Tag Archives: The Whisperer in Darkness

How the Universe Expanded in H.P. Lovecraft’s Lifetime: Part 3, Beyond the Mountains of Madness

Hubble shears a "woolly" galaxy A previously unidentified “woolly galaxy” found by the Hubble Telescope (www.nasa.gov).

As we previously discussed, H.P. Lovecraft’s “The Whisperer in Darkness” may have been the “keystone” tale in which the Universe expanded from one island galaxy into one including hundreds of millions, if not billions, of galaxies. This expanded view of the Universe largely stems from Edwin Hubble’s confirmation that many observed gaseous nebulae are actually entire galaxies, as well as his discovery that the Universe is expanding at an accelerated rate. While “The Whisperer in Darkness” (written in early 1930) have been the tale where Lovecraft first introduced this expanding view of the Universe, largely through the perspective of the Mi-Go, the idea of multiple galaxies was firmly established by the time he wrote At the Mountains of Madness in early 1931.

As Dyer and Danforth were examining the bas-reliefs of the Elder Things they found a section that represented “…the preterrestrial life of the star-headed beings on other planets, in other galaxies, and in other universes…”. Thus, not only is a universe filled with galaxies but the concept of a multiverse was also identified by Lovecraft. It is interesting to note that At the Mountains of Madness was not the first reference Lovecraft made to more than one universe in his stories. This is not particularly surprising since as we previously stated before Hubble’s discoveries, the Milky Way Galaxy was considered the Universe; thus, one could easily extrapolate and consider the presence of more than only galaxy-universe. However, the concept of the multiverse and how Lovecraft understood it will be discussed in future articles.

lovecraft elder2 Elder Thing by Steve Maschuck

In “The Dreams in the Witch-House” Walter Gilman talks about how with the use of higher mathematics one can travel through Space-Time by finding a passage out of our 3-dimensional space-sphere and then re-entering at another point within our space-sphere. While the travel itself would not kill the traveler, one would have to make sure that the point of re-entry is favorable conditions for life (e.g. enough oxygen to breath, minimal amount of radiation, temperature concerns, etc.). Following this Gilman hypothesized that “Denizens of some planets might be able to live on certain others – even planets belonging to other galaxies or to similar dimensional phases of other space-time continua…”. Again, Lovecraft clearly embraces the idea of many galaxies in our universe.


In “Through the Gates of the Silver Key,” co-written with E. Hoffmann Price, Randolph Carter is attempting to understand how there can be other forms of his “self” – human and non-human, vertebrate and invertebrate, conscious and mindless, animal and vegetable. He goes on to say, “And more, there were “Caters” having nothing in common with earthly life, but moving outrageously amidst backgrounds of other planets, systems and galaxies and cosmic continua.” Later, when Carter’s mind enters a Yaddithian wizard’s body, he has access to light-beam envelope technology that can transport him through space-time to other worlds spread throughout the 28 galaxies accessible to the light-beam. It is not yet understood if this limitation to 28 galaxies is simply a spatial limitation or if the Yaddithian technology to allow the light-beams to be transmitted is only found in these 28 galaxies.

lovecraft___zkauba__yaddithian_ii_by_kingovrats-d9sn1hl                    The Yaddithian wizard Zkauba by KingOvRats (www.deviantart.com)

In The Shadow Out of Time, Nathaniel Wingate Peaslee attempted to understand the information provided to him on how the Earth was once inhibited by entities far more advanced than humans, millions of years ago. Some came from the stars while others evolved on Earth from the eukaryotic cell lines bioengineered by the Elder Things. Some of these life forms existed for thousands of millions of years and had linkages to other galaxies and universes. By the time Lovecraft wrote “Collapsing Cosmos” with R.H. Barlow, there were a reported total of 37 galaxies in our immediate universe.

Finally, in one of Lovecraft’s last tales, “The Haunter of the Dark,” at the end of that tale when Robert Blake is recording his last thoughts will waiting for the Haunter to visit him during the black-out he writes, “Trouble with memory. I see things. I never knew before. Other worlds and other galaxies… Dark… The lightning seems dark and the darkness seems light…”. For Robert Blake, staring into the shining trapezohedron provided a more realistic perspective of the Cosmos.

haunter_RachaelMayo The Haunter by Rachael Mayo

While Edwin Hubble discovered that our universe is not limited to the Milky Way and that other galaxies exist, I believe both he and Lovecraft would be amazed to know that just a few years ago the Hubble Space Telescope estimated that there are nearly 100 billion galaxies in the known Universe. However, just last year Hubble’s Ultra Deep Field survey revealed that volumes of space once thought empty are literally teeming with galaxies. Thus, while the most recent observations estimate that the observable Universe contains approximately 200 billion galaxies, studies from 2016 indicate that this estimate is at least 10 times too low. Thus, even Lovecraft’s 28 to 37 local cluster of galaxies may be an infinitesimally tiny fraction of the true structure of the Universe.

p1639ay-goodss-160930 Areas of space once thought empty have been revealed to be filled with galaxies by the Hubble surveys (www.nasa.gov).

