The Call of Cthulhu
H. P. Lovecraft (1926)
Of such great powers or beings there may be conceivably a
survival... a survival of a hugely remote period when...
consciousness was manifest, perhaps, in shapes and forms
long since withdrawn before the tide of advancing
humanity... forms of which poetry and legend alone have
caught a flying memory and called them gods, monsters,
mythical beings of all sorts and kinds...
- ALGE!O! "LA#$%OO&
I. THE HORROR IN CLAY
The most merciful thing in the world, thin!, is the ina"ilit# of the human mind to correlate all its
contents. $e live on a %lacid island of ignorance in the midst of "lac! seas of infinit#, and it was not meant that
we should vo#age far. The sciences, each straining in its own direction, have hitherto harmed us little& "ut some
da# the %iecing together of dissociated !nowledge will o%en u% such terrif#ing vistas of realit# and of our
frightful %osition therein, that we shall either go mad from the revelation or flee from the deadl# light into the
%eace and safet# of a new dar! age.
Theoso%hists have guessed at the awesome grandeur of the cosmic c#cle wherein our world and human
race form transient incidents. The# have hinted at strange survival in terms which would free'e the "lood if not
mas!ed "# a "land o%timism. (ut it is not from them that there came the single glim%se of for"idden aeons
which chills me when thin! of it and maddens me when dream of it. That glim%se, li!e all dread glim%ses of
truth, flashed out from an accidental %iecing together of se%arated things ) in this case an old news%a%er item
and the notes of a dead %rofessor. ho%e that no one else will accom%lish this %iecing out& certainl#, if live,
shall never !nowingl# su%%l# a lin! in so hideous a chain. thin! that the %rofessor, too, intended to !ee% silent
regarding the %art he !new, and that he would have destro#ed his notes had not sudden death sei'ed him.
*# !nowledge of the thing "egan in the winter of 1926+, with the death of m# great+uncle, -eorge
-ammell .ngell, Professor /meritus of 0emitic Languages in (rown 1niversit# Providence, 2hode sland.
Professor .ngell was widel# !nown as an authorit# on ancient inscri%tions, and had fre3uentl# "een resorted to
"# the heads of %rominent museums so that his %assing at the age of ninet#+two ma# "e recalled "# man#.
Locall#, interest was intensified "# the o"scurit# of the cause of death. The %rofessor had "een stric!en whilst
returning from the 4ew%ort "oat& falling suddenl#, as witnesses said, after having "een 5ostled "# a nautical+
loo!ing negro who had come from one of the 3ueer dar! courts on the %reci%itous hillside which formed a short
cut from the waterfront to the deceased6s home in $illiams 0treet. Ph#sicians were una"le to find an# visi"le
disorder, "ut concluded after %er%le7ed de"ate that some o"scure lesion of the heart, induced "# the "ris! ascent
of so stee% a hill "# so elderl# a man, was res%onsi"le for the end. .t the time saw no reason to dissent from
this dictum, "ut latterl# am inclined to wonder ) and more than wonder.
.s m# great+uncle6s heir and e7ecutor, for he died a childless widower, was e7%ected to go over his
%a%ers with some thoroughness& and for that %ur%ose moved his entire set of files and "o7es to m# 3uarters in
(oston. *uch of the material which correlated will "e later %u"lished "# the .merican .rchaeological 0ociet#,
"ut there was one "o7 which found e7ceedingl# %u''ling, and which felt much averse from showing to other
e#es. t had "een loc!ed, and did not find the !e# till it occurred to me to e7amine the %ersonal ring which the
%rofessor carried alwa#s in his %oc!et. Then, indeed, succeeded in o%ening it, "ut when did so seemed onl# to
"e confronted "# a greater and more closel# loc!ed "arrier. 8or what could "e the meaning of the 3ueer cla# "as+
relief and the dis5ointed 5ottings, ram"lings and cuttings which found9 Had m# uncle, in his latter #ears,
"ecome credulous of the most su%erficial im%ostures9 resolved to search out the eccentric scul%tor res%onsi"le
for this a%%arent distur"ance of an old man6s %eace of mind. The "as+relief was a rough rectangle less than an
inch thic! and a"out five "# si7 inches in area& o"viousl# of modern origin. ts designs, however, were far from
modern in atmos%here and suggestion& for, although the vagaries of cu"ism and futurism are man# and wild, the#
do not often re%roduce that cr#%tic regularit# which lur!s in %rehistoric writing. .nd writing of some !ind the
"ul! of these designs seemed certainl# to "e& though m# memor#, des%ite much familiarit# with the %a%ers and
collections of m# uncle, failed in an# wa# to identif# this %articular s%ecies, or even hint at its remotest
."ove these a%%arent hierogl#%hics was a figure of evidentl# %ictorial intent, though its im%ressionistic
e7ecution for"ade a ver# clear idea of its nature. t seemed to "e a sort of monster, or s#m"ol re%resenting a
monster, of a form which onl# a diseased fanc# could conceive. f sa# that m# somewhat e7travagant
imagination #ielded simultaneous %ictures of an octo%us, a dragon, and a human caricature, shall not "e
unfaithful to the s%irit of the thing. . %ul%#, tentacled head surmounted a grotes3ue and scal# "od# with
rudimentar# wings& "ut it was the general outline of the whole which made it most shoc!ingl# frightful. (ehind
the figure was a vague suggestion of a :#clo%ean architectural "ac!ground
The writing accom%an#ing this oddit# was, aside from a stac! of %ress cuttings, in Professor .ngell6s
most recent hand& and made no %retension to literar# st#le. $hat seemed to "e the main document was headed
6:TH1LH1 :1LT6 in characters %ainsta!ingl# %rinted to avoid the erroneous reading of a word so unheard+of.
This manuscri%t was divided into two sections, the first of which was headed 6192; ) <ream and <ream $or!
of H. .. $ilco7, , Thomas 0t., Providence, 2. .,6 and the second& 64arrative of ns%ector =ohn 2. Legrasse, 121
(ienville 0t., 4ew >rleans, La., at 19?@ .. ., 0. *tg. ) 4otes on 0ame, A Prof. $e""6s .cct.6 The other
manuscri%t %a%ers were all "rief notes, some of them accounts of the 3ueer dreams of different %ersons, some of
them citations from theoso%hical "oo!s and maga'ines (nota"l# $. 0cott+/lliott6s .tlantis and the Lost
Lemuria), and the rest comments on long+surviving secret societies and hidden cults, with references to %assages
in such m#thological and anthro%ological source+"oo!s as 8ra'er6s -olden (ough and *iss *urra#6s $itch+:ult
in $estern /uro%e. The cuttings largel# alluded to outrB mental illness and out"rea!s of grou% foll# or mania in
the s%ring of 192;.
The first half of the %rinci%al manuscri%t told a ver# %eculiar tale. t a%%ears that on 1 *arch 192;, a
thin, dar! #oung man of neurotic and e7cited as%ect had called u%on Professor .ngell "earing the singular cla#
"as+relief, which was then e7ceedingl# dam% and fresh. His card "ore the name of Henr# .nthon# $ilco7, and
m# uncle had recogni'ed him as the #oungest son of an e7cellent famil# slightl# !nown to him, who had latterl#
"een stud#ing scul%ture at the 2hode sland 0chool of <esign and living alone at the 8leur+de+L#s (uilding near
that institution. $ilco7 was a, %recocious #outh of !nown genius "ut great eccentricit#, and had from childhood
e7cited attention through the strange stories and odd dreams he was in the ha"it of relating. He called himself
6%s#chicall# h#%ersensitive,6 "ut the staid fol! of the ancient commercial cit# dismissed him as merel# 63ueer6.
4ever mingling much with his !ind, he had dro%%ed graduall# from social visi"ilit#, and was now !nown onl# to
a small grou% of aesthetes from other towns. /ven the Providence .rt :lu", an7ious to %reserve its conservatism,
had found him 3uite ho%eless.
