from the world's big
7 of the scariest monsters from Lovecraftian horror books
Who doesn't love a little existential fear every once in a while?
- H.P. Lovecraft created some of the eeriest beings and monsters that we've ever seen in the literary canon.
- The author is responsible for creating an entire new genre, titled Cosmic horror.
- Throughout the years since Lovecraft's death, he has gained notoriety, prestige and also opened up a stand-alone literary universe where his monsters and tales still grow from other writers' imaginations.
Halloween is upon us. The leaves are fading in certain parts of the land and nightfall creeps into the day's domain. It's the time of the season where spectral guests are afoot and hobgoblins lurk in the shadows. For our horror freaks and fans, Halloween is like the awards season for all things ghoulish, mad and occult.
H.P. Lovecraft is the guest of honor in the halls of horror. Nearly unknown when he was alive, Lovecraft is now regarded as one of the most prolific writers of the 20th century. His unparalleled foresight into the strange expanse of the infinite universe produced something today we now call cosmic horror.
This genre has found its way into popular shows like Stranger Things, where unfathomable inter-dimensional creatures slip in and out of the small fictional town of Hawkins, Indiana.
Many writers inspired by Lovecraft still weave stories into the mythos he created. From the depths of the unknown we bring you some of the scariest monsters from the Lovecraft universe.
To quote from Lovecraft's grimoire, the Necronomicon:
"Their hand is at your throats, yet ye see Them not; and Their habitation is even one with your guarded threshold."
Cthulhu Sketch by Lovecraft
Cthulhu is the quintessential Lovecraftian god monster. It's what first comes to mind when people think about Lovecraft's writings. Throughout the years, we've been inundated with tremendous amount of grotesque monsters, demons and deities through our television screens. But Cthulhu remains chillingly eery because of what it represents.
The idea that we're not alone and not only that, the rest of the forces in the cosmos don't care about us. We are as insignificant as a tick. And just about as helpless against these monstrous forces as well.
Cthulhu embodies this absolute existential horror in the way it affects its followers. They're not going insane per say, but waking up to the truth of their infinitesimal place in the roaring machinations of an uncaring universe.
Oh yeah and Cthulhu also looks like "a mix of an octopus, dragon, and a human caricature… 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. This thing, which seemed instinct with a fearsome and unnatural malignancy, was of a somewhat bloated corpulence.."
J. Alan Russell Via Lovecraft Wiki
Nyarlathotep is also known as the crawling chaos. It is an evil god that can shapeshift into over a thousand different forms. The character was first found in Lovecraft's poem titled Nyarlathotep. It was published in 1920 and is part of the original Lovecraftian canon. This being also appeared in a few other stories published throughout the years.
This beast is so scary that like the sight of a basilisk, one glance is enough to drive a man insane. When it assumes the form of a human, it turns into an Egyptian Pharaoh. Under the auspices of humanity, this sinister man reels in followers with his slick tongue and turn of a phrase.
On the subject of the character, Lovecraft remarked:
"I had never heard the name NYARLATHOTEP before, but seemed to understand the allusion. Nyarlathotep was a kind of itinerant showman or lecturer who held forth in public halls and aroused widespread fear and discussion with his exhibitions."
Images Via Lovecraft Wiki
At the source of all of these great beings is Azathoth or "The Blind Idiot God or Nuclear Chaos." This omnipotent source of energy is like some protoplasm all encompassing singularity. Its first appearance was in Lovecraft's "The Dream-Quest."
Azathoth is said to float either in the center of our universe or within some kind of hyperspatial non-entity realm where it is kept in a state of eternal slumber. Less powerful deities lull the god to sleep with cosmic music. It's said that if Azathoth were to awaken just for a moment, it would destroy the world as we know it for the human race.
K.L Turner Via Lovecraft Wiki
Slithering through the blackened halls of night, Night Gaunts give us the archetypal image of devils and demons. This fictional race of creatures appears in Lovecraft's poem titled "Night-Gaunts" as well as in his novella, "The Dream Quest of Unknown Kadath."
