Category Archives: The Statement of Randolph Carter

Through the Gates of the Silver Key: Discovering What Happened to Randolph Carter

“I will say this – this is some kinda slam-bang story. There’s more wonderful loose ends, trippy metaphysics, and crazy fizzy-pop ideas in this story than in virtually any other Lovecraft tale of like length.” Kenneth Hite from Tour De Lovecraft: The Tales (2011).

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Over a large part of 2017 Lovecraftian Science will focus on the science associated with H.P. Lovecraft’s Dream Cycle of stories and the Dreamlands in general. This will include discussions on the theory of multiverse, the structure and nature of matter, quantum mechanics, the ecology of the various ecosystems of the Dreamlands and other topics.  Thus, “Through the Gates of the Silver Key” written by H.P. Lovecraft and E. Hoffmann Price will be the start of these investigations as we move through 2017.  I included Kenneth Hite’s quote above to emphasize the point that “Through the Gates of the Silver Key” is filled with a variety of metaphysical and scientific ideas and concepts.  To delve into these, I will be conducting this analysis on a chapter by chapter basis. This article will cover Chapters 1 and 2 of “Through the Gates of the Silver Key.”

The story begins with four people at the home of Etienne Laurent De Marigny of New Orleans to discuss the estate of Randolph Carter who has been missing for four years.  While the attorney Ernest B. Aspinwall is anxious to declare Carter dead and divide his estate up among his heirs, a strange individual named Swami Chandraputra opposes this action since he claims he knows that Carter is alive and what has happened to him over the last four years. The rest of the tale documents Carter’s adventures.

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Randolph Carter by Andrew Johansen

It should be noted that “Through the Gates of the Silver Key” is sort of a sequel to “The Silver Key,” which we have discussed in previous articles and Chapters 1 and 2 summarize the occurrences in “The Silver Key.” Carter takes the key to back to the wooded hills and into a “strange cave in the forest slope, the dreaded, “snake-den” which country folk shunned…” In the farthermost corner, deep in the cave, Carter approaches a granite wall and pulls the silver key out of his pocket. As a result, present day, adult Carter disappears but young Carter in the past has acquired the ability to predict future events and discoveries.

Initially, these circumstances appeared to result in a “time loop” of Carter forever going back into the past with the aid of the Silver Key only to reach that point when he uses it to again go back in time. However, I hypothesized that the first Carter loops back to give his younger self the Silver Key to alter his own timeline so that he can eventually break out of our Space-Time and “Through the Gates of the Silver Key” supports this hypothesis.  This more quantum view of time is sometime referred to as the “river model,” where our Space-Time is not just one of many Universes but is also one of many Times. Indeed, in “Through the Gates of the Silver Key” a friend and distant cousin of Carter, Mr. Ward Phillips, claims that Carter “…was still alive in another time-dimension and might well return some day.” This “time-dimension” may be a reference to an alternative time-line.

As the individuals were discussing Carter, De Marigny presents the group a strange piece of parchment that was found in Carter’s car on the day of his disappearance. While no one can translate the characters on the parchment, they are similar to characters that have been observed in an old book Harley Warren once had. Remember Warren was the person in “The Statement of Randolph Carter” (another tale of Lovecraft’s previously reviewed) who entered an underground crypt in Florida, encountered some creatures and did not return to the surface. It was hypothesized that this crypt was actually a portal to the Dreamlands that ghouls were using to enter our Space-Time.

the_silver_key_and_dream_parchment_fragment_by_jasonmckittrick-d83xfq0                                                                     The Silver Key and the Dream Parchment Fragment by Jason McKittrick (www.cryptocurium.com)

Thus, to summarize so far, Carter used a key and parchment (which he memorized but left in the car) to leave our Space-Time. The parchment had similar characters used by Warren to enter a place that may have been a portal to our Space-Time by ghouls. Additionally, the “snake-den” portal was near Kingsport, a location also known to have a Universal connection with the Dreamlands Universe. In “The Festival” this known portal or connection may actually be underneath the town itself; is it possible that there are a series of catacombs and grottos underneath Kingsport and the surrounding lands that can be used to leave our Space-Time?

In Chapter 2 of “Through the Gates of the Silver Key” we get more information in what was in the “snake-den” when Carter disappeared from our Space-Time. Turns out the simple snake-den was an unknown, inner grotto with a rock wall shaped like a large pylon. A keystone appeared on the wall and above it was a large, sculptured hand. Carter then used the silver key with some motions and intonations to “…cross the barrier to the untrammeled land of his dreams and the gulfs where all dimensions dissolved in the absolute.”

snakeden_glinda_chen               Is the Snake-Den near Kingsport a portal to another Space-Time? Artwork by Glinda Chen