Next time we will discuss eclipses in Lovecraft’s astronomical writings and his stories. Thank you – Fred.

How the Universe Expanded in H.P. Lovecraft’s Lifetime: Part 2, The Whisperer in Darkness

o-HUBBLE-UV-1000A view through the Hubble telescope of thousands of galaxies in one small patch of space

As previously discussed, while H.P. Lovecraft was writing his astronomical articles in the early 20th century, primarily between 1906 to 1918 (Collected Essays Volume 3: Science H.P. Lovecraft, edited by S.T. Joshi, 2005), the Galaxy was essentially thought of as our Universe.  However, on 30 December 1924 when Edwin Hubble publicly announced the discovery of other galaxies, the perception of our Universe substantially increased in size.  Searching through Lovecraft’s fiction, his collection of essays associated with Science (Joshi, 2005) and Joshi’s biography on Lovecraft, I Am Providence: The Life and Times of H.P. Lovecraft (Joshi, 2013), I could find no specific reference to Hubble.  However, I have not reviewed all of his letters so Lovecraft may have mentioned Hubble there.  This significant change in our view of the Universe from an Island Galaxy in a starless void to an expanding Universe filled with billions of galaxies, does seem to creep into Lovecraft’s later fiction. Part of this is due to when Hubble made his announcement in late 1924 and part of this due to changes in Lovecraft’s style in writing and his subject matter.

In Lovecraft’s early tales, from 1917 to 1920-21, there is almost no mention of the word galaxy. The exception was a passing reference in “From Beyond,” written in 1920, where once the Tillinghast machine is turned on the protagonist was describing what he observed which included “I seemed for an instant to behold a patch of strange night sky filled with shining revolving spheres, and as it receded I saw that the glowing suns formed a constellation or galaxy of settled shape; this shape being the distorted fact of Crawford Tillinghast.” Even here the word “galaxy” is being used as a descriptive term or metaphysical point of view rather than as a purely scientific term.

It would not be until “The Whisperer in Darkness,” written in 1930, that Lovecraft would use the word galaxy from a scientific perspective. Indeed, this tale may be a pivotal point for Lovecraft in his view of both the Cosmos and cosmic horror and the word “galaxy” may be an indicator of this.

lvcrft_by_terrordelacomarca-d96cprzThe Whisperer in Darkness, artwork by Terrordelacomarca (www.deviantart.com)

The first time the word galaxy is used in “The Whisperer in Darkness” is in a letter Henry Wentworth Akeley writes to Albert N. Wilmarth, professor of literature and folklore at Miskatonic University. In it Akeley is documenting his encounters with the Mi-Go in his remote farmhouse in upstate Vermont. In the letter Akeley states that they Mi-Go may be talking to him, although he also questions whether this is a dream or if he is going mad. At one point Akeley states, “They don’t mean to let me get to California now – they want to take me off alive, or what theoretically and mentally amounts to alive – not only to Yuggoth but beyond that – away outside the galaxy and possibly beyond the last curved rim of space.” This description sounds like the old “one galaxy – one universe” hypothesis proposed by Sir William Herschel and discussed by Lovecraft in some of his astronomical articles (Joshi, 2005).

In sharp contrast to the first time the word galaxy is used, later when “pseudo-Akeley” is speaking with Wilmarth at the farmhouse he states, “There is nothing they [the Mi-Go] can’t do with the mind and body of living organisms. I expect to visit other planets and even other stars and galaxies.” Here Lovecraft is obviously conveying the multiple galaxies in one Universe view, which was firmly established in the scientific community by 1925. So, was this simply a minor grammatical slip up? Or in the tale did the Mi-Go reveal to Akeley and later to Wilmarth, that the Universe was composed of billions of galaxies? Remember according to Akeley the Mi-Go wanted humanity to discover Yuggoth, known to humans as Pluto, on 18th February 1930. Perhaps they were also revealing or at least confirming what Hubble found five years earlier, that the Universe is not simply the Milky Way Galaxy.

the_dreamer_by_brett_neufeld-dbhg32hThe Dreamer by Brett Neufeld

Later, pseudo-Akeley talks about some of the entities in the Mi-Go cylinders, stating that three are human, six are fungoid beings who can’t navigate space corporeally and two are from Neptune. He then states that the rest are “…from the central caverns of an especially interesting dark star beyond the galaxy.” Based on this statement this dark star is out of the Milky Way but not necessarily found in another galaxy.