>n the occasion of the visit, ran the %rofessor6s manuscri%t, the scul%tor a"ru%tl# as!ed for the "enefit of
his host6s archaeological !nowledge in identif#ing the hierogl#%hics on the "as+relief. He s%o!e in a dream#,
stilted manner which suggested %ose and alienated s#m%ath#& and m# uncle showed some shar%ness in re%l#ing,
for the cons%icuous freshness of the ta"let im%lied !inshi% with an#thing "ut archaeolog#. Coung $ilco76s
re5oinder, which im%ressed m# uncle enough to ma!e him recall and record it ver"atim, was of a fantasticall#
%oetic cast which must have t#%ified his whole conversation, and which have since found highl# characteristic
of him. He said, 6t is new, indeed, for made it last night in a dream of strange cities& and dreams are older than
"rooding T#re or the contem%lative 0%hin7, or garden+ girdled (a"#lon.6
t was then that he "egan that ram"ling tale which suddenl# %la#ed u%on a slee%ing memor# and won the
fevered interest of m# uncle. There had "een a slight earth+ 3ua!e tremor the night "efore, the most considera"le
felt in 4ew /ngland for some #ears& and $ilco76s imaginations had "een !eenl# affected. 1%on retiring, he had
had an un%recedented dream of great :#clo%ean cities of Titan "loc!s and s!#+flung monoliths, all dri%%ing with
green oo'e and sinister with latent horror. Hierogl#%hics had covered the walls and %illars, and from some
undetermined %oint "elow had come a voice that was not a voice& a chaotic sensation which onl# fanc# could
transmute into sound, "ut which he attem%ted to render "# the almost un%ronouncea"le 5um"le of letters 6:thulhu
This ver"al 5um"le was the !e# to the recollection which e7cited and distur"ed Professor .ngell. He
3uestioned the scul%tor with scientific minuteness& and studied with almost frantic intensit# the "as+relief on
which the #outh had found himself wor!ing, chilled and clad onl# in his nightclothes, when wa!ing had stolen
"ewilderingl# over him. *# uncle "lamed his old age, $ilco7 afterward said, for his slowness in recogni'ing
"oth hierogl#%hics and %ictorial design. *an# of his 3uestions seemed highl# out of %lace to his visitor
es%eciall# those which tried to connect the latter with strange cults or societies& and $ilco7 could not understand
the re%eated %romises of silence which he was offered in e7change for an admission of mem"ershi% in some
wides%read m#stical or %aganl# religious "od#. $hen Professor .ngell "ecame convinced that the scul%tor was
indeed ignorant of an# cult or s#stem of cr#%tic lore, he "esieged his visitor with demands for future re%orts of
dreams. This "ore regular fruit, for after the first interview the manuscri%t records dail# calls of the #oung man,
during which he related startling fragments of nocturnal imager# whose "urden was alwa#s some terri"le
:#clo%ean vista of dar! and dri%%ing stone, with a su"terrene voice or intelligence shouting monotonousl# in
enigmatical sense+im%acts uninscri"a"le save gi""erish. The two sounds most fre3uentl# re%eated are those
rendered "# the letters 6:thulhu6 and 626l#eh.6
>n 2D *arch the manuscri%t continued, $ilco7 failed to a%%ear& and in3uiries at his 3uarters revealed
that he had "een stric!en with an o"scure sort of fever and ta!en to the home of his famil# in $aterman 0treet.
He had cried out in the night, arousing several other artists in the "uilding, and had manifested since then onl#
alternations of unconsciousness and delirium. *# uncle at once tele%honed the famil#, and from that time
forward !e%t close watch of the case& calling often at the Tha#er 0treet office of <r To"e#, whom he learned to
"e in charge. The #outh6s fe"rile mind, a%%arentl#, was dwelling on strange things& and the doctor shuddered now
and then as he s%o!e of them. The# included not onl# a re%etition of what he had formerl# dreamed, "ut touched
wildl# on a gigantic thing 6miles high6 which wal!ed or lum"ered a"out. He at no time full# descri"ed this o"5ect
"ut occasional frantic words, as re%eated "# <r To"e#, convinced the %rofessor that it must "e identical with the
nameless monstrosit# he had sought to de%ict in his dream +scul%ture. 2eference to this o"5ect, the doctor added,
was invaria"l# a %relude to the #oung man6s su"sidence into letharg#. His tem%erature, oddl# enough, was not
greatl# a"ove normal& "ut the whole condition was otherwise such as to suggest true fever rather than mental
>n 2 .%ril at a"out D P.*. ever# trace of $ilco76s malad# suddenl# ceased. He sat u%right in "ed,
astonished to find himself at home and com%letel# ignorant of what had ha%%ened in dream or realit# since the
night of 22 *arch. Pronounced well "# his %h#sician, he returned to his 3uarters in three da#s& "ut to Professor
.ngell he was of no further assistance. .ll traces of strange dreaming had vanished with his recover#, and m#
uncle !e%t no record of his night+thoughts after a wee! of %ointless and irrelevant accounts of thoroughl# usual
Here the first %art of the manuscri%t ended, "ut references to certain of the scattered notes gave me much
material for thought ) so much, in fact, that onl# the ingrained sce%ticism then forming m# %hiloso%h# can
account for m# continued distrust of the artist. The notes in 3uestion were those descri%tive of the dreams of
various %ersons covering the same %eriod as that in which #oung $ilco7 had had his strange visitations. *#
uncle, it seems, had 3uic!l# instituted a %rodigiousl# far+flung "od# of in3uiries amongst nearl# all the friends
whom he could 3uestion without im%ertinence, as!ing for nightl# re%orts of their dreams, and the dates of an#
nota"le visions for some time %ast. The rece%tion of his re3uest seems to have "een varied& "ut he must at the
ver# least, have received more res%onses than an# ordinar# man could have handled without a secretar#. This
original corres%ondence was not %reserved "ut his notes formed a thorough and reall# significant digest. .verage
%eo%le in societ# and "usiness ) 4ew /ngland6s traditional 6salt of the earth6 ) gave an almost com%letel#
negative result, though scattered cases of uneas# "ut formless nocturnal im%ressions a%%ear here and there,
alwa#s "etween 2D *arch and 2 .%ril ) the %eriod of #oung $ilco76s delirium. 0cientific men were little more
affected, though four cases of vague descri%tion suggest fugitive glim%ses of strange landsca%es, and in one case
there is mentioned a dread of something a"normal.
t was from the artists and %oets that the %ertinent answers came, and !now that %anic would have
"ro!en loose had the# "een a"le to com%are notes. .s it was, lac!ing their original letters, half sus%ected the
com%iler of having as!ed leading 3uestions, or of having edited the corres%ondence in corro"oration of what he
had latentl# resolved to see. That is wh# continued to feel that $ilco7, somehow cogni'ant of old data which
m# uncle had %ossessed, had "een im%osing on the veteran scientist. These res%onses from aesthetes told a
distur"ing tale. 8rom 2@ 8e"ruar# to 2 .%ril a large %ro%ortion of the dreams "eing immeasura"le the stronger
during the %eriod of the scul%tor6s delirium. >ver a fourth of those who re%orted an#thing, re%orted scenes and
half+sounds not unli!e those which $ilco7 had descri"ed& and some of the dreamers confessed acute fear of the
gigantic nameless thing visi"le towards the last. >ne case, which the note descri"es with em%hasis, was ver# sad.
The su"5ect, a widel# !nown architect with leanings towards theoso%h# and occultism, went violentl# insane on
the date of #oung $ilco76s sei'ure, and e7%ired several months later after incessant screamings to "e saved from
some esca%ed deni'en of hell. Had m# uncle referred to these cases "# name instead of merel# "# num"er,
should have attem%ted some corro"oration and %ersonal investigation& "ut as it was, succeeded in tracing down
onl# a few. .ll of these, however, "ore out the notes in full. have often wondered if all the o"5ects of the
%rofessor6s 3uestioning felt as %u''led as did this fraction. t is well that no e7%lanation shall ever reach them.
The %ress cuttings, as have intimated, touched on cases of %anic, mania, and eccentricit# during the
given %eriod. Professor .ngell must have em%lo#ed a cutting "ureau, for the num"er of e7tracts was tremendous,
and the sources scattered throughout the glo"e. Here was a nocturnal suicide in London, where a lone slee%er
had lea%ed from a window after a shoc!ing cr#. Here li!ewise a ram"ling letter to the editor of a %a%er in 0outh
.merica, where a fanatic deduces a dire future from visions he has seen. . dis%atch from :alifornia descri"es a
theoso%hist colon# as donning white ro"es en masse for some 6glorious fulfilment6 which never arrives, whilst
items from ndia s%ea! guardedl# of serious native unrest towards the end of *arch. Eoodoo orgies multi%l# in
Haiti, and .frican out%osts re%ort ominous mutterings. .merican officers in the Phili%%ines find certain tri"es
"othersome a"out this time, and 4ew Cor! %olicemen are mo""ed "# h#sterical Levantines on the night of 22+2D
*arch The west of reland, too, is full of wild rumour and legendr# and a fantastic %ainter named .rdois+(oonot
hangs a "las%hemous <ream Landsca%e in the Paris s%ring salon of 1926. .nd so numerous are the recorded
trou"les in insane as#lums that onl# a miracle can have sto%%ed the medical fraternit# from noting strange
%arallelisms and drawing m#stified conclusions. . weird "unch of cuttings, all told& and can at this date
scarcel# envisage the callous rationalism with which set them aside. (ut was then convinced that #oung
$ilco7 had !nown of the older matters mentioned "# the %rofessor.
