15 Most Terrifying Lovecraftian Monsters

15 Most Terrifying Lovecraftian Monsters

American author Howard Phillips Lovecraft is now considered as a pioneer of modern horror fiction. Although controversial, Lovecraft was a seminal horror author and has influenced and inspired many horror-centered artists, be they writers, filmmakers, musicians or painters.

Lovecraft’s stories are usually quite weird and he was a master at portraying the terrifying atmosphere present in his works, an atmosphere that would suck you inside the pages so vividly that it would seem as if you were there yourselves. His style is quite recognizable and although at times repetitive, it is still one of the most unique and specific writing styles in the history of horror literature.

As for his work, his stories are so specific that he has become an eponym. The term Lovecraftian horror defies a whole subgenre (or style) of horror literature inspired by the tales of H.P. Lovecraft. He is also considered to be the “father” of the cosmic horror subgenre, also often-present in his works. His horror stories are divided into two major cycles – the Dream Cycle (about the fictional “Dreamlands”) and the Cthulhu Mythos (about a vast mythology of titanic monsters) – both of which feature a colorful pandemonium that has been terrifying readers for over a century now.

In today’s article, we have decided to visit that pandemonium and to give you a list of the 15 most terrifying Lovecraftian monsters, as they have appeared in his stories, but also stories written by other Lovecraftian authors. Read this with your lights on and enjoy the creepiness of Lovecraft’s pandemonium!

15 Most Terrifying Lovecraftian Monsters

15. Yig

Yig Fantasy Flight Games

Debut: “The Curse of Yig”, by H.P. Lovecraft and Zealia Bishop (1929)

Yig, the Father of Snakes, is a semi-anthropomorphic Great Old One who was worshiped as a god in Central America and the southern states of the United States. Although he was arbitrary and capricious, he also vehemently protected his serpentine offspring, punishing anyone who dared harm them. He is the father of Ayi’ig and the companion of the outer god Yidhra.

Although Yig gets angry quite easily, he is also easy to please as long as no harm is done to his children, the snakes. In the early 1920s, a “Native American Ethnologist” conducted extensive research on the snake tradition from Guatemala to Oklahoma. He described Yig as the dark prototype of the more benevolent Quetzalcoatl and Kukulcan.

At the time of his investigation, the ethnologist noted that Oklahoma residents were often too anxious to discuss the legend, although this was not always the case. Before the Land Rush of 1889, the plains tribes were more open in their worship of Yig than the Pueblo or desert nomads. However, the influx of white immigrants led to a number of unnatural tragedies.

The belief was more common in the west than among the transplanted tribes in the southeast. Unlike most ancients, Yig was rarely malevolent, though he experienced a feeding frenzy in the fall that resulted in Oklahoma Pawnee, Wichita, and Caddo drumming constantly to drive him away from August through October. The Wichita also sacrificed corn to appease him.

14. Ithaqua 

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Debut: “The Thing That Walked on the Wind”, by August Derleth (1933)

Ithaqua, also known as Wind-Walker or Wendigo, is a fictional character from the Cthulhu Mythos by H. P. Lovecraft. The titular creature made its debut in August Derleth’s short story “The Thing That Walked on the Wind”, which is based on Algernon Blackwood’s story “The Wendigo”.

Ithaqua is one of the Great Old Ones and appears as a terrible giant with an almost human shape and bright red eyes. It has been ingested from the north to the Arctic to the subarctic, where Native Americans first encountered it. It is believed to be roaming around in the Arctic garbage, chasing reckless travelers and killing them in horrific ways.

It is believed to have inspired the Native American legend of the Wendigo and possibly the Yeti. The cult of Ithaqua is small, but much feared in the far north. The fearful residents of Siberia and Alaska often leave sacrifices in Ithaqua – not as adoration, but as appeasement. Those who join his cult are immune to the extremely cold temperatures.

He often uses Shantaks, a dragon-like “smaller race”, as his servants. Ithaqua plays a prominent role in Brian Lumley’s Titus Crow series, which is based on Lovecraft’s works and rules the ice world of Borea. In Lumley’s works, Ithaqua regularly walks the winds of space between Earth and Boreas, bringing helpless victims back to Borea to worship him under his snow-covered garbage.

