The Insects From Shaggai: Part 1, Alien Matter


Insect From Shaggai (from

In a previous article a hypothesis was suggested that the 9th planet that may exist beyond Neptune and Yuggoth (Pluto) may be Shaggai. This word “Shaggai” was mentioned only twice by Lovecraft and both occur in “The Haunter of the Dark.” The first mention of Shaggai was as a title of one of Robert Blake’s best-known short stories. The second mention was at the end of the story when one of the statements in Blake’s journal, found after his death states, “I remember Yuggoth, and more distant Shaggai, and the ultimate void of the black planets…” This statement was made by Blake after he gazed into the strange shining trapezohedron and  may provide the evidence that indeed Shaggai is the 9th planet beyond Neptune. Unfortunately, these are the only two references Lovecraft makes regarding Shaggai.

Fortunately, additional documentation has been made on Shaggai and its original inhabitants by Mr. Ramsey Campbell. Thus, almost all of the material reviewed in this article is derived from the tale “The Insects from Shaggai,” which is in a collection of stories called The Inhabitant of the Lake & Other Unwelcome Tenants. However, it should be noted that one of the entries in Lovecraft’s Commonplace Book has the suggestion that…”Insects or other entities from space attack and penetrate a man’s head and cause him to remember alien and exotic things – possible displacement of personality.” Is it possible that Mr. Campbell was influenced by the Insects themselves? More on that below.


Based on his curiosity on some local legends about Goatswood, which is located in Severn Valley, England, a fantasy writer named Ronald Shea visits these woods. Initially Shea encounters a strange, tree-like creature, metallic grey in color with a gaping orifice at the top of the main trunk. The creature scares Shea so much that he runs blindly deeper into the woods and comes across a ”thirty-foot-high metal cone which towered” in a clearing. The strange cone only reflected light because it was covered with moisture. It was constructed of “a dull mineral, pitted and scarred from unimaginable stresses.” The surface of the cone was illustrated with alien reliefs that depicted at least five distinct alien species, the dominant one appearing to be a creature that looked like some type of Terran insect. It is later revealed that the metallic grey tree-like creature is one of the other four species, used by the Insects as slave labor.

DSC_0040While this cone made of glass was constructed by humans, the metal cone used by the Insects From Shaggai is probably similar in shape with an opening at the top and circular trapdoors toward the bottom.

A circular trapdoor opened on the cone and a number of these alien insects – The Insects from Shaggai – emerged. These creatures were larger than terrestrial insects with leathery wings that were ridged and covered with triangular scales. They had huge lidless eyes, jointed tendrils which twisted “from the head in cosmic rhythms” and ten legs covered with shiny black tentacles that folded into the pallid underbody. Most peculiar were the three mouths on its head.

Based on Campbell’s text, one of the Insects swooped down and actually pressed its flat face against Shea’s for a brief moment and was then gone. The other insects left Shea alone after this encounter. The disappearance of the insect and the subsequent visions and historical information that seemed to appear in Shea’s mind indicates that there may have been either a merging of alien insect / human minds or the insect “downloaded” a large part of its history into Shea’s mind. In Shea’s testimony he states that the insects were not “strictly material – constructed of some alien matter which allow its atoms to exist conterminously with those of my body.” This description is similar to those made about the Mi-Go, being made of different matter than us. However, we do not know if the Mi-Go and the Insects from Shaggai are from the same universe and thus operating under the same natural laws.

mi-go1Both the Mi-Go and the Insects From Shaggai are made of different matter than us, but are the Mi-Go and Insects both made of the same alien matter? This Mi-Go is an illustration done by Steve Maschuck.

Even more similar than the Mi-Go, the Insects may be more closely related to the entities that are experienced in Lovecraft’s story “From Beyond.” In that tale, a device is turned on that allows us to see / perceive things that we normally can’t see. These creatures move and float around and through us. Additionally, within the field generated by the device we can see these creatures and they can see us. In previous articles it has been hypothesized that the device generates an inter-dimensional field that allow parallel universes to occupy the same space-time. Thus, if each universe is layered on one another like slices in a loaf of bread, recalling the M-brane theory on the structure of reality, the device in “From Beyond” (some refer to the device as a resonator) may create an inter-dimensional tunnel that allows more than one universe to perceive each other in the same space-time. Thus, the Insects of Shaggai may be residents of another universe but their metallic cone temples may also serve to generate the field similar to the resonator, allowing them to co-occupy our space time. Indeed, there are several times in the story where the cone structure is said to have the ability to create a multi-dimensional gate or portal.

resonator_doneDoes the metallic cone the Insects From Shaggai travel and live in generate an energy field similar to that of the resonator in “From Beyond?” This may explain how the Insect and human minds merged in the tale. Shown above is the resonator turned on, illustrated by Steve Maschuck.