II. THE TALE OF INSPECTOR LEGRASSE
The old matters which had made the scul%tor6s dream and "as+relief so significant to m# uncle formed
the su"5ect of the second half of his long manuscri%t. >nce "efore, it a%%ears Professor .ngell had seen the
hellish outlines of the nameless monstrosit#, %u''led over the un!nown hierogl#%hics, and heard the ominous
s#lla"les which can "e rendered onl# as 6:thulhu6& and all this in so stirring and horri"le a connection that it is
small wonder he %ursued #oung $ilco7 with 3ueries and demands for data.
This earlier e7%erience had come in 19?@, seventeen #ears "efore when the .merican .rchaeological
0ociet# held its annual meeting in 0t Louis. Professor .ngell, as "efitted one of his authorit# and attainments,
had had a %rominent %art in all the deli"erations, and was one of the first to "e a%%roached "# the several
outsiders who too! advantage of the convocation to offer 3uestions for correct answering and %ro"lems for
The chief of these outsiders, and in a short time the focus of interest for the entire meeting, was a
common%lace+loo!ing middle+aged man who had travelled all the wa# from 4ew >rleans for certain s%ecial
information uno"taina"le from an# local source. His name was =ohn 2a#mond Legrasse, and he was "#
%rofession an ins%ector of %olice $ith him he "ore the su"5ect of his visit, a grotes3ue, re%ulsive, and a%%arentl#
ver# ancient stone statuette whose origin he was at a loss to determine.
t must not "e fancied that ns%ector Legrasse had the least interest in archaeolog#. >n the contrar#, his
wish for enlightenment was %rom%ted "# %urel# %rofessional considerations. The statuette, idol, fetish, or
whatever it was, had "een ca%tured some months "efore in the wooden swam%s south of 4ew >rleans during a
raid on a su%%osed voodoo meeting& and so singular and hideous were the rites connected with it, that the %olice
could not "ut reali'e that the# had stum"led on a dar! cult totall# un!nown to them, and infinitel# more dia"olic
than even the "lac!est of the .frican voodoo circles. >f its origin, a%art from the erratic and un"elievea"le tales
e7torted from the ca%tured mem"ers, a"solutel# nothing was to "e discovered& hence the an7iet# of the %olice for
an# anti3uarian lore which might hel% them to %lace the frightful s#m"ol, and through it trac! down the cult to
ns%ector Legrasse was scarcel# %re%ared for the sensation which his offering created. >ne sight of the
thing had "een enough to throw the assem"led men of science into a state of tense e7citement, and the# lost no
time in crowding around him to ga'e at the diminutive figure whose utter strangeness and air of genuinel#
a"#smal anti3uit# hinted so %otentl# at uno%ened and archaic vistas. 4o recogni'ed school of scul%ture had
animated this terri"le o"5ect, #et centuries and even thousands of #ears seemed recorded in its dim and greenish
surface of un%lacea"le stone.
The figure, which was finall# %assed slowl# from man to man for close and careful stud#, was "etween
seven and eight inches in height, and of e73uisitel# artistic wor!manshi%. t re%resented a monster of vaguel#
anthro%oid outline, "ut with an octo%us+li!e head whose face was a mass of feelers, a scal#, ru""er#+loo!ing
"od#, %rodigious claws on hind and fore feet, and long, narrow wings "ehind. This thing, which seemed instinct
with a fearsome and unnatural malignanc#, was of a somewhat "loated cor%ulence, and s3uatted evill# on a
rectangular "loc! or %edestal covered with undeci%hera"le characters. The ti%s of the wings touched the "ac!
edge of the "loc!, the seat occu%ied the centre, whilst the long, curved claws of the dou"led+u%, crouching hind
legs gri%%ed the front edge and e7tended a 3uarter of the wa# down towards the "ottom of the %edestal. The
ce%halo%od head was "ent forward, so that the ends of the facial feelers "rushed the "ac!s of huge fore+%aws
which clas%ed the croucher6s elevated !nees. The as%ect of the whole was a"normall# lifeli!e, and the more
su"tl# fearful "ecause its source was so totall# un!nown. ts vast, awesome, and incalcula"le age was
unmista!a"le& #et not one lin! did it show with an# !nown t#%e of art "elonging to civili'ation6s #outh ) or
indeed to an# other time.
Totall# se%arate and a%art, its ver# material was a m#ster#& for the soa%#, greenish+"lac! stone with its
golden or iridescent flec!s and striations resem"led nothing familiar to geolog# or mineralog#. The characters
along the "ase were e3uall# "affling& and no mem"er %resent, des%ite a re%resentation of half the world6s e7%ert
learning in this field, could form the least notion of even their remotest linguistic !inshi%. The#, li!e the su"5ect
and material, "elonged to something horri"l# remote and distinct from man!ind as we !now it& something
frightfull# suggestive of old and unhallowed c#cles of life in which our world and our conce%tions have no %art.
.nd #et, as the mem"ers severall# shoo! their heads and confessed defeat at the ins%ector6s %ro"lem,
there was one man in that gathering who sus%ected a touch of "i'arre familiarit# in the monstrous sha%e and
writing, and who %resentl# told with some diffidence of the odd trifle he !new. This %erson was the late $illiam
:hanning $e"", %rofessor of anthro%olog# in Princeton 1niversit#, and an e7%lorer of no slight note.
Professor $e"" had "een engaged, fort#+eight #ears "efore, in a tour of -reenland and celand in search
of some 2unic inscri%tions which he failed to unearth& and whilst high u% on the $est -reenland coast had
encountered a singular tri"e or cult of degenerate /s!imos whose religion, a curious form of devil+worshi%,
chilled him with its deli"erate "loodthirstiness and re%ulsiveness. t was a faith of which other /s!imos !new
little, and which the# mentioned onl# with shudders, sa#ing that it had come down from horri"l# ancient aeons
"efore ever the world was made. (esides nameless rites and human sacrifices there were certain 3ueer hereditar#
rituals addressed to a su%reme elder devil or tornasu!& and of this Professor $e"" had ta!en a careful %honetic
co%# from an aged ange!o! or wi'ard+%riest, e7%ressing the sounds in 2oman letters as "est he !new how. (ut
5ust now of %rime significance was the fetish which this cult had cherished, and around which the# danced when
the aurora lea%ed high over the ice cliffs. t was, the %rofessor stated, a ver# crude "as+relief of stone, com%rising
a hideous %icture and some cr#%tic writing. .nd as far as he could tell, it was rough %arallel in all essential
features of the "estial thing now l#ing "efore the meeting.
These data, received with sus%ense and astonishment "# the assem"led mem"ers, %roved dou"l# e7citing
to ns%ector Legrasse& and he "egan at once to %l# his informant with 3uestions. Having noted and co%ied an oral
ritual among the swam% cult+worshi%%ers his men had arrested, he "esought the %rofessor to remem"er as "est
he might the s#lla"les ta!en down amongst the dia"olist /s!imos. There then followed an e7haustive
com%arison of details, and a moment of reall# awed silence when "oth detective and scientist agreed on the
virtual identit# of the %hrase common to two hellish rituals so man# worlds of distance a%art. $hat, in su"stance,
"oth the /s!imo wi'ards and the Louisiana swam%+%riests had chanted to their !indred idols was something ver#
li!e this ) the word+divisions "eing guessed at from traditional "rea!s in the %hrase as chanted aloud&
6Ph6nglui mglw6nafh :thulhu 26l#eh wgah6nagl fhtagn.6
Legrasse had one %oint in advance of Professor $e"", for several among his mongrel %risoners had
re%eated to him what older cele"rants had told them the words meant. This te7t, as given, ran something li!e
6n his house at 26l#eh dead :thulhu waits dreaming.6
.nd now, in res%onse to a general urgent demand, ns%ector Legrasse related as full# as %ossi"le his
e7%erience with the swam% worshi%%ers& telling a stor# to which could see m# uncle attached %rofound
significance. t savoured of the wildest dreams of m#th+ma!er and theoso%hist, and disclosed an astonishing
degree of cosmic imagination among such half+castes and %ariahs as might "e least e7%ected to %ossess it.