He often tries to mate with humanoid women in the hopes of creating offspring who will be able to transcend his own limits imposed by the Great Old Ones and thus free the rest of the Great Old Ones. It is believed that Ithaqua has the background of wanting offspring to appease his bitter loneliness, since he is the only one of his kind. None of his surviving offspring to date has accommodated him, all turning against him at some point.

13. Kassogtha


Debut: Nightmare’s Disciple, by Joseph S. Pulver, Sr. (1999)

Kassogtha is a Great Old One who is said to be Cthulhu’s sister and mate. She gave birth to Nctosa and Nctolhu. It is described as a mass of spinning tentacles. According to some sources, Kassoghta has a very intimate relationship with the Great Old One known as Cthulhu, with more than one story talking about these deities who create or unite to create the entities known as Nctosa and Nctolhu.

One reference suggests that Kassogtha and Cthulhu are “brother” and “sister” (if such terms are applicable to these monsters), although the former does not appear to have a known association with Xoth, which is supposedly the home planet of Cthulhu and his relatives. This Great Old One seems to be more of a cosmic parasite that is able to connect with other significant beings for certain periods of time and thus cause the emergence or birth of an “offspring”.

Thus, Kassoghta sometimes disappears (presumably through settlement or merging with another being), which leads to the general opinion that this being is seldom heard or encountered in the Cthulhu Mythos. For some, this parasitic behavior raises the idea that this deity is typically like a disease and may not be welcomed by the entities it “attacks”.

Indeed, in his “Visions of Crystal and Blasphemy” (New York, 1889), Jedediah Pullington recounts a drug-induced vision in which he witnessed Cthulhu merging with Kassoghta, whom he described as “crooked” and “almost fatal”, and how it took all the strength of Cthulhu to throw or chase away the other deity. If such a report can be credited, it supports the idea of ​​an invasive entity and may derive some form of nourishment to create new or changed life.

When Kassoghta is not connected to another entity, it appears to live in a large body of water (or some other liquid substance) that is poisoned by its presence. A strong association with the disease appears evident, reinforced by reports of diseases occurring in people in areas where this ancient disease has manifested. For many scholars, Kassoghta is like a “cosmic disease” that pervades life, corrupting and mutating it in disgusting ways.

Kassoghta has few organized earthly disciples and appears to be worshiped only by solitary practitioners of magic and those foolish enough to view illness as a transforming force. The serial killer (still at large) known only as “Carrion Murderer” may be a follower of this Great Old One.

The 1921 subway incident in New York City that (allegedly) released mustard gas, could also have come from the hands of a Kassoghta worshiper. Although little is known about the sick rites performed by followers of this deity, most believe that ritual murder and torture are key.

12. Ghast

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Debut: “The Dream-Quest of Unknown Kadath”, by H.P. Lovecraft (1943)

Ghasts are humanoid beings who live in the vaults of Zin, where they are often hunted by the gugs. Their language seems to consist of “cough gutturals”. They also seem to be traveling in packs when Randolph Carter meets a group of fifteen. Together they seem to be able to dismantle a Gug.

Lovecraft himself described Ghasts in the following manner:

…the ghasts, those repulsive beings which die in the light, and which live in the vaults of Zin and leap on long hind legs like kangaroos…
After a moment something about the size of a small horse hopped out into the grey twilight, and Carter turned sick at the aspect of that scabrous and unwholesome beast, whose face is so curiously human despite the absence of a nose, a forehead, and other important particulars.

– H.P. Lovecraft, “The Dream-Quest of Unknown Kadath”

11. Mi-Go

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Debut: The Whisperer in Darkness, by H.P. Lovecraft (1931)

The Mi-Go are an alien species from the planet Yuggoth (presumably the dwarf planet Pluto). They are described as winged creatures with large claws and heads covered with antennae. The Mi-go are a scientifically and technologically advanced breed with a particularly sophisticated understanding of surgical techniques and neuroscience.

