In “Through the Gates of the Silver Key” written by H.P. Lovecraft and E. Hoffmann Price, Randolph Carter’s consciousness is “downloaded” into an insectoid-like being who lives on the planet Yaddith. This specific Yaddithian individual is the Wizard Zkauba. Since both consciousnesses are sharing the same body there are times that Carter dominates and others that Zkauba dominates. Such conditions may have produced symptoms similar to schizophrenia.
A Dhole of Yaddith by King Ov Rats (www.deviantart.com)
As a wizard of Yaddith, one of Zkauba’s jobs was “weaving spells to keep the frightful bholes in their burrows…” For the sake of this discussion, a bhole is thought to be either the same thing or closely related to the dholes identified in other tales of Lovecraft. Apparently, the “bleached, viscous bholes” were constantly tunneling through Yaddith and the spells of the Yaddithian wizards would keep these creatures in a relative inactive or dormant state. Desperate to get back to Earth, Carter found a drug on Yaddith that could be used to keep Zkauba’s consciousness in a perpetual dormant state, yet allow Carter to have access of the knowledge and memories of the wizard. Thus, the next time Carter dominated the body of Zkauba, he made and administered the drug to himself.
Keeping Zkauba in a dormant state did allow Carter to eventually successfully (somewhat) leave Yaddith, which we will discuss next time. As part of this process he had to move forward in time in order to ensure he would reach Earth approximately close to when he initially left. As he left Yaddith he saw, “Below him the ground was festering with gigantic bholes; and even as he looked, one reared up several hundred feet and levelled a bleached, viscous end at him.”
Dhole by Michael Bukowski (www.yog-blogsoth.blogspot.com)
Based on this text, the eventual destruction of Yaddith was due to the bholes increasing in size and numbers and reaching the surface. If the bhole population was large enough, it may have even resulted in the eventual destruction of Yaddith itself. The planet may have internally collapsed, breaking apart into a collection of small pieces, producing a miniature asteroid field or a dwarf planet system surrounded by countless minor moons. Or, the size and density of the bhole population may have kept the world intact but slowly converted it into a literal “living planet” continuously shifting, moving and feeding on itself. Obviously, the Yaddithian civilization died with this domination of the bhole with a few possibly escaping through time and space.
Did Yaddith eventually become a living planet, seething with millions of bholes feeding on eat other’s wastes?
With Zkauba’s consciousness in a dormant state, he could no longer perform the ritual to keep the bholes inactive. Carter certainly was not continuing these spells; he was busy figuring out how to get back to Earth. The only spell he had was “a doubly potent spell with which to hold back the bholes at the moment of his starting from the black, dead Yaddith of the inconceivable future.”
Given these circumstances, this begs the question: was Randolph Carter at least partially responsible for the destruction of Yaddithian civilization? If Carter was not so preoccupied with finding a way home and Zkauba could continue the spells to keep the bholes inactive, would this have prevented or at least delayed the eventual honeycombing of Yaddith as a result of bhole activity? If this is the case, the destruction of Yaddith occurred in the distant past but was triggered by the consciousness of a strange ape-like descendent who came from the distant future. Thus, the path to Yaddith’s destruction was not set into motion until Carter, a being of the distant future, traveled back in time. Essentially, Carter’s choice to have access to all of Space-Time with the aid of the Silver Key resulted in the destruction of an entire civilization in the past.
A bhole (www.aaronsiddall.com)
Next time we will discuss the science behind Carter’s escape from Yaddith. Thank you – Fred.