Finally, recently it has been reported that scientists have actually created time crystals, which are essentially a unique and possibly new form of matter. These crystals have an atomic structure that repeats not just in space but also in time. Essentially, their atomic lattice matrix structure is in perpetual motion without the introduction of an external source of energy. This unique form of matter is not in equilibrium. Thus, these crystals oscillate in their ground state, keeping them in a constant condition of non-equilibrium in the absence of any applied energy. Keep in mind this is fairly new and largely theoretical research; while two teams and generated results, such research needs to be repeated and confirmed by other labs. However, if proven true, the ability to oscillate or repeatedly flip their atomic spin without the application of energy will provide valuable insight into additional applications of quantum mechanics. Are similar forms of non-equilibrium matter needed for inter-dimensional travel to other Space-Times? Is the Silver Key composed of some unique form of non-equilibrium matter, similar to a time crystals? Without examining the key, we may never know.

view-into-ion-trap-apparatus       Physicists plan to create a “time crystal” — a theoretical object that moves in a repeating pattern without using energy — inside a device called an ion trap. Image: Hartmut Häffner (www.wired.com)

Next time we will review Chapter 3 of “Through the Gates of the Silver Key.” Thank you – Fred.

Supporting Evidence of M-Theory on the Nature of the Multiverse in Lovecraft’s “The Statement of Randolph Carter

warren_meets_his_doom_by_pickmans_model                     Warren meets his Doom by Frohickey (www.deviantart.com)

When Harley Warren entered the under-ground crypt in that forgot graveyard in the Big Cypress Swamp, he discovered something that cost him his life.  He had an idea something aberrant was lurking in that tomb, which is why he would not let his friend Randolph Carter go down with him. However, what Warren thought was down there and what was revealed to be there were probably two very different things. To analyze exactly what was down in that under-ground tomb, I want to discuss H.P. Lovecraft’s “The Statement of Randolph Carter” from both a macro-scale and a micro-scale.

From a macro-scale perspective, Warren may have stumbled into a portal in that tomb that connects our Space-Time to another Universe. There are a unique sub-group of Lovecraft’s tales that hint at the possibility that our Universe is some connected or super-positioned onto another one. Stories such as “The White Ship,” “Pickman’s Model,” “The Nameless City,” “The Festival,” and “Celephais” all provide evidence for the existence of another Universe and the possibility for entities from one Universe visiting the other. The portal or bridge between the two Universe could be a specific location in our Space-Time, the use of some type of alien technology or methodology, or simply dreams. The under-ground tomb in that Floridian swamp may have been one of these portals and Warren may have found this out through the book he was carrying, written in alien characters. It has been questioned whether or not this book is perhaps at least a partial translation of the Necronomicon (Joshi, 1999; Klinger, 2014).  Similar to Walter Gilman in “Dreams in the Witch-House,” Warren may have found a formula or methodology that could be used to access higher dimensions to open a portal to another Universe.  If indeed Warren opened a portal and peered into it, it would help explain some of this statements to Carter such as “God! If you could seed what I am seeing!”, “Carter, it’s terrible – monstrous – unbelievable!”, and “It’s too utterly beyond thought – I dare not tell you – no man could know it and live – Great God! I never dreamed of this.” Are these statements Warrens attempt to understand what he was seeing – a portal that opened up from one Universe (or brane) to another and what was on the other side?

warren 1_SaraBardi_www.dreamquestofunknownkadath.com                                                                                                    Harley Warren by Sara Bardi (www.dreamquestofunknownkadath.com)

Modern cosmology is not considered the pseudoscience it was in the past and current hypotheses on the nature of reality may help to explain what Warren experienced.  Super String theory (also known as String theory) is an attempt to describe a unified field theory (a theory for everything) that would unite all four forces of nature (gravity, electromagnetism, strong nuclear force and weak nuclear force), based on tiny, micro-atomic strings vibrating in 10 or 11-dimensional Space-Time. A strong point of String theory is that it integrates gravity, where other theories cannot. A weak point of String theory is that it cannot provide solutions for every aspect of its model. Thus, a number of solutions are being investigated for M-Theory (essentially an extension of String theory) that include super-symmetry as well as the possibility of adding another dimension into the calculations (www.mkaku.org). For the sake of this discussion, Warren may have opened a portal from our Space-Time brane to another brane (potentially the Dreamlands). Additionally, our brane and the Dreamlands brane may be a series of branes that are single parts of a complex Multiverse that extends into our Space-Time as well as into higher dimensions.

040400sci-universal-theory_A_SteveDuenes_NewYorkTimes Proposed ideas of M-theory and the Multiverse (illustration by Steve Duenes of the New York Times)

From a micro-scale perspective, we have very little information on what the “things” or entities were that Warren encounters in the under-ground tomb. Two hypotheses are proposed.  First, they may be the individuals that were somehow brought back to life through some unknown mechanisms but possibly similar to Dr. Herbert West’s serum in “Herbert West – Reanimator.” Possibly the unique environmental conditions under-ground and/or being adjacent to the portable to the Dreamlands brane, reanimates the dead. This would explain the statement “…why certain corpses never decay, but rest firm and fat in their tombs for a thousand years.” Of course a recently dead individual would probably understand how to use a telephone and speak English so the chilling response Carter gets at the end of the tale would be understandable.

the_statement_of_randolph_carter_by_cheesecake_weasel-d6lmu64 The Statement of Randolph Carter by Cheesecake Weasel (www.deviantart.com)

