The Hounds of Tindalos by Jb Lee
Unlike H.P. Lovecraft’s “From Beyond” where a device is constructed that generates a particularity unique electromagnetic field that directly stimulates a part of our brain called the pineal gland, in Frank Belknap Long’s “The House of Tindalos” Halpin Chalmers consumes a drug that alters his brain chemistry and allows his consciousness to temporarily travel outside of the Space-Time of our Universe. In these travels Chalmers encounters beings that “have no bodies, and they move slowly through outrageous angles.” These are the Hounds of Tindalos.
Even in the absence of drugs or mental illness, the mind is constantly generating hallucinations and the anterior cingulate cortex is the key part of the brain that allows us to distinguish between external stimuli and those that are internally generated our mind (The Future of the Mind: The Scientific Quest to Understand, Enhance, and Empower the Mind by Michio Kaku, 2014). Unfortunately, in many forms of mental illness, including schizophrenia, the system that allows us to separate real (external) and imagined (internal) stimuli is damaged or is not correctly operating. Additionally, consciousness (at least for humans) can be defined as “the process of creating a model of our world in space and time (especially the future) by evaluating many feedback loops in various parameters” (Kaku, 2014). Thus, one of the outcomes of this is that mental illness is largely a disruption of the checks and balances between competing feedback loops (Kaku, 2014). This means that since we evolved in a Universe / reality of Space-Time – that is, three spatial dimensions and one of time – are minds and associated consciousness recognize linear time and uses this to make predictions for future actions. Mental illness and drugs can alter, modify or damage this perception.
The Liao drug ingested by Chalmers in “The Hounds of Tindalos” may have altered his perception of reality, particularly in reference to time, giving his mind “access” to components of our reality not normally perceived by us (as the Resonator does in “From Beyond”). Specifically, in the case of “The Hounds of Tindalos” Chalmers’s mind was provided access to outside of our Space-Time. This access beyond our or any other Space-Time may be similar to the circumstances that occurred in Clark Ashton Smith’s “Ubbo-Sathla.”
Stepping out of our (or any) Space-Time is very different than using a wormhole to enter another part of our Universe or using extra-dimensional travel to enter another Universe. To be completely out of Space-Time would be an unnerving condition for the human mind and this certainly seems to be the case for Chalmers. While in the beginning of the tale Chalmers appears to be a little eccentric and perhaps even bipolar (which may have actually made him more susceptible to the Liao drug), after he has taken the drug and is outside of Space-Time he appears to suffer from a mental breakdown. His mind, attempting to perceive the absence of time, or perhaps even meta-time, attempts to compensate by observing a wide array of historical events in human history. Additionally, Chalmers also documents the presence of other entities that either exist or visit outside the Space-Time, which includes a mysterious It that can move “through strange curves and outrageous angles,” the Doels (more on them in future articles) and of course the Hounds of Tindalos.
The Hounds of Tindalos by Nottsuo (www.deivantart.com)
We know the Hounds exist outside of Space-Time but we don’t know if they originate from there. Were they visitors who got stuck outside and have remained there? Or maybe they are the refugees from a long dead Universe, living on the outskirts of our Space-Time. The one thing we do know is once an entity from our Space-Time is recognized by the Hounds, they can easily track that entity (in this case Chalmers) to their Space-Time, entering it through angles. However, to what end? Once the Hounds recognize an entity, what do they want with it?
When the Hounds eventually track down Chalmers investigators found him stretched out on his back in his apartment dead. He was naked and his chest and arms were covered with a foul-smelling bluish pus, ichor or slime. His head was removed from his neck and was laying on his chest. While his head was “twisted and torn and horribly mangled,” there was no trace of blood. This may be a key point in reference to the Hounds. They exist outside of Space-Time but if they encounter an entity from a specific Universe, they lock on their “scent.” What this scent is we don’t know; it could be signature of DNA, the entity’s consciousness, brain activity or other life signature, or some other factor associated with being bound in Space-Time. Once the Hounds have the scent eventually they find their prey and apparently feed on their blood. However, it appears that they cannot survive too long in our bound Space-Time and immediately disappear back into the void outside of Space-Time.
The Hound of Tindalos by Michael Bukowski (www.yog-blogsoth.blogspot.com)
In conclusion, anyone doing research on the structure and nature of reality, particularly if this research includes surveys or investigations outside of Space-Time, whether this includes the use of drugs, sensory deprivation or high particle physics, need to be wary of The Hounds of Tindalos. I do want to mention that Mr. Jim Moon will be posting a reading of “The Hounds of Tindalos” very soon and you can find that on www.hypnogoria.com or on iTunes at the Hypnobobs Podcast. Please look out for that since Jim’s readings of weird tales is always extremely enjoyable.
Next time we will H.P. Lovecraft’s “The Statement of Randolph Carter.” Thank you – Fred.
The Hounds of Tindalos by Douzen (www.deviantart.com)