>n 1 4ovem"er 19?,, there had come to 4ew >rleans %olice a frantic summons from the swam% and
lagoon countr# to the south. The s3uatters there, mostl# %rimitive "ut good+natured descendants of Lafitte6s men,
were in the gri% of star! terror from an un!nown thing which had stolen u%on them in the night. t was voodoo,
a%%arentl#, "ut voodoo of a more terri"le sort than the# had ever !nown& and some of their women and children
had disa%%eared since the malevolent tom+tom had "egun its incessant "eating far within the "lac! haunted
woods where no dweller ventured. There were insane shouts and harrowing screams, soul+chilling chants and
dancing devil+flames& and, the frightened messenger added, the %eo%le could stand it no more.
0o a "od# of twent# %olice, filling two carriages and an automo"ile, had set out in the late afternoon with
the shivering s3uatter as a guide. .t the end of the %assa"le road the# alighted, and for miles s%lashed on in
silence through the terri"le c#%ress woods where da# never came. 1gl# roots and malignant hanging nooses of
0%anish moss "eset them, and now and then a %ile of dan! stones or fragments of a rotting wall intensified "# its
hint of mor"id ha"itation a de%ression which ever# malformed tree and ever# fungous islet com"ined to create.
.t length the s3uatter settlement, a misera"le huddle of huts, hove in sight& and h#sterical dwellers ran out to
cluster around the grou% of "o""ing lanterns. The muffled "eat of tom+toms was now faintl# audi"le far, far
ahead& and a curdling shrie! came at infre3uent intervals when the wind shifted. . reddish glare, too, seemed to
filter through the %ale undergrowth "e#ond endless avenues of forest night. 2eluctant even to "e left alone again,
each one of the cowed s3uatters refused %oint+"lan! to advance another inch towards the scene of unhol#
worshi%, so ns%ector Legrasse and his nineteen colleagues %lunged on unguided into "lac! arcades of horror
that none of them had ever trod "efore.
The region now entered "# the %olice was one of traditionall# evil re%ute, su"stantiall# un!nown and
untraversed "# white men. There were legends of a hidden la!e unglim%sed "# mortal sight, in which dwelt a
huge, formless white %ol#%us thing with luminous e#es& and s3uatters whis%ered that "at+winged devils flew u%
out of caverns in inner earth to worshi% it at midnight. The# said it had "een there "efore <6l"erville, "efore La
0alle, "efore the ndians, and "efore even the wholesome "easts and "irds of the woods. t was nightmare itself,
and to see it was to die. (ut it made men dream, and so the# !new enough to !ee% awa#. The %resent voodoo
org# was, indeed, on the merest fringe of this a"horred area, "ut that location was "ad enough& hence %erha%s the
ver# %lace of the worshi% had terrified the s3uatters more than the shoc!ing sounds and incidents.
>nl# %oetr# or madness could do 5ustice to the noises heard "# Legrasse6s men as the# %loughed on
through the "lac! morass towards the red glare and the muffled tom+ toms. There are vocal 3ualities %eculiar to
men, and vocal 3ualities %eculiar to "easts& and it is terri"le to hear the one when the source should #ield the
other. .nimal fur# and orgiastic licence here whi%%ed themselves to demoniac heights "# howls and s3uaw!ing
ecstasies that tore and rever"erated through those nighted woods li!e %estilential tem%ests from the gulfs of hell.
4ow and then the less organi'ed ululations would cease, and from what seemed a well+drilled chorus of hoarse
voices would rise in singsong chant that hideous %hrase or ritualG
6Ph6nglui mglw6nafh :thulhu 26l#eh wgah6nagl fhtagn.6
Then the men, having reached a s%ot where the trees were thinner, came suddenl# in sight of the
s%ectacle itself. 8our of them reeled, one fainted, and two were sha!en into a frantic cr# which the mad
caco%hon# of the org# fortunatel# deadened. Legrasse dashed swam% water on the face of the fainting man, and
all stood trem"ling and nearl# h#%noti'ed with horror. n a natural glade of the swam% stood a grass# island of
%erha%s an acre6s e7tent, clear of trees and tolera"l# dr#. >n this now lea%ed and twisted a more indescri"a"le
horde of human a"normalit# than an# "ut a 0ime or an .ngarola could %aint. Eoid of clothing, this h#"rid s%awn
were "ra#ing, "ellowing and writhing a"out a monstrous ringsha%ed "onfire& in the centre of which, revealed "#
occasional rifts in the curtain of flame, stood a great granite monolith some eight feet in height& on to% of which,
incongruous in its diminutiveness, rested the no7ious carven statuette. 8rom a wide circle of ten scaffolds set u%
at regular intervals with the flame+girt monolith as a centre hung, head downward, the oddl# marred "odies of
the hel%less s3uatters who had disa%%eared. t was inside this circle that the ring of worshi%%ers 5um%ed and
roared, the general direction of the mass motion "eing from left to right in endless "acchanale "etween the ring
of "odies and the ring of fire.
t ma# have "een onl# imagination and it ma# have "een onl# echoes which induced one of the men, an
e7cita"le 0%aniard, to fanc# he heard anti%honal res%onses to the ritual from some far and unillumined s%ot
dee%er within the wood of ancient legendr# and horror. This man, =ose%h <. -alve', later met and 3uestioned&
and he %roved distractingl# imaginative. He indeed went so far as to hint of the faint "eating of great wings, and
of a glim%se of shining e#es and mountainous white "ul! "e#ond the remotest trees ) "ut su%%ose he had "een
hearing too much native su%erstition.
.ctuall#, the horrified %ause of the men was of com%arativel# "rief duration. <ut# came first& and
although there must have "een nearl# a hundred mongrel cele"rants in the throng, the %olice relied on their
firearms and %lunged determinedl# into the nauseous rout. 8or five minutes the resultant din and chaos were
"e#ond descri%tion. $ild "lows were struc!, shots were fired, and esca%es were made& "ut in the end Legrasse
was a"le to count some fort#+seven sullen %risoners, whom he forced to dress in haste and fall into line "etween
two rows of %olicemen. 8ive of the worshi%%ers la# dead, and two severel# wounded ones were carried awa# on
im%rovised stretchers "# their fellow+%risoners. The image on the monolith, of course, was carefull# removed
and carried "ac! "# Legrasse.
/7amined at head3uarters after a tri% of intense strain and weariness, the %risoners all %roved to "e men
of a ver# low, mi7ed+"looded, and mentall# a"errant t#%e. *ost were seamen, and a s%rin!ling of negroes and
mulattos, largel# $est ndians or (rava Portuguese from the :a%e Eerde slands, gave a colouring of voodooism
to the heterogeneous cult. (ut "efore man# 3uestions were as!ed it "ecame manifest that something far dee%er
and older than negro fetishism was involved. <egraded and ignorant as the# were, the creatures held with
su%rising consistenc# to the central idea of their loathsome faith.
The# worshi%%ed, so the# said, the -reat >ld >nes who lived ages "efore there were an# men, and who
came to the #oung world out of the s!#. These >ld >nes were gone now inside the earth and under the sea& "ut
their dead "odies had told their secrets in dreams to the first man, who formed a cult which had never died. This
was that cult, and the %risoners said it had alwa#s e7isted and alwa#s would e7ist, hidden in distant wastes and
dar! %laces all over the world until the time when the great %riest :thulhu, from his dar! house in the might#
cit# of 26l#eh under the waters, should rise and "ring the earth again "eneath his swa#. 0ome da# he would call,
when the stars were read#, and the secret cult would alwa#s "e waiting to li"erate him.
*eanwhile no more must "e told. There was a secret which even torture could not e7tract. *an!ind was
not a"solutel# alone among the conscious things of earth, for sha%es came out of the dar! to visit the faithful
few. (ut these were not the -reat >ld >nes. 4o man had ever seen the >ld >nes. The carven idol was great
:thulhu, "ut none might sa# whether or not the others were %recisel# li!e him. 4o one could read the old writing
now, "ut things were told "# word of mouth. The chanted ritual was not the secret ) that was never s%o!en
aloud, onl# whis%ered. The chant meant onl# thisG 6n his house at 26l#eh dead :thulhu waits dreaming.6
>nl# two of the %risoners were found sane enough to "e hanged, and the rest were committed to various
institutions. .ll denied a %art in the ritual murders, and averred that the !illing had "een done "# (lac!+winged
>nes which had come to them from their immemorial meeting+%lace in the haunted wood. (ut of those
m#sterious allies no coherent account could ever "e gained. $hat the %olice did e7tract came mainl# from an
immensel# aged mesti'o named :astro, who claimed to have sailed to strange %orts and tal!ed with und#ing
leaders of the cult in the mountains of :hina.
