The Dunwich Horror and Understanding the Nature of Yog-Sothoth

Magic is any sufficiently advanced technology.” – Arthur C. Clarke

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Yog-Sothoth by Chivohit (www.deviantart.com)

As one examines HPL’s stories in chronological fashion, there is a distinct pattern moving from themes and concepts associated with the occult and the supernatural to those of science.  This transition was gradual and a sub-set of these stories are transitional in themselves, where supernatural occurrences are rooted in scientific concepts that are either unknown to humanity or cannot be fully understood.  “The Call of Cthulhu” is one such story and so is “The Dunwich Horror.”

In “the Dunwich Horror” Wizard Whateley made some type of deal or arrangement to allow his daughter Livina to be impregnated by an extra-dimensional entity.  Apparently this entity is Yog-Sothoth.  In previous articles I identified the “Genealogy of the Elder Races,” which was originally drawn by Lovecraft and included in a letter to James F. Morton, dated 1933.  A copy of this genealogy can be found in Leslie S. Klinger’s The New Annotated H.P. Lovecraft (2014), Appendix 4.  In this genealogy it shows what entity gave rise to another entity, largely in an asexual nature.  However, two instances of sexual union are shown in the genealogy, one of which is between Shub-Niggurath and Yog-Sothoth.  The union between these two entities gave rise to Nug and Yeb, who in turn gave rise asexually to Cthulhu and Tsathoggua, respectively.

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From an evolutionary standpoint sex is basically referring to the production of new genomes by the recombination of preexisting genomes (Evolution: The First Four Billion Years, edited by Michael Ruse and Joseph Travis, 2009).  This increase in genetic variety is one of the driving resources for natural selection.  Additionally, as I have cited in previous articles on Shub-Niggurath, this unique sexual union may have been needed to generate manifestations of life that are more conducive to living in our space-time.  Thus, while Yog-Sothoth cannot be found residing in our reality, his “grand-spawn” of Cthulhu and Tsathoggua are present; Cthulhu deep in the Pacific Ocean in the sunken City of R’lyeh and Tsathoggua somewhere in the Saturnian system.  Additionally, the somewhat amorphous nature of both Yog-Sothoth (e.g. an iridescent collection of spheres or bubbles) and Shub-Niggurath (e.g. a cloud-like entity) indicates that it may be difficult for them to fully manifest in our space-time.

As alluded to in a previous article this “sexual” union between Shub-Niggurath and Yog-Sothoth may not necessarily be purely biological in nature.  This union may have given rise to the matter we are familiar with in our universe.  We already discussed that Shub-Niggurath may be the “mother” of matter in our reality and may continue in efforts to generate more life or matter in the form of the “thousand young.”  However, let’s now focus on Yog-Sothoth’s role in this union.

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Yog-Sothoth by Der Freischutz (www.deviantart.com)

Yog-Sothoth is frequently described, as with many of the other Old Ones, as not existing in the spaces we know but in between them, walking undimensioned and unseen by us.  Thus, Yog-Sothoth may exist in one of the higher dimensions.  It has been recognized that the laws of nature become simpler and more elegant when expressed in higher dimensions (Hyperspace: A Scientific Odyssey Through Parallel Universes, Time Warps, and the 10th Dimension by Michio Kaku, 1994).  For example, gravity and light obey different physical assumptions and mathematics.  However, if we include another dimension beyond the three spatial and one temporal, the equations that dictate and predict gravity and light merge together.  Light can be described as vibrations in the fifth dimension and the laws of gravity and light become simpler (Kaku, 1994).  The only reason why we always talk about three spatial dimensions and a temporal one is that they are the ones we move through and can perceive.  However, reality itself may be built on the foundation of additional dimensions, a hyperspace, which we cannot observe.  The mathematics used to describe our reality favor the existence of these higher but unseen dimensions and Yog-Sothoth may actually exist in these higher dimensions.

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Yog-Sothoth by Mysterious Karl (www.deviantart.com)

The higher dimensions of hyperspace may be beyond the edge of the known universe or a few millimeters away from us, folded, tucked away in our existing space-time.  Such a concept would explain how Yog-Sothoth exists in spaces we do not know, spaces that are in between those we know.  Additionally, manifestations of Yog-Sothoth are frequently described as being an iridescent collection of spheres or bubbles.  This may be an attempted manifestation of Yog-Sothoth, making an effort to squeeze into our space-time.  A similar scenario has been described as a higher dimensional creature attempts to pass through our three dimensional world.  A series of strange colors, images, shapes and textures would appear in front of us as then disappear.  As three dimensional creatures it is easier for us to image a two dimensional creature (like a square) encountering a three dimensional creature (like a sphere).  As a sphere passes through the square’s two dimensional reality, from the square’s perspective a point would appear out of thin air, turn into a line increasing in length to a maximum size and then decrease in length into another point and then disappear.  Thus, the shimmering globes and spheres of Yog-Sothoth may be this hyperspace entity passing through our three dimensional reality.

