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Happy Halloween everyone! Today, we’re talking about The Call of Cthulhu, which is apparently horror, but is it really? We’re going to talk a lot of trash about H.P. Lovecraft and his inability to understand religions outside of his own. Buckle in everyone because it’s going to be a wild ride.
Today’s guest is a good friend of mine, Nova. If you want to see more of her, check her out @novasaurusrexx on basically everything. If you want to find me, go here: barelybookish.com/connect
If you want to see the pronunciation for Cthulhu, check it out here: https://boardgamegeek.com/thread/698781/hp-lovecraft-explains-how-pronounce-cthulhu
Also, if you want to see my Tales of Horror book, check it out here: https://www.instagram.com/p/CFpKvgun9BL/?utm_source=ig_web_copy_link
Summary of The Call of Cthulhu
“The Call of Cthulhu” is presented as a manuscript “found among the papers of the late Francis Wayland Thurston, of Boston”. In the text, Thurston recounts his discovery of notes left behind by his grand-uncle, George Gammell Angell, a prominent professor of Semitic languages at Brown University in Providence, Rhode Island, who died suddenly in “the winter of 1926–27” after being “jostled by a nautical-looking negro.”
Rachel: Wait a second. It’s Friday. What’s happening it’s the day before Halloween. Hello, hi, welcome to a very special Halloween episode. This ended up being a little longer than I thought it was going to be, but you know what? It’s content. It’s great, but this week- today. Today. We’re reading The Call of Cthulhu by HP Lovecraft and I hope you all will enjoy this fun little Halloween special like an extra little teaser taster before you start your Halloween celebrations. However, you’re celebrating this year with you know everything going on in the world. I hope you still enjoy the holiday, whether you stay inside and binge Halloween town, all of them like I’m probably going to do. Or, you know, you make yourself something nice. Whatever you do, I hope you have a wonderful Halloween and that you enjoy this episode of the Barely Bookish podcasts.
Rachel: Hello everyone! We’re doing a very special Halloween special. A very special Halloween special? Yep, that’s what I’m going to go with. We are reading Call of Cthulhu-or the Call of Cthulhu by HP Lovecraft, a short story that I thought would be very different than it turned out being and I am joined today by Nova.
Rachel: So, we’ll just, you know, jump right into what I thought was supposed to be a Horror Story which just turned out to be ramblings of a crazy man. Is kind of what it felt like to me. I really was not scared like I’m normally not someone who reads a lot of horror. So usually when I do read horror, I’m like, oh, this is freaking me out. I’m gonna have nightmares. And I literally was reading this and I was like, ok…
Nova: I felt like I was being like told about a Horror Story and I was like yeah OK, where is it?
Rachel: I know I think I know I felt like I was reading, if you could somehow report a Horror Story in a textbook. You know?
Nova: Yeah, yeah.
Rachel: That’s kind of what I was going with here. I was like, oh, OK, like I am not freaked out, but should I be?
Nova: Yeah… Like it was very much like that. Like there really only part where it felt more horror was like towards the end where it was kind of more in detail of what was going on. It was like, OK, now we’re getting there and then it like ended. It was like wait a minute.
Rachel: I know now I’m like, OK, OK I can see I can get where we’re going with this I’m going to be freaked out and then it was like an I hope I don’t die and I was like… OK, we’re just gonna leave it there? Like thanks for that, I guess… You know? I, I feel like I was teased, you know? I got like a little like tidbit of those scary and I was like OK, here it goes. It’s gonna be scary and then they’re like and goodbye. Thank you. Thanks for coming out and I was like. Cool, that’s what I wanted to happen.
Nova: I wonder if like it I don’t know. I know like a lot of his short stories are connected like he’s made like his whole like own mythology and whatnot in like his collection. So I wonder if like maybe it links elsewhere, I don’t know. I haven’t read like anything else of his so I have no idea.
Rach, at the same time: Yeah, this is my first one.
Nova, continuing: But I did feel like it was just like. Here you go here. Have like a little drop and then. Bye!
Rachel: I know. This is the first time I literally had this entire book and for everybody that’s listening, I will show a picture of this later, but it’s the Canterbury Classics Tales of Horror, so I have like a giant thing which is beautiful and I love it. I’ve literally owned it for like 2 years and I still haven’t read it like the whole thing like. This is the first time I’ve cracked that bad boy open to read The Call of Cthulhu.
Nova: It’s very pretty. I see you share photos of it. I’m like, oh I need that.
Rachel: Hold on, look at this the inside art.
Nova: Oh my goodness.
Rachel: Yeah, yeah, it’s beautiful. It’s on both the front and the back inside. It’s got like gold… What is that called Deckle? Deckled?
Nova: I think it’s just painted.
Rachel: I don’t know. I think deckled edges are technically when it’s like that, not uniform pages.
Nova: Yeah, it’s like when they’re all choppy and yeah.
Rachel: I love that. I feel like I’m reading an old manuscript when I got deckled edges.
Nova: I like it now. I used to hate it. I really try and cut it off.
Nova: I just did not like it as a kid and now I’m like, oh, this is kinda cool.
Rachel: I remember Series of Unfortunate Events when they had those like edges and I was like yes, this is it. I am pristine, I am the visionary of literature like I just as soon as I got one of those books with like the fancy edges, I just felt like an old researcher, you know where it’s like I had to crack it open to tell people the mystery of the world. I don’t know. I just felt fancy.
Nova: I love that.
Rachel: Yeah, just suddenly get like gain a doctorate in something like medieval studies. OK, so part one is the horror in clay and like let me just read the quote directly out of it. This the first thing that it says because it’s just kind of wild so I’m just going to straight up read it. I hope this is not Copyright infringement and if it is, I swear I’ll take it out so just let me know I’ll reedit this entire thing to take this out. “Of such 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 all kinds” and this quote is by Algernon Blackwood. And like what a strong start like. First of all this lowkey makes no sense. I’m gonna be honest. You read this straight out and you’re like what are we getting into what’s happening?
Sounds like ramblings of a madman. Like right off the bat, you’re like alright. Everybody in this is about to be crazy ’cause this just you know. It’s just words, fancy words thrown onto a paper. Like did you feel that way when you first read that quote?
Nova: Yeah, I was like what is. Why is this connected? Almost like um? Question mark?
Rachel: I know.
Nova: I was like, OK, we’ll just like get into it and just forget about that for now.
Rachel: Yeah, I was like alright, we’ll throw that on the back burner. I’ll come back to that later.
Rachel: Like once you get to the end you’re like OK, I get it now but like when I first read that I was like these are pretty words. Or what’s that quote when it’s like, “I like your funny words magic man.” That’s what I felt like reading it.
Nova: It it does, it just feels like it’s kind of like thrown together and it’s just like here you go, have a quote, and it’s like like OK OK OK.
Rachel: I know it’s like most, most quotes, like at the beginning of a chapter lay the groundwork of like what you’re about to experience and like this did not lay the groundwork. This just was like, alright. I’m prepared to be confused. You know, like I’m going to jump into this like I’m reading Shakespearean literature, I guess. We’re not going to have any idea what’s happening. Just gonna experience it altogether.
Rachel: Yeah, I was just like I’m just gonna throw logic out the window here. I guess. I don’t know what’s going on. Begins by telling us that humans cannot correlate all of their thoughts together and like once humans can piece together their knowledge, they’ll either go mad or flee towards ignorance, and I was like. Yeah, OK.
Like… Strong start I guess. Just call us all morons right off the get go. And the narrator says that they accidentally, first of all, he never tells us the name of the narrator. Did you notice that?
Nova: I did, it’s just kind of. He just goes through and tells his story and doesn’t really. We get the other characters names, but not whatever his name is.
Rachel: Yeah, it’s like so. I guess we’re just supposed to be like this is some nameless, shapeless man, or he didn’t write his- the narrators name, so he “wouldn’t be found.” Maybe? I don’t know, I’m just.
Nova: Like that is like a big thing of yeah. Oh now I know all this stuff they’re coming for me.
Rachel: I know and I was just, like all right, nameless, shapeless, human being. I guess. With, you know, to me I’m like I can’t even picture what you look like in my head ’cause you don’t even have a name. So it’s like… You know ’cause you always go with the name and you like very specific names have very specific characters like a Chad is always a frat boy, a Karen is always a middle-aged white woman with soccer mom haircut, you know name I need to like describe you in my head. But now I just have a this shapeless figure of the narrator.
Nova: He’s just there.
Rachel: Yeah, he’s just existing hanging out, doing nothing for nobody, I guess. So the narrator says that they accidentally pieced together the knowledge of quote, “the thing” unquote, and that they would never knowingly supply anyone else the same information. Which why are you writing it down? Like you’re saying, oh, I’m never going to give anybody this information. And then you write this down. Which then shows up in this book later on.
Nova: I know I thought it was funny, like even at the end it was like oh I’m gonna have (indistinguishable) me, this will be destroyed. Then why do it?
Rachel: Literally, I just. What’s the point? What’s the point of writing for the sake of writing, like the best kept secrets stay in your head. You know? You don’t just… You’re like, oh I’m gonna write down the secret IlluminatI password. No! Like that stays in your head you know you don’t write it down ’cause if it’s written down anybody can find it.
Rachel: There’s no hiding place that’s as good as your brain like. Uh, that part like-
Nova: For real. Like. Oh my goodness.
