© Donald Correll 2009 All Rights Reserved.
Great Cthulhu Song
Pardon me boys,
CHAPTER 1. INTRODUCTION TO SUPERNATURAL HORROR
CHAPTER 2. THE DAWN OF THE HORROR TALE
It is with loving memory to my late friend and mentor Grady Louis McMurtry that I dedicate this work, The Road To Great Cthulhu
In recent years due to the whim of the fickle Goddess Fortuna the late writer, artist, and High Priest of the macabre Howard Phillips Lovecraft has been elevated to the greatest heights of popularity. A popularity far beyond that he attained within his lifetime. Lovecraft and his circle of friends and co-writers created a pseudo universe populated by a pantheon of supernatural splendor, ruled over by an imaginary Mythos. A Mythos of Star Spawned Ancient Old Ones, Elder Gods, and Watchers, which have spawned countless sequels, imitators, clones, hoaxes, games, music, movies and paradoxes. The myriad contributors of modern contrivance, the true faithful in the cult of Great Cthulhu have created an entirely new genre of Horror and Science Fiction, otherwise known as the Cthulhu Mythos.
Scions of a transcendent order of beings who span time and the stars are said to have begun drifting down to Tellurian abodes from trans plutonic nighted gulfs in the long distant past as well as the not too near future. Of these Great Old Ones and their peers the Elder Gods the chief most is Cthulhu, a hideous squid dragon reminiscent of the biblical beast from the sea, the twisting and piercing Leviathan. Part protean monster, part god- demon of a prehuman order, (pre- existent before Adam). Cthulhu and his Brethren Blind Idiot Chaos Azathoth, and Yogge Sothothe are said to have self created, co-existent with all time and space. Imprisoned on a sunken island dead but dreaming, Chthulhu is, was, and is to come. Cthulhu and his brethren, and progeny aided by human priests and cultists seek ever to break through time, space, and the dimensions and reclaim this world. These Great Old Ones correspond roughly with the Titans of Graeco -Roman Myth, and the Nephilim 1 of Hebraic tradition.
The mythos is essentially a denial of modern religion, an expansion on the theme of rebellious and fallen spirits into a nihilist, chaotic, and amorphous protoplasmic phantasmagoria of pre and post Adamic creation. These Great old ones created the current order of creation but having been addicted to certain foul blasphemies, and unholy abominations were overthrown by the powerful, enigmatic and mysterious Elder Gods. The Elder Gods who are said to reside beyond the Pleiades, have overthrown these Ancient Old Ones, and sentenced them to an eternal exile and imprisonment beyond the stars, and beyond the spheres of the human time /space continuum. Humanity formerly watched over by the benign but seemingly indifferent Elder Gods have grown estranged from the protective creative spirits. Humanity who through their apostasy, arrogance, greed, hubris, and scientific materialism have usurped even the powers of transcendent nature. The Elder Gods removed themselves first to the remotest Mountaintops, and then even from the stars distant from earth and Adamic creation. 2
Cthulhu himself is imprisoned in the cyclopean sunken city of R'lyeh where all the angles are wrong, there he sleeps dead but dreaming awaiting the time when the stars and the constellations come around right, to return and reestablish his dominion upon earth. Aided by countless minions who lurk at the threshold and work through deluded, doomed humanity, Cthulhu and his brethren are ever striving to break through, to re enslave humanity and reestablish universal chaos, and the hegemony of the Great Old Ones.
The H P Lovecraft Mythos and the Necronomicon did not spring whole or full grown from the aether but rather arose out of a number of cthonic sources in myth, legend, and literary tradition. Despite the exploitation by sleazy purveyors of garish splatter gore, slice and dice, rivers of blood, special effects phantasmagoria, and the hopelessly banal verbiage of copycat bloat, a huge cottage industry has sprung up around the epicenter of H P Lovecraft. Lovecraft himself tirelessly writing formed a large circle of friends and co conspirators to share and develop the Necronomic Mythos. In his own time Lovecraft never enjoyed so much the fruits of success but he shared copiously with others. When the paycheck did not arrive or the editor balked Lovecraft turned to the Amateur Journals and a most incredible volume of correspondence. Countless books, magazines, short stories, games, music, and movies of varying quality have been dedicated to the Cthulhu mythos, its High Priest Lovecraft, and it's bible the Necronomicon. No library of Gothic horror, fantasy, swords and sorcery, science fiction or even practical Magick is without its Mythos adherents, contributors and devotees to the Necronomicon and the mythos.
Despite the profligate diversity of contributors, competitors, and out right copycats H P Lovecrafts' work remains a bastion of enigma! Based upon terrors of the mind that invite but never easily accommodate translation to the graphic arts. H P Lovecraft, his mythos, and the unholy evil attraction of the Necronomicon remain a collosal cultural icon to the bizarre and the strange in our culture.
From Poe, Dunsany and LeFanu to Bierce and Chambers, with great creativity and imaginative contributions from fellow scribblers (to name a few) Robert E. Howard, Clark Ashton Smith, Frank Belknap Long, Manly Wade Wellman, and Henry Kuttner, Robert Bloch, and August Derleth all the way to modernist interpreters such as ST Joshi, Lin Carter, Robert M Price, Steven King and beyond stretches the Road to Great Cthulhu. Ever expanding, ever inciting co -conspirators, and constantly attracting new adherents to the cult of the Great Old Ones.
This work 'The Road to Great Cthulhu' is my humble contribution to the mythos. This Road to Great Cthulhu is a labor of love, bearing witness to my lifelong fascination and attraction to the macabre, the occult, and Gothic in horror and fantasy. I invite you to join as we delve into the sources and secrets of that mythos and the Necronomicon, on the Road to Great Cthulhu.
"The oldest and strongest emotion of mankind is fear, and the oldest and strongest kind of fear is fear of the unknown."First writing prolifically in the terrible depression years of the Twenties HP Lovecraft helped to defined the development of Science Fiction and Horror from Gothic sources as well as Fantasy, Swords and Sorcery. For an excellent and scholarly resource on the history of Gothic Literature Lovecraft stands supreme with his essay 'Supernatural Horror in Literature'. In this first section of the Road To Great Cthulhu I will be drawing heavily upon Lovecraft and his definition of horror, as we develop the theme of the Necronomicon, The Cthulhu Mythos, and the Road to Great Cthulhu.
Lovecraft was not the first to write creatively in the fields of pulp, the weird and Gothic romanticism, others such as Edgar Allan Poe in his The Philosophy of Composition had earlier broached the subject, but it was not till Lovecraft broke the ice, that the subject of fear came forth from the shadows and took on semi solid form and substance. Typically relegated to the cheap book sections of lesser 'academic value' we find many of the books that Lovecraft loved and came to emulate. Unfortunately many more have languished in the used book rack and private libraries. Others such as that 'dreary plethora of trash' like Marquis von Grosse's Horrid Mysteries have dissapeared irrevocably. Others such as Mrs. Roche's Children of the Abbey, a long running sequel featuring many feminist issues from the time of Mary Queen of Scots have survived partially. Some you may find online, others are being revived painfully so I might add.
Further narrowing and defining his subject Lovecraft further states [paraphrase] that despite the shafts of insipid materialistic idealism which fails to uplift, the oft deprecated Weird Tale has survived to attain to heights of sophistication and perfection. It is of and about this survival, then revival, soon to be a flood that I dedicate my writing of 'The Road To Great Cthulhu.'
"The appeal of the spectrally macabre is generally narrow because it demands from the reader a certain degree of imagination and a capacity for detachment from everyday life.Here we find that Lovecraft has joined imagination and detachment from everyday reality with fear to create the conditions necessary to Supernatural Horror. We must somehow willingly suspend our materialist disbelief for the Magick to work. As long as one is chained to the everyday conditions of life, go to school, get a job, go to work it will be difficult to fully appreciate horror. We just do not have the time or we spend so much of our depleted energy on the tube that we neglect the library. Equally confining are the so called 'powers' of the higher mind. Rationality, religion, and psychological insight such as that of Freud even Jung interfere with the appreciation of the spine tingling horror of the 'chimney-corner whisper or the lonely wood'. It is in the darkened byway that one first encounters the power of mystery and terror, that eerie force that tingles the spine and raises the hackles irrationally at the odd moment when we least expect it.
The psychology of primitive folkloric tradition should be as real for us as organized religion and rational philosophy, but it must be unchained from the shackles of the mind and free form to create an impact on that mind dulled by the work a day world trauma of modern life. We use a variety of drugs and social networking situations obsessively in our attempt to connect. Yet these same sociable activities are partially to blame for our divorce from the natural world. Instead we substitute make believe terrors, the guy in the mask with the long talons and butcher knife. It is perhaps for this reason that 'Hollywood' finds it so hard to recreate Lovecraftian horror for the silver screen. Imagination has been replaced by Technicolor, Surrround Sound and Special Effects. Extreme visual slice and dice slaughter, blood guts and splatter gore have taken the place of the eerie primitive emotions of psychic contact with the Supernatural. We cannot rationalize our fears, nor can we force them to submit to the tyranny of established religion but we can experience raw terror in it's most primitive form best in the environment of the bizarre. The haunted castle, the abandoned church, on the verge of the lonely wilderness, not in some theater or comfortably in our living room with the tube.