It is interested that Lovecraft identifies a dark star. Based on Newtonian physics a dark star is a theoretical body of such large mass that any light it emits is trapped by its own gravity resulting in a “dark” star. Eventually, this term dark star was replaced by “black hole” (The Hidden Reality: Parallel Universes and the Deep Laws of the Cosmos by Brain Greene, 2011). However, a dark star is also categorized as a proto-star that may have existed in the early Universe before conventional stars were able to form. This type of dark star would be composed largely of normal matter but would also have a relatively high amount of neutralino dark matter. Such dark stars would be composed of clouds of hydrogen and helium with a diameter substantially larger in size than conventional stars. Such dark stars would have a diameter of 4 to 2,000 astronomical units (AUs). Remember, 1 AU is the distance from the Earth to the Sun. In addition, such dark stars would have a surface temperature low enough that the emitted radiation would be invisible to the naked eye. Would such temperatures be conducive for the development and evolution of life?

MikeDubischwww.themikedubischsketchbook.blogspot.com_lovecraft-cthulhu-hp-lovecraft                                        Old Ones from a Dark Star by Mike Dubisch (www.themikedubischsketchbook.blogspot.com)

Back to “The Whisperer in Darkness” in speaking to Akeley, the human in the Mi-Go cylinder states, “Do you realise what it means when I say I have been on thirty-seven different celestial bodies – planets, dark stars, and less definable objects – including eight outside our galaxy and two outside the curved cosmos of space time?” This statement – outside our galaxy and outside the curved space-time – mirrors Akeley’s earlier statement in his letter to Wilmarth. While it may appear that Lovecraft is flip-flopping in the idea of the Universe being composed on the Milky Way or of billions of galaxies, I hypothesize that this was intentional. When a human speaks about the Universe, whether it is Akeley or the human mind in the cylinder, the older concept of the Milky Way essentially being the Universe is cited. However, when pseudo-Akeley speaks about the Universe, it is clear the Mi-Go know the Universe is substantially larger and filled with billions of galaxies. I think this conveys the fact that the Mi-Go have a better understanding of the cosmos than humans.

whisperer                              The Whisperer in Darkness (Nyarlathotep) – the pseudo-Akeley by Michael Bukowski (www.yog-blogsoth.blogspot.com)

Next time we will continue to discuss how Lovecraft uses the word galaxy in his later tales. Thank you – Fred.

More Notes From Yuggoth, Part 7


High resolution photograph of the surface of Yuggoth (www.nasa.gov).

As NASA continues to analyze the incoming higher resolution photographs and data that are coming from Yuggoth (otherwise known as Pluto by most of humanity) more hypotheses are developed in an attempt to understand this dwarf world. It will take NASA a year to receive all of the incoming data (www.cnn.com); however, one thing is certain – Yuggoth is far more complex than originally thought.

The huge mountains of ice seen on Yuggoth may in fact be floating in massive flows of frozen nitrogen. During the “summer season,” when Yuggoth is closest to the sun, the frozen nitrogen may be turning to liquid and possibly gassing into the Yuggothian atmosphere. During this warmer season the huge chunks of nitrogen ice may be flowing or moving, similar to glaciers. However, during the “winter season” these mountain blocks may re-freeze and remain in place until the next Yuggothian summer season.

mi_gofull (1)

Sketch of a Mi-Go by Steve Maschuck.

In addition to frozen nitrogen, frozen methane has been detected on Yuggoth; in fact it is found all over the dwarf planet. However, most of this frozen methane is concentrated at the equator and a relatively thin is found at the pole. As shown below the ice near the equator is composed almost entirely of methane (shown in red), while the greenish pole is indicative of a mix of methane and nitrogen (www.space.io9.com). Ethane has also been detected on Yuggoth, which is probably produced by charged particles originating from the sun converting the frozen methane into ethane in a process called photolysis or radiolysis.


Showing the distribution of methane on Yuggoth (www.space.io9.com).

Yuggoth’s thin atmosphere is composed entirely of nitrogen and more than likely originates from geological processes. In addition, while methane can be produced through biological processes, this compound is found, even if in trace amounts, on every planet in the solar system as well as in interstellar gas and on comets.

Maybe the Mi-Go biologically “fix” the atmospheric nitrogen on Yuggoth as a source of energy, similar to the way some blue-green algae “fix” atmospheric nitrogen through the use of specialized cells called heterocysts. Additionally, the Mi-Go may also use methane and/or ethane as a source of energy. Such a biological process can be found on Earth. Methylomirabilis oxyfera is a bacterium that can survive in inhospitable environments, feeding on methane and essentially “breathing” its own oxygen it produces as a waste product. Such bacteria need methane and inorganic nitrogen compounds to survive and are typically found in the sediments of rivers and lakes where oxygen is absent or very low. Such bacteria were more than likely very common on early Earth, before photosynthesis started pumping oxygen into Earth’s atmosphere. Are the Mi-Go using similar biological pathways to exist on Yuggoth? Possibly – the next article will focus on Venus as we go back to discussing “In the Walls of Eryx.” Thank you – Fred.


