The Call of Cthulhu – The Louisiana Bayou Connection

07 cthulhu lake polyp

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%20Bayou%20Lake%203

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.

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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.

whitepolypous
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.

batwing

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.

bayou

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.

 

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12 thoughts on “The Call of Cthulhu – The Louisiana Bayou Connection

  1. Some intriguing speculations, Fred! I should like to add one of my own: in ‘The Shadow out of Time,’ Prof. Peaslee speaks of his travels over the prehistoric Earth while a prisoner of the Great Race and mentions in passing that ‘on one far continent I saw the crude villages of the black-snouted, winged creatures who would evolve as a dominant stock after the Great Race had sent its foremost minds into the future to escape the creeping horror.’ Could the Winged Ones in ‘The Call of Cthulhu’ be remnants of these earlier beings?

    I am also reminded of ‘Gargoyles,’ that under-rated film from 1972.

    1. Good call! I forgot about that reference and these creatures may be the “remoras” to Cthulhu and his spawn (the sharks) or the relationship may be more symbiotic. Also, I love that movie Gargoyles – I rent it once in a while and still enjoy it – scared the carp out of me when I was kid. The scene with the gargoyle at the foot of the bed always got me! Thanks for the comments. Fred.

  2. The “white polypous thing” detail is one of my favorites. Once again, I have nothing to contribute than what has already been said…including the always-intelligent points Frater Julianus brings…I agree with it all. I feel terrible that I can’t come up with ideas to contribute to the fabulous discussions you ignite. Well, I’ll hope for the best…

    BRIAN

    1. No problem Brian – glad you enjoyed the article. Frater Julianus may a good point about “The Shadow Out of Time”. Fred

    2. Hi Fred. Hi Brian.
      Matter of fact, it’s a bit difficult to give always a new and original contribution… I can only say that the world wide “net” of psychic resonators, or “organic” terminals for the Great C. Is a great idea, although I seem to recall HPL only shows us the one in the Bayou, so maybe it’s a “unicum”.
      Another less appealing guess may be that the Bayou thing is just a sort of “hologram”, a “glimpse” or manifestation of the Great C.’s will (speaking of Him as a deity). Maybe human sacrifices are necessary because Great C. feeds on emotions, and of course fear and despair of the poor sacrificed are tasty tidbits to Him.
      Anyway, I just wanted to point out that you shouldn’t “feel terrible” about that, but just enjoy the whole thing.
      Roberto

  3. I always liked the way the whit blob was mentioned and never referred to again. It reminded me of the line from “Rats in the Walls” where the narrator mentions his relative Randolph Delapore (who became a voodoo priest after returning from the Mexican War) and provides no more information on him. Both cases leave lots of room for the imagination.

    I included a white blob in my novel Interlands, as a hat tip to this.

    1. Thank you for your comments – yes, I love those little extras Lovecraft would put into his tales. Also really enjoyed Interlands – I bought the sequel – Denizens. Have not yet read it but looking forward to it.

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