Tag Archives: plasma

The “Nature” of Ghatanothoa and Similarities with Cthulhu

Beyond the ability to petrify people but leaving their brains alive within their paralyzed bodies (which I hypothesize is due to a biologically produced air-borne toxin) very little is known about the biology of Ghatanothoa. One of the reasons for this is the fact that getting too close to the entity results in paralysis. Whether it’s due to merely observed Ghatanothoa or a result of an air-borne toxin it generates, getting actual information on this entity is extremely difficult and hazardous. However, H.P. Lovecraft and Hazel Heald do provide some small scrapes of information on this lesser known Old One.


Ghatanothoa by Jagoba Lekuona Huegun

Specifically, the most recent description of Ghatanothoa is “…gigantic – tentacled – proboscidian – octopus-eyed – semi-amorphous – plastic – partly squamous and partly rugose – ugh!” Other descriptors include loathsome, non-human and extra-galactic. Even in von Junzt’s Black Book very little information is provided on Ghatanothoa.  We do know the Spawn of Yuggoth deposited Ghatanothoa on ancient Earth deep in the caverns of a fortress on the mountain Yaddith-Go. Here it is said that Ghatanothoa would brood eternally and wallowed, waddled and burrowed deep in the Earth.

Based on the ancient text, Ghatanothoa must have wreaked havoc on Yuggoth since the Spawn imprisoned it on Earth. While Ghatanothoa was placed on Earth, the Spawn did not intentionally want to use this entity as a means of cleansing the planet of humans. Thus, the thing was imprisoned and a select portion of humanity, who ended up being the priests of Ghatanothoa were provided with a means of keeping it imprisoned.


So what is Ghatanothoa? Based on some interpretations made Kenneth Hite, Chris Lackey and Chad Fifer on the H.P. Lovecraft Literary Podcast, “Out of the Aeons” can be thought of as a re-interpretation of “The Call of Cthulhu.”  I agree with this and I hypothesize that Ghatanothoa and Cthulhu are similar entities. While Tsathoggua and Shub-Niggurath are mentioned in “Out of Aeons” and Cthulhu is not, the description of Ghatanothoa is somewhat similar to that of Cthulhu. Compare the description of Ghatanothoa described above to those of Cthulhu such as “lumbered slobberingly,” “gelatinous green immensity,” and “eldritch contradictions of all matter, force and cosmic order.”

The morphology of both of these entities is “in-flux” in our universe. That is, they can change size and shape at will, which makes observing them very disorienting, even dangerous for your mind and body.  For example, Ghatanothoa is described as plastic, while Cthulhu is described as gelatinous. It is clear based on Lovecraft’s writings that Cthulhu, and more than likely Ghatanothoa, are not made of matter from our space-time and originate from outside of our universe. Their “matter” appears to be a combination of gaseous, solid and liquid material and in fact maybe composed of plasma.


Cthulhu by Fiend Upon My Back (www.deviantart.com)

Plasma is a state of matter where both electrons and protons are freely moving and no longer bound in the formal atomic state that we are familiar with. While extremely rare in on Earth, plasma is the most common state of matter in the universe (Kaku; Hyperspace, 1994). A sentient, ionized gas with a very fluid-like state could explain the strange inconsistency and movement of Cthulhu and Ghatanothoa. However, in our universe plasma is typically found in stars, where the temperatures are so high that electrons and protons are freely moving. Thus, if these are plasma-based entities, wouldn’t they be thousands of degrees hot and immediately burn anything near them? Does this mean Cthulhu and Ghatanothoa can only exist in our universe within a star?  Also, there is so much energy in intensely hot plasma, that the very geometry of space-time will distort and the dimensionality of space-time could actually change (Kaku, 1994). Are Cthulhu and Ghatanothoa possibly channeling their intense heat and energy into another dimension to keep their relatively plasma-like properties while existing in our space-time and without burning it up?