Rachel: Yeah, that annoyed me as like don’t write it down then. So simple. So then the narrator jumps into the story of his “Grand Uncle”, which I’ve always called it great uncle.
Nova: Oh yeah, me too.
Rachel: OK, like… I was like grand uncle? Like… Weird, but I don’t know if that’s an American thing. Calling it a great uncle or if people actually say granduncle or that’s like one of those things that’s died over the centuries kind of thing.
Nova: It’s possible. I think this was like 1920s. He did this. So it could just be like also a change in dialect over the years.
Rachel: Yeah, maybe I wonder, it’ll tell me in here. Well, it says that this book was made and compiled in 2017, so I have no answers.
Nova: I think I was like, ’cause I was looking it up. Like stuff about it and I think it was like 1920 like 8 or something. Maybe? Somewhere in there.
Rachel: Yeah, it feels right. ’cause that would make sense of the way he refers to human beings as lesser than if it was in 1928. So…
Rachel: So he tells the story of his granduncle who died apparently rather suddenly because he took a long trek up a steep hill and then was “jostled by a nautical looking negro”. And, I just… First of all, this description. There’s a lot going on there. Nautical looking.
So we understand that this is a black man, but. What is nautical looking mean? Does that mean he’s a pirate? Or is he a Sailor or like what makes someone nautical looking?
Nova: That’s what I thought, ’cause I thought like nautical is something to do with sailing.
Nova: So I was like oh just must be like sailor.
Nova: But it’s like it’s a weird description to use.
Rachel: ’cause I don’t know what like. Usually. If you think of someone that’s like, by the ocean a lot. I can’t even like. Frame that in my head as being like.
What would describe someone that’s by the ocean a lot, you know?
Nova: Yeah. I always think, like sailor like the blue and white striped like shirt and like it was like dark pants. I think? I don’t know. I used to see in cartoons all the time. So like as soon as someone says Sailor, that’s what my head goes to, but I think like that’s what I pictured. I was like. OK.
Rachel: I go to loose white top with those zigzags and like bell sleeves. Like that’s all I’ve got. Otherwise, I’m like what makes you nautical looking if you’re not. If you’re not wearing that shirt, you could be anybody you know?
Nova: Yeah, exactly.
Rachel: Alright, so we’re going white shirt or blue and white stripe shirt with the zig zag tie front situation. And also jostled by like did they get in a fight or did he casually kind of bump into this man and the uncle died like I don’t know what jostled as a descriptor means, you know? It’s very vague.
Nova: Yeah, that was weird. I know he kind of mentioned this incident later on which kind of described it a little better. Of like his thought of what actually happened, but like yeah, jostled. It just sounds like they ran into each other on the road like “Oh yeah, shoot sorry bye” like run into you. And then you just like die. It’s like.
Rachel: Yeah, I know he’s like not a good. He doesn’t describe these deaths very well because it’s like. I can’t figure out, even with the later death. I’m like did they get in a fight, did they? Like it just doesn’t. He doesn’t describe it at all. He’s just like slightly jostled and you can like.
Can you elaborate please? I get this is a short story, but I think you could spare like 5 words to tell me that they got in a small fight or they casually just were passing each other in happens like shoulder checked each other like I just need a little bit more description here.
Nova: Yeah exactly. It’s it was just not enough to really get the idea of what happened.
Nova: I had to read it like 6 or 7 times ’cause I was like, wait. What?
Rachel: I know, I know I kept like rereading it and I’m like no, just jostled like I did you go up and shake him in the shoulders like you just didn’t describe this at all. And like if all these people are dying, I feel like you should describe their death a little bit to like give me that fright. Otherwise I think anybody that shoulder checks me. I’m going to die now like.
Nova: Yeah really, oh I’m gonna bump into somebody and have a heart attack. Oh yeah, maybe I should avoid the public.
Rachel: Yeah, like quarantine is now our friend because we’re all avoiding the public together.
Nova: Oh yes, and then we’re good. We can’t be jostled and killed.
Rachel: I just. You know he describes everything else so elaborately. I just don’t understand how he won’t describe someone’s death.
Nova: I know it’s just like I feel like that’s a big part and then… It’s just like oh he died.
Rachel: I know it’s like, a whole in depth about how humans can’t discover anything, they just exist and they can’t make connections in their brain. Then he’s like after that you know this man just casually died, as you do. What?
Nova: Your words are being put into the wrong paragraphs?
Rachel: I know I’m like use your word count a little bit later in the next paragraph and tell me how this man died, ’cause that’s what I need to know.
Rachel: You know I I’m not scared by the lack of human understanding. I’m more trying to figure out how this guy died so I can possibly avoid death, but.
Nova: Yeah, we kind of know about the human condition. We don’t need to be told.
Rachel: Yeah, I know, I’ve read enough science. I understand that I am one small fraction of humanity. But please move on so I can, you know, figure out how this man died.
Rachel: So, after giving absolutely no description. The narrator goes starts going through his things and arranging his estate when he finds a locked box, which he then opens by using the ring, his grand uncle always wore. First off, how did he even get the ring? You know, did his grand Uncle leave it at home that day that he died or? After…. You know, because usually if you wear a lot, sometimes you get buried with it.
Nova: Yeah, it’s I think it’s how he like. He had it in his pocket. So maybe like he took it out of there after the guy died and was just like oh you had a ring in his pocket but I didn’t even really think about that part of it. I was just like oh, he’s really keeping secrets here. He wanted that ring to go with him.
Rachel: I know I’m like OK, like. And also, crowbars exist? You know we have some options here. I’m just saying like I was confused as to how he even got possession of this ring because it doesn’t sound like him and his granduncle were closed by any means. The grand uncle just happened to not have any kids and he was the only person that took up the will to manage his estate. So I just was like how do you even get this ring, you know?
Nova: Yeah, really.
Rachel: So in this locked box there were some weird clay thing, plus notes and cuttings. The figure of the clay thing is what does he keep calling it a?
Nova: Like boss relief?
Rachel: Yeah, boss relief, I was like I don’t even know what that means so I just call it clay thing or statue throughout my notes because I was like… I don’t know what that means like.
Nova: I I didn’t understand what it was referring to at first I was like “what is that like what” ’cause? Yeah it was just weird like such an odd word to describe it. I was just like can we just say statue?
Rachel: I know or like I’ve heard of a bust before you know? But boss relief..? I was like, those words don’t mean anything to me.
Nova: There is like a word for like when you make something out of clay before it gets fired like I used to remember like in my ceramics class. We called it something and now I don’t remember. I’m like why couldn’t we have just called it that?
Rachel: Yeah, but it’s like I don’t even know wasn’t. I guess it was still wet, right? Like it hadn’t dried yet, but it’s still just a statue. Or he could have called it an Idol or anything like that. Like calling it a boss relief? I don’t know if that was ever had meaning, but it didn’t have any meaning to me whatsoever.
Nova: Yeah, it might have been like one of those word things again of like time period, it meant something back then. It’s not so much here now.
Rachel: Yeah, possibly. I was just like “OK, I don’t know what that means but alright.” So, the figured is described as having a tentacle head, a grotesque and scaly body and wings, and the title of the note says, “Cthulhu Cult” and you said this is pronounced a different way than you thought it was. How do you find out it was pronounced like Cthulhu or something else?
Nova: It um, so I was looking up just like different pieces of it after I read it just to see like what people might have said or anything and I found it was like a quote from a letter from Lovecraft to another person that addresses the issue of how to pronounce it and it is he says, like it’s “the name of the hellish entity was invented by beings whose vocal organs were not like man’s, hence it has no relation to the human speech equipment. The syllables were determined by physiological equipment wholly unlike ours, hence they can never be uttered perfectly by human throats and the actual sound as nearly as any human organs could imitate it or human letters record. It may be taking something like… (Nova tries her bext to pronounce it as Lovecraft requests) Kalalu.”
Well, I like I first of all like videos of how to pronounce it and like, yeah. It’s more like garbally than that. I’m like?
Rachel: Alright, everyone Google that at home.
Nova: Try it ’cause everywhere I’ve heard has been Cthulhu and then I got to it and I was like, wait? This has been wrong.
Rachel: Listen, I’m gonna saying it now. I think HP Lovecraft was one of those guys who is a super mansplainer. Like he is so full of himself. He’s like (Rachel, in a mocking voice) “it can’t even be uttered by the human language. No one can understand me. I’m so deep and dark and brooding” and I’m like dude, just admit that it’s- phonetically it would be pronounced Cthulhu, and the way that you’re trying to make it sound just doesn’t exist, and it doesn’t matter.
Nova: Like, even if you take out the T, it sounds much more like how he wanted it to sound then what it looks like like. It’s pretty much if you take the T out it looks almost phonetically the same as what it says. I’m like, why would you put the T in then? Like are you just like throwing in things now?
Like if this is how you wanted it to be said. Try and make it look like it.