Man's first instincts and emotions formed his response to the environment in which he found himself.Humans originally living in hilltop forts, in caves and trees or on the swampy shore of some lake were not so full of the modern technical hubris we have become accustomed to in modern times. Unwanted contact with violent forces was a fact of life. Unarmed, naked and at the mercy of the environment human life consisted in fear, flight, and fight. We have long since developed weapons, wiped out the Neanderthal, the Cave Bear, Saber Toothed Tiger, and the Dire Wolf but we can never completely eradicate the fear of the unknown. Ghoulies, ghosties, and things that go bump in the night still excite irrational fear and loathing. Turn out the lights, burn a candle, inspire that primitive mood. Embrace your fears not loathe them. We simply fear that which we cannot understand and conquer.
Strange environmental forces that refuse to submit to scientific heterodoxy surround us still today. Ghost hunters, Monster quests, UFOs and freakishly powerfull and unexplainable events in nature such as Tunguska still occur with disturbing frequency, events too irregular for rational science to fail to explain. It is our sensitivity to the unknown danger that has been impaired. Modern life has dulled our sense of the supernatural, but turn out the lights, walk down a lonely road at night, or visit a graveyard or some other place of primeval terror and you will find your fears were walking beside you all along.
Because we remember pain and the menace of death more vividly than pleasure, and because our feelings toward the beneficent aspects of the unknown have from the first been captured and formalized by conventional religious rituals, it has fallen to the lot of the darker and more maleficent side of cosmic mystery to figure chiefly in our popular supernatural folklore.Barely remembered traditions have become enshrined in folk song and lore. Worse yet the insipid vapors of impossible miracles and piety to slain gods (humans such as Jesus and Asar) clog and overwhelm the sensitivities with that mass delusion called popular religion. Best are the half remembered tales told around the dwindling light of some campfire. These still excite our youth as they did in the days of old when skald and bard maintained the traditions of the race. It was with pain and suffering that mankind has marked the ebb and flo of evolution /devolution. We built up collosal civilization only to see it crumble like the grains of sand blown before the face of time. We formalize that suffering in religious ritual, whether it be Christian, Buddhist or Islam. It is the eternal struggle of darkness and light, night and day, and the seasonal flow of spring, summer, fall, and winter that we commemorate. We still placate the demons of darkness, the fear of death and dying lest the sun of light and life were to go suddenly out and disappear from the sky.
'No one need wonder at the existence of a literature of cosmic fear. It has always existed, and always will exist, and no better evidence of its tenacious vigor can be cited than the impulse which now and then drives writers of totally opposite leanings to try their hands at it---'Writers such as Dickens who besides his endless long narratives of unique, personalities, and social situations wrote several eerie narratives; such as a Christmas Carol, a series of Ghost stories wherein we find the spirit of the sort of Christmas that was current in Victorian England. Not so much with crèche and manger, Christmas past was a jolly reminder not unlike our Halloween, of the Roman Saturnalia of old.
Robert Browning, another Victorian who was famous for his dramatic monologues continued that tradition in the hideous poem Childe Roland; where the weary pilgrim plods onward under uncertain skies to that unnameable goal in the black and barren nighted abode of darkness.
Henry James, better known for his literary realism tried his hand at horror in The Turn of the Screw; ostensibly a ghost story where one is left to discover what exactly is the nature of evil.
Dr. Holmes, wrote the subtle novel Elsie Venner. Another the American writer F. Marion Crawford, who was famous for his intimate knowledge of Italian history wrote The Upper Berth and a number of other examples of Supernatural Horror.
The feminist and social worker, Mrs. Charlotte Perkins Gilman, tried her hand in The Yellow Wall Paper; whilst the humorist, W. W. Jacobs, produced that able melodramatic bit called The Monkey's Paw. It is with the enduring quality of that which drives our fears with fascination that we celebrate along The Road To Great Cthulhu.
"Fear-literature must not be confounded with a type externally similar but psychologically widely different; the literature of mere physical fear and the mundanely gruesome--- true weird tale has something more than secret murder, bloody bones, or a sheeted form clanking chains ---atmosphere of breathless and unexplainable dread of outer, unknown forces must be present---most terrible conception of the human brain--a malign and particular suspension or defeat of those fixed laws of Nature.Herein Lovecraft has imported an important part of the formula which distinguishes Horror from S&M or even Detective and Crime fiction, that is to say what distinguishes the horror of man's cruelty to man and credulity to war, pestilence, and other crimes such as Weapons of Mass Destruction and even genocide, from true psychic horror. So often in modern science as well as written Science fiction, especially the kind we see in popular the movies we have depicted anthropomorphic aliens. Cute little ET calling home, All Wise Space Brother and his ilk coming to save us from ourselves, or stretching the analogy further an intelligent if originally benevolent now turned malevolent robot, that we have forgotten that the truly grotesque forces seeking to invade from beyond into our midst, alien and hostile beyond our comprehension does not necessarily have to be a plant an animal or even a carbon based life form. Modern science has in fact better mapped the depths of so called known space with the Hubble Telescope than we have plumbed the depths of the sea or microbiology to the level of the virus. We simply recreate terror in our own image and largely ignore the possibilities of extra Terrene life, such as a comet or other Near Earth Object, may bring (have brought), how much less an object from deep space. Therein lies the germ of the Lovecraftian Mythos, viral and rabid, monstrous aliens from beyond all known space and time seeking to penetrate our little world.
One test of the really weird is simply this--whether of not there be excited in the reader a profound sense of dread, and of contact with unknown spheres and powers; a subtle attitude of awed listening, as if for the beating of black wings or the scratching of outside shapes and entities on the known universe's utmost rim.This is the true essence of Cosmic and Supernatural Horror that HP Lovecraft has evoked for us through the Necronomicon and the Cthulhu Mythos. As we view Halloween X or whatever we seek to share in that thrill of the unknown. How long till Hollywood learns to purvey us with that excellent level of horror and terror that we find in the Mythos and the Necronomicon. A strange landscape, yet familiar, wherein mankind is not the ultimate master of the universe, but rather the creation of beings of cosmic malignity and unspeakable horror, who constantly seek to break through the thin veil that marks the boundaries between normal reality and cosmic Horror.
As may naturally be expected of a form so closely connected with primal emotion, the horror-tale is as old as human thought and speech themselves.Here we begin to flesh out the meat of Lovecraft's thesis, the ageless quality of tales of cosmic terror and horror. Much of the lore of Skald and Bard (archaic ballads, chronicles) have been largely unwritten. Fireside story and song passed by word of mouth do not translate well over time. While highly evocative for exciting racial memories the song or ballad is not always preserved or if it is preserved it is handed down in such a way that the tale often grows in the telling. The written word on the other hand has a power denied to song or ballad. It becomes a part of the permanent record. Many songs and ballads have been preserved but so many more have been lost. For a first rate example of a ballad that has been preserved see: Volsunga Saga the Story of the Volsungs as well as at other places as in Legends and Sagas translated by William Morris and Eirikr Magnusson.
The late Fantasy writer, artist, master craftsman, and socialist Morris created many brilliant fantasy stories such as the delightfull Well At The World's End, in the vein of the ballad but he also translated a rich selection of the archaic ballads of the Skald and Bard. The Volsung saga where we find dwarfs and a Macickal Ring is reputed to be a major source for JRR Tolkien and his immortal trilogy the Lord of the Rings.
Such subject material is so very rich that any number of books and chapters might be dedicated to this subject alone. In Tales of the Tuatha De Dannan the Gods of Ireland struggle with the gigantic Formorian pirates. While invaders themselves from over the seas, the Tuatha De Dannan long struggled with other races such as the Sons of Mil from Spain, and the Fir Bolg from Greece. They eventually were to join the little people who live just over the hill or in that hoary with age bunker on the edge of mystery. Another treasure trove is revealed in the Mabinogion where another ancient heroic myth cycle of Gods and Goddesses include some of the very first legends of King Arthur. I have also provided a rich resource at: The Four Ancient Books of Wales where the age of Arthur is foreshadowed in the poems of Taliesin. In these haunting ancient Welsh stories the bards tell of a time when violence and bloodshed overspread the British Isles. A time of the struggle of native tribes both Welsh, Irish, Scots and Pict, with the Angle, Saxon, Jute, and Danish invaders come from over the German Sea, to determine who would rule that ancient land. We are most fortunate in the number and diversity of tales that have survived especially in the many books and works of the late Celtic Revival prior to and including the Victorian Age.
It is too the mystical East, Egypt and Babylon, that we must trudge to pick up the oldest surviving written legends, in the sands where sacred writings have been preserved on the fire hardened clay of tablets and cylinder seals for thousands of years. One such story is the Contending of Horus and Set a paraphrase of which will serve to provide us with a prime example of an archaic story where a combination of horror and terror is leavened by a rich sense of humor in an adult format.