A filament of the blue-green alga (also known as cyanobacteria) Anabaena. The clear cell is a heterocyst, where it fixes its own nitrogen from the atmosphere.


Methylomirabilis oxyfera is a bacterium that can feed off of methane in very harsh environments (from Dr. L Stanndard, UCT / Science Photo Library; http://www.nature.com)



Notes From Yuggoth, part 2 (based on the New Horizons Voyage)


New Horizons probe (www.planetary.org) by Dan Durda, SwRI

With New Horizons being mere hours away from Yuggoth, more widely known as the dwarf-planet Pluto, I thought it would be a good time to discuss H.P. Lovecraft’s knowledge of this world.  First, as most know once the discovery of Pluto was officially made on 13 March 1930, Lovecraft correlated that this mysterious world was in fact Yuggoth, “rolling alone in the black aether at the rim…” of the solar system.  In fact in “The Whisperer in Darkness” Lovecraft mentions that the impostor of Henry W. Akeley states that he “…would not be surprised if astronomers become sufficiently sensitive to these thought-currents to discover Yuggoth when the Outer Ones wish them to do so.”

Clyde Tombaugh, a 24 year old astronomer who worked for the Lowell Observatory, discovered Pluto on 18 February 1930.  Tombaugh had no formal training as an astronomer; however, he had a skill for building telescopes.  As a farm boy from Kansas, Tombaugh use to build telescopes from old car parts and other “junk.” (National Geographic, July 2015).  Tombaugh was a very skilled and talented telescope maker and his hard work and persistence paid off in the discovery of Pluto.  However, it does make one think that maybe some Mi-Go “thought-currents” were sent his way in order to find Pluto.  The search for a planet beyond Neptune was underway in one form or another almost as soon as Neptune itself was discovered.  Thus, by the turn of the 20th century the race was on to discover “Planet X.”  Why was Pluto discovered in early 1930?


Clyde Tombaugh, discover of Yuggoth (better known as Pluto)

One hypothesis is that the Mi-Go were quite uncomfortable with humanity probing the solar system, particularly the outer rim.  Theoretical calculations, astronomical surveys and the eventual development of probes, sent into deep space to actually collect data on these worlds may have made the Mi-Go nervous.  Their outposts and cities were built on some of these worlds, including Pluto and its large moon Charon.

“There are mighty cities on Yuggoth – great tiers of terraced towers built of black stone…”

“The sun shines there no brighter than a star, but the beings need no light.  They have other subtler senses, and put no windows in their great house and temples.”

Thus, the Mi-Go may have thought that by appeasing the curiosity of the humans by allowing them to discover Pluto, further exploration into the outer rim and beyond may have ended or least would have been delayed.


Mi-Go, Concept 01 by Nathan Rosario (www.deviantart.com)

Other noted observations made by the impostor of Henry W. Akeley on Pluto included the presence of “black rivers of pitch that flow under those mysterious cyclopean bridges – things built by some elder race extinct and forgotten before the beings came to Yuggoth from the ultimate void..”  Thus, while the Mi-Go live on Yuggoth and use it as an outpost they did not construct the existing buildings and infrastructure.  No one knows who or what this elder race was.  Also, what is the black river of pitch?

Pitch is a thick, black, tar-like substance made by distilling coal tar.  There are a number of hypotheses about what New Horizons will find as it breezes past Pluto and one is that it may have a warm planetary core and be fairly dynamic from a geological sense.  It may have active geysers and be covered with frozen methane and other simple carbon-based compounds (National Geographic, July 2015).  Frozen nitrogen is probably present as well and Pluto more than likely has a thin atmosphere.  Maybe the geysers, other geological activity, and “the summer season” warms some of these pool or “canals” so the frozen methane becomes a liquid pitch that either eventually gases off into space or is re-frozen.  Incidentally a Plutonian year is about 250 years.  So one season can be longer than a human lifetime.

Finally, it should be noted that a small vial of Tombaugh’s ashes on on board of New Horizons, sort of our DNA-based ambassador to Pluto, the Kuiper belt and beyond.  If the Mi-Go obtain this vial of Tombaugh’s ashes, will they re-create the mind of this famous astronomer?  Will the consciousness of Tombaugh be confronted with those whose world he revealed to humanity?  Only Tombaugh will know.


A small “cylinder” or vial containing the ashes of the discoverer of Pluto – Clyde Tombaugh (News Week)

The Weakness of the Old Ones

An excellent and entertaining resource on Lovecraft’s stories is the HP Lovecraft Literary Podcast hosted by Chris Lackey and Chad Fifer.  Over the years they have reviewed and analyzed all of HPL’s stories and currently are doing the same for stories that HPL has cited in his essay “Supernatural Horror in Literature.”  I highly recommend the Podcast.


