Tag Archives: Old Ones

The Confirmation of the Existence of Gravity Waves and What this Means to the Old Ones

This week some pretty big news was announced in the fields of physics and astronomy. Specifically, for the first time ever gravity waves were detected. Einstein predicted the existence of gravitational waves but no empirical data was ever collected to confirm this until this past week.

Essentially astronomers detected the gravity waves generated by the merging of two black holes more than a billion light years from Earth. The two detected black holes were orbiting around get other, getting closer and closer, moving faster and faster until they merged in a burst of gravitational waves. What is particularly interesting is that this emission was so intense within a fraction of a second that it generated more energy than the rest of the universe COMBINED.

gravitational_wavesThe merging of two black holes more than a billion light years away from Earth provided the data needed to detect the existence and confirmation of gravitational waves.

Through the detection of these gravitational waves we may discover new ways of probing the universe. This may open the way to a better understanding of the nature of dark matter and dark energy. According to one astronomer working on the project it’s a way of “listening” to the universe rather than just observing it. However, once we know the language of our space-time, do we really want to know what the universe has to say?

Finally, I do want to suggest this this may be the merging of two black holes and the generation of the incredible amount of energy, accompanied by gravitational waves, may be one of the ways the Old Ones enter our reality. If this burst of energy could be extended beyond a fraction of a second, the Old Ones may be able to completely manifest and adapt to our space-time. In turn, the Old Ones may able to overcome their “weakness” in our space-time and then maybe Cthulhu would truly awake in R’lyeh.


Cthulhu by Damnengine (http://www.deviantart.com)

Necronomicon Convention talk on the Biology of the Old Ones, Part 3 – Taxonomy of the Old Ones (August Derleth)

Before Robert M. Price worked on his taxonomic nomenclature of the Old Ones, August Derleth proposed a means of classifying these entitles.  In fact, according to Richard L. Tierney’s seminal paper, The Derleth Mythos (Discovering H.P. Lovecraft edited by Darrell Schweitzer – 1995) Derleth was the person who established the concept of the Mythos.

Tierney and others such as Joshi and Murray have clearly identified and separated Derleth’s ideas and concepts from those of Lovecraft, which has been associated with varying degrees of criticism.  I do not want to dwell on this criticism of Derleth, there are three points I want to make in this regard.  First, Derleth took Lovecraft’s idea of a materialistic, uncaring Universe where man is insignificant and modified (or distorted) it into one where good (Elder Gods) battles evil (Old Ones) similar to Christianity, where humanity is the focus or celestial “prize”.  Second, Derleth’s taxonomy of categorizing the Old Ones was based on the classical (Greek) concept of four elements.  Third, Derleth, along with others such as Lin Carter, were accused of explaining too much; the Mythos thrived on mystery and confusion and ironing out all of the details takes away from the Mythos itself.  For the sake of this brief article I will focus only on the second point – that Derleth’s taxonomy was based on the four elements.

Essentially, Derleth said that  Lovecraft’s enitites could be categorized through the “elemental forces”  of fire, water, earth and air.


Reading Tierney’s article you get the impression that the focus of this idea was primarily based on Cthulhu and his spawn being aquatic creatures and thus being water entities.   However, if Cthulhu is a water being, why is he imprisoned in water?  Wouldn’t it be better to hold Cthulhu in, say, the center of a star, fire thus defeating or containing water?  Another point Tierney makes is that Hastur is considered to be an air-based entity yet he is thought to reside in the bottom of the Lake of Hali; is Hastur imprisoned in the bottom of the lake similar to Cthulhu being imprisoned in the Pacific Ocean?  Wouldn’t it be better to hold Hastur in the earth or in a deep cave on some remote world?  Yog Sothoth, Nyarlathotep and Shub-Nigguarth are all squeezed into the earth category.  Finally, since there was no entities within the fire category, Derleth created Cthugha to fill that niche.

While some authors have used this system of taxonomy for the Old Ones, its generally not thought much of now a days.  This is primarily due to the fact that such a classification system tries too hard to explain away what these entities are (evil manifestations of these elemental forces hell-bent on the destruction and/or consumption of humanity).  In addition, if one is going to develop a classification system of the Old Ones, it should be based primarily and foremost on Lovecraft’s writings.  As I attempt to make the case in my presentation, a classification system should be based on what little we know about these entities’ biology and their relation to life on Earth .