Such of ancient Eastern wisdom as has come down to us is typically in an extremely degraded form. The apocryphal Book of Enoch, which was mentioned in the King James Bible was lost until it was brought back, despite extreme peril, and under conditions of great personal danger and hardship from the Royal Library of Abyssinia by the explorer James Bruce in the 1773, when that lost Book of the Bible finally became available in the west.
More so than any other book, the Book of Enoch may be said to have most strongly influenced Lovecraft, his Mythos and the Necronomicon.
Stories of the the Watchers and the fall of the Sons of God with the daughters of men, the introduction of Magickal Artes to mankind, and the eventual blasphemous fall from grace of these Angelic beings dovetail very closely with the monstrous Cthulhu and his equally blasphemous scions Azathoth and Yogge Sothothe. Cthulhu who was said to have been imprisoned on an island in the sea, dead but dreaming, together with his blind idiot half brother Azathoth who bubbles obscenely at the center of chaos as well as Yogge Sothothe, who is the guardian of the gate, or the Lurker on the Threshold were said to have created humanity. They who were, are, and are to come are coterminous with all infinity. Yet it was those same Watchers the Elder Gods from beyond the Pleiades who overthrew the Ancient Old ones before retiring beyond the vales of man.
Another Key of Wisdom was the 1852, Charles Wycliffe Godwin presentation of the Græco-Egyptian Fragment of Magick which was written in a particularly degraded form and language. Also known as the Bornless or Headless Ritual it was later retranslated and subsumed as a prologue into the Goetia or The Book of Evil Spirits portion known as the Lemegeton or Lesser Key or Claviculae of Solomon by the late Aleister Crowley. Aleister Crowley commissioned the infamous Golden Dawn Magi S.L. MacGregor Mathers to do a translation (Mathers actually used English language manuscripts). Crowley added the Bornless Ritual on his own.
Lovecraft deprecated 'professional occultists' but for the sake of this work we should recognize the tremendous contributions made by Crowley, Mathers and the other gentleman of the Golden Dawn. Several of whom will figure most importantly in later chapters. Men such as Machen, Blackwood and Yeats, who together with their peers labored long to raise the convoluted traditions of the Cabala to science. Together with these spirits of Enoch, the Watchers as well as the Nephilim or the 72 Spirits of the divided name of God 'Shemhamphorash' who the wise Solomon, son of David was reputed to have bound into a brass bottle are the most impressive and possibly, if such possibly be true, are not the least dangerous of all the spirits commonly recognized by Western Magick. This Lemegeton or Goetia was in turn but a portion of the Greater Key or Claviculae of Solomon, a book cataloguing the hosts of the Angels and in particular those divine spirits of the planets and the spheres who might be said to correspond to the Elder Gods. While primarily benevolent, such spirits are of such a nature as to be beyond those 72 spirits of evil who were bound into the brazen Vessel. Spirits who, yet at some unspecified day in the future may in some part be reestablished in their dominions are not unlike the Ancient Old Ones the counterpart of the Elder Gods. These 72 Spirits of Evil are the model for the ultra malefic spirits of the Necronomicon.
Not for babies! The present author urges utmost caution in the strongest terms possible when dealing with such spirits. Let the adherent assiduously prepare most carefully before ever seeking to evoke such a Daemon. Far more than just transcendental fear attaches to the ill advised and amateurish entreating of such sublime and Holy spirits as the 72 known as the Shemhamphorash. Even more so this urgent disclaimer of caution applies to the demons of the Necronomicon, (such as the Shogoth) because if you call somewhat may come, not necessarily to your benefit, but more likely to your bodily suffering and death, if not to your eternal damnation. In his stories the human protagonist is nearly always duped, doomed and destroyed. It is common verbiage in some circles, especially Gamers, new come to Magick, to treat with less than respect and circumspection these ancient, yet somewhat known forces from the 'elaborate ceremonial magic, with its rituals for the evocation of dæmons and spectres.'
How much more so with the unknown spirits of the Necronomicon. Cognate with this disclaimer are all such spirits as will be later treated with under the heading of Enochian as they were called forth by the great Elizabethan Magi Dr. John Dee under the direction of the Archangel Uriel. It is in particular relation to Liber Loagaeth, partially translated but never fully understood by Dee that I make this recomendation. Of all such spirits it has been said that not only do they bark, but they bite!
I repeat in the strongest terms possible in the words of Jedediah Orne in HP Lovecraft's The Strange Case of Charles Dexter Ward;
The Middle Ages, steeped in fanciful darkness, gave it an enormous impulse toward expression; and East and West alike were busy preserving and amplifying the dark heritage, both of random folklore and of academically formulated magic and cabalism, which had descended to them. Witch, werewolf, vampire, and ghoul brooded ominously on the lips of bard and grandam, and needed but little encouragement to take the final step across the boundary that divides the chanted tale or song from the formal literary composition.Today more so then ever before we find a vibrant crossover from the glory days of the Silver Screen, whether it be Christopher Lee as the Count Dracula or Lon Chaney as the Wolf man, to the death obsessed popular culture of the Goth dressed in black flitting through the park at night and it's sub dominant super secret Vampyre under culture. Despite garish garb bad English and sinister intentions the popularity of Goth culture is a reflection of 'New Age Freedoms' and not some darkesome cult. Today we may celebrate, but such was not always the case.
There was a time when at dusk doors were locked and bolted, candles were lit and prayers were heard from the lowly croft and hut to the village church, and even unto the walls of the Lordly castle. Precautions were often found necessary to be taken with the setting of the sun. For Village crofters the terror of the Creatures of the Night and the Wild Hunt were all too real.
Gwynn ap Nudd, king of the Tylwyth Teg, the Fair Folk was the ruler of Annwn or the Underworld. He escorted the souls of the dead there, and led a pack of supernatural hounds, Cŵn Annwn in a Wild Hunt. In the Mabinogion Gwynn ap Nudd helped the hero Culhwch hunt the monstrous boar Twrch Trwyth. Stories such as the harvest of souls by Gwynn ap Nudd are also cognate with the tales of the Yeth hound, called the Black dog, a headless dog, said to be the spirit of an unbaptized child, wailing as it rambling through the woods at night. The Yeth hound provides the inspiration for the ghost dog in the The Hound of the Baskervilles by Sir Arthur Conan Doyle where it was described as a huge coal-black hound, such as mortal eyes have never seen. That hound with fire in his eyes and breath warped, morphed and inspired Lovecraft friend and core Necronomicon contributor Frank Belknap Long in his chilling horror of 'curved time, and angular time,' The Hounds of Tindalos. Chalmers the protagonist experiments with a drug to go back through time and meets a particularly gruesome end. The Hounds of Tindalos may be a dark fruit upon the Mythos tree but it is a first fruit and a giant step forward in the sharing and spread of the Mythos through the Lovecraft circle.
That 'dark heritage, both of random folklore and of academically formulated magic and cabalism' inherited from the Middle Ages is still vibrant and operant today in such diverse sources from the ever popular children's story books and movies of JK Rowling's Harry Potter to the long running 'Buffy the Vampire Slayer', a young girl endowed with the ancient powers to slay, who fights the forces of darkness, to relieve the world of vampires and demons. The future is bright indeed for those spinners of creative yarns and tellers of dark tales who venture across the dark horizon and 'take the final step across the boundary that divides---'
In the Orient, the weird tale tended to assume a gorgeous colouring and sprightliness which almost transmuted it into sheer phantasy.First translated from the French of Antoine Galland in 1704, The Arabian Nights Entertainments. I can only give a partial revision as most was from an edit by Andrew Lang. For a much better experience one should try and find one of the unexpurgated veritable Burton Alf Laylah wah Laylah or Thousand and One Nights. Such is pure treasure. In another chapter mention will be made to The History of the Caliph Vathek by William Beckford, a most notable milestone along the Road to Great Cthulhu. I might also in passing recommend Sufi Tales in general as well as the poetry of the Persian mystical poet Rumi.
Space unfortunately does not allow me to go much further except to mention that the tales of Oriental Mysticism provide a virtually never ending delight. A rare pleasure to savor and hold in the memory. I might also add that it was from such a milieu that Lovecraft drew the mythical Abdul Alhazred author of the Necronomicon. We in the west seem to be too busy making war and pandering to other forces in the Mideast, to give the Arabic perspective much of a fair view. Yet we owe much from Al Gebra to Al Khemi and medicine to those wise philosophers of the desert Arabia. Foremost of whom was the now famous mythical character of Lovecraft, Abdul Alhazred, creator of Al Azif, or as it is popularly known , the Necronomicon of the Mad Arab.
