Top 10 AMAZING FACTS About CTHULHU
Uh… Hi YouTube. Don’t mind me. I was… practicing vocal exercises. Yeah, that’s it, exercises. Not summoning an ancient being from the depths of the ocean. Though, if I were, you wouldn’t mind, right? Everyone loves Cthulhu. In fact, since you’re here, why not stick around for these top ten incredible facts about The Great Dreamer himself, Cthulhu. You know what Cthulhu would like you to do? Hit that subscribe button! And while you’re there, you might as well click the bell for future notifications from the great old one. Have your own Cthulhu fact to share? Scribe it onto the comments scroll!
Not Quite a God
Have you caught on that we haven’t quite called Cthulhu a god? That’s because, according to Lovecraft himself, these so-called gods are really extraterrestrial entities responsible for the creation of life. Within the 1931 short novel At the Mountains of Madness, Lovecraft establishes a cosmic presence that is carried throughout much of his work. The introduction in The Complete Cthulhu Mythos Tales, written by S. T. Joshi, describes how Lovecraft sought to create beings that science of the early 20th century couldn’t easily debunk as it could supernatural creatures like werewolves and vampires. And so he looked to the stars and plucked out the concepts of monstrous cosmic entities like Cthulhu.
The Cults of Cthulhu
We know Cthulhu is a fictitious being, but that hasn’t stopped the advent of real cults devoted to either worshipping the tentacled being or the philosophies presented by the fictional beings. One such cult, the aptly named Cult of Cthulhu, popped up in the United States, organized in 2004 by Darrick Dishaw, who later referred to himself as High Priest Venger Satanis. Generally, the so-called “cults” are simply a means to celebrate Lovecraft’s works, though you know somewhere out there is a group trying to raise the ancient cretin.
Lovecraft and the Cthulhu Mythos
We’ve mentioned the “Cthulhu Mythos” a few times already, but calling the extended universe that actually divides us from its demented creator. As Lovecraft started to build upon The Call of Cthulhu, he created what he dubbed the “Arkham Cycle,” or a series of interconnected stories taking place in or revolving around the fictional town of Arkham, MA. The term “Cthulhu Mythos” didn’t appear until August Derleth coined it after Lovecraft had passed away and has been used ever since to describe a series of stories and books written by authors of the “Lovecraft Circle.” Robert Bloch, Clark Ashton Smith, Robert E. Howard, Frank Belknap Long, and August Derleth all contribute tales to expand the mythos.
The Deep Ones
Three years after bringing Cthulhu to life, Lovecraft extended the mythos with The Shadow Over Innsmouth, a story that revolved around a sort of an affiliate of Cthulhu’s, another Great Old One known as Dagon. Unlike Cthulhu, Dagon actually has connections to real-world mythology as either the Mesopotamian god of fertility or an Iron Age fish god. In Lovecraft’s version, however, we’re dealing with the latter and The Deep Ones worship him and his spouse, Mother Hydra. These humanoid fish-creatures are known to mate with humans as part of a pact that provides the town of Innsmouth a bounty of fish.
The City of R’lyeh
When Lovecraft started spinning the Cthulhu mythos, he did so in a way that made it sound like it was translated from ancient texts. Even R’lyeh, the fantastical sunken city hidden within the Pacific Ocean, sounds like it belongs to an early world culture. Mentioned in the 1928 introduction to Cthulhu, R’lyeh is described as the burial place for Cthulhu marked by unusual architecture. According to Lovecraft, R’lyeh is located at 47° 9’S 126° 43’W in the southern Pacific, which places it right near the oceanic pole of inaccessibility, or the point farthest from land. However, writer and Lovecraft’s literary executor and Cthulhu contributor, August William Derleth, placed R’lyeh at 49°51'S 128°34'W.
Cthulhu in Nature
While on the topic of Cthulhu popping up outside of literature, we can’t forget about two creatures of the wild sporting The Great Old One’s name. The Pinoa Cthulhu and S. Cthulhui are, respectively, a Californian spider found in the Mendocino and Sonoma counties and a moth of the Erebidaw family found in New Guinea. Cthulhu has also been referenced in two microorganisms that play a role in termite digestion, Cthulhu macrofa… You know what, I’m not even going to try. Can someone throw the names up there for me?
The Great Old One of the deep blue has become such a prominent figure in and out of literature that his name has started popping up everywhere. Take, for instance, Cthulhu Regio, which has absolutely nothing to do with Lovecraft’s mythos. In 2015, an image of Pluto taken by the New Horizons probe showed a dark region on the planet’s surface. Though to be a sort of cosmic tar, the mass extends 1,860 miles (2,990 km) and appears to take the shape of a whale. Six days after its discovery, the New Horizons team dubbed the dark spot “Cthulhu,” a name that has since stuck.
Cthulhu in Pop Culture
Since his creation, Cthulhu has popped up in a myriad of different movies, video games, and other medium. Though he may not be the focus of some, his presence is noted in the expanded mythology that tends to serve as the backdrop or inspiration to films like In the Mouth of Madness and The Haunted Palace as well as the Twilight Zone episode, Gramma. If you need your dose of Cthulhu mythos, you’ll want to pop in The Call of Cthulhu, the 2000 and 2007 films aptly titled Cthulhu, and Dagon or spend some time playing the Arkham Horror board game and Call of Cthulhu: Dark Corners of the Earth survival horror video game.
One Big Cthulhu Family
You probably wouldn’t know it just by looking at him, but Cthulhu is actually a family man… er… family squid? Outside of his great-great-grandfather Azathoth; cosmic entity, Outer God, and grandfather Yog-Sothoth; grandmother and grotesque oddity Shub-Niggurath; parents Nug and Yeb; and four siblings, Cthulhu also has seven children of his own. Ghatanothoa, Ythogtha, Zoth-Ommog, Cthylla, T’ith, Nctosa, and Nctolhu have all popped up in later expansions of the Cthulhu mythos as children of the Great Old One and one of his two spouses, Idh-yaa or Kassogtha.
Created by H.P. Lovecraft
First and foremost, let’s get the most disappointing fact out of the way. The legend of Cthulhu isn’t part of some mysterious ancient mythology, as many likely hope. Rather, the tentacled being was a manifestation of the creative and twisted mind of author H. P. Lovecraft. In 1928, Lovecraft published The Call of Cthulhu in Weird Tales, marking the first time the Great Old One was made public. The story established much of the foundation of the Cthluhu mythos that was later branched out into a rather extensive mythology surrounding cosmic entities, cults, and madness.