H. P. Lovecraft
Written in 1926
The Call of Cthulhu
Of such great powers or beings there may be conceivably a survival.
.. a survival of a hugely
remote period when.
.. consciousness was manifested, 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withdrawn before the tide of advancing humanity.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.
- Algernon Blackwood
I. The Horror In Clay
The most merciful thing in the world, I think, is the inability of the human mind to correlate all its contents.
We live on a placid island of ignorance in the midst of black seas of infinity, and it was not meant that we
should voyage far. The sciences, each straining in its own direction, have hitherto harmed us little; but some
day the piecing together of dissociated knowledge will open up such terrifying vistas of reality, and of our
frightful position therein, that we shall either go mad from the revelation or flee from the light into the peace
and safety of a new dark age.
Theosophists have guessed at the awesome grandeur of the cosmic cycle wherein our world and human race
form transient incidents. They have hinted at strange survivals in terms which would freeze the blood if not
masked by a bland optimism. But it is not from them that there came the single glimpse of forbidden eons
which chills me when I think of it and maddens me when I dream of it. That glimpse, like all dread glimpses
of truth, flashed out from an accidental piecing together of separated things - in this case an old newspaper
item and the notes of a dead professor. I hope that no one else will accomplish this piecing out; certainly, if I
live, I shall never knowingly supply a link in so hideous a chain. I think that the professor, too intented to
keep silent regarding the part he knew, and that he would have destroyed his notes had not sudden death
My knowledge of the thing began in the winter of 1926-27 with the death of my great-uncle, George
Gammell Angell, Professor Emeritus of Semitic Languages in Brown University, Providence, Rhode Island.
Professor Angell was widely known as an authority on ancient inscriptions, and had frequently been resorted
to by the heads of prominent museums; so that his passing at the age of ninety-two may be recalled by many.
Locally, interest was intensified by the obscurity of the cause of death. The professor had been stricken
whilst returning from the Newport boat; falling suddenly; as witnesses said, after having been jostled by a
nautical-looking negro who had come from one of the queer dark courts on the precipitous hillside which
formed a short cut from the waterfront to the deceased's home in Williams Street. Physicians were unable to
find any visible disorder, but concluded after perplexed debate that some obscure lesion of the heart, induced
by the brisk ascent of so steep a hill by so elderly a man, was responsible for the end. At the time I saw no