Call of Cthulhu is Chaosium’s classic roleplaying game of Lovecraftian horror in which ordinary people are confronted by the terrifying and alien forces of the Cthulhu Mythos. Call of Cthulhu uses Chaosium’s Basic Roleplaying System, easy to learn and quick to play. This bestseller has won dozens of game-industry awards and is a member of the Academy of Adventure Game Design Hall of Fame. In 2001 Call of Cthulhu celebrated its 20th anniversary. In 2003 Call of Cthulhu was voted the #1 Gothic/Horror RPG of all time by the Gaming Report.com community. Call of Cthulhu is well-supported by an ever-growing line of high quality game supplements. This is the softcover 6th edition of this classic horror game, completely compatible with all of previous editions and supplements for Call of Cthulhu. This is a complete roleplaying game in one volume. All you need to play is this book, some dice, imagination, and your friends.

This blog is dedicated to my lovely wife jill, who not only puts up with my bizarre love of all thing lovecraft she enables it. I love you jill :)

Monday, June 5, 2017

News of a Vampire

For the people in a tiny Serbian village there is nothing sexy or romantic about a vampire. In fact, they are terrified that one of the most feared vampires of the area has been roused back to life.

Rather than 'Twilight's' Edward, the people of Zorazje fear that Sava Savanovic is lurking in their forested mountains of western Serbia.

They believe that he is on the move because the home he occupied for so long, a former water mill, recently collapsed. Savanovic is believed to be looking for a new home.

"People are very worried. Everybody knows the legend of this vampire and the thought that he is now homeless and looking for somewhere else and possibly other victims is terrifying people," Miodrag Vujetic, local municipal assembly member, told ABC News. "We are all frightened."

Vujetic said villagers "are all taking precautions by having holy crosses and icons placed above the entrance to the house, rubbing our hands with garlic, and having a hawthorn stake or thorn."

"I understand that people who live elsewhere in Serbia are laughing at our fears, but here most people have no doubt that vampires exist," he says.

According to legend, Savanovic would kill and drink the blood of the peasants who came to grind their grain at his watermill on the Rogacica River. Tour groups from around the Balkans would come to see the mill. But even tourism had its limits.

"We were welcoming tourists, but only during the day. Nobody ever overnighted there," said Slobodan Jagodic, whose family owned the mill for over 60 years.

"We were too scared to repair it, not to disturb Sava Savanovic," says Jagodic. "It's even worse now that it collapsed due to lack of repair."

Traditions die slowly in this part of the world. "In the dark forested mountains of Serbia, Bosnia, Montenegro, Macedonia and Croatia, many people still believe in vampires and take them quite seriously," says Dr. James Lyon, Ph.D, a noted Balkan historian who has done extensive research on the folklore behind vampires.

"In local folklore, vampires are not potential boyfriends. Rather, they are hideous, blood thirsty creatures with red eyes and iron teeth that bloat when they feed, and are able to shift their shape," says Lyon, author of "Kiss of the Butterfly," a historical thriller about vampires in the Serbia.

Savanovic has maintained his notoriety in modern Serbia. He was featured in a 19th century book "Ninety Years Later" written by Milovan Glisic, whose book inspired a 1972 horror film "Leptirica" (Butterfly), widely watched throughout all of former Yugoslavia. More recently, Savanovic appeared in an award winning book "Fear and Its Servant" written by Mirjana Novakovic.

The Balkans have long established itself as Ground Zero for vampires when it comes to fanged folklore, and Serbia is a leader in this, according to Lyon.

"Vampires originated in Serbia, not Romania," says Lyon. "The word vampire entered western languages from Serbia in the late 1720s."

Austrian forces returning from conquests in Ottoman Serbia in the early 1700s brought back vampire stories, which circulated throughout Europe, later inspiring Byron, Keats and Coleridge, he claims.

"In 1730-31 the Austrian Army sent a military surgeon into Serbia to conduct autopsies on suspected vampires. He and other Austrian Army officers wrote of their experiences, and these records still exist today," Lyons said.

Documented reports of vampire-related activity continue to this day throughout the Balkans, the most recent having occurred in 2011 in Serbia.

Back in Zarozje, villagers will have to be on their guard for at least seven more months, because local legend holds that vampires are most active between Christmas and the Feast of the Ascension on June 7.