Rachel: HP Lovecraft is trying to convince us that he didn’t just make this entire thing up and that this actually exists, like there’s no Cthulhu Cult, because here’s the thing, people inherently want to make the world a better place then they left it. No one actually legitimately wants to be evil and cause destruction without any sense of improvement, you know? So it’s like he’s trying to convince us that there all these people would worship a sort of quote unquote deity that you know would bring about the destruction and the manslaughter of everyone around them, including themselves like no one actually, legitimately wants to believe and like leave the world a worse place and they found it. Like every single person like as part of humanity wants to cause improvement, which some as an outsider looks upon it and says like
that’s not the way to go, but they all everyone inherently tries to do it for, you know, good reason, so it’s like. He’s trying to say that all these people would join a quote Cthulhu cult and that he just happens to be reporting on what everyone’s actually doing, and you know that Cthulhu truly exists, but it’s like then, if Cthulhu did exist, you obviously don’t understand the basis of this religion, because I can guarantee no one’s following a giant water monster that you know wants to destroy and dismantle the entire world and government and all the people on it. So then lead what? Nothing? Sheep? Like small animals on the world? Like… What? Like he he just. Every time he refers to cults, he describes them as like the end of days, you know, and that they want to bring about the destruction of the world. And I’m like.
You know cults are not all bad.
Nova: Usually like the ones that you see that are like oh we need to like get rid of humanity is because they’re concerned about like the planet and how we’re affecting it. So they’re like, oh, we should just get rid of us because we’re the issue, so it’s not even like a oh, we just want to bring on destruction, it’s a way of like saving the universe is like how they have it.
Rachel: Yeah, so I think that’s what bothers me with him trying to say like how to pronounce Cthulhu is like he acts like this is an actual religion that people would partake in worship, when in reality it’s like something he made up in his little brain.
Nova: It just seems like. Or at least he should have when he wrote it, like had something of like. This is how you pronounce it. Like I remember reading in the story, it was like, “oh, it’s just like all these sounds, but it sounded like this.” Like put it phonetically and then like just throwing words together. If you want people to understand it.
Rachel: I know.
Nova: Don’t make it harder for people to understand.
Rachel: Yeah, give us that little index in the back because the thing is he’s trying to write how these would sound. You wouldn’t spell it Cthulhu unless it was pronounced Cthulhu. If you were trying to pronounce it CAH-Hulu or however you said it. You wouldn’t put a T in there. You would put like double OO’s, you know, like. You would spell it phonetically because that’s your only indication of how it would actually be spelled. ’cause you don’t have the written language.
Nova: Yeah, or like address is somewhere when he like put out the story that like the T is silent ’cause even just saying that like completely like changes how you look at it.
Nova: I’m like oh it’s not actually a T and it’s just like OK, especially since this letter was like 1934 it says. So he’s just letting people think of whatever it is for, like, what like six years or so? I don’t know math, so like we’re guessing.
Rachel: I know.
Nova: It like it should have been right with it if that’s how you wanted it. Like even like in modern culture, you see it now in like they have a whole game that’s the call of Cthulhu. You see it in other things, Cthulhu, it’s like. That should have been addressed like from day one.
Rachel: I think he just it the way it was spelled. He was like OK, yeah, this is it and then he never thought about how it would be pronounced. You know, he liked the spelling of it and he was like, alright cool, we’re good. And then he was like publish it and then people started saying he goes. Gmm? Don’t like that? What if instead I pronounced a very like gutturally like (weird mouth sounds)- Cthuhulu, you know? Like yeah OK go off H.P. Lovecraft but I’m not gonna do it like I wanna call it Cthulhu. I’m not gonna go go, make like garble sounds and hope that everyone knows what I’m talking about like you can do that if you want. But I’m not gonna do it. But yeah, so. Cthulhu cult moving on. So, they also make mention of a witch cult and I just at this point want to remind everyone that witches are not a cult and I’m just going to throw that out there and anytime that you are like saying that there are cults, I’m just going to yell at you. Anyways, you can really see that HP Lovecraft has a very narrow look on the world right here because he just references everything as cultish you know. Like he talks a lot of trash about the voodoo religion here soon is it is the Voodoo religion right? Or is it just a practice? I’m not sure.
Nova: I’m not sure I always thought it was a practice, but it could be just the early… I don’t really know. I haven’t really like dived into it a whole ton. Yeah, I know like a little bit that you see like in like pop culture but. Obviously, that could be like completely backwards, so I’m not 100% sure.
Rachel: I’m going to guess that it’s a… One of those could be either, but I’m not going to make a generalized sweep of that because I’m not sure, but he talks a lot of trash about like Voodooism and like, witches not happening is like because I think this no because this is there is a Satanist scare what is that? What was that called but? In like the 80s, where everyone was freaking out about satanist. I forget what that’s called. I’ll think of it later, but I’ll edit it in. You know. For anyone that was wondering, it was called the Satanic Panic and it took place in the 80s and it was not a great time and you can read all about it on the Internet if you are interested in this topic, but I will get right back to the episode starting now.
But um, it seemed very much the same where anything that was like non-Christian or quote other, he was very not OK with like he was very freaked out about anybody that practiced any sort of predating religion to like Christianity and Catholicism like. Buddy… Pagans have been around way longer than Christianity has, so if anything is a scary religion, it could have been Christianity, but you know, we won’t go there, I guess. He’s not ready for that conversation.
Nova: I’ve heard a lot about how he just was not like a great guy and very has a lot of controversial and problematic stuff in his works, but obviously he’s still like talked about because he is such a big step in horror and like cosmic horror and everything. So people obviously refer to him because it is such of that building block of a genre. But they’re like OK, he’s just not… But you know.
Rachel: I know I heard a little bit about like him being kind of… You know, not a great person and I was like, OK, you know, I’ll just keep that in mind. I’ll keep it on the back burner and I’ll think about it while I read, you know, so I can read it a little bit more critically. But like I don’t even have to read critically. It’s right there in your face. There’s not a single woman woman wo- wo-, woman? You know, in this entire story, and because I was like, OK, like in my brain, I am used to the 21st century where you know you could at least counter a single female in the entire story. He did not talk about one. Every single character in this entire story was a male.
Nova: Wasn’t there like the wife at the very end of the sailor guy. That like he shows up and she’s like he’s dead. And then like here, do you want this? That’s the I was like that’s I think that’s the only female in it.
Rachel: Yeah, I was like… OK, like I did not have to think critically about this at all. Everybody is white, everyone is male. Great love that.
Nova: Pretty much, yeah, he’s just flat out just here you go.
Rachel: Yeah, he’s like oh woman can be human question mark? Other than wife question mark? Like Buddy. Get it together and you know he just oh OK, we’ll get back into it. ’cause I know I’m going to get to a couple of parts in here where we have to break it down for a second. ’cause terrible trash human. So, um. Henry Anthony Wilcox had been the one to give his grant uncle the statue, and apparently Henry is a super lon- loner, but mostly because he tells really strange stories and it freaks everyone out. So Henry gave the statue to his granduncle and had asked him to identify the hieroglyphs that are on it. The professor could tell that the statue had been newly created, so he was really annoyed with you, know Henry coming up and asking about it, ’cause he’s like, did you make this in your basement buddy? ’cause like? It’s very new. Um, so after the meeting, the professor had an awful nightmare about a city covered in green ooze and chanting of Cthulhu Fgtagn. Is my guess of what this is, but it’s Cthulhu (Spelling out) F-H-T-A-G-N. My brain says (phonetically) fut-a-gun. And that’s as much as I’m going to try and pronounce it. ’cause I have no idea.
Nova: Who knows if he’s just thrown in like random like letters that are silent, it could be anything.
Rachel: Yeah, it could just been… (pronouncing it two ways, omitting some letters in each)
Rachel: It could be anything, we have no idea.
Nova: Oh man.
Rachel: But all I’m saying is if you if someone tells you something and you have no idea what it means, you would spell it phonetically. I don’t understand why he’s just like, “Oh yeah, this is pronounced differently than it’s written.” No, it wouldn’t be because you have no idea what this means. So obviously you’d write all your notes phonetically.
Nova: Yeah, I usually like. I’ve notice when people create like new languages for like Fantasy or something if it’s not already written like phonetically, they include like oh “Hey, this is how it works, so you know.” And it’s just like why? Why couldn’t he have done this it with everything that he says- writes in this you think it would have at least something to go off.
Rachel: But it’s like he says he hears the words in his dream. So it’s like if you’re hearing the words, you would have no idea how it would be spelled. Except for phonetically, in whatever language you already speak, so it’s like if you’re if you speak German and you’re hearing chanting, you’re not going to write that in English ’cause you like. If you don’t know English, you know ’cause you would have no idea how it would be spelled, so I’m just don’t understand why he wouldn’t spell it phonetically. I I can’t keep going on this tangent, I’m just annoyed about it. So OK, so he goes back and questions Henry and Henry doesn’t know anything about the cult, so he asked him to report all of his dreams. So Henry gives daily reports of his dreams and the most common he words he hears our Cthulhu and every time I read it I say Riley.
Nova: Yeah, that’s what I was doing. Was like Riley, yeah, I like that. Definitely not what it is, but.
Rachel: Like (weirdly pronounces Riley for the continuation of the meme), you know I don’t know. This is now turned into a podcast and we just repeating phonetically, but you know, phonetically. Again, you would not put a apostrophe ‘LELYEH, you know ’cause the phonetically that means nothing. So it’s like where did the apostrophe come from? Buddy, like, are you seeing visions of the way these words are spelled, or what’s making driving you to spell it this way? ’cause that’s not phonetic at all?
