I’ll sink you in a cavern

The Worcester Telegram has an article – here – on the stone heritage of Petersham, MA., – a reference to, well, the place’s stone buildings and sites: mainly to what appears to be an archaic system of stone walls.

[first posted by mortmer, some rights reserved]

Then, and I quote here (and the emphases are also mine) –

The oldest stone structure in town is believed to have been created 4,000 years ago. It is a stone-built cavern covered with earth. It is on Glasheen Road and serves as something of a seasonal calendar. On March 21 and September 21 the sun shines directly into its entrance. Mr. Buell said he believes it was built by Nipmuc Indians. He said there is some evidence that Mother Ann Lee, founder of the Quakers, once visited the site, and possibly science fiction and horror writer H.P. Lovecraft did too.

Lovecraft’s obsession with the deep has several times run into my writings over the last few days, and I’m thinking of him right now as, also, a cave explorer, stirring the deep until it (almost) literally vomits some repressed content to the surface.

[x] created 4,000 years ago – that’s something to begin with, but for Lovecraftian purposes, it’s still too small a breadth in time. His cave geography is closely related to a temporal move beyond the human.

Just think of –

At the Mountains of Madness

– with its polar exploration: the explorers are schlepping in their apparatuses to drill, dig, and cave into the Antarctic site.

As a geologist, my object in leading the Miskatonic University Expedition was wholly that of securing deep-level specimens of rock and soil from various parts of the antarctic continent, aided by the remarkable drill devised by Professor Frank H. Pabodie of our engineering department.

The real and exciting drill, however, is the one they are leading into the cavernous depths associated with the Old Ones. First, they unearth a surviving splinter party of the alien superbeings – and these come back into life with a revenge that annihilates the entire scientific crew, except of course the narrator, Dyer, and his assistant, Danforth. Both experience the cave as the place of obsessions – stark, raving obsessions, to be precise.

[first posted by Rita Willaert, some rights reserved]

They’re trying their hardest to enter the civilization that has just launched a full scale, bloody attack on theirs, trying to embrace the aggressor by walking straight into the heart of his sunken capital.

Our motivation after that is something I will leave to psychologists. We knew now that some terrible extension of the camp horrors must have crawled into this nighted burial place of the aeons, hence could not doubt any longer the existence of nameless conditions – present or at least recent just ahead. Yet in the end we did let sheer burning curiosity-or anxiety-or autohypnotism – or vague thoughts of responsibility toward Gedney – or what not – drive us on. Danforth whispered again of the print he thought he had seen at the alley turning in the ruins above; and of the faint musical piping – potentially of tremendous significance in the light of Lake’s dissection report, despite its close resemblance to the cave-mouth echoes of the windy peaks – which he thought he had shortly afterward half heard from unknown depths below. I, in my turn, whispered of how the camp was left – of what had disappeared, and of how the madness of a lone survivor might have conceived the inconceivable – a wild trip across the monstrous mountains and a descent into the unknown, primal masonry – But we could not convince each other, or even ourselves, of anything definite.

Anything definite – that is just the horrific point, their finding something – the notoriously incongrous Shoggoths, the formlessly horrific All-and-Nothing, which, as it goes, is just having a heck of a time with the remnants of the Old Ones’ civilization.

Another cave(rn), (among many: it’s a minor surprise to see a Lovecraft character who is not pulling himself underground with some determination), that has freely allotted itself into my work this past weekend, is…the Stygian, fetid, sprawling nightmare crypt of unspeakable horrors (trying to imitate Lovecraft here, of course) presented in The Rats in the Wall. The narrator buys and restores his family homestead in England – a priory – inevitably rails into its stone bowels, and there finds, quite literally, the horror of history for him to face –

God! those carrion black pits of sawed, picked bones and opened skulls! Those nightmare chasms choked with the pithecanthropoid, Celtic, Roman, and English bones of countless unhallowed centuries! Some of them were full, and none can say how deep they had once been. Others were still bottomless to our searchlights, and peopled by unnamable fancies. What, I thought, of the hapless rats that stumbled into such traps amidst the blackness of their quests in this grisly Tartarus?

– and to grow into the secrets it holds for members of his family, in particular: the bones of what appears to be a considerably numerous part of humankind have been picked and the skulls been opened by an ancient cannibal cult, of course (of course?), that the narrator comes to assume –

Curse you, Thornton, I’ll teach you to faint at what my family do! … ‘Sblood, thou stinkard, I’ll learn ye how to gust … wolde ye swynke me thilke wys?… Magna Mater! Magna Mater!… Atys… Dia ad aghaidh’s ad aodaun… agus bas dunarch ort! Dhonas ’s dholas ort, agus leat-sa!… Ungl unl… rrlh … chchch… This is what they say I said when they found me in the blackness after three hours; found me crouching in the blackness over the plump, half-eaten body of Capt. Norrys, with my own cat leaping and tearing at my throat.

The repressed – here, in the form of a cannibal psychosis – comes to the surface, spouting, ejaculated in a sterile, non-sexual climax into the holding cell of a sanatorium, where the narration finally heads from. More precisely, the repressed is the horror of history, and anytime a Lovecraftian narrator/character goes underground, a darkly ominous chapter of the planet’s history is about to be surfaced.

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2 Comments

  1. There is a synchronicity in this world. I post about Cthulhu on my blog and then go wandering with the “Next” button. And fall into this Shoggothian cavern of horrors. 🙂

  2. Well…Cthulhu made you do it, I guess…;-)


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