Nightgaunts serve many gods and sometimes capture people climbing the mountains in the Dreamlands. They were inspired by nightmares Lovecraft had in his youth.
"Shocking and uncouth black beings 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."
Y'Golonac by Greg Onychuk
Y'golonac is not a creation of Lovecraft's, but one from legendary horror writer Ramsay Campbell. Rising from the nebulous netherrealms of the Cthulhu Mythos, Y'golonac is a god of pure evil and gets his kicks from torturing humans.
Just the very utterance of his name summons Y'golonac. He lives around humans and when taking their form he usually appears as a fat man with no head or neck and mouths in the palms of his hands.
"Even the minions of the Cthulhu Mythos dare not utter the sounds that define the name, Y'golonac. For fear of conjuring the great defiler from its abstracted prison of bricks in some nameless place. Once more to walk amongst those who have the capacity for sanity and rational thought. With vile possession it can take any host.With the singular hunger to rape, consume and destroy all that it covets most – but never sought."
The story "Dagon" was one of the first stories Lovecraft had published as an adult. In Dagon, Lovecraft introduces the core concept of his storytelling. It was the idea that those gods humans believed in were often extraterrestrial or interdimensional entities that didn't really care all that much for humans.
In this story, Dagon was a fish humanoid creature that crawled up from the depths of the ocean. Historically speaking, Dagon actually was the name of the god of the Philistines.
"Then suddenly I saw it. With only a slight churning to mark its rise to the surface, the thing slid into view above the dark waters. Vast, Polyphemus-like, and loathsome, it darted like a stupendous monster of nightmares to the monolith, about which it flung its gigantic scaly arms, the while it bowed its hideous head and gave vent to certain measured sounds. I think I went mad then."
Yog-Sothoth is another incomprehensible being. It defies visualization. Although it does appear to humans usually as a mass of glowing orbs or other strange tendrils reaching out from the abyss. There is an agreement between many writers and fans that Yog-Sothoth is an omniscient being outside of the material realm, meaning that it is ultimately a god that knows all.
"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."
- 10 of the strangest exoplanets in the universe ›
- Solitude, Space Junk and Sea Monsters: the Eerieness of Point Nemo ›
Sallie Krawcheck and Bob Kulhan will be talking money, jobs, and how the pandemic will disproportionally affect women's finances.
How can we promote the creation of new neurons - and why is it so important?
- Neurogenesis, the birth of neurons from stem cells, happens mostly before we are born - as we are formed in the womb, we are generating most of what we need after birth.
- After birth, neurogenesis is still possible in two parts of the brain: the olfactory bulb (which is responsible for our sense of smell) and the hippocampus (which is responsible for memory, spatial navigation, and emotional processing).
- Research from the 1960s proves creating new neurons as adults is possible, and modern-day research explains how (and why) we should promote new neuron growth.
Two parts of the brain can continue growing through neurogenesis<img type="lazy-image" data-runner-src="https://assets.rebelmouse.io/eyJhbGciOiJIUzI1NiIsInR5cCI6IkpXVCJ9.eyJpbWFnZSI6Imh0dHBzOi8vYXNzZXRzLnJibC5tcy8yMjkyMzk2NS9vcmlnaW4uanBnIiwiZXhwaXJlc19hdCI6MTYwOTAwODc1MH0.4GDLlZmkwuD0-pJ0s0UWcUoYXMy95a-AM61a_QAlAeA/img.jpg?width=980" id="2e77e" class="rm-shortcode" data-rm-shortcode-id="4e23499fdf3b2185533979083fd02db7" data-rm-shortcode-name="rebelmouse-image" alt="brain made of twigs and plants concept of neurogenesis" />
Neurogenesis is still possible well into adulthood in two very important parts of the human brain.
