Tag Archives: Great Race

The Nature of Ubbo-Sathla and Time Travel

Previously we discussed how Ubbo-Sathla is a seething sea of slime found on early Earth and obliviously guards the tablets of the gods. As an archetype of proto-life on Earth it is hypothesized that Ubbo-Sathla was the original material used by the Elder Things to create complex life on Earth, including the shoggoths. In fact, Ubbo-Sathla, or at least a piece of it, may have been the proto-shoggoth mentioned toward the end of Lovecraft’s At the Mountains of Madness. The Elder Things arrived on Earth sometime between 4.0 and 2.5 billion years ago (S.T. Joshi, 2001). The oldest microfossils of bacteria are estimated to be as old as 3.43 billion years old, while the oldest microfossils of eukaryotic cells are estimated to be around 1.85 billion years ago (Benton, 2008). Thus, if Ubbo-Sathla was on Earth before the Elder Things, it is entirely possible that the Elder Things utilized material from Ubbo-Sathla and its sea of slime to engineer prokaryotic cells (archaebacteria and eubacteria), the more complex eukaryotic cells (plants, protists, fungi and animals) and super-eukaryotic cells (shoggoths). Additionally, the instructions or “recipe” for the creation of life from the organic sea of slime may have been inscribed on the tablets that Ubbo-Sathla was guarding.

Ubbo_brawlofcthulhu.blogspot.com           Ubbo-Sathla (from http://www.brawlofcthulhu.blogspot.com)

It has been alluded by Clark Ashton Smith that the gods who left their wisdom and lore upon the ultra-stellar stone tablets may have been residents from a previous or other universe. This suggests the hypothesis that life itself, at least on Earth, may not have originated in our universe but came from another, only to be deposited as “slime-seeds” in the form of Ubbo-Sathla. The Elder Things stumbled upon this sea of proto-life slime on Earth and used both the instructions and material to create life on Earth. This may also explain how, over the centuries, the Elder Things would have lost the ability to create life from this raw material. A combination of exhausting the supply of Ubbo-Sathla material, as well as losing the ultra-stellar stone tablets that outlined the methodology, could have easily resulted in the Elder Things losing the ability to create life.

h_p_lovecraft__s_old_one_by_coq92 The Old One, also known as an Elder Thing, by Coq92 (www.deviantart.com)

In addition to the origins and use of Ubbo-Sathla in the creation of life on Earth, a brief mention should be made of the technology associated with time travel, as experienced by Paul Tregardis with the use of the strange milky crystal. As has been discussed in past articles, time travel may only be possible through the transport of a consciousness. Removing an actual, physical entity from one portion of the timeline and depositing it into another may not be possible without either disrupting that timeline for a new one or the destruction of the traveling entity. Thus, a way around this would be to transport a consciousness through space-time and have it displace an entity living’s consciousness in that desired timeline. This methodology is employed by the Great Race of Yith in their space-time travels.

In Lovecraft’s The Shadow Out of Time, the Yithians, in an effort to avoid extinction, moved their entire collection of minds “en masse” into an ancient species on Earth called Cone Shaped Beings (CSBs), switching physical bodies with that species. Combined this symbiotic entity was called “The Great Race.” This transfer of one species consciousness into an others was done through time as well as space; specifically, the Yithian minds flow back through time to ancient Earth to inhabit the bodies of the CSBs.

yithian_communication_m-wayne_miller               Yithian Communication by M. Wayne Miller

The Yithians were known to use strange technology, based on some type of crystalline material, to communicate with others of their kind through space-time.  Perhaps this same type of technology was used to transfer their minds through time and maybe this is what Paul Tregardis stumbled upon when he found the strange milky crystal in that curio shop in Clark Ashton Smith’s tale “Ubbo-Sathla.” What is most interesting, as I have discussed in past articles, is that this transfer of one’s collective consciousness into another vessel may be feasible for humans in the future.

In The Future of the Mind: The Scientific Quest to Understand, Enhance, and Empower the Mind (Michio Kaku, 2014), Kaku states that sometime in the distant future it may be possible to “reverse engineer” the human brain (which means reproducing a product – in this case the brain – following a detailed examination of its parts) and download this consciousness into some type of supercomputer. Once a mind is digitized and downloaded into a device, it may be possible to transmit these minds into space-time on a laser beam.  As Kaku points out, trillions of pieces of digital data are transmitted routinely on laser beams via fiber-optic cables every day.  The wavelength of a laser beam is microscopic and you can compress vast amounts of information on its wave pattern; even more data can be transferred onto a beam of X-rays, which has a wavelength smaller than an individual atom (Kaku, 2014). The crystalline technology of the Yithians may do exactly this; downloading their minds into the crystal’s configuration and then using laser beams or X-rays (or even gamma rays?) to beam them into some type of controlled microscopic wormhole that opens up hyperspace and then downloads the data into another device or compatible organism.

Yithcomm_nightserpent Yith Communication by Nightserpent (www.deviantart.com)

So what happened to Paul Tregardis’s consciousness when it was transferred into Earth’s distant past? Well first, his consciousness became merged with other past consciousnesses as it traveled back through time, which may have “mudded” his consciousness signal. Second, and probably most important, is maybe Paul’s consciousness ended up being transferred into Ubbo-Sathla and the human mind is just not compatible with this entity. The result was a consciousness that lost all sense of “self” and became part of the blind spawn within the sea of slime that is Ubbo-Sathla.

ubbo_sathla_by_veniaminnavin-d7zdbjc Ubbo-Sathla by Veniaminnavin (www.deviantart.com)

Before we move onto another subject, the next article will briefly discuss the potential mechanisms that may have been utilized by the Elder Things in creating the first life on Earth with Ubbo-Sathla. Thank you – Fred.

