Tag Archives: the Great Race

Through the Gates of the Silver Key: Chapter VI, Galaxies and Light-Beam Envelope Technology

As described in Chapter VI of “Through the Gates of the Silver Key” written by H.P. Lovecraft and E. Hoffmann Price, the insectoid-like beings of Yaddith were a technologically advanced species that could transport their consciousness through time and space similar to the Great Race. For the Yaddithians this was done with the use of “light-beam envelopes.”

Yaddith_JacquesBrodier_www.thewire.co.uk Yaddith by Jacques Brodier (www.thewire.co.uk)

When Randolph Carter’s consciousness entered the body of the Yaddithian wizard Zkauba, he took advantage of the light-beam envelope technology to travel throughout the twenty-eight galaxies and over ten thousand worlds known by the Yaddithians. Currently, based on observations made with the Hubble Telescope it is estimated that there are 100 billion galaxies in the Universe but this estimate is expected to increase to around 200 billion as improvements and refinements are made in telescope technology.

In Lovecraft’s time, the concept of a galaxy was relatively new. Prior to the early 20th century galaxies were described as globular star clusters or spiral nebulae. However, by the early 20th century Harlow Shapely determined the distribution, size and shape of some of these globular star clusters as well as the Milky Way. It was Shapely who determined that the Milky Way bulged in the center, surrounded by a large, flat area (http://science.howstuffworks.com/dictionary/astronomy-terms/galaxy2.htm). Shapely later called the identified star clusters or nebulae as “island universes” or galaxies. Others claimed that the nebulae were part of the Milky Way. Thus, in the early 20th century there was a debate on whether the Milk Way was essentially the Universe or if it was just one of many galaxies in a much larger Universe.

OSC_Astro_28_01_Abell2744                                               A very small fraction of the billions of galaxies identified by the Hubble Telescope

Toward the end of 1924 the debate was settled by Edwin Hubble. Using his 100-inch diameter telescope at Mount Wilson California, Hubble identified, with the use of Cepheid variables (stars that pulsate on a regular basis, producing a stable period and amplitude of brightness) that a spiral nebula had structure and stars similar to but separate from the Milk Way. This confirmed the presence of another galaxy and those Cepheid variables became part of the galaxy known as Andromeda. Thanks to Hubble, it was determined that the Milky Way galaxy is not the Universe but one of other galaxies spread throughout the Cosmos. The Universe got a whole lot bigger thanks to Hubble.

hubble_300                                                                                            One of Edwin Hubble’s first photographs of the Andromeda Galaxy (also known as M31)

The Yaddithians are known to be able to have the ability to travel through the 28 known galaxies. Possibly by coincidence, in the Superman mythos it is also stated that there are 28 known galaxies. I was curious why this number of 28 keeps coming up when we now know there are literally billions of galaxies. I hypothesize that this number of 28 stems from the findings of Hubble. After his confirmation that other galaxies exist, Hubble went on to discover another couple dozen galaxies. Thus, while at this time I cannot find an actual document to confirm this, I hypothesize that in the mid-1920’s as Hubble’s findings were presented to the general public somewhere it may have stated that Hubble identified 28 galaxies, which is why this number has been used in a number of venues.

Andromeda_m31_bers_1824 A more recent photograph of the Andromeda Galaxy one of the “local 28” for Yaddithians

Relative to the Yaddithians, the 28 galaxies may represent a local “cluster” of galaxies, composed of a few large galaxies, such as the Milky Way and the Andromeda, and a series of satellite galaxies that surround the larger ones. From a practical standpoint, traveling throughout Space-Time for the Yaddithians may be limited to these 28. As we have suggested with the Great Race’s ability to travel through Space-Time, the Yaddithian may transmit their consciousnesses through the Universe on a laser beam, to be deposited into the mind of another sentient being. 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 (The Future of the Mind: The Scientific Quest to Understand, Enhance, and Empower the Mind by Michio Kaku, 2014).

55-24760-green_laser_teaser                          Humans can transfer 26 Terabits of information per second with the use of laser technology. Do the light-beam envelopes of the Yaddithians perform a similar function but on a larger scale? Transferring an entire consciousness through Space-Time on a laser?