Nova: Yeah, exactly it. Just it doesn’t make sense. I was so confused every time he’d like they did chant farther down was like all written out and I was like I’m just gonna skip over it. ’cause I don’t wanna try.
Rachel: I know it’s like these are garbo words. These are mumbles I have no idea what this means so I just skipped over and looked at the translation first. Well, how do they even translate it? That’s my next question, ’cause this isn’t like. From my understanding, this has no basis in any sort of language ’cause it predates human speech for whatever reason, so it’s like. If how would you even translate this? You know, that doesn’t make any sense.
Nova: Yeah I was getting. I like wrote down multiple times, especially towards like the third part, I was like aliens?
Rachel: I know that’s basically what it sounds like.
Nova: Like there’s just so many like bits and pieces that I was like. I think this is almost like alien-esque.
Rachel: He says they came from the Sky.
Nova: Yeah, I’m like, which would explain the weird like syllables, but like still, you wouldn’t know how to like write them.
Rachel: Yeah, so. After that, Henry suddenly got sick and has remained unconscious. After Henry recovered, he has no more dreams at all and became useless to the professor, which, like Henry is lucky, going off of what else everybody else experienced after this. You know? Henry gets to live and everyone else is dying all around him.
Nova: I know, even like when he was like in his like feverish state, it said something like “the other artists in the building was like in some kind of delirium and almost like experiencing stuff,” so it’s almost like he was affecting everybody else as well, and then it just stopped and like that was when I was like is this like a paranormal entity?
Rachel: I know I was like…
Nova: I was like that sounds very paranormal, supernatural, kind of thing.
Rachel: Uh huh. Yeah. So the professor questions Henry’s friends to see if anyone had similar nightmares, and all his sciency friends didn’t, and some people had uneasy nightmares that never took form. And that was during the time that Henry was sick. But his artist friends, however, reported truly bizarre dreams. Someone apparently went quote violently insane. As you had mentioned. On the day that Henry had a seizure and fell ill. So first of all, why did the science quote, you know, logical, unquote type people not have any nightmares, but for some reason, Cthulhu cares about your profession enough to only give nightmares to the artist people. Like…
Nova: Yeah, that was weird to me. I was like questioning that as well as like does it have to do something with like left and right brain dominance? ’cause I know like there is something I don’t know if it’s still like scientifically correct…. When I was younger it was like artists and creative people use one side of their brain more and then like logic uses the other side more. So, is it something with that? I was like that’s the only thing I could think of that, like, not everyone was affected, or especially when it’s like science versus artists.
Rachel: Yeah. I don’t know, that’s really weird.
Nova: Like there’s gotta be some kind of divide there.
Rachel: I know I was like OK and also why does this guy that they say is pretty much crazy have science friends? ‘Cause, he says like no one wants a talk to him and everyone thinks he’s really weird and suddenly he has like Sciency friends, which I was like, OK like. Interesting.
Nova: Yeah, that was really like weird especially….
Rachel: Yeah. So Part 2 the tale of Inspector, Legrasse.
Nova: I like I was thinking like Lagrasse. I think it’s probably related to French.
Nova: Just because of New Orleans, so that’s what I was pronouncing it as.
Rachel: Yeah, I did not do well in my French classes, so you know I’m gonna just pardon myself here until someone could tell me how it’s actually pronounced because apparently even though this book says it’s phonetic, nothings phonetic, but it’s fine, we get too butthurt about it only a little bit. So now we’ve shifted scenes to 1908. Seventeen years ago, when the professor went to a conference. Many people come to him during the entire conference to like get advice I guess. And one person really stood out and he was an expect Inspector of the police who brought a weird old statue. Which first of all. This entire thing is just like this cop comes to a conference shows up and is like, hey, look at my statue like. Would you not make some calls as a police officer before I just show up to an archaeology conference? I think I would make some calls in the area. You know, it didn’t say that he had any sort of ideas or that he had made any calls previous to this. You know, like this would be like a last resort type thing for me, like showing up at some random conference with a bunch of college professors. I mean like. I look at my (cut out), you know.
Nova: Yeah it like it said he was like talking to some of the people that were there, but they were like no, we’re not telling you anything. So like maybe that was like him like his last scenario was going there, but obviously we don’t get that. ’cause it’s short. But it was like you know you would think that he’d go and check things out first. This section kind of confused me too. ’cause like the timeline was weird…
Rachel: ‘Cause it goes back forth, back forth?
Nova: -Professor like talking about it and then it was like right back until I get happening. I was like wait where am in time right now?
Rachel: Lot of Flash is. I have a lot of inherent problems with this as well. So like we’ll just- I’m gonna start going through it and then I’m gonna keep pausing as I talk about my grievances with this entire plot right now. So, the statue had been captured during a raid on the quote Voodoo, meeting, unquote, and first of all, what right does a police officer have, barging into someone’s, you know ceremony of sorts. You know, because we don’t have any context right now. So I was immediately angry that, like a cop, thought he could just, you know, come in to a- Whether it’s a religious or ceremonial gathering of people and just steal something and break it apart. You know we get a little more context later on, but I was just immediately mad about this.
Nova: Yeah, I was like why are they raiding it like I was like there must like- Was there something else going on there that they thought something was happening? ’cause like why would you just go? It’s not like you go right to church and like take the cross off the wall and get away with it. I was like oh OK, can we have a little more detail like or? Is this just really how you think of the voodoo culture of like… Oh, it’s just so bad we’re just going to send the police in anyway.
Rachel: I know I just. I guess I don’t know. Maybe it’s just the 2020 world that we’re in, but as soon as I saw that they had quote raided a religious practice, I was like great. So, things have really not gotten any better. You know? I was just- of course they would. That’s the thing to do, I guess, and just steal a statue that doesn’t belong to you as quote evidence.
Nova: Oh yeah, yeah.
Rachel: It’s like I’m not surprised, but I was still angry about it. So, and then let me just read this quote directly out that he says next “They had stumbled on a dark cult, totally unknown to them and infinitely more diabolic than even the blackest of African voodoo circles.” He literally wrote this in the book.
Nova: Yeah, I I highlighted that and I was like…. Ok.
Rachel: Yeah, I’m just going to read my note after that, “Please be more racist, H.P. Lovecraft. It wasn’t nearly obvious enough with this statement alone.”
Rachel: I get that in magic circles, there’s technically white magic and you know black magic and then grey magic like I get that, but I have a feeling that he was not referring to white magic and black magic. In the quote blackest of African voodoo circles, I have a feeling that he was referring to other things. And I it does not sit right with me. This entire statement makes me uncomfortable. I do not like it I and also voodoo is not inherently evil. Like, you can really if you pull apart any of any religion, any practice, anything you can see the good and bad of all of it. But it’s like people like to, especially in pop culture, pop culture taken religion that they do not understand and that they do not have any intention of understanding and turn it into something inherently evil. And it’s like this is what he’s doing with any sort of religion that’s not Christian based, and it really bothers me like it really bothers me. Throughout the entire story, it’s just the amount of times that he has to take someone’s religion and someone’s not. I don’t even- I’m sorry I don’t know that voodoo is a religion, but someone’s I guess culture is the best way that I know how to describe it. And just turn it into something evil and every single time that he references it, he references it in an evil context and it just really irks me.
Nova: Like ’cause every like even every religion and every like culture has just usually like what it is and then the people who take it too far. Who like turn into something it’s not and make it to the point where it’s like just something completely wrong like. Muslims and terrorists, like everyone, immediately assumes that like Muslims are terrorists. It’s like it’s not like they’re not. It’s just those select few people who just go haywire with it. And now it’s like, oh now all of you are like that. And it’s like, no.
Rachel: Well, it’s like the bigots Christianity you know. You can say the same thing about Christianity. There’s this. Uh, what is it? Westboro Baptist Church?
Nova: Oh my God, yes.
Rachel: Like those are horrible horrendous people. It doesn’t mean that all of the Christian religions and everything that’s encompassed in those are terrible religions, but obviously with everything there’s a select few that are horrible and so horrendous that it. Um
Nova: It taints the rest of it. So if that’s what people think of now, it’s they’re like, oh, that’s what it is like. Oh, wow, yeah, West-Westborough?
Nova: Yeah, Westbrook is Christianity, terrorists, Muslim and like it just goes through all of them. It’s like you know you get maybe like one dark cult in like Voodoo and it’s like OK, well now they’re all that yeah, no.
Rachel: It’s like there’s not enough is there’s not enough quantity of people to stand up for these other cultures, whereas you know there’s a lot of the world is Christian because of the forced colonization of the world. So, there is a large amount of people that will be like, well, not all Christians, but you know. There you can’t do that. They’re just not enough people that can do that with the other cultures where people just readily believe that these other religions and these other cultures are inherently evil because they won’t believe the small minority of people that are unlike them and they see as other, which I just think is trash. And it’s like, really thrown in your face in HP Lovecraft’s work that he thinks that these other cultures are just inherently evil, and I’m like buddy-
Rachel: -get a grip.
Nova: He doesn’t hold back. It’s just like here you go and it’s like no, OK.
