Saturday, 28 October 2017

X – Dromophobia: The Fear of Crossing the Street

“From time immemorial the wheel has been a symbol of power and the man in the street has cringed before its awful implications. The ‘man on horseback’ occasionally dismounted, but it was only to enter a wheeled vehicle whose distinction or magnificence or actual power of destruction set him apart from the common herd of men.

“The modern scene has worked certain changes in the average man’s attitude toward the wheel. Its functions have become enlarged and more democratic. It is now a symbol of individual achievement as well as of inherited power. The automobile-owner lords it over the pedestrian and the latter, by the mechanical exigencies of a machine society, is made to feel his inferiority at every step. In certain precariously balanced minds it is a short flight from this point to actual dromophobia, in which the victim sees the locomotive, the motor-car, the surface-car, any wheeled vehicle, in fact, as an animated killer, a modern demon of destruction resurrected out of the twilight of the ancient world to accomplish his destruction. To the ineffectual, the attribute of movement becomes a symbol of the achievement; to the impotent, a manifesto of power; and to the sexually impotent, the motor-car may be a phallic symbol – the personification of the quality he lacks and which he hates and fears in others. (Conversely, we find cases of the small, sexually weak man who bravely struts in the face of the traffic maze, thus finding the compensation he needs for his own inadequacy.) The dromophobic dreads the moment when he must emerge into the street. He postpones it, second by second, inventing reason after plausible reason to reassure himself, to rationalize his own panic. And when at last he nerves himself for the necessary plunge, he goes in the absolute conviction that he will never live to see the other side of the street.”

John Vassos
New York City
May 25th, 1931

Saturday, 21 October 2017

Our Mythos Solar System - Part 2

Pluto was discovered by Clyde Tombaugh in 1930 and was originally considered to be the ninth planet from the Sun. After 1992, its status as a planet was questioned following the discovery of several objects of similar size in the Kuiper belt. In 2005, Eris, a dwarf planet in the scattered disc which is 27% more massive than Pluto, was discovered. This led the International Astronomical Union (IAU) to define the term “planet” formally in 2006, during their 26th General Assembly. That definition excluded Pluto and reclassified it as a dwarf planet.

Pluto is the largest and second-most-massive known dwarf planet in the Solar System, and the ninth-largest and tenth-most-massive known object directly orbiting the Sun. It is the largest known trans-Neptunian object by volume but is less massive than Eris. Like other Kuiper belt objects, Pluto is primarily made of ice and rock and is relatively small—about one-sixth the mass of the Moon and one-third its volume. It has a moderately eccentric and inclined orbit during which it ranges from 30 to 49 astronomical units (AUs) (4.4–7.4 billion km) from the Sun. This means that Pluto periodically comes closer to the Sun than Neptune, but a stable orbital resonance with Neptune prevents them from colliding. Light from the Sun takes about 5.5 hours to reach Pluto at its average distance (39.5 AUs).

Pluto has five known moons: Charon (the largest, with a diameter just over half that of Pluto), Styx, Nix, Kerberos, and Hydra. Pluto and Charon are sometimes considered a binary system because the barycentre of their orbits does not lie within either body.

On July 14, 2015, the New Horizons spacecraft became the first spacecraft to fly by Pluto. During its brief flyby, New Horizons made detailed measurements and observations of Pluto and its moons. In September 2016, astronomers announced that the reddish-brown cap of the north pole of Charon is composed of tholins, organic macromolecules that may be ingredients for the emergence of life, and produced from methane, nitrogen and other gases released from the atmosphere of Pluto and transferred about 19,000 km (12,000 mi) to the orbiting moon.

The discovery made headlines around the globe. Lowell Observatory, which had the right to name the new object, received more than 1,000 suggestions from all over the world, ranging from "Atlas" to "Zymal". Constance Lowell proposed "Zeus", then "Percival" and finally, "Constance". These suggestions were disregarded.

The name Pluto, after the Roman god of the underworld, was proposed by Venetia Burney (1918–2009), an eleven-year-old schoolgirl in Oxford, England, who was interested in classical mythology. She suggested it in a conversation with her grandfather Falconer Madan, a former librarian at the University of Oxford's Bodleian Library, who passed the name to astronomy professor Herbert Hall Turner, who cabled it to colleagues in the United States.

Each member of the Lowell Observatory was allowed to vote on a short-list of three potential names: “Minerva” (which was already the name for an asteroid), “Cronus” (which had lost reputation through being proposed by the unpopular astronomer Thomas Jefferson Jackson See), and “Pluto”. Pluto received every vote. The name was announced on May 1, 1930. Upon the announcement, Madan gave Venetia £5 (equivalent to about 300 British pounds, or 450 US Dollars) as a reward.

The final choice of name was helped in part by the fact that the first two letters of Pluto are the initials of Percival Lowell. Pluto’s astronomical symbol () was then created as a monogram constructed from the letters “PL”. Pluto’s astrological symbol resembles that of Neptune, but has a circle in place of the middle prong of the trident.

The name was soon embraced by wider culture. In 1930, Walt Disney was apparently inspired by it when he introduced a canine companion named Pluto for Mickey Mouse, although Disney animator Ben Sharpsteen could not confirm why the name was given. In 1941, physicist Glenn T. Seaborg named the newly created element plutonium after Pluto, in keeping with the tradition of naming elements after newly discovered planets, following uranium, which was named after Uranus, and neptunium, which was named after Neptune.

Most languages use the name “Pluto” in various transliterations. In Japanese, astronomer Houei Nojiri suggested the translation “Meiosei” (“Star of the King/God of the Underworld”), and this was borrowed into Chinese, Korean, and Vietnamese (which instead uses “Sao Diem Vu’o’ng”, which was derived from the Chinese term “Yanwang”, as “minh” is a homophone for the Sino-Vietnamese words for “dark” and “bright”). Some Indian languages use the name Pluto, but others, such as Hindi, use the name of Yama, the God of Death in Hindu and Buddhist mythology. Polynesian languages also tend to use the indigenous god of the underworld, as in the Maori “Whiro”.