 
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Sunday, June 4, 2017

A touch of madness

In the game, insanity is induced by traumatic experiences and ghastly comprehensions connected to the Cthulhu Mythos.  The duration of the insane state depends upon the number or proportion of Sanity points lost. Three states – temporary insanityindefinite insanity, and permanent insanity -can result.
Playing Insanity
The threat of insanity in the Call of Cthulhu rules characterizes the Mythos in a way which allows no compromise.  Exposed to it, few sane humans freely choose the Mythos, for the Mythos is intrinsically loathsome and foul.  The connection of Sanity points and Cthulhu Mythos points emphasized the power of the Mythos, which corrupts and ruins by proximity and association.  The sanity rules prove to use our own fragility, All that which we thought strong becomes delusory and false, while madness sometimes becomes a necessary condition for truth.  Humor and laughter around the game table become vital counterbalances.  Good feelings promote harmony and cohesion during the darkest moments in the game.
Dealing with the Verge
If an investigator has even one point of Sanity remaining, the player has form control.  The aesthetics of how the player chooses to present a nearly-mad investigator represents the essence of roleplaying. As the investigator weakens, evidence of the weakening should become apparent.  Thus near-insanity call for stronger roleplaying, not for less player control.
Such an investigator should speak about his mental condition, so that the others understand the situation, and can act with due regard and sympathy.  It is not good roleplaying to murmur “My guy’s Sanity Points are low.”  Such a statement is dull and makes nothing happen.  But a player who can vividly describe his investigator’s anxiety or terror, and relate the affects the game, deserves applause.
If an investigator has ten or fewer Sanity Points, he or she certainly knows the situation is serious.  In such straits in  real life, most people would pull back from the action and perhaps put themselves in sanitariums. So should investigators.
The Quality of Insanity
Investigator insanity characterizes the power of the Mythos by causing the investigator to adopt behavior which is limited in what it can achieve, yet expressive and interesting to roleplay.  Even as indefinitely-insane investigator does not always have to be parked in a sanitarium, if a good alternative can be negotiated with the keeper.  The choice can be serious, or conceivably eccentric and twisted, or even ridiculous, but is should not upset the tenor of the game.
As a minor example, suppose that an investigator shows insanity by obsessively insisting on wearing two hats day and night.  He argues that were he not to do so, his head would be unprotected if he tipped his hat to a lady while the sky was falling.  Since hats can be seen, keeper characters freely notice the comment or criticize the foible.  In defense, perhaps all the investigators begin to wear two hats.  No restaurant will seat them, since their behavior is so uncouth.  That two-hatted madman never left the game – the game widened to accommodate him.
A player may try to act out too many elements of his investigator’s insanity. If that gets in the way of the game, the keeper must quash the interruption.   Not to do so would be unfair to the other players.
This edition of the rules offers a more realistic version of the gamut of insanity.  That is useful information from which to start, but information should not control the direction of the game.  Waste no time trying to reproduce a particular disorder: let the way your investigator handles lengthy insanity evolve. it will, over time.
Treatment of Insanity
Temporary insanity ends quickly enough that schedules of treatment are entirely pointless.  On the other hand, treatment of permanent insanity mostly has no meaning, since by definition the character will never recover. No matter how good the facility. Temporary insanity concludes soon enough that one merely need protect the sufferer from further upset or harm.  Similarly, permanent insanity is essentially beyond treatment because its boundaries and duration are determined solely by the keeper. Only indefinite insanity offers real scope for intervention and treatment.
After 1D6 game months, therefore, safe from further trauma and with the agreement of the keeper, the indefinitely insane character find enough mental balance to re-enter the world.  Three sorts of care might have helped to get the character to this point.  In choosing among them, keeper and player should consider the character’s resources, his/her friends and relatives, and how wisely he or she behaved in the past.
Private Care
The best care available is at home or in some friendly place where nursing can be tender, considerate, and undistracted by the needs of competing patients. If Psychoanalysis or Psychiatric Medications are available, roll D100 for each game month that one or the other is used.  A result of 01 – 95 is a success; add 1D3 Sanity Points for Psychoanalysis or Psychiatric Medications, whichever (but not both) is used.  On a result of  96-00, the analyst fumbles or the character rebels against taking  the drugs.  The character loses 1D6 Sanity points, and no progress is made during teh next game month.
Institutionalization
The next-best care is commitment to an insane asylum.  Asylums may be said to have an advantage over home care in that they are relatively cheap or even a free service provided by the state.  But in any of the game eras, these institutions are of uneven quality, and some may be potentially harmful.  Some are creative places of experiment and advanced therapy, while other merely offer rude confinement.  Presently, in the United States, most institutions are full or accessible only to the criminally insane. In any era, concentrated and nourishing treatment by strangers is rare.
Supervised activity, manual therapy, psychiatric medications, and hydrotherapy are frequent, as in electroconvulsive treatment today.  Psychoanalysis is unavailable , and some time an institution can convey an uncaring sense that undermines the useful effects of psychiatric medications, leaving teh character with a sense of anger and loss, and likely to be distrustful of outpatient support once he or she has left the institution. Roll D100. A result of 01-95 is a success: add 1D3 Sanity points for psychiatric medications. On a result of 96-00, the character rebels against taking drugs.  He or she loses 1D6 Sanity points, and no progress can be made during the next game month.
Wandering and Homeless
The Investigator becomes a wandering derelict, struggling for survival.  The wanderer gains no Sanity points unless able to join a group of the homeless, and finds at least one friend among them.  To find a friend, roll equal to or less than current Sanity + POW on D100 each game month.  If a friend appears, add 1 Sanity point per game.
Each game month, roll D100 for survival.  On a result of  01-95, the character survives. On a result of 96-100, the character dies of disease, exposure, or murder.

Archaeologists in Poland made a startling discovery: a group of vampire graves.