In the West, where the mystical Teuton had come down from his black boreal forests and the Celt remembered strange sacrifices in Druidic groves, it assumed a terrible intensity and convincing seriousness of atmosphere which doubled the force of its half-told, half-hinted horrors.First off let us shed ourselves of the burden of political correctness, even science, anthropology and linguistics. While most worthwhile science they tend to interfer with our Fantasy and Horror world view. Those same 'little people' and the fear of them are at the very core of many very good horror fantasies. From Machen's Little People to Robert E Howard's Pict the myth has spawned much good reading. 'The squat race of Mongoloids' or more familiarly the faeries or the gnomes or the 'good people' make good horror and fantasy. The term Aryan might perhaps best be replaced by Proto European. But as to who or where the autochtonic races come from is quite open to debate. The best that modern science can suggest is that a pre-ice age race spread northwards out of Africa and Spain to the West of Ireland and beyond. The list of sources both folkloric and fictional is simply too long to reproduce here.
Suffice it to say that today's modern day European peoples are a mixed race. In addition to the generally round headed Mediterranean, we have the generally more Northern or long headed physical type as well as the rest of us, who may bear genetic markers of diverse nature. Traces of additional minorities may be detected in adequate portions to prove the widespread movement of humanity even in pre history. Extensive study of modern Haplo groups DNA and the human chromosome are promising but nascent.
Pseudo scientific study of Aryan mythology has been rampant, over worked and become a deprecated term of abuse, one must simply willingly suspend disbelief and popular political opinion for just a few moments while we give Lovecraft and his peers their due.
In the twenties belief in ' pre European survivals' who ' roved over Europe with their flocks and herds' was strong and prevalent. That memory or as it has sometimes been called the 'Fairy Faith' can be found at: The Fairy-Faith in Celtic Countries by W. Y. Evans-Wentz. Another powerful study is located at: Tom Tit Tot, An Essay on Savage Philosophy in Folk-Tale by Edward Clodd.
The religion of migrant prehistoric pastoralists was matrilineal and non paternal. The accident of birth was only later attributed to male intervention! Laugh if you like but traces of this may be still found in the core stories of the Mabinogion, where the Gods and Goddesses were referred to as the Children of the Goddess Don or Danu. That very same Goddess who in Ireland raised her progeny known as the Tuatha De Dannon. As with all agriculturist and pastoral peoples the Gods who were venerated derived from the 'horned and hoofed' variety we find common to Middle Eastern nations and in the museums. Gods of generation, birth, death, and rebirth were patterned closely upon the obvious observed facts of nature. It was only at a much later date that the heresy of monotheism was introduced into Egypt by , the Pharaoh Ankhanaten and Nefertiti, mother of Tutankhamun or 'King Tut.' That religion was soon after replaced by the Holy Family of God. A concept similar to the family of man. Despite the modern day apostasy of 'born again' fundamentalists and their 'crucified god' together with his usurping 'sky father or thunder god', such 'gods' have assumed unto themselves the privileges of a monotheistic, invisible entity. When the concept of God changed, the Horned God of antiquity and the pastoralists became the 'horned and hoofed' devil.
In the Tragedy of Faust the immortal Goethe has provided us with a highly enlightening view of Walpurgis Night and the Sabbat of the witches where that God in the form of Mephistopheles has assumed the lead role . It will be recalled that the eminent Dr. Faust has succumbed to the seemingly friendly fiend and inked in blood the fatal contract. All for the love of the beautiful Gretchen. But it is a fatally flawed romance as is so often the result of such May December liaisons. After a most interesting night on the Brochen mountain all collapses. In the final scene Mephistopheles seizes Faust and conducts him to the nether realm.
Although with considerably less Horror content within the somewhat veiled satiric relations of Titiana, Oberon, and Puck in the Faerie Queene of Edmund Spenser we find a vital and important early contribution to the Mythos that is repeated somewhat in the slightly more humorous vein of William Shakespeare's A Midsummer Night's Dream.
On the other hand in the Lovecraft classic Dreams in the Witch House, HPL presents an oblique reference to the Salem persecution. Walter Gilman a student of 'Non-Euclidean calculus and quantum physics,' moves into the very house of the 'ghoulish hints,' in the haunted precincts of 'changeless, legend-haunted', Arkham. Look hard on any old New England map and you may not find Arkham, but you will find Salem. 'It was the very same gable room, steeped in macabre memory,' which harboured him, consulting the dubious old books on forbidden secrets that were kept under lock and key in a vault at the university library,' the dreaded Necronomicon, the fragmentary Book of Eibon, and the suppressed Unaussprechlicken Kulten of von Junzt.' Here he correlated abstract formulae on the properties of space and the linkage of dimensions known and unknown. That very same old Witch-House that had likewise harboured the dessicated witch, old Keziah Mason.' Of her 'flight from Salem Gaol --- in 1692,' with the 'white-fanged furry thing', the rat with a human face, much was still unexplainable. For it was in the 'curves and angles,' of that room, that they 'smeared some red, sticky fluid on the grey stone walls.', that was said to have fooled even Cotton Mather. It was in the 'brooding, festering horror of the ancient town, and of the mouldy, unhallowed garret gable where Gilman wrote and studied and wrestled with figures and formulae' where may be found much more of the nightmare element which leaves little to the imagination, as the plot slowly develops and works towards a crescendo of terror on the dreaded Walpurgis night.
By contrast the modern movie of the same name as Lovecraft's classic, by Stuart Gordon the so called Master of Horror, while entertaining leaves much to be desired with it's graphic fall back or reversion to gratuitous sex and slice and dice. Far better, the good honest spectral terror of HPL.
In the short play 'The Crucible' by by Arthur Miller is to be found a play based on the actual events that, in 1692, led to the Salem Witch Trials, a series of hearings before local magistrates to prosecute over 150 people accused of witchcraft in colonial Massachusetts between February 1692 and May 1693. However nothing compares with the original.
The Witchcraft Delusion of 1692
Gov. Thomas Hutchinson
A Synopsis from an Unpublished Manuscript In the Massachusetts Archives.
The confusion occasioned by the supposed witchcraft seems to have been the reason why nothing more was done towards a body of laws better adapted to the new constitution;
At Salem was the next scene, and more tragically by far than any which had preceded.
Whilst the tragedy was acting, there were but few people who doubted the hand of the Devil, and fewer that dared to own their doubts.
When the Commissioners went through the town of Boston on their journey to Salem, they stopped at the house of Col. Hutchinson, one of the council, who advised them, before they began any trial, to see if they could not whip the Devil out of the afflicted; but this advice was rejected.
Many of the ministers of the country, who were much consulted in this affair, had a confirmed opinion of a very familiar intercourse between the visible and invisible worlds. This, together with the books which had been brought into the country not long before, containing relations of the like things in England, rendered the minds of the people in general susceptible of credit to every the like story related here. The works of divines were in the hands of many, and there is no doubt that the children had read or heard the stories, having very exactly imitated them. This conformity, instead of rendering the afflicted suspected, was urged in confirmation of the truth of their stories, the Old-England demons and the New -- , being so near alike. Nobody thought a parcel of young girls could have so much of the Devil in them as to combine together in an attempt to take away the lives of such a multitude of people as were accused by them. The authorities, who lay down rules of conviction as absurd as any ever adopted in New-England. The evidence here was of the same sort with what had been judged sufficient to hang people there. Reproach then for hanging witches, although it has been often cast upon the people of New-England by those of Old -- , yet it must have been done with an ill grace.
But in England this was an age of as great a gaiety as any age whatever, and equally of as great infidelity in general as any which had preceded it.
The head of the Court for trial of the witches, had great influence upon the rest of the judges, had this notion that, although the Devil might appear in the shape of a guilty person, yet be would never be permitted to assume the shape of an innocent person.
This opinion, would not bear to be contradicted. Some of the most religious women who were accused, when they saw the appearance of distress and torture in the girls, and heard their solemn declarations that they saw, the shapes or specters of the accused afflicting them, persuaded themselves they were witches, and that the Devil, somehow or other, though they could not remember when, had taken possession of their evil hearts, and obtained some sort of assent to his afflicting in their shapes; and thereupon they confessed themselves to be guilty.
Even to this day, opinion is divided whether it was the accused or the afflicted who were under some preternatural or diabolical possession. Were the afflicted under bodily distempers, or altogether guilty of fraud and imposture?
The trial, and an act of Parliament, opened the eyes of all except the lowest part of the people in England; to prevent the prejudice from the mischiefs it used to produce on juries in judicial proceedings. It is a great pity the like examples of conviction and punishment had not been made here. I hope an impartial narrative of the supposed witchcrafts at Salem will convince the New-England reader that there was no thing preternatural in the whole affair; but all proceeded from the most amazing wickedness of the accusers.
In February, 1691, a daughter and a niece of the minister of Salem village, and one or two more girls in the neighborhood, made complaints. The physicians, having no other way of accounting for the disorder, pronounced them bewitched.
An Indian woman , tried an experiment to find out the witch. This coming to the children's knowledge, they cried out upon the Indian woman as appearing to them, pinching, pricking and tormenting them, and fell into fits, became convulsed, distorted, &c.
