In Chapter V of “Through the Gates of the Silver Key,” written by H.P. Lovecraft and E. Hoffmann Price, Randolph Carter describes how he is a “supreme archetype” of many beings on many worlds. Based on the documentation, Carter is one of the original models used to produce these other beings. These passages are very metaphysical and I have presented hypotheses that may explain these thoughts of Carter’s. For example, these thoughts of being part of a larger “string” of consciousnesses may be Carter’s mind connecting to others in the Multiverse. An alternative hypothesis may be that these thoughts may be the result of having direct contact with Yog-Sothoth. Again, this part of Chapter V is more metaphysical than scientific so I will focus on some of the other subjects mentioned toward the end of this chapter.
Yog-Sothoth over the Bay by Sigmanus (www.deivantart.com)
Some of the “other” Carters could be accessed “…by a variation in the angle of the consciousness-plane which cuts it.” This passage may indicate that in order to have access to other consciousness, one has to know how to utilize those higher dimensions proposed by String Theory. One of these consciousnesses was an entity who “…dwelt in primal Hyperborea and worshiped black, plastic Tsathoggua after flying down from Kythanil, the double planet that once revolved around Arcturus.”
Was Carter one of the non-human worshipers of Tsathoggua in ancient Hyperborea? Artwork by Mark E. Rogers
Tsathoggua is an entity that was discovered by Clark Ashton Smith and exists on Cykranosh; which to us is known as Saturn. There is some conflicting information on if Tsathoggua still dwells on Cykranosh or if it was brought to Earth by some unknown entities (Harms, 1998). There may be some type of inter-dimensional gate that connects Earth with Cykranosh, which would explain this historical confusion. Regardless, according to Carter, Tsathoggua may have originated from Kythanil and arrived on Cykranosh during the early formation of our Solar System.
Cykranosh, known to us as Saturn (www.nasa.gov)
As cited by Carter, Kythanil is a double planet system that once revolved around the red star Arcturus. While not officially recognized by the International Astronomical Union, a double planet system is a binary system where both bodies have planetary mass. For example, the Pluto (Yuggoth) – Charon (largest moon of Yuggoth) system can be thought of as a double planet. In fact, given the large size of our moon relative to the size of Earth, the European Space Agency has described the Earth – Moon system as a double planet. Very little is known of Kythanil expect that “doubtfully shaped” dwellers exist on this world. While Tsathoggua is frequently described as a large, sloth-like, bat creature, it is also frequently described as amorphous (e.g. black and plastic as quoted above). Thus, Kythanil may be the home world of Tsathoggua.
Tsathoggua Idol by King Ov Rats (www.deviantart.com)
Carter also mentions “…trans-galactic Shonhi, or a four-dimensioned gaseous consciousness in an older space-time continuum…” An older space-time continuum may actually refer to before the Big Bang. If there was some type of Space-Time before the Big Bang, which collapsed and exploded forming our Space-Time, how could any previously existing entity survive this? The four dimensions of the Shonhi may refer to four spatial dimensions. We exist in a three spatial dimensions / one temporal dimension Space-Time continuum. The trans-galactic Shonhi may have escaped destruction by entering a higher fourth spatial dimension.
The gaseous status of the Shonhi may be our limited three-dimensional senses trying to perceive a four-dimensional entity. This is similar to Edward Abbot’s Flatland where a two-dimensional being, like a square or circle, would have a difficult time perceiving the true form and shape a three-dimensional being like a sphere. Even if the sphere entered Flatland, passing through its Space-Time, it would appear first as a point, expand to a one-dimensional line, reach a maximum length, then decrease in length until it becomes a point and then disappears. This encounter between a sphere and a circle does not provide a true sense to the circle what the sphere actually looks like; the same may be for the Shonhi. To us three-dimensional entities a four-dimensional entity may look to us like a gas; however, the true form and shape of the Shonhi may be very different and we just don’t have the fourth dimensional senses to “see” what they really look like.
Attempting to perceive what a three dimensional sphere would look like in two dimensional universe
Another strange entity briefly described by Carter was the “…vegetable brain of the future on a dark radio-active comet of inconceivable orbit…” The fact that this entity is described as “vegetable” indicates it must be some form of autotroph, which is an organism that has the ability to produce complex organic compounds from simple substances. If the energy used to product these compounds is from light the mode of autotrophy is called photosynthesis, if energy is from inorganic chemical reactions it’s called chemosynthesis.
Given that the vegetable brain lives on the surface of a comet reveals that more than likely this entity is not a photosynthetic autotroph since they need light to exist. A comet in an inconceivable orbit spends the vast majority of its time in deep, dark space. As a comet comes closer to a star it does receive some of this light energy; indeed this is what produces the comet’s tail. However, the statement that the vegetable brain exists on a dark radio-active comet, provides evidence that it’s nutritional mode of action may be through chemosynthesis or possibly through a mode of autotrophy that uses radioactivity as a source of energy. For example, three specific species of fungi have been identified in the Chernobyl Nuclear Power Plant that exhibit higher rates of growth and assimilation of acetate when exposed to higher amounts of radiation. A similar mode of nutrition may be utilized by the vegetation brains; using the radiation emitted from the comet to break down simple organic compounds scattered on the surface of the comet. Indeed, the ESA’s Philae lander detected complex organic compounds, like amino acids, on the surface of Comet 67P/Churyumov-Gerasimenko.
Cryptococcus neoformans, a fungus that thrives on radioactivity as a source of energy (www.wikipedia.com)
Finally, the term “dark” may also be an indication that this autotrophic entity feeds on dark matter or dark energy; however, there is no additional information to support this hypothesis.
At one point Carter mentions that observes a dim fantastic world that is in a quintuple star system “…in an unsuspected galaxy.” Carter describes a clawed and snouted race that battles burrowing inner horrors. Based on this scant piece of information it sounds like there is a predatory species that exists underneath the surface of this unnamed world. Maybe the radiation from the five multi-colored suns is harmful to the burrowing inner horrors and they utilize the “unexplained tunnels” to reach the surface to attack and feed on the clawed and tapir-snouted inhabitants of the surface. This world illuminated by five suns, has bizarre metal towers and cryptical floating cylinders but the name of this world is not provided.
Next time we will move into Chapter VI where Carter dreams of the wizard Zkauba on the planet Yaddith. Thank you – Fred.