Ubbo-Sathla and the Devolution of Life on Earth

Ubbosathla_www.lovecraft.wikia.com                                                                       Ubbo-Sathla (from http://www.lovecraft.wikia.com)

After re-reading Lovecraft’s “The Lurking Fear,” I realized there two matter to discuss relative to science. The first is Lovecraft’s use and misuse of the Theory of Evolution and the second is the pseudo-science of race and racism. I have discussed evolution a number of times on this site but in order to clearly identify the general misunderstandings associated with evolution (not just from Lovecraft but in general), I would like to discuss Clark Ashton Smith’s story “Ubbo-Sathla.” It is in this short story that Smith’s help to demonstrate the only way “devolution” can actually occur.

In its simplest terms, evolution is “change over time.” Time is an extremely important component in the concept of evolution and is frequently ignored. Evolution does not occur within an individual but within populations; populations breeding over successive generations producing offspring where favorable genes (and thus the traits associated with those genes) remain in the populations while unfavorable genes are weeded out over time. However, environmental conditions (climate, temperature, light, habitat types, competitors for food, predators, parasites, etc.) are dynamic and always changing; thus, the favorability or unfavorability of traits change over time, which means traits are always trying to adjust to changing environmental conditions. In a nutshell that is evolution.

Frequently terms like “primitive” or “advanced” are used to compare various species. Since the definition of these terms (at least within the concept of evolution) are directly linked to temporal scales, they can be used to compare say a horse of today (of the genus Equus) to the smaller odd-toed ungulate, horse-like mammal Hyracotherium (now called Eohippus) that appeared in the fossil record approximately 52 million years ago. Thus, the large horses of today are advanced compared to the primitive, smaller Eohippus creature. However, you can’t say that a horse of today is more advanced than a horseshoe crab of today. They are different, one is a vertebrate one is an invertebrate. You can also say one has been on the Earth longer than the other; horseshoe crabs have been around for approximately 450 million years, while horses have been around for approximately 55 million years. Thus, we can say that horseshoe crabs have been on Earth longer and have a more ancient, ancestral lineage than horses but it does not mean they are more primitive than horses. Anything living in the present is more advanced than anything that has lived in the past.

Eohippus_diagram                                   An ancestor of the modern horse, Eohippus (previously known as the genus Hyracotherium) was a smaller, odd-toed ungulate.

Lovecraft liked to cite a degeneration in evolution in his stories (more on that when we actually talk about “The Lurking Fear”); however, any adaption that results in a species thriving and producing more offspring cannot be thought of as a degeneration (from a biological point of view). For example, blind cave-dwelling fishes or shrimp are not degenerative or primitive organisms relative to non-cave-dwelling species just because they cannot see or do not see very well. Those organisms are specifically adapted to a life in darkness and instead of relying on sight, their other sense are enhanced. This is not degeneration; this is an adaption to specific conditions over successive generations through natural selection. So is degeneration or “devolution” possible? Only if you can reverse time and that is where Clark Ashton Smith’s “Ubbo-Sathla” comes into play.

Ubbo_(1).jpg                                  Ubbo-Sathla by Michael Bukowski (www.yog-blogsoth.blogspot.com)

In a review of a variety of scientific texts and periodicals, the terms degeneration and evolution are largely absent. Not surprising is the fact that the term “degeneration” does come up in historical (17th through 20th century) discussions on “race” as documented in Stephen Jay Gould’s The Mismeasure of Man (revised and expanded edition; 1996). Again more on that when we discuss Lovecraft’s “The Lurking Fear.” The reason why terms such as degeneration and evolution are not discussed to any degree by credible evolutionary scientists is that such processes to not exist in our conventional reality. As explained above, evolution is change over time, populations adapting to changing environmental conditions. With evolution there is only forward, no reverse; older genes or traits may re-surface but this still represents a type of succession over time. But what if one could “go in reverse,” go back in time relative to evolutionary development? That would be the true definition of devolution; that is, change going back in time. This is the process discussed in Clark Ashton Smith’s “Ubbo-Sathla.”

In the tale, Paul Tregardis purchases a strange milky crystal that has the ability to transfer his mind back in time. Is it possible that this palaeogean, orb-like crystal flattened at the poles is some residual technology of the Great Race, which allows them to transfer their minds through time and space? In any event, by studying the orb Paul’s mind is initially transferred into that of the sorcerer Zon Mezzamalech in primeval Mhu Thulan, located in the northern regions of ancient Hyperborea (today thought of to be part of Greenland). There, while in the sorcerer’s mind, Paul read from The Book of Eibon about Ubbo-Sathla.

unbegotten_source_by_cursedfreak-d61gphw The Unbegotten Source, Ubbo-Sathla by Cursed Freak (www.deviantart.com)

In that tome Paul / Zon read of how the orb-like crystal could be used to behold many visions of our universe, including Earth’s ancient past “…when Ubbo-Sathla, the unbegotten source, lay vast and swollen and yeasty amid the vaporing slime…” Ubbo-Sathla appears to be a proto-form of life on Earth.

Apparently, wisdom of the gods who died before the Earth was born (is this a reference to beings from a previous universe?), “passed to the lightless void,” left their wisdom and lore upon tablets of ultra-stellar stone. These stone tables are guarded by Ubbo-Sathla. It is suggested that these tables provide information on the creation of life and possibly the creation of matter or even new realities. The being Paul Tregardis / Zon Mezzamalech wanted this ancient knowledge. Is this where the Elder Things obtained the information to create life? Is Ubbo-Sathla a precursor to the proto-shoggoth?