The Yaddithians probably used their light-beam envelopes to transmit their minds, with the aid of laser beams or X-rays as carrier waves, through controlled wormholes that opened up hyperspace and “beam” their minds into other devices or the “receptive” organisms on other worlds or in other times. Again, similar technology is utilized by the Great Race; however, for them instead of using light-beam envelopes, they used strange mechanical devices in conjunction with some alien crystals. In each case the result is the same – downloading the consciousness of an individual into a device and then immediately transferring it through Space-Time (most likely through a worm hole) into a new receptacle, which may be another organism or some type of artificial or cybernetic device.

lovecraft___snouted_yaddithian_by_kingovrats-d68pvtf                    Illustration of a Yaddithian by King Ov Rats. (www.deviantart.com)

In conclusion, it appears that both the Great Race of Yith and the Yaddithians had the ability to consciously travel through Space-Time. However, in order to get back to Earth Randolph Carter, trapped in the body of the Yaddithian wizard Zkauba, had to modify a light-beam envelope so that it could transport both the body as well as the mind of the individual. This topic, as well as the resulting cost this had on Yaddith, will be discussed next time. Thank you – Fred.

Comparing Great Race Technology to the Trapezohedron

In “The Shadow over Time” the economics professor Wingate Peaslee of Miskatonic University has his mind exchanged with a member of the Great Race against his will. Years later after the member of the Great Race collected a large amount of information on our world and time it then reversed the mind exchange by using a “…queer mixture of rods, wheels and mirrors, though only about two feet tall, one foot wide and one foot thick. The central mirror was circular and convex” (The Shadow over Time by H.P. Lovecraft).

               The strange technology used by the Great Race to transport their consciousness through time and space

It is interesting to note that some current research into measuring or detecting gravitons involves the Casimir effect; that is, the attraction or repulsion force between two mirrors that are placed a few nanometers apart in a vacuum. The reflective surfaces may actually move as a result of virtual photons (packets of light) that appear and disappear from the vacuum between the two mirrors (www.livescience.com).

In principle, a graviton should behave like a photon but is substantially weaker, which is why they are more difficult to detect. Thus, with conventional mirrors, made in our Universe out of the matter we are familiar with, such graviton activity will be too weak to detect. In fact, the gravitational Casimir effect is so weak that it exerts only a hundredth of a billionth of a trillionth of a trillionth of the amount of pressure exerted by Earth’s atmosphere at sea level (wwwlivescience.com). However, this may be possible with superconductors, which are materials that conduct electricity with zero resistance.

Given the dual particle / wave nature of gravitons, if gravity waves could be collected and utilized the way photons, radio waves or X-rays are used in our Universe, their possible applications could be incredible. For example, the wavelength of a laser beam is microscopic and you can compress vast amounts of information on its wave pattern; however, even more data can be transferred onto a beam of X-rays, which has a wavelength smaller than an individual atom (Kaku, 2014). Imagine how much information can be compressed onto a gravity wave! Possibly the collective consciousness, experiences and personality of an individual?

untitledThe Great Race examining some text on a future civilization (artwork by Tom Ardans)

The strength of gravity in other Universes is more than likely substantially stronger than what we experience in our Universe; many of the ideas associated with Super String Theory point to this conclusion. Thus, the Great Race may be using technology from another universe to collect gravitons, either from our Universe or another one, and use gravity waves to conduct the mind exchange. The queer mixture of rods, wheels and mirrors may be the means of harvesting the gravity waves and direct them. However, the technology of the Great Race may be limited to just transporting information and consciousness through space, time and beyond. The transfer of matter may require substantially higher amounts of energy and that may be possible through the shining trapezohedron.

the_shining_trapezohedron_by_jasonmckittrick-d5uzf3e                                                     The Shining Trapezohedron, created by Jason McKittrick.

 

The shining trapezohedron may operate in a similar capacity but on a substantially larger scale. First, the trapezohedron may be composed of matter that does not originate from our Universe. Second, the energy that the trapezohedron is tapping into is substantially larger than that used by the Great Race, which in their case limits their transport to information and consciousness, possibly riding on gravity waves. In contrast, the trapezohedron appears to create “wormholes” outside of our Space-Time, possibly using higher dimensional mathematics to achieve this goal. Thus, the other worlds that Robert Blake sees in the trapezohedron may not be limited to our Space-Time laws (e.g. looking at light from far away means you are looking into the distant past). Instead, the other worlds observed in the trapezohedron may be “real time.”

