With very little data even an educated guess, let alone a hypothesis, is very difficult to make on the hyper-dimensional cross breeding that occurred between the Whateleys and Yog-Sothoth. However, based on the few pieces of information H.P. Lovecraft and Dr. Henry Armitage have provided, as well some knowledge on Terran biology, I will present a few potential hypotheses on the creation of the Whateley twins.
First, it should be noted that little is known about Lavinia’s mother. She died under mysterious circumstances when Lavinia was 12 years old. While Lavinia may or may not have been the product of inbreeding, she may have been a failed attempt to open the inter-dimensional gate for Yog-Sothoth. In addition, the mysterious disappearance of Lavinia’s mother may have been a previous attempt by Old Wizard Whateley to open the gate, only this time the failure may have ended with the death of Lavinia’s mother. With Lavinia’s mother gone, Old Wizard Whateley may have turned his interests toward Lavinia, attempting to use his daughter instead of his wife to open the gate for Yog-Sothoth with more success.
The Dunwich Horror by Cthulhu Cultists
While I do believe the abhorrent act of incest occurred between Lavinia and her father, precisely with the goal of opening the way for Yog-Sothoth, the exact mechanism beyond the incest is largely unknown. However two possible hypotheses, similar but slightly different, to explain he conception of the twins are presented in this article.
Again, little is known about the biological nature of Yog-Sothoth but it is extremely unlikely that it reproduces using DNA and RNA like the vast majority of life on Earth. However, while we some idea how it reproduces, based on the incident described in “The Dunwich Horror,” is may be hypothesized that Yog-Sothoth may function as a virus. Viruses are a unique form of life on Earth; so unique that some do not even consider them life (Microbes and Evolution: The Word that Darwin Never Saw by R. Kolter and S. Maloy [editors], 2012). Virus are essentially a small amount of genetic material (DNA or RNA) encased in a protein coat (frequently called a capsid) with a surrounding layer of lipids.
What is particularly unique to viruses is that unlike all other forms of life on Earth, they can only replicate by taking advantage of the existing intra-cellular infrastructure founded within the cells of other organisms (plants, animals, fungi or bacteria). Thus, viruses are frequently thought of as genetic parasites, infecting a host cell to take advantage of its cellular machinery in order to replicate itself (Symbiosis: An Introduction to Biological Associations by Surindar Paracer and Vernon Ahmadjian, 2000). While some viruses are known to kill the host cell or trigger an immune response (such conditions associated with viral diseases), others are known to have symbiotic relationships with their host cells. In addition, viruses are a lot more common throughout the biosphere than originally thought (Kolter and Maloy, 2012).
A transmission electron micrograph of the influenva virus (www2.estrellamountain.edu)
While it is not being suggested here that Yog-Sothoth is a virus, the point is that it may have somewhat operated as a virus. Once the Whateley twins were conceived, Yog-Sothoth may have infected the zygotes prior to cellular division and growth. That would have been the easiest time to do so. Immediately utilize the existing genetic machinery of the zygotes, before cellular division and differentiation occurs, to re-write their genetic codes so they develop into organisms are that are beyond human. Thus, this hypothesis states that during or immediately after the moment of conception, Yog-Sothoth entered the zygotes and immediately began using the genetic and cellular infrastructure to re-write the genetic code of each zygote. In addition, there was obviously some degree of variation in the re-writing of the genetic code for each zygote; Wilbur having a smaller degree of modifications relative to his twin.
Utilizing the existing genetic or cellular material of a host organism has been documented in other instances. For example, the xenomorphs in ALIEN function primarily as parasitoids, which can be described as a cross between a predator and a parasite. Eggs are laid either on or in the host, the larva hatches and feeds on the host while it’s still alive, eventually killing the host (A Dictionary of Ecology, Evolution and Systematics by R.J. Lincoln, G.A. Boxshall and P.F. Clark, 1988). However, what is unique about the xenomorphs is that while they function as parasitoids, they also incorporate some of the host’s DNA into their genome thus exhibiting some of the phenotypic traits of their hosts. Thus, a xenomorph incubated in a human walks upright, while a xenomorph incubated in say a dog runs on all fours. In a sense, the xenomorph operates as a viral genetic parasite / parasitoid. Again, I am not stating that Yog-Sothoth functions either as a virus or as a xenomorph; however, I am hypothesizing that a somewhat similar mechanism may have been used to infuse the extra-dimensional essence of Yog-Sothoth with the Whateley genome.
Adult stage of the xenomorph from the movie ALIEN
An alternative to the viral / parasite hypothesis is one focusing more on symbiosis. Endosymbiosis is the theory that complex eukaryotic cells (plants, animals, fungi) were the outcome of symbiotic relationships among various prokaryotic cells (bacteria). There is quite a bit of data to support this idea. For example, mitochondria are organelles that supply most of the chemical energy for eukaryotic cells and actually have their own genes – but only about 15 of them. However, these few genes and their sequence of DNA are clearly similar to a group of existing bacteria that include soil and marine bacteria as well as some that are pathogenic (R. Kolter and S. Maloy [editors], 2012). Additional evidence supports the hypothesis that the creation of eukaryotic cells was the result of bioengineering experiments conducted by the Elder Things sometime between 2.0 and 1.0 billion years ago.
Back to the mitochondria, it turns out these intra-cellular organelles are passed to offspring exclusively by the female. In fact, almost any symbiotic bacteria, such as those found in our intestines that help us to breakdown and digest food, are passed from mother to offspring. These beneficial bacteria infect the children before they are born (R. Kolter and S. Maloy [editors], 2012). Yog-Sothoth may have functioned in this manner; not as a virus or a parasite but as a symbiotic entity infusing with the two Whateley zygotes. In addition, this may provide evidence why sexual reproduction between a human male and female was required.
The Dunwich Horror by Skullbeast (www.deviantart.com)
Of course since nothing is known about the biology and genetics of Yog-Sothoth, if such concepts even applicable, we do not know the exact mechanism on how it infused with the Whateley zygotes. However, these two proposed hypotheses may help to understand these mechanisms. What we do know is that the creation of the Whateley twins, fathered by both Old Wizard Whateley and Yog-Sothoth was necessary to open the way for the Old Ones. Next time we will focus on a description and analysis of Wilbur’s twin. Thank you – Fred.