200144_www.miniset.net           Ubbo-Sathla from http://www.miniset.net

Through a series of attempts Paul Tregardis / Zon Mezzamalech go back in time, through the millennia to obtain knowledge off the Ubbo-Sathla’s tablets. They move back through time, from the fall to the rise to the beginnings of the Mhu Thulan empire; they also move further back, occupying the minds of a barbarian of some troglodytic tribe, various dinosaurs and then the lost serpent-men of the ophidian era. The key to this traveling backward through time on Earth is the following passage. “And the thing that had been Paul Tregardis, that had been Zon Mezzamalech, was a part of all of the monstrous devolution.” This is the proper usage of the term devolution – evolution backward in time.

Unfortunately, this backward traveling through time ended in a “vast, chaotic marsh, a sea of slime, without limit or horizon, without shore or elevation, that seethed with a blind writhing of amorphous vapors.” This grey oozy sea of slime, with no organs or organelles, appeared to be a large pre-prokaryotic archetype of proto-life on Earth. This may have been the organic matrix, the discarded experiments of beings from the previous universe, that the Elder Things used to create life on Earth. Unfortunately, the thing that was Paul Tregardis / Zon Mezzamalech forgot about the ancient knowledge and obliviously crawled across the “tablets of the gods, and fought and revened blindly with the other spawn of Ubbo-Sathla.” It appears that if you are part of the “chain of life on Earth” that the knowledge on the tablets is unobtainable due to the process of devolution. But what if you are not part of Earth-bound evolution like the Elder Things or the Great Race?

ubbo_sathla_by_veniaminnavin-d7zdbjc Was this the fate of Paul Tregardis / Zon Mezzamalech? Ubbo-Sathla by Veniaminnavin (www.deviantart.com)

Next time we will talk about the time travel aspects of Ubbo-Sathla and after that we will get into Lovecraft’s “The Lurking Fear.” Thank you – Fred.

Meteors and Meteorites in the Lovecraftian Solar System

H.P. Lovecraft’s love for astronomy is well known and from 1903 to 1914 he wrote numerous articles on the subject.  He did keep an astronomical notebook where he recorded, although somewhat inconsistently, a variety of astronomical phenomenon and occurrences (Joshi, 2013).  The notebook is approximately 100 pages long and one of its identified objectives was “To keep track of all celestial phenomena month by month, as positions of planets, phases of moon, Sign of Sun, occultations, Meteor Showers, unusual phenomena (record) also new discoveries.” (Joshi, 2013).


In several of Lovecraft’s astronomical articles he describes meteors as “small particles of matter revolving around the sun, that fall to the earth, attracted to it. Sometimes they move in companies, in which case a shower results upon their descent to the earth. A continuous belt of meteors, meeting the earth the 14th of every November, is thus called the Leonid shower” – from the Pawtuxet Valley Gleaner, 9 November 1906 (Joshi, 2004). Lovecraft also noted the meteor showers that are frequently observed in August (the Perseid Meteor Showers), which occur when the earth intersects a thick belt of these bodies in space as it orbits the sun (Joshi, 2004). He also noted that some are consumed before they hit the earth (burned up in the atmosphere) while others descend to the surface as aerolites, or meteoric stones. Aerolite is another name for a meteorite but it typically refers to meteorites composed chiefly of silicates. Today we simply call any meteor that hits the earth a meteorite. Another interesting statement Lovecraft makes about meteors and meteorites is that they “are the only celestial bodies which may be actually touched by human hands” (Joshi, 2004). Obviously, this thought had a big impact on Lovecraft as he documented the events at the Gardner farm in “The Colour Out of Space.”


Perseid Meteor Showers (www.spaceref.com)

Lovecraft also reported on the composition of meteorites in his astronomical writings. Specifically, he mentions that based on chemical analysis meteorites are either rocky matter or composed of pure metals such as iron and nickel. Additionally, many have pores that are frequently filled with inert helium, one of the most abundant elements in the universe (Joshi, 2004). Again, the solid, rocky meteorite, with pores that are filled with a gaseous substance is very reminiscent of the meteorite that fell on the Gardner farm in “The Colour Out of Space.”

“The Colour Out of Space” was written in 1927 and was covered in detail in a series of articles on this blog site earlier in the year. Thus, this tale will not be covered in this article. Instead other Lovecraft tales that mention meteors or meteorite will be reviewed. One of the first of his tales that mentions a meteorite is “The Green Meadow” co-written with Winifred V. Jackson, which was written in 1918-19. Thus, “The Green Meadow” precedes “The Colour Out of Space” by 8-9 years.


Winifred V. Jackson (www.miskatonicbooks.wordpress.com)

In “The Green Meadow” a meteorite falls into the sea just off Potowonket Maine in the evening of August 27, 1913 and the next day a fishing party retrieves the meteorite. It was a mass of metallic rock approximately 36 pounds and looked like a piece of slag. What was remarkable about the meteorite is that as samples were chipped off, it broke open and a small book bound in a semi-metallic substance was found. This material was unbreakable and no chemical regent appeared to impact it. The pages were light in color and extremely thin and most remarkable was that the writing in the book was “Greek of the purest classical quality.”