More importantly, the trapezohedron can actually transport matter and entities through these temporarily created wormholes. However, as previously mentioned, some acknowledgement or mental contact is needed between the user of the trapezohedron, in this case the Haunter, and a sentient entity on the other side (our Universe). As previously mentioned, darkness is required as well. We will discuss this requirement for darkness for the Haunter to enter our Universe, as well as some history on the trapezohedron, next time. Thank you and Happy Halloween! Fred.

Lovecraft’s Use of Evolution, Part 4 The Shadow Out of Time

A member of “The Great Race” by Steve Maschuck

Since “The Shadow Out of Time” has been extensively discussed in pervious articles on this site, this current article will be relatively short.  While “At the Mountains of Madness” is HPL’s origin story and interpretation of Darwinian evolution, “The Shadow Out of Time” is HPL’s example of a dramatic and radical example of natural selection.  As has been previously discussed the Great Race is a fusion of two entities or species – the Cone-Shaped Beings (CSBs) who are natives of Earth and the Yithians whose minds travel time and space, “jumping” from one corporeal species into another.

Based on HPL’s writings the CSBs are Terran in origin and not alien.  In fact the CSBs may actually be another “by-product” (similar to humans) of the Elder Things tinkering with the creation of multi-cellular, eukaryotic life on Earth.  Pervious discussions focused on whether the CSBs are some type of complex mollusk, possibly a member of the Gastropod (snails, slugs) or Cephalopod (octopus, squid) class, an unknown class of mollusk, an unknown phylum of animal life or possibly even an elaborate form of fungi.  Whatever the classification of the CSBs, it is hypothesized that like all multicellular life on Earth, Darwinian evolution gave rise to these creatures.  However, did the merging of the CSBs with the Yithian minds, thus creating the Great Race, alter their course of evolution?

pic_of_mollusk_evolution

The major types of mollusks.  Are the Cone Shaped Beings a member of this phylum of life or something completely different?  (Sharon-taxonomy2010-p2.wikispaces.com).

Very little is known about the CSBs before their merging with the Yithian minds.  Were they simple, mindless, passive fungi, exuding exoenzymes into the environment to break down and accelerate the rate of decomposition of organic matter as a source of food and energy?  Or were they fairly intelligent mollusks with the curiosity and cognitive abilities of an octopus?  We may never know.  However, once the Yithians started to occupy the CSBs – thus creating the Great Race – this “new” symbiotic species was sentient and immediately developed technology and a civilization.  Such a punctuated form of evolution has never before been documented in the history of live on Earth.

From a Darwinian point of view this creation of a new symbiotic species was like either inserting a set of beneficial genes into the species or drastically changing the environment, either one driving natural selection into another direction.  An example of this later idea can be found in the peppered moth (Biston betularia).

The peppered moth is a nocturnal moth found in England.  Prior to the industrial revolution, the majority of the peppered moths in England had light-colored wing patterns so they resembled the trees and lichens.  This form of camouflage was effective to avoid being eaten by birds.  However, after the industrial revolution was in full swing, many of the lichens died and the trees were covered with black soot.  This resulted in a shift in the gene frequency from light color pigmentation to darker colors.  Thus, over time the moth population was dominated by darker individuals since they were better adapted to be camouflaged against predators on the soot-lined trees (Evolution: The First Four Billion Years, edited by Michael Ruse & Joseph Travis, 2009).  A similar dramatic shift in the course of evolution may have occurred when the Yithian minds merged with the CSB bodies.

peppered%20moth

Peppered moths (Biston betularia) on light and dark colored trees (www.truthinscience.org.uk)

While the merging with the Yithian minds was an “internal” change in the CSBs, it does not appear to include a direct change or modification in the CSB genome.  Thus, this change operates more as a change in the environment than a change in the species genome.  However, if the merging of the Yithian minds only occurred with a sub-set of the CSB population, it may be possible that this symbiosis does end up being selective on a genetic level.  To answer this question, it needs to be known if all CSBs merged with Yithian minds or if there was some degree of selection with this symbiotic merger.