Mi-Go are pink, fungoid, crustacean-like creatures with a “convoluted ellipsoid” made up of pyramidal, fleshy rings and covered with antennae where a head is usually located. They are about 1.5 m long and their crustacean-like bodies have many limbs attached in pairs. They also have a pair of membranous, bat-shaped wings that are used to fly through the “ether” of space; the wings don’t work well on Earth. Some other races in the Lovecraft myth also have wings like this one, suggesting that this is a standard mode for interplanetary travel.

The Mi-Go are fundamentally alien to earthly life; according to two accounts in the original short story, their bodies are made up of a form of matter that does not naturally occur on Earth. Oddly enough, they don’t appear in photography because the material they are made of reflects light differently. However, they are described as the most fungal in terms of biology, although their external appearance is very similar to that of a crustacean.

Interestingly, they can go into floating animation until they are softened and warmed by the sun or some other heat source. They usually communicate by changing the color of their head, but they can often speak human language. Otherwise, they can change their bodies so that they can speak. However, a hum will still be heard when they speak and their voice sounds scary.

The Mi-Go can move people from Earth to Yuggoth (and beyond) and back again by removing the subject’s brain and placing it in a “brain cylinder” that can be plugged into external devices to enable them to see, hear and can speak. One of Yuggoth’s moons contains designs sacred to the Mi-Go. The symbols inscribed on the moon are useful in various processes mentioned in the Necronomicon. It is said that the transcriptions of these drawings can be felt by the Mi-Go, and those who possess them are hunted by the few remains on earth.

The Mi-go previously worshiped the beings Yog-Sothoth, Nyarlathotep, Sedmelluq and Shub-Niggurath, although more recent works recognize that the Mi-Go are at war with the Elder Gods. Their moral system is completely alien, which makes them very vicious from a human point of view.

According to some reports, Hastur appears to despise the Mi-Go. His cult, servants of “Him Who Is Not to be Named”, are dedicated to hunting them down and exterminating the fungoid threat. According to other reports, the Mi-Go specifically serve and worship Hastur, much like the Dagon-worshiping Depths, and have an alliance with the Byakhee, who also serve Hastur.

They have a leader who directs them at Hastur’s wishes, N’gah-Kthun, and a human ally of the Mi-go mentions “Him Who is not to be Named” in the list of honored entities along with Nyarlathotep and Shub-Niggurath.

10. Rhan-Tegoth

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Debut: “The Horror in the Museum”, by H.P. Lovecraft (1932)

Rhan-Tegoth is an insectoid amphibious god (Great Old One) who resembles a 15 foot jellyfish that has little strength, but is vital to the return of the Great Old Ones. He lived in the warm seas of Yuggoth before coming to Earth 3 million years ago, during the Pliocene, when it inhabited an area of ​​Alaska before entering a trance-like hibernation.

Rhan-Tegoth was the last of the Great Old Ones to sleep and should probably be the first to wake up. His body was found by George Rogers and transferred to a museum in London in 1926, but was later lost until it was first found in Sheffield, UK, in the 1980s, then in America in the 1990s by prehuman, cannibal Gnophkehs, but few humans know of it today.

The god is shaped like a giant insect, with a huge barrel-shaped trunk with six limbs ending in claw-like pincers and an almost spherical head covered with hair-like filaments or antennae, one nose-tentacle-shaped and three small protruding ones Eyes.

9. Cthylla 

The cthylla supplication by hawanja d4cy7rl

Debut: The Transition of Titus Crow, by Brian Lumley

Cthylla, also known as The Kraken or The Secret One, is an offspring of Cthulhu and Idh-yaa. She is the daughter of Cthulhu, and is critical to his plans, as, should Cthulhu somehow die, Cthylla will give birth to him once again. As such, she is guarded by the Deep Ones and Yuggya, in what might be assumed to be R’lyeh, as she was at first from the star Xoth, but came to Earth.

Her other name, “The Secret One”, stems from the fact that her cult tries to hide all information about the goddess, most famously by defacing the Columns of Geph. Her legend is dimly recorded in Greek Myth as “Scylla”. Cthylla is a Great Old One, and is the youngest offspring of Cthulhu and his androgynous mate Idh-yaa. She came from the star Xoth, but now dwells on Earth, where she is guarded by Cthulhu’s minions.

