The Dunwich Horror: Meet the Twins, Part 5 a Discussion on the Biology of the Whateley Offspring


Wilbur’s Twin by John Cherevka

Whether you are talking about single-cells organisms such as amoeba and Euglena or the Giant Squid, many Terran forms of life utilize extensions off their main body for a variety of reasons.  These extensions can be pseudopods, flagella, cilia, tongues or tentacles.  From the perspective of energy conservation, extending a small portion of one’s body into the environment to move, collect food, obtain information about your surroundings or communicate with others makes a lot of sense.  If that part of you is removed through predation or some other cause, vital organs and body mass are left intact and only small portion of the body has been sacrificed.  Additionally, such extensions tend to be extremely flexible with the muscles generating small forces but having very high strain rates, resulting in high velocity response times.  Studies on the tentacles of the squid and as well as the tongues of frogs, salamanders and chameleons have verified and quantified the evolutionary mechanics of such protuberances (Van Leeuwen, De Groot and Kier, 2000; Netherlands Journal of Zoology).  Thus, this extension of an organism’s self into the environment is an evolutionary trait that has been repeated throughout Terran life.

tumblr_nn1ykzUn4s1s748a0o1_1280_James Daly_III

H.P. Lovecraft by James Daly III

Given the biological value of tentacles and other extensions used by life on Earth, the external organs of Lovecraftian entities are probably used for similar functions such as feeding, obtaining information about their immediate surroundings, and communicating with others of their kind.  Lovecraft does provide some data to support this hypothesis.  For example, in describing the Elder Things in “At the Mountains of Madness” a number of passages identify body extensions and possible functions.

“Around equator, one at central apex of each of the five vertical, stave-like ridges are five systems of light gray flexible arms or tentacles found tightly folded to torso but expansible to maximum length of over three feet.  Like arms of primitive crinoid.  Single stalks three inches diameter branch after six inches into five substalks, each of which branches after eight inches into small tapering tentacles or tendrils, giving each stalk a total of twenty-five tentacles.” – “At the Mountains of Madness”


Fossilized Crinoid (from

In the passage above the mid-body tentacles of the Elder Things are compared to the arms of a crinoid, which is an echinoderm, closely related to sea stars (both having a radial symmetry like the Elder Things).  Crinoid arms are covered in cilia and are used primarily to collect food and push it toward the mouth.  The Elder Thing’s tentacles can extend over three feet so it may be possible that these organs are used in a similar manner.  In addition, Elder Things may also use these tentacles the way we use our hands, to manipulate objects and make tools.

Other external protuberances were described on the Elder Things with various functions.  One example is the set of tubes at the top of their head that terminate with glassy, red-irised globes that look like eyes.  Another example is the set of long, reddish tubes that end with bell-shaped orifices that are lined with sharp, white teeth.


Elder Thing by KingOvRats (

The Elder Things are alien to Earth but they are still made of the same matter we are; they are native residents of our space-time.  However, what of entities from outside of our space-time?  Once again Lovecraft provides supporting evidence for one of these entities – the Mi-Go.  These creatures are known to be from beyond our space-time, yet they have protuberances on their head that rapidly change color, similar to the photophores in an octopus or squid.  These external organs are thought to serve as a means of communication, particularly in interstellar flight when individuals may be considerable distances away from each other.

Bringing this conversation back to “The Dunwich Horror,” the Whateley twins are truly unique entities, even by Lovecraft’s standards since they are hybrids but not hybrids of two closely related species.  Instead, they are extra-dimensional hybrids, a genetic fusion of two very different types of entities.  The closest thing we have in comparison is the “Brundle-fly” in David Cronenberg’s 1986 movie “The Fly,” where two distantly related species are genetically fused to create one unique organism.

As previously described Wilbur Whateley had a nearly-human appearance above his waist; below his waist was a strange conglomeration of alien organs.  Some of these included a set of long, greenish-grey tentacles with red sucking mouthparts.  These organs were obviously used for feeding and apparently Wilbur was feeding on both his grandfather and mother, based on the strange markings identified on both.  Wilbur’s brother obviously fed on the cattle that were constantly being purchased by Old Wizard Whateley.


