Dwellers of Ib (www.hplovecraftart.blogspot.com)
As cited in a previous article, the Beings of Ib may be an ancient race of sentient amphibians distantly related to salamanders. According to S.T. Joshi the tale does not belong to the Dreamlands cycle of stories (Lovecraft and a World in Transition: Collected Essays on H.P. Lovecraft by S.T. Joshi, 2014). While the tale does appear to be set on pre-history Earth, approximately 10,000 years ago in the land of Mnar, the Beings of Ib may have had the ability to travel to the Dreamlands or some other parallel universe similar to ghouls. Based on text written on the brick cylinders of Kadatheron the Beings of Ib “…descended one night from the moon in a mist; they and the vast still lake and gray stone city of Ib.”
Brick Cylinders of Kadatheron (www.mdcls.blogspot.com)
Similar to the ghouls the Being of Ib may have the ability to travel back and forth from our reality to another; whether this other reality or universe is the Dreamlands is unknown. However, it should be stated that based on Lovecraft’s text the Beings or Ib or the being they worshipped (Bokrug) are not mentioned in The Dream-Quest of Unknown Kadath. Still a counter point is the fact that the cylinders that describe the Beings of Ib originate from Kadatheron. The similarity between the words “Kadath” and “Kadatheron” may provide a clue and some evidence that the Beings of Ib can travel between Earth and the Dreamlands.
Something that differentiates the Beings of Ib from ghouls is that a portion of their universe was also transported to Earth in addition to themselves. As noted on the brick cylinders, both the vast lake of Ib as well as their gray stone city “descended one night from the moon in a mist.” More than likely their lake was superimposed onto an existing lake in our reality or at a minimum was placed into an existing crater. At a minimum the lake did not appear to be placed over an area inhabited by people since there is no reference to this in the cylinders. In fact, the lake itself may be the Ibians portal to their resident universe. If this is the case then this may explain how fast and high the water rose in the lake with the return of the Ibians. The lake is not tidally influenced and is not connected to a large river or set of lakes. In addition, a large storm event did not precede the raise in lake level. Thus, it is hypothesized that the Ibians somehow opened a portal or gateway and allowed water from their reality to spill into ours. An alternative hypothesis is that they somehow altered or manipulated the regional groundwater so it rushed into the lake all at once.
The Doom that Came to Sarnath by Schlitzie (www.deviantart.com)
The strange lights periodically observed in lake, as well as the strange green mists that eminent from the lake when the Ibians return to Mnar may also be the observed effects of opening a wormhole between our universe and theirs. So why did the Ibians wait for a thousand years to implement their revenge against the people of Sarnath? This may be a result of the Ibians originating from another universe. If the relative inter-dimensional flow of time is different for the two universes, similar to how time behaves differently near the speed of light, then the thousand years may have been only a few years to the Ibians. An alternative hypothesis is that it took a thousand years for the knowledge of the slaughter of the Earth-bound Ibians to reach those in their resident universe. Once those Ibians found out what happened to their Earth colony they traveled back to Mnar through their lacustrine, inter-universal portal to retaliate.
While very little is known about the culture of the Ibians we do know they worshipped Bokrug the great water lizard. The only time Bokrug has been mentioned by Lovecraft is in “The Doom that Came to Sarnath” and the Ibians are the only sentient beings known to worship Bokrug. The Ibians may have been visiting the Earth and establishing outposts for tens to hundreds of millions of years. Maybe during one of their first expeditions to Earth they encountered large freshwater lizards that they took to be Bokrug.
An illustration of Bokrug by King Ovrats (www.deviantart.com). Note how this illustration reminds one of a Mosasaurs.
There were a variety of large, marine reptiles that lived throughout the oceans of the Earth during the Mesozoic Era, which was between 248 and 65 million years ago (Sea Dragons: Predators of the Prehistoric Oceans by Richard Ellis, 2003). These large, predators included creatures such as the Pliosaurs and the Mosasaurs and were almost completely marine. However, fossils discovered in Hungary in 2012 were identified as a new species of Mosasaurs that lived in a freshwater river environment. Is it possible that the deity Bokrug was a freshwater species of Mosasaurs? Another potential candidate for Bokrug may be the semi-aquatic Spinosaurus, which was a large predator that filled the ecological niche of a crocodile during the Mesozoic, feeding on fish and other shore-dwelling animals (Dinosaurs: The Grand Tour by Keiron Pim, 2013).
Is it possible that Bokrug was a Spinosaurus?
Given the available information presented here, it is hypothesized that the Beings of Ib may have originated from another parallel universe and entered our reality through freshwater lakes. Additionally, these beings may have been visiting the Earth for millions of years and their religion devoted to Bokrug the great water lizard was probably the result of past encounters between Ibians and some ancient freshwater reptiles. The fact that Bokrug is never again mentioned by Lovecraft and no direct encounter with Bokrug is documented indicates that he may not be a Great Old One.
Next time we will discuss “The Nameless City.” Thank you – Fred.