What is interesting about going through the Podcast episodes of HPL’s stories, particularly since the stories are presented in chronological order, is you can see themes or trends appear throughout his writings.  One of the ideas that periodically comes up and has been noted by Chris and Chad is that in some respects select entities of HPL’s seem to be easily defeated or relatively weak beings.  In this article I will be discussing this idea and presenting a hypothesis to explain it

First, it should be noted that some Lovecraftian entities seem to be very hardy if not downright immortal.  The Elder Ones (or Elder Things) were described a number of times as being extremely tough yet flexible.  These beings are known to have the capacity to travel interstellar space, live in the deep waters of the ocean or on dry land, which can include the steaming jungles near the equator or the Arctic / Antarctic regions of the poles.  Additionally, they can be put into some type of stasis or coma and can be revived millions of years later.  The Elder Ones are obviously well adapted to surviving a wide variety of environments and are well known to be residents of our universe.  The same can be said of their creations the shoggoths; well adapted and hearty organisms.


Elder Ones by bioytic-9000 (www.deviantart.org)

However, in contrast to the Elder Things and shoggoths, other Lovecraftian entities do not appear to be as well adapted to our universe, let alone a Terran environment.  For example, in “The Whisperer in Darkness” the Mi-Go were described by Henry Akeley as being “clumsy in getting about” and having wings that “are not much use for short flights on earth.”  The Mi-Go are not of this Earth or of our universe, which is why they appear as clumsy in our atmosphere and gravity.


Mi-Go by Michael Bukowski (www.yog-blogsoth.blogspot.com)

In “The Dunwich Horror,” which is a story I have yet to cover on this blog site, Wilbur Whateley was easily killed by a guard dog while he was attempting to steal a copy of the Necronomicon housed at the library at Miskatonic University.  Additionally, after he was killed Wilbur’s body rapidly decomposed so that by the time the medical examiner came to inspect the body nothing was left except a “sticky whitish mass.”  Two things come to mind on this.  First, while powerful from an inter-dimensional perspective, Wilbur was relatively weak in our reality; he was essentially killed by a dog (he obviously was right to be fearful over dogs).  Second, once dead, Wilbur’s hybridized inter-dimensional biomatter quickly dissolved.  This indicates that a considerable amount of energy was required to keep Wilbur’s body stable and intact while he was alive.

Similar to Wilbur, his twin was defeated by Dr. Armitage through an incantation.  According to Armitage, “The thing has gone forever.”  Thus, this large, invisible, inter-dimensional being was simply obliterated by some phrases from the Necronomicon.


Wilbur Whateley by Michael Bukowski (www.yog-blogsoth.blogspot.com)

Finally, Cthulhu was presented as a god-like being who could influence people over the world through their own dreams.  In spite of Cthulhu’s god-like status compared to us puny humans, he appeared to be easily defeated.  Johansen drove the vessel the Alert head long onto Cthulhu.  The result of this was Cthulhu popped like an “exploding bladder” in an “acrid and blinding green cloud.”  However, while Cthulhu was defeated, it was not destroyed.  Johansen could see Cthulhu recombining in the water.  Thus, Cthulhu still lies deep in R’lyeh in a deep sleep.


Cthulhu Rising by Spenzer777 (www.deviant.org)

In each of these examples, these apparently powerful, inter-dimensional entities appear to be have difficulty in our reality or can be easily destroyed or defeated.  How can this be?  Essentially I hypothesize that since their beings originate from other dimensions or are inter-dimensional hybrids, their powers are limited in our dimension or reality.  Thus, the inter-dimensional entities in our reality can be thought of as astronauts or deep sea divers.

Astronaut and deep sea diving suits allow humans to explore non-habitable environments such as space and the ocean.  However, the trade-off to exploring these unforgiving, inhospitable environments is limitations in movement and speed due to their specialized suits.  Additionally, we are entirely dependent on an artificial means of breathing.  Thus, we need to expend a high amount of energy to explorer these environments over short periods of time.  From the perspective of a shark or whale humans in the ocean may appear to be powerful beings, yet at the same time we are weak in that we are slow moving and dependent on exteneral forces / energies to keep up alive.  I believe the same can be said about the inter-dimensional Old Ones.

An astronaut’s suit keeps them alive but limits mobility, and vision; the suit is both power and a limitation for humans (astronaut.com)

In each case, the Mi-Go, Wilbur Whateley and Cthulhu, are inter-dimensional, or semi-inter-dimensional entities probing or exploring our universe and reality.  For the Mi-Go, they may be a stable form of inter-dimensional life that can do quite well in our universe, however, they obviously are not adapted to many of our physical constants such as gravity.  Additionally, as HPL cites in “The Whisperer in Darkness” the Mi-Go are “composed of a form of matter totally alien to our part of space – with electrons having a wholly different vibration-rate.”  Thus, while possibly not residents of our universe, they appear to be moderately comfortable here.  Maybe they can be thought of as explorers (or miners?) with equipment and gear; although in their case their equipment are their biological modifications.

