Who and / or What is Cthulhu? (2005)|
A roundtable discussion by several experts
Editor's note: I asked Greg Ewald (@cthulhu77) and Erich Orser (@erich orser) to write an article to answer the popular TONMO.com visitor question, "what is Cthulhu?"... While this is not a holistic Cthulhu definition, a true, good description can be found in Erich's first "spoken" paragraph below. He succinctly explains the Cthulhu character, which comes from the mind of legendary author H.P. Lovecraft. The rest of this article is (quite obviously) pure fiction -- but highly entertaining and very much in the spirit of Cthulhu/H.P. Lovecraft lore and fandom. Enjoy, and THANKS to Greg and Erich for the contribution!
Erich Orser: Miskatonic University, Department of Marine Science, one semester – expelled; LACC, Film Studies – one and one-half years, expelled; Bob Jones University, two weeks of Fall quarter - expelled; El Culso Medical School, Dominican Republic, one quarter – expelled. Founder, The Mighty Cthulhu Old-Time Revival Show. Also a bit-player and extra in numerous Hollywood productions, plus certain North Hollywood productions. He's coming to us from his home in Tucson, Arizona.
Greg Ewald: Professor of Zoological Illustration, published author of several scientific journals regarding the influence of space octopi on the human race development. Mr. Ewald also spends much of his time creating dreamscapes that horrify those who view them. Greg joins us from his reptile enclosure at his home in Gilbert, Arizona.
Colton Upton Moore: Professor Emeritus, Head of the Cthonic research branch of MI6, Senior Lecturer, Cyclopean Biology, Oxford University, coming to us live from his private laboratory on the South coast of Cornwall.
Your host, Stephen Wingate-Peaslee, noted cryptozoologist, expert on non-Euclidian geometry regarding modern architecture (see "Frank Gerhy and the Disney Concert Hall – is it a new Ry'leh?" AD, Sept 2003), and theremin virtuoso, moderating the discussion from his offices at Miskatonic University, Arkham, Massachusetts.
Stephen: Thank all of you for arriving into live cyberspace so precipitously this morning to participate in our little discussion regarding the common question that besets much of mortal man: just what, or who, is Cthulhu?
P. Ewald: Well, I would hardly call the discussion, "little" , after all, we are talking about the greatest of the elder gods that ever filtered down from the skies, formless, launched from the void of Te-Kore-Nui to influence the growth of the artistic culture on our small ball of dirt.
Erich: For the uninitiated, Cthulhu was one of H.P. Lovecraft's Great Old Ones – beings spawned in the stars that came to colonize and dominate the Earth in prehistoric times. Almost all of them are long dead, or at least in hibernation – entombed in remote corners of the globe. According to legend, when "the stars are right", they can reawaken to reclaim control. Cthulhu is particularly worrisome in that even as he lies in sunken Ry'leh beneath the South Pacific, he can still enter the dreams of the artistically sensitive and make them do his bidding. He looks like a bloated, corpulent being of vaguely anthropoid makeup, with great webbed claws, a couple of stunted little wings too small to be of any practical value, and a head that looks like a cephalopod. Some think cephalopods are his actual spawn and he is their invertebrate deity.
Colton Upton Moore: I have obtained an object from the floor of the Pacific Ocean about midway between Valparaiso, Chile and Aukland, NZ that puts an end to this idea that we're dealing with "gods". Worshipped as one that he was, I believe Cthulhu was merely a more highly-advanced biological lifeform, up until now undescribed. Since new regulations have been placed upon bottom-trawlers, there have been scientific staff aboard legal vessels of the participating countries to monitor bycatch, make sure the law is obeyed, and study the results. On this one occasion, a net was actually ruined by a large, apparently organically-formed object brought up from the ocean abyss. It was, however, still brought on deck, where the scientific staff examined it closely. It was a coprolite of immense proportions.
Erich: Wait, it was a petrified turd? You actually succeeded in recovering the leavings of a Great Old One?
