Excerpts from The Call of Cthulhu

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Excerpts from The Call of Cthulhu

The Call of Cthulhu by H. P. Lovecraft
Published February 1928 in Weird Tales, Vol. 11, No. 2, p. 159-78, 287.
 

 

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.

 

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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.
 

 

There are twists of time and space, of vision and reality, which only a dreamer can divine
H.P. Lovecraft


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 As my great-uncle's heir

 

As my great-uncle's heir and executor, for he died a childless widower, I was expected to go over his papers
with some thoroughness; and for that purpose moved his entire set of files and boxes to my quarters in
Boston. Much of the material which I correlated will be later published by the American Archaeological
Society, but there was one box which I found exceedingly puzzling, and which I felt much averse from
showing to other eyes.

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It had been locked and I did not find the key till it occurred to me to examine the
personal ring which the professor carried in his pocket. Then, indeed, I succeeded in opening it, but when I
did so seemed only to be confronted by a greater and more closely locked barrier. For what could be the
meaning of the queer clay bas-relief and the disjointed jottings, ramblings, and cuttings which I found? Had
my uncle, in his latter years become credulous of the most superficial impostures? I resolved to search out the
eccentric sculptor responsible for this apparent disturbance of an old man's peace of mind.

 

 

There are twists of time and space, of vision and reality, which only a dreamer can divine
H.P. Lovecraft


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The figure, which was

The figure, which was finally passed slowly from man to man for close and careful study, was between seven
and eight inches in height, and of exquisitely artistic workmanship. It represented a monster of vaguely
anthropoid outline, but with an octopus-like head whose face was a mass of feelers, a scaly, rubbery-looking
body, prodigious claws on hind and fore feet, and long, narrow wings behind.

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This thing, which seemed instinct with a fearsome and unnatural malignancy, was of a somewhat bloated corpulence, and squatted evilly
on a rectangular block or pedestal covered with undecipherable characters. The tips of the wings touched the
back edge of the block, the seat occupied the centre, whilst the long, curved claws of the doubled-up,
crouching hind legs gripped the front edge and extended a quarter of the way down toward the bottom of the
pedestal. The cephalopod head was bent forward, so that the ends of the facial feelers brushed the backs of
huge fore paws which clasped the croucher's elevated knees. The aspect of the whole was abnormally
life-like, and the more subtly fearful because its source was so totally unknown. Its vast, awesome, and
incalculable age was unmistakable; yet not one link did it shew with any known type of art belonging to
civilisation's youth - or indeed to any other time. Totally separate and apart, its very material was a mystery;
for the soapy, greenish-black stone with its golden or iridescent flecks and striations resembled nothing
familiar to geology or mineralogy. The characters along the base were equally baffling; and no member
present, despite a representation of half the world's expert learning in this field, could form the least notion of
even their remotest linguistic kinship. They, like the subject and material, belonged to something horribly
remote and distinct from mankind as we know it. something frightfully suggestive of old and unhallowed
cycles of life in which our world and our conceptions have no part.

 

 

There are twists of time and space, of vision and reality, which only a dreamer can divine
H.P. Lovecraft


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    The region now

 The region now entered by the police was one of traditionally evil repute, substantially unknown and untraversed by white men. There were legends of a hidden lake unglimpsed by mortal sight, in which dwelt a huge, formless white polypous thing with luminous eyes; and squatters whispered that bat-winged devils flew
up out of caverns in inner earth to worship it at midnight. They said it had been there before d'Iberville, before
La Salle, before the Indians, and before even the wholesome beasts and birds of the woods. It was nightmare
itself, and to see it was to die. But it made men dream, and so they knew enough to keep away. The present
voodoo orgy was, indeed, on the merest fringe of this abhorred area, but that location was bad enough; hence
perhaps the very place of the worship had terrified the squatters more than the shocking sounds and incidents.