So much for what is generally accepted.

According to de Longnez, the planet has been known as “Yuggoth”, or “Iukkoth”, since the Hyperborean Age. There is a question here though, as some Mythos sources refer to the planet Yuggoth as a distant planet having an orbit perpendicular to that of the other Solar System objects; others claim that Yuggoth was destroyed and that its remains comprise the Asteroid Belt beyond Mars. De Longnez’s work is of no assistance: the section referring to the planet comes after that on Neptune in his book and the assumption is that this indicates that – to his understanding – the planet comes after Neptune in the physical sequence. However, his insights on Yuggoth may be read as the start of a latter section in the book which discusses random celestial phenomena, such as gas clouds and “gateways”; visiting objects like comets and asteroids; and other objects which have “vanished”, or which have been destroyed. Further, in discussing the “Music of the Spheres” he makes no reference to Yuggoth as part of the phenomenon.

There is part of an invocation used by the Mi-Go that seems to pin down the discrepancy:

“…on the wings of night out beyond space…to That whereof Yuggoth is the youngest child, rolling alone in black aether at the rim…”

However, even this fragment is inconclusive, although it does seem to put paid to a notion of Yuggoth being a celestial body between Mars and Jupiter, now blown to fragments.

According to de Longnez, Yuggoth is populated by a race of insectoid beings, along the lines of locusts but with human-like intelligence. He claims that they inhabit vast cities of tall, windowless black towers beside warm seas and rivers of pitch, crossed by enormous bridges. They are industrious and mine for strange ores, in particular an alien metal which they call “tok’l”. De Longnez characterises them as being cruel and despotic, given to the worship of obscure and malevolent deities. He tells of a cataclysm which drove them from their home planet to nearby L’gy’hx (Uranus), where they attempted to subjugate that planet’s dominant species.

At this point, it seems as though de Longnez begins to conflate the Mi-Go with another interstellar race known as the Shan, or the Insects of Shaggai. Accordingly, we will put off further investigation of this line of thought until later.

Sources also indicate that the Mi-Go were not the first race to lay claim to the planet. It is said that, in one of the vast cities of the Fungi, there are a group of colossal green pyramids around which the metropolis has grown and the proximity to which requires the city to be abandoned at regular intervals. Could this be the lair of the ever-hungry Cxaxukluth? Or is there some other explanation?

Yuggoth has served as a “jumping-off point” for several major Mythos entities travelling to Earth or to other points in our Solar System. As we have seen, Tsathoggua and its kind were spawned on the planet before leaving to other locales; the primogenitor of their race, Cxaxukluth, may still inhabit Yuggoth, having been abandoned there. According to the Revelations, Glaaki is supposed to have stopped on Yuggoth before descending to Earth, as did the entity, Rhan Tegoth. Such heavy traffic leads one to think that perhaps the planet is some kind of nexus which facilitates travel across the vastness of space. Is it possible that the fabled Great White Space – supposedly a massive interstellar bridge across the cosmos – has an entry or exit point upon this planet? Or is it this planet at all?

Caltech researchers have found evidence suggesting there may be a “Planet X” deep in the solar system. This hypothetical Neptune-sized planet orbits our sun in a highly elongated orbit far beyond Pluto. The object, which the researchers have nicknamed “Planet Nine”, could have a mass about 10 times that of Earth and orbit about 20 times farther from the sun on average than Neptune which orbits the sun at an average distance of 2.8 billion miles and orbits the Sun roughly every 165 years. It may take between 10,000 and 20,000 Earth years for Planet X to make one full orbit around the sun.

The announcement does not mean there is a new planet in our solar system. The existence of this distant world is only theoretical at this point and no direct observation of the object has been made. The mathematical prediction of a planet could explain the unique orbits of some smaller objects in the Kuiper Belt, a distant region of icy debris that extends far beyond the orbit of Neptune. Astronomers are now searching for the predicted planet.

Given the downgrading in status of Pluto to a dwarf planet, and taking into account the exaggerated orbit of the projected “Planet Nine”, could it be that we’ve been discussing this undiscovered satellite, rather than Pluto, all along? Time, as they say, will tell…

Uranus is the seventh planet from the Sun. It has the third-largest planetary radius and fourth-largest planetary mass in the Solar System. Uranus is similar in composition to Neptune, and both have different bulk chemical composition from that of the larger gas giants Jupiter and Saturn. For this reason, scientists often classify Uranus and Neptune as “ice giants” to distinguish them from the gas giants. Uranus's atmosphere is similar to Jupiter's and Saturn's in its primary composition of hydrogen and helium, but it contains more “ices” such as water, ammonia, and methane, along with traces of other hydrocarbons. It is the coldest planetary atmosphere in the Solar System, with a minimum temperature of 49 K (−224  C, or −371  F), and has a complex, layered cloud structure with water thought to make up the lowest clouds and methane the uppermost layer of clouds. The interior of Uranus is mainly composed of ices and rock.

Uranus is the only planet whose name is derived directly from a figure from Greek mythology, from the Latinised version of the Greek god of the sky Ouranos. Like the other giant planets, Uranus has a ring system, a magnetosphere, and numerous moons. The Uranian system has a unique configuration among those of the planets because its axis of rotation is tilted sideways, nearly into the plane of its solar orbit. Its north and south poles, therefore, lie where most other planets have their equators. In 1986, images from Voyager 2 showed Uranus as an almost featureless planet in visible light, without the cloud bands or storms associated with the other giant planets. Observations from Earth have shown seasonal change and increased weather activity as Uranus approached its equinox in 2007. Wind speeds can reach 250 metres per second (900 km/h, or 560 mph).

