Archives For cthulhu mythos

r'yleh

According to the Cthulhu Mythos, somewhere between New Zealand and Chile in the waters of the South Pacific, an underwater city known as R’yleh houses a malevolent monster that came to our planet eons ago and is now dead-dreaming until the stars align and he can once more send his spawns across the land, sowing death, destruction, and chaos, feeding on souls of both his followers and his victims. Of course this is just a setting for a string of horror stories and there’s no record of such things as Cthulhu, R’yleh, or the Necronomicon, but that doesn’t mean that a curious physicist can’t have a little fun with a sci-fi horror story and see what it would take for the mythical city of bizarre geometry and warped dimensions to exist. His conclusion? R’yleh’s odd distinguishing features described in The Call of Cthulhu are either powered by a warp drive or the effects of a cloaking device which works much like a warp drive would. And that would make the mythos’ main character’s description as an alien invader seem a lot more convincing…

How would the sailors who landed on the island housing R’yleh see a warped landscape and an enormous eldritch metropolis that made no sense to them. The layout and architecture would’ve obviously been made for alien creatures, so it’s unlikely it would’ve resembled building patterns we use in our own cities. Winged extraterrestrials who either float or move on tentacles wouldn’t need stairs and strictly defined doors, floors, and windows are unlikely to be mandatory. But that doesn’t explain the strange colors and the seemingly impossible geometry. That’s the effect of a gravitational lens on a very small scale, one created by the warp drive enveloping R’yleh. Light would be bent in very unusual ways, giving familiar things bizarre colors and shapes, and giving the sailors constant optical illusions, making the whole city look like a giant M.C. Escher sketch with a liberal touch of late Eocene Clawed and Tentacled Horror and Mild Acid Trip. And just to add to the weirdness, time inside R’yleh would move much slower than it would on the outside of it due to the time dilation effects created by the active warp drive or gravitational cloak.

You certainly wouldn’t want to get stuck in this city if you were lost at sea. Not only would space and time appear and flow differently for you, the primeval ruins populated with only FSM knows, or more likely doesn’t know, what that may be eager to devour you or tear you limb from limb to satisfy their curiosity about the strange bipedal squishy thing making lots of noise in their home, could turn even the shortest stay into decades if you ever make it back to the real world. Good thing this is all just one spine-tingling story from a pulp sci-fi magazine of a long-gone era and in the many decades since it accurately described what sounds like an alien generation ship there hasn’t been so much as a hint of anything weird in the South Pacific pole of inaccessibility where R’yleh was said to be sitting at the bottom of the sea. Well, if you don’t count The Bloop — which no one has been able to explain to full scientific satisfaction. But as I’ve already said, it’s all just creepy fiction. We’re all probably just fine. Probably…

See: Tippett, B. (2012). Possible Bubbles of Spacetime Curvature in the South Pacific arXiv: 1210.8144v1

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H.P. Lovecraft is known for his grandiose expressions and vague allusions to horrible, horrible things in dark forests and caves, playing off the traditional scary stories told by Puritans in New England to concoct bizarre, nefarious alien creatures which cared nothing for humans, regardless of whether those humans worshipped them or not. Though what he was writing was considered pulp fiction at the time, you can see real effort in his storytelling. And this is why he probably wouldn’t be too happy with what Grim and Grimy did to his best known nightmarish tale, The Call of Cthulhu, which helped flesh out the mythology of future Lovecraftian works…

Funny how a short story that was supposed to make you think about horrible things laying in wait in the ocean depths can be boiled down to about two minutes and lose most of its impact when told by a character from a spin-off of Clueless, or maybe a teenage new convert to New Age esoterica. It could be just me, but I’d rather have the Lovecraftian Chick Tract or the satirical tale of a board member asking his school to devote more time in their instruction of eldritch madness when it comes to homages to Lovecraft’s stories any day of the week. And to Grim and Grimy, shame on you for giving classic pulp horror the Valley Girl treatment.

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cthulhu

Today is Cthulhu Day, a time when mere mortals of this doomed world perform ritualistic human sacrifices to alien gods that hide from the poisonous rays of our stars, mutilate random goats while dancing naked around fires that glow with an unholy light, summon old deities, and try to remain sane just long enough for Shoggoth races to start on the Netherworld Channel. And if you feel you’d rather be a little more productive as you praise the primeval Old One who slumbers in the sunken city of R’lyeh, you can follow the example of a local school board member urging his local district to prepare their students for a potential lifetime of sheer, unimaginable terror should Cthulhu awaken in the foreseeable future…

Arguing that students should return to the fundamentals taught in the Pnakotic Manuscripts and the Necronomicon in order to develop the skills they need to be driven to the very edge of sanity, Arkham school board member Charles West continued to advance his pro-madness agenda at the district’s monthly meeting Tuesday. […]

The controversial school board member reportedly interrupted a heated discussion about adding fresh fruit to school lunches in order to bring his motion to the table. With the aid of [his] flip chart, West laid out his six-point plan for increased madness, which included field trips to the medieval metaphysics department at Miskatonic University, instruction in the incantations of Yog-Sothoth, and a walkathon sponsored by local businesses to raise money for the basketball program.

Likewise, feel free to use the word of the Necronomicon summarized in a handy, Chick style comic to warn your loved ones of the gruesome fate that awaits humanity. As disconforting as it may seem, I’d wager that if we really start exploring the universe at some point in the future, we’ll find that things will work a lot more like a Lovecraftian tale than a Biblical story or ufologists’ accounts of friendly extraterrestrials living in an otherworldly utopia after they evolved far enough along to have no use for war or conflict. Although I admit, I’ve always been a bit of a pessimist when it comes to alien life.

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You might remember the infamous Chick tracts, those 1950s style comics bursting at the seams with some of the wildest ideas held only by the most hardcore of Christian fundamentalists. Over the years, they’ve inspired many parodies, which includes this invocation of H.P. Lovecraft’s sinister Cthulhu Mythos. (click the image for the full cartoon strip)

necronomicon comic

While most spoofs of the heavy handed proselytizing in which Jack Chick revels for a living, have a decidedly atheistic or mocking bent, this one is the first to go into the nihilistic horror stories that inspired pulp writers and some of the more disturbing legends about enigmatic aliens who came to Earth just before the dawn of civilization. And it might be worth noting that what’s really supposed to make the stories of the Old Ones creepy and disturbing weren’t all those ominous adjectives with which Lovecraft peppered his writing. No, the fright factor was supposed to come from the idea that instead of a benevolent supernatural caretaker, we’re lazily watched by hideous aliens who care nothing about our existence and see us as a quick snack at best.

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