Once the CSBs had the advantage of immediately acquired intelligence, it “freed” them in a sense from many of the previous selective pressures such as competition for resources and possibly predation / parasitism.  At a minimum the creation of the Great Race substantially reduced these selective pressures.  However, new, selective pressures came into place such as the creation of communities and a civilization that interacted, and at times clashed, with others species on Earth.  Indeed, such a relatively quick change in the course of their evolution and the development of their civilization / technology must have perplexed the Elder Things.

Mike-Bukowski-yithian

Yithian by the talented artist Mike Bukowski (www.lastchanceillustration.com)

Next time we will be moving into a series of formal discussions on HPL’s “The Call of Cthulhu.”  Thank you – Fred.

 

 

Beyond the Wall of Sleep, Part 3 – The Co-Habitation of Joe Slater

In the pervious article we discussed the possibility that Joe Slater had schizophrenia, which would explain his violent mood swings and hallucinations.  However, in HPL’s “Beyond the Wall of Sleep,” the intern at the unnamed New England institute discovers that Joe is actually “possessed” by another entity.  Thus, it is possible that the symptoms of schizophrenia have manifested in Joe as a result of his mind trying to copy with his body housing two consciousnesses?  Is it possible that all or most people suffering from schizophrenia are trying to cope with a similar situation?  Are Joe’s auditory and visual hallucinations actually the thoughts or experiences of the entity nested and dwelling within his body?  And what of this parasitic entity?  What is it and where does it come from?

Relative to the actual entity within Joe, HPL gives very little information.  A similar story by another author could have easily shifted into pure supernatural, where Joe is being possessed by a demon and an exorcism is required.  Such ideas were not of interest to HPL and his philosophy of materialism.  However, Beyond the Wall of Sleep is one of HPL’s earliest literary expressions of cosmic horror, something he will master later in life.  In addition, as S.T. Joshi has cited Beyond the Wall of Sleep is one of HPL’s first “quasi-science-fiction” tales, a term Joshi uses since “science-fiction” itself would not be properly defined until a little later in the 20th century (I Am Providence: The Life and Times of H.P. Lovecraft by S.T. Joshi; 2013).

Again, little is known about this entity but the fact that its consciousness has been trapped in Joe Slater’s mind his whole life indicates it must have been with Joe either before or immediately after his birth.  HPL discussed similar mind transfers in “The Shadow Out of Time” and there situations were discussed where the mind of a member of the Great Race would switch with the mind of the species they are studying.  Without the strange crystalline machines that aid in transferring the minds through space-time, a member of the Great Race could be marooned in a species, in a particular time and place.  So, is the entity in Joe Slater a member of the Great Race?

The Great Race (from the Lovecraft Tarot by David Wynn and D.L. Hutchinson, Illustrator)

I think this is very unlikely for fourth reasons.  First, the Grate Race typically switch minds with an individual; they do not cohabitate the same body.  Second, while I suppose a member of the Great Race could enter the mind of a new born child I think this extremely unlikely since the members of the Great Race back on ancient Earth would then have to deal with a large Cone-Shaped Being with an infant’s mind!  Third, I can’t imagine a member of the Great Race actually communicating with the intern.  The Great Race made every effort to avoid being exposed to other species.  Fourth, the behavior of the entity did not have the scientific perspective of the Great Race.  To be blunt, the entity was kind of a jerk and was obsessed with getting revenge on Algol, the daemon-star.  More on that in a future article.  Thus, based on the evidence we have it is highly unlikely that the entity is a member of the Great Race.  However, the entity may have used similar technology or principles that the Great Race uses but for some reason ended up stuck in Joe Slater.

The entity itself does not have a distinct corporal form and is described as a luminous thing.  In addition, the enemy that the entity is so obsessed with appears to a member of the same luminescent non-corporeal species.  The strange, luminescent appearance of the entity apparently gives it the ability to fly through space and “burn” (pass through?) matter.

An illustration for “Beyond the Wall of Sleep” from Weird Tales, Volume 31, March 1938 – the luminescent non-corporeal entities.

