Nephren-Ka and the Shining Trapezohedron

nephren_ka_the_black_pharaoh_by_mrzarono-d4btotz Nephren-Ka, the Black Pharaoh by Mr. Zarono (

As previously mentioned Nephren-Ka is a Pharaoh of ancient Khem who utilized the Shining Trapezohedron to see into the future. In order to obtain an understanding of how to use the Shining Trapezohedron, Nephren-Ka conducted large-scale and mass ritualistic sacrifices to Nyarlathotep and as a result, any recorded documentation of his life was largely expunged from the ancient history. Thus, it is not surprising that Lovecraft knew every little of him and actually mentioned him by name only twice in all of this recorded tales. The first time toward the end of “The Outsider” after the protagonist looks in a mirror realizes exact what he is and states, “Now I ride with the mocking and friendly ghouls on the night-wind, and play by day amongst the catacombs of Nephren-Ka in the sealed and unknown valley of Hadoth by the Nile.” A little more on what this may indicate later.

The second time Nephren-Ka is mentioned by Lovecraft is in “The Haunter of the Dark,” where, “The Pharaoh Nephren-Ka built around it [referring to the Shining Trapezohedron] a temple with a windowless crypt, and did that which caused his name to be stricken from all monuments and records.” There are instances where Lovecraft may have been referring to Nephren-Ka, such as toward the end of “The Haunter of the Dark” when Blake states, “Is it not an avatar of Nyarlathotep, who in antique and shadowy Khem even took the form of man?” In “The Dreams in the Witch-House” there is a reference to the “Black Man” of the witch-cult and the “Nyarlathotep” of the Necronomicon. While Nephren-Ka was obviously of African descent it is unlikely that the Black Man in “The Dreams in the Witch-House” was Nephren-Ka. So what is the relationship between Nephren-Ka and Nyarlathotep? To answer that, he need to re-examine Robert Bloch’s take “Fane of the Black Pharaoh” in a little more detail.

1204833256_f                                               Nephren-Ka

In the Bloch tale, Nephren-Ka renounces all religions except that of Nyarlathotep. It was stated that Nephren-Ka sought the “power of prophecy, and built temples to the Blind Ape of Truth.” Nephren-Ka then performed a series of large-scale sacrifices, killing over 100 of this subjects in favor of Nyarlathotep.” I can find no information on the temple or faith of the Blind Ape of Truth; however, my guess is that this concept is in reference to humans being “blind” to the true nature of reality and the multiverse. I hypothesize that Nephren-Ka incorporated this concept into the dark temple of Nyarlathotep, since he would be the enlightened ape while the rest of humanity would be blind to the truth. Again, since any reference to Nephren-Ka was largely stricken from the historical records little else is known on the temple of the Blind Ape of Truth.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA                                                                                                                    Temple of the Ape God by Mr. Zarono (

However, what is known about Nephren-Ka is that in exchange for knowledge on how to use the Shining Trapezohedron he sacrificed 100 (if not more) of his subjects to Nyarlathotep. So, if Nyarlathotep is an all-powerful Old Ones who knows how to travel through time, space and beyond, as well as manipulate and utilize matter and energy in ways we can’t even begin to understand, why does he need blood sacrifices? I believe it is another piece of supporting evidence for my hypothesis of “The Weakness of the Old Ones.”

While the Old Ones are all-powerful beyond our understanding, they are not originally from our Space-Time, which puts them at a disadvantage. They can enter our Space-Time but they appear to need help from our side such as cultists performing rituals (Cthulhu in “The Call of Cthulhu”) or hybridization with the resident entities (Yog-Sothoth in “The Dunwich Horror”). In the case of Nyarlathotep, blood (possibly DNA?) is required for his manifestation.  This appears to be the case in both “The Dreams in the Witch-House” as well as in Bloch’s “Fane of the Black Pharaoh.”. Not being residents from our Space-Time means the Old Ones can be easily defeated; however, if one of them does succeed in establishing themselves in our reality the results will be devastating. In ancient Khem the sacrifice of 100 people for Nyarlathotep may have been a serious attempt for this Old One to permanently secure his physical manifestation in our Space Time.

avatars_of_nyarlathotep_by_clone_artist Avatars of Nyarlathotep by Clone Artist (