According to de Longnez, the Hyperborean name for Uranus was “L’gy’hx”, the pronunciation of which word is obscure. The name “Uranus” took almost 70 years to reach general acceptance. British astronomer William Herschel, who is credited with the discovery of the planet despite it having been recorded as far back in time as 128 BC, wanted to name his discovery “Georgium Sidus” (“George’s Star”) after King George III, but this was not at all popular outside of Great Britain. For awhile it was even going to be called “Neptune” in commemoration of Britain’s naval supremacy. Finally, it was deemed appropriate that, just as Saturn had been named after Jupiter’s mythological father, so too should the new planet be named after Saturn’s father – Ouranos, the father of the Titans. A consensus was finally reached by 1850.

Uranus has two astronomical symbols. The first to be proposed, ,was suggested by French astronomer Jerome Lalande in 1784. In a letter to Herschel, Lalande described it as “un globe surmonté par la première lettre de votre nom” (suck). A later proposal, is a hybrid of the symbols for Mars and the Sun because Uranus was the Sky in Greek mythology, which was thought to be dominated by the combined powers of the Sun and Mars.

Uranus is called by a variety of translations in other languages. In Chinese, Japanese, Korean, and Vietnamese, its name is literally translated as the “sky king star”. In Thai, its official name is “Dao Yurenat”, as in English. Its other name in Thai is “Dao Maritayu” (“Star of Mtyu”), after the Sanskrit word for death, “Mrtyu”. In Mongolian, its name is “Tengeriin Van”, translated as “King of the Sky”, reflecting its namesake god’s role as the ruler of the heavens. In Hawaiian, its name is “Hele’ekala”. In Maori, its name is "Wherangi". It is also named in Maori as “Rangipo”. In Nahuatl, Uranus is known as “Ilhuicateocitlalli”, named after the word for sky, “ilhuicatl”. It is also named in Nahuatl as “Xiuhteuccitlalli”, after the god Xiuhtecuhtli.

According to de Longnez, the planet is occupied by a peculiar, block-like species of creatures possessed of many legs and composed of some type of unknown metal. He tells us that they worship a strange creature called Lrogg, a two-headed batlike deity to whom they perform obeisance by undertaking ritual mutilations.

Of course one of our best sources of knowledge about the planet Uranus comes – surprisingly - from the operatic work “La Massa di Requiem per Shuggay”. The libretto of the opera tells the story of a star-spanning race of beings who flee their homeworld of “Shuggay” to arrive at L’gy’hx, where they begin to dominate the indigenes. Unfortunately, they begin to partake of the planet’s culture and this angers their deity, Baoht Z’uqqa-Mogg, who unleashes a cataclysm upon them. While encoded within the frippery of the operatic treatment, the story clearly depicts the actions of the world-hopping Shan and the retribution delivered upon them by Azathoth for deigning to convert to the unpleasant worship of Lrogg. It’s clear that de Longnez got his Shans and Mi-Go mixed up and merged them into a single narrative.

Italian; Benvenuto Chieti Brodighera; 1768; 1d3/1d6 Sanity loss; Cthulhu Mythos +4 percentiles; 2 weeks to study and comprehend

Spells: None; however, completing a full performance of the opera has the same result as casting the spell, Summon Azathoth

Again, the presence of sentient race upon a world invariably gives rise to a Dreamlands version of that planet and, as is the case with our world and Cykranosh, the “L’gy’hx Beyond the Wall of Sleep” has a unique feline race. The Cats from Uranus are composed of a hard chalk-like substance and have six legs; their tails are adorned with a vicious spike at the end. Each cat has a series of horn-like appendages radiating from their heads – these are able to generate a web of power that can detect many different types of energy – heat, light, radiation – from up to 40 kilometres (about 25 miles) distant.

Uranian cats have been known to travel to Earth’s Dreamlands but encounters are infrequent and the creatures’ intentions are rarely well-understood. Like other Dreamlands cats, they travel by leaping through space.

Thursday, 19 October 2017

Our Mythos Solar System - Part 1

De LONGNEZ, Laurent, L’Histoire des Planetes, Paris France, 1792

Quarto; full calf, decorated in blind with blind rules and blind-stamped spine titles between six raised bands, with two brass hasps; 320pp., on laid paper, with a decorated title page and 16 engraved plates, one folding.

French; Laurent de Longnez; 1792; 1D2/1D4 Sanity Loss; Cthulhu Mythos +10; 17 weeks to study and comprehend

An enigmatic book. It contains a wealth of information about the planets of our Solar system, much of it fanciful and mired in mythology and legend. A lot of the occult detail derives from sources which are plainly not of the Western mystical tradition and is said to have been generated by some unknown access to Hyperborean sources. It’s noteworthy that several planets listed in the outline were not known of at the time of writing, specifically Uranus, Neptune and Pluto, although the planets spoken of are not identified by those terms.

De Longnez’s book suffers from poor editing and is riddled with errors of grammar and punctuation, indicating that its production suffered from an excess of haste. Modern readers incur a -15% penalty to their Read Language: French rolls when engaging with this text if their level in that skill is below 60%.

There is a consensus of opinion that de Longnez’s book incorporated the material presented in an earlier work, Zur Geschichte der Himmelskörper, written by Eberhard Ketzer – a monk working as a tutor at the court of Prussian ruler Georg Wilhem, Elector of Brandenburg. Ketzer was born in Geispitzen in the Alsace region of France, but relocated to the German city of Kiel soon afterwards, where he spent most of his life. Surrounded by, but largely immune to, the horrors of the Thirty Years War at the Ducal court, he wrote his overview of the solar system. He drops out of history around the time of the signing of the Treaty of Königsberg in 1627. His book was not published until after his death, in Nuremberg in 1679, and then only in limited quantities.