 

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Only poetry or madness could do justice to the noises heard by Legrasse's men as they ploughed on through
the black morass toward the red glare and muffled tom-toms. There are vocal qualities peculiar to men, and
vocal qualities peculiar to beasts; and it is terrible to hear the one when the source should yield the other.
Animal fury and orgiastic license here whipped themselves to daemoniac heights by howls and squawking
ecstacies that tore and reverberated through those nighted woods like pestilential tempests from the gulfs of
hell. Now and then the less organized ululation would cease, and from what seemed a well-drilled chorus of
hoarse voices would rise in sing-song chant that hideous phrase or ritual:
"Ph'nglui mglw'nafh Cthulhu R'lyeh wgah'nagl fhtagn."

 

 

There are twists of time and space, of vision and reality, which only a dreamer can divine
H.P. Lovecraft


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Cyclopean masonry which can

Cyclopean masonry which can be nothing less than the tangible substance of earth's supreme terror - the nightmare corpse-city of R'lyeh, that was built
in measureless aeons behind history by the vast, loathsome shapes that seeped down from the dark stars.
There lay great Cthulhu and his hordes, hidden in green slimy vaults and sending out at last, after cycles
incalculable, the thoughts that spread fear to the dreams of the sensitive and called imperiously to the faithfull
to come on a pilgrimage of liberation and restoration.

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I suppose that only a single mountain-top, the hideous monolith-crowned citadel whereon great Cthulhu was
buried, actually emerged from the waters. When I think of the extent of all that may be brooding down there I
almost wish to kill myself forthwith.

 

There are twists of time and space, of vision and reality, which only a dreamer can divine
H.P. Lovecraft


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I know too much, and the

I know too much, and the cult still lives.

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Cthulhu still lives, too, I suppose, again in that chasm of stone which has shielded him since the sun was
young. His accursed city is sunken once more, for the Vigilant sailed over the spot after the April storm; but
his ministers on earth still bellow and prance and slay around idol-capped monoliths in lonely places. He must
have been trapped by the sinking whilst within his black abyss, or else the world would by now be screaming
with fright and frenzy. Who knows the end? What has risen may sink, and what has sunk may rise.
Loathsomeness waits and dreams in the deep, and decay spreads over the tottering cities of men. A time will
come - but I must not and cannot think! Let me pray that, if I do not survive this manuscript, my executors
may put caution before audacity and see that it meets no other eye.

There are twists of time and space, of vision and reality, which only a dreamer can divine
H.P. Lovecraft


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Head like a squidHe just ate

Head like a squid

He just ate a kid

Do the Cthulhu polka!

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Thanks for your creative

Thanks for your creative contribution.


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Have you heard of the silent

Have you heard of the silent black and white "Call of Cthulhu" movie made a few years ago?

http://www.cthulhulives.org/cocmovie/

I have it on my computer and I've been meaning to watch it for a while. The few clips that I've seen seem pretty good.

"You say that it is your custom to burn widows. Very well. We also have a custom: when men burn a woman alive, we tie a rope around their necks and we hang them. Build your funeral pyre; beside it, my carpenters will build a gallows. You may follow your custom. And then we will follow ours."
British General Charles Napier while in India


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Jormungander wrote:Have you

Jormungander wrote:

Have you heard of the silent black and white "Call of Cthulhu" movie made a few years ago?

http://www.cthulhulives.org/cocmovie/

I have it on my computer and I've been meaning to watch it for a while. The few clips that I've seen seem pretty good.

I've heard of it but I haven't seen it yet. It's interesting I think, that although (whether people are aware of it or not) practically all sci-fi horror incorporates themes and elements from Lovecraft's stories, that his stories don't seem to translate well to film and it seems that the only appropriate adaptation is a silent film. I remember when Cloverfield came out hearing rumors that it was about Cthulhu, it's unfortunate that turned out to be false. Maybe someday there will be a good modern film adaptation of the story.