C. Upton-Moore: It was the fossilized stool of a massive invertebrate. Unlike any ever before encountered. Upon closer study, back at our research laboratories, it appears to still harbour soft-tissue at it's core. It's our intention to reach this soft tissue for further study.
Erich: I really wouldn't do that. King-sized paperweight, maybe, but I really wouldn't suggest using it for anything else...
P. Ewald: Dr. Moore, while I can appreciate your scientific minded approach to this subject, I must strongly protest that what you are attempting to do is dangerous to the mass of humanity, at best foolish , and at worst, perhaps a severely bad idea.
Erich: No. Really. Dude, seriously, not a good idea. Have you seen Raiders of the Lost Ark?
P. Ewald: As my esteemed friend Erich has stated, much like the Ark of the Covenant made between Jehovah and Man, the artifacts that have been revealed in our search for traces of the god -- yes, god -- Cthulhu, have proved to be unbelievably dangerous... causing spontaneous earthquakes and zombification.
C. Upton-Moore: It's merely a paleontological artifact, not some accursed phantom terrorizing the denizens of the nursery! That being the case, I presently have several interns and grad students trying to breech the outer rock-hard deposits of the previously-mentioned coprolite to obtain the –
Erich: What, the rich nugat-fillling? Maybe caramel? Maybe it's like a big Cadbury chocolate Easter egg! Hey, how about Reece's Feces? Mmm!
P. Ewald: Erich, really. The soft center may be the mother tissue to a shoggoth of unbelievable proportions. Does this tissue exude any sort of inner light, or is it as dark as a hole cut into the fabric of our three dimensional universe?
C. Upton-Moore: I really, as a serious researcher, must most categorically object to your arrogant, sarcastic statements!
P. Ewald: Sir, may I remind you that you are a conceited harrumph yourself, and so should be quite familiar with coprolites in a rather intimate fashion.
Stephen: Okay, okay, I have to interject right now, regardless of how entertaining this has become, but come on, gentlemen! Let's try to keep things civil.
P. Ewald: Yes, Stephen, you are correct...I am sorry that I let this...this..."biologist" get the better of me. It won't happen again.
C. Upton-Moore: Cthulhu was a biologic creature, just like the bizarre crinoids that once inhabited Antarctica, or the crustaceanlike fungi of particularly OLD mountainous regions.
P.Ewald: What? How can you possibly refute all of the evidence we have collected over the thousands of years that Homo Sapiens has roamed the earth? The great tombs in the wastes of Australia, the horrid sky flung monoliths of RapaNui, the dark muttering talk of the inbred seafolk of south seas islands...all of these lead to the one great ender of all things, Cthulhu! You stupid moron.
P. Ewald: Sorry, sorry. It won't happen again. Really.
C Upton-Moore: Well, I'm horrified that they let anybody like you into this discussion. It seems like both of you are boorish beyond belief. Barely-educated – regardless of your credentials – that's for you Gregory - Mr. Orser, you on the other hand, with your dilettantic ways, don't even earn that level of respect, you, you... show business person. Anyway, my researchers will breech the inner-filling of this Cthulhu-Coprolite and hopefully be able to decipher Cthulhu's DNA to prove his cephalopod-heritage once and for all. Both of you charlatans ought to be justly ashamed of yourselves, but I doubt either one of you has the honest humility. Any moment now the core should be penetrated...
Erich: Okay, whatever guy. Glad this discussion is a long-distance conference.
P.Ewald: If this quack actually does manage to expose the soft core of an old one, and god only knows which one it could be, the effects of our oxygenation upon the tissue may indeed reveal the true nature of the heavenly being...to our utter destruction, of course.
Erich: Greg, you sure about that? And I trust you meant "heavenly" in the astronomical sense of the term, but I mean, the Great Old Ones fought over possession for a long time and then pretty much divvied-up the Earth and stayed within their hard-won territorial borders. I mean, I guess it would be bad for everybody if you only woke up one faction of them and let the others remain as they are – Cthulhu, or whichever one of them the professor might have a bit of there – would pretty much have the planet to themselves. It might be better to wake up a whole slew of them at once. You know, provide for giant demon-monster checks and balances, as it were. Plus, it might look kind of like that movie "Destroy All Monsters"! Wait, on second thought, no part of what I just suggested is a good idea. Scratch that. Anyway, Greg?