Wilbur Whateley by Verreaux (

A large rudimentary eye was identified on each of Wilbur’s hips, each circled by a series of pink cilia.  It is hypothesized that the pink cilia somehow enhanced the vision of Wilbur.  Maybe the cilia allowed him to see beyond visible light; maybe he could “see” longer (infrared or radios) or shorter (UV or X-rays) wavelengths of the EM spectrum with the cilia.  Wilbur also had a large tail with annular markings and a large undeveloped mouth at the end.  This is particularly curious since Wilbur already had feeding organs.  While redundancy is very common on a genetic level, on a phenotypic level (manifestation of the genetic) redundancy, particularly of organs, is very rare – at least for Earth life.  Assuming the same can be applied to Wilbur, this second mode of feeding, tail in contrast to tentacles must have some specialized role or function that we are completely unfamiliar with; this can obviously be said about a about a number of biological issues associated with the Whateleys.

Unfortunately, the description we have of Wilbur’s brother, after he is exposed to the power made by Dr. Armitage, is not nearly as detailed as that of Wilbur’s.  Curtis Whateley was the individual who actually saw Wilbur’s brother from a distance when he was visible through the use of the powder.  Here is his testimony:

“Oh, oh, my Gawd, that haff face – that haff face on top of it…that face with the red eyes an’ crinkly albino hair, an’ no chin, like the Whateleys…It was a octopus, centipede, spider kind o’ thing, but they was a haff-shaped man’s face on top of it, an’it it looked like Wizard Whateley’s, only it was yards an’ yards acrost..”


A strange version of Wilbur Whateley’s brother from the 1970 Roger Corman movie “The Dunwich Horror.”

Two items can be noted based on this brief description.  First, as was discussed in a previous article, the large face on the creature was that of Wizard Whateley’s, supporting the hypothesis that incest between Wizard Whateley and his daughter occurred.  Second, the body of Wilbur’s brother was a composite of a number of invertebrates.  Based on the animals identified in the description, octopus, centipede and spider, Wilbur’s brother was a living mass of tentacles, legs and insect-like mouthparts.  In addition, the marks or footprints left by this creature were similar to that of a large, semi-hooved animal.  Again, this collage of legs, protuberances and mouthparts indicates that this extra-dimensional hybrid has a number of means of sampling and interacting with its surroundings as well as multiple modes of feeding.  Yet, it still probably had possession of our five senses, based on its large human head.  However, without a more detailed account and description of the anatomy of Wilbur’s brother, it is difficult to even guess the function of its external organs.

Next time we will conclude our investigation into “The Dunwich Horror” by discussing what Wizard Whateley and his extra-dimensional hybrid offspring were trying to achieve by opening the way for Yog-Sothoth.  Thank you – Fred.




14 thoughts on “The Dunwich Horror: Meet the Twins, Part 5 a Discussion on the Biology of the Whateley Offspring

  1. Here’s an explanation for the Twins you may not have thought of: Chimeras. Not in the Greek myth sense but in the biology sense. Literal mixtures of genetically distinct cells. The human cells provide a kind of scaffold or interface for the Yog-Sothothian cells (?) to remain in our world and interact with it.

    That explains why Wilbur looks more-or-less human above the waist, because that part of him is mostly human. It also explains why Orville and Wilbur look so different despite being “twins.” Orville _literally_ had more of their father in him.

    When Wilbur dies, his Yog-Sothothian part loses its anchor in our reality, so he decays rapidly into a pile of goo. Orville gets banished by an incantation — which might mean that Armitage et al were able to forcibly separate the extradimensional part from the human, which was too small and diffuse to notice once the rest vanished.

    I’m still sticking to the theory that Yog-Sothoth literally and physically fathered the twins. In the story Armitage wonders aloud “what walked those hills” the night they were conceived.

    1. I’ve got to say, I rather like that notion. Though it does raise the question of why Wilbur’s more blatantly non-human features were visible to the naked eye.

    2. I wonder if the bizarre features of the Whateley twins were not derived from Yog-Sothoth after all, but were rather due to bits of ancestral terrene DNA being randomly activated?

      As for why ‘Orville’ had Noah Whateley’s face, I have a theory I will bring up after Fred’s next article. I want to see if he hits on it independently 🙂

      1. Thanks for the comments…I am hoping to get the next article up today or tomorrow.

    3. Thank you for the interesting ideas! I like the idea of the chimera cells! I do believe that both old Wizard Whateley AND Yog-Sothoth are the fathers of Wilbur and Orville. The Whateley created the fertilized zygotes with Lavinia and Yog-Sothoth then entered or hybridized with the zygotes

  2. Maybe Wilbur`s tentacles were forsucking, and that undeveloped mouth was his way of eating instead of sucking, and therefore beeing able to get more nutrients, and minerals by also eating meat and possibly vegetation. Problem is that he had it to eat, it would make it difficult for him to chew due to his undeveloped mouth.