Essentially the book is a description of a person who finds himself or herself on a peninsula, not sure how they got there; the peninsula breaks off and floats down a river. The narrator sees a green meadow in the distance and as they approach the meadow he (or she) hears weird singing. After that, the narrator has some type of apocalyptic revelation – “therein was revealed the hideous solution of all which had puzzled me.” Unfortunately, after that the text is illegible (S.T. Joshi and D.E. Schultz. 2001. An H.P. Lovecraft Encyclopedia).


According to Lovecraft, the narrator is actually an ancient Greek philosopher who escaped the earth and landed on another planet (Joshi and Schultz, 2001). Based on this revealing piece of information, did the unknown Greek philosopher use the book and meteor as a sort of message in a bottle?  Was it a way of sending a note into the audient void?  If that is the case, what does this message mean?

There are a number of hypotheses that may explain this strange case and most of them are associated with the philosopher not being on earth.  The first is maybe this philosopher ended up receiving and using knowledge of inter-dimensional travel, given to him by Nyarlathotep.  The Greek may have gone down the same path of knowledge as Keziah Mason and Walter Gilman and is trapped on an alien world.

An alternative hypothesis is that Greek may be in the body of one of the Cone-Shaped Beings of the Great Race.  There was no description of what the philosopher’s body looked like so his mind may be in the body of a Cone-Shaped being.  Still another hypothesis is maybe this was some type of recording or documentation of a human mind being surgically prepared and placed into a Mi-Go brain container.  The apocalyptic revelation may be the realization that the individual’s mind may no longer be in his or her body.


H.P. Lovecraft-ish interdimensional creature eating a rocket (www.onegraydot.com)

Going back to the book itself, the tale may be a representation of someone traveling from the known to the unknown with the journey ending with some type of cosmic revelation.  Does the tale record an actual occurrence or is it supposed to represent something in a more symbolic manner? Was the illegible handwriting at the end of the tale an attempt to record something that the human mind cannot comprehend?  This story is awash in questions but one thing is for certain; the meteor came from a different time and a different place and was used in an attempt to communicate with human civilization.

Next time we will review other Lovecraftian stories that cite meteors.  Thank you – Fred.

The Shadow Out of Time – Part 5, Yithians and Mind Projection Technology

To date, we have focused the discussion on the physical component of the Great Race – the cone-shaped beings (CSBs) and more recently on the Flying Polyps.  However, little has been said on the Yithians, which HPL described as “beings of a dying elder world, wise with the ultimate secretes.”  Before their world ended, the Yithians found a race in the future – their future – to inhabit.  This race was the CSBs on ancient Earth.

Yithian by Hazi B

The Yithians moved their entire collection of minds “en masse” into the CSBs, switching physical bodies with that species.  This meant that the original minds of the CSBs ended up suddenly transported into the bodies of a completely unknown, alien species on the dying Yithian home world.  Nothing is known about the morphology or general appearance of the original Yithian species; it is not even know if that species was truly the original corporeal form of the Yithians.  So how was it possible for the Yithians to travel through time and space (space-time) as a “collective species consciousness” to exchange their minds with the resident minds and inhabit the CSBs?

Amazingly, such mind projection does not appear to be completely fanciful.  In Michio Kaku’s newest book, The Future of the Mind: The Scientific Quest to Understand, Enhance, and Empower the Mind (2014), he describes that sometime in the future it may be possible to “reverse engineer” the brain (which means reproducing a product – in this case the brain – following a detailed examination of its parts) and download this consciousness into some type of supercomputer.

Kaku admits that such technology is generations head of our time, however not an impossibility, particularly with the work being done with “nanobot” technology that can actually manipulate matter on a molecular or even atomic basis.

So once a mind is digitized and downloaded onto a device, how does it move through space-time into a receptacle and eventually into another species?  Well it may be possible to transmit these minds into space-time on a laser beam.  As Kaku points out in his book, trillions of pieces of digital data are transmitted routinely on laser beams via fiber-optic cables every day.  The wavelength of a laser beam is microscopic and you can compress vast amounts of information on its wave pattern; even more data can be transferred onto a beam of X-rays, which has a wavelength smaller than an individual atom (Kaku, 2014).

Did the Yithians use similar technology?  Downloading their minds with the use of their  strange mechanical devices , transmitting these minds with the use of laser beams or X-rays and then using controlled wormholes to open up hyperspace and “beam” the minds into other devices or the “receptive” organisms?

Yithian Communication by M. Wayne Miller.  Did the Yithians use these devices to download a sentient being’s mind and then transmit it through space-time?

While some of these ideas of downloading your mind into a device and then transferring it through space-time into a new receptacle (whether organic or artificial) may seem very far fetched, Kaku mentions a number of times that as long as such ideas are consistent with the laws of physics, then the technological barriers (while formidable) are not impassable.  In other words, if the physicists deem it feasible, it up to the engineers to make it work and the economists to tell us if we can afford to do it!

Next time, the discussion will review some of the other species that were being studied by the Great Race in their ancient Cities.  Thank you – Fred.

Poster for the great Dark Adventure Radio Theatre’s audio drama of The Shadow Out of Time, available through the H.P. Lovecraft Historical society (www.cthulhulives.org)

The Shadow Out of Time – Part 4, Additional Notes on the Flying Polyps

Since placing the last article up on the Flying Polyps, I have had more time to think about these strange beings.  In addition, I have received a number of excellent comments on them.  Thus, this article provides some additional notes on this mysterious species.