Image by EtiAmmos on Shutterstock<p>Although most people are aware that aging or bad habits such as heavy alcohol use can contribute to the deterioration of our brains, not many of us give thought to how we can generate new brain cells.</p><p>Neurogenesis, the birth of neurons from stem cells, happens mostly before we are born - as we are formed in the womb, we are generating most of what we need after birth. </p><p><strong>After birth, however, neurogenesis is still possible in two parts of the brain:</strong></p><ul><li>The olfactory bulb, which is a structure of the forebrain that's responsible for our sense of smell. </li><li>The hippocampus, which is a structure of the brain located within the temporal lobe (just above your ears) - this area is important for learning, memory, regulation, of emotions and spatial navigation. </li></ul><p>Of course, when this information first came to light <a href="https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/13860748" target="_blank">back in the 1960s</a>, the next natural question was: How do we promote neurogenesis in those areas where it's still possible? </p><p>Researchers today believe there are activities you can do (some of them may be things you already do on a daily basis) that can promote neurogenesis in your brain. </p><p><strong>Why is it important to promote the growth of new neurons in adulthood?</strong></p><p>We produce an estimated 700 million neurons per day in the hippocampus - this means by the time we reach the age of 50, we will have exchanged the neurons we were born within that area of the brain with new (adult-generated) neurons. </p><p>If we don't promote this exchange with the growth of new neurons, we may block certain abilities these new neurons help us with (such as keeping our memory sharp, for example). </p>
4 ways to promote neurogenesis in your brain<img type="lazy-image" data-runner-src="https://assets.rebelmouse.io/eyJhbGciOiJIUzI1NiIsInR5cCI6IkpXVCJ9.eyJpbWFnZSI6Imh0dHBzOi8vYXNzZXRzLnJibC5tcy8yMjkyMzk2Ni9vcmlnaW4uanBnIiwiZXhwaXJlc19hdCI6MTYyNTE3NjczNH0.qyzh_AIUPKfaQIa1QEq4yTNCAAK9nYkH3HFV9vWXwww/img.jpg?width=1245&coordinates=0%2C0%2C0%2C104&height=700" id="64a68" class="rm-shortcode" data-rm-shortcode-id="ee1307fe2dd61ae425552da56db3c5ff" data-rm-shortcode-name="rebelmouse-image" alt="child playing trumpet concept of learning a new instrument neurogenesis" />
Learning a new instrument helps promote neurogenesis.
Photo by DenisProduction.com on Shutterstock<p><strong>Intermittent fasting</strong></p><p><a href="https://law.stanford.edu/2015/01/09/lawandbiosciences-2015-01-09-intermittent-fasting-try-this-at-home-for-brain-health/" target="_blank">A 2015 Stanford study</a> examined the link between <a href="https://www.healthline.com/nutrition/6-ways-to-do-intermittent-fasting#section1" target="_blank">intermittent fasting</a> and neurogenesis. Calorie restriction and fasting can not only increase synaptic plasticity and promote neuron growth but it can also decrease your risk of developing neurodegenerative diseases and boost cognitive function. </p><p><u>Two of the most common ways you can intermittently fast are: </u></p><ul><li>16 hours per day every day - this is a method where you are able to eat for an 8 hour period of the day and fast for 16 hours of the day. Many people begin their "fast" after dinner, pushing their morning meal far enough towards lunch that most of their "off" eating time happens while they are asleep anyways. </li></ul><ul><li>24 hours every week - this is a method where once a week you fast for an entire day. Some people prefer this method because the rest of the week can resume as normal - but for many, this is a difficult way to fast. </li></ul><p><strong>Traveling to new places</strong></p><p>While traveling is something many of us enjoy — scenic routes and new fun experiences — these things also promote neurogenesis while we're on vacation. <a href="https://www.chicagotribune.com/travel/ct-xpm-2014-01-28-sc-trav-0128-travel-mechanic-20140128-story.html" target="_blank">Paul Nussbaum</a>, a clinical neuropsychologist at the University of Pittsburgh, explains that the mental benefits of traveling are very clear.