If this is the case, why did the Insect who merged with Shea disappear? It is hypothesized that unlike the inter-dimensional plankton in “From Beyond” the Insects cannot simply drift through us. Similar to the Mi-Go the Insects of Shaggai are made of different matter than we are and Lovecraft suggests the difference is largely based on differences in the vibrational rate of electrons or other leptons (leptons are particles that are subject to the weak nuclear force which include electrons, muons and neutrinos). The vibrational rates of the sub-atomic particles for the inter-dimensional plankton may be so radically different from ours that we can pass through one another. However, if this vibrational rate (electron-based or dependent on other particles) between the Insects and us is only slightly off, then this may allow for a merging of consciousness but not for the two bodies to occupy the same space at the same time. The result was one of the bodies was disappeared. On a side note, it is interesting to note that Lovecraft may have presented some of the first concepts of String Theory with his description of the nature of the Mi-Go.

LargeHadronCollider_CERN_Large Hadron Collider (CERN). The merging of the minds from two universes may be analogous to the smashing sub-atomic particles into atoms or each other.

While the Insect disappeared, it does not appear to have been destroyed or transported to another universe. More than likely that particular Insect was still around in Goatswood; while not explicit the story does give one that impression. The merging may have been similar to smashing atoms with high energy particles in a large particle accelerator. As the alien form of matter in our space-time the Insect was immediately thrown away from the space-time that Shea occupied. This may have been so instantaneous that he did not observe it happening. The Insect from Shaggai may have acquired this form of mind merging either intentionally through directed, artificial selection or through natural evolutionary adaption on their home world / universe. However, the Insect used this ability to download a huge amount of its species history into Shea’s mind and that historical account is the topic of conservation in the next article. Thank you – Fred.


A sketch of an Insect From Shaggai



2 thoughts on “The Insects From Shaggai: Part 1, Alien Matter

  1. I’ve always interpreted the the story such that the Insect from Shaggai did not ‘disappear’ but actually lodged itself inside Shea’s head so it could project its own thoughts and memories into his consciousness and so control him. If we must use computer terminology, this would not be so much a ‘download’ as direct interface.

    The idea in the story seems to be that the Insects (obviously their resemblance to Earthly insects is purely coincidental) are of such exotic matter that they can occupy the same space as a human brain without detrimental physical effects on either side. Probably they can pass through most matter in our universe, which implies that their temple-spaceship is formed of some exotic matter that they can interact with. (Matter native to their universe or ours? There’s a good question!)

    Why don’t they travel farther from their temple in the forest? I would suggest that prolonged exposure to our universe damages them in some way. Perhaps it is even fatal to them after a time. Because of its alien composition, their temple-ship is the one place they can remain safe and healthy. Alternately, perhaps they are protected by the aspect of Azathoth which is somehow contained inside the temple (the presence and nature of said aspect leading to any number of mind-bending further speculations, but we digress!)

    A key question is, how long can the Insect remain in Shea’s cranium? Does the brain of a sentient organism provide the same long-term protection from our hostile universe as their temple-ship? Is this how they handle their various slave-races? Beyond this, does entering another creature’s brain serve any other functions for the Insects from Shaggai? Reproduction, for example?

    By the way, ‘The Insects from Shaggai’ is also in Campbell’s anthology ‘Cold Print,’ which collects all his Cthulhu Mythos tales to 1985.

    1. Thanks for the great comments! You may be right it may have fused with Shea biologically but since they are made of different matter he may not of felt it like something physically entering his brain say through his ear. However, while not explicit, I got the impression in the story that that particular individual insect was still flying around Goatswood and the merging just opened up a line of communication – again just an impression it was not explicitly explained. The Insect probably learned quite a bit about us as well through Shea and this may be why they came up with the conclusion to take over the Earth – even though there was only about 30 of them left. I will be talking about Shaggai, the history of their civilization, associated species and Azathoth in upcoming articles – thanks for the comments! Fred

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