German; Eberhard Ketzer; c.1620, published Nuremberg, 1679; 1D4/1D6 Sanity Loss; Cthulhu Mythos +12; 20 weeks to study and comprehend

(Sources: "The Recurring Doom", S.T. Joshi & "Saucers from Yaddith", Robert M. Price)


Much of de Longnez’s work follows standard Western mythological and astrological concepts, ideas found in common treatises of astrology and such works as Ovid’s Metamorphoses. For the seeker after Mythos wisdom, there is not much to be gained from the work until the later sections which focus upon planets unknown at the time of writing. The strange material begins to intrude when the planet Saturn is discussed.

Saturn has been observed by humanity since prehistoric times and goes by various names in different cultures. The Babylonians accurately charted the movements of Saturn as did the Greeks and Romans. In Hindu astrology, there are nine “navagrahas”, astrological entities which influence the Earth, and Saturn is known as “Shani”, a judge of the dead. In Hebrew lore Saturn is “Shabbathai” and in Arabic-speaking cultures it is known as “Zuhal”. However, in de Longnez’s work, it is referred to by an alternate name – Cykranosh. This word is credited as the term given to the planet by humans in the Hyperborean Age, and it makes appearances in other Mythos tomes.

Saturn is the sixth planet from the Sun and the second-largest in the Solar System, after Jupiter. It is a gas giant with an average radius about nine times that of Earth. It has only one-eighth the average density of Earth, but with its larger volume Saturn is over 95 times more massive. Saturn is named after the Roman god of agriculture; its astronomical symbol () represents the god's sickle.

Saturn's interior is probably composed of a core of iron–nickel and rock (silicon and oxygen compounds). This core is surrounded by a deep layer of metallic hydrogen, an intermediate layer of liquid hydrogen and liquid helium, and finally a gaseous outer layer. Saturn has a pale yellow hue due to ammonia crystals in its upper atmosphere. Electrical current within the metallic hydrogen layer is thought to give rise to Saturn's planetary magnetic field, which is weaker than Earth's, but has a magnetic moment – the quantity that determines the torque it will experience in an external magnetic field - 580 times that of Earth. Saturn's magnetic field strength is around one-twentieth of Jupiter's. The outer atmosphere is generally bland and lacking in contrast, although long-lived features can appear. Wind speeds on Saturn can reach 1,800km/h (500m/s), higher than on Jupiter, but not as high as those on Neptune.

The planet's most famous feature is its prominent ring system that is composed mostly of ice particles, with a smaller amount of rocky debris and dust. At least 62 moons are known to orbit Saturn, of which 53 are officially named. This does not include the hundreds of moonlets in the rings. Titan, Saturn's largest moon, and the second-largest in the Solar System, is larger than the planet Mercury, although less massive, and is the only moon in the Solar System to have a substantial atmosphere.

The Hyperborean civilizations arose – according to available sources – around two millions of years ago. The citizens of that world battled intensely against an ancient intelligent species known as the Voormis. At that time, the entity known as Tsathoggua relocated to Earth from Cykranosh and took up residence beneath an ancient mountain known as Mount Voormithadtreth. Several hard metaphysicians – prime amongst them, Eibon the Unfathomable – gained great power from forging connexions with the sleeping Great Old One.

Unfortunately, the Hyperborean citizenry turned from the worship of Tsathoggua and began to worship an antlered sea deity called Yhoundeh. In time, the priests of the Goddess expunged the worshippers of Tsathoggua and burned its temples. Eibon was able to escape the purge by creating a mystical door of strange metal which transported him to Cykranosh. Thereafter, the inability of the followers of Yhoundeh to destroy all of Tsathoggua’s worshippers caused a backlash which saw the Goddess driven out in favour of the Sleeper in N’Kai. Unfortunately, this was shortly before the Polar ice crawled across Hyperborea, destroying the continent forever.

Tsathoggua and its ilk are not native to Cykranosh. The creatures were spawned by an entity named Cxaxukluth, an offshoot of Azathoth, which fell on Yuggoth. This being generated two other entities – Ghisguth and Hziulquoigmnzhah. Ghisguth sired Tsathoggua upon Zstylhemghi, a creature from Xoth, birthed by the fission of an intelligence known as Ycnagnnisssz. This extended family abandoned Yuggoth for Cykranosh, due to the rampant cannibalism of Cxaxukluth. From there, Tsathoggua journeyed onwards to Earth, while its “uncle” – Hziulquoigmnzhah – went to Yaksh (the Hyperborean name for Neptune); however, the ritual observances of the race of entities living upon that planet displeased it and it returned later to Cykranosh where it stayed.

Recorded in the Book of Eibon, that worthy once foresaw a cataclysm which would destroy the Earth if it came to pass. Accordingly, he summoned enormous interstellar webs of power stretching from Earth to Cykranosh and back. These powerful constructs averted the disaster. Interestingly, Cykranosh is also reported as the original home of the enormous spider entity, Atlach-Nacha. Given that Great Old One’s connexions to notions of fate and the weavings of destiny, could Eibon’s actions have halted a predestined calamity – and have provided Atlach-Nacha a gateway to Earth?

It is known that all planets where sentient life exists create their own Dreamlands analogues, and that these alternate worlds are connected in some discrete fashion. On Earth, the feline species are capable of actively moving between the Waking World and the World of Sleep, inhabiting quite different bodies when venturing across the Veil. Research undertaken by Dreamers reveals that the cats of Earth wage bitter wars with a feline species which inhabits the Dreamlands of Cykranosh and which has the capacity to leap from their reality onto the dark side of the moon of Earth’s Dreamlands.

These creatures are only designated “cats” in the loosest sense. They are largely composed of freely-flowing colourful arabesques of some unguessable substance, surrounding large eyes. They move by extruding their malleable forms forward in a desired direction, creating limbs as they go. At any one time they may have as few as three, or as many as six legs. They are known to enter into contracts of alliance with the Moonbeasts of Earth’s Dreamlands.