An alternative hypothesis is the entities are not reanimated dead but instead ghouls, creatures that may be an extreme variation of human genetic / evolution and/or the result of some type of genetic disease (possibly triggered by a virus or prion). Under a certain set of circumstances humans can visit the Dreamlands brane but ghouls seem to accomplish this with a higher degree of ease and frequency relative to humans. Indeed, ghouls may take advantage of this ability as a means of traveling largely unseen from graveyard to graveyard. Whether this ability is largely based on an intrinsic, genetic ability of the ghouls or of knowledge / technology on how to utilize dreams and access portals to move between the branes is largely unknown.

ghoulsgraveyard1_MarkFoster_hplovecraftart.blogspot.com Ghoul’s Graveyard by Mark Foster (www.hplovecraftart.blogspot.com)

If the ghoul hypothesis is correct, the idea of certain corpses that never decay and appear to be firm and fat may be ghouls posing as the dead to avoid being discovered. If this is the case, then Harley Warren did more just examine dead bodies in the tomb. Maybe Warren knew this under-ground tomb in Florida was one of the points where our Space-Time’s brane connected to another (the Dreamlands brane?) and he somehow accessed or opened this connection. This would have easily upset the ghouls, either posing as the dead or possibly coming from the other brane entering ours to find Warren. To keep their existence, as well as the ability to travel to other universes a secret, it is not surprising that the ghouls would kill Warren and tell Carter that “…Warren is Dead!” Using superstition to keep knowledge on the nature and structure of Space-Time, reality and the Multiverse a secret is a re-occurring theme in many of Lovecraft’s writings.

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The climatic scene from Lovecraft’s “The Statement of Randolph Carter” as shown in Lego format (www.littleempire.blogspot.com)

Next time more evidence of the M-theory in Lovecraft’s writings will be presented in a discussion of his tale “The White Ship.” Thank you – Fred.

Early 20th Century Technology in “The Statement of Randolph Carter”

SoRC_Andrew_Brosnatch                               The Statement of Randolph Carter by Andrew Bronsnatch

In H.P. Lovecraft’s “The Statement of Randolph Carter,” written in 1919 (The Call of Cthulhu and Other Weird Stores by S.T. Joshi, 1999), several relatively new forms of early 20th century technology were utilized. First is the electric lantern. As Harley Warren and Randolph Carter travel through the Big Cypress Swamp in the dark they use electric lanterns to find their way. The first commercially successful, portable electric lantern used a dry cell battery and was available for purchase before the end of 1896 (www.candlepowerforums.com). The Acme Electric Lamp Company held the patent for the electric lantern. Unfortunately for Acme the electric lantern was short-lived as its popularity declined with the increased availability of the tubular flashlight, which was invented in 1898 (www.candlepowerforums.com). Ironically, while potable electric lighting was a relatively new technology, by the time electric flashlight was readily available, the electric lantern was rendered obsolete. Thus, even by 1919 the use of an electric lantern would have been thought of by at least some as antiquated.

vintage-antique-1920-s-1930-s-electric-flashlight-lantern_www.tearpeak.com                                                                                              A vintage electric lantern (www.terapeak.com)

antique-flashlight-lot-early-electric-flashlights-French-Rayolite-Winchester-Laurel-Leaf-Farm-item-no-nt718153-3           Antique electric flashlights

In contrast to the electric lantern, very little information is readily available on the portable telephone outfit, used by Henry Warren to communicate with Randolph Carter above-ground.  As Leslie S. Klinger has noted in The Annotated H.P. Lovecraft (2014) on “The Statement of Randolph Carter,” information on a phone system as described by Lovecraft – where two telephones are directly connected to each other by wire – is not widely available.  Apparently, Frederick F. Strong filed a patent application in 1905 for a portable telephone unit where two phones were connected with wire (Klinger, 2014).  However, in Lovecraft’s day, technological advances in the telephone technology was occurring at an accelerated pace, similar to the advances in the home computer through the 1980’s or current advances in hand held electronic devices.

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1912dub1_www.earlyradiohistory.us

Indeed, in the early 20th century as the quality and range of telephone technology increased, there were discussions of having “a wireless telephone outfit in a suit-case–or in any other convenient carrying receptacle–complete, and requiring only connection at any ordinary electric-light socket to make it capable of operating over a distance of fifty miles…” (from Technical World Magazine, 1912).  Additionally, the first coast to coast long-distance telephone call was in 1915 between Alexander Graham Bell in New York City and his formal assistant Thomas Augustus Watson in San Francisco.  By 1904 more than three million phones in the United States were connected to manual switchboard exchanges. Given the quick-based, technological evolution of the telephone, it was not surprising that Warren and Carter had a portable telephone outfit. However, what is surprising is the “thing” deep within the Earth knew how to operate the device. The next article will be a discussion of the creatures Harley Warren encountered underground. Thank you – Fred.

the_fate_of_harley_warren_by_frohickey The Fate of Harley Warren by Frohickey (www.deviantart.com)