Rachel: Yeah, it’s like get a grip buddy like it’s really bad. So, um. Moving past that and his inherent racism throughout this entire story, everyone at the conference passes the figure around so that they can analyze it. And in analyzing the statue, they realize that they don’t even know what material it’s made out of. Like, it’s not a material that anyone seen before, and like these are. Quote The great white minds of the time. Um, who probably only look into Western civilizations and the world that the western civilizations grew into. But you know, we’ll just, you know, brush on past that because that’s another long podcast of a couple hours. I don’t even really want to get into, I’m just aggravated, but it’s fine. So the only person that the entire conference, who had any kind of knowledge was someone named Professor Webb who studies anthropology. Um and Professor Webb apparently came across a coal of “Devil worshippers”. And I just OK again. I I can’t even leave this alone. I can’t get through one sentence of this book without getting mad like he just assumed anybody that doesn’t worship you know God is a devil worshiper and like Cthulhu is other. Cthulhu isn’t the devil, so it’s like he’s just looking at anybody that’s just not practicing a religion that he understands as devil worshippers like that bothers me because it’s like you’re not understanding the world or anything that predates what your own knowledge is like. You cannot be a studier of the world and religions. And you know everything around it and assume that anything that’s like what you haven’t heard of is Devil worship. I just do not like it. It annoys the living daylights out of me. It bothers me a lot.
Nova: I wrote downright next to like around that section. It was like we fear what we do not know.
Rachel: Yeah, that’s literally what happens. Is this entire book is just him fearing something that’s other something that he doesn’t understand, and it’s like that does not scare me. I am interested in things that I don’t understand, whereas HP Lovecraft is like, oh, you don’t understand this, so it is inherently evil and bad. And you’re like, no? Like either tell me what it is so I can make that judgment call myself or just do not put your biased like lack of understanding and ignorance into the world you know?
Nova: Yeah, it’s one thing to like fear, like the unknown, it’s another to like just flat out be like it’s terrible.
Nova: Like flat out just like he goes. Oh they were practicing devil worship like you don’t know what they were practicing.
Rachel: Yeah, like-
Nova: You know it could be some weird, like they’re worshipping God, but it’s just not what you think it is. So now it’s immediately devil worship and it’s like you know you gotta take the moment. Understand it. Like, even if it is like a scary thing like, you know, they’re scary things out there, but like. It it’s not bad just ’cause you don’t know what it is.
Rachel: Yeah, it’s like how people are all about how Satanist worship the devil where they literally don’t like. If you look into what they actually worship, they’re called Satanist because Christians didn’t understand what they were practicing. And it’s like I feel like the same things happening here, like they’re just using Devil worshippers is a like umbrella term without actually investigating what’s going on. And it just annoys me ’cause I’m like. I would like to learn more. I am interested. I’m intrigued. Tell me your stories and do not gatekeep from me, you know and he’s like I’m just gonna throw this under the word devil worship and you guys will just believe me ’cause I am all-knowing and I’m like no, no I won’t.
Nova: Thank yeah exactly.
Rachel: Uh, and then he says they apparently practice- participate in human sacrifices, which I’m like, of course, you know anything that’s just like. I just every time they just throw out human sacrifices. I feel like they expect me to go, “Oh no, the horror!” but I’m like, do they do they really or are you just telling me that they participate in human sacrifices ’cause there’s a line there, you know, like there’s a. You know you could say they participate in human sacrifices, but like are they dead? Can you name the people who are involved? Or are you just saying that? Because it’s something you don’t understand.
Nova: Yeah, it’s almost like a. I want to make this as scary as possible and so far from my religion I’m just throwing it in there and not being like. This is actually a part of their thing and like, yeah. Like it’s one like if he wasn’t, so just. Like you said, umbrella terming everything. I’d be more like OK, maybe like yes they are doing this human sacrifice, but it’s ’cause he’s just so like against it’s like OK, are they really now?
Rachel: Yeah.It feels like a very colonizer mindset, you know? Yeah, it’s like everyone has to believe that I believe. And if you don’t then you’re bad and it’s just some like human sacrifice really? Like, tell me their names. OK, like I wanna know who was sacrificed ’cause I don’t believe you at all.
Nova: I know like I’m like, I’d be intrigued if that’s what they were actually doing.
Rachel: And then it’s like for what motive you know like why?
Nova: Exactly, it’s like you gotta tell me why it’s like, why are they human sacrificing? Is it some like like why?
Rachel: Are we sacrificing the humans too- So that they can then live forever and be other worlds or like what are. What’s the point? You know, if there’s no point, no one, just like sacrifices them for fun. You know, like is it so that the rest of the populace can then get immortality like?
Nova: Yeah, there’s some. There’s gotta be some motive ’cause like. Offerings is usually like fruit of like the harvest and like a pig or a goat or something. It’s not, oh hey, let’s take our kid and just like.
Rachel: Throw him in the fire, you know.
Nova: Yeah. It’s like having fun.
Rachel: Like people do in their modern practices, fun offerings of like cool things they found on the ground. You know cool rocks or like. Money, you know it’s like humans, I know one won’t like. Think about it if you’re a Diety, why would what benefit do I have of having a dead human? Nothing. There’s no benefit that could serve. Cool rocks? Now I have a cool rock, you know. Or like money? Now I have material wealth. Cool shirts? I now have a cool shirt. But it’s like a dead human? You’re like great, I didn’t want Chad just throw him back, you know like that doesn’t serve me anyhing.
Nova: All you really get out of it is like the heart of the person that did it. Like now you know, OK, this person is just willing to do whatever, and it’s just like like I remember ’cause I was raised Christian there is one where God was like oh you gotta sacrifice your kid and so the guy was like oh oh crap yeah it’s like well I guess I got to do this and so he went to go do it and got like no no no, no no I didn’t like. No, just go get the goat. I tried going up around the corner, go get that instead. Like I was just testing you. I don’t actually want you to kill him.
Rachel: Yeah, and you’re like OK.
Nova: I was like oh OK, well I’m like it’s a good thing he didn’t actually want it but it’s like it was a test.
Rachel: It’s a good thing that God didn’t come in 5 minutes later and then you have a dead son. Then you’d be like, Oh yeah.
Nova: Totally OK, just like. I don’t know any like deity that would want like human sacrifice really. Except maybe like. I don’t know like. It’s just hard. It would be like a test, almost like will you do it?
Rachel: Even Hades you know God of the underworld, he’s got enough, you know he doesn’t need another one. It’s like there’s really no purpose that a human soul can serve any sort of diety when they can just access them anyways, like.
Nova: Yeah exactly. It’s just like… There’s no reason besides, I guess, testing them and seeing if they follow you through an at that point. It’s like then just stop it.
Rachel: I know I really this think he was going on like Devil Hysteria and just could not understand that there is religions outside of his own that exist without being inherently evil, and it just annoys the living daylights out of me.
Nova: Yeah, that’s what that’s what it sounded like to me was he’s just like trying to make it sound as horrible as possible with no like meaning behind why they’re doing what they’re doing.
Rachel: Yeah.This is funny. I thought this was going to be like a quick 30 minute, you know. Like little special because it’s like, oh, I put this out on the Friday before Halloween and people can enjoy it and I’m like Devil worship and everything and paganism and we’re going to talk about it. And then you know now we’re only halfway through and it’s already an hour and that’s fine. It’ll be a very long Halloween special that everyone can enjoy and yeah.
Nova: I notice that was like oh wow, I did not think was gonna go this long and we’re like halfway through.
Rachel: I know anyways, so the police officer in the Professor Webb compare notes and they realize that the rituals are identical. First of all, Professor Webb is hearing this all second hand, not even second hand like third at least third hand. What is their hand? Second hand is someone that was actually there. I don’t even know what you call it. Once you get to the third person. By that point, you can’t trust anything ’cause the second guy could have exaggerated. Now the third guys exaggerating to tell it to Professor Web. But
Nova: It’s like a game of telephone.
Rachel: Yeah, the police officer wasn’t even at the ritual. He just shows up at the very end starts breaking it apart. So how are they comparing notes of this ritual? Because? Neither was there. So it’s like, yeah, they’re comparing notes and realizing it’s identical, no, you’re not.
Nova: Yeah like the only one that would have the knowledge would be like the officer ’cause he came in like in the middle of it. So like here things, yeah, he’d hear things.
Rachel: And then he interviewed these people at the end. So it’s like he would have more knowledge than Professor Webb who has some random source that happened to have heard it from some man that says he knows what they’re talking about when he could have gone completely off rumor. Like we don’t know who this other guys sources.
Nova: Yeah, exactly. Like in this, in this scene it’s like almost like the police officer has more knowledge than the guy who’s going to ask for, yeah.
Rachel: Yeah, OK, I don’t know why the cop is still digging. That’s my thing. I’m like buddy, you’ve got your answers. You know you know what you know. You saw what you saw. Why are you still concerned? Like what’s this going to benefit you in anyway? Like you arrested the people that you think have caused this issue. What benefit do you have from finding out the hole like rest of this religion like are they paying you as a cop to go investigate the rest of this? Like I don’t feel like that they want to uncover like your Police Department in New Orleans wants to uncover this entire conspiracy of the rest of the rest of this religion, you know?
Nova: Yeah, it’s like unless there was something that would make them feel like they had to go search it out like they’ve got the people there. They’d probably put like the little statue or whatever they took into evidence and would just go like in the backroom and just be there until like 20 years down the road they get another instance of the same thing and do the same thing over and over ’cause in less like ’cause. I think it said that they had like bodies hanging like the bodies are right there. You don’t have to investigate. They’re asking anybody anything. So your investigation essentially is done.