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A sphere passing through flatland (www.geom.uiuc.edu)

If Yog-Sothoth is a hyperspace entity, it may be a sentient form of vibrating wavelengths, like a living form of light or gravity that ripples through our space-time and hyperspace as well.  This would allow it to easily pass through our reality and possibly allow other forms of energy to travel back and forth through the various dimensions.  This unique ability for Yog-Sothoth to flow through and between dimensions (both ours and those in the higher, hyperspace) maybe what Lovecraft was trying to describe when citing the phrase from the Necronomicon, “Yog-Sothoth knows the gate.  Yog-Sothoth is the gate.  Yog-Sothoth is the key and guardian of the gate.”  Another passage from the Necronomicon that may describe the concept that Yog-Sothoth does not typically reside in a dimension(s) where time exists is, “Past, present and future all are one in Yog-Sothoth.”

So what does this all have to do with the Whateley family in Dunwich?  Well it provides some information that the “magic” of old Wizard Whateley may actually be a means of making contact with an inter-dimensional entity that exists in hyperspace.  Next time we will discuss both “The Dunwich Horror” and “The Call of Cthulhu” to assess what these entities want with our space-time.  Thank you – Fred.

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Yog-Sothoth by Xiegendariumx (www.deviantart.com)

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21 thoughts on “The Dunwich Horror and Understanding the Nature of Yog-Sothoth

  1. Love these, hope you keep producing them – very cool to take a dip in the worlds of fiction and try to make them more concrete… if it is ficion 😉

    1. Thank you Jared – Yes, we have started working on some “fictional” tales based on these findings.
      Thanks again! Fred

  2. Jaw-dropping as ever…I think that the fact Yog-Sothoth is basically a wave of energy may have something to do with how he impregnated Lavinia.

    Whoa, you’ve got a tough article set up for you! Their ways are unfathomable…

    1. Wilbur was conceived on May Eve, the same night as the annual revel of Azathoth-worshipers connected to the witch-cult in Arkham (The Dreams in the Witch-House) in which an infant was sacrificed by blood-letting. According to Wilbur Whateley’s journals, “They from outside […] cannot take body without human blood.”

      Is there a connection between the Walpurgis sacrifices in Arkham and the temporary incarnation of Yog-Sothoth to beget children?

      And was the aborted rise of R’lyeh in April of 1925 Wilbur’s doing? Perhaps he and old Wizard Whateley attempted to free Cthulhu and failed.

      1. Thanks Daniel – some excellent questions! I will be addressing at least some of these in an upcoming article comparing Cthulhu to Yog-Sothoth. Also, I strongly recommend reading the essay “A Literary Copernicus” by Fritz Leiber, Jr. in “Discovering H.P. Lovecraft by Darrell Schweitzer. Toward the end of that essay Leiber does an incredible job documenting all of the occurrences of Lovecraft’s tales through the 1920’s and how they are all associated with Miskatonic University, including the situations described in “The Dunwich Horror” and “The Call of Cthulhu.” Thank you – Fred.

      2. Thanks, Fred! I went ahead and bought the ebook on your recommendation and read the essay. Very good! I never realized that Wilmarth left for Vermont the same day Armitage went to Dunwich.

        It’s hard to imagine that the M.U. faculty didn’t put two and two together, particularly after the Australian expedition of ’35 uncovered the library of Pnakotus. Just imagine what secrets they’d find on the tablets written in human languages alone!

        Picture Dyer, Wilmarth, Armitage, and Peaslee all comparing notes and realizing how deeply screwed humanity is – and then deciding to do something about it.

      3. That is what I was thinking! No wonder M.U. is so cautious about who they hire in their Department of Metaphysics!
        Fred

      4. Also – I suggest that both Keziah Mason and Ephraim Waite were originally members of Joseph Curwen’s coven, with the witch trials of 1692 scattering them – one to Providence, one to Innsmouth, one to Arkham. And perhaps there was a Whateley among them as well, who failed to discover a method for attaining immortality and had to settle for passing down knowledge from generation to generation.

        I think they were all working towards the same end, likely in collusion with the Cthulhu cult – assuming that the witch covens and Cthulhu cult aren’t in fact one and the same, which is entirely possible.

      5. Hunh…those are very good ideas. Nyarlathotep must be using that blood for something…

      6. In the RPG Trail of Cthulhu, there is a sourcebook called the Armitage Files that uses that very premise of Wilmarth, Armitage and other Miskatonic professors like Dyer and Wingate Peaslee uniting to counter Mythos anomalies and hide their presence from the rest of our species.
        In fact this premise is a fleshed-out suggestion on the core book, but the Armitage Files sourcebook follows a plotline from this premise.

  3. Very fascinating as always!

    By the way, I seem to have missed out on the kickstarter. Will the journal be available to purchase in print even if one did not contribute to the crowdfunding?

    1. Thank you!

      Yes, we are planning on printing a few more extra copies to sell after all of the backers receive a copy. Also, it will be available in an ebook format. Fred

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