Shortly after its discovery, Neptune was referred to simply as “the planet exterior to Uranus” or as “Le Verrier’s planet”, after its official discoverer. The first proposed suggestion for a name was “Janus”. In England, the name put forward was “Oceanus”. Claiming the right to name his discovery, Le Verrier quickly proposed the name “Neptune” for this new planet, falsely stating that this had been officially approved by the French Bureau des Longitudes. Later, he sought to name the planet “Le Verrier”, after himself, and he had loyal support in this from observatory director, François Arago; however, the suggestion met with stiff resistance outside France. French almanacs quickly reintroduced the name “Herschel” for Uranus, after that planet's discoverer Sir William Herschel, and “Leverrier” for the new planet. At a symposium before the Saint Petersburg Academy of Sciences in 1846, a consensus was reached to call the planet “Neptune” and it soon became the internationally accepted name.

In Roman mythology, Neptune was the god of the sea, identified with the Greek Poseidon. The demand for a mythological name seemed to be in keeping with the nomenclature of the other planets, all of which, except for Earth, were named for deities in Greek and Roman mythology.

Most languages today, even in countries that have no direct link to Greco-Roman culture, use some variant of the name “Neptune” for the planet. However, in Chinese, Japanese, and Korean, the planet’s name was translated as “sea king star”, because Neptune was the god of the sea. In Mongolian, Neptune is called “Dalain Van”, reflecting its namesake god’s role as the ruler of the sea. In modern Greek the planet is called Poseidon. In Hebrew the planet is called “Rahab”, from a Biblical sea monster mentioned in the Book of Psalms, and was selected in a vote managed by the Academy of the Hebrew Language in 2009. In Maori, the planet is called “Tangaroa”, named after the Maori god of the sea, while in Nahuatl, the planet is called “Tlaloccitlalli”, after the rain god Tlaloc. In Thai, Neptune is referred both by its Westernised name “Dao Nepjun” and is also named “Dao Ketu” (“Star of Ketu”), after the descending lunar node Ketu who plays a role in Hindu astrology. In Hyperborean times, the planet was known as “Yaksh”.

Neptune is the eighth and farthest known planet from the Sun in the Solar System. It is the fourth-largest planet by diameter, the third-most-massive planet, and the densest giant planet. Neptune is 17 times the mass of Earth and is slightly more massive than its near-twin Uranus, which is 15 times the mass of Earth and slightly larger than Neptune. Neptune orbits the Sun once every 164.8 years at an average distance of 30.1 astronomical units (4.50×109km). It has the astronomical symbol , a stylised version of the god Neptune's trident.

Neptune is not visible to the unaided eye and is the only planet in the Solar System found by mathematical prediction rather than by empirical observation. Unexpected changes in the orbit of Uranus led astronomer Alexis Bouvard to deduce that its orbit was subject to gravitational perturbation by an unknown planet. Neptune was subsequently observed with a telescope on the 23rd of September, 1846, by Johann Galle within a degree of the position predicted by Urbain Le Verrier. Its largest moon, Triton, was discovered shortly thereafter, though none of the planet’s remaining known 13 moons were located telescopically until the 20th century. The planet’s distance from Earth gives it a very small apparent size, making it challenging to study with Earth-based telescopes. Neptune was visited by Voyager 2, when it flew by the planet on the 25th of August, 1989. The advent of the Hubble Space Telescope and large ground-based telescopes with adaptive optics has recently allowed for additional detailed observations from afar.

Like Jupiter and Saturn, Neptune’s atmosphere is composed primarily of hydrogen and helium, along with traces of hydrocarbons and possibly nitrogen, but it contains a higher proportion of “ices” such as water, ammonia, and methane. However, its interior, like that of Uranus, is primarily composed of ices and rock, which is why Uranus and Neptune are normally considered “ice giants” to emphasise this distinction. Traces of methane in the outermost regions in part account for the planet’s blue appearance. In contrast to the hazy, relatively featureless atmosphere of Uranus, Neptune’s atmosphere has active and visible weather patterns. For example, at the time of the Voyager 2 flyby in 1989, the planet’s southern hemisphere had a Great Dark Spot comparable to the Great Red Spot on Jupiter. These weather patterns are driven by the strongest sustained winds of any planet in the Solar System, with recorded wind speeds as high as 2,100 kilometres per hour (580m/s; 1,300mph). Because of its great distance from the Sun, Neptune’s outer atmosphere is one of the coldest places in the Solar System, with temperatures at its cloud tops approaching 55 K (−218 C). Temperatures at the planet’s centre are approximately 5,400 K (5,100 C). Neptune has a faint and fragmented ring system (called "arcs"), which was discovered in 1982, then later confirmed by Voyager 2.

Not much is mentioned by de Longnez concerning Yaksh, but what he says is significant: he says that the population of the planet is a species of humanoid mushrooms and provides an engraved plate, above – “Les gens de champignon de Yaksh sont ballottés par les vents”. Other Mythos sources mention that Hziulquoigmnzhah, after leaving Yuggoth, went to Yaksh but found no favour with the ritual observances with the fungoid creatures who lived there. Does this mean that Neptune was, at one time, an outpost of the Mi-Go? Or is there a second fungal species dwelling upon the planet or its moons?

Sunday, 15 October 2017

Travelling on the Roof of the World...

Alexandra David-Néel, born Louise Eugénie Alexandrine Marie David (1868–1969), was a Belgian–French explorer, spiritualist, Buddhist, feminist, anarchist and writer. She is most famous for having entered Tibet in 1924 at a time when it was forbidden to foreigners to do so. In her younger years, she was a celebrated opera singer who spent time performing in Hanoi, in the then French-owned country of Indochina (now Viet Nam). She studied Theosophy under Madame Blavatsky and became a high-ranking Freemason while studying in London. She studied Sanskrit and Tibetan while in Paris and this set her upon the path of studying Buddhism, a faith to which she later converted.