Rachel: Yeah, so like basically everyone admitted to it.
Nova: Like, what’s his motive?
Rachel: I don’t know like I don’t know if it’s just morbid curiosity or if like it’s just a plot thickener or like for some reason this police officer needs to travel halfway across the United States to go talk to people in San Francisco. No, not San Francisco. I don’t know where this meeting is, but like. Why are you reaching out to all these professors to you know, find this out when your investigation is done.
Nova: Yeah exactly. It just seems like so out of character and even if it had just been like, you know he was curious and he heard this was going on and thought hey, I’ll take it from evidence. It’s like even that gives you more answers than what’s on the page.
Rachel: Because it’s like at this point the police are losing funds to follow this dead end in this trail that shouldn’t lead anywhere because it has no connection to what happened. You know, I don’t know. So. They share the words that the people chanted. But I’m only going to share the translation which was “in his house in R’ley dead Cthulhu waits dreaming.” And for some reason they continuously chanted this over and over and over.
Which is it doesn’t even make for a ritual. OK? You’re just saying a phrase and it’s just you know ending.
Nova: Yeah, like. I think. Was it in this? I can’t remember it if I thought at some point it was like. It came back to like the lore of like they came from the stars and like I had to line first align so like they were waiting for them to align so we could wake up, you know. And that was like the left dreaming part. But it was just like what the like? Like, it just made no sense. Like, as you said before, how did they translate it? Like who could do that?
Rachel: I don’t know how they translated it, first off. Second off, it’s if it’s a ritual you don’t just repeat one line of text over and over and over and over again you know there’s usually a sort of story or some sort of floor-flow I mean or if it’s a ritual you’re trying you’re doing it to cause something to happen so you would speak into words what you want to happen you know? It’s not like-like okay most of us are familiar with Christian religions so think about in like your Catholic mass when they do first communion they say how they want the uh body to turn into wine and you know the-or the body to turn into bread and his blood to turn to wine you know you speak into what you want to happen. This doesn’t say anything.
Nova: Yeah, it’s just like a saying that like why would you say it over and over again it would make sense if it’s like this is what is um. I lost my train of thought. It just like-
Rachel: Yeah I feel that.
Nova: It makes sense if almost like it was like part of like almost like a song that you kind of like say over again.
Rachel: I get it as a mantra or like a basis but like it doesn’t make sense in a ritual.
Nova: Yeah there should be a lot more to it and it sounds almost like it’s part of almost like a prophecy type thing which-
Nova: That’s usually not repeating the same thing over and over again it’s like a chunk so unless they were saying like the whole thing over and over again and that’s the only part they got like that would make sense. But it’s like, it doesn’t sound like that it sounds like it’s just this.
Rachel: Yeah it just doesn’t make sense because as a ritual you’re driving something to happen you do a ritual to you know, you do a ritual to get rain for your next harvest, you do a ritual to have a good growing season you know? You do all these different rituals so that like you create the future that you want. What does this say? This doesn’t say anything. It says the current state of things in which you know you would have no reason to have a ritual if you’re just repeating what’s currently happening. That’s just a news bulletin. That’s not a ritual.
Rachel: We can talk all day about what’s currently going on but if you’re creating a ritual you’re either trying to wake up Cthulu in which the wording would then be different.
Nova: Yeah exactly.
Rachel: Or you know you wouldn’t be doing something just keeping it the same it doesn’t make any sense. Like I really don’t think he understands religions outside of his own, or that he could think critically enough to be like okay if I’m creating this entire religion, this entire ritual, what do you need? What’s the basis?
Rachel: You know he did not go and deep dive into that and I think that’s what inherently bothers me because it’s lazy writing.
Nova: Yeah because Christianity, as far as I know, doesn’t really have rituals, like you pray for things but like you can do that at home by yourself it’s not like you gather together and do that.
Rachel: But like that’s sort of even praying for something is a type of ritual you know?
Nova: Yeah, it’s just not like a gathering like they have.
Rachel: It’s-I mean churches though if you think about it.
Nova: Yes that’s true.
Rachel: So it’s like but if I’m trying to create a religion, you know, I would analyze and do these certain things and then make it believable this man didn’t even try and make it believable. That’s just how I feel. So anyways, um, they finally start giving some context apparently in New Orleans people were being terrorized and women and children disappeared overnight. The people thought that it was voodoo. And okay, so I think the thing that bothers me is he says that the people that reported this were squatters, you know? So if you’re trying to get rid of people, I would understand I’m trying to get rid of people that are squatting on their land, like I would get that, but I don’t know this entire ceremony thing was just weird to me.
Nova: Yeah it was, yeah I-it just seemed weird how it all happened it just did not seem like it had like a correct, not I mean not really correct, like I don’t know the best way I can describe is like a train of thought like it just kind of seems scrambled in together and it’s like it didn’t really feel like thought out enough to be believable in a way.
Rachel: Yeah. And then so he says the police officer comes and they’re having a voodoo orgy and in that moment I was like this-H.P. Lovecraft does not know what an orgy is. Like he just describes them as being naked and just outside running around I’m like buddy an orgy is a little bit different than what you think it is because they are not just naked and you know?
Nova: Yeah definitely.
Rachel: I was like that’s not what you think it is I guess you innocent, innocent man.
Rachel: Yeah so the police officers get there and apparently there’s a ring of bodies and a ring of fire and people chanting and, and this is not what every horror movie says that uh cults are I don’t know what is. Like this is so stereotypical he’s just like cult activity all right what do I need? Fire. Check. Human sacrifice. Check. Chanting. Check. All right, we’re good we got a cult now.
Rachel: That’s basically what happened here so essentially he says that these people who did the ritual are of quote mixed blood unquote which what does this even mean? Like obviously I understand this means they’re not white, but describing someone as mixed blood just seemed off-kilter to me I was like that’s a phrasing I’ve never heard.
Nova: It was just weird it was like um what do you mean by that because it could mean a ton of different things like it could mean that they’re not like, they’re like a mix of like different races it could mean like just everybody there is like a different like race, gender, like you know like what do you mean by mixed blood like it doesn’t really describe it well enough.
Rachel: Yeah I basically wrote that I feel like he was using this to write it off as saying these people weren’t white and it made me think of him as even more of a dirtbag than I already thought he was. Because even when it describes all the different races he just basically says like anything that’s not white that he could seem to think of he just wrote down that.
Nova: Yep yeah.
Rachel: Yeah, so these people worshipped quote the great old ones unquote which um, sorry, uh, came before man and their dead bodies are now inside the earth and under the sea.
Nova: yeah and like their dead bodies tell their secrets to dreams to men. I was like, this is where I was like okay I feel like we’re getting into aliens.
Rachel: Yeah but then it goes from saying that they’re dead bodies to that that they have no human form and that they’re hibernating, so I’m like which is it?
Nova: I know it was weird. Like I was like okay, I can get the hibernating but like then why would they be dead?
Rachel: Yeah. I’m like.
Nova: Is it like they’re being like reborn when this comes along and they’re not gonna come back to that body?
Rachel: I really don’t know.
Nova: But that was like the first time I was like okay are we getting into like alien stuff here because this really feels like coming from the sky.
Rachel: Yeah I really do think it’s aliens.
Nova: They have like paranormal tendencies of like the guy like, when in his like terror and got all these other people to feel it as well. I was like huh.
Rachel: Yeah I was like okay great love to see it. So Cthulhu is said to be the priest and that would one day bring Earth under his sway so I’m like is he a priest or is he a ruler? Because those are two very different jobs with two different uh needs you know?
Nova: Yeah I was question, because it sounded at first like he was one of like the old ones and then it was like no he’s not, he’s almost like their guardian.
Nova: And then like further down it was like he is like above all of them I’m like so is he one of them? Is he a God above them? Is he their guardian and just kind of like guards their sleeping place like?
Nova: What are you actually supposed to be doing here?
Rachel: He’s wearing a lot of hats this must be like a small business, it’s mom and pop shop and he’s gotta not only be the receiving manager, but he also has to be customer service, call center, everything. I’m kind of feeling bad for our homeboy Cthulhu now because it sounds like he is unappreciated in his work environment.
Nova: He got the short end of the stick and he killed it all.
Rachel: He has to deal with the humans.
Nova: The other ones just sleep.
Rachel: Yeah everyone else gets to sleep enjoy their years of nap time and Cthulhu our main man here has to listen and try and communicate with humans for thousands and hundreds of thousands of years and you know he’s getting no appreciation from his supervisors.
Nova: Basic-or he is the supervisor and all the employees are napping.
Rachel: Yeah either way you know jeez, poor Cthulhu man. Now I’m gonna get like, if someone makes that into a shirt, let me know I want the shirt that says poor Cthulu. Actually wait I kind of might make that a shirt. Hold on if I can figure out how to make merch, that’s gonna be the first one poor cthulhu and just like a sad little drawing caricature of like Cthulu.
Nova: Oh my god, that’d be adorable.
Rachel: Ah I need it, I wanna wear that. I’ll make a Patreon and one of my goals will be uh merch everyone submit your drawing ideas you know that fan art let me know. I want a baby, tiny like what is that called a ch-chibi, I don’t know.