Cthylla is destined to give birth to Great Cthulhu again after he is destroyed in the distant future. She is considered essential for Cthulhu’s plans, and is thus vigilantly guarded by countless Yuggya and the Deep Ones. Project X is activated in an attempt to kill Cthylla with a subterranean atomic bomb. She is wounded and escapes, and Cthulhu’s retribution is a vastly magnified repeat of the events in the short story “The Call of Cthulhu”.

Cthylla has the appearance of a gigantic, red-bodied, black-ringed, and six-eyed octopus with small wings. Like her father, she is able to alter her body-proportions at will, such as by enlarging her wings to enable her to fly. While she normally has eight arms like any octopus, she can extrude or retract additional ones at will (she has been known to sport as many as twelve arms). Each arm is equipped with dozens of razor-sharp claws, each about five inches in length.

Cthylla was captured by researchers who mistakenly believed her to be a rare specimen of a previously undiscovered octopus species. For the sake of preserving and studying the species, they attempt to impregnate her through artificial self-insemination. Cthylla also appeared in a more humanoid form or avatar as a possible bride for Hastur.

8. Shoggoth

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Debut: At the Mountains of Madness, by H.P. Lovecraft (1936)

Shoggoths are amorphous and metamorphosed beings. They were genetically modified by the Elder Things as a tool-servant race, but they eventually rose up against their masters and drove them to extinction. The shoggoths are now found in isolated locations across the Earth.

A shoggoth is a delicate drop of self-molding gelatinous flesh, something like a giant amoeba. A shoggoth is about fifteen feet in diameter if it forms a sphere, but smaller versions likweise exist. A shoggoth is capable of shaping himself into whatever organs or forms he deems necessary at the moment; however, in its usual state it tends to sport a bubbling profusion of eyes, mouths, and pseudopods.

When encountered at the South Pole, he was able to move at incredible speed. It has been described as watching a train approaching a person standing on the railroad tracks. The shoggoth can kill his enemies by enveloping them and generating enough suction force to behead their victims. This is precisely how they fought the Elder Things during their rebellion.

Apparently, they give off a horrible, overwhelming odor that is strong enough to completely mask the alienating smell of the Elder Things. A curious behavior of the shoggoth is their repetitive cry of “Tekeli-li! Tekeli-li!” Demonstrating their insane mimicry, it’s a phrase they copied from the giant blind penguins trapped with them in the town of the Elder Things. Edgar Allan Poe’s Arthur Gordon Pym has also encountered the expression, in the form of calls from flocks of large white birds, on his trip to the Southern Ocean.

Shoggoths were originally bred as servant creatures by the Elder Things, who used them for underwater construction. Their ability to shape their bodies as needed made them ideal living construction machines. Although created to be stupid, the shoggoths have mutated through the eons and slowly developed their consciousness, and even periodically become rebellious. Eventually, they overthrew the Elder Things and killed them, and built their own cities. Their architecture mimics the five-pointed symmetry of the Elder Things.

Although rare, some shoggoths have managed to survive into the modern era, most notably in Antarctica and the deepest parts of the world’s oceans. The race of humanoid amphibious beings known as the Deep Ones are known to ally with or use shoggoths, sometimes referred to as “Sea Shoggoths”. The Mi-Go also conducted their own Shoggoth experiments, performing “mind-grafts” on the Shoggoths to produce an easy-to-telepathically control race of tamer for the Mi-Go. The resulting Mi-Go and Shoggoth hybrids are called “ghol” or ghol-things. A notorious shoggoth is Mr. Shiny (Albert Shiny) who takes the form of a human.

7. Azathoth 

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Debut: “The Dream-Quest of Unknown Kadath”, by H.P. Lovecraft (1943)

Azathoth, sometimes referred to as “The Blind Idiot God”, the “Nuclear Chaos”, the “Daemon Sultan”, “The Deep Dark”, and “The Cold One”, is an Outer God. There cannot be an exact description of Azathoth because everyone sees him differently and he is constantly changing. According to some reports, it is a huge, sensitive black hole.

The physical manifestation of Azathoth in the universe has been shown to be continuous with a point in the central region of the galaxy also known as Sagittarius A, the supermassive black hole at the center of the Milky Way.