When the intern makes “cosmic radio” contact with the entity, he becomes a , luminescent non-corporeal thing as well. He calls the entity his “brother of light” and after a period of time traveling through space and exchanging thoughts the intern ends up back in his human shell. At that point Joe Slater is dead, which frees the alien entity. However, before the entity leaves for the cosmos he mentions that Joe’s body “could not undergo the needed adjustments between ethereal life and planet life.” The entity also tells the intern that he is his brother of light and that floating with him in the efflulgent valleys, they are now fellow wanderers in space and time. This obviously is HPL’s blatant “classism” coming into play.

According to HPL, while a rural resident of upstate New York would not be able to mentally cope with the cosmic sights and sounds the entity provided, an educated, upper class, city-dweller such as the intern surely can. I feel that the idea of one’s status in society dictating how one would mentally process the mental invasion of an alien entity is simply incorrect as a functioning mechanism. While some minor genetic differences between Joe and the intern may account for this difference, such a mechanism is based on biology and not social status (evolution through natural selection vs. social Darwinism).

More importantly, the intern had a brief encounter with the luminescent entity, while Joe has had to deal with it occupying his brain his whole life, providing sights and sounds he could not comprehend; sights and sounds that no one else was exposed to in Joe’s life. The intern was looking for answers while Joe had no choice in the matter.  Thus, isn’t it possible that Joe was not equipped to deal with the ethereal life as a result of an entire lifetime of mental erosion from sharing his mind with the entity?  Who knows how the intern would begin to react to entity if it constantly occupied his mind?

Next time we will talk about the technology the intern invented and used to communicate with the entity from beyond the wall of sleep.  Thank you – Fred.

Beyond the Wall of Sleep by Soldeus Trenton Shuck

 

The Shadow Out of Time – Part 3, Flying Polyps

Of all of the Lovecraftian species, the Flying Polyps may be the most “alien”, second only to the Colour Out of Space.  Very little is know about this species but what is known ominous to say the least. Flying Polyp by Paul Carrick

HPL never officially called these beings Flying Polyps; instead he loosely described them as “a horrible elder race of half-polypous, utterly alien entities.”  Frequently in The Shadow Out of Time he referred to them as “elder things.”  These beings came to our solar system about 600 million years ago to reside on Earth and three other planets (my hypothesis is that these other three planets are Mercury, Venus and Mars). While the Mi-Go and the spawn of Cthulhu were said to come from “outside” of our Universe and not be made of the same matters as we are, the Flying Polyps were said to be only partly material (as we understand matter).  Thus, it may be that the Flying Polyps are not completely from the outside but instead are from the “in-between.”

Flying Polyp by Ruud Dirven

While their senses do not include sight, they mentally perceive reality through non-visual patterns of impressions.  Thus, these senses can penetrate all material barriers but their corporal forms can not.  Basically, I think this means that they can perceive a substantially large portion of the Universe than we can with our five senses.  Additionally, the Flying Polyps can fly but do not have wings.  However, while they may sound like ghosts, they are not.  It is the strange quasi-matter of the Flying Polyps that make them susceptible to the electrical weapons of the Great Race.

When the Flying Polyps came to Earth about 600 million years ago they built large basalt cities, composed of windowless towers.  They preyed on the cone-shaped beings (CSBs) for approximately 100 million years.  However, when the Yithian minds came to Earth and inhabited the CSB bodies approximately 500 million years ago this must have been quite a shock to the Flying Polyps.  The CSBs must have been like cattle or bison to the predatory Polyps prior to the arrival of the Yithians.  Then suddenly (from a geological point of view) the CSBs now had the ability to create devastating weapons.  As HPL describes, once the CSBs became the Great Race, they used their weapons to drive the Flying Polyps into the inner Earth and were subsequently sealed and inprisoned.

The Yithian Wars (by Simiankolya)

While the Flying Polyps were defeated and imprisoned deep in the Earth, over the millennia there were concerns by the Great Race that they Flying Polyps were growing strong and increasing in numbers.  This had a strong impact on the psyche and culture of the Great Race.  Isolated incidences of escape in the outskirts of the ancient, abandoned basalt cities and mental projections into the future  led the Yithian to plan for another hyperspace jump of their species-wide consciousness.  Essentially, there was a growing fear that the Flying Polyps would eventually break free of their inner Earth prisons and overrun the Great Race via their increased numbers.