P.Ewald: Well, Yuggoth was just declared a "non-planet", as was foretold in the Book of Shadows, supposedly to occur during an alignment of the spheres that may indeed allow the awakening of the great old ones.
Erich: Okay. Communing with the Great Kraken ought to be worth some laughs, at least.
P.Ewald: Hey, at least we are artists. We're safe...this fossilized moron seated at his monitor, Dr. Moore, doesn't have a snowballs's chance.
Stephen: Why is it always such a delight and horror whenever we get Cthulhists and those that despise them into the same debate?
P.Ewald: Why? You have to think more spatially than that...Cthulhu inhabits more than just our mere four dimensions, he/she is dead but dreaming of a time when it can awake, and feast on the terror and abased degraded worship that many will allow.
Stephen: Why here? Why on Tonmo.com?
Erich: Because I figured out long ago: not every cephalopod researcher cares about Cthulhu or the Great Old Ones, but every Cthulhu devotee is obsessed with cephalopods. That's the only reason why the great greasy green guy keeps showing up on Tonmo.com, because various members keep bringing him up. I think it's good that the big sucker finally got his own forum. Should keep his hideous, inky stain off of the more straightforward forums devoted to cephalopod care, squid research, and what's that other big one? Neil Diamond's Feet or something like that? Why do you think Cthulhu keeps some of us Tonmoers so focused, Greg?
P. Ewald We have to be, it is our only defense, lest we become too complacent, and let the Deep Ones rise up to worship Dagon in our shopping malls, to see statues of Cthulhu rising up in place of our own monuments, dwarfing all that we have done. We must be vigilant!
Erich: I don't know, I kind of like the idea of Deep Ones in our shopping malls. There's this giant koi pond at The Grove in Los Angeles that would be perfect for them! Could you imagine around Squishmas time, all the little fish-frog tykes in their mufflers and earmuffs, great staring milky eyes wide with wonderment as they line up to take their turns sitting on Dagon's lap... ahhh, meanwhile, looks like the turd-research is finally reaching a head over there...
C Upton-Moore: And now, it appears that the dental-quality Dremel-attachments are finally boring to the depth we'd earlier anticipated, and—
P.Ewald: I told you. Erich, did I tell them or what? Now look what you have done...the inner points of light are beginning to coalesce into some unholy alien colour outside of our natural spectrum, we can also see, via monitor, the assistant's hands being assimilated into the ancient organism itself, as well as the motorized drilling apparatus so cleverly designed by Dr. Hans Dremel.
C Upton-Moore (Audio Very Distorted): OHMYGOD, I CAN SEE FOREVER!!!
Erich: Yes, Dremel was a true genius – the indispensable tool for every handyman, weekend hobbyist, or self-taught dentist! Hmm, Greg, Upton-Moore's webcam signal is going, but did I just see sharpened tentacle tips actually piercing his face? It's like he's being ingested into the thing! Is that what I saw? Oh Heck, there goes the signal entirely!
P.Ewald: You are correct once again, Herr Orser. As Doctor Peabody predicted in his last journal entry, that what once was dreaming and dead may indeed now be arising again at last, much to the chagrin of our "esteemed" ex-debater, Upton-Moore.
Erich: I'm in a pickle about something... didn't Upton-Moore just get hauled-off by another tentacle a couple of months back? And didn't he evidently get swallowed whole by some kind of huge nudibranch while diving off Corfu last year? Who is this guy, Kenny from South Park?
Stephen: Uh, well, as always, it seems that this current discussion has raised more questions than it has answered, but such is always the case when debating Cthulhu and the other Great Old Ones. I'd like to thank everybody who participated today, as we always welcome the exchange of diverse opinions regarding our place in a world filled with hideous giant monsters from beyond space and time. Good night, and God bless!