For example, Ronald Shea enters a temple after visiting the forest near Goatswood and discovers a 20-foot idol that “represented the god Azathoth–Azathoth as he had been before his exile. Outside, It consisted of a bivalvular shell supported on many pairs of flexible legs. From the half-open shell rose several jointed cylinders, tipped with polypous appendages; and in the darkness inside the shell I thought I saw a horrible bestial, mouthless face, with deep-sunk eyes and covered with glistening black hair.” Later, he sees “something ooze into the corridor–a pale grey shape, expanding and crinkling, which glistened and shook gelatinously as still-moving particles dropped free; but it was only a glimpse.

Azathoth is a significant malevolent presence in the Necronomicon, as Albert Wilmarth and Walter Gilman are appalled at the mere mention of his name, which they both read about in the occult book. In Gilman’s case, it is the witch Keziah Mason who refers to Azathoth as she pursues his dreams by telling him, “He must meet The Black Man, and go with them all to the throne of Azathoth at the centre of ultimate Chaos…. He must sign in his own blood the book of Azathoth and take a new secret name…. What kept him from going with her…to the throne of Chaos where the thin flutes pipe mindlessly was the fact that he had seen the name ‘Azathoth’ in the Necronomicon, and knew it stood for a primal horror too horrible for description.

Gilman awakens from another dream that recalls “the thin, monotonous piping of an unseen flute” and decides  that “he had picked up that last conception from what he had read in the Necronomicon about the mindless entity Azathoth, which rules all time and space from a curiously environed black throne at the centre of Chaos.

He later fears that he will find himself in the spiraling black eddies of this ultimate chaos void, in which the stupid demon sultan Azathoth rules.” The poet Edward Pickman Derby wrote a collection of “nightmare lyrics” entitled “Azathoth and Other Horrors”.

Among its many followers are the Goatswood townspeople who perform “obscene rites” involving “atrocities on living victims” in Azathoth’s conical temple are insects that have fled the destruction of their home planet of Shaggai, bringing the temple across the universe with them.

6. Night-gaunt

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Debut: “The Dream-Quest of Unknown Kadath”, by H.P. Lovecraft (1943)

Night-gaunts are a species of flying creatures inhabiting Earth’s Dreamlands and feature heavily in the Dream Cycle series. They are described as having smooth, whale-like skin, long slender humanoid bodies, curving horns on their heads, leather bat-like wings, and a blank expanse of flesh where one would expect a face to be. They revere and worship Nodens as their lord and master. Night-gaunts have an interesting history, as they are inspired by creatures that featured heavily in Lovecraft’s nightmares when he was a child.

This is how Lovecraft described them in their debut appearance:

But Carter preferred to look at them than at his captors, which were indeed shocking and uncouth black things with smooth, oily, whale-like surfaces, unpleasant horns that curved inward toward each other, bat wings whose beating made no sound, ugly prehensile paws, and barbed tails that lashed needlessly and disquietingly. And worst of all, they never spoke or laughed, and never smiled because they had no faces at all to smile with, but only a suggestive blankness where a face ought to be. All they ever did was clutch and fly and tickle; that was the way of night-gaunts.

– H.P. Lovecraft, “The Dream-Quest of Unknown Kadath”

5. Dagon

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Debut: “Dagon”, by H.P. Lovecraft (1919)

Dagon is a deity who rules over the Deep Ones, an amphibious humanoid race currently living in the Earth’s oceans. He is first featured in Lovecraft’s short story “Dagon” and is extensively mentioned throughout the Cthulhu Mythos. Also known as Father Dagon and the consort of Mother Hydra, although both are deities, they are not generally considered to be Great Old Ones. He is worshiped by the Esoteric Order of Dagon, a secret cult from Innsmouth.

At a very old age, some Deep Ones supposedly grow to enormous sizes. Such individuals gave birth to the cult of Dagon, which worships these creatures as deities. They are, in fact, wholly corporeal beings whose old age contributes to their massive size. There is fossil evidence that the oldest, the largest of these beings, reached a height of over 50 feet.