>ld :astro remem"ered "its of hideous legend that %aled the s%eculations of theoso%hists and made man
and the world seem recent and transient indeed. There had "een aeons when other Things ruled on the earth, and
The# had had great cities. 2emains of Them, he said the deathless :hinamen had told him, were still to "e found
as :#clo%ean stones on islands in the Pacific. The# all died vast e%ochs of time "efore man came, "ut there were
arts which could revive Them when the stars had come round again to the right %ositions in the c#cle of eternit#.
The# had, indeed, come themselves from the stars, and "rought Their images with Them.
These -reat >ld >nes, :astro continued, were not com%osed altogether of flesh and "lood. The# had
sha%e for did not this star+fashioned image %rove it9 ) "ut that sha%e was not made of matter. $hen the stars
were right, The# could %lunge from world to world through the s!#& "ut when the stars were wrong, The# could
not live. (ut although The# no longer lived, The# would never reall# die. The# all la# in stone houses in Their
great cit# of 26l#eh %reserved "# the s%ells of might# :thulhu for a glorious resurrection when the stars and the
earth might once more "e read# for Them. (ut at that time some force from outside must serve to li"erate Their
"odies. The s%ells that %reserved Them intact li!ewise %revented Them from ma!ing an initial move, and The#
could onl# lie awa!e in the dar! and thin! whilst uncounted millions of #ears rolled "#. The# !new all that was
occurring in the universe, for Their mode of s%eech was transmitted thought. /ven now The# tal!ed in Their
tom"s. $hen, after infinities of chaos, the first men came, the -reat >ld >nes s%o!e to the sensitive among them
"# moulding their dreams& for onl# thus could Their language reach the flesh# minds of mammals.
Then, whis%ered :astro, those first men formed the cult around small idols which the -reat >nes
showed them& idols "rought in dim eras from dar! stars. That cult would never die till the stars came right again,
and the secret %riests would ta!e great :thulhu from His tom" to revive His su"5ects and resume His rule of
earth. The time would "e eas# to !now, for then man!ind would have "ecome as the -reat >ld >nes& free and
wild and "e#ond good and evil, with laws and morals thrown aside and all men shouting and !illing and
revelling in 5o#. Then the li"erated >ld >nes would teach them new wa#s to shout and !ill and revel and en5o#
themselves, and all the earth
would flame with a holocaust of ecstas# and freedom. *eanwhile the cult, "# a%%ro%riate rites, must
!ee% alive the memor# of those ancient wa#s and shadow forth the %ro%hec# of their return.
n the elder time chosen men had tal!ed with the entom"ed >ld >nes in dreams, "ut then something had
ha%%ened. The great stone cit# 26l#eh, with its monoliths and se%ulchres, had sun! "eneath the waves& and the
dee% waters, full of the one %rimal m#ster# through which not even thought can %ass, had cut off the s%ectral
intercourse. (ut memor# never died, and high %riests said that the cit# would rise again when the stars were
right. Then came out of the earth the "lac! s%irits of earth, mould# and shadow#, and full of dim rumours %ic!ed
u% in caverns "eneath forgotten sea+"ottoms. (ut of them old :astro dared not s%ea! much. He cut himself off
hurriedl#, and no amount of %ersuasion or su"tlet# could elicit more in this direction. The si'e of the >ld >nes,
too, he curiousl# declined to mention. >f the cult, he said that he thought the centre la# amid the %athless deserts
of .ra"ia, where rem, the :it# of Pillars, dreams hidden and untouched. t was not allied to the /uro%ean witch+
cult, and was virtuall# un!nown "e#ond its mem"ers. 4o "oo! had ever reall# hinted of it, though the deathless
:hinamen said that there were dou"le meanings in the 4ecronomicon of the mad .ra" ."dul .lha'red which
the initiated might read as the# chose, es%eciall# the much+discussed cou%letG
'hat is not dead which can eternal lie,
And with strange aeons even death may die.
Legrasse, dee%l# im%ressed and not a little "ewildered, had in3uired in vain concerning the historic
affiliations of the cult. :astro, a%%arentl#, had told the truth when he said that it was wholl# secret. The
authorities at Tulane 1niversit# could shed no light u%on either cult or image, and now the detective had come to
the highest authorities in the countr# and met with no more than the -reenland tale of Professor $e"".
The feverish interest aroused at the meeting "# Legrasse6s tale, corro"orated as it was "# the statuette, is
echoed in the su"se3uent corres%ondence of those who attended& although scant mention occurs in the formal
%u"lication of the societ#. :aution is the first care of those accustomed to face occasional charlatanr# and
im%osture. Legrasse for some time lent the image to Professor $e"", "ut at the latter6s death it was returned to
him and remains in his %ossession, where viewed it not long ago. t is trul# a terri"le thing, and unmista!a"l#
a!in to the dream+scul%ture of #oung $ilco7.
That m# uncle was e7cited "# the tale of the scul%tor did not wonder, for what thoughts must arise
u%on hearing after a !nowledge of what Legrasse had learned of the cult, of a sensitive #oung man, who had
dreamed not onl# the figure and e7act hierogl#%hics of the swam%+ found image and the -reenland devil ta"let,
"ut had come in his dreams u%on at least three of the %recise words of the formula uttered ali!e "# /s!imo
dia"olists and mongrel Louisianans9 Professor .ngell6s instant start on an investigation of the utmost
thoroughness was eminentl# natural& though %rivatel# sus%ected #oung $ilco7 of having heard of the cult in
some indirect wa#, and of having invented a series of dreams to heighten and continue the m#ster# at m# uncle6s
e7%ense. The dream+ narratives and cuttings collected "# the %rofessor were, of course, strong corro"oration& "ut
the rationalism of m# mind and the e7travagance of the whole su"5ect led me to ado%t what thought the most
sensi"le conclusions. 0o, after thoroughl# stud#ing the manuscri%t again and correlating the theoso%hical and
anthro%ological notes with the cult narrative of Legrasse, made a tri% to Providence to see the scul%tor and give
him the re"u!e thought %ro%er for so "oldl# im%osing u%on a learned and aged man.
$ilco7 still lived alone in the 8leur+de+L#s (uilding in Thomas 0treet, a hideous Eictorian imitation of
seventeenth+centur# (reton architecture which flaunts its stuccoed front amidst the lovel# :olonial houses on
the ancient hill, and under the ver# shadow of the finest -eorgian stee%le in .merica. found him at wor! in his
rooms, and at once conceded from the s%ecimens scattered a"out that his genius is indeed %rofound and
authentic. He will, "elieve, "e heard from some time as one of the great decadents& for he has cr#stalli'ed in
cla# and will one da# mirror in mar"le those nightmares and fantasia which .rthur *achen evo!es in %rose, and
:lar! .shton 0mith ma!es visi"le in verse and in %ainting.
<ar!, frail, and somewhat un!em%t in as%ect, he turned languidl# at m# !noc! and as!ed me m#
"usiness without rising. $hen told him who was, he dis%la#ed some interest& for m# uncle had e7cited his
curiosit# in %ro"ing his strange dreams, #et had never e7%lained the reason for the stud#. did not enlarge his
!nowledge in this regard, "ut sought with some su"tlet# to draw him out.
n a short time "ecame convinced of his a"solute sincerit# for he s%o!e of the dreams in a manner none
could mista!e. The# and their su"conscious residuum had influenced his art %rofoundl#, and he showed me a
mor"id statue whose contours almost made me sha!e with the %otenc# of its "lac! suggestion. He could not
recall having seen the original of this thing e7ce%t in his own dream "as+relief, "ut the outlines had formed
themselves in+ sensi"l# under his hands. t was, no dou"t, the giant sha%e he had raved of in delirium. That he
reall# !new nothing of the hidden cult, save from what m# uncle6s relentless catechism had let fall, he soon made
clear& and again strove to thin! of some wa# in which he could %ossi"l# have received the weird im%ressions.
He tal!ed of his dreams in a strangel# %oetic fashion& ma!ing me see with terri"le vividness the dam%
:#clo%ean cit# of slim# green stone ) whose geometr#, he oddl# said, was all wrong ) and hear with
frightened e7%ectanc# the ceaseless, half+mental calling from undergroundG 6:thulhu fhtagn, :thulhu fhtagn.6
These words had formed %art of that dread ritual which told of dead :thulhu6s dream+vigil in his stone
vault at 26l#eh, and felt dee%l# moved des%ite m# rational "eliefs. $ilco7, was sure, had. heard of the cult in
some casual wa#, and had soon forgotten it amidst the mass of his e3uall# weird reading and imagining. Later,
"# virtue of its sheer im%ressiveness, it had found su"conscious e7%ression in dreams, in the "as+relief, and in
the terri"le statue now "eheld& so that his im%osture u%on m# uncle had "een a ver# innocent one. The #outh
was of a t#%e, at once slightl# affected and slightl# ill+mannered, which could never li!e& "ut was willing
enough now to admit "oth his genius and his honest#. too! leave of him amica"l#, and wish him all the success
his talent %romises.