<br></p><p><em>"When you expose your brain to an environment that's novel and complex or new and difficult, the brain literally reacts. Those new and challenging situations cause the brain to sprout dendrites (dangling extensions) which grow the brain's capacity." </em></p><p><strong>Learning a new instrument</strong></p><p>The mental health benefits of music have long been studied, but did you know that learning a new instrument can promote new neuron growth? </p><p>According to <a href="https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC2996135/" target="_blank">this 2010 study</a>, learning to play a new musical instrument is an intense, multisensory motor experience that requires that acquisition and maintenance of skills over your entire lifetime - which of course, promotes the new formation of new neural networks. </p><p>When is the best time to begin learning a new instrument? Childhood, of course. </p><p><em>"Learning to play a new musical instrument in childhood can result in long-lasting changes in brain organization," </em>according to the study mentioned above. </p><p>While learning an instrument in adulthood will also promote neurogenesis, children who began training with a musical instrument before the age of 7 have shown that they have a significantly larger corpus callosum (the area of the brain the allows communication between the two hemispheres of the brain) than many adults. </p><p><strong>Reading novels</strong></p><p>A study from <a href="http://esciencecommons.blogspot.com/2013/12/a-novel-look-at-how-stories-may-change.html" target="_blank">Emory University</a> showed there was an increase in ongoing connectivity in the brains of participants after reading the same (fiction) novel. </p><p>In this study, enhanced brain activity was observed in the region that control physical sensations and movement. Reading a novel, according to lead researcher Gregory Berns, can transport you into the body of the protagonist. </p><p>This ability to shift into another mental state is a vital skill that promotes healthy neurogenesis in those areas of the brain. </p>
The coronavirus pandemic has brought out the perception of selfishness among many.
- Selfish behavior has been analyzed by philosophers and psychologists for centuries.
- New research shows people may be wired for altruistic behavior and get more benefits from it.
- Crisis times tend to increase self-centered acts.
Paul Krugman on the Virtues of Selfishness<div class="rm-shortcode" data-media_id="7ZtAkm6C" data-player_id="FvQKszTI" data-rm-shortcode-id="828936bf6953080e9018307354c0c02b"> <div id="botr_7ZtAkm6C_FvQKszTI_div" class="jwplayer-media" data-jwplayer-video-src="https://content.jwplatform.com/players/7ZtAkm6C-FvQKszTI.js"> <img src="https://cdn.jwplayer.com/thumbs/7ZtAkm6C-1920.jpg" class="jwplayer-media-preview" /> </div> <script src="https://content.jwplatform.com/players/7ZtAkm6C-FvQKszTI.js"></script> </div> The Nobel Prize-winning economist on the virtues of selfishness.
Evolution Is Moving Us Away from Selfishness. But Where Is It Taking ...<div class="rm-shortcode" data-media_id="cyeqmYCb" data-player_id="FvQKszTI" data-rm-shortcode-id="6c5efecb56456e9acc25cf36935b1826"> <div id="botr_cyeqmYCb_FvQKszTI_div" class="jwplayer-media" data-jwplayer-video-src="https://content.jwplatform.com/players/cyeqmYCb-FvQKszTI.js"> <img src="https://cdn.jwplayer.com/thumbs/cyeqmYCb-1920.jpg" class="jwplayer-media-preview" /> </div> <script src="https://content.jwplatform.com/players/cyeqmYCb-FvQKszTI.js"></script> </div>
Exploring Morality and Selfishness in Modern Times<div class="rm-shortcode" data-media_id="02eX1Cag" data-player_id="FvQKszTI" data-rm-shortcode-id="45cc6180db791f32683988fb52faff26"> <div id="botr_02eX1Cag_FvQKszTI_div" class="jwplayer-media" data-jwplayer-video-src="https://content.jwplatform.com/players/02eX1Cag-FvQKszTI.js"> <img src="https://cdn.jwplayer.com/thumbs/02eX1Cag-1920.jpg" class="jwplayer-media-preview" /> </div> <script src="https://content.jwplatform.com/players/02eX1Cag-FvQKszTI.js"></script> </div> Philosopher Peter Singer discusses the state of global ethics.
Parenting could be a distraction from what mattered most to him: his writing.
Ernest Hemingway was affectionately called “Papa," but what kind of dad was he?