Nova: Something like that. Chibi-Ch-something yeah
Rachel: So yeah, just send that to me at barely bookish on all the platforms, I want to see it, I want to make it my phone wallpaper thank you. So the great old ones are being preserved in their houses by spells that Cthulu cast on them to keep them alive while they wait for the world to quote be ready for them unquote. They can only speak to mankind in their dreams otherwise they cannot be understood.
Nova: I wonder if that comes back to like why we get the pronunciation of like maybe in the dreams they can like transcend that language barrier.
Nova: And so that’s how people have figured it out because they’re like, oh I know what that means because I’ve-I’ve heard it and like I know it but it also like.
Rachel: Still feels like cop out if you can understand English enough to be able to like throw that into our brain, I think you can do that all the time you know? Like you obviously have mystical enough powers to make people dream it, I think you can just look them in the eye and speak into their brain it’s the same like concept you know?
Nova: I-I just thought it when you were like saying that like you know he was like watching them in their sleeping place and like he was guarding them the whole chant is like in his house he waits dreaming.
Nova: So like wait is he asleep or is he not?
Rachel: It says something about being dead too, so it’s like if he’s watching-if he’s dead and dreaming like everybody else who’s watching all of them?
Nova: Yeah it’s very confusing of what we’re trying we’re supposed to like-
Rachel: Believe I guess.
Rachel: I just at H-can I do a Ouija board to H.P. Lovecraft and be like some questions. First off, one how racist were you, scale one to ten? Two, do you know that there’s other religions outside of Christianity? And three, what? At Cthulhu what? Couple questions, first off, how do you try to persuade us that it’s not pronounced Cthulhu? Are we supposed to imagine that they’re getting like text in their brain so it’s like written out because that’s the only way that this would not be spelled phonetically I don’t.
Nova: Yeah exactly like why? Just why? At this story, why? Y
Rachel: Yeah literally and I just I should feel like I should have live tweeted my reactions to it basically I feel like that’s what podcast is verbal live tweeting.
Nova: That sounds about right.
Rachel: So when they’re all freed uh they’re going they’re gonna do is quote shout and kill and teach the humans how to do so, like I think we all know how to shout and kill people like-
Rachel: I think we’ve got that basis covered so I’m not sure, like you’re telling me there’s no other incentive for human beings than to do something we already know how to do?
Nova: Yeah really it’s like uh okay.
Rachel: Yeah and then.
Nova: Why do we need you to tell us how to do that, unless you like got some special way that we want to learn about like-
Nova: You got some secrets in there, okay like.
Rachel: What’s the secret sauce to murder?
Nova: Yeah what’s the recipe how do we do it? How do we make it good?
Rachel: I mean you know if he kill-if Cthulhu really wants to take over the world and then he kills everyone that lives on the world no one’s gonna worship him so what benefit does it serve? You know? I don’t understand and you’re telling me that these people are just chaos deities you know? Maybe, maybe they are aliens and they want to kill off humans to then you know uh take over but I really I truly believe that if there is aliens out there it serves them no purpose to kill off human beings because you know, we can, they can either teach us how to grow or it incentivizes them to form trade.
Nova: They’re probably like what are these beings and why are they we’re just not no we’re done we’re not even going there.
Rachel: But it’s like if you look at us like imagine how we look at puppies you know? Puppies are adorable, they are small and we have to take care of them and protect them. I feel like that’s how we would be to aliens. Whereas even if you get a dog that’s like rowdy and kind of annoying you still love it because it’s small and it doesn’t know any better.
Rachel: That’s humankind to aliens I feel like. And so it’s like I don’t understand what incentive Cthulhu would have to kill off the entire human race then what you just have an empty planet?
Rachel: What fun is that?
Nova: It’s gotta be some kind of other motive for him to want to do that.
Rachel: I really just think he did Cthulhu dirty here I really do.
Nova: Poor Cthulhu.
Rachel: Seriously though I want that on a shirt. So after learning about all this the investigator tried to meet with more people but he was unable to learn anything more after all this time the police still had the statue, like seventeen years later the police officer still has a statue. So our narrator still at this point does not believe and he tries to discredit Henry the original guy who brought the statue the first time. Henry is still alive and has turned into a better artist. After visiting him, the narrator actually believes that he’s being sincere but thinks that perhaps he somehow heard about the Cthulhu Cult and just kind of threw on the back burner and forgot about it and then he started dreaming about it. So the narrator thinks that um wait I just said that sorry, the narrator is beginning to suspect, beginning to suspect that his uncle death-uncle’s death was far from natural and he thinks that he may have learned too much. Which I’m like yeah buddy obviously no one just gets like bumped into and dies what?
Nova: Yeah really. I was thinking that like the Henry guy was like some kind of prophet, because like he talks all about it but like he’s got like no knowledge of it.
Nova: And obviously he, when he had like his issues he was-like other people around him were having dreams and whatnot, so it’s almost like he was like a vessel that just kind of like sprouted it out and because he has so little knowledge they’re just like okay you can just stay there because you actually have no idea what’s going on we just used you for like 20 minutes and now we’re good.
Rachel: My guess was that henry was accidental interference so he was like because he was trying to like project that to like his prophets that are already around the world and like the people that worship him. He was like trying to be like “hey look listen to this this is where I live this is my house, welcome to MTV my crib” and um Henry accidentally picked up on all of it, was my guess. So he wasn’t even supposed to get any of it and then Cthulhu was like oh my b, my b, this was a private showing I’m just gonna cause you to you know have a little bit of a sickness for about a week and uh then you’re gonna forget this ever happened.
Nova: Yeah because he just like he had no knowledge like it was just like the statue he made and the dreams he had was like it and he was just like I don’t know what’s going on.
Nova: I just had these dreams and look I can paint them and I made a statue out of it but that, that’s all I got here.
Rachel: I know.
Nova: Like he’s not a threat like the professor, the uncle was because he knew things. Whereas henry’s just like riding the coaster of look at these cool things I saw.
Rachel: I know. So part three the madness from the sea so as our narrator is visiting a museum that his friend owns or something he happens to see a paper scrap in which he sees another sign of Cthulhu. So in this scrap there had been two people aboard a boat that was found one man had been dead at least a week the other man was clutching a strange idol that they found in the cabin of the ship. So it goes on to say that the survivor-starts going and talking about story-the survivor of the boat had been thrown off course by a storm on March 1st and on March 22nd encountered pirates question mark that told them to turn around and when they refused to turn around the pirates attacked the ship and they had to kill all the pirates to survive. So first of all, you don’t have to kill everyone aboard you have to take prisoners like that’s the law to verify your story, otherwise it’s murder you know like? If no one’s there to say oh you know we totally had to defend our lives, you know, no one is going to believe you. You just killed a bunch of men like I’m not going to be like oh yeah you’re totally innocent you totally were had to do that it’s not just because they were in your way or that they had gold.
Rachel: I totally believe that.
Nova: You gotta have like some kind of like prisoner or some kind of like souvenir.
Nova: Of like hey this happened.
Nova: That you can verify it. Instead, they just roll up like with one dead guy and this guy holding a statue like “hi uh we’re back.”
Rachel: Yeah he’s like on a stolen ship too it’s like so yeah I totally believe that you had to do that. So they make their way to where they’re supposed to go and happen upon a small island that isn’t known to exist. Somehow six men die on the island, two people trying to escape, one survives and remembers absolutely nothing. Allegedly. So our narrator makes his way to where this report occurred to see if he can find out anything more. Eventually he finds out that the survivor of the boat and his-uh-the survivor of that boat incident has passed away from his wife, the only female in the entire story. So the man died like his uncle with no real cause of death that anyone could discern. He was again jostled. As if that’s an indication of death, I don’t know so.
Nova: Yeah it was like a bundle of papers falling from an attic window knocked him down.
Rachel: Yeah. Yeah okay I’ve been hit with paper before and I got a paper cut I didn’t die.
Nova: It’s almost like it had been like a huge like a ton sized roll to be just like knocking out, kathunk.
Rachel: I wonder if he’s trying to convince us that Cthulhu is killing them, like is that what’s supposed to be happening? But even then it’s like what incentive does Cthulhu have to kill people? You know?
Nova: I-um-because like it says people helped into his feet but then before the ambulance got there he was dead.
Rachel: So are they secretly poisoning him?
Nova: That was my thought of because I think it said something about he thought that the guy that jostled the uncle had like somehow injected him or something and killed him. Because that would make sense. And then like you know this guy gets hit by paper and oh these two guys pick him up but then he’s suddenly dead.
Nova: So like are they like, like the cult members? And-
Rachel: Again, what incentive?
Nova: Like hey these people know too much and they’re not part of us.
Nova: Like we can’t have them telling things so we need to dispose of them because obviously as it keeps going like the sailor escaped from him, so like he’s obviously got a target on his back because he escaped anyway.
Rachel: It’s like they have absolutely no incentive to kill him. Like what benefit does he serve? If he tells anyone what happened they’re just gonna think that he’s crazy, you know? It’s not like they’re at risk letting him live so I really don’t understand the incentive behind this so I don’t know.
Nova: Yeah. It seemed weird like especially because he said he wrote in the document everything down because you know no one was going to believe the sailor’s actual story, so he wrote it down and like locked it away, because he had to get it out somehow.
Rachel: Yeah I don’t know, just yell it to the void buddy, like that’s what the rest of us do with secrets we don’t write it down for anyone to find. And then he’s like yeah I wrote it in English so my wife wouldn’t find out like and she said to the guy in perfect English hey that man’s dead so she obviously spoke English. What?