In contrast, Wilbur Whateley and Cthulhu are entities that appear to require an enormous amount of energy to maintain their status in this universe.  Upsetting this stream of energy killed Wilbur and temporarily defeated Cthulhu.  Thus, their respective forms in our reality may be their astronaut or diving suits – Cthulhu may look very different in its own residential universe.  Also, using the astronaut or diving suit analogy, this would explain the apparent weakness of these entities.  If Wilbur and Cthulhu were successful in opening the way from their universe to ours these circumstances would certainly change.

Next time the discussion will focus on Nyarlathotep.  Thank you – Fred.

Cthulhu 1790 by Fiend Upon My Back (www.deivantart.org)

The Use of Neptune in Lovecraft’s Fiction

Unlike Uranus HPL did mention the other ice giant, Neptune, in his stories.  It is mentioned a number of times in “The Whisperer in Darkness,” specifically when he is referring to “that the new planet beyond Neptune [that] had not been discovered.”  The new planet in the story was Yuggoth, which was then identified as Pluto.  In turn, Pluto is no longer considered a planet but that is another story.

A brain jar of the Mi-Go with a Terran brain, not a Neptunian brain (by Steve Maschuck)

Later in the Whisperer in Darkness as Akeley is describing to Wilmarth what beings are in the brain cylinders of the Mi-Go, he says the jars contain the minds of…”Three humans, six fungoid being who can’t navigate space corporeally, and two beings from Neptune (God! if you could see the body this type has on its own planet!), and the rest entities from the central caverns of an especially interesting dark star beyond the galaxy.”  After that, the Neptune beings are never mentioned again.

Whisperer in the Darkness is one of my favorite HPL stories and this passage always intrigued me.  What did the Neptunian body look like?  A Neptunian would have to live in a nearly lightless world and frozen environment.  The weather patterns of Neptune generate some of the highest wind speeds measured in the Solar System, up to 1,300 mph (2,00 kilometers per hour) (Suomi, et. al., 1991.  High Winds of Neptune: A possible mechanism.  Science.  251 (4996): 929-932.).  That’s a lot of energy generated.  Is it possible that the Neptunians use the high winds to somehow collect energy or harvest material blown by the winds to live, grow and reproduce?


A Neptunian by Michael Bukowski (yog-blogsoth.blogspot.com).  Are the strange aerial appendages used to collect material blown by the harsh Neptunian winds?

The only other time Neptune is mentioned in a HPL story is in “Through the Gates of the Silver Key” (co-written with E. Hoffmann Price) where again Swami Chandraputra is describing the travels of Randolph Carter through time and space.  In one passage the Swami states that…”He [Randolph Carter] saw Kynarth and Yuggoth on the rim, passed close to Neptune and glimpsed the hellish white fungi that spot it..”  What is interesting about this passage, is back in HPL’s time very little surface features could be seen on Neptune.  Remember it was HPL who stated that while Neptune was greenish in color like Uranus, it is not diversified by any visible markings.  In spite of this in 1932-1933, HPL talked about some white fungi that spot the planet.

More than half a century later the Voyager 2 spacecraft took photographs showing white wisps of material adjacent to Neptune’s Great Dark Spot (see below).  The Great Dark Spot is thought to be a hole through the methane layer of Neptune (similar to the hole detected in our ozone layer on Earth).  The white clouds are above this hole.  Are these white clouds a strange, endemic, atmospheric community of fungi?  How did HPL know about these cloud-fungi or is this just a coincidence?

A close-up of the Great Dark Spot of Neptune.  Note the white wispy clouds above the spot (www.windows2universe.org)

HPL’s article on the planets was written in 1915, while Through the Gates of the Silver Key was written in 1932-1933.  Maybe HPL, and Price for that matter, had the chance to travel to Neptune and observe the strange white wisps of alien fungi that feed off of the extremely feeble cosmic rays that radiate through the Great Dark Spot from the distance sun.

Next time we will talk about Clark Ashton Smith’s use of Neptune in his stories.  Thank you – Fred.





Correction to the Post: Impressions of the Mi-Go on Human Culture and their War with the Elder Ones

Please note I found an error in the previous post:  Impressions of the Mi-Go on Human Culture and their War with the Elder Ones.  Specifically on that post I stated:

“In addition, while this connection between the Mi-Go and sightings of the abominable Snow Men was not explicitly described in The Whisperer in Darkness,…”

It turns out, this is incorrect.  toward the end of the first Chapter in The Whisperer in Darkness it is stated:

“No use, either, to point out the even more startlingly similar belief of the Nepalese hill tribes in the dreaded Mi-Go or “Abominable Snow-Men” who lurk hideously amidst the ice and rock pinnacles of the Himalayan summits.”

