time Travel and the Silver Key


“The Sliver Key” is one of H.P. Lovecraft’s more personal tales.  In it Lovecraft shares his longing and nostalgia for the past; mostly for his own past but also for the past of a by gone day. For this article we will not conduct a psychological interpretation of “The Silver Key” relative to the events in his life, specifically his return to Providence from New York City. If you are interested in such discussions I strongly recommend S.T. Joshi’s   I Am Providence: The Life and Times of H.P. Lovecraft (2013) and Kenneth Hite’s Tour de Lovecraft: The Tales (2011).  Additionally, I would also strongly recommend the Chris Lackey and Chad Fifer’s H.P. Lovecraft Literary Podcast (www.hppodcraft.com) episode on the “The Silver Key” where Kenneth Hite was a guest discussing this tale. However, here we are focusing on the science of time travel in “The Silver Key.”


In the tale Randolph Carter lost the “key of the gate of dreams” and could no longer enter the Dreamlands, which we have hypothesized is an alternative or parallel Universe with its own set of natural laws. In The Dream-Quest of Unknown Kadath it is mentioned that only three humans ever crossed and re-crossed the black impious gulfs to other dreamlands (a reference to other Universes?) and two of three came back insane. Weary of the world Carter withdraws into his own world surrounding himself with relics of his youth. One evening, in a dream, his grandfather reminds him of the silver key that has been handed down by his ancestors from generation to generation. Before he awakes, Carter’s grandfather tells him where to find the key, which was in a carved oak box. Carter finds the key in his attic, indeed in a strangely Gothic carved box. Somehow this was supposed to be a key to the lost gate of dreams.

With this key in his possession Carter’s dreams increase in vividness, possibly getting glimpses of Dreamlands. He then knows he needs to return to the place of his youth, haunted Arkham. As he passes over the Miskatonic River and approaches the woods of his youth, he pulls his car to the side and with the key in his coat pocket gets out and starts to walk. As he is walking in the woods and enters a clearing he sees “across leagues of twilight meadow and spied the old Congregational steeple on Central Hill in Kingsport.” However, this perplexed him since he knew the old white church was torn down years ago to make room for the Congregational Hospital. While he does not fully realize it at the time, Carter’s consciousness was transported into his younger self at this moment. The exact mechanism causing this travel into the past is not known as this time.  However, it appears that Carter had to both possess the key and be at this specific location in the Arkham woods, the same location he frequented when he was 10 years old.

The_Miskatonic_River_www.evil.wikia.com.jpg The Miskatonic River (www.evil.wikia.com)

As described in previous articles, Lovecraft avoids some time travel paradoxes by having the consciousness and not the physical body traveling into the past. At this point in time young Carter seems to be confused; however, the next day he takes the silver key back to the wooded hills and into a “strange cave in the forest slope, the dreaded, “snake-den” which country folk shunned…” In the farthermost corner, deep in the cave, Carter approaches a granite wall and pulls the silver key out of his pocket. After that event young Carter seemed different; Carter seems to have the ability to predict events of the future. He would talk about new inventions and events, which would subsequently come true. He even knew about situations that occurred during the Great War. And then one day, Carter just disappeared. His car was found along the side of the road half way up Elm Mountain. The silver key was gone but the strange wooden box was found in the car.

Initially, this may appear to be a paradoxically “time loop” where the individual is doomed to repeat the same actions over and over; traveling to the past, re-living a portion of his life only to reach that point in time when he travels back to the past and the cycle repeats.  However, “The Sliver Key” provides evidence for the quantum view of time – that is, the “river” model and not the “arrow in the air” model of time, where being part of Space-Time, the multiverse is composed of many Universes as well as many “Times.”

randolph_carter_www-vsbattles-wikia-com                     Randolph Carter (www.vsbattles.wikia.com)

The disenchanted Carter at the beginning of “The Silver Key” is very different than the one who can predict future events. Thus, each of these “Carters” may represent a different Time-Line Universe. One may indeed may be stuck in a time loop, reverting back into the 10-year-old once he acquires the silver key as an adult. Although the young Carter who possesses the silver key has a slightly different time-line, his “fate” appears to be the same – disappearing in the Arkham woods. However, I hypothesize that the first Carter loops back to give his younger self the silver key to alter his own timeline so that he can eventually go back to the Dreamlands. Thus, I further hypothesize that the second Carter does not loop back in time but instead goes back to the Dreamlands (support for this hypothesis will be provided in future discussions of “Through the Gates of the Silver Key”). Additionally, this strange convoluted means by getting to the Dreamlands may have been necessary to avoid going insane once re-crossing from our Universe to the Dreamlands, as referenced in the beginning of The Dream-Quest of Unknown Kadath.

silkey_www.redhorsewebdesign.com.png                                                     The Silver Key (www.redhorsewebdesgin.com)

Did one time-line Carter sacrifice another to be stuck in a time-loop so another could re-enter the Dreamlands? Or did both consciousnesses re-merge back into one “self” once Carter re-entered the Dreamlands? We will probably never know. However, it does appear that the “key” to Carter re-entering the Dreamlands, after the events of The Dream-Quest of Unknown Kadath, is the ancestral silver key. Again, we will continue these investigations when we analyze the tale of “Through the Gates of the Silver Key” written by H.P. Lovecraft and E. Hoffmann Price.