    In another way the tail could be a mean of protection, like a scorpion. But it would not develop until his later years?

    It could also be that he actually was in a way 50% human, and 50% eldrich. So the stomach and tail is just a part of the eldrich of him, and maybe how he would rather look like if he was 100% eldrich.

    It could also be a deformality due to genes. The crossover could have possibly made him grow a more primal like look, and like look more like a ape in a way? So that this tail is a monkey tail, but also part eldritch?

    Sorry for my bad grammar, and really poor way of formulating things. Really love your blog, and read everything that has been posted since I followed you. Greetings from Norway!

    1. Some very interesting ideas and hypotheses! Love the ideas of the various functions of the external organs. It would be very interesting to see what Wilbur and his twin would have looked like if they lived longer. I will be touching on this in the next article. Again, thank you for the comments! Fred

    2. But he had already a mouth on his… uh… face. Why not using it?
      I think it looked like a mouth but it was going to develop into something else. That we don’t know because he die before it would reach its final stage.

  3. Wilbur wonders aloud in his journal what he will look like once the Earth is “cleared off,” so evidently he seems to think the human element will dwindle.

    1. Yes, I know, months late with a response…

      In addition to being led to understand that he’ll be transfigured, Wilbur is also of the opinion that his twin brother, in addition to being more advanced than him, is also in a state of transition. “The other face may wear off some”. The vestigial Whateley face the Horror had at its apex was likely to be lost when its metamorphosis completed.

      Presumably, the same could be said for everything of Wilbur above the waist, if indeed he would be transfigured. As we’ve all seen in the various nude pictures of Wilbur, the eyes and feeding tentacles located at his pelvis are a developing, or at least rudimentary head. Comparisons to Cthulhu’s face are inevitable, I suspect, but the proboscidian development at his hindquarters puts me in mind of the face of Rhan-Tegoth. There may be a good reason why Mr Prinn in Price’s ‘Wilbur Whateley Waiting’ saw a resemblance between that god and Wilbur!

      1. Hey Phil:
        Some very interesting observations! Maybe Wilbur was a “larval” form of what was to come!
        Thank you for the comments!

  4. Given the relative youth of both brothers, and the transfiguration / metamorphosis they expected, ‘larval’ seems a very appropriate word for them. Consider also Old Whateley’s insistence that only upon accessing ‘outside’ — this realm of Old Ones and Yog-Sothoth — would Wilbur’s brother be able to multiply and reproduce.

    Now, an idea I’ve been toying with, and I’m sure I’ve commented on (if not here then elsewhere), is that perhaps this may be the only way in which new ‘Old Ones’ (in this story’s sense of the word) could actually be born and grown. If Alhazred is to be believed, the Old Ones are usually “without dimension”, then they are unable to grow. They wait in eternity, and only by entering into time can they undergo any kind of development; any kind of change or growth. I seem to recall Grant Morrison suggesting that humans are larvae of four-dimensional beings, and it won’t surprise any reader to know Alan Moore touched on similar matters in ‘The Courtyard’, painting humans as beings in whom the lloigor’s forms are implicit.

    Larvae of such beings, in a world with space and time, could well need to eat voraciously. In the case of the Dunwich Horror itself, all those mouths were necessary. Like a caterpillar, it was an eating machine, intended to gorge itself and then metamorphose (assuming all ran according to plan — which of course it didn’t).

    Now, here’s where one can start drawing lines between certain other creatures in the mythos, and those who’ve read my comments before may wish to yawn and say ‘here he goes again’. Consider the creature in Robert Bloch’s ‘The Shambler from the Stars’. Large, ovoid (shaped like an egg?), possessed of many tentacular mouths, hungry, gelatinous… but we only see its shape (or if you like, it only ‘takes shape’) after it’s feasted on human blood. Sure, it might not have the remains of a human face growing out of it, but then it was summoned from elsewhere by way of a spell from De Vermis Mysteriis. The ‘star vampire’ of the Call of Cthulhu game could also be a larval Old One, whether whelped on a different planet, or called straight from Outside.

    1. Thanks Phil – very cool ideas! I hypothesize that humanity is the larval stage for the Deep Ones so I could see a similar situation for other Lovecraftian entities. This agrees well with Wilbur Whateley wondering “What will I look like when the Earth is cleared” in his diary. Thank you for the great insight and comments! Fred.

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