The matter of the cult still remained to fascinate me, and at times had visions of %ersonal fame from
researches into its origin and connections. visited 4ew >rleans, tal!ed with Legrasse and others of that old+
time raiding+%art#, saw the frightful image, and even 3uestioned such of the mongrel %risoners as still survived.
>ld :astro, unfortunatel#, had "een dead for some #ears. $hat now heard so gra%hicall# at first hand, though it
was reall# no more than a detailed confirmation of what m# uncle had written, e7cited me afresh& for felt sure
that was on the trac! of a ver# real, ver# secret, and ver# ancient religion whose discover# would ma!e me an
anthro%ologist of note. *# attitude was still one of a"solute materialism as wish it still were, and discounted
with a most ine7%lica"le %erversit# the coincidence of the dream notes and odd cuttings collected "# Professor
>ne thing which "egan to sus%ect, and which now fear !now, is that m# uncle6s death was far from
natural. He fell on a narrow hill street leading u% from an ancient waterfront swarming with foreign mongrels,
after a careless %ush from a negro sailor. did not forget the mi7ed "lood and marine %ursuits of the cult+
mem"ers in Louisiana, and would not "e sur%rised to learn of secret methods and %oison needles as ruthless and
as ancientl# !nown as the cr#%tic rites and "eliefs. Legrasse and his men, it is true, have "een let alone& "ut in
4orwa# a certain seaman who saw things is dead. *ight not the dee%er in3uiries of m# uncle after encountering
the scul%tor6s data have come to sinister ears9 thin! Professor .ngel1 died "ecause he !new too much, or
"ecause he was li!el# to learn too much. $hether shall go as he did remains to "e seen, for have learned
III. THE MADNESS FROM THE SEA
f heaven ever wishes to grant me a "oon, it will "e a total effacing of the results of a mere chance which
fi7ed m# e#e on a certain stra# %iece of shelf+%a%er. t was nothing on which would naturall# have stum"led in
the course of m# dail# round, for it was an old num"er of an .ustralian 5ournal, 0#dne# (ulletin for 1@ .%ril
192;. t had esca%ed even the cutting "ureau which had at the time of its issuance "een avidl# collecting material
for m# uncle6s research.
had largel# given over m# in3uiries into what Professor .ngell called the 6:thulhu :ult,6 and was
visiting a learned friend of Paterson, 4ew =erse#& the curator of a local museum and a mineralogist of note.
/7amining one da# the reserve s%ecimens roughl# set on the storage shelves in a rear room of the museum, m#
e#e was caught "# an odd %icture in one of the old %a%ers s%read "eneath the stones. t was the 0#dne# (ulletin
have mentioned, for m# friend has tide affiliations in all conceiva"le foreign %arts& and the %icture was a half+
tone cut of a hideous stone image almost identical with that which Legrasse had found in the swam%.
/agerl# clearing the sheet of its %recious contents, scanned the item in detail, and was disa%%ointed to
find it of onl# moderate length. $hat it suggested, however, was of %ortentous significance to m# flagging 3uest&
and carefull# tore it out for immediate action. t read as followsG
()*'E) &EEL+#' ,O-!& A' *EA
Eigilant .rrives with Hel%less .rmed 4ew Healand
Cacht in Tow. >ne 0urvivor and <ead *an 8ound
."oard. Tale of <es%erate (attle and <eaths at 0ea.
2escued 0eaman 2efuses Particulars of 0trange /7%eri+
ence. >dd dol 8ound in His Possession. n3uir# to
The *orrison :o6s freighter Eigilant, "ound from Eal%araiso, arrived this morning at its wharf in <arling
Har"our having in tow the "attled and disa"led "ut heavil# armed steam #acht .lert of <unedin 4H, which was
sighted 12 .%ril in 0. Latitude DFI 216, $. Longitude 1;2I 1,6, with one living and one dead man a"oard.
The Eigilant left Eal%araiso 2; *arch, and on 2 .%ril was driven considera"l# south of her course "#
e7ce%tionall# heav# storms and monster waves. >n 12 .%ril the derelict was sighted& and though a%%arentl#
deserted, was found u%on "oarding to contain one survivor in a half+delirious condition and one man who had
evidentl# "een dead for more than a wee!.
The living man was clutching a horri"le stone idol of un!nown origin, a"out a foot in height, regarding
whose nature authorities at 0#dne# 1niversit#, the 2o#al 0ociet#, and the *useum in :ollege 0treet all %rofess
com%lete "afflement, and which the survivor sa#s he found in the ca"in of the #acht, in a small carved shrine of
This man, after recovering his senses, told an e7ceedingl# strange stor# of %irac# and slaughter. He is
-ustaf =ohansen, a 4orwegian of some intelligence, and had "een second mate of the two+masted schooner
/mma of .uc!land, which sailed for :allao 2? 8e"ruar#, with a com%lement of eleven men.
The /mma, he sa#s, was dela#ed and thrown widel# south of her course "# the great storm of 1 *arch,
and on 22 *arch, in 0. Latitude F9J ;16, $. Longitude 12@J DF6, encountered the .lert, manned "# a 3ueer and
evil+loo!ing crew of Kana!as and half+castes. (eing ordered %erem%toril# to turn "ac!, :a%t. :ollins refused&
whereu%on the strange crew "egan to fire savagel# and without warning u%on the schooner with a %eculiarl#
heav# "atter# of "rass cannon forming %art of the #acht6s e3ui%ment.
The /mma6s men showed fight, sa#s the survivor, and though the schooner "egan to sin! from shots
"eneath the waterline the# managed to heave alongside their enem# and "oard her, gra%%ling with the savage
crew on the #acht6s dec!, and "eing forced to !ill them all, the num"er "eing slightl# su%erior, "ecause of their
%articularl# a"horrent and des%erate though rather clums# mode of fighting.
Three of /mma6s men, including :a%t. :ollins and 8irst *ate -reen, were !illed& and the remaining
eight under 0econd *ate =ohansen %roceeded to navigate the ca%tured #acht, going ahead in their original
direction to see if an# reason for their ordering "ac! had e7isted.
The ne7t da#, it a%%ears, the# raised and landed on a small island, although none is !nown to e7ist in that
%art of the ocean& and si7 of the men somehow died ashore, though =ohansen is 3ueerl# reticent a"out this %art of
his stor# and s%ea!s onl# of their falling into a roc! chasm.
Later, it seems, he and one com%anion "oarded the #acht and tried to manage her, "ut were "eaten a"out
"# the storm of 2 .%ril.
8rom that time till his rescue on the 12th, the man remem"ers little, and he does not even recall when
$illiam (riden, his com%anion, died. (riden6s death reveals no a%%arent cause, and was %ro"a"l# due to
e7citement or e7%osure. :a"le advices from <unedin re%ort that the .lert was well !nown there as an island
trader, and "ore an evil re%utation along the waterfront. t was owned "# a curious grou% of half+castes whose
fre3uent meetings and night tri%s to the woods attracted no little curiosit#& and it had set sail in great haste 5ust
after the storm and earth tremors of 1 *arch.
>ur .uc!land corres%ondent gives the /mma and her crew an e7cellent re%utation, and =ohansen is
descri"ed as a so"er and worth# man.
The admiralt# will institute an in3uir# on the whole matter, "eginning tomorrow, at which ever# effort
will "e made to induce =ohansen to s%ea! more freel# than he has done hitherto.
