Beyond the ability to petrify people but leaving their brains alive within their paralyzed bodies (which I hypothesize is due to a biologically produced air-borne toxin) very little is known about the biology of Ghatanothoa. One of the reasons for this is the fact that getting too close to the entity results in paralysis. Whether it’s due to merely observed Ghatanothoa or a result of an air-borne toxin it generates, getting actual information on this entity is extremely difficult and hazardous. However, H.P. Lovecraft and Hazel Heald do provide some small scrapes of information on this lesser known Old One.
Ghatanothoa by Jagoba Lekuona Huegun
Specifically, the most recent description of Ghatanothoa is “…gigantic – tentacled – proboscidian – octopus-eyed – semi-amorphous – plastic – partly squamous and partly rugose – ugh!” Other descriptors include loathsome, non-human and extra-galactic. Even in von Junzt’s Black Book very little information is provided on Ghatanothoa. We do know the Spawn of Yuggoth deposited Ghatanothoa on ancient Earth deep in the caverns of a fortress on the mountain Yaddith-Go. Here it is said that Ghatanothoa would brood eternally and wallowed, waddled and burrowed deep in the Earth.
Based on the ancient text, Ghatanothoa must have wreaked havoc on Yuggoth since the Spawn imprisoned it on Earth. While Ghatanothoa was placed on Earth, the Spawn did not intentionally want to use this entity as a means of cleansing the planet of humans. Thus, the thing was imprisoned and a select portion of humanity, who ended up being the priests of Ghatanothoa were provided with a means of keeping it imprisoned.
So what is Ghatanothoa? Based on some interpretations made Kenneth Hite, Chris Lackey and Chad Fifer on the H.P. Lovecraft Literary Podcast, “Out of the Aeons” can be thought of as a re-interpretation of “The Call of Cthulhu.” I agree with this and I hypothesize that Ghatanothoa and Cthulhu are similar entities. While Tsathoggua and Shub-Niggurath are mentioned in “Out of Aeons” and Cthulhu is not, the description of Ghatanothoa is somewhat similar to that of Cthulhu. Compare the description of Ghatanothoa described above to those of Cthulhu such as “lumbered slobberingly,” “gelatinous green immensity,” and “eldritch contradictions of all matter, force and cosmic order.”
The morphology of both of these entities is “in-flux” in our universe. That is, they can change size and shape at will, which makes observing them very disorienting, even dangerous for your mind and body. For example, Ghatanothoa is described as plastic, while Cthulhu is described as gelatinous. It is clear based on Lovecraft’s writings that Cthulhu, and more than likely Ghatanothoa, are not made of matter from our space-time and originate from outside of our universe. Their “matter” appears to be a combination of gaseous, solid and liquid material and in fact maybe composed of plasma.
Cthulhu by Fiend Upon My Back (www.deviantart.com)
Plasma is a state of matter where both electrons and protons are freely moving and no longer bound in the formal atomic state that we are familiar with. While extremely rare in on Earth, plasma is the most common state of matter in the universe (Kaku; Hyperspace, 1994). A sentient, ionized gas with a very fluid-like state could explain the strange inconsistency and movement of Cthulhu and Ghatanothoa. However, in our universe plasma is typically found in stars, where the temperatures are so high that electrons and protons are freely moving. Thus, if these are plasma-based entities, wouldn’t they be thousands of degrees hot and immediately burn anything near them? Does this mean Cthulhu and Ghatanothoa can only exist in our universe within a star? Also, there is so much energy in intensely hot plasma, that the very geometry of space-time will distort and the dimensionality of space-time could actually change (Kaku, 1994). Are Cthulhu and Ghatanothoa possibly channeling their intense heat and energy into another dimension to keep their relatively plasma-like properties while existing in our space-time and without burning it up?
Ghatanothoa by Jack Rezz (www.deviantart.com)
Next time I will attempt to explain these strange properties of Cthulhu and Ghatanothoa by discussing their possible origins. Also, I just wanted to let everyone know that Steve Maschuck and I will be attending the NecronomiCon later this month in Providence Rhode Island. I will be giving a presentation on “The Lovecraftian Cosmos” and I will be on a panel about Lovecraft and Science. If you are attending, I would love to meet and chat! Also, I will try to post some material on the WordPress page during the convention. Thank you – Fred.