Thus, this correlation between the Mi-Go and the abominable Snow Men was first noted in The Whisperer in Darkness.  I stand corrected and apologize for the error.  Thank you. – Fred

Mi-Go by Steve Maschuck


Postscript on the Mi-Go

A quick note and illustration I wanted to share on the Mi-Go.  One aspect of Mi-Go (or the Elder Ones for that matter) that I have not touched on was the religious beliefs of these entitles.  Later when we start discussing the larger entities (or Gods) we will get into the relationships between the “minion races” and the Gods such as Cthulhu, Shub-Niggurath and the others.   However, for now I wanted to share this fantastic illustration done by Greg P. Onychuk called “The Black Goat”.  Looks like a Mi-Go providing a sacrifice to her!

The Black Goat, illustrated by Greg P. Onychuk

Impressions of the Mi-Go on Human Culture and their War with the Elder Ones

The Mi-Go (illustration by Steve Maschuck)

This article is a wrap up on the Mi-Go and will discuss the impressions these entities have had on human culture and their prehistoric war with the Elder Ones.  This subject was not covered as part of the original talk I gave at the Necronomicon in Providence, RI back in August 2013, however, I thought such discussions were necessary.

Unlike the Elder Ones, which were largely unknown by humanity until the Pabodie – Lake expedition to Antarctica in 1930-31, the Mi-Go have interacted with humanity over the centuries.  Encounters between humanity and the Mi-go have been extremely rare but are known to have occurred.  In turn, these encounters have permeated human culture, folklore and legends.  I will identify a few of these in this article.

The first example, which was described by HPL, was the legend of the yeti or abominable Snow Men of the Himalayas.  Several times in At the Mountains of Madness, HPL  identified that sightings of these creatures were actually Mi-Go.  In fact, it is hypothesized that most of the sightings of large hominids (e.g. bigfoot, sasquatch) through the world, particularly in higher elevations, are attributed to the Mi-Go, donning furs or pelts of large mammals.

The Mi-Go disguising themselves as large, hairy hominids makes sense.  First, misdirecting human mythology away from crustacean-like fungoid creatures toward large ape-like creatures is an effective means of removing concern or interest in the Mi-Go.  Second, it would explain the scalps and other mummified artifacts (e.g. hands) that are found in the Himalayas.  Some consider these as holy / religious artifacts (see below).  Yet, it is interesting how the yeti scalps and mummified hands remind one of the waxen face and hands of Akeley’s found in that lone farmhouse in Vermont at the end of The Whisperer in Darkness.

Yeti Scalp in a Himalayan Temple

In addition, while this connection between the Mi-Go and sightings of the abominable Snow Men was not explicitly described in The Whisperer in Darkness, it should be noted that the brain in the Mi-Go cylinder that spoke to Wilmarth said it encountered the Mi-Go in the Himalayas.  No doubt the Mi-Go would disguise themselves as large hominids in the mountains throughout the northern hemisphere and would occasionally make contact with a select few individuals.

Besides disguising themselves as large hominids, the Mi-Go also pose as other creatures.  More than likely sightings of the Mothman were actually of the Mi-Go as well.  The Mothman is the name giving to a creature that was observed in West Virginia; these sightings started in the late 1960’s.  The Mothman was reported as being a man-like figure with huge wings and large, glowing red eyes.  Again, it makes sense for the Mi-Go to disguise themselves when flying at night in case someone caught sight of them.  Indeed, some sightings of UFOs may also be attributed to the Mi-Go.

Mothman, 12 foot sculpture by artist Robert Roach in Point Pleasant, WV (monstropedia.org)

To conclude this discussion on the Mi-Go a few comments will be made on the war between them and the Elder Ones.  As previously discussed, the Elder Ones and spawn of Cthulhu battled on ancient Earth, which eventually ended in peace.  The Elder Ones took to the sea while the Cthulhu spawn took to the newer lands.  However, later the new lands of the Pacific suddenly sank into the sea, taking the great stone city of R’lyeh and the Cthulhu spawn with them.  The Elder Ones were once again the supreme entities of the Earth and won this war by default.

In contrast, when the Mi-Go came to Earth, it sounds like the Elder Ones did not do so well.  This was after a great civil war with the Shoggoths (called the subjugation) and the Mi-Go, similar to the Cthulhu spawn, were made of different matter than the Elder Ones.  The net result seemed to be that the Mi-Go got the upper hand with the Elder Ones.

The Elder Ones lost some of their abilities over the centuries, including the power to travel through interstellar space, and were driven back into the sea and the southern hemisphere.   The Mi-Go remained in the northern hemisphere, mining for precious metals and studying humans even to this day.   Thus, while the Elder Ones civilization declined over the centuries, the Mi-Go remained active on Earth as well as throughout the solar system.