This was all, together with the %icture of the hellish image& "ut what a train of ideas it started in m#
mindL Here were new treasuries of data on the :thulhu :ult, and evidence that it had strange interests at sea as
well as on land. $hat motive %rom%ted the h#"rid crew to order "ac! the /mma as the# sailed a"out with their
hideous idol9 $hat was the un!nown island on which si7 of the /mma6s crew had died, and a"out which the
mate =ohansen was so secretive9 $hat had the vice+admiralt#6s investigation "rought out, and what was !nown
of the no7ious cult in <unedin9 .nd most marvellous of all, what dee% and more than natural lin!age of dates
was this which gave a malign and now undenia"le significance to the various turns of events so carefull# noted
"# m# uncle9
1 *arch ) our 2@ 8e"ruar# according to the nternational <ate Line ) the earth3ua!e and storm had
come. 8rom <unedin the .lert and her noisome crew had darted eagerl# forth as if im%eriousl# summoned, and
on the other side of the earth %oets and artists had "egun to dream of a strange, dan! :#clo%ean cit# whilst a
#oung scul%tor had moulded in his slee% the form of the dreaded :thulhu. 2D *arch the crew of the /mma
landed on an un!nown island and left si7 men dead& and on that date the dreams of sensitive men assumed a
heightened vividness and dar!ened with dread of a giant monster6s malign %ursuit, whilst an architect had gone
mad and a scul%tor had la%sed suddenl# into deliriumL .nd what of this storm of 2 .%ril ) the date on which all
dreams of the dan! cit# ceased, and $ilco7 emerged unharmed from the "ondage of strange fever9 $hat of all
this ) and of those hints of old :astro a"out the sun!en, star+"orn >ld >nes and their coming reign& their
faithful cult and their master# of dreams9 $as tottering on the "rin! of cosmic horrors "e#ond man6s %ower to
"ear9 f so, the# must "e horrors of the mind alone, for in some wa# the second of .%ril had %ut a sto% to
whatever monstrous menace had "egun its seige of man!ind6s soul.
That evening, after a da# of hurried ca"ling and arranging, "ade m# host adieu and too! a train for 0an
8rancisco. n less than a month was in <unedinG where, however, found that little was !nown of the strange
cult+ mem"ers who had lingered in the old sea taverns. $aterfront scum was far too common for s%ecial
mention& though there was vague tal! a"out one inland tri% these mongrels had made, during which faint
drumming and red flame were noted on the distant hills.
n .uc!land learned that =ohansen had returned with #ellow hair turned white after a %erfunctor# and
inconclusive 3uestioning at 0#dne#, and had thereafter sold his cottage in $est 0treet and sailed with his wife to
his old home in >slo. >f his stirring e7%erience he would tell his friends no more than he had told the admiralt#
officials, and all the# could do was to give me his >slo address.
.fter that went to 0#dne# and tal!ed %rofitlessl# with seamen and mem"ers of the vice+admiralt#
court. saw the .lert, now sold and in commercial use, in :ircular Mua# at 0#dne# :ove, "ut gained nothing
from its noncommittal "ul!. The crouching image with its cuttlefish head, dragon "od#, scal# wings, and
hierogl#%hed %edestal, was %reserved in the *useum at H#de Par!& and studied it long and well, finding it a
thing of "alefull# e73uisite wor!manshi%, and with the same utter m#ster#, terri"le anti3uit#, and unearthl#
strangeness of material which had noted in Legrasse6s smaller s%ecimen. -eologists, the curator told me, had
found it a monstrous %u''le& for the# vowed that the world held no roc! li!e it. Then thought with a shudder of
what old :astro had told Legrasse a"out the %rimal -reat >nesG 6The# had come from the stars, and had "rought
Their images with Them.6
0ha!en with such a mental revolution as had never "efore !nown, now resolved to visit *ate
=ohansen in >slo. 0ailing for London, re+em"ar!ed at once for the 4orwegian ca%ital& and one autumn da#
landed at the trim wharves in the shadow of the /ge"erg.
=ohansen6s address, discovered, la# in the >ld Town of King Harold Haardrada, which !e%t alive the
name of >slo during all the centuries that the greater cit# mas3ueraded as 6:hristiania.6 made the "rief tri% "#
ta7ica", and !noc!ed with %al%itant heart at the door of a neat and ancient "uilding with %lastered front. . sad+
faced woman in "lac! answered m# summons, and was stung with disa%%ointment when she told me in halting
/nglish that -ustaf =ohansen was no more.
He had not long survived his return, said his wife, for the doings at sea in 192; had "ro!en him. He had
told her no more than he had told the %u"lic, "ut had left a long manuscri%t ) of 6technical matters6 as he said )
written in /nglish, evidentl# in order to safeguard her from the %eril of casual %erusal. <uring a wal! through a
narrow lane near the -othen"urg doc!, a "undle of %a%ers falling from an attic window had !noc!ed him down.
Two Lascar sailors at once hel%ed him to his feet, "ut "efore the am"ulance could reach him he was dead.
Ph#sicians found no ade3uate cause for the end, and laid it to heart trou"le and a wea!ened constitution.
now felt gnawing at m# vitals that dar! terror which will never leave me till , too, am at rest&
6accidentall#6 or otherwise. Persuading the widow that m# connection with her hus"and6s 6technical matters6 was
sufficient to entitle me to his manuscri%t, "ore the document awa# and "egan to read it on the London "oat.
t was a sim%le, ram"ling thing ) a naNve sailor6s effort at a %ostfacto diar# ) and strove to recall da#
"# da# that last awful vo#age. cannot attem%t to transcri"e it ver"atim in all its cloudiness and redundance, "ut
will tell its gist enough to show wh# the sound of the water against the vessel6s sides "ecame so unendura"le to
me that sto%%ed m# ears with cotton.
=ohansen, than! -od, did not !now 3uite all, even though he saw the cit# and the Thing, "ut shall never
slee% calml# again when thin! of the horrors that lur! ceaselessl# "ehind life in time and in s%ace, and of those
unhallowed "las%hemies from elder stars which dream "eneath the sea, !nown and favoured "# a nightmare cult
read# and eager to loose them on the world whenever another earth3ua!e shall heave their monstrous stone cit#
again to the sun and air.
=ohansen6s vo#age had "egun 5ust as he told it to the vice+ admiralt#. The /mma, in "allast, had cleared
.uc!land on 2? 8e"ruar#, and had felt the full force of that earth3ua!e+"orn tem%est which must have heaved u%
from the sea+"ottom the horrors that filled men6s dreams. >nce more under control, the shi% was ma!ing good
%rogress when held u% "# the .lert on 22 *arch, and could feel the mate6s regret as he wrote of her
"om"ardment and sin!ing. >f the swarth# cult+fiends on the .lert he s%ea!s with significant horror. There was
some %eculiarl# a"omina"le 3ualit# a"out them which made their destruction seem almost a dut#, and =ohansen
shows ingenuous wonder at the charge of ruthlessness "rought against his %art# during the %roceedings of the
court of in3uir#. Then, driven ahead "# curiosit# in their ca%tured #acht under =ohansen6s command, the men
sight a great stone %illar stic!ing out of the sea, and in 0. Latitude F,J 96, $. Longitude 126J FD6, come u%on a
coastline of mingled mud, oo'e, and weed# :#clo%ean masonr# which can "e nothing less than the tangi"le
su"stance of earth6s su%reme terror+ the nightmare cor%se+cit# of 26l#eh, that was "uilt in measureless aeons
"ehind histor# "# the vast, loathsome sha%es that see%ed down from the dar! stars. There la# great :thulhu and
his hordes, hidden in green slim# vaults and sending out at last, after c#cles incalcula"le, the thoughts that s%read
fear to the dreams of the sensitive and called im%eriousl# to the faithful to come on a %ilgrimage of li"eration
and restoration. .ll this =ohansen did not sus%ect, "ut -od !nows he soon saw enoughL
su%%ose that onl# a single mountain+to%, the hideous monolith+crowned citadel whereon great :thulhu
was "uried, actuall# emerged from the waters. $hen thin! of the e7tent of all that ma# "e "rooding down there
almost wish to !ill m#self forthwith. =ohansen and his men were awed "# the cosmic ma5est# of this dri%%ing
(a"#lon of elder daemons, and must have guessed without guidance that it was nothing of this or an# sane
%lanet. .we at the un"elieva"le si'e of the greenish stone "loc!s, at the di''#ing height of the great carven
monolith, and at the stu%ef#ing identit# of the colossal statues and "as+reliefs with the 3ueer image found in the
shrine on the .lert, is %oignantl# visi"le in ever# line of the mate6s frightened descri%tion.
$ithout !nowing what futurism is li!e, =ohansen achieved something ver# close to it when he s%o!e of
the cit#& for instead of descri"ing an# definite structure or "uilding, he dwells onl# on the "road im%ressions of
vast angles and stone surfaces ) surfaces too great to "elong to an#thing right or %ro%er for this earth, and
im%ious with horri"le images and hierogl#%hs. mention his tal! a"out angles "ecause it suggests something
$ilco7 had told me of his awful dreams. He had said that the geometr# of the dream+%lace he saw was
a"normal, non+/uclidean, and loathsomel# redolent of s%heres and dimensions a%art from ours. 4ow an
unlettered seaman felt the same thing whilst ga'ing at the terri"le realit#.