Archaeologists in Poland believe they've made a startling discovery: a group of vampire graves.
The graves were discovered during the construction of a roadway near the Polish town of Gliwice, where archaeologists are more accustomed to finding the remains of World War II soldiers, according to The Telegraph.
But instead of soldiers, the graves contained skeletons whose heads had been severed and placed on their legs. This indicated to the archaeologists that the bodies had been subject to a ritualized execution designed to ensure the dead stayed dead, The Telegraph reports. 
By keeping the head separated from the body, according to ancient superstition, the "undead" wouldn't be able to rise from the grave to terrorize the living. Decapitation was one way of achieving that; another way was hanging the person by a rope attached to the neck until, over time, the decaying body simply separated from the head.
There were other, equally bizarre ways of dealing with vampire burials, according to research published by forensic anthropologist Matteo Borrini. He cites the case of a woman who died during a 16th-century plague in Venice, Italy. The woman was apparently buried with a brick wedged tightly in her open mouth, a popular medieval method of keeping suspected vampires from returning to feed on the blood of the living. The woman's grave might be the earliest known vampire burial ever found.
Hers was a typical case of an accusation of vampirism following some calamity, such as a plague or a devastating crop failure. Accusing an individual of being a vampire was a not-uncommon way of finding a scapegoat for an otherwise unexplained disaster.
In other cases, the body of a suspected vampire might be staked to the ground, pinning the corpse into place with a stake made of metal or wood. In 2012, archaeologists in Bulgaria found two skeletons with iron rods piercing their chests, indicating they may have been considered vampires.
The practice of decapitating the bodies of suspected vampires before burial was common in Slavic countries during the early Christian era, when pagan beliefs were still widespread.
In fact, their belief in vampires stemmed from both superstition about death and lack of knowledge about decomposition. Most vampire stories of history tend to follow a certain pattern where an individual or family dies of some unfortunate event or disease; before science could explain such deaths, the people chose to blame them on "vampires."
Villagers have also mistaken ordinary decomposition processes for the supernatural. "For example, though laypeople might assume that a body would decompose immediately, if the coffin is well sealed and buried in winter, putrefaction might be delayed by weeks or months; intestinal decomposition creates bloating which can force blood up into the mouth, making it look like a dead body has recently sucked blood," writes LiveScience's Bad Science columnist Benjamin Radford. "These processes are well understood by modern doctors and morticians, but in medieval Europe were taken as unmistakable signs that vampires were real and existed among them."
There's no consensus yet on when the bodies found in Poland were buried. According to Jacek Pierzak, one of the archaeologists on the site, the skeletons were found with no jewelry, belt buckles, buttons or any other artifacts that might assist in providing a burial date.

Sunday, March 26, 2017

Cthulhu at work part 1


Tuesday, March 14, 2017

Lin Carter's Great Old Ones - Part One Aphoom-Zhah

Aphoom-Zhah
Aphoom-Zhah (The Cold Flame) debuted in Lin Carter's short story "The Acolyte of the Flame" (1985)—although the being was first mentioned in an earlier tale by Carter, "The Horror in the Gallery" (1976). Aphoom-Zhah is also mentioned in Carter's "The Light from the Pole" (1980), a story Carter wrote from an early draft by Clark Ashton Smith. Smith later developed this draft into "The Coming of the White Worm" (1941).
Aphoom-Zhah is the progeny of Cthugha and is worshipped as the Lord of the Pole because he dwells, like Ithaqua, above the Arctic Circle. Aphoom-Zhah frequently visited Hyperborea during the last ice age. His legend is chronicled in the Pnakotic Manuscripts.
Aphoom-Zhah appears as a vast, cold, grey flame that freezes whatever it touches. The being came to Earth from the star Fomalhaut, briefly visiting the planet Yaksh (Neptune) before taking up residence in Mount Yarak, a legendary mountain atop the North Pole. When the Elder Gods tried to imprison him beneath the pole, Aphoom-Zhah erupted with such fury that he froze the lands around him. Aphoom-Zhah is believed to be responsible for the glaciation that eventually overwhelmed Hyperborea, Zobna, and Lomar.
Aphoom-Zhah likely spawned Gnoph-Keh, Rhan-Tegoth, and Voorm. Though no human cult worships this being, Aphoom-Zhah is revered by the Gnoph-Keh, the Voormi, and his own race of minions; the spectral Ylidheem

Sunday, March 12, 2017

Lovecraftian Inspired Artwork : The Cats of Ulthar


Lovecraftian inspired artwork : Rage of Cthuga


Wednesday, February 22, 2017

Zealia Bishop

Zealia Brown-Reed Bishop (1897–1968) was an American writer of short stories. Her name is sometimes spelled 'Zelia'. Although she mostly wrote romantic fiction, she is remembered for three short horror stories she wrote in collaboration with H. P. Lovecraft.
Among her works are three horror stories she wrote in collaboration with H. P. Lovecraft (The Curse of Yig, Medusa's Coil, and The Mound). Her stories appeared in the magazine Weird Tales. However, they were extensively revised by Lovecraft to the point of being ghostwritten.
Arkham House published her volume The Curse of Yig (1953) which contains the three horror stories by Bishop and Lovecraft, as well as two profiles by Bishop, one about H. P. Lovecraft and the other about August Derleth. That on Lovecraft has been reprinted in Peter Cannon's collection of essays on Lovecraft, Lovecraft Remembered. The three Lovecraft-Bishop revision stories also appear in The Horror in the Museum and Other Revisions.