Tituba, the name of the woman, who was a Spanish Indian, owned that her mistress had taught her in her own country how to find out a witch ; but she denied her being one herself. Several private fasts were kept at the minister's house, and several more by the whole village, and by neighboring parishes, and a public fast through the colony to seek of God to rebuke Satan. Soon after the number of the complainants increased, and among them girls, two or three women, and some old enough to be admitted witnesses. These had their fits too, and cried out, not only upon Tituba, but upon an old melancholy distracted woman, and bed-rid old woman, Sarah Good. Tituba, urged to it by her master, confessed herself a witch, and that two old women were confederates with her, and thereupon they were all committed to prison; and Tituba being searched was said to have the marks of the Devil's wounding her upon her body, but this was more probably of Spanish cruelty.
Three weeks after two other women who were church-members and of good character, were complained of, examined and would confess nothing, but were committed.
The three children, fell into their fits and had all their complaints, while the women were under examination. The mother of one of the children complained of being tormenting and made most terrible shrieking to the amazement of all in the neighborhood. Such was the infatuation that a child of four or five years old, was committed, charged with biting the afflicted who showed the print of small teeth upon their arms.
Soon after, being at meeting, the text being John vi. 70, "Have not I chosen'you twelve, and one of you is a Devil?" was offended and went out of meeting, she was complained of, examined and committed. The great imprudence, to say the best of it, in those who were in authority was in encouraging and putting words into the mouths of the accusers, or suffering others to do it.
Facts often appear in their true light in after ages which had been seen in a false one by such as were upon the stage in the time of them. A strong bias is now evidently seen in favor of the accusers, and no measures were taken to discover the fraud. The same prejudice will appear through the whole process.
John the Indian, one of these accusers, was husband to Tituba the first witch complained of. She confessed and was committed to prison. Her husband, no doubt, was convinced he should stand a better chance among the afflicted than the accused. It is most probable some of the women acted from the same principle. As the afflicted increased, so did the accused, of course. Great pains were taken to bring, some of them to confess; but in general the accused persisted in their innocence until the prisons were filled. At length the friends of some of the accused urged them to a confession, although they knew they were innocent, the magistrates declaring that confessing was the way to obtain mercy.
The confessors, like the accusers, multiplied, the witches having always company with them, who were immediately sent for and examined. No wonder if they were affright ed to the last degree; they owned whatever their friends and magistrates would have them. Thus more than an hundred women, many of them of the most sober, virtuous livers, some of them of very reputable families in the towns of Salem, Beverly, Andover, Billerica, Newbury, were apprehended and examined, and generally committed, although most of them who confessed, after three or four months imprisonment, were admitted to bail.
These confessions were all very much of the same tenor. In the examination and confession of one she confesses, that about eleven years ago, when she was in a melancholy state and condition, she used to walk abroad in her orchard, and, upon a certain time, she saw the appearance of a cat at the end of the house, which yet she thought was a real cat. However, at that time it diverted her from praying to God, and instead thereof she prayed to the Devil; about which time she made a covenant with the Devil, who, as a black man, came to her and presented her a book, upon which she laid her finger and that left a red spot. And that upon her signing her book the devil told her he was her god, and that she should serve and worship him, and believes she consented to it. She says further, that about two years agone, she was carried through the air, was baptized by the Devil, who dipped her face in water, and made her renounce her former baptism, and told her that she must be his, soul and body, forever, and that she must serve him, which she promised to do. She says, that after renouncing her first baptism she was transported back again through the air, in the same manner as she went, and believes they were carried upon a pole.
The examination contains many pages more of the same sort of proceedings which I am tired of transcribing. There was also the case of a lad of 18 years, accusing his mother, one that suffered, but this examination was managed just in the same way. He denied everything at first, but was drawn to confession of every thing that his examiners required. After these examinations, the reader will find no great difficulty in giving credit to the recantations of the confessors when they apprehended themselves out of danger.
'And by reason of that sudden surprisal, we knowing ourselves altogether innocent of that crime, were all exceedingly astonished and amazed, and consternated and affright ed even our of our reason; and our nearest and dearest relations, seeing us in that dreadful condition, and knowing our great danger, apprehending that there was no other way to save our lives, as the case was then circumstanced, but by our confessing ourselves to be such and such persons as the afflicted represented us to be, they, our of tender love and pity, persuaded us to confess what we did confess. And indeed that confession, that it is said we made, was no other than what was suggested to us by some gentlemen, they telling us that we were witches, and they knew it, and we knew it, and they knew that we knew it, which made us think that it was so; and our understanding, our reason, our faculties almost gone, we were not capable of judging our condition; as also the hard measures they used with us rendered us incapable of making our defense, but said any thing and every thing which they desired, and most of what we said was but in effect a consenting to what they said. Some time after, when we were better composed, they telling us of what we had confessed, we did profess that we were innocent and ignorant of such things. After hearing that one who had renounced his confession, was quickly after condemned and executed.'
The court adjourned to the 30th of June, and in the mean time the Governor and Council desired the opinion of several ministers upon the state of things as they then stood, which was given as follows: --
"The return of several ministers consulted by his excellency and the honorable council upon the present witchcraft in Salem village.The two first and the last sections of this advice took away the force of all the others, and the prosecutions went on with more vigor than before. The exquisite caution in separating the evidence upon the Devil's authority from the rest, in the third section, and the disbelieving those testimonies whose whole force is from the Devil alone in the seventh section, must have puzzled the judges, and they had need of some further authorities to guide them, other books were then furnished them.
I was at a loss until I met with this return, by what law they proceeded. The old constitution was dissolved; no laws of the colony were in force, witchcraft is no offence by the common law of England. The statute of James I. was indeed more ancient than the colony charter, but no statute had ever been adopted here. The General Assembly had not then met, and there could have been no provision made by a Province law, but it seems by the eighth section that the English statutes were made the rule upon this extraordinary occasion. But what authority the court had to change the sentence from burning to hanging, I cannot conceive.
Before the other trials the law against witchcraft under the first charter was established with the other Colony laws. The authority by which the court sat may as well be called in question. No authority is given by the Province charter to any powers short of the whole General Court to constitute courts of justice. The Governor indeed, with the consent of the Council, appoints judges, commissioners of Oyer and Terminer, and all officers belonging to the courts. It is strange they did not tarry until the Assembly met. A judge shall not be punished for mere error of judgment, but it certainly behooves him, in a trial for life especially, to consider well by what authority he acts.
This account, if true, would give me a more unfavorable opinion even of the integrity of the court, if I had not met with something not unlike to it in the trials before. The afflicted children in their fits upon the least touch from, one of the supposed witches, would shriek out, which they would not do when touched by any other person. Lest there should be any fraud, gentlemen attended one of the girls whilst she was in her fits, and one of the witches was brought, and an apron put before the girl's eyes, but instead of the witch's hand another person's hand was taken to touch the girl, who thereupon shrieked out as she used to do. The gentlemen returned and declared to the court they believed the whole was an imposture. The witch was found guilty notwithstanding, and the judge and all the court wore fully satisfied with the verdict and awarded sentence accordingly.
History furnishes us perhaps with as many instances of cruelty proceeding from superstition, as from the most savage barbarous temper of mind.
Besides the irregularities which I have already mentioned in these trials, the court admitted evidence to be given of facts, not laid in the indictments, to prove witchcraft eight, ten or fifteen years before; indeed, no other sort of evidence was offered to prove facts in the indictments but the spectral evidence, which, in the opinion of the divines, was not sufficient. It would have been well if they had consulted lawyers also, who would have told them that evidence ought not to be admitted even against the general character of persons charged criminally unless they offer evidence in favor of it, much less ought their whole lives to be arraigned and no opportunity given them of making defence.
This court of Oyer and Terminer, happily for the country, sat no more. Nineteen persons had been executed; but the eyes of the country in general were not yet opened. The prison at Salem was so full that some were obliged to be removed, and many were in other prisons reserved for trial. The General Court which sat in October, although they had revived the old colony law which was in these words, "If any man or woman be a witch, that is, hath or consulteth with a familiar spirit, they shall be put to death" -- yet this not being explicit enough, they enacted another in the words of the statute of King James, which continued in force until the trials were over, but both were afterwards disallowed by the crown.
The juries changed sooner than the judges. The opinion which the latter had of their own superior understanding and judgment probably made them more backward in owning or discovering their errors. One Judge of them, who always had the character of great integrity, at a public fast sometime after gave in a bill, or note, to the minister, acknowledging his errors and desiring to humble himself in the sight of God and his people, and stood up while the note was reading.
It is said that the chief justice being informed of this act of one of his brethren, remarked that when he sat in judgment he had the fear of God before his eyes, and gave his opinion according to the best of his understanding, and although it might appear afterwards that he had been in an error, he saw no necessity of a public acknowledgment of it.