=ohansen and his men landed at a slo%ing mud+"an! on this monstrous acro%olis, and clam"ered
sli%%eril# u% over titan oo'# "loc!s which could have "een no mortal staircase. The ver# sun of heaven seemed
distorted when viewed through the %olari'ing miasma welling out from this sea+soa!ed %erversion, and twisted
menace and sus%ense lur!ed leeringl# in those cra'il# elusive angles of carven roc! where a second glance
showed concavit# after the first showed conve7it#.
0omething ver# li!e fright had come over all the e7%lorers "efore an#thing more definite than roc! and
oo'e and weed was seen. /ach would have fled had he not feared the scorn of the others, and it was onl# half+
heartedl# that the# searched ) vainl#, as it %roved ) for some %orta"le souvenir to "ear awa#.
t was 2odrigue' the Portuguese who clim"ed u% the foot of the monolith and shouted of what he had
found. The rest followed him, and loo!ed curiousl# at the immense carved door with the now familiar s3uid+
dragon "as+relief. t was, =ohansen said, li!e a great "arn+door& and the# all felt that it was a door "ecause of the
ornate lintel, threshold, and 5am"s around it, though the# could not decide whether it la# flat li!e a tra%+door or
slantwise li!e an outside cellar+ door. .s $ilco7 would have said, the geometr# of the %lace was all wrong. >ne
could not "e sure that the sea and the ground were hori'ontal, hence the relative %osition of ever#thing else
seemed fantasmall# varia"le.
(riden %ushed at the stone in several %laces without result. Then <onovan felt over it delicatel# around
the edge, %ressing each %oint se%aratel# as he went. He clim"ed intermina"l# along the grotes3ue stone
moulding ) that is, one would call it clim"ing if the thing was not after all hori'ontal ) and the men wondered
how an# door in the universe could "e so vast. Then, ver# softl# and slowl#, the acre+great %anel "egan to give
inward at the to%& and the# saw that it was "alanced.
<onovan slid or somehow %ro%elled himself down or along the 5am" and re5oined his fellows, and
ever#one watched the 3ueer recession of the monstrousl# carven %ortal. n this fantas# of %rismatic distortion it
moved anomalousl# in a diagonal wa#, so that all the rules of matter and %ers%ective seemed u%set.
The a%erture was "lac! with a dar!ness almost material. That tene"rousness was indeed a %ositive
3ualit#& for it o"scured such %arts of the inner walls as ought to have "een revealed, and actuall# "urst forth li!e
smo!e from its aeon+long im%risonment, visi"l# dar!ening the sun as it slun! awa# into the shrun!en and
gi""ous s!# on fla%%ing mem"ranous wings. The odour arising from the newl# o%ened de%ths was intolera"le,
and at length the 3uic!+ eared Haw!ins thought he heard a nast#, slo%%ing sound down there. /ver#one listened,
and ever#one was listening still when t lum"ered slo""eringl# into sight and gro%ingl# s3uee'ed ts gelatinous
green immensit# through the "lac! doorwa# into the tainted outside air of that %oison cit# of madness.
Poor =ohansen6s handwriting almost gave out when he wrote of this. >f the si7 men who never reached
the shi%, he thin!s two %erished of %ure fright in that accursed instant. The Thing cannot "e descri"ed ) there is
no language for such a"#sms of shrie!ing and immemorial lunac#, such eldritch contradictions of all matter,
force, and cosmic order. . mountain wal!ed or stum"led. -odL $hat wonder that across the earth a great
architect went mad, and %oor $ilco7 raved with fever in that tele%athic instant9 The Thing of the idols, the
green, stic!# s%awn of the stars, had awa!ed to claim his own. The stars were right again, and what an age+old
cult had failed to do "# designs, a "and of innocent sailors had done "# accident. .fter vigintillions of #ears
great :thulhu was loose again, and ravening for delight.
Three men were swe%t u% "# the fla""# claws "efore an#"od# turned. -od rest them, if there "e an# rest
in the universe. The# were <onovan, -uerrera and .ngstrom. Par!er sli%%ed as the other three were %lunging
fren'iedl# over endless vistas of green+crusted roc! to the "oat, and =ohansen swears he was swallowed u% "# an
angle of masonr# which shouldn6t have "een there& an angle which was acute, "ut "ehaved as if it were o"tuse.
0o onl# (riden and =ohansen reached the "oat, and %ulled des%eratel# for the .lert as the mountainous
monstrosit# flo%%ed down the slim# stones and hesitated, floundering at the edge of the water.
0team had not "een suffered to go down entirel#, des%ite the de%arture of all hands for the shore& and it
was the wor! of onl# a few moments of feverish rushing u% and down "etween wheels and engines to get the
.lert under wa#. 0lowl#, amidst the distorted horrors of the indescri"a"le scene, she "egan to chum the lethal
waters& whilst on the masonr# of that charnel shore that was not of earth the titan Thing from the stars slavered
and gi""ered li!e Pol#%heme cursing the fleeing shi% of >d#sseus. Then, "older than the storied :#clo%s, great
:thulhu slid greasil# into the water and "egan to %ursue with vast wave+raising stro!es of cosmic %otenc#.
(riden loo!ed "ac! and went mad, laughing at intervals till death found him one night in the ca"in whilst
=ohansen was wandering deliriousl#.
(ut =ohansen had not given out #et. Knowing that the Thing could surel# overta!e the .lert until steam
was full# u%, he resolved on a des%erate chance& and, setting the engine for full s%eed, ran lightning+li!e on dec!
and reversed the wheel. There was a might# edd#ing and foaming in the noisome "rine, and as the steam
mounted higher and higher the "rave 4orwegian drove his vessel head on against the %ursuing 5ell# which rose
a"ove the unclean froth li!e the stern of a demon galleon. The awful s3uid+head with writhing feelers came
nearl# u% to the "ows%rit of the sturd# #acht, "ut =ohansen drove on relentlessl#.
There was a "ursting as of an e7%loding "ladder, a slush# nastiness as of a cloven sunfish, a stench as of
a thousand o%ened graves, and a sound that the chronicler would not %ut on %a%er. 8or an instant the shi% was
"efouled "# an acrid and "linding green cloud, and then there was onl# a venomous seething astern& where )
-od in heavenL ) the scattered %lasticit# of that nameless s!#+s%awn was ne"ulousl# recom"ining in its hateful
original form, whilst its distance widened ever# second as the .lert gained im%etus from its mounting steam.
That was all. .fter that =ohansen onl# "rooded over the idol in the ca"in and attended to a few matters of
food for himself and the laughing maniac "# his side. He did not tr# to navigate after the first "old flight& for the
reaction had ta!en something out of his soul. Then came the storm of 2 .%ril, and a gathering of the clouds a"out
his consciousness. There is a sense of s%ectral whirling through li3uid gulfs of infinit#, of di''#ing rides through
reeling universes on a comet6s tail, and of h#sterical %lunges from the %it to the moon and from the moon "ac!
again to the %it, all livened "# a cachinnating chorus of the distorted, hilarious elder gods and the green, "at+
winged muc!ing im%s of Tartarus.
>ut of that dream came rescue ) the Eigilant the vice+ admiralt# court, the streets of <unedin, and the
long vo#age "ac! home to the old house "# the /ge"erg He could not tell +the# would thin! him mad. He would
write of what he !new "efore death came, "ut his wife must not guess. <eath would "e a "oon if onl# it could
"lot out the memories.
That was the document read, and now have %laced it in the tin "o7 "eside the "as+relief and the %a%ers
of Professor .ngell. $ith it shall go this record of mine ) this test of m# own sanit#, wherein is %ieced together
that which ho%e ma# never "e %ieced together again. have loo!ed u%on all that the universe has to hold of
horror, and even the s!ies of s%ring and the flowers of summer must ever afterward "e %oison to me. (ut do not
thin! m# life will "e long. .s m# uncle went, as %oor =ohansen went, so shall go. !now too much, and the cult
:thulhu still lives, too, su%%ose, again in that chasm of stone which has shielded him since the sun was
#oung. His accursed cit# is sun!en once more, for the Eigilant sailed over the s%ot after the .%ril storm& "ut his
ministers on earth still "ellow and %rance and sla# around idol+ca%%ed monoliths in lonel# %laces. He must have
"een tra%%ed "# the sin!ing whilst within his "lac! a"#ss, or else the world would "# now "e screaming with
fright and fren'#. $ho !nows the end9 $hat has risen ma# sin!, and what has sun! ma# rise. Loathsomeness
waits and dreams in the dee%, and deca# s%reads over the tottering cities of men. . time will come ) "ut must
not and cannot thin!L Let me %ra# that, if do not survive this manuscri%t, m# e7ecutors ma# %ut caution "efore
audacit# and see that it meets no other e#e.