An alternative hypothesis is that enough blood was provided to Nyarlathotep in ancient Khem to take the form of Nephren-Ka, or at least take a human form (the Black Man or Dark Man). I do not think Nephren-Ka was originally an avatar for Nyarlathotep.  I believe he was a man who wanted power, specifically of prophecy, and was willing to do anything to achieve that goal. However, once he had that power it appears he remained in his sealed tomb for his remaining days, painting the walls of his temple-crypt with his visions of the future. The ambiguous mention of Nephren-Ka at the end of “The Outsider,” playing in the catacombs of Nephren-Ka, may have been in reference to his doomed state of knowing the future of humanity but being trapped in his sealed tomb. He was no long a Blind Ape – he was now an ape who could see but he was also an ape who was trapped.

the_vault_of_nephren_ka_by_eldest20-d6w0mma The Vault of Nephren-Ka by Eldest20 (

Nephren-Ka, Keziah Mason and Walter Gilman may have all been employing various methods, intentional or unintentional, to open the way for Nyarlathotep to enter and establish himself in our Space-Time. Fortunately for us, none of them have succeeded. However, who’s to say who will succeed in the future? Maybe this event is prophesied in drawings on the walls of the tomb of Nephren-Ka.

Next time we will discuss the journey of the Shining Trapezohedron from ancient Khem to Providence, Rhode Island and the sect who more than likely attempted to use it – The Church of the Starry Wisdom. Thank you – Fred.

4 thoughts on “Nephren-Ka and the Shining Trapezohedron

  1. I’m skeptical of the idea that the Old Ones (or at least all of them) need blood sacrifice to enter our reality. In ‘Dreams in the Witch House’ the Black Man manifests BEFORE the sacrifice, in fact he helps Keziah kidnap the victim. I suppose it’s possible that he was summoned by sacrifice before he appeared on that occasion, but within the story there is no mention of any other missing children on that occasion. Besides, killing someone to summon an entity so that entity can help you find someone else to kill as a sacrifice to that same entity seems more than a bit ridiculous.

    Of course, we can’t really be sure the Black Man was Nyarlathotep to begin with. I know it’s a popular identification, but there are too many unknowns in that story to really say for sure.

    Also note that in ‘The Haunter of the Dark’ the eponymous Haunter was summoned without any sacrifice at all. Simply gazing into the Shining Trapezohedron was enough, even though Blake had no experience with the feat or even any idea of what would happen!

    So why the sacrifices? I offer there hypotheses:

    1) Blood sacrifice does provide energy, but it is for the sorcerer, not the Old Ones. The victims provide the ‘juice’ the sorcerer needs to attract attention from the Old Ones.

    2) The sacrifices don’t provide any energy, the Old Ones just like it.

    3) The Old Ones don’t care about the sacrifices, such things just appeal to the religious sense of the sorcerers performing them.

    1. Hello! – thank you for the comments.! Relative to blood I hypothesize that Nyral can enter our reality but he needs something of our Space-Time to stay for extended periods of time – I hypothesize that its the DNA in the blood that helps him to remain in our Space-Time. I agree that the Old Ones don’t care about sacrifices but their weakness in our Space-Time (this is why a dog could defeat Wilbur and a steamship can send Cthulhu back to its water tomb) is that they are not made of the same matter we are so they can not fully manifest in our reality. The Old Ones don’t care about humanity but I hypothesize that in order to completely and fully enter our Space-Time and be stable with our matter – they need someone or something to open the door on this end. With Nyral I hypothesize that blood makes him more stable and allow him to remain in our Space-Time for longer periods of time; Nyral does not care about witches, books, math – he’s just trying to find a way into our Space-Time and using our own perception of reality to do this (or at least try). The hybridization of Wilbur was a similar (yet different method) of trying to enter our Space-Time. Not sure if the sorcerer gets anything our of the sacrifices – only has the idea that he or she may receive power for their efforts. Again, thank you for the comments! Fred

  2. Hi!
    I support the third theory, that the Old Ones don’t care about the sacrifices, but such things appeal to the religious sense of the sorcerers performing them.
    I dare to imagine the Old Ones thinking that humans love sprinkling blood to anything but since it doesn’t affect them directly, they let humans be.

  3. Hello!

    Some years have passed since you wrote this, but… it seems that Nephren-Ka seems to have been inspired by an ancient Egyptian story about Setna Khaemwaset and the mummy of Naneferkaptah (actually Na-Nefer-Ka-Ptah), found in a papyrus written in Demotic.

    Lovecraft must have known about the “Papyrus of Setna” through Lewis Spence’s book “Encyclopedia of Occultism” from 1920, which we know he owned (see “The Nyarlathotep Cycle”, page 201).

    It’s a lovely and very interesting story, that talks about a book of powerful magic (the Book of Thoth) and the dealings of Setna with the mummy (actually the ‘double’ or Ka) of Na-Nefer-Ka-Ptah.

    If you want to know more, please read this:

    Iä Nyarlathotep!

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