Flying Polyp by Michael Bukowski (yog-blogsoth.blogspot.com)

As I previously mentioned, the Flying Polyps appear to be “partially” composed of the matter in our Universe.  Thus, they are not composed entirely of the same matter as humans, Elder Things, Shoggoths, Deep Ones or the Great Race.  In contrast, the Flying Polyps are not completely composed of matter from outside of our Universe like the Mi-Go or spawn of Cthulhu.  The Flying Polyps are, as I previously mentioned, “in-between” Universes; partially made of our matter and partially made of “other” matter.  Thus, in a way they are more of an enigma than something utterly alien from the outside such as the Mi-Go.

As previously mentioned, the senses of the Flying Polyps can penetrate all kinds of materials in our Universe but their bodies can only pass through certain materials.  In addition, they would frequently fly and could make whistling noises.  In contrast, there was some sort of limiting connection between them and the Earth.  In spite of frequently living and moving in the air, when on the ground the Polyps made large footprints that were composed of five circular toe marks.  In addition, the Polyps could only be imprisoned deep in the Earth.

Flying Polyp by Tryryche

While the Flying Polyps were originally predators of the Cone-Shaped Beings (CSBs), once the Yithians occupied their bodies and became the Great Race, the tables were quickly turned.  The Great Race produced technology that allowed them to subdue the Flying Polyps.  Specifically, the Great Race weapons of electrical energy would wholly destroy the Flying Polyps.  This high level of susceptibility and complete annihilation of the Polyp body due to electrical energy may provide some clues as to the make-up of their matter.

In humans and most Terran life a strong discharge of electrical energy, currents greater than 1 amp, results in permanent damage through burns and cellular damage.  Additionally, even lower currents, between 70 and 70 mA, can cause death but by triggering a fibrillation in the heart.  While such electrocution will cause death they do not “annihilate” the body as it does for the Flying Polyps.

In particle physics, the term annihilation is used to describe the result of when a subatomic particle meets or collides with its respective antiparticle.  When the particle (matter) and antiparticle (antimatter) meet, they mutually annihilate these other, typically in a flash of radiation such as a photon of light (Particle Physics:  A Very Short Introduction; Frank Close; 2004).  Given how the body of the Flying Polyp is completely destroyed and annihilated when hit with electric energy, is it possible that they are composed of an unusual semi-stable arrangement of matter and antimatter?

 Flying Polyp (by Infernalengines)

Living cells continue to live and reproduce by taking in energy, which in turn keeps cellular activities going so the cell constituents do not breakdown and decompose. A similar arrangement may be in existing for the Flying Polyps but instead of obtaining energy from a biochemical perspective, it may be from a subatomic perspective. Is it possible that Flying Polyps are a conscious or sentient form of electromagnetic fields and forces that utilize matter / antimatter repulsion to generate the energy they need to keep their quasi-cellular activities going? Maybe they extract antimatter from where they originate and need to feed on organic life, such as the CSBs, to provide “matter” fuel. In turn, this allows them to keep the matter / antimatter mix equal and thus exist. If this is the case, then the electrical discharge weapons of the Great Race may abruptly disrupt this balance between matter and antimatter, resulting in the observed annihilation of the Flying Polyps.

Yithian Hero (by Cryptdidical; Spore)

Obviously the experiments required to test such a hypothesis could be highly dangerous. However, placing a Flying Polyps into the Hadron Collider and bombarding them with various subatomic particles and anti-particles may be a relative “safe” means of testing this hypothesis. The real trick would be to get a Flying Polyp into the Collider.

In the next article the discussion will be how the Yithian move their consciousness through space and time.  Thank you – Fred.

Technology of the Great Race

As previously mentioned, the cone-shaped beings (CSBs)are native residents of Earth and have been identified in the fossil record for at least a billion years.  About 500 million years ago the Yithians came to Earth in a non-corporeal form, being minds of pure energy (more on this in a subsequent article), and inhabited the bodies of the CSBs.

Immature Yithian (by Paul Carrick)

It is hypothesized that prior to the Yithians taking over the bodies of the CSBs, these Terran creatures used little to no technology.  However, it should be emphasized that this does not mean the CSBs had low intelligence.  In fact, more than likely they were quite intelligent, which is one of the reasons they were chosen for “occupation” by the non-corporal Yithians.  The CSBs were probably like the whales or dolphins of today; very intelligent beings that utilized no technology.  However, once the Yithians possessed the CSBs, the Great Race was born and this resulted in a dramatic evolutionary jump, a sort of “punctuated equilibrium in technology.”

The Yithians had to use the resources available in both our Universe and our world.  The Great Race started to build Cities with huge libraries, as well as various vehicles used to transport them over great distances.  As HPL describes, the Great Race created “huge boatlike atomic-engine vehicles” as well as many decked boats, titan, projectile-like airships and gigantic submarines.

Possible rendition of a large, multiple-decked Yithian airship (forum.nationstates.net)

Most of the Yithian technology produced on Earth was powered through electrical repulsion.  Essentially matter in our Universe can be electrically charged, which means it has an excess (negative charge) or shortage (positive charge) of electrons.  Similarly charged material repel each other, while oppositely charged material attract each other.  There is a relationship between an electric force (which can be defined as an influence that changes the motion of an object [hyperphysics.phy-astr.gsu.edu]) acting on a point charge due to the presence of a second point charge; this relations is mathematically described as Coulomb’s Law.  Thus, the electric force between two charges can be calculated using Coulomb’s Law ([hyperphysics.phy-astr.gsu.edu).