She travelled extensively in her lifetime, initially exploring the relatively unexplored (at that time) terrain of China, Mongolia, Tibet and the Indian sub-continent. In her later years, she visited the Americas and much of Europe, lecturing on Buddhist principles. She married but lived largely apart from her husband, relying on her own independent wealth for support. They produced no children, however, Alexandra adopted a 15-year-old lama whom she encountered in her early wanderings in India, a young boy named Aphur Yongden.

In her lifetime, she wrote many volumes of her discoveries and ideas and translated many Buddhist texts. At times, she was the subject of attempts to de-bunk her history, many people believing that her stories of exotic travel were faked and the many photographs the work of image manipulators. Time has quietened the opposition to her accomplishments.

One of her best-known works is Magic and Mystery in Tibet, which contains excerpts from her larger memoirs and which focuses upon her encounters with the supernatural and the occult during her wanderings. The following extract contains little of this kind of material, but rather reveals the nature of travelling through China and the Mongolian wildernesses at the time. This rather brief overview of the travails which she and her son encountered spans the period of the First World War, concluding in 1918, after they arrived in Kum-Bum, where they stayed until 1921. It is also noteworthy for its glancing references to a wide-flung fraternity of Buddhist communities who welcomed her temporarily among their ranks.


“Once more I have crossed the Himalayas, proceeding downward to India.

It is sad to leave the bewitching region where during several years I had lived a most fantastic and captivating life; though, wonderful as this entrance house of Tibet proved to be, I know that I am far from having obtained even a glimpse of all the strange mystic doctrines and practices which are hidden from the profane in the hermitages of the ‘Land of Snow’. My journey to Shigatze has also revealed to me the scholastic Tibet, its monastic universities, its immense libraries. How many things are left for me to learn! And I am leaving…

I go to Burma and spend days of retreat on the Saigan hills with the Kamatangs, the contemplative monks of one of the most austere Buddhist sects.

I go to Japan where I dive into the calm of the Tofoku-ji, a monastery of that Zen sect which, for centuries, has collected the intellectual aristocracy of the country.

I go to Korea. Panya-an; the ‘monastery of wisdom’ concealed in the heart of the forest opens its doors to me.

When I went there to beg temporary admittance, heavy rains had washed the path away. I found the Panya-an monks busy repairing it. The novice sent by his abbot to introduce me stopped before one of the workers as muddy as his companions, bowed, respectfully and said a few words to him, the digger, leaning on his spade, looked at me intently for a while, then nodded his consent and began to work again, without taking any more notice of me.

‘He is the head of the hermitage,’ my guide told me. ‘He is willing to give you a room.’

The next day I when returned to Panya-an, I was led to a completely empty cell. My blanket spread on the floor was to be my couch, while my dressing-case could be used as a table. Yongden was to share the room of a young novice of his age, which, excepting for a few books on a shelf, was as little furnished as mine.

The daily routine included eight hours of meditation divided in four periods of two hours – eight hours of study and manual work – eight hours devoted to sleep, meals and recreation according to individual tastes.

Each day, a little before 3 a.m., a monk went round the houses, striking a wooden instrument to awaken his brothers.

Then, all met in the assembly room, where they sat in meditation facing the wall.

Diet was truly ascetic… rice and some boiled vegetables without any flavouring. Even the vegetables were often missing and the meal consisted of plain rice alone.

Silence was not compulsory as it is amongst the Trappists, but the monks seldom spoke. They did not feel the need of talking nor of spending their energy in outward manifestations. Their thoughts remained fixed on secret introspections and their eyes had the inward gaze of the Buddha’s images.

I go to Peking. I live in Peling-sse, formerly an imperial mansion, now a Buddhist monastery. It is situated next the large Lamaist temple and near the stately temple of Confucius, several miles distant from the Legations. There, Tibet calls to me again.

For years I have dreamt of far-away Kum-Bum without having dared hope I would ever get there. Yet the journey is decided. I will cross the whole of China to reach its north-western frontier into Tibetan land.

I join a caravan composed of two rich lamas and their respective retinues, who are returning to Amdo; a Chinese trader of the remote Kansu province with his servants; and a few monks and laymen who are glad to benefit from the protection that numbers ensure on the unsafe roads.

The journey is most picturesque. Besides other incidents my travelling companions supply abundant matter for amazement.

One day, the gigantic head of our caravan entertains some Chinese harlots at the inn where we have put up. Slender and short, clad in pale-green pants and pink coats, they enter the lama’s room like a family of Tom Thumbs going into the Ogre’s den.

The ‘lama’ is a ngagspa, a follower of the very heterodox sect of magicians, scarcely belonging to the clergy, and a married man.

A harsh and noisy bargaining takes place with the door wide open. The cynical, yet candid terms of the [ngagspa, who comes from the border of the Koko-nor wilderness] are translated into Chinese by his imperturbable secretary-interpreter. Finally five Chinese dollars are accepted as honorarium; one of the dolls stays overnight.

Our libertine companion is also hot tempered. Another day he quarrels with a Chinese officer. The soldiers of a neighbouring post invade our inn, guns in hand. The lama calls his retainers, who arrive with their own guns. The inn-keeper falls prostrate at my feet beseeching me to intervene.

With the help of the Chinese trader, a member of our travelling party, who knows Tibetan and acts as my interpreter, I succeed in convincing the soldiers that it is beneath their dignity to pay the least attention to the stupid actions of a barbarian from the Koko-nor wilds.

Then I remonstrate with the lama against a man of his rank compromising himself with vulgar soldiers.

Peace is restored.

I become acquainted with civil war and robbery. I endeavour to nurse wounded men left without help. One morning I see a bunch of heads – those of newly beheaded robbers – hung above the door of our inn. That sight arouses philosophical thoughts about death in my placid son, which he quietly expounds to me.