Ghatanothoa by Jack Rezz (www.deviantart.com)

Next time I will attempt to explain these strange properties of Cthulhu and Ghatanothoa by discussing their possible origins. Also, I just wanted to let everyone know that Steve Maschuck and I will be attending the NecronomiCon later this month in Providence Rhode Island. I will be giving a presentation on “The Lovecraftian Cosmos” and I will be on a panel about Lovecraft and Science. If you are attending, I would love to meet and chat! Also, I will try to post some material on the WordPress page during the convention. Thank you – Fred.

Notes from Yuggoth part 5 (a depleting atmosphere)

Given the relatively small size of Pluto, it may seem unlikely that the dwarf planet has an atmosphere. However, the instruments on New Horizons have indeed detected a nitrogen-rich atmosphere as far as 1,000 miles above Pluto’s surface. It turns out that the dwarf planet’s atmosphere is being stripped away by the sun’s solar winds. A “tail” of cold, dense, ionized gas has been detected trailing 48,000 to 68,000 miles beyond Pluto.


Artist’s conception of solar winds striking Pluto’s atmosphere (www.nasa.gov)

The solar winds are a constant stream of electrically charged particles emitted by the sun in all directions. The average distance of Pluto from the sun is about 3.67 billion miles (approximately 39.5 astronomical units also known as AUs; Earth is approximately 1 AU from the sun). The solar winds hit Pluto and push its atmosphere into space, mostly composed of nitrogen ions. Ionized gas is created when energy (solar winds) slams into gas particles, stripping electrons off of atoms. In turn, this creates plasma, the fourth state of matter which is rare on Earth but is the most abundant form of matter in the Universe.

It has been hypothesized that Cthulhu itself is composed of an extra-dimensional form of plasma, a sort of alien ionized matter crammed into our 4-dimensional space-time. Such a hypothesize would explain the fluidity and strange shape / size changing abilities of Cthulhu as well as its “weakness” relative to existing in our space-time (e.g. imprisoned and asleep in R’lyeh in the bottom of the Pacific Ocean). Maybe additional investigations into Pluto’s atmosphere will contribute toward a better understanding of Cthulhu and many of the other Old Ones!


Cthulhu is more than like composed of a form of alien plasma; artwork by Uncannyknack (www.deviantart.com)

The Entity Cthulhu

Original sketch of the Cthulhu sculpture by H. P. Lovecraft

Cthulhu is probably the most well known entity described by H. P. Lovecraft.  I will not spend too much time describing the appearance of Cthulhu.  HPL described it in great detail and even make a sketch of the small sculpture found in the backwaters of Louisiana (see above).  Hundreds if not thousands of artist have drawn, painted or sculptured their interpretation of what Cthulhu looks like.  While a very small sampling of some of this artwork is included here, this article focuses solely on HPL’s text in its discussion of Cthulhu.

Essentially, Cthulhu was presented as a conglomeration of an octopus, human, bat and dragon.  More importantly, the description of the sailors’ experience in their encounter with Cthulhu is more telling than the sculpture, which is a feeble attempt to convey what the entity looks like.  When the aperture to Cthulhu’s tomb is opened, Johansen states “that tenebrousness was indeed a positive quality.”  There are three definitions for the word “tenebrous” and I believe all three apply to this situation.  First, the word can mean to “shut off from the light.”  Indeed, Johansen says that the inner walls of the tomb were in darkness and that when the thing emerged from the tomb it visibly darkened the sun.  Second, the word can mean “hard to understand.” Obviously applicable to the situation.  The size of Cthulhu, its shape and associated sounds and odors make it very difficult to understand.  Additionally, as will be described later, Cthulhu does not even adhere to our known physical laws on Earth, which adds to the difficulty in understanding it.  Third, the word can mean “causing gloom.”  Again, this is very applicable to the sailors’ attitude and perception of Cthulhu, as documented by Johansen.