Dagon is a huge iteration of the Deep One that has been mentioned in texts since ancient times. He is worshiped as a deity by a pious cult of men and the Deep Ones. While seemingly immortal, its longevity can be attributed to its fraternization with the Star Spawn, who sometimes selects formidable specimens of a particular species to protect, care for, and strengthen for reasons known only to them.

There may also be more than one gigantic Deep One specimen that could be mistaken for, or is mistaken for, the original Dagon. All Deep Ones continue to grow slowly after reaching maturity, provided they have access to sufficient food. In fact, there are ancient Dagon-related sculptures showing several gigantic Deep Ones wrestling with whales.

4. Y’golonac

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Debut: “Cold Print”, by Ramsey Campbell (1969)

Y’golonac (The Defiler) is a Great Old One from the Cthulhu Mythos; he was created by Ramsey Campbell and is not present in Lovecraft’s original stories. He is the god of perversion and depravity, not just “average” human perversions or depravity, but everything an intelligent being can imagine (sane or not).

His behavior is very similar to Nyarlathotep’s, but he is much more evil and sadistic. Y’golonac can sometimes be called out in Gla’aki’s revelations simply by reading his name. Y’golonac is locked behind a wall in some unknown ruins. His true form is uncertain, but when he has a human host to manifest he appears as a grotesquely obese man with no head or neck, with a mouth in the palm of each hand.

Unlike other deities, Y’golonac is clearly able to understand people so he can have a conversation in English through his human host. Y’golonac is looking for people who read evil and forbidden literature in order to become his servants. When Y’golonac is called, he offers the summoner the dubious honor of becoming his priest or simply kills them to eat.

3. Yog-Sothoth

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Debut: The Case of Charles Dexter Ward, by H.P. Lovecraft (1943)

Yog-Sothoth is a cosmic entity and an Outer God. Born of the Nameless Mist, he is the ancestor of Cthulhu, Hastur the Unspeakable and the ancestor of the Voormi. He is also the father of Wilbur Whateley. Like many Lovecraftian gods, Yog-Sothoth has many different manifestations in the various stories of the Cthulhy Mythos. However, there seems to be a common understanding that Yog-Sothoth manifests itself visually as a mass of luminous spheres, with eyes or tendrils in some versions and just spheres in others.

It is strongly implied, if not categorically stated, that Yog-Sothoth is omniscient and locked outside of the universe, which means that he can know and see all of space-time at the same time, which means that there is no hidden secret from Yog-Sothoth.

In one case, involving the city of Dunwich, Yog-Sothoth was known to have been called in for the purpose of impregnating a human woman who then gave birth to two partially human children. The conjurer was the husband/”father” of the Whateley family, who was known to stand with the Necronomicon on a hill in a stone circle and call Yog-Sothoth’s name from above.

In one of this stories, Lovecraft wrote this about Yog-Sothoth:

Yog-Sothoth knows the gate. Yog-Sothoth is the gate. Yog-Sothoth is the key and guardian of the gate. Past, present, future, all are one in Yog-Sothoth. He knows where the Old Ones broke through of old, and where They shall break through again. He knows where They have trod earth’s fields, and where They still tread them, and why no one can behold Them as They tread.

– H.P. Lovecraft, “The Dunwich Horror”

2. Nyarlathotep 

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Debut: “Nyarlathotep”, by H.P. Lovecraft (1920)

Nyarlathotep, known to many by his nickname The Crawling Chaos, is an Outer God in the Cthulhu Mythos. He is the descendant of Azathoth. Nyarlathotep appears in many later Lovecraft stories and is also featured in the works of other writers, being one of the most important entities in the Mythos.

Nyarlathotep differs from other mythical deities in several ways. Most of the Outer Gods are banished to the stars like Yog-Sothoth and Azathoth, and most of the Great Old Ones sleep and dream like Cthulhu. Nyarlathotep, however, is active and often roams the earth in the shape of a human, usually a tall, thin, and happy man. It has “a thousand” other shapes and forms, most of which are considered quite terrible and frightening.