Bishop's preference was for romantic fiction, of which she wrote and published far more than she did of the weird. She lived in Kansas City with her husband D.W. Bishop,took an active role in the National Federation of Press Women, the New England Historic Genealogical Society and the Missouri Women's Press Club. She authored a historical series about Clay County, Missouri.

The Curse of Yig

The Curse of Yig
By H. P. Lovecraft and Zealia Bishop



In 1925 I went into Oklahoma looking for snake lore, and I came out with a fear of snakes that will last me the rest of my life. I admit it is foolish, since there are natural explanations for everything I saw and heard, but it masters me none the less. If the old story had been all there was to it, I would not have been so badly shaken. My work as an American Indian ethnologist has hardened me to all kinds of extravagant legendry, and I know that simple white people can beat the redskins at their own game when it comes to fanciful inventions. But I can’t forget what I saw with my own eyes at the insane asylum in Guthrie.

I called at that asylum because a few of the oldest settlers told me I would find something important there. Neither Indians nor white men would discuss the snake-god legends I had come to trace. The oil-boom newcomers, of course, knew nothing of such matters, and the red men and old pioneers were plainly frightened when I spoke of them. Not more than six or seven people mentioned the asylum, and those who did were careful to talk in whispers. But the whisperers said that Dr. McNeill could shew me a very terrible relic and tell me all I wanted to know. He could explain why Yig, the half-human father of serpents, is a shunned and feared object in central Oklahoma, and why old settlers shiver at the secret Indian orgies which make the autumn days and nights hideous with the ceaseless beating of tom-toms in lonely places.

It was with the scent of a hound on the trail that I went to Guthrie, for I had spent many years collecting data on the evolution of serpent-worship among the Indians. I had always felt, from well-defined undertones of legend and archaeology, that great Quetzalcoatl—benign snake-god of the Mexicans—had had an older and darker prototype; and during recent months I had well-nigh proved it in a series of researches stretching from Guatemala to the Oklahoma plains. But everything was tantalising and incomplete, for above the border the cult of the snake was hedged about by fear and furtiveness.

And now for something completely different: Cthulhu Tract


OK, for those who do not know what a chick tract is.. allow me to give a brief explanation? Chick tracts are short evangelical gospel tracts (cartoons) created and published by American publisher and religious cartoonist Jack Chick.

Although many of Chick's tracts express views that are generally accepted within Christian theology, several tracts have expressed controversial viewpoints. Most notably, Chick tracts were known for expressing strongly anti-Catholic views, which are expressed in 20 of his tracts, as well as his criticisms of other religions including Mormonism. As a catholic and somewhat normal person I find that anything that condones or expresses hatred or ignorance towards a group of people that has a different belief system or lifestyle is wrong even in the name of “GOD”. With this said, I came across something I would like to share and these tracts make perfect sense. 


Tuesday, February 21, 2017

Media round up : Lovecraft: Fear of the Unknown

Lovecraft: Fear of the Unknown is a 2008 documentary film that examines the life, work, and mind of American writer H. P. Lovecraft, creator of the Cthulhu Mythos.The film features interviews with Guillermo del Toro, Neil Gaiman, John Carpenter, Peter Straub, Caitlin R. Kiernan, Ramsey Campbell, Stuart Gordon, S. T. Joshi, Robert M. Price, and Andrew Migliore.

The film was released on Blu-ray and DVD in the United States on October 27, 2009.
Johnny Butane of the website Dread Central gave the film a score of 4 out of 5, calling it a "solid documentary that’s sure to appeal to everyone from casual Lovecraft readers to the most hardcore of his fans"
The film won Best Documentary at the 2008 Comic-Con International Independent Film Festival.It was the official selection at: Cinema Du Parc in Collaboration With The Fantasia Festival 2008; Erie Horror Film Festival 2008; Buenos Aires Rojo Sangre Festival 2008; Shriekfest Horror Film Festival 2008; The H.P. Lovecraft Film Festival 2008; TromaDance 2009 and Porto Alegre, Brazil's Fantaspoa Festival 2009.

Cthulhu in the bible and the Koran

In Arabic, Khadhulu means "abandoner" or "forsaker." The term is thus used in the Koran 25:29 by Muhammed the Prophet, where it states, "For Mankind Satan [in Arabic, Shaytan] is Khadhulu." Muslim commentators have traditionally taken this to mean that Satan is a forsaker of mankind - on Judgment Day, Satan will forsake those who followed him in this life. 

