Innsmouth by the very talented artist John Dunn (johndunnartist.blogspot.com)
As identified in At the Mountains of Madness (ATMOM), the Elder Ones created the Shoggoths. I explored this relationship of the “creators” and the “created” in a number of earlier articles, as well as discussed the biology of both entities. While the Elder Ones are alien, originating from evolutionary processes on another world, they are made of the same matter as us. This is in sharp contrast to the Mi-Go and the Spawn of Cthulhu which HPL has cited a number of times, and in a number of stories, are composed of different matter and are from “outside” of our known universe (or dimension or reality).
The Shoggoths can be considered a form of artificial life or “biological robots” since they were created to function as slave labor and cannot reproduce unless they are aided in some manner by the Elder Ones. However, the Shoggoths are a form of Terran life since they were created on Earth; the success of biological experiments run by the Elder Ones. This is sharp contrast to the rest of complex life (eukaryotic) on Earth, including humans, which are considered by the Elder Ones as being a “joke or mistake.”Cover of the 1964 edition of At the Mountains of Madness & Other Novels by H.P. Lovecraft
While Shoggoths are usually associated with ATMOM, they were mentioned in several other stories and poems written by HPL. Specifically, Shoggoths were mentioned in The Shadow Over Innsmouth. When old Zadok is in a drunken stupor, talking to Robert Olmstead, who is never mentioned by name in the story but whose name HPL supplied in subsequent notes (see An H.P. Lovecraft Encyclopedia by S.T. Joshi and David E. Schultz, 2001 by Greenwood Press), he makes reference to Shoggoths….
“Them haouses north o’ the river be-twixt Water an’ Main Streets is full of em’-them devils an’ what they brung-an’ when they git ready…I say, what they git….ever hear tell of a Shoggoth?” – The Shadow Over Innsmouth.
Also, as the Innsmouth “change” was altering Olmstead he begins to have strange dreams which includes this…
“This was the dream in which I saw a Shoggoth for the first time and the sight set me awake in a frenzy of screaming. That morning the mirror definitely told me I had acquired the Innsmouth look.” – The Shadow Over Innsmouth.
Shoggoth by Pahko (firstname.lastname@example.org). To me, this particular Shoggoth looks like it is trying to imitate a Deep One
So were the Deep Ones were in possession of Shoggoths? Did they serve as beasts of burden for the Deep Ones? Or were the Shoggoths fellow citizens in Y’ha Nthlei? Did the Deep Ones or the ones they worship (Cthulhu and his spawn) acquire the ability to create Shoggoths or was they some type of “exchange of technology” between the Elder Ones and the Spawn of Cthulhu after their cosmic war had ended?
This is a very tantalizing piece of information, which is open to a number of new story lines. One I recently read where Shoggoths come to play in Innsmouth is a story called “Once More, from the Top…” by A. Scott Glancy in The Book of Cthulhu II (edited by Ross E. Lockhart). I would recommend that story and entire books as well to anyone who is a fan of Lovecraftian horror. In my mind (my hypothesis) is that the Innsmouth Shoggoths are smaller and there is a bit of bonding between particular Deep Ones and their Shoggoths – Steve Maschuck and I explore this idea in some of our stories.
Tekekli-Li! by Darth Ivann
To conclude, HPL frequently “cross-pollenated” his stories with ideas from other stories. For example a small sculpture of an Elder One shows up in The Dreams in the Witch House. Speaking of which, the next article will focus on Lovecraft and some of his ideas on mathematics and non-Euclidean geometry. Thank you. Fred.