The “Nature” of Ghatanothoa and Similarities with Cthulhu

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 (

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 (

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.

12 thoughts on “The “Nature” of Ghatanothoa and Similarities with Cthulhu

  1. Whew! Thanks for clearing up the plasma business. It seemed unlikely to me because there would obviously be so much heat from the plasma that it would burn everything. Perhaps they’re channeling the heat into energy so they can sustain their physical forms?

    1. I think it’s more likely that the matter they are made of is so alien it simply does not obey the laws of our universe, in the same way that their thoughts
      are so alien that direct contact with their minds causes spontaneous insanity.

      1. Probably right. Thinking of them in terms we know makes them understandable, when they’re really not.

      2. I agree and I think this supports my hypothesis on the “Weakness of the Old Ones”
        Thank you for the comments!

    2. I will be covering that and some information on the “siblings” of Ghatanotha in some of the upcoming articles.
      Thank you for the comments!

  2. I’m fairly convinced Cthulhu and Ghatanothoa are one and the same, but HPL didn’t want to use Cthulhu in a revision. In a Mythos context, I suppose they could be similar but separate beings, or just different manifestations of the same entity.

    1. In some other writings, Ghatanothoa, Ythogtha and Zoth-Ommgg are the “sons” of Cthulhu. I will be discussing that in an upcoming article related to asexual reproduction and whether these other entities are some of the Spawn of Cthulhu that Lovecraft mentions.
      Thank you for your comments!

  3. I would like to say that from a linguistics perspective, I find it extremely unlikely that Cthulhu and Ghatanothoa are the same being. There are cults and cultures all around the world that have variations of the name “Cthulhu” and variations of the name “Ghatanothoa” (which are enumerated in various writings by Lovecraft and Clark Ashton Smith and at length in ‘Out of Aeons’ specifically for Ghatanothoa), but if, as is hypothesised, the entities are the same, then it would follow that most of these names would be derived from an ancient, single name for the combined Ghatanothoa-Cthulhu entity. Instead, we find that there don’t seem to be any overlap in the form of names that resemble both Cthulhu and Ghatanothoa; instead of there being at least a handful of names that resemble those of both entities, the sets of names for these beings seem entirely distinct.

    Of course, perhaps one name is an ancient name given by the people of Mu to this being, and one is from the alien being’s own language, but then we run into the second problem which is that despite being worshiped in several of the same areas all over the world, there doesn’t seem to be any recognition that the entities are the same at all, even though Cthulhu has been psychically emanating its thoughts to people over the aeons. We would expect that there would be some acknowledgement of the sameness of these entities in at least some of the many cultures that we know were aware of both entities and that some of the names in the list of names given for Ghatanothoa would be the same as those for Cthulhu, even if there are two distinct origins for the names, but there does not seem to be any overlap whatsoever, meaning that if they are the same entity that no one, including those secretive cults who would probably know, is aware of that fact.

    Finally, Cthulhu’s seeming emergence from R’lyeh in ‘The Call of Cthulhu’ does not seem to have the same ability of petrifaction upon the characters who encounter him as Ghatanothoa’s does, which provides pretty compeling biological evidence that they are not the same. So while Lovecraft may have took inspiration from Cthulhu in creating Ghatanothoa, I think it is extremely unlikely that they are the same being, despite their similarities.

    1. Thank you for the comments! Cthulhu and Ghatanorthoa may not be the same type of being but they may be from the same universe – like humans and Elder Things are from the same universe and made of the same stuff but very different. Again, Thanks for the comments – Fred.

  4. I don’t think they are made of plasma. I think they look that way because they come from another dimension. That means there are parts of them we can’t perceive or understand.
    My thoughts.

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