However, as Khadhulu is used extensively in the Arabic Necronomicon to refer to a powerful deity, and is translated by Theodorus as xthulu and by Olaus Wormius in Latin as Cthulhu, it is possible to translate this verse as "For mankind Satan is Cthulhu" thus identifying the entity Cthulhu, worshiped by a cult of pagan Arabs before Muhammed, with the Satan of Judeo-Christian tradition 

and; 

The Semitic cultures in particular, in all their various branches throughout the Middle East, retain vestiges of ancient Cthulhu worship. One of the oldest Semitic languages is Assyrian, which originated in the second millenium B.C. and which shows clear references to Cthulhu worship. A common word for "demon" in Assyrian is alu'u (1). When this word is combined with the Assyrian word khatu(2) meaning "ominous" or "evil", the result is khatu alu'u, and is clearly related philogically to Cthulhu. An ancient Babylonian scribe makes reference to "alu'u lemnu sha pa la ishu atta," meaning "The alu' (demon) who has no mouth." (3) This could refer to Cthulhu himself, whose face is a mass of tentacles, and therefor appears as a demon who has no mouth.... 

Hebrew, another Semitic language, also makes oblique references to Cthulhu worship. This identification must neccesarily remain tentative, since the oldest Hebrew texts we possess are of the Bible, the writers of which clearly and wisely would have been antagonistic towards any Cthulhu cultists. The prophet Isiah, who lived in the 8th centure BC, wrote "I shall look upon man no more among the inhabitants of Chadhel." (Isaiah 38:11) 

Hebrew: Chadhel 

The Hebrew word at the end of this verse, Chadhel, is directly related semantically to the Arabic Khadhulu. This word is generally thought to be a euphemism for Sheol or Hell. (4) However, if the word is taken to be a proper name, the significance of the verse drastically changes. Chadhel is most likely an ancient Hebrew form of the word Cthulhu, as the Hebrew "dh," in this case is, in linguistic terms, an emphatic equivalent to the English "th", an aspirant form of the same sound. "The inhabitants of Chadhel" comes to mean "those who dwell with Chadhel" or "The people of Chadhel" (i.e. Cthulhu) and thus clearly refers to a cultist sect. The meaning of the verse should be "I shall look upon man no more among the people of Cthulhu", a form or ritual and well-deserved cursing of the evil cultists. The name Chadhel had such horrendous overtones to the Hebrews that in medieval interpretations it became synonymous with Hell, giving rise to the faulty interpretation of the verse. 


footnotes 

1) Ignace J. Gleb, et. al. The Assyrian Dictionary (Chicago University Press, 1964, in progress), vol 2, pp 355Ff. 

2) Ibid., vol 6, p 158. Spoken swiftly and slurred (as is often done in human speech) it probably would sound like khatulu'u, easily recognizable as a variation of the word Cthulhu. 

3) Cuneiform Texts from Babylonian Tablets, 1627:8. 

4) Gesenius' Hebrew-Chaldee Lexicon (Eerdmans, 1982) p 262

Conan and the Cthulhu Mythos

Conan, the black-haired, red-skinned Cimmerian, has become over the last twenty five years a different fellow than the legendary swordsman who walked off the pages of Weird Tales magazine and out of the imagination of Robert E. Howard.  First collections with pastiches by other writers, comic books, then films have changed Conan’s “public image” greatly, making him a veritable house-hold word as it increasing his size, reduced his intelligence and obscured the fantastic back-drop that was a part of all Robert E. Howard’s best works.

 The Hyborian Age, that time between the Fall of Atlantis and the rise of the world as we know it, is a vivid setting for the adventures of the Cimmerian who came down from the North to carve out an empire.  But behind the Hyborian Age, as behind the worlds of Howard’s other characters, like Solomon Kane, Bran Mak Morn and King Kull rests a macabre shadow, a world vision that is largely inspired by Howard’s correspondent, fellow contributor to the famous Weird Tales, and friend, H. P. Lovecraft.  The influence that Lovecraft had on the younger Howard was much greater than many recognize.

 Recently at a convention I asked L. Sprague de Camp, biographer of both Howard and Lovecraft, if he considered the Conan series to be part of what Derleth called “The Cthulhu Mythos”?.  Mr. de Camp only acknowledged a begrudged family resemble.  Though no one has claimed the Conan stories as part of the Cthulhu Mythos, that group of stories by HPL and his friends centered on Cthulhu and his kin, it does by proxy exist next to them.  One of the King Kull stories, “The Shadow Kingdom” (Weird Tales, August 1929) is a Mythos tale.  Kull lived in the age before Conan, thus, they exist in the same world, though at different times.  But this isn’t enough to place the Hyborian Age into the frame-work of the Mythos.  Howard did write at least six undisputed Cthulhu Mythos stories, “The Worms of the Earth” and “The Black Stone” being two of the best.  These tales name the beings of Lovecraft’s world, tell of new books and monsters, but none  feature the beloved Cimmerian.

 Howard’s concept of the supernatural in his fiction can be best summed up by this dialogue taken from “Shadows in the Moonlight” (Weird Tales, April 1934):  “‘What gods?’ he muttered./‘The nameless, forgotten ones.  Who knows?  They have gone back into the still waters of the lakes, the quiet hearts of the hills, the gulfs beyond the stars.  Gods are no more stable than men.’”