The road ahead of us is blocked by the fighting troops. I think I shall be able to avoid the vicinity of the battles by going to a town named Tungchow situated several miles away from the direct road to Sian-fu.

The day after my arrival Tungchow is besieged. I could watch storming enemies climbing the city walls on high ladders, while defenders hurled stones down on them. I seemed to be living in an ancient picture depicting the wars of olden times.

I escape from the besieged town during a tempest when the army remains sheltered on the other side of the walls. My cart rushes madly through the night; we arrive at the shore of a river beyond which we expect to be in safety. We call the ferry-man. For answer, shots are fired at us from the other bank.

I have an amusing remembrance of a tea-party with the governor of Shensi. The enemy surrounds the city. Tea is served by soldiers with guns on their shoulders and revolvers in their belts, ready to resist an attack that may occur at any minute. Yet, the guests talk calmly with that exquisite and apparently serene courtesy which is one of the fruits of the old Chinese education.

We discuss philosophical questions; one of the officials speaks French perfectly and acts as my interpreter. Whatever the feelings of the governor and his party may be in this tragic situation, their faces remain smiling. The conversation around the tea-table is that of literati enjoying the intellectual game of exchanging subtle thoughts in a dispassionate way.

How wonderfully refined and civilised are the Chinese and how lovable, in spite of the faults that can be found in them!

I came out at last, from the troubled area, I am in Amdo, settled in the precinct of the Pegyai Lama’s palace, in the Kum-Bum monastery… Again I plunge into Tibetan life.”


Call of Cthulhu Keepers who are interested in running their campaigns – in part, or entirely – in the wilds of China, during either the canon time period or the Gaslight variation, could do no better than pick up a copy of this book, not only for ideas about Buddhist and Tibetan supernature, but also for a sense of what travelling in these areas at the time was like.

Monday, 9 October 2017

Deep Waters - Take Two...

As we raced off into the dark, away from the coast, a curtain of rain, black against the blackness, began to sweep in from the Atlantic, flickering with sparks of light.

‘Weather’s gettin’ ugly Boothe,’ I said, ‘any clues about where we’re headed?’

‘Ssh,’ he replied, ‘have to concentrate…’

I shot a glance across at him: he was in the zone again, blank-eyed and twiddling his fingers into strange knots. I shook my head and turned to concentrate on the road.

Suddenly, a white misty spiral appeared in front of us, forming a helical cone along the road. I braked sharply and tried to veer off to one side, but Boothe grabbed the wheel and tried to push us back on course.

‘No!’ he cried, ‘drive in. In!

I was anything but agreeable but, Boothe hadn’t let me down yet, so I wrenched the wheel again and planted my foot, the tyres crunching gravel on the road shoulder. We fishtailed back to the blacktop and roared into the circling white haze.

Everything went quiet. We plummeted onwards through the twisty bands of mist and I noticed that the glimpses of sky between the whiteness were getting lighter and lighter. Next thing the sound cut back in and we rocketed out onto the asphalt, the suspension bouncing wildly. I frantically fought the wheel to get the car back under control.

‘What’s going on, Boothe?’ I yelled.

He was doing that dreamy thing again, blank eyes with a self-satisfied smile across his face.

‘Just getting us to when we need to be,’ he said.

‘You mean where we need to be, right?’

‘Nope,’ he said slumping into the corner against the passenger side window. ‘You need to take the right before we get to Newburyport, then cut across Osborn to the state highway before heading back into the town centre. That way we’ll be coming at them from the north this time.’

‘At who?’ I asked.

He looked over at me, ‘The Latinos, Benson. Keep up.’ He snuggled down and went to sleep.

I twisted the steering wheel and ground my teeth. We sped off once more.


The engine was grumbling muscularly in the dark as I pulled up across the road from the house with the concrete Mexican out front next to the mail box. I killed the lights along with the engine and we rolled a few yards to halt in the shade of an overhanging balsam poplar. I wrenched on the handbrake and nudged Boothe. He jerked awake and I nodded over to where my car was parked in front of the house. It was weird to be sitting in that car but also looking at it from across the street.

‘Hey! Great timing!’ said Boothe. I assumed he was congratulating himself, because I’d had very little to do with getting us here. I noticed that the front door of the Latino’s place was caved in.

Suddenly, two figures leapt through the front wall of the building and floated across the lawn to the Firebird. It was Boothe – another Boothe –and Winston. They pulled up at the side of the car and Winston was doubled over laughing fit to burst. The other Boothe signalled frantically and then passed through the front passenger-side door into the car’s interior. Winston struck a Wild West pose, spun his pistol around several times on his finger, and put it back inside his jacket. Then he threw himself backwards through the door of the car full-length onto the back seat.

The moment he’d done so, the wreckage of the front door burst open and I emerged, carrying the briefcase and ducking from the crack of bullets. I landed heavily and rolled, gaining my feet and crossing the distance to the driver’s side door, the keys jangling in my mouth.

‘Smooth,’ said Boothe beside me.

‘Thanks for unlocking the door,’ I answered. He shrugged.

Across the road, the Firebird clipped the sleeping concrete Mexican with its back wheel, bounced, knocking the ornament’s hat off, and sped into the night. My hands unclenched on the wheel and I felt the tension drain out of my shoulders.

‘That’s just weird,’ I breathed.

‘You get used to it,’ said Boothe offhandedly, ‘although it’s not good to interact too much - if at all.’ He popped open the door: ‘Let’s have a look,’ he said.

Stepping outside, we could hear upraised voices coming from the house, screaming and a rapid-fire jabber of Spanish. There was a crash as something heavy fell over onto something fragile.

‘We should try and see what’s going on,’ muttered Boothe.

I looked around and saw a gate through a low side fence next to the bungalow, leading to a back yard.

