Necronomicon Convention talk Biology of the Old Ones, Part 13 – History of the Elder Ones on Earth, Part 1

The Elder Ones arrived on Earth around a billion years ago and used the existing prokaryotic life to create more complex life such as eukaryotic organisms and the Shoggoths.  However, their history on Earth is full of conflicts and complications that arose from a variety of entities and situations.

An Elder One and HPL, from Tales of the Cthulhu Mythos (Arkham House, 1990)
An Elder One and HPL, from Tales of the Cthulhu Mythos (Arkham House, 1990; illustration by Jeffrey K. Potter)

For the sake of this article, I will focus on the history of the Elder Ones as described in At the Mountains of Madness.  it should be noted that Lovecraft’s Cosmic History was always changing for each story, which frequently resulted in conflicts and contradictions between the stories.  As Dr. Robert M. Price notes in his article Lovecraft’s Cosmic History, which can be found in H.P. Lovecraft and the Cthulhu Mythos as well as Crypt of Cthulhu, Issue 37 (both shown below), “…Lovecraft constantly used his fundamental theme of eons of cosmic history dwarfing humanity, but he did not bother to work out the details of this history in advance.  Instead, he tinkered with it as he went, as this or that modification would best suit the plot or the atmosphere of a given story.”  Thus, it is important to note the discussion here focuses on the Elder One history as told in At the Mountains of Madness.


For convenience, the Elder Ones history, at least relative to the Earth, is outlined below (please keep in mind this is in no way a comprehensive description of their history on Earth):

  1. The Elder Ones lived on other planets, in other galaxies and in other universes before they arrived on Earth
  2. The Elder Ones may have lived a mechanized life on other planets, but a portion of them found this “emotionally unsatisfying”, thus some came to Earth
  3. Coming to Earth, they first lived in the sea and used the raw Terran biological material to create food as well as the Shoggoths
  4. With the aid of the Shoggoths, the cities in the sea expanded and eventually moved onto the land
  5. While they used their biological / chemical technologies to make modifications to themselves to adapt and survive in various environments, they eventually lost the technology (chemical in nature) for interstellar travel
  6. Life on Earth continued to evolve and anything that did not bother them or cause problems for the Elder Ones, was left alone
  7. The Elder Ones continued to thrive; however, some of the marine cities were negatively impacted by continental drift
  8. Later, a land race of octopi beings (pre-human spawn of Cthulhu) came from cosmic infinity, which resulted in a large and brutal war
  9. Later peace was made, the new lands (produced presumably from plate tectonics) were given to the Cthulhu spawn, while the seas and the old lands were given to the Elder Ones.  Later, the new lands of the Pacific suddenly sank into the sea, taking the great stone city of R’lyeh and the Octopi spawn with them.  The Elder Ones were once again the supreme entities of the Earth
  10. Over time the Elder Ones lost the ability to create new life from inorganic matter.  This meant that they could only use / manipulate existing life, which included the Shoggoths and the Dinosaurs
  11. Later the war of re-subjugation between the Shoggoths and the marine Elder Ones broke out; it was a long, drawn-out war but the Elder Ones were victorious thanks to “curious weapons of molecular disturbance”
  12. Later, the Mi-Go invaded the Earth from the “Outside”.  While the Elder Ones tried to leave the Earth, they couldn’t re-create the technology needed for space travel.  Thus, the Mi-Go drove the Elder Ones back into the sea
Dyer and Danforth examining XXX
Dyer and Danforth examining bas-reliefs that depict the war between the Elder Ones and the Cthulhu spawn (from Brian Lumley’s The Caller of the Black, Arkham House, 1971; illustration by Herb Arnold).

In order to give this subject the proper time it needs, I am breaking it up into two parts; thus, the outline history stops at the point where the Mi-Go drive the Elder Ones back into the sea.

Even though this subject is more of a historical examination rather than scientific, outlining this material and discussing it will aid in future conversations.  Thus, the next article will continue and conclude this discussion on the History of the Elder Ones.  Thank you – Fred


2 thoughts on “Necronomicon Convention talk Biology of the Old Ones, Part 13 – History of the Elder Ones on Earth, Part 1

  1. !Wow! Do you own a copy of the Brian Lumley book shown above? I’ve never heard of it, but I shall seek it out. He’s a great writer; I’m just burned out on vampires.

    Nice illustrations, btw.

    1. Yes, I have that one as well as “Beneath the Moors” and “The Horror of Oakdeene and Others” from Arkham House (all three by Brian Lumley). I enjoy Mr. Lumley’s Cthulhu stuff. These books are now out of print and hard to come by, however, I think most of the stories can be found in other anthologies and books by now.

      And yes, I love that illustration as well. When we talk about the Deep Ones, I’ll put the cover of Beneath the Moors on the blog site.

      Thank you.

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