 Here we can see Howard has created a world that was once inhabited by wondrous and terrible creatures but most have fled, leaving only a few remote survivors, much as Lovecraft (or August Derleth) wrote: “All my stories ... are based on the fundamental lore or legend that this world was inhabited at one time by another race who, in practicing black magic, lost their foothold and were expelled, yet live on outside ever ready to take possession of this earth again.”  Unlike HPL’s protagonists, Howard’s humans do not quail and go mad, but hurl steel and muscle against the unsettling forces of the supernatural -- and one of the mightiest of these combatants is Conan. This key difference is the point of divergence for these two masters of weird fiction.

 In the de Camp edited tale “The Vale of Lost Women” (Magazine of Horror, Spring 1967) Conan shows us this underlying difference as he tells of the minions of the Dark:


 “A god,” she whispered.  “The Black people spoke of it -- a god from far away and long ago!”

 “A devil from the Outer Dark,” he grunted.  “Oh, they’re nothing uncommon.  They lurk as thick as fleas outside the belt of light which surrounds this world.  I’ve heard the wise men of Zamora talk of them.  Some find their way to Earth, but when they do they have to take on some earthly form and flesh of some sort.  A man like myself, with a sword, is a match for any amount of fangs and talons, infernal or terrestrial...”


 How are such creatures to compare with: “   The thing can not be described -- there is no language for such abysms of shrieking and immemorial lunacy, such eldritch contradictions of all matter, force, and cosmic order.” (“The Call of Cthulhu” 1926) Robert E. Howard wrote at a furious pace, making his living by knowing what editors of action-adventure magazines like Oriental Tales and Top-Notch wanted, often revising little or not at all.  He cannibalized names without much regard for past stories, knowing his audience cared little for such details.  The very first Conan story, not truly a tale of the Hyborian Age, was called “People of the Dark” (Strange Tales, June 1932) featuring a reincarnate Briton named ‘Conan of the reavers.’  Later, Howard would revise his unsold Kull story “By This Axe I Rule” featuring Conan the Cimmerian, beginning a series of seventeen stories to appear in Weird Tales between 1932 and 1936.  That Howard sold so many stories to the legendary pulp can only be attributed to the color with which he depicted the monster-haunted worlds of his imagination.  Few of the Conan tales lack some ‘squamous’ beast’ or ‘unearthly horror’, and those few that do feature other sorceries.

 In his revised tale, “Phoenix on the Sword” (Weird Tales, December 1932) Conan, while lost in dream, sees a strange unearthly place. “He shuddered to see the vast shadowy outlines of the Nameless Old Ones, and he knew somehow that mortal feet had not traversed the corridor for centuries.”  The similarity to the Great Old Ones, the Old Ones or Ancient Old Ones, of Lovecraft stories such as “At the Mountains of Madness”(1931) and “The Dreams in the Witch-House”(1932), which Howard may have seen in rough form, is obvious.
 Conan’s protector, Epemitrius the Sage, warns: “It is not against men I must shield you.  There are dark worlds barely guessed by man, wherein formless monsters stalk -- fiends which may be drawn from the Outer Voids to take material shape and rend and devour at the bidding of evil magicians...”  Again a description that could as easily apply to HPL’s “The Call of Cthulhu”.

 The Nameless Old Ones may be the same Old Ones mentioned in “The Queen of the Black Coast” (Weird Tales, May 1934)
  “This was the temple of the old ones,” she said, “Look  -- you can see the channels for the blood along the sides of the altar, and the rains of ten thousand years have not washed the dark stains from them.  The walls have all fallen away, but this stone block defies time and the elements.”
 “But who were these old ones?” demanded Conan.
 She spread her slim hands helplessly.  “not even in legendary is this city mentioned.”
  The monsters in Howard’s Conan stories are often very Lovecraftian in their repulsiveness.  Here in “The Slithering Shadow” (Weird Tales, September 1933) a horror stalks a city of opium dreamers.
  She saw a giant toad-like face, the features of which were dim and unstable as those of a specter seen in a mirror of nightmare.  Great pools of light that might have been eyes blinked at her, and she shook at the cosmic lust reflected there ... Only the blinking toad-like face stood out with any distinctness.  The thing was a blur in to the sight, a black blot of shadow that normal radiance would neither dissipate nor illuminate...
 It towered above him like a clinging black cloud.  It seemed to flow about him.  His madly slashing saber sheared through it again and again, his ripping poinard tore and rent it; he was deluged with a slimy liquid that must have been its sluggish blood.  Yet its fury was no wise abated.
  What these descriptions show is that though it is never named as either a frog-like Servitor of the Outer Gods or a shoggoth (“The nightmare, plastic column of fetid, black iridescence oozed tightly onward ... -- a shapeless congerie of protoplasmic bubbles ...”) it does bear a striking familiarity to both, difficult to see clearly, amorphous and black. These kinds of similarities can be found elsewhere.
 In “The Vale of Lost Women” Livia witnesses a decidedly Cthulhuian relative.
 ... It hovered over her in the stars, dropping plummet-like earthward, its great wings spread over her; she lay in its shadow ...Its wings were bat-like; but its body and the dim face that gazed down upon her were like nothing of sea or earth or air; she knew she looked upon ultimate horror, upon black, cosmic foulness born in the night-black gulfs beyond the reach of a mad-man’s wildest dreams.
  Yag Kosha, the imprisoned elephant being from “The Tower of the Elephant” (Weird Tales, January 1933) describes his people as travelling through space: “ ...We swept through space on mighty wings that drove us through the cosmos quicker than light... But we could never return , for on earth our wings withered from our shoulders ...”  A description that might apply equally to HPL’s Mi-Go in the “Whisperer in the Dark”(1930).  “The things come from another planet, being able to live in interstellar space and fly through it on clumsy, powerful wings which have a way of resisting the aether but which are too poor at steering to be of much use in helping them about on earth ...”
 The beastly servants of Bit-Yakin in Howard’s “The Jewels of Gwahlur”(Weird Tales, March 1935) are faintly reminiscent of the Martenses in HPL’s “The Lurking Fear”(1922)