For the rest of October, we will be reviewing the Bloch – Lovecraft “Haunter Trilogy” of tales starting with Robert Bloch’s “The Shambler from the Stars.” Thank you – Fred.

H.P. Lovecraft and Time Travel, Part 2


Einstein’s theories of relativity combined the three dimensions of space with time to create four-dimensional Space-Time. As part of the special theory of relativity, the closer you reach the speed of light, the slower the rate of time so if you could travel at the speed of light you could travel into the future relative to everyone else.

While traveling into the future is possible within the confines of Einstein’s relativistic Space-Time, assuming one could achieve at least almost fast as the speed of light travel, traveling into the past does not seem feasible, particularly due to the paradoxes than can be generated when thinking of time as linear flow that has only one pathway.  For example, the “grandfather paradox” is an example of if you could travel into the past and prevent your grandfather from meeting your grandmother.  In such conditions, one of your parents would not be born and therefore you would not exist.  Another example is the “free lunch paradox” where you invent a new technology – say a time traveling machine – go back in the past and give the plans to your younger self. If you give your younger self the plans to the time machine did you even design / invent it in the first place?

In a more deterministic Universe of Einstein’s Relativity such paradoxes are perplexing.  However, as described in the previous article, additional work on Einstein’s equations by others, coupled with additional insights provided by quantum mechanics, have indicated that time is more like a meandering river than an arrow shot into the air.  Small inlets that easily break off the main stem of the river and can even flow back into the river further upstream.

lightconebig                                                    A two-dimensional lightcone diagram showing space and time (www.einstein.stanford.edu)

Taking the river analogy a little further, a small inlet that separates from the main stem may be another parallel universe with its own Space-Time. Thus, in the case of the grandfather paradox both occur – there is a Universe where you accomplished your goal and you were never born and there is another where you failed and you were born and there is probably another where you did not even build the time machine in the first place.

In the late 19th and early 20th century, time was generally perceived as always moving forward and in one specific, linear direction.  Traveling into the past or future was generally thought of the stuff of science fiction popularized by H.G. Wells in his influential novel The Time Machine, which Lovecraft called “thoroughly entertaining in every detail” (I Am Providence: The Life and Times of H.P. Lovecraft (by S.T. Joshi; 2013).  In the novel the narrator can travel into the distant past or future with the aid of a machine or vehicle as it’s called in the novel. Well’s stated in the novel that time is the fourth dimension, which means one would need a timeship to move through it as one would need a spaceship (or plane) to travel the three spatial dimensions. The use of a timeship was a fairly common troupe in science fiction literature in the early 20th century; however, for Lovecraft traveling through time and even space did not require a vehicle.

wells_maxresdefault George Pal in the 1960 movie version of H.G. Wells The Time Machine.

A frequent method of Space-Time travel used by Lovecraft was the exchange of consciousnesses between two entities as demonstrated in “Beyond the Wall of Sleep” and extremely effectively in The Shadow Out of Time. Essentially, the consciousness of an individual is a huge amount of information that is downloaded into the body of another. The Yithians appeared to master this on a species level, where they would avoid destruction by transferring their collective minds into another species from a distant world as well as from a distant time (past or future). In the case of The Shadow Out of Time the Yithians transferred their collective minds into the Cone-Shaped Beings who resided on Earth in the distant past, becoming what was then known as The Great Race.

great-race_AJ_Jankins_hatesnack.com.jpg A member of the Great Race by AJ Jankins (www.hatesnack.com)

By having the consciousness and not the material body travel through time Lovecraft avoids the compilations of removing matter from one time-stream and dumping into another. Essentially, information and not matter travels through time. As has been discussed in previous articles on The Shadow Out of Time such technology may be a possible way for humans to travel through interstellar space and possibly become immortal (The Future of the Mind: The Scientific Quest to Understand, Enhance, and Empower the Mind by Michio Kaku; 2014).


This form of time travel, particularly on a species level, avoids the need for the physical transport of an individual or individuals from one time to another, thus avoiding paradoxes with meeting oneself from a different time. This concept of time traveling and avoiding the paradox of meeting one’s self will be further reviewed in next week’s discussion of “The Silver Key.” Thank you – Fred.


H.P. Lovecraft and Time Travel


“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.


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).


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.


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.


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.