In conclusion, while Derleth’s taxonomic system does not seem to be satisfactory, it must be said, which I’m sure everyone recognizes, that Derleth should receive some credit to keeping Lovecraft’s stories in the public eye and being one of the co-founders of Arkham House.  Thank you.

Fred Lubnow

Necronomicon Convention talk on the Biology of the Old Ones, Part 2 – Taxonomy of the Old Ones (Robert M. Price)

As anyone who is familiar with Lovecraft knows, his stories were a loosely connected set of tales that provide glimpses into what lies beyond our five senses and sense of reality.  There are things in and beyond the known Universe that we can not imagine, must less quantify or categorize with science.  However, his concepts and ideas of “what lies beyond” resonated with so many people that some have attempted to provide some clarity or explanation on the subject.

For some, such as Robert M. Price, this was more of a fun academic activity while to others, such as August Derleth, it was suppose to provide critical insight into Lovecraft’s philosophy on his Cthulhu Mythos, which was coined by Derleth and not Lovecraft.

This part of the talk at the convention was very short but I wanted to elaborate a bit here.  Before I get into Derleth’s work, it should be known that Mr. Price provided a proposed taxonomic scheme for the Old Ones that I did not discuss during my presentation.

In Price’s H.P. Lovecraft and the Cthulhu Mythos (Starmont House, Inc., 1990) he includes an article called “A Lovecraftian Taxonomy”.  The article focuses and addresses the confusion and inconsistency in names of the Lovecraftian entitles in Cthulhu Mythos fiction.  Thus, the article focuses on the taxonomy of names and not on the biology of the entities.

Price's Book
Price’s Book

Reviewing Lovecraft’s stories, Price came up with a set of recommendations in the development of a classification system of Lovecratian entities for future scholars.  Listed below are his recommendations taken directly from his article:

1.  The Great Old Ones (= the Other Gods): the pantheon of cosmic entities threatening humanity, including Yog-Sothoth, Azathoth, Shub-Niggurath and Nyarlathotep.

2.  The Cthulhu-spawn: the cosmic octopi headed by Great Cthulhu, now asleep in R’lyeh.

3.  The Deep Ones: a race of fish-frog men dedicated to Cthulhu’s service.

4.  The Mighty Ones: a race of merfolk led by Nodens, Lord of the great Abyss.

5.  The Elder Ones:  the star-headed aliens of ancient Antarctica.

6.  The Outer Ones: the Mi-Go or fungi from Yuggoth.

7.  The Great Race: the time-travellers of Yith.

8. The Great Ones: the mild gods of earth.

9.  The Ancient Ones: the ascended masters beyond the Gate of the Silver Key.

10.  The People of K’n-yan:  the humanoid aliens living beneath the surface of the Oklahoma wilderness.

You may ask (as I’m sure you are), why bother to do this?  Lovecraft didn’t categorize his entitles.  He worked and created from story to story and was not concerned about consistency between the tales.  Yes, there were connections but he did not see it as a fully developed and integrated Universe.   In fact, including inconsistencies and mixing the real with the imaginary gave his work an air of mystery and realism.

So with this in mind, why did Price propose this classification system?  Well, first and foremost, it was done for academic fun.  When you hear Mr. Price talk, his appreciation for the Mythos really shines through and he readily admits that a lot of his work was simply done for the love of it.

In addition, it makes sense that humans would at least “try” to categorize something they are trying to understand.  We have a compulsion to label, categorize and systematize things (stars, rocks, plants, animals), even when such methodology does not work.  For example, while Linnaeus’s binomial nomenclature for naming organisms (Genus, species) can be easily applied to plants, fungi and animals, this system is difficult to apply to bacteria where horizontal gene transfer is possible.  In other words, the concept of species is sometimes very difficult to apply to bacteria, yet we still use it to label these organisms.  The same could be said about Lovecraftian entities; it’s our attempt in trying to understand them.

Finally, using such a labeling system does not have to be etched in stone and could be great fodder for future stories where humanity is trying to understand exactly what these “things” are.  Next time, I will be talking about the infamous “Derleth” taxonomic system before I move into the meat of the presentation.

Thank you – Fred Lubnow