... He ate the food the priests brought as an offering to Yelaya, and his servants ate other things -- I’ve always known there was a subterranean river flowing away from the lake where the people of the Puntish highlands throw their dead.  That river runs under this palace.  They have ladders hung over the water where they can hang and fish for the corpses that come floating through ... At first they seemed like gray stone statues, those motionless shapes, hairy, man-like, yet hideously human; but their eyes were alive, cold sparks of gray icy fire.
 The fact that Howard mentions the eyes strongly suggests that “The Lurking Fear” may have been of influence, since it is the eyes in Lovecraft’s story that give it its final, terrifying clincher.
  What I saw in the glow of flashlight after I shot the unspeakable straggling object was so simple that almost a minute elapsed before I understood and went delirious.  The object was nauseous; a filthy whitish gorilla thing with sharp yellow fangs and matted fur.  It was the ultimate product of mammalian degeneration; the frightful outcome of isolated spawning, multiplication, and cannibal nutrition above and below the ground; the embodiment of all the snarling  and chaos  and grinning fear that lurk behind life.  It had looked at me as it died, and its eyes had the same odd quality that marked those other eyes which had stared at me underground and excited cloudy recollections.  One eye was blue, the other brown.  They were the dissimilar Martense eyes of the old legends, and I knew in one inundating cataclysm of voiceless horror what had become of that vanished family; the terrible and thunder-crazed house of Martense.
  With so many extraterrestrial beings invading Conan’s world, it is only fair to assume some scholarly mage has created the Hyborian Age’s equivalent of the dread Necronomicon.  The Book of Skelos is mentioned in “The Pool of the Black One” (Weird Tales, October 1933): “...He desired to learn if this island were indeed that mentioned in the mysterious Book of Skelos, wherein, nameless sagas ---, strange monsters guard crypts filled with hieroglyphs -- carved in gold.”  And in “The Devil in Iron” (Weird Tales, August 1934)  “...Conan had seen rude images of them, in miniature, among the idol-huts of the Yuetshi, and there was a description of them in the Book of Skelos , which drew on prehistoric sources.”
 One of most fascinating of Howard’s villain is Khosatral Khel from “The Devil In Iron”, a super-being with an Achilles’ Heel, which Conan discovers only in the nick of time.
 ... he was seeing the transmutation of the being men called Khosatral Khel which crawled up from Night and the Abyss ages ago to clothe itself in the substance of the material universe ... He became a blasphemy against all nature, for he had never known the pulse and stir of animate being ... Strange and grisly were his servants, called from the dark corners of the planet where grim survivals of forgotten ages yet lurked.  His house in Dagon was connected with every other house by tunnels through which his shaven-headed priests bore victims for sacrifice.
  Here Howard clearly labels Khosatrel Khel as a terrible survival from another age, quite possibly one of Lovecraft’s other ages.  The use of the name ‘Dagon’ seems to be another allusion to Lovecraft’s 1917 story of the same name. Though the references are never overt, the Conan stories are filled with Lovecraftian atmosphere.  The best example is the strange inhabitants of Xuchotl in “Red Nails” (Weird Tales, July-October 1936). Though not stated, the story has a weird quality reminiscent of HPL, as does the insidious “crawler”, the giant devil-worm equated to Zogthuu in “Black Abyss”(a Kull story), and the Worm in Howard’s Mythos tale, “The Valley of the Worm” by Karl Edward Wagner in his excellent pastiche The Legion from the Shadows (1976).
 Conan was Howard’s last and greatest character.  The strong Lovecraftian elements shown in his early work had begun to fade with these final stories.  Perhaps with “Beyond the Black River”, his last completed Hyborian tale, Howard leaves Lovecraft behind for good, substituting his own Texas locale and American history into the background.  Ultimately this change had to occur with the divergent ideas in the Howard’s and Lovecraft’s fictional goals.  The world of Conan is a world of magic and muscle in conflict, a place where Lovecraft never dwelt.
BIBLIOGRAPHY

   Carter, Lin.  Lovecraft: A Look Behind the Cthulhu Mythos.  New York, NY: Ballantine Books, 1972.