Flying Polyp from Steve Maschuck

There were two reasons why the Great Race were so fearful of the Flying Polyps.  First,  it sounds like the Great Race may have attempted to communicate with the Flying Polyps in some manner but to no avail.  However, the consciousness and perception of reality of the Flying Polyps was so different than any terrestrial organism that communication with them was impossible.  Second, the Yithian bodies were the prey of the Flying Polyps in the past.  The Great Race did not want to be back on the Flying Polyp menu and with no means of communicating with them,  the Great Race was obviously fearful that swarms of these creatures emerging from the Earth would be the end of their corporeal bodies.  Thus, the Yithians planned to collectively “jump” to another species in the future.  One thing is for sure, the Yithians appeared capable of handling the Elder Things, the Mi-Go, the spawn of Cthulhu and the serpent people.  However, they were truly terrified of the Flying Polyps.

How the Yithians make this consciousness leap from one species to another will be the topic of discussion for the next article.  Thank you.  Fred

Flying Polyp by Andreask87

The Shadow Out of Time – Part 2, Additional Notes on the Taxonomy of the Great Race

Yithian (drawing by Zippo4k)

In the previous article a discussion was initiated on the taxonomy of the cone-shaped beings (CSB), collectively known as the Great Race when the alien minds of the “Yithians” that occupy their bodies are taken into account.  Last time a hypothesis was put forth that the CSBs may be a type of mollusk, being closely related to gastropods (snails) and/or cephalopods (octopus).  If the CSBs are caterogrized as mollusks, they are more than likely more closely related to gastropods and in particular the Family Haliotidae which contains only one genus Haliotis.  Commonly known as abalone, this is a marine group of mollusks that vary from small to large and are well known to be very edible.

An abalone in a tank at the Ty Warner Sea Center, Santa Barbara, CA.  Note the purple layer of tissue under the shell, called the epipodium.  Underneath the epipodium is the large, fleshy foot.  Also note the tentacles coming out of the shell (from Wikipedia.org).

With some extensive specialization of the tentacles, an increase in size and modification of the shape of the shell, it is possible to imagine the CSBs being related to this family of mollusks.  However, a number of people have contacted me with some alternative hypotheses.

It is possible that the CSBs should not to be included in the Phylum Mollusca.  In fact, the CSBs may be distinct enough to warrant their own unique Phylum within the Animal Kingdom.  According to HPL’s The Shadow Out of Time the Great Race disappeared from the Earth approximately 50 million years before man appeared on the evolutionary scene.  Based on S.T. Joshi’s explanatory notes which revised and updated HPL’s cited geologic eras, the CSBs were around throughout the Palaeozoic era which covered from around 570 to 225 million year ago (Penguin Classics – The Dreams in the Witch House and Other Weird Stories).

Most modern phyla of animal life appeared in the early part of the Paleozoic era – during the Cambrian period, which was between 542 and 488 million years ago  (Michael J. Benton; The History of Life; 2008).  Thus, it is certainly possible that the CSBs were already a distinict species this early on Earth, which would support the hypothesis that they should be classified in their own distinct phylum.

 Yithian (by the talented artist Tom Ardan)

Another hypothesis for consideration is that the CSBs may be a residual ancestor of the bizarre marine community of ancient organisms found in the Burgess Shale, British Columbia, Canada.   The Burgess Shale provides an incredible account of fossilization of soft-bodied organisms that lived on Earth between 530 and 510 million years ago (Evolution: The First Four Billon Years; edited by M. Ruse and J. Travis; 2009).  The extremely strange organisms identified in the Burgess Shale  included phyla that are wholly extinct and very strange looking.  Were the CSBs a surviving species that outlived many of the other Burgess Shale organisms, only to be later “occupied” by the Yithian minds?

Rendition of the Burgess Shale Cambrian community by Karen Carr of the Field Museum (from http://www.mshanks.com)

Next time another hypothesis will be presented that considers the idea that the CSBs many not even be members of the  Animal Kingdom.  Thank you – Fred.