Next time I will be talking about the spawn of Cthulhu and we will move into the new year with discussions on Deep Ones.  Thank you.  Fred

While the Elder Ones civilization declined, the Mi-Go continued to live throughout our solar system (illustration by Steve Maschuck)

Necronomicon Convention talk – Biology of the Old Ones, Part 21 – Mi-Go Technology

As extra-dimensional entities it may be extremely difficult, if not impossible, for humans to truly understand how Mi-Go technology operates.  However, several points can be made.  First, there is a high amount of integration between Mi-Go technology and biology; one could almost call it a continuum.  In fact, it appears that their technology is a strong operating mechanism for artificial selection.  In other words, it appears that the Mi-Go control or direct their evolution in a very conscious way.  They create their own species, solely based on what demands are imposed on their population.

Interstellar Visitor by Patrick McEvoy.  In: The Art of H.P. Lovecraft’s Cthulhu Mythos. Edited by Pat Harrigan and Brian Wood

HPL clearly states in The Whisperer in Darkness that the Mi-Go are masters of surgery and therefore extreme body modification.  While some species can inherently travel through interstellar space, others required mechanical, surgical, chemical and/or biological modifications to fly in space.  Still others can’t travel through space but instead use extra-dimensional portals.  Does this mean that these three “species” are a gradient or transition from non-space traveling to space traveling Mi-Go?  If so, does this make the non-space traveling M-Go living fossils?  Again, this emphasizes how  Mi-Go biology and technology are so intertwined.

While the Mi-Go use their own technology to direct their evolution (their version of artificial selection), they have also been known to employ their technology on other non-Mi-Go species.  This is a specific reference to the brain cylinders.

Mi-Go brain cylinders as illustrated by Steve Maschuck

The brain cylinder is a device developed by the Mi-Go to provide a means for other entities to travel through space, time and other dimensions.  The cylinder can be connected to devices that allow the entity’s brain to see, hear and speak.  This again demonstrates how the Mi-Go are masters of surgery and biology.   Two things should be pointed out.  First, HPL was extremely innovative in his perspective of an alien abduction.  Unlike other writers at the time, who had their human-like aliens flying through space in rocket ships, the Mi-Go (like the Elder Ones) can survive and travel through space on their own.  Additionally, the mind but not the body of other entities could be encased in the cylinder and protected against the harsh environments of space and other dimensions.  This was a very unique way to travel.

Second, as described in The Whisperer in Darkness, the brain cylinder and associated equipment does not appear to be of true alien origin.  While the cylinder and equipment are based on a Mi-Go design, they are constructed with Earth-bound materials and more than likely are built by the Mi-Go’s human agents.  More than likely, some of the rare minerals that the Mi-Go mine for on Earth are used to construct the brain cylinders.

A Mi-Go traveling through the voids of space with a companion (illustrated by Steve Maschuck)

So if the brain cylinders aren’t uniquely alien technology, how can the brain, separated from the body be preserved and protected?  I hypothesize that the true alien technology is not the brain cylinder but the specialized fluid inside the cylinder.  This viscous material is more than likely biological in origin, an elaborate and extra-dimensional prion-like substance.  In sharp contrast to Terran prions that end up mis-folding or distorting proteins , resulting in the destruction of healthy tissue, Mi-Go prions constantly repair and maintain the healthy state of the brain by preventing decomposition and chemical breakdown.  This intracellular activity allows the Mi-Go prion to harvest extra-dimensional energy (known as dark energy) from the same point in space (but from another dimension), using most of the energy in keeping the brain healthy but having enough surplus to keep itself in operation.  All of this is extremely hypothetical and until an actual sample of this material is collected and studied, no additional light can be shed on the matter.

A few concluding points.  Removing a brain from a body is not as simple as removing / replacing a heart or liver.  Remember the brain is the central part of an elaborate and complex neural network that includes the spinal column and associated nerve endings distributed throughout the body.  Thus, for the Mi-Go to have the surgical ability and talent to remove the brain from the rest of the nervous system and keep it in operating condition is quite a feat.  However, it is not known if this process is reversible; can a brain be successfully placed back into the body?  If so, can the brain of one entity be placed into the body of another?

Finally, it should be noted that while the Mi-Go have a vested interest in keeping hidden from most of humanity, in order to continue to mine for rare minerals, their reason for putting sentient minds into  the cylinders and traveling with them through interstellar space, deep time and other dimensions is ambiguous.  I don’t think the Mi-Go are doing this to “share” their knowledge with others.  Similar to the Elder Ones, the Mi-Go are scientists but far more cold and alien.  The Mi-Go experiment with other forms of life, the way a small boy plays with captured beetles or frogs.  Thus, the ultimate purpose of the Mi-Go in removing brains from other beings remains largely unknown.

Next time we will wrap up our discussion on the Mi-Go with how sightings of these creatures have impacted human culture.  After that, the last few articles for the year will cover the extremely elusive Spawn of Cthulhu.  Thank you – Fred

Mi-Go with a brain cylinder on the cover of Crypt of Cthulhu