Son of Yog-Sothoth by Burnay (www.deviantart.com)
There is have a fair amount of discussion regarding the role of incest in “The Dunwich Horror” and so I thought I would write a response on the WordPress page instead of in the comments. First, I need to emphasis that my discussions are limited to a scientific perspective. To paraphrase Arthur C. Clarke, magic is essentially a science we don’t understand. Where possible, I will try to form hypotheses or even make wild educated guesses but if I can’t even to that then I must state that I do not have enough information to form a reasonable hypothesis or idea on the subject.
Second, as I stated in a previous article, the fact that Lavinia Whateley was an albino does not immediately mean she was the product of inbreeding. Albinism can easily be the outcome of non-related breeding as well as inbreeding since it’s a result of a dihybrid cross, involving only two specific traits. However, early in the 20th century, just before the theory of modern heredity was synthesized using the re-discovered works of Mendel and Fisher’s work on genes and inheritance, albinism was typically associated with inbreeding. Thus, my suggestion of inbreeding focuses solely on the birth of Wilbur and his twin.
Third, while I will get into this hypothesis in more detail in an upcoming article, I suggest, as several Lovecraftian scholars do such as Robert M. Price, that Old Wizard Whateley had to impregnate Lavinia in order to complete the ritual or process of Yog-Sothoth. The “genetic” (if it is even considered genetic the way we think of it) material of Yog-Sothoth needed a fertilized zygote(s) to enter our space-time and become established in a stable form. Similar to a parasitoid, Yog-Sothoth took advantage of the creation of the zygotes at the point of conception to enter into our space-time in a form of living matter, native to our reality.
Whateley Family from hplovecraft.blogspot.com
The evidence used to support this, as has been mentioned in the comments, is when Curtis Whateley states that the large face on top of Wilbur’s twin looked just like Old Wizard Whateley. He was very specific in his description; the face did not look like Wilbur and it did not look like a Whateley in general. The face looked like Old Wizard Whateley. This supports the idea of inbreeding.
However, Dr. Armitage’s quote, “Inbreeding?…Great God, what simpleton! Shew them Arthur Machen’s Great God Pan and they’ll think it a common Dunwich scandal!” does seem to indicate that something more perverse and twisted than incest is occurring with the Whateleys.
A number of people have brought up a quote in the letters between Lovecraft and August Derleth (Essential Solitude) where it is said Lovecraft states incest has nothing to do with the creation of the Whateley twins. In contrast, others say that the subject of incest in Essential Solitude is not directly in reference to the “The Dunwich Horror.” If someone could provide the actual quote I would greatly appreciate it.
Wilbur Whateley by Weatherduck (www.deviantart.com)
To conclude, while the case of incest is not explicit in “The Dunwich Horror” few abhorrent activities are explained in detail in Lovecraft’s stories. I feel there is enough circumstantial evidence to support the idea that incest was involved in some capacity in the creation of the Whateley twins and this will be discussed further in the next article. Also, the references to clearing the Earth and dragging it into another dimension will also be discussed in detail in an upcoming article. Thank you – Fred.