Nova: Yeah, and who knows?
Rachel: I don’t know. So yeah, uh the man describes the island in his writing which he never shared with the police. He says that geometrically the place itself is said to be strange, no one can seem to tell where the sea and the ground are, and the place seems to change your perspective. And while he was describing this I can only think of that place that has a weird gravitational pull where, have you seen that? That video where everyone is standing straight but it looks like they’re standing sideways because of the way the gravity pulls?
Nova: I think so.
Rachel: Yeah or like things will roll down on a flat surface like picking up speed because the gravity pulls slightly the wrong way?
Nova: I think I’ve like seen some of that, yeah.
Rachel: Yeah that’s all I could think of was that one of those locations.
Nova: Yeah because he said at one point like one of the guys running away it looked like, like the rock caved in but it was pushed out so he like speared himself on it.
Nova: I was like that’s an interesting island for it to be like so wacky that you don’t know what way is what.
Rachel: Yeah, I don’t know, it was really weird. How much shrooms did you guys consume when you went on this island.
Nova: I was like Bermuda triangle.
Rachel: Yeah so the sailors climb to the top of the island and find a giant door, which of course when you see a mysterious door you open it.
Nova: I know right logic oh hey look a door let’s just, on this creepy island.
Rachel: Yeah, hope no one’s home.
Nova: We don’t know how to walk on this island because we don’t know which way is up or down but let’s open the door.
Rachel: Yeah, great idea. So something comes out of the doorlay-doorway and I think and then he says that this figure cannot be described because it’s so terrible. I’m like oh yeah great, like that’s what I want in my horror novel oh it’s terrifying you just have to take my word for it. What?
Nova: Yeah no, we need details to make it horrifying or like give you a few and leave out some.
Rachel: Yeah like, I was so scared. Of nothing.
Nova: Right really. It’s just like okay. That’s fine.
Rachel: Yeah that’s what I wanted I guess. So the sailors climbed to the top of the island, oh I already said that oops. So Cthulhu, apparently who cannot be described, and I think this man drove through Cthulhu to escape the island, like is that how you were kind of understanding that reading scene at the end?
Nova: Yeah! Like he like, it was, Cthulhu was right behind him so he like whipped it around or like reversed it and like went right over it so it like cut him apart.
Nova: But then he was like healing, but it took too long to heal that he was able to get away.
Nova: Was what I got out of it and I was like okay so he can be killed? Like he’s being ripped apart.
Rachel: It’s like-I guess-but I was-I always thought like my understanding is that basically they kind of describe him as being like gelatinous. You know?
Rachel: So I’m like okay, I guess you just have goo all over yourself now and you’re just gonna carry right along. Like what? It doesn’t make any sense. So yeah, our narrator after reading all this says that the world has been tainted and that he now knows too much and that the cult will find him and kill him soon enough. And then our narrator says that he hopes no one finds the story again. Like destroy it after you write it buddy.
Nova: I know.
Rachel: If you don’t want anyone to find out about it you need to burn it. Like that’s the only way no one’s gonna know.
Nova: Yeah because like this whole island thing happened the same time as like well the Henry guy was having like his breakdown.
Nova: Like it said like they were lined and then like everything just has stopped since.
Nova: So it’s like.
Rachel: I think it’s every year on these dates, because it said like even going back to the 2000 or 1908 or whatever it was 1907, it’s every year on these dates which of course the dates coincide with my birthday so I was like oh. That’s something I should probably unpack later um what does this man have against Aries season anyways. Yeah he just like says that it basically happens every year on these dates and we should now be afraid of March.
Nova: I was just like why is it just for like this small period of time like I thought it was supposed to be he was awakening for like good.
Nova: And it’s just like are this because it mentioned like the stars have to align. Are they only aligned for like these few days that he’s like allowed to like pop out and be like hello I’m back and then has to go right back in?
Rachel: Because it’s like the end of February through like the beginning of April, I think like February 28th through April 2nd I think he said. So, it’s like great that’s spring a beautiful season of pollen and allergies, I guess, so I’m not really sure what the problem is here and what you have against this wonderful weather that they’re having but uh go off I guess.
Nova: Yeah, I was just like, I was like, I just didn’t understand why he was suddenly out and about and then he just goes back away.
Nova: When they’re like oh it’s going to be like ages-
Rachel: End of days.
Nova: Before he can come back again.
Nova: Like why wouldn’t if he was released into the ocean to stay in the ocean.
Nova: And just go for it. Instead, he just goes back to his island and it sinks back below.
Rachel: Yeah what’s the benefit there?
Nova: I was like okay.
Rachel: And I’m like am I supposed to be scared because now I’m just kind of annoyed. Like where was the flavor?
Nova: I know it’s like if you’re trying to scare me about the ocean I’m scared of what’s in actually in the ocean more than this.
Rachel: I know.
Nova: I’m already scared of that.
Rachel: Sharks live there. There’s giant octopuses, there’s that thing that has one light bulb on the top of its head, I-I’m afraid of that more so than I am of this gelatinous cube.
Nova: There’s enough in the ocean already that I don’t need you to give me anything else. This doesn’t make me want to avoid it everything else does.
Rachel: yeah I’m like okay so there’s that I guess we’ll unpack that later, a religion that you don’t understand that you’re just going to make generalized assumptions of I guess, I don’t know. So that was the Call of Cthulhu a honestly very white-centered approach to other religions apparently.
Nova: Like I was expecting to be so much better with like the horror and whatnot and it’s just no.
Rachel: I know!
Nova: I was like really? This is-
Rachel: I know, I expected flavor. I expected fear.
Nova: He chases a boat, wow.
Rachel: Yeah wow. Okay great. You woke him up from his nice little nap-nap I’d probably be angry too. Like I was out here sleeping, dreaming, communicating with people in my dreams and now I am awoken into a random world of people screaming.
Rachel: I would be kind of mad too I get it. Like you’ve come to my island you’ve trespassed in my home and now you dare to leave like what? I’m going to say it once, I’ve said, I’ve said it once I’m going to say it again. Poor Cthulhu.
Nova: Basically. At this point this guy’s just-he didn’t even get a good story like, that’s what he got.
Rachel: Yeah and now you just leave out details. It’s like first of all they call Cthulhu ugly, they don’t describe him, all I could tell is he’s got some like sweet wings and like a tentacle face that’s all I know about him. Like I-and they call his body grotesque, like first of all, rude. He is a gelatinous cube. Gelatinous cubes cannot be grotesque, they are gelatinous.
Nova: There is some pretty good images online because like there’s been a video game and such that actually I feel like do pretty decently like with like the scaly skin and whatnot. So I was like checking them out and it was like okay, like I wish we could just like actually like see more of this dude in this story because it actually like feels like it would be some kind of like monster that you should be scared of like.
Nova: When you go out at night this guy’s just gonna appear like out of the ocean and come get you like.
Nova: This is what we got.
Rachel: I’m gonna be honest, all I was imagining is the super adorable funko pop. Where they have the limited edition neon one, and I was like oh he’s so cute though he’s so small and so I’m like the entire time he’s describing it they’re like grotesque scaly giant and I’m like but he’s so small.
Nova: That would do it.
Rachel: so now I’m like my perceptions warped on this little creature because I’m like he’s just a little man.
Nova: Yeah, if you like look at like the photos like Google images, it shows some pretty good ones and it’s like oh yeah that’s what I was expecting when reading this not oh look I’m just gonna come at you like Jello in the water.
Rachel: Yeah so it’s like I’m not even scared. I’m just confused why is he Jello.
Nova: Yeah really. I was I was just expecting so much more of like the horror aspect and I was just like I think I scared myself more with tiktoks about wendigos than-
Nova: This so like.
Rachel: Randonauting in the forest, you know?
Nova: Yeah I was like okay I’m more terrified to go on that app now and look at the things because I’ve looked at so many than I was of this story.
Nova: Come on.
Rachel: Literally though, oh my goodness. Well that was the Call of Cthulhu thank you so much for joining me Nova. Where can all the people on the wonderful internet find you?
Nova: Pretty much anywhere at novasaurusrexx with two x’s is me.
Rachel: I’ll put it in the show notes, too for everybody that wants to see how to spell it you know? I don’t know, I just sometimes I feel like I misspell things so easily that I just need to throw that in the show notes for anybody that’s like me and can’t spell to save their life.
Nova: A lot of people think immediately it’s just like the one x but like when I tried to use it, it was, that was taken, so I used the two x’s and now that’s just kind of become a thing.
Rachel: Feel that up all right well thank you so much for joining me and we will catch you all in the next one bye!
Rachel: Thank you all so much for enjoying joining me today on this episode of the Barely Bookish podcast. If you want to find me anywhere I’m at barelybookish on everything or you can go to barelybookish.com/connect and it will lead you to all of my links. It’ll also be in the show notes for anyone who wants it. Yeah thank you much so much for joining me. If you want to help me and help this podcast grow, leave a review it helps so much, share it with a friend, all that good stuff, yeah, thank you much so much for listening! Our logo was designed by my wonderful little sister Sarah, our theme song is from freepd.com and it is by Raphael Crux and that’s all I have for you on this one. I’ll see you all in the next one, bye!