The large, white, polypous thing in a Louisiana lake, worshipped by Cthulhu cultists (from Mr. W.H. Pugmire’s site http://www.lovecraftianhorror.blogspot.com)
As previously cited, “The Call of Cthulhu” is very similar in many ways to the film Close Encounters of the Third Kind. One way this is the case is how a sub-set of humanity is being affected through visions, thoughts or dreams; another is the overall global view or perspective both stories take. This article will focus on one of these global scenes in “The Call of Cthulhu” and occurs in the Louisiana swamplands.
Black Bayou Lake (photo from louisianasportsman.com)
In the second part of “The Call of Cthulhu”, titled The Tale of Inspector Legrasse, an occurrence of cultist activities was described deep in the Louisiana swamplands The cultists were people who were influenced, primarily through dreams, by the entity Cthulhu. Inspector Legrasse and his men came across the cultists in the deep swamp, while they were worshipping a small idol of Cthulhu made of stone that did not originate from Earth.
Cthulhu cultists in the swamplands of Louisiana (artwork by the great artist John Coulthart)
Legrasse and his men stopped the ritual and either killed or captured the cultists. However, an intriguing component of this tale is the fact that the nearby residents avoid this part of the swamp in general due to stories about “a huge, formless white polypous thing with luminous eyes; and squatters whispered that bat-winged devils flew up out of caverns in inner earth to worship it at midnight”
After the whispered tales of the creatures, older than “the wholesome beasts and birds of the woods,” one of Legrasse’s men said that as they secretly approached the cultists he heard the fain beating of great wings and caught a glimpse of shinning eyes and a large, white bulk beyond the trees.
What exactly are these things? They are never mentioned in “The Call of Cthulhu” after Legrasse’s account and they are never mentioned by HPL again. It is said that the thing in the lake makes men dream and so most people stay away from the area. If the thing is making men dream and the cultists in the area are worshipping an idol of Cthulhu there must be some connection. If the thing in the lake makes men dream maybe it does so to open mental channels of communication between those with sensitive minds and Cthulhu. Maybe there is an entire “net” of these things throughout the lakes, rivers, lagoons and seas of the Earth, collecting and channeling these dreams to Cthulhu.
White Polypous Thing (art by Michael Bukowski; http://www.yog-blogsoth.blogspot.com)
What of the bat-winged devils? When the cultists are captured and interrogated they say the “Black Winged Ones” were responsible for the deaths of the missing people whose bodies were found at the ritual. So what is the role of the bat-winged devils? There may be some type of symbiotic or even parasitic relationship between the white polypous thing and these winged creatures.
Bat-Winged Devil (art by Michael Bukowski; http://www.yog-blogsoth.blogspot.com)
Perhaps the Winged Ones kill and provide food for the thing in the lake. In turn, the thing can generate the electromagnetic waves to stimulate dreaming in more sensitive individuals, which allows them to be open to dream communication with Cthulhu. What the Winged Ones get out of this is possibly the “scraps” left by the white polyous thing after its done feeing. Or, maybe the Winged Ones actually feed off of the dreams or dream communication. Unfortunately, the specific inter-relationship between the Winged Ones and the thing in the lake is only speculation that requires further study to develop any specific hypothesis.
Another point to consider is the individual in Legrasse’s party who heard the beating of wings and saw a large white thing moving among the trees. It sounds like the ritual being conducted in the swamp was attracting these creatures to the site. Was the thing from the lake going to feed on the corpses of the victims so it had more energy to force humans to dream so they were open to communication with Cthulhu who lies deep in the Pacific Ocean? Possibly. However, something else to consider is would the white polypous thing and the Winged Ones have fed on the cultists after they were done with the corpses? Maybe the white polypous thing feeds on the corpses but the Winged Ones feed on live prey. If that is the case, this would at least partially explain the strange inter-relationship between the winged-devils and the thing in the lake.
The White Polypous Thing moving through the Louisiana bayou (by Chris Schweizer)
Next time we will discuss R’lyeh itself, drawing from some previous articles. Thank you – Fred.