Coulomb’s Law (from hyperphysics.phy-astr.gsu.edu)

If two similar charges were concentrated at two distinct points in space, say 1 meter apart, they would move away from each other under an incredible amount of force, which would have the potential to generate an enormous amount of energy.  As we understand our Universe, a Coulomb of charge is never collected at one point.  For example, as electricity moves through a wire, there is never a large deviation from electrical neutrality over the entire wire.  Thus, we do not see or generate such large amounts of energy through electrical repulsion.  However, maybe the Yithian’s knew how to concentrate the charge into a discrete point in space, thus generating large amounts of energy.  Using this technology in the bodies of the CSBs they would have the ability to build the large airships, vehicles and submarines that HPL identified in The Shadow Out of Time.

In addition to modes of transportation and Great Cities, the Great Race also used their technology to build other devices such as their ” apparatus like mind projection machines” and strange electrical weapons.  I will discuss the mind projection machines in an upcoming article, however, I will briefly discuss the weaponry here.

The Great Race did occasionally get into altercations with other species on Earth such as “reptilian or octopodic invaders, or against the winged, star-headed Old Ones who centered in the Antarctic.”  However, these incidences were fairly infrequent.  To defend themselves, the Great Race had a large army, whose primary weapon was a camera-like device that produced “tremendous electrical effects.”  Again, it appears that most, if not all, of Great Race technology was based on harvesting the incredible amounts of energy generated by focusing electrical repulsion in small discrete points in space.

Is this fossilized artifact of the ancient technology of the Great Race? (from http://www.yog-sothoth.com)

In spite of the altercations with other residents on Earth, the majority of the Great Race’s military concern and focus was on guarding and defending themselves against the “things” imprisoned in the great sealed trap-doors in the lowest subterranean levels of the dark, windowless and abandoned elder ruins.  Next time the discussion will focus on these imprisoned “things” – known as Flying Polyps.  Thank you – Fred.

Yithians defending themselves against Flying Polyps.  Called “Yithian Hero” (from Spore by Cryptdidical)

The Fungi from Yith?

Very interesting “mollusk-like” interpretation of the Great Race (by Nathan Rosario)

Before moving on to other subjects such as the technology of the Great Race, the nature of Yithians, Flying Polyps and other matters, I want to wrap up my discussions on the biology of the cone-shaped beings (CSBs).  As previously noted, the CSBs are of Terran origin and have been on Earth for at least a billion years.  We have compared the general morphology of the CSBs to two classes of mollusks: the gastropods and cephalopods but have concluded, base on their age as a species, that they more than likely do not originate from either class of mollusk.

Early in Peaslee’s efforts to recount some lost, ancient memories he begins to remember the surroundings and environment.  Several times in addition to mentioning cycads, fern-like growths and conifers, he notes “fungi of inconceivable size, outlines and colours, speckled the scene in patterns bespeaking some unknown but well-established horticultural tradition.”  Thus, in addition to being populated by large, now extinct and largely unknown species of fungi, these organisms appeared to be cultivated in some manner.

Based on some additional text in HPL’s The Shadow Out of Time, the CSBs represented no known surviving or extinct species, at least known to man.  They were “of a peculiar, closely homogeneous, and highly specialized organic type inclining as much as to the vegetable as to the animal state.”  This is important since up until this point we have assumed that the CSBs are members of the Animal Kingdom – but are they?

Yithian Scribe by Richard Svensson

The Elder Things are truly of alien origin; they evolved on another world from an echinoderm-like ancestor (at least in body form).  However, the Elder Things were said to have traits of both animals and plants.  In particular HPL specifically compared many of their biological traits of the Elder Things to those of ferns (e.g. having a prothallus, spores similar to those of ferns) but this is not the case with the CSBs.

A number of traits of the CSBs suggest that they do not belong to the animal or plant Kingdom and can not even be considered some type of hybrid of the two.  For example, HPL states that:  “Nourishment, assimilated through the red trumpet-like appendages on one of the flexible limbs, was always semifluid and in many aspects wholly unlike the food of existing animals.”  Animals do not feed in this manner – but fungi do.

The Kingdom of Fungi (www.docstoccdn.com)

Plants are photosynthetic and animals ingest food particles (plants or other animals) but fungi feed by exuding exoenzymes  into the surrouinding environment, breaking down organic matter (typically dead organic matter) and then absorbing this “semifluid” material.  Thus, fungi are decomposers – breaking down dead organic material and using it as food.  This mode of feeding is typically called saprotrophy (David C. Sigee; Freshwater Microbiology, 2005).  Other non-fungal organisms have a similar mode of obtaining energy through decomposition (Sigee, 2005); some of these organisms include bacteria (the actinomycetes or actinobacteria) and some protists (such as slime molds, chytrids and oomycotes).

While all of the organisms described above have a saprotrophic mode of feeding, only the fungi are multi-cellular and complex, with a high degree of cellular differentiation.  Thus, the fungi have the highest “potential” to eventually develop into a large, complex organism.  In fact, some of the largest organisms on Earth are fungi – for example, in 2003 USFS in Oregon identified a fungus, Armillaria ostoyae, that covers an area of 2,384 acres, forming a symbiotic relationship with the resident tree roots.  Thus, fungi have the potential to be extremely large.

HPL mentioned that the CSBs reproduce through spores, but does not use any of the fern-like terminology used for the Elder Things.  In addition, the CSBs are said to reproduce through spores, as do fungi, but have no sexual reproduction.  It is possible that the CSBs are members of the Deuteromycota, which is a phylum of fungi that is not a natural grouping.  This fungal group is a “hodgepodge” grouping that have the common trait of generally lacking the structures required for typical sexual reproduction (Lynn Margulis and Karlene V. Schwartz, Five Kingdoms: An Illustrated Guide to the Phyla of Life on Earth, 1982.  Are the CSBs a unique, complex and highly specialized form of Deuteromycota fungi?  The fungal fossial record is exteremely spare but fungi are estimated to have initially appeared in the fossil record at least 900 million year ago, so this is a viable hypothesis that could be tested by conducting some DNA / RNA comparisons between CSB and Deuteromycote fungal cells.