One of the ministers, who in the time of it approved of the court's proceeding, remarked in his diary soon after that many were of opinion innocent blood had been shed. The afflicted were never brought to trial for their imposture. Many of them are said to have proved profligate, abandoned people, and others to have passed the remainder of their lives in a state of obscurity and contempt. Please see the addenda file an extract of the Witchcraft Delusion by Gov. Hutchinson, 1692 4
No section on the birth of Western Horror Lore and of flocks and herds-- rooted in the most revolting fertility-rites of immemorial antiquity, --- stealthily handed down amongst peasants--- of wild 'Witches' Sabbaths' in lonely woods and atop distant hills on Walpurgis-Night or Hallowe'en, the traditional breeding-seasons of the goats and sheep and cattle;' could be complete without some reference to the capering leaping Goat God Pan. The Mythos deity Shub Niggurath strongly ressembles Pan, but Pan is still Pan. Despite the cry of late antiquity Pan, like Chtulhu is not dead but only dreaming. Come out of the Night with Nymph and Satyr and Pard, come with flute and come with drum, come Pan! Panphage, Pangenitor. Oh Pan, Pan, Pan, Io Pan.
Akin to it in essence, and perhaps connected with it in fact, was the frightful secret system of inverted theology or Satan-worship which produced such horrors as the famous "Black Mass"The Black Mass or Messe Noire is typically said to be a perversion or parody of the Catholic Christian Mass, where the Sacrament of the Host is said to be profaned. Because The Rite of the Mass was not fixed before the Tridentine Mass it was often modified for special and diabolical purposes. At the end of the Offertory, for instance the priest could insert secret or private prayers for the personal needs of clients. Such needs as a special blessing for the crops or cattle, or for the cursing of enemies. It was by the insertion of names into a Mass for the dead, accompanied by the burial of an appropriate image of the enemy that so much that is black and sorcerous, was committed in the name of God. Such practices now condemned even by the Church at Rome were used as the justification for the persecution of the witches.
Little can be documented that is not stained with deceit, lies, and prejudice, before the well documented and infamous case of La Voisin, which shocked and rocked French society all the way to the throne, in the seventeenth century. At the resulting trial much was said and much more was darkly hinted of abortion, love potions, and secret poisonings. One prominent feature in that infamous case of Catherine Monvoisin and Etienne Guibourg that has come down to us was an important further development and refinement of the Black Mass. The Priest Guibourg was said to have placed Madame de Montespan, the mistress of the Sun King, naked on the altar of worship, holding black candles in her outstretched arms. In this derived version of the Mass human sacrifice of infants were said to have been performed for the love of the King Louis XIV, by Madame de Montespan. The investigation and resultant scandal led to the execution of Monvoisin and the imprisonment of Guibourg. It also led to shedding further light for us on the pathology, origin and underlying reason d'etre for the Black Mass.
Such practices as parodies and alterations of the Mass were eventually, at least publicly, condemned by the Church, and were said to lead to that mass hysteria of the inquisition and the European witch-hunt. Countless millions of mostly innocent old women even cats and dogs were condemned as witches and agents of the Devil, for reputedly inverting the Christian Mass and employing the stolen Host for diabolical ends.
In a more modern setting Joris-Karl Huysmans wrote the classic of French Satanism and the Black Mass Là Bas which is still said to see use to this day amongst the private and semi public practices of groups such as the Church of Satan and the Temple of Set. In the text of the Black Mass of Huysmans' LàBas the satanic priest , however, recites little or nothing more than a long diatribe, praising Satan as the god of reason and the opponent of Christianity. This parallels and resembles Fleurs du Mal, the French poetry of Charles Baudelaire more than it resembles an inversion of the Roman Catholic Mass.
Many other mostly less intelligent testaments have been presented by a variety of authors from Jules Michelet to Richard Cavendish and Montague Summers. Almost always pandering to fear and superstition rather than hard cold fact. Increasing interest has been shown by numerous others into the modern period through the publication of the cheap kitchen witch manual, to the super secretive private antiques of Grimoire and Satanic lore. Not so secret cults have formed, mostly on account of loosening of the laws which condemned to rack, torture and death by Auto de Fé. Where the victim survived rack and press they were often hung, then burnt over a bonfire. Their ashes then might be spread on unhallowed ground, flowing water or even a tidal flat.
In an even more modern case, which made the papers in the eighties, was the infamous raid, persecution and attempted prosecution of US Army Lt. Colonel , Michael Aquino of the Temple of Set, by the city of San Francisco police department, Despite much ill publicity in the media and even the U.S. Senate, the case languished for lack of evidence. On Jan. 5, 1987, Gary Willard Hambright an ordained Southern Baptist minister was arrested and charged as a result of investigations in the case, on allegations of child abuse. The US Attorney's Office later asked that the charges be dismissed without prejudice. On August 12, 1988, the San Francisco district attorney's office closed its investigation of child abuse at the Presidio CDC. It filed no charges against the plaintiff or anyone else. To this day the Temple of Set maintains a public meeting place in the City of an Francisco.
---whilst operating toward the same end we may note the activities of those whose aims were somewhat more scientific or philosophical --the astrologers, cabalists, and alchemists of the Albertus Magnus or Raymond Lully type, with whom such rude ages invariably abound. The prevalence and depth of the mediæval horror-spirit in Europe, intensified by the dark despair which waves of pestilence brought, may be fairly gauged by the grotesque carvings slyly introduced into much of the finest later Gothic ecclesiastical work of the time; the dæmoniac gargoyles of Notre Dame and Mont St. Michel being among the most famous specimens. And throughout the period, it must be remembered, there existed amongst educated and uneducated alike a most unquestioning faith in every form of the supernatural; from the gentlest doctrines of Christianity to the most monstrous morbidities of witchcraft and black magic. It was from no empty background that the Renaissance magicians and alchemists--Nostradamus, Trithemius, Dr. John Dee, Robert Fludd, and the like--were born.
Nothing today can convey the spirit of horror and despair which accompanied by endless war culminated in the ultimate horror of the Black Death or the Bubonic Plague. One of the deadliest pandemics in human history. The origins of the plague are disputed but among scholars and some historians it is believe to have began in China or Central Asia, spreading from fleas, to rats, and humans. In the late 1300s merchants and soldiers were said to have carried it over the caravan routes until it reached Europe.
Irregardless of it's origin the plague was estimated to have killed half of Europe's population by 1400. Nothing today can convey the horror of the plague. The gargoyles of Notre Dame were said to have originated coterminous with the plague. The summation of Gothic Art many of these sculptures still leer at tourists and call forth all that was bizarre and horrific. This was the great period of the faith in Europe, where some of the finest and most majestic churches were built. Many have survived time, neglect, and war to testify to the growth of that faith. Such churches were most often built upon sites of a previous ancient worship. Thus the dæmoniac gargoyles and the other grotesque carvings serve to underpin that growth of faith with an older, grimer reality.
A grim reminder of the ancient Gods and Goddesses of Death and Rebirth which survived in memory to mock the gentlest doctrines of Christianity with the monstrous morbidities of witchcraft and black magic. Living and writing under the shadow of these monstrous grim reminders came the savants and mages of the Renaissance, magicians and alchemists alike.
Raymond Lully, or Raymon Lull was born on the island of Majorca, in the year 1225. He began applying himself to chymistry, acquired by dint of experiment and practice, towards the latter part of his life. He was the first author to consider alchymy expressly, with a view to the universal medicine.
Albertus Magnus was a Dominican, bishop of Ratisbon, and one of the most famous doctors of the XIII century, he was born at Lawingen, on the Danube, in Suabia, in the year 1193. He practiced midwifery, and was in search of the Philosopher's Stone.
A famous Magician, he was said to have formed a machine in the shape of a man, which served him for an oracle. I can easily believe that despite the mindlessness of the vulgar. He understood mathematics. He also might have made a head, which, by the help of spirits, appeared to articulate sounds. I might believe but for the cynicism of this modern age. He was well qualified to be the inventor of artillery, yet it is said that he had a very naturally dull wit. According to the story he was upon the point of leaving the cloister, when the Holy Virgin appeared to him, and asked him 'to chuse, to excel, in philosophy or divinity.' As a punishment for not 'chusing divinity', before his death, he relapsed into his former stupidity.
Michael Nostradamus, was a celebrated astrologer, who was born at St. Remi in Provence in the year 1503. He published a Century of Prophecies in obscure and oracular terms and barbarous verse, and other works. In the period in which he lived he wrote several books pretending to be inspired by the art of astrological prediction which remains in the highest repute to this very day. Who knows the fickle ways of 'Fortuna' which in the end drove Robert E Howard to suicide yet has elevated such a lesser lights as Michael Nostradamus to eternal fame.
Far more deserving of fame was John Trithemius born in the year 1462. As the abbot of the Benedictine monastery of St. Martin at Spanheim. Trithemius was accused of necromancy and a commerce with demons. Though he himself expressly disclaimed all imputation of sorcery.