 

There are twists of time and space, of vision and reality, which only a dreamer can divine
H.P. Lovecraft


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(No subject)

“A meritocratic society is one in which inequalities of wealth and social position solely reflect the unequal distribution of merit or skills amongst human beings, or are based upon factors beyond human control, for example luck or chance. Such a society is socially just because individuals are judged not by their gender, the colour of their skin or their religion, but according to their talents and willingness to work, or on what Martin Luther King called 'the content of their character'. By extension, social equality is unjust because it treats unequal individuals equally.” "Political Ideologies" by Andrew Heywood (2003)


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Gauche wrote:   What is

Gauche wrote:

 

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What is this? I like it....

“A meritocratic society is one in which inequalities of wealth and social position solely reflect the unequal distribution of merit or skills amongst human beings, or are based upon factors beyond human control, for example luck or chance. Such a society is socially just because individuals are judged not by their gender, the colour of their skin or their religion, but according to their talents and willingness to work, or on what Martin Luther King called 'the content of their character'. By extension, social equality is unjust because it treats unequal individuals equally.” "Political Ideologies" by Andrew Heywood (2003)


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This is some degeneracy

This is some degeneracy here. why not just post some gifs from Pink Flamingos while you are at it? but in all seriousness, the Lovecraft is a good thing to bring up. very much ignored in modern lit. kinda like giger and leary. clap clap clap. can you hear the splashing of the kingfisher? or the laughing of aleister as he drowns another bottle of sherry?


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dingusdangus wrote:This is

dingusdangus wrote:

This is some degeneracy here. why not just post some gifs from Pink Flamingos while you are at it? but in all seriousness, the Lovecraft is a good thing to bring up. very much ignored in modern lit. kinda like giger and leary. clap clap clap. can you hear the splashing of the kingfisher? or the laughing of aleister as he drowns another bottle of sherry?

 

Let me guess... you must be "The Savage" from Brave New World....

“A meritocratic society is one in which inequalities of wealth and social position solely reflect the unequal distribution of merit or skills amongst human beings, or are based upon factors beyond human control, for example luck or chance. Such a society is socially just because individuals are judged not by their gender, the colour of their skin or their religion, but according to their talents and willingness to work, or on what Martin Luther King called 'the content of their character'. By extension, social equality is unjust because it treats unequal individuals equally.” "Political Ideologies" by Andrew Heywood (2003)


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dingusdangus wrote: or the

dingusdangus wrote:

 

or the laughing of aleister as he drowns another bottle of sherry?

 

how the hell can you "drown" a bottle of sherry?

"I asked my father,
I said, 'Father change my name.'
The one I'm using now it's covered up
with fear and filth and cowardice and shame."
--Leonard Cohen


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iwbiek wrote:dingusdangus

iwbiek wrote:

dingusdangus wrote:

 

or the laughing of aleister as he drowns another bottle of sherry?

 

how the hell can you "drown" a bottle of sherry?

 

I'm guessing it should have read 'down'.

How can not believing in something that is backed up with no empirical evidence be less scientific than believing in something that not only has no empirical evidence but actually goes against the laws of the universe and in many cases actually contradicts itself? - Ricky Gervais


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iwbiek wrote:how the hell

iwbiek wrote:

how the hell can you "drown" a bottle of sherry?

You immerse it in fluid for so long that it dies of asphyxiation.

"You say that it is your custom to burn widows. Very well. We also have a custom: when men burn a woman alive, we tie a rope around their necks and we hang them. Build your funeral pyre; beside it, my carpenters will build a gallows. You may follow your custom. And then we will follow ours."
British General Charles Napier while in India


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H.P. Lovecraft. wrote:It is

H.P. Lovecraft. wrote:
It is only the inferior thinker who hastens to explain the singular and the complex by the primitive shortcut of supernaturalism.

"The Temple". Published September 1925 in Weird Tales

There are twists of time and space, of vision and reality, which only a dreamer can divine
H.P. Lovecraft