Deuteromycota fungi producing asexual spores, called conidia (archive.bio.ed.ac.uk)

The next article will focus on the technology of the Great Race.  Thank you – Fred.

Elder Things and Cone-Shaped Beings: Creators and Created?

Last time it was established that the cone-shaped beings (CSBs) has been on Earth for at least a billion years, while the Elder Things came to Earth sometime in the Archaen Aeon (between 2.5 and 4 billion years ago).  When the Elder Things arrived on Earth, life only consisted of prokaryotic (bacterial cells) life.  It was the Elder Things that created more complex, eukaryotic cells, which then gave rise to multicellular life.  It appears that one of their earliest experiments, whether the eventual outcome was intentional or not, may have the creation of the CSBs.

Great Race of Yith (by Douzen)

If the Elder Things did create the CSBs, why didn’t Dyer and Danforth come across a description of these beings on the bas-reliefs they were examining in the ancient city in At the Mountains of Madness.  There are a number of possible explanations.  As Dr. Robert M. Price described in his article – Patterns in the Snow: A New Reading of At the Mountains of Madness (Crypt of Cthulhu, Issue 81; 1992), the data that Dyer and Danforth collected were based on conjectural “readings” of “mute bas reliefs in one single building in a vast city..”.  Dr. Price hypothesizes that it may be possible there was some misinterpretations of the bas reliefs.  For example, what if the story of the Elder Things was not them coming to Earth and establishing a civilization?  What if the story was that the Elder Things were also residents of Earth who created the Shoggoths and then voyaged to the stars (Price, 1992)?  Thus, isn’t it possible that other passages of the bas reliefs were misinterpreted, including any mention of the CSBs?

Crypt of Cthulhu, Issue 81
Crypt of Cthulhu, Issue 81

Another explanation is that descriptions of the CSBs were found in other buildings within the city.  Maybe each building or section of the city provides information on various aspects of Elder Thing culture or history.  As an analogy, imagine if an alien civilization was given the chapter summaries from a book on American History.  While an overall view of general historical accounts would be given, large portions of critical details would be overlooked.  This may be the case in At the Mountains of Madness.

Finally, maybe the Elder Things did not consider the CSBs to be very interesting to include them in their historical accounts.  However, this last explanation is unlikely.

While the CSBs or the Great Race were not mentioned in At the Mountains of Madness, the Elder Thing were mentioned several times in The Shadow Out of Time.  The first time they are mentioned was when Wingate Peaslee was describing some of the other minds that were transferred with the bodies of the Great Race.  I will review some of these Terran and alien minds in a later article but Peaslee did state that “Of earthly minds there were some of the winged, starheaded, half-vegetable race of palaeogean Antarctica…”  Thus, it is obvious from this passage that the Elder Things are susceptible to the mind transfer with the Great Race, just as are humans.

Yithian and Elder Things (www.roebeast.blogspot.com)

In a later passage it was noted that warfare has been waged by the Great Race against various species, including the “…star-headed Old Ones who centered in the Antarctic, was infrequent though infinitely devastating.”  Thus, it sounds like the Great Race and the Elder Things rarely had contact but when they did war was typically the result.  In addition, being described as “devastating” by the Great Race indicates that the Elder Things were typically the winners of such skirmishes.  It sounds like the camera-like electrical weapons of the Great Race were no match against Shoggoths!

The last time the Elder things are mentioned is when Peaslee is again recalling some past memories and asks himself if he can find a tower in the Great Race’s ancient city where “S’gg’ha, the captive mind from the star-headed vegetable carnivores of Antarctica, had chiseled certain pictures on the blank spaces of the walls?”  Here we actually given the name of an Elder Thing!

To conclude, the interactions between the Great Race and the Elder Things were complicated to say the least.  While the Elder Things may have been the ultimate creators of the CSBs, these two species had aggressive conflicts, more than likely after the CSB minds were taken over by the Yithians.  Finally, it is quite ironic that the Great Race could manipulate their creators or “gods” through mind projection.  Next time I will talk about Yithian technology.  Thank you – Fred

Ancient text of a Yithian (from granraza1)

Alternative Hypotheses on the Origin of the Great Race

Jack Skeleton reviewing the Scientific Method, from The Nightmare Before Christmas (www.mia6.tumblr.com).

What I love about both science and working on this WordPress page is that I am always learning something new.  I like to say science is not math.  While 1 + 1 will always equal 2 (at least in our known part of the Universe), science works by making observations, developing a predictive hypothesis to explain how something works, and then testing that hypothesis.  If the resulting data supports the hypothesis, additional tests are done for further validation.  However, if the resulting data to not support the hypothesis, it has to be either modified or thrown out for a new hypothesis.  This has been the case for my analysis on the origin of the Great Race.

Based on the available data at hand, I hypothesized in the first article that the cone-shaped beings (CSBs), were either related to one of two Class of Mollusks (Gastropods or Cephalopods) or that they need to be in their own separate phylum.  I concluded the second article citing the bizarre life forms that were identified in the Burgess Shale, which is dated between 530 and 510 million years ago .  I then hypothesized that maybe the CSBs were the decedents from a species that resided in the Burgess Shale.