   Howard, Robert E.  Conan. New York, NY: ACE Books, 1967
   ------------------ Conan the Adventurer.  New York, NY: ACE Books, 1966.
   ------------------ Conan the Cimmerian.  New York, NY: ACE Books, 1969.
   ------------------ Conan the Freebooter.  New York, NY: ACE Books, 1968.
   ------------------ Conan the Usurper.  New York, NY: ACE Books, 1967.
   ------------------ The Dark Man and Others.  New York, NY: Lancer Books, 1963.
   ------------------ King Kull.  New York, NY: Lancer Books, 1967.
   ------------------ People of the Black Circle.  New York, NY: Putnam, 1977
   ------------------ Red Nails.  New York, NY: Putnam, 1977.

   Lovecraft, Howard Phillips. The Best of H. P. Lovecraft: Bloodcurdling Tales of Horror and the Macabre. New York, NY: Ballantine Books, 1963.
   --------------------------- The Lurking Fear and Other Stories.  New York, NY: Ballantine Books, 1971.

   --------------------------- At the Mountains of Madness and Other Tales of Terror.  New York, NY: Ballantine Books, 1971.

This article originally appears here

Friday, February 17, 2017

The Whisperer in Darkness - Trailer



The Whisperer in Darkness is a 2011 independent film based on the H. P. Lovecraft short story of the same name, directed and produced by Sean Branney, Andrew Leman, and David Robertson and distributed by the H.P. Lovecraft Historical Society. It was shot using Mythoscope, a blend of vintage and modern filming techniques intended to produce the look of a 1930s-era film. According to the film's website, the filmmakers intended to capture the look of "classic horror films of the 1930s like Dracula, Frankenstein and King Kong"

Thursday, February 16, 2017

Proof that nature is lovecraftian


Random Cthulhu Artwork found on the Inter webs - Part 1


Call of Cthulhu Official Trailer PS4


Spotlight : Nodens, the Lord of the Great Abyss

And upon dolphins' backs was balanced a vast crenelated shell wherein rode the grey and awful form of primal Nodens, Lord of the Great Abyss… Then hoary Nodens reached forth a wizened hand and helped Olney and his host into the vast shell.
—H. P. Lovecraft, "The Strange High House in the Mist"
Nodens is one of the Elder Gods and appears as an elderly, human male with white hair—gray-bearded and hoary yet still vital and strong. He often rides in a chariot formed from a huge seashell pulled by some great beasts of legend. Nodens is served by the Nightgaunts.
As a hunter, he will chase down evil creatures in the Dreamlands, such as the Shantaks. He prefers to hunt the servants of the Great Old Ones or Nyarlathotep because they are usually the most intelligent and offer the best sport, but not necessarily because he wants to help humans being attacked by them. He has, however, been known to deliberately help humans, such as when he offers advice to assist Randolph Carter against Nyarlathotep in The Dream Quest of Unknown Kadath: "Out of the void S'ngac the violet gas had pointed the way, and archaic Nodens was bellowing his guidance from unhinted deeps," later followed by "And hoary Nodens raised a howl of triumph when Nyarlathotep, close on his quarry, stopped baffled by a glare that seared his formless hunting-horrors to grey dust."
Lovecraft may have based Nodens on Arthur Machen's The Great God Pan (1890) because Machen was one of Lovecraft's favorite authors. In the novel, Machen describes a late Roman inscription hinting that Nodens is actually the titular god Pan.

Noteworthy Appearances:
  • ·         The Strange High House in the Mist by H.p.Lovecraft
  • ·         Nodens is mentioned in "The Collect Call of Cathulhu," an episode from The Real Ghostbusters.
  • ·         Nodens is mentioned in Red Wasp Studios' "The Wasted Land".

Friday, January 27, 2017

Cthylla

Cthylla is a Great Old One, and is the youngest progeny of Cthulhu and his androgynous
​mate Idh-yaa. She came from the star Xoth, but now dwells on Earth in Yhe, where she is guarded by Cthulhu's minions. Cthylla is destined to give birth to Great Cthulhu again after he is destroyed in the distant future. She is considered essential for Cthulhu's plans, and is thus vigilantly guarded by countless Yuggya and Deep Ones. In the epilogue of The Transition of Titus Crow, Project X is used in an attempt to kill Cthylla with a subterranean atomic bomb. She is wounded and escapes, but Cthulhu's wrath is a vastly magnified repeat of the events in the short story "The Call of Cthulhu".
Cthylla was not physically described by Lumley, but was featured in Tina L. Jens's short story "In His Daughter's Darkling Womb". Cthylla has the appearance of a gigantic, red-bodied, black-ringed, and six-eyed octopus with small wings. Like her father, she is able to alter her body-proportions at will, such as by enlarging her wings to enable her to fly. While she normally has eight arms like any octopus, she can extrude or retract additional ones at will (she has been known to sport as many as twelve arms). Each arm is equipped with dozens of razor-sharp claws, each about five inches in length.
Jens's short story narrates the capture of Cthylla by researchers who mistakenly believe her to be a rare specimen of a previously undiscovered octopus species. For the sake of preserving and studying the species, they then attempt to impregnate her through artificial self-insemination.
In Peter Rawlik's "In the Hall of the Yellow King" (2011), Cthylla is featured in a more humanoid form or avatar as a possible bride for Hastur.