The principal ground for his accusation lies in the story of his intercourse with the emperor Maximilian. The emperor was inconsolable upon the loss of his first wife was Mary of Burgundy who died in the prime of life. According to the legend, having tried all other expedients in vain, at length Trithemius told Maximilian that he would undertake of necromancy that is to call up the shade of his wife, in the state in which she had lived. After suitable preparations, Mary of Burgundy accordingly appeared.
The legend goes on to say, that Maximilian was so disgusted and shocked with what he saw, that he banished Trithemius from his presence for ever.
The only unjustifiable ground for the charge was a work of his, entitled Steganographia, or the art, of secret writing, or the communication of thoughts with a person absent using the language of magic. Learning was at a low ebb when the charges were made. Perhaps the Emperor was 'lese majeste' crowned heads were rarely or never known for intelligent behavior. The Benedictine monks that rebelled against his Ecclesiastical Orders should have been flogged. The real reason was typically the monks, at Spanheim, like so many others in the church, had hitherto spent their days in luxurious idleness and led their abbot a very uneasy life when he put them to work. He was removed to preside over the abbey of St. Jacques in Wurtzburg in 1506, where he died in tranquility and peace in 1516.
Robertus de Fluctibus, Flood or Fludd, was a Doctor of Medicine M.B., M.D., B. A., and M.A. One of the more interesting in England. Robert Flood was a prominent English Paracelsian physician, astrologer, and mystical Brother of the Rosy-Cross. He is called the English Rosicrucian.
He entered at St. John's College, Oxford, in 1591. He traveled for six years in France, Spain, Italy, and Germany. When He returned he became a member of the College of Physicians at London. Here you will find Robert Fludd's "Utriusque Cosmi maioris salicet et minoris metaphysica..." -- it's latin, but the whole book is there, except for a couple pages missed in the original microfilming.
'All the world has heard of the Rosicrucians--few or none have ever taken the trouble to ascertain whether the stupendous and apparently audacious claims of these philosophers were rightly or wrongly estimated--that is, whether to be adjudged as founded on the rock of truth, or seeking steadiness and root only in the sands of delusion.'Today we scarcely remember the truths underlying the works of such giants who instead are most often remembered like Nostradamus for the legend rather than the substance. In our derived Mythos Dr. Dee who was said to have possessed a copy of the Necronomicon, is perhaps the most mysterious. Countless other authors have provided us with countless other works purporting to explain the complex system of Angels and symbolic Aethyrs that make up the system of Magick originating with the pioneering work of Dee and his associate Sir Edward Kelly. While highly fascinating such work is for the most part far beyond the scope of this current work. We will however return to Liber Loagaeth and it's possible relation to Al Azif and to it's author, Abdul Alhazred, the Necronomicon, and Dr. John Dee in a later chapter.
Dr. John Dee, was one of the greatest figure in the sixteenth century and in fact today he remains as one of the most important figures of Ceremonial Magick in all history. Dee was born at London in the year 1527, an eminent mathematician, and an indefatigable scholar who was sent to Cambridge at fifteen years of age, where for several years he allowed himself only four hours for sleep , and two for food in the twenty-four day. He constantly occupied the remaining eighteen hours for divine service and study. At Cambridge he superintended the exhibition of a Greek play of Aristophanes, amongst which was the machinery of an artificial scarabaeus beetle, which flew up to the (theatrical) palace of Jupiter, with a man on his back. The ignorant and astonished spectators ascribed this feat to the black arts of a magician; and Dee was forced by these suspicions, to withdraw to the continent.
In 1551 in the reign of queen Mary he returned to England. where he was kindly treated. Afterwards Dee came into great trouble and danger of his life. Due to correspondence with several of the servants of queen Elizabeth at Woodstock he was charged with practicing enchantments against Mary's life. Dee was seized and confined; but after several examinations he was discharged. The indictment, was next turned over to bishop Bonner to see if any heresy could be found against him. After a tedious persecution he was set at liberty in 1555.
The principal study of Dee however at this time lay in astrology; and accordingly, upon the accession of Elizabeth, her chief favorite, was sent to consult the doctor as to the aspect of the stars, so that they might fix on an auspicious day for celebrating her coronation.
Some years after in 1571, we find him again on the continent. He often spent long periods there until sick, the queen sent over two physicians to accomplish his cure. Elizabeth even visited him at his house at Mortlake, to view his mathematical instruments and curiosities; It was at this time that she employed him to defend her title to countries discovered in different parts of the globe. In May of 1583 Dee was foretold by the Angel Uriel of the death of the Queen of Scots and the coming of the Spanish Armada. In 1587 Mary was beheaded and in the following year, 1588 the Spanish Armada attempted the invasion of England. Some have suggested that it was Dee himself who conjured up that storm which destroyed the mighty Spanish Fleet when the Spanish Armada loomed over the English Channel. One persistent legend places the talisman that was constructed by Dee to protect England in the British museum.
In November 1582, while engaged in devout exercises, the angel Uriel appeared to him at his west window and gave him a translucent 'shew stone', or crystal, of a convex form, that had this peculiarity, that only one person, having been named as seer, could see the figures exhibited, and hear the voices that spoke 5 a short time before Dee received this gift from on high, he became involved with Edward Kelly of Worcestershire, who he found specially qualified to perform the part of skryer which Dee found it necessary too Dee to fill. Kelly was an extraordinary character. He had been accused, when a young man, of forgery, brought to trial, convicted, and lost his ears in the pillory. This misfortune however by no means daunted him. He was assiduously engaged in the search for the philosopher's stone. He had an active mind, great enterprise, and a very domineering temper. Another adventure in which he had been engaged previously to his knowledge of Dee, was in digging up the body of a man, who had been buried only the day before, that he might compel him by incantations, to answer questions, and discover future events.
Kelly led Dee, we are not told under what pretense, to visit the celebrated ruins of Glastonbury Abbey in Somerset shire. Here, as these curious travelers searched into every corner of the scene, they met by some rare accident with a vase containing a certain portion of the actual elixir vitae, that rare and precious liquid, so much sought after, which has the virtue of converting the baser metals into gold and silver.
The first record of their consultations with the supra mundane spirits, was of the date of December 2, 1581, at Lexden Heath in the county of Essex; and from this time they went on in a regular series of consultations with and inquiries from these miraculous visitors, a great part of which will appear to the uninitiated extremely puerile and ludicrous, but which were committed to writing with the most scrupulous exactness by Dee, the first part still existing in manuscript, having been committed to the press by Dr. Meric Casaubon , under the title of "A True and Faithful Relation of what passed between Dr. John Dee and some Spirits.
Kelly alleged that these spirits, which Dee had hitherto regarded as messengers from God, could be no other than servants of Satan. He persisted in his disobedience; and the spirits declared that he was no longer worthy to be their interpreter, and that another mediator must be found.
He made one attempt to propitiate the favor of king James; but it was ineffectual. Elizabeth had known him in the flower and vigor of his days; he had boasted the uniform patronage as her chief favorite; he had even been recognized by the philosophical and the learned of his age as inferior to none of their body, and he had finally excited the regard of his ancient mistress by his pretense to revelations, and the promises he held out of the philosopher's stone. She could not shake off her in grafted prejudice in his favor; neither she could she find it in her heart to cast him aside in his old age and decay. But then came a king, the racalcitrant and superstitious James to whom in his prosperity and sunshine he had been a stranger.
HP Lovecraft's The Haunter of the DarkWe find the Shining Trapezohedron, a scrying stone of starkly contrasting powers to the 'Shew Stone' used by Dee and Kelly to contact the Angels of the Aethyrs.
After traveling through history from the dawn until the renaissance we have now met that most eminent of men John Dee, who continues to this day to influence western men. It was not such fame as the devoutly pious Elizabethan Mage sought but rather the sort of (in) fame bestowed by history and another famous person that is of interst in reference to Lovecraft.. It was within the pages of his writing and within the Mythos that Dr Dee has become known as the owner (translator) of a volume of the Necronomicon. With that we will deal in another chapter.
But it is here before concluding that I wish to briefly touch upon the greatest compliment that one writer may bestow upon another, for imitation is the surest form of flattery. Dee and Kelly used a 'shew stone' from the Angel Uriel to penetrate the mystical barrier of the Angels and the Aethyrs. So it is not so supring that in, The Haunter of the Dark, that HP Lovecraft uses his own shew stone, the Shining Trapezohedron to penetrate the mystical barrier of the Old Ones. That self same Robert Blake who to his eternal harm discovers the avatar of Nyarlathotep is not so mysterious as Lovecraft's circle of intimates and correspondents included Robert Bloch the famous author of 'Psycho.' It was Bloch who in his turn wrote an answering story of his own 'The Shambler from the Stars' as well as 'The Shadow From the Steeple,' wherein he in turn flimsily returns the favor by killing off his own character, and the eidilon of HP Lovecraft. Bloch's own contributions to the Mythos, was the fictitious texts De Vermis Mysteriis and Cultes des Goules.