The Great Race (some fantastic artwork by Steve Maschuck)

However, Tom Ardans brought to my attention a specific quote in the text of HPL’s The Shadow Out of Time:   “The beings of a dying elder world, wise with the ultimate secrets, had looked ahead for a new world and species wherein they might have long life; and had sent their minds en masse into that future race best adapted to house them – the cone-shaped beings that peopled our earth a billion years ago.”

The key to that passage is the CSBs were on Earth a billion years ago.  Thus, the CSBs are approximately twice as old as the multi-cellular residents of the Burgess Shale (maybe the CSBs have been on Earth longer than a billion year ago)!  Additionally, according to HPL’s At the Mountains of Madness, the Elder Ones (or Things) came to Earth in the Archaean Aeon.  Following S.T. Joshi’s approach, I will use the more up-to-date age estimated for the Archaen Aeon.  Thus, the Archaen Aeon is estimated to be between 2.5 and 4 billion years ago (cited in both M.J. Benton’s The History of Life and in the explanatory notes by S.T. Joshi for At the Mountains of Madness, found in The Thing on the Doorstep and Other Weird Stories; 2001).

The Great Race examining some text on a future civilization (more great artwork by Tom Ardans)

When the Elder Things arrived on Earth in the Archaen Aeon life was limited to prokaryotic cells (bacteria).  It was the Elder Things, through elaborate forms of bioengineering and endosymbiosis, who created more complex eukaryotic cells, which eventually gave rise to dinosaurs, humans and Shoggoths (which were probably the pinnacle of success for their experiments).  Is it possible that the Elder Things also created the CSBs?  Were the CSBs an early experiment that slithered away to evolve on their own, only to have the Yithian minds invade their bodies approximately 400 million years ago (this date was identified in the 2nd edition of The Encyclopedia Cthulhiana by Daniel Harms; 1998)?

Unponderable Elder Thing by Henning (www.henningludwigsen.com)

To summarize, we know based on HPL’s writings that the CSBs were not aliens.  They were natives of Earth.  If that is the case, and the Elder Things arrived on Earth before the CSBs appeared, then more than likely the CSBs were a by-product of the Elder Things experiments on life.  This strange geologic relationship between the Elder Things and the Great Race will be discussed in more detail in the next article.  Thank you – Fred.

The Shadow Out of Time – Part 1, a Discussion on the Taxonomy of the Great Race

In HPL’s tale The Shadow Out of Time a previously unknown species and it’s associated civilization is discovered.  In typical HPL fashion, how this discovery is made is very unique and details on this will be discussed in subsequent articles.  However, for this article the focus will be on the unknown species – the Great Race.

The Great Race of Yith (from S. Petersen’s Field Guide to Cthulhu Monsters (1988); illustration by Tom Sullivan)

First thing that should be stated is that the “minds” of the Great Race are alien but there cone-shaped bodies are of Terran origin.  This being the case, as a resident species of Earth, it may be possible that the cone-shaped beings are also the by-product of the Elder Things creating complex eukaryotic life some the bacterial communities of the Archaen Eon.

In order to minimize confusion, a few definitions will be established.  First, the term ‘the Great Race” will be used to describe the fused entity that is the mind of the aliens and the body of the Terran cone-shaped species.  When focusing solely on the mind of the fused entity, the term Yithian will be used since  Yith is the planet where they come from, switching with the minds of the cone-shaped beings on Earth, just prior to some world-wide catastrophe on Yith.  However, even Yith was not the ultimate orgin of the minds, which is unknown.  Finally, when referring specifically the body of the fused entity, the term cone-shaped being (CSB) will be used.

Another illustration of the Great Race (from Nottsuo)

As a Terran species, the cone-shaped being (CSB) appears to be some highly specialized form of mollusk (Phylum Mollusca).  In particular the CSB may be in a taxonomic Class onto it’s own since it appears to have traits of two major groups.  First, the large fleshy foot is a trait that snails (Class: Gastropods) possess.  Second, the tentacle-like appendages at the top of the CSB reminds one of similar organs found on an octopus or squid (Class: Class: Cephalopods).

Example of a Gastropod, the land snail Fumonelix jonesiana (from http://www.bioweb.uwlax.edu).

Example of a number of Cephalopods (e.g. squid and octopus; http://www.tolweb.org).

It’s the large plate-like “exoskeleton” or “shell” of the CSB that is perplexing  in its investigating its morphological taxonomy.  We do not know what the plates are made of; if they are composed primarily of calcium carbonate then that is more evidence they belong in the mollusk phylum.  If these plates truly represent an outer shell then the CSB may be more closely related to snails.  However, some cephalopods have internalized shells (e.g. cuttlefish, which have an internal bone called a cuttlebone), while others have entirely lost their shell (e.g. octopus).  Without examining the internal anatomy of a CSB it is difficult to conduct a formal taxonomic assessment of them relative to mollusks.

Are the CSB are a highly evolved and specialized form of gastropod, cephalopod or some other unknown class of mollusk?  The octopus is considered to be the most intelligent invertebrate on Earth.  If any group of invertebrates has the potential to acquire higher levels of individual intelligence it would be the octopus.  Are the CSBs a more “advanced” form of cephalopod or do they deserve a separate taxonomic class onto themselves within the mollusk phylum.  Conducting a cladistics analysis with mitochondrial and /or ribosomal DNA, or possibly with RNA, with samples from CSBs and other mollusks would help to solve this riddle.

However, as we will see next time, it is possible that the CSB do not even below in the mollusk phylum.  In fact, maybe they are not even animals at all.  More details on this will be provided next time when we talk about the other aspects of CSB biology including reproduction.  Thank you – Fred

The Great Race of Yith by Pahapasi.