The Haunter of the Dark by Wilbur Whateley (www.deviantart.com)
We know almost nothing about the biology of the Haunter of the Dark. Essentially, what we do know and be distilled down into three facts. First, the Haunter is not of our reality. Like the Mi-Go or Cthulhu, the Haunter is an entity from another universe that had slightly varying natural laws and properties. Thus, the matter the Haunter is composed of is very different than the matter of humans, Deep Ones or Elder Things. This first fact is extremely important and directly related to the third fact in this discussion.
The second fact, is based on the skeleton of Edwin M. Lillibridge found in the church by Robert Blake. The skeleton “must have been there for a very long time.” If the events in the “Haunter in the Dark” occurred in 1935 and Mr. Lillibridge died in 1893 (based on an advertising calendar found on his person), then 42 years elapsed since his death. This would have been a sufficient amount of time for his corpse to decompose down to bone. In the open air, it takes approximately two weeks for a substantial portion the body’s soft tissues to decompose. Even an unembalmed body buried six feet underground takes 8 to 12 years to fully decompose to a skeleton. Thus, 42 years is more than enough time for Mr. Lillibridge’s corpse to decompose down to bone.
The Haunter of the Dark (from http://www.spookylaboratory.blogspot.com)
While there is nothing unusual about the rate of decomposition of the corpse, the cause of death was difficult to identify. Upon close examination by Blake the bones were scattered and a few seemed dissolved at the ends. Additionally, other bones were strangely yellowed, with suggestions of being charred. This charring was also detected on some of the associated clothing. The skull was also stained yellow with a charred hole at the top of skull as if it was eaten away with some powerful acid.
While hydrofluoric acid is not a strong acid, its toxicity makes it particularly dangerous; relative to the human body, it scavenges calcium and forms a insoluble precipitate calcium fluoride, which results in severe pain and tissue damage. Thus, while Lovecraft mentions that the bone looked as if it was partially eaten away by a powerful acid, he also mentions several times that the bone and skull parts were charred. Thus, I hypothesize that the Haunter did not kill Lillibridge by spitting, spraying or emitting an acid. Instead, I hypothesize that since Lovecraft used the term char or charring three times in the description of the skeleton, I think the mode of attack and death on Lillibridge was bone charring.
Bone char is a process where bones are heated in a sealed container up to 1,292oF (700oC) under low oxygen concentrations. This results in burning off most of the organic material, leaving the bone char, which is also known as activated carbon. In turn, this material can be used in a number of capacities, including the treatment of potable water supplies. Bone char is particularly effective as a means of removing highly toxic metal ions from the water.
Activated carbon is the final product generated in the bone charring process (www.wikipedia.com)
Given the condition of the Lillibridge bones, I hypothesize that the bones actually exhibit some very localized and concentrated bone charring. Such charring had to have been done on a small scale, otherwise only bone char would have been found instead of the damaged skeleton. The Haunter may have some type of organ, maybe a trunk, proboscis or haustellum, to generate the conditions necessary for and subsequently implement the bone charring process in its victum. If this is the case, this attack must have been extremely painful. However, the possible use of hydrofluoric acid or similar compound should not be completely ruled out as will be discussed at the end of this article.
The third fact we know about the Haunter is that it is highly susceptible to light. Essentially, low light levels weaken it and higher levels of light banish it. It should be noted that while high levels of light make the Haunter disappear, it does not kill the entity. The Haunter can easily be re-summoned with the Shinning Trapezohedron, as described in previous articles. Again, the key to summoning and banishing the Haunter in our Space-Time and the degree of its power is directly correlated to the amount of light. So how is this possible?
As cited earlier in the first fact, similar to the Mi-Go, the Haunter is not made of the same matter we are; being from another Universe or at least beyond our Space-Time, the visible light portion of the electromagnetic (EM) spectrum affects it very differently than other species in our Space-Time. For us the EM spectrum can be divided into non-ionizing and ionizing radiation, where non-ionizing radiation does not have enough energy to ionize (remove an electron) atoms or molecules. This type of radiation is only strong enough to excite the election to a higher state and not remove it. From higher to lower frequencies, non-ionizing radiation includes light, infrared, microwaves, radio wave and extremely low frequency waves.
The electromagnetic spectrum showing both non-ionizing and ionizing radiation (www.wikipedia.com)
In contrast, ionizing radiation has a higher frequency and shorter wavelengths and can strip elections off atoms or molecules. This higher energy radiation can be a health hazard to humans. The more energy the higher the health risk. From lower to higher frequencies, ionizing radiation includes ultraviolet, X-rays and Gamma rays.
Again, light waves are non-ionizing and so do not pose a health hazard to humans or life on Earth in general. However, entities from another Space-Time, where the natural laws are slightly different, may respond to our EM spectrum differently relative to us. Thus, for the Haunter visible light may be an ultra-strong form of ionizing radiation that neutralizes it so it is sent back to its own Space-Time. If light is a strong form of radiation to the Haunter, are other forms of non-ionizing radiation also dangerous to it? Does this mean that ionizing radiation is not dangerous to the Haunter? We have very little information on this so some experimental work would be required.
The Haunter by Steve Purcell (www.stufftoblowyourmind.com)
Such experiments would involve summoning the Haunter through the Shining Trapezohedron and then exposing the entity to varying forms of radiation, both ionizing and non-ionizing. Of course, the Haunter may not appreciate being experimented upon; however as long as a source of visible light is readily available the Haunter could easily be banished back to its own Space-Time if it gets agitated. Extreme caution would obviously be required; we have no idea what effects the other sections of our EM spectrum would have on the Haunter so I would recommend multiple and varying sources of light.
The Haunter of the Dark (malakialagatta.deviantart.com)
One concluding thought is that when they discovered the body of Robert Blake after the electrical storm when the Haunter broke out of the church steeple, he was sitting at his desk completely rigid with glassy bulging eyes. This “frozen” condition may have been the result of some type of calcification of the body, similar to what was described earlier with the hydrofluoric acid producing an insoluble precipitate. Thus, some type of chemical reaction, perhaps on the quantum level as well as the electrochemical level, occurred to result in this extreme case of paralysis. However, as previously mentioned we know very little about the Haunter and until additional encounters are documented and/or actual experimental work is conducted, the biology of this unique entity will remain largely unknown.
The Haunter of the Dark by Pickmans Model (www.deviantart.com)
Next time we will conclude the Bloch / Lovecraft / Haunter trilogy with third tale, Bloch’s “The Shadow from the Steeple.” Thank you – Fred.