Lights still out- must be five minutes now. Everything depends on lightning. Yaddith grant it will keep up!... Some influence seems beating through it... Rain and thunder and wind deafen... The thing is taking hold of my mind...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...It cannot be the real hill and church that I see in the pitch-darkness. Must be retinal impression left by flashes. Heaven grant the Italians are out with their candles if the lightning stops!What am I afraid of? Is it not an avatar of Nyarlathotep, who in antique and shadowy Khem even took the form of man? I remember Yuggoth, and more distant Shaggai, and the ultimate void of the black planets...The long, winging flight through the void... cannot cross the universe of light . . . re-created by the thoughts caught in the Shining Trapezohedron... send it through the horrible abysses of radiance...My name is Blake- Robert Harrison Blake of 620 East Knapp Street, Milwaukee, Wisconsin... I am on this planet...Azathoth have mercy!- the lightning no longer flashes- horrible- I can see everything with a monstrous sense that is not sight- light is dark and dark is light... those people on the hill... guard... candles and charms... their priests...Sense of distance gone -far is near and near is far. No light - no glass - see that steeple - that tower - window - can hear - Roderick Usher - am mad or going mad - the thing is stirring and fumbling in the tower. I am it and it is I - I want to get out... must get out and unify the forces... it knows where I am...I am Robert Blake, but I see the tower in the dark. There is a monstrous odour... senses transfigured... boarding at that tower window cracking and giving way... Iä... ngai... ygg...I see it - coming here - hell-wind - titan blue - black wing - Yogge Sothothe save me - the three-lobed burning eye...One can never be too sure when peering into unknown forbidden worlds such as those of the Angels of the Aethyrs or the mythical demons of the Necronomicon. When you call, something may come! If you insist upon calling then this writer most strongly recommends that you draw the circle thrice with salt and take extra careful pains to exercise your psychic body in the Artes of Magickal Defense and build up your body of light. For it is in that light alone that the illusion that we call the world, that little world that occupies but the smallest corner of the sublime and ever expanding universe of the Angels of the Aethyr, exists. It is we who are so fooled by the folly of substance, that are the shadows in that world of the Angels of the Aethyrs.
Conclusion of Chapter 2 Part 1.
Closer to real greatness was the eccentric and saturnine journalist Ambrose Bierce, born in 1842; who likewise entered the Civil War, but survived to write some immortal tales and to disappear in 1913 in as great a cloud of mystery as any he ever evoked from his nightmare fancy.Early upon our list of early contributors, is Ambrose Bierce. Who was said to have influenced and inspired Lovecraft in his development of the Necronomicon and the Mythos Theme. To paraphrase Lovecraft in Supernatural Horror in Literature: Bierce's theme was dread of immortality, life more hideous than death. Oblivion, the Great Grail to be desired, is denied us. Carcosa the dead city in An Inhabitant of Carcosa possibly derives from the famous, fabled and legendary city of Carcasonne , in the south of France, made familiar by Lord Dunsany. Carcosa is again revisited by Robert W. Chambers in the King in Yellow.
The oft quoted Hali whose speech prefaces An Inhabitant of Carcosa and again prefacesThe Death Of Halpin Frayser which was Bierce's ancient prophet of the antique and occult. His name is said to be the latinized form of Khalid ibn Yazid ibn Mu' awiyah heir of the Caliph, poet, orator, student of Alchemy and Astronomy who lived around the time of the end of the seventh Century. It might be speculated that Bierce's Hali inspired Lovecraft's author of the Necronomicon, Alhazred.
In The Festival Lovecraft first writes of the Necronomicon, "Pointing to a chair, table, and pile of books, the old man now left the room; and when I sat down to read I saw that the books were hoary and mouldy, and that they included old Morryster's wild Marvels of Science, the terrible Saducismus Triumphatus of Joseph Glanvil, published in 1681, the shocking Daemonolatrea of Remigius, printed in 1595 at Lyons, and worst of all, the unmentionable Necronomicon of the mad Arab Abdul Alhazred, in Olaus Wormius' forbidden Latin translation; a book which I had never seen, but of which I had heard monstrous things whispered. That " Morryster's wild Marvels of Science", is from the Bierce story "The Man and the Snake"."It is of veritabyll report, and attested of so many that there be nowe of wyse and learned none to gaynsaye it, that ye serpente hys eye hath a magnetick propertie that whosoe falleth into its suasion is drawn forwards in despyte of his wille, and perisheth miserabyll by ye creature hys byte. Stretched at ease upon a sofa, in gown and slippers, Harker Brayton smiled as he read the foregoing sentence in old Morryster's "Marvells of Science." "The only marvel in the matter," he said to himself, "is that the wise and learned in Morryster's day should have believed such nonsense as is rejected by most of even the ignorant in ours."
To continue paraphrasing Lovecraft in Supernatural Horror in Literature: Bierce was a satirist and pamphleteer whose artistic reputation for grim and savage short stories; form the most vivid and realistic expression of the conflict that was the Civil War . Virtually all of Bierce's tales are tales of horror; which treat only of the physical and psychological horrors within Nature, however a substantial proportion admit the malignly supernatural. Bierce the great "shadow-maker" evokes horror not so much the prescription or perversion of Poe or Maupassant, but an atmosphere definite and uncannily precise. Words, so simple take on an unholy horror, a new and unguessed transformation. Diabolism in its tormented death a legitimate and reliant means to the end. A tacit confirmation with Nature. In The Death of Halpin Frayser flowers, verdure, and the boughs and leaves of trees are magnificently placed as an opposing foil to unnatural malignity. Not the accustomed golden world, but a world pervaded with the mystery of blue and the breathless recalcitrance of dreams is Bierce's. Yet, curiously, inhumanity is not altogether absent. The grim malevolence stalking through all of them is unmistakable. The Death of Halpin Frayser, the most fiendishly ghastly tale in the literature of the Anglo-Saxon race, tells of a body skulking by night without a soul in a weird and horribly en sanguined wood, and of a man beset by ancestral memories who met death at the claws of that which had been his fervently loved mother.
The Spook House conveys terrible hints of shocking mystery. An entire family of seven persons disappears suddenly and unaccountably, leaving all its possessions untouched--furniture, clothing, food supplies, horses, cattle, and slaves. About a year later two men forced by a storm to take shelter in the deserted dwelling, stumble into a strange subterranean room lit by an unaccountable greenish light and having an iron door which cannot be opened from within. In this room lie the decayed corpses of all the missing family; overpowered by a strange foetor, one accidentally shuts his companion in the vault and loses consciousness. The survivor recovering his senses six weeks later, is unable to find the hidden room; and the house is burned and the imprisoned discoverer is never seen or heard of again.
In another work Ambrose Bierce, invented Hastur the Terrible, to be later reincarnated by Lovecraft in the Mythos Theme. In Haita The Shepherd, A simple shepherd whose 'illusions of youth had not been supplanted by those of age and experience. His thoughts were pure and pleasant, for his life was simple and his soul devoid of ambition.' Haita 'rose with the sun and went forth to pray at the shrine of Hastur.'--- 'It is kind of thee, O Hastur,' so he prayed, 'to give me mountains so near to my dwelling and my fold that I and my sheep can escape the angry torrents; but the rest of the world thou must thyself deliver in some way that I know not of, or I will no longer worship thee.' 'And Hastur, knowing that Haita was a youth who kept his word, spared the cities and turned the waters into the sea.' Although Bierce seldom realizes the possibilities of his themes and much of his work contains a certain touch of naiveté, prosaic angularity, or early-American provincialism the genuineness and artistry of his dark intimations are always unmistakable, so that his greatness is in no danger of eclipse.
Ambrose Bierce, almost unknown in his own time, has now reached something like general recognition.Please see: Bierce
END (for now)
 Genesis 6:1-7
1. When men began to increase in number on the earth and daughters were born to them.
2. the sons of God saw that the daughters of men were beautiful, and they married any of them they chose.
3. Then the LORD said, "My Spirit will not contend with man forever, for he is mortal ; his days will be a hundred and twenty years."
4. The Nephilim were on the earth in those days—and also afterward—when the sons of God went to the daughters of men and had children by them. They were the heroes of old, men of renown.
5. The LORD saw how great man's wickedness on the earth had become, and that every inclination of the thoughts of his heart was only evil all the time.
6. The LORD was grieved that he had made man on the earth, and his heart was filled with pain.
7. So the LORD said, "I will wipe mankind, whom I have created, from the face of the earth—men and animals, and creatures that move along the ground, and birds of the air—for I am grieved that I have made them."
 Please see The Gods of Pegana, Dunsany one source that greatly inspired Lovecraft's cosmology.
 Please see The Contending of Horus and Set
 Please see the addenda file: An Extract of the The Witchcraft Delusion of 1692 by the late Gov. Thomas Hutchinson for a concise, even brilliant narrative as well as somewhat of a condemnation of the Judges and the accusers who prosecuted over 150 people, many of whom were hanged upon the flimsiest of hysterical, cynical, falacious, and cruel evidence.
 Please see HP LovecraftThe Haunter of the Dark for a scrying stone of starkly contrasting powers to call forth the occupants of another plane of being.