‘There,’ I said. ‘let’s go.’

I jogged off into the dark, keeping low and to the shadows. I vaulted the fence smoothly and crouched down; Boothe landed awkwardly next to me, breathing heavily. A series of shrill cries burst out from inside, followed by the agitated Spanish garble.

‘You getting any of this?’ I asked Boothe. He shook his head.

‘About three words in five,’ he said. ‘Something’s going on that they don’t like. Mostly it’s just cursing and religion.’

Madre de Dios?’

‘Yeah,’ he nodded; ‘like that.’

‘Let’s get closer,’ I said, ‘maybe there’s a window we can see through.’

I shadowed across the lawn in my best stealth mode, spoiled only by Boothe tripping over a coil of garden hose. I slinked up a set of stairs to the back door and peered through a window to the left of it. Inside was small room that seemed to be a laundry; the lights were off. Opposite however, was a door into the rest of the house and I could see some of what was going on in the main room beyond:

The first thing I saw were the two henchmen Latinos, still clinging on to each other – fear, I guess. They stumbled drunkenly past the door, and out of view once more. In the background beyond them I couldn’t quite make out what was taking place – it seemed dark and there was a strange texture to the wallpaper, or something, which I didn’t recall from my previous visit.

‘C’mon, switch on a damned light,’ I muttered.

Suddenly, I realised that the lights were on. A lamp got knocked over, sending a circle of illumination across the textured ‘wall’: as it swept past, the surface rippled as if disturbed and I saw that the room was filled with a bubbling gelid mass, dark in colour like some sort of aspic. Even stranger, the mass was filled with eyes that swam through its substance, along with a disturbing number of teeth. One set of fangs surfaced through the jelly and a gloopy voice emerged and began speaking – in Spanish unfortunately.

‘It’s telling them its name,’ said Boothe behind me. ‘It’s something weird, like – “Bug Sash”?’

‘Never heard of him,’ I muttered. There was a crash of furniture splintering and I tuned in again; however, it may as well have been Martian for all I could make out, and I had my Spanish Class grades to back me up.

‘It’s saying that it’s giving them gifts,’ breathed Boothe, peering over my shoulder.

‘Gifts, huh?’ I said. ‘That sounds interesting…’

And that’s when I knocked the flowerpot off the back step.

The change of atmosphere in the gathering inside was palpable. The Spanish came rapid fire and the light in the laundry went on.

‘Scram!’ I yelled, but I don’t think Boothe needed any encouragement.

Bullets rang out as we rounded the corner of the bungalow. I picked Boothe up by the scruff and jumped the fence, heading towards my car. A bullet whizzed past my ear.


Despite my grades, enough Spanish had penetrated my skull to know that that meant “stop”. I sighed, and dropped Boothe to his feet. I raised my hands and turned around in resignation.

The Latinos ranged across the lawn opposite us, as they had when we first met them; however, now they had changed:

The muscle was slowly growing, snapping the polyester of his lurid shirt, just as he had when Prudence and I had encountered him outside the Gilman House Hotel. His head twitched and he snapped his teeth together as he swelled upwards into grotesque proportions;

The two other henchmen staggered to a halt. This close up to them, I could see exactly why they always seemed to be engaged in a three-legged race: they had somehow Siamesed themselves during the “undimensioning”, and had merged into one being. Standing side-by-side, their inner shoulders had fused and their inner arms were conjoined at the elbows, giving that limb the appearance of one of those extendible things that shaving mirrors sprout out of the wall on; their inner legs had fused into one, giving them – essentially - three legs between the two of them. They shuffled forward raising all available arms; four pistols aimed our way.

¿No tan listo ahora, eh David Coverdale? Deberías haber corridor cuando tuviste la oportunidad.

He said… Boothe began.

Never mind: I get the idea.

The head Latino stepped forward pulling at his shirt dramatically, popping buttons everywhere. In the place where his stomach should have been, there was a swirling blankness, a spinning white light that seemed to be drawing the air inside itself. As we watched, a gelid blackness welled up in the centre of the shining light and the talking aspic stuff I had seen inside the house, began to bubble out into the air.

NO! screamed Boothe, causing me to jump out of my skin.

Sí. Oh sí, amigos míos…

As more of the dark stuff emerged, it began to generate multiple floating eyes and an abundance of fanged maws that all began chittering in a bad and crazy way. Beside me Boothe fell flat on his face in a dead faint.

Oh, great, I said meaning that this was anything but.

I bent down and grabbed Boothe, flinging him over my shoulder. A quick peek showed far more unearthly teeth than I normally enjoy a close proximity to, so I ducked and rolled and sprang for the Firebird. A gun cracked and the rear window nearest to me shattered in a hail of prismatic jewels. I shrugged and stuffed Boothe through the resulting access. As I wrenched the driver’s door open, a set of lamprey teeth locked onto my denim jacket sleeve. I yanked, ripping the sleeve off and jumped inside. Firing up the engine, I planted my foot and a wave of the black jelly flopped across the hood and rolled off the roof.

Eat dust, evil Jell-O! I yelled, flipping it the bird.

A roar from ahead of me caused me to turn my head. There, on the road before me, was the Latino’s muscle-dude, as big as a whale and getting bigger, running towards me with fists raised. I had no time to react; I just put my arm across my face and stomped on the gas…

There was a huge splash.

I felt the wheels drifting across the blacktop, so I lowered my arm and gently applied the brake. The windscreen was impenetrable so I got the wipers going: in a couple of slaps the glass was clean enough for me to make out the road and adjust my trajectory. Behind me I heard several shots ring out and a ricochet bounced off the Firebird’s chassis like a big angry bee. I kept my head low and put distance behind me.

I hit the centre of Newburyport and pulled a handbrake turn to the left. I gunned the engine towards Innsmouth, thinking - surely - nothing else could go wrong this night?

To Be Continued…