Cthulhu (www.dybiz.com)

As has been previously discussed, the City of R’lyeh appeared to be of a confusing, shifting, non-Euclidean nature to human perception.  The same can be said of Cthulhu.  It was difficult to determine what exactly Cthulhu is made of – is it gaseous, solid, liquid or a combination of these states of matter?  Is it made of the same matter we are?  For example, phrases such as “burst forth like smoke from its aeon-long imprisonment”, “flapping membranous wings”, “lumbered slobberingly”, “gelatinous green immensity”, and “…slid greasily into the water…” give Cthulhu a fluid semi-corporeal appearance, shifting through the various states of matter, possibly being a form a plasma.


Three forms of matter found on Earth (www.fcwa.org)

So what is plasma?  In our everyday life, atoms are stable, each one composed of various combinations of protons and neutrons in the nucleus with a various number of electrons orbiting the nucleus in a quantum haze.  Using water as an example, at room temperature water is liquid but as the temperature declines the water will freeze at zero degrees Celsius.  On the other end of the spectrum, as the temperature increases the water will evaporate becoming water vapor; at or above the boiling point of hundred degree Celsius steam is produced.  These various states of matter arise due to the movement or “agitation” of the water molecules.  Ice forms a lattice structure but as the temperature increases it melts into fluid water and eventually becomes water vapor where the water molecules are highly mobile and moving around with a considerable amount of energy.


The arrangement of atoms (or water molecules) in the three state of matter on Earth (www.trivedichemistry.org)

However, at non-Earth bound temperatures, say a few thousand degrees, the atoms become so agitated and full of energy that the electrons are no longer bound by the electromagnetic forces between them and the protons in the nucleus and thus break free.  At this point the gas is described as being ionized.  Such conditions occur in the sun; temperatures are so high that both electrons and protons are freely moving and no longer simply bound in the formal atomic state – this strange state of matter is called plasma (Frank Close; Particle Physics: A Very Short Introduction, 2004).  Ironically, while plasma is very rare on Earth, it is the most common state of matter in the universe (Michio Kaku; Hyperspace: A Scientific Odyssey Through Parallel Universe, Time Warps and the 10th Dimension, 1994).

Heating the plasma even further can give rise to stranger states of reality, which can include, among other things, the appearance of ten-dimensional superstring symmetry.  Essentially, there is so much energy that the very geometry of space-time will distort and the dimensionality of space-time could actually change (Kaku, 1994).  Again, more on this in an upcoming article.  Bringing it back to Cthulhu – is this entity a “plasma” or “super-plasma” being?  Having such a plasma-like state would explain the difficulty in trying to describe it as solid, liquid or gaseous.  Also, the energy needed to move such a being with such fluidity in both our atmosphere and in the ocean could easily be conducted by a plasma-being.  However, wouldn’t this mean that Cthulhu could only exist within a star where a plasma environment exists?


Cthulhu by Joel Harlow (www.deviantart.org)

Possibly, but I believe this is where the dimensionality of Cthulhu comes into play.  As previously mentioned the true form of Cthulhu can not be perceived by humans since we do not have the proper senses to do so.  Additionally, if Cthulhu’s true home is in a plasma environment we would not be able to survive entering his true home.  However, maybe Cthulhu uses the vast amounts of energy at its disposal (as a plasma being) to project part of its essense into our reality, guided by the dreamers who function as some type of biological, space-time beacons.

HPL’s attempt to convey what Cthulhu looks like or, more importantly how it is actually experienced and perceived by a human, is the gist of his philosophy of Cosmic Horror.  The sculptures and artwork of Cthulhu are what is conveyed to dreamers as to the entity’s appearance but the true reality of experiencing Cthulhu is far more complicated and difficult to interpret and hence describe.  This complexity associated with direct contact with Cthulhu may be at least partially attributed to the distortion or warping of space-time and dimensionality around Cthulhu.

Next time we will go into a little more detail  on the dimensionality of Cthulhu and why many of HPL’s biological discoveries from outside our space-time appear weak or easily defeated in our reality.  Thank you – Fred.


Awakening of Cthulhu by Obrotowy (www.deviantart.org)