Tag Archives: electromagnetic spectrum

The Biology of the Haunter

hofthed_wilburwhateley                                                                                        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.

hotd_spookylaboratory-blogspot-com                   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.

bonechar1446508011331                                  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.

em-spectrum 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.

steve_purcell_stufftoblowyourmind-23-2014-04-threelobedburningeye                     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.

_ll_the_haunter_of_the_dark__by_malakialagatta-d7tetq9 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.

haunter_of_the_dark_by_pickmans_model                     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.

The Use of Color in The Colour Out of Space, Part 1

For the sake of this article when referring to the “thing” or entity in HPL’s tale “The Colour Out of Space,” we will be referring to it as the Colour. In contrast when generally discussing color as a small portion of the electromagnetic spectrum, we will refer to it as color.

In previous articles we discussed the analyses professors from Miskatonic University performed on the meteorite samples collected from Nahum Gardner’s farm. After the sample dissipated the professors went back to the farm to collect a second sample. The meteorite continued to shrink and cool and they used a hammer and chisel to collect a second sample, gouging deeper into the meteorite. This deep cut revealed a large colored globule embedded in the meteorite. The glossy globule had the same strange color spectrum that the meteorite sample emitted in the lab (see below). Tapping it indicated that it was hollow and a sharp blow made it “burst with a nervous little pop.” Nothing was visually emitted and with the pop the globule disappeared. The professors thought there would be more of these globules in the meteorite but no others were found. Thus, the globule emitted a strange color just was the meteorite sample did when viewed with a spectroscope. However, what exactly is color and what is a spectroscope?

04_LC

Professors from Miskatonic University using a Spectroscope to analysis a sample of the meteorite (from Geek Dad Review – http://www.archive.wired.com)

Simply put, color is a physical property of an object that produced varying sensations on the human eye as the result of the way the object reflects, absorbs and/or emits light. Visible light is part of the electromagnetic radiation (EM) spectrum. Electromagnetism itself is a form of radiant energy released under certain electromagnetic processes and the EM spectrum is a means of categorizing EM radiation by the wavelength of the energy, from the long wavelengths of the radio waves all the way to the short wavelength, high energy gamma rays. Turns out visible light and its associated colors are just a tiny sliver of the EM spectrum between ultra-violet and infra-red.

787px-EM_spectrum_svg_wiki

The electromagnetic spectrum, showing the visible color bands (www.wikipedia.org)

As previously mentioned HPL did have a continued interest in chemistry throughout his life although his favorite scientific discipline was astronomy. However, these two scientific disciplines did merge in the consideration of color and how it can be used in astronomy. For example HPL purchased a hand held spectroscope, an instrument which is used to split light into its varying wavelength. Apparently he did use this instrument to conduct chemical experiments. Essentially, the spectroscope takes visible light and separates it into its varying colors with violet having the shortest wavelength and red having the longest (www.wisegeek.org). While a prism acts as a spectroscope, the spectroscope itself can be refined to include narrow, parallel sits, which allows for the different wavelengths of light to spread out so the wavelength of light can actually be measured (www.wisegeek.org).

130651495934www.antiquesnavigator.com

Shown above is a vintage Winkel-Zeiss portable hand held spectroscope, including a carrying case.   Is this what H.P. Lovecraft’s spectroscope looked like?  (www.antiquesnavigator.com)

In chemistry spectroscopes are used to identify specific chemical elements in a sample. Essentially, the material is heated under a flame and the resulting glowing gas produces an emission line spectrum that can be documented on a glass plate. Since each element generates its own specific emission line spectrum, the resulting color bands can be used to identify the elements in the unknown sample. This methodology was key in the discovery of many of the elements shown on the periodic table (www.wisegeek.org).

Silicon_Spectra

Specific emission line spectrum for silicon (www.wikipedia.org)

So if we can use the light emitted in the burning of a substance to identify its elemental components, maybe the same can be done with light from the stars. In the 1860’s William and Margaret Huggins used spectroscopy to determine that the stars are composed of the same elements found on Earth. Further spectroscopic studies on the stars indicated that some of the most prominent lines were associated with elements such as calcium and iron. Thus, it was concluded that these elements form the majority of the matter in stars. However a graduate student at Harvard, Cecilia Payne, conducted work that resulted in different conclusions.

With an understanding of quantum physics and that ions are generated in the high temperatures of stars, Payne’s re-calculated the amounts of the varying elements identified in stars and determined that they were composed primarily of hydrogen and helium. The remaining, heavier elements account for less than 2% of the mass of the stars. This work was part of her Ph.D. thesis in 1925 and was at first thought to be in error by many in the astronomical community, a community almost exclusively dominated by men. Later she converted her thesis into a book providing the evidence for her hypothesis, which was well-received by astronomers. Thus, by the 1930’s her thesis was supported by the astronomical community (Cosmic Horizons: Astronomy at the Cutting Edge, edited by Steven Soter and Neil deGrasse Tyson, 2000; also see the DVD or Blu-Ray of Cosmos, hosted by Neil DeGrasse Tyson, 2014).

mostelusivewomen
Cecilia Payne-Gaposchkin (www.worldsciencefestival.com)

The innovative work of Payne occurred over the mid-1920’s and her hypothesis that stars are composed primarily of hydrogen and helium was generally accepted by the mid-1930’s. Did HPL know about this? Was he familiar with Payne’s work at Harvard and did he use these ideas of analyzing the light of stars? “The Colour Out of Space” was written in March of 1927 so it is possible he was familiar with Payne’s work. If not, he was surely familiar with the work of the Huggins in the use of spectroscopy and star light. While I cannot find any evidence to support this, articles on such work may have stimulated HPL’s imagination and the development of “The Colour Out of Space.”

Next time we will continue with analysis of the color in the “The Colour Out of Space” and focus on how humans could perceive an unknown color. Thank you – Fred.

Colour_Out_of_Space_by_TALONABRAXAS
The Colour Out of Space by Talon Abraxas (www.deviantart.com)