Most Outer Gods have their own cults that serve them; Nyarlathotep seems to serve as He serves several cults and takes care of their affairs in the other Outer Gods’ absence. Most of the Outer Gods use strange foreign languages, while Nyarlathotep uses human languages ​​and can easily pass for a human if he so wishes. After all, most of them are omnipotent but clearly with no purpose or clear agenda, but Nyarlathotep seems to be deliberately deceiving and manipulating, and even uses propaganda to achieve his goals.

In this respect he is probably the most human of the Outer Gods. Nyarlathotep embodies the will of the Outer Gods and is their “messenger, heart and soul”, “the immemorial figure of the deputy or the messenger of hidden and terrible forces”. He is also the servant of Azathoth. Unlike the other Outer Gods, the spread of madness is more important and more gratifying for him than the death and destruction. Some suggest that he will destroy humanity and possibly the earth as well.

In his debut appearance, he is described as a “tall, dark man” who resembles an Egyptian pharaoh. In this story, he wanders the earth and gathers legions of followers through his depictions of strange and seemingly magical instruments, the storyteller among them. These followers lose consciousness of the world around them, and through the narrator’s increasingly unreliable stories, the reader feels the total collapse of the world. The story ends with the narrator as part of an army of henchmen for Nyarlathotep.

Nyarlathotep manifested himself again as the Egyptian Pharaoh when he confronted Randolph Carter as the avatar of the Outer Gods and carried out their will on earth and in dreamland. Nyarlathotep meets Walter Gilman and the witch Keziah Mason (who made a pact with the entity) in the form of the “black man” of the witch cult. The essence of pure darkness possessed by a “three-lobed eye” in the steeple of the Sect Church of Star Wisdom is identified as another form or manifestation of Nyarlathotep. The name Nyarlathotep is often pronounced by Yuggoth’s mushrooms in a reverential or ritual sense, indicating that they worship or honor the being. According to some sources, he is currently living or is incarcerated on the planet Abbith.

1. Cthulhu

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Debut: “The Call of Cthulhu”, by H.P. Lovecraft (1928)

Cthulhu is a Great Old One of great power who is currently in a death-like slumber beneath the Pacific Ocean, in his sunken city of R’lyeh. He remains a dominant presence in the eldrich dealings on our world. The most detailed descriptions of Cthulhu are based on statues of the creature.

One, constructed by an artist after a series of baleful dreams, is said to have “yielded simultaneous pictures of an octopus, a dragon, and a human caricature […] A pulpy, tentacled head surmounted a grotesque and scaly body with rudimentary wings.”

Another, recovered by police from a raid on a murderous cult, “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.”

Castro, a Cthulhu cultist reports that the Great Old Ones are telepathic and “knew all that was occurring in the universe.” They were able to communicate with the first humans by “moulding their dreams,” thus establishing the Cthulhu Cult, but after R’lyeh had sunk beneath the waves, “the deep waters, full of the one primal mystery through which not even thought can pass, had cut off the spectral intercourse.”

It is unknown how large the following of those who worship the dreaded Cthulhu is, but his cult has many cells around the globe. The cult is noted for chanting its horrid phrase or ritual: “Ph’nglui mglw’nafh Cthulhu R’lyeh wgah’nagl fhtagn,” which translates as “In his house at R’lyeh dead C’thulhu waits dreaming.” This is often shortened to “Cthulhu fhtagn,” which might possibly mean “Cthulhu waits,” “Cthulhu dreams,” or “Cthulhu waits dreaming.”

When the creature finally appears, the story says that the “thing cannot be described,” but it is called “the green, sticky spawn of the stars”, with “flabby claws” and an “awful squid-head with writhing feelers.” Johansen’s phrase “a mountain walked or stumbled” gives a sense of the creature’s size. This is corroborated by Wilcox’s dreams, which “touched wildly on a gigantic thing ‘miles high’ which walked or lumbered about”.

Cthulhu is depicted as having a worldwide cult centred in Arabia, with followers in regions as far-flung as Greenland and Louisiana. There are leaders of the cult “in the mountains of China” who are said to be immortal. Cthulhu is described by some of these cultists as the “great priest” of “the Great Old Ones who lived ages before there were any men, and who came to the young world out of the sky.” Cthulhu is also worshiped by the nonhuman creatures known as Deep Ones.


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