"For the cat is cryptic, and close to strange things which men cannot see. He is the soul of antique Aegyptus, and bearer of tales from forgotten cities in Meroë and Ophir. He is the kin of the jungle’s lords, and heir to the secrets of hoary and sinister Africa. The Sphinx is his cousin, and he speaks her language; but he is more ancient than the Sphinx, and remembers that which she hath forgotten."
"What was the land of these wanderers none could tell; but it was seen that they were given to strange prayers, and that they had painted on the sides of their wagons strange figures with human bodies and the heads of cats, hawks, rams, and lions. And the leader of the caravan wore a head-dress with two horns and a curious disc betwixt the horns."
H.P. Lovecraft, The Cats Of Ulthar
"Khnum, one of the oldest gods of Egypt, came from the area of the First Cataract, to the far south. He became associated with the annual Nile flood, which seemed to originate from his domain. As a symbol of fertility which the flood brought, he was depicted with the head of a ram and given the role of a creator-god. A temple of the Roman period portrayed him as creator of all, even the other gods."
"Khnum created the human race from clay, which he made by mixing earth and water with air." Charles Freeman, The Legacy Of Ancient Egypt
"Khnum was self-created and the maker of heaven, raising it on its four pillars. He was also the maker of the underworld and of water, of things which are and of thing which shall be."
"Khunum was represented as a man wearing the head of a ram with horizontal wavy horns, or as a ram standing on its hind legs, which was called the 'living soul of Ra'." Veronica Ions, Egyptian Mythology
"The strange dark men danced in the rear, and the whole column skipped and leaped with Dionysiac fury. Malone staggered after them a few steps, delirious and hazy, and doubtful of his place in this or in any world. Then he turned, faltered, and sank down on the cold damp stone, gasping and shivering as the daemon organ croaked on, and the howling and drumming and tinkling of the mad procession grew fainter and fainter."
H.P. Lovecraft, The Horror At Red Hook
"Here Laurell'd Muses all their arts reheards,
And ivy'd Bacchus waves his budding thyrse"
H.P. Lovecraft, Simplicity: A Poem
"DIONYSOS, the youthful, beautiful, but effeminate god of wine. He is also called both by Greeks and Romans Bacchus (Bakchos), that is, the noisy or riotous god, which was originally a mere epithet or surname of Dionysus, but does not occur till after the time of Herodotus."
"Bacchus with horns, either those of a ram or of a bull. This representation
occurs chiefly on coins."
Sir William Smith, Dictionary of Greek and Roman Biography and Mythology
"But she, foaming at the mouth and twisting her eyes all about, not thinking as she ought, was possessed by Bakkhos, and he did not persuade her. Seizing his left arm at the elbow and propping her foot against the unfortunate man's side, she tore out his shoulder, not by her own strength, but the god gave facility to her hands."
Euripides, The Bacchae
"That the Bacchanalia have for some time been going on throughout Italy and are now practiced in many parts of the City you have, I am sure, learnt not only by report, but also by the nightly noises and yells which resound all over the City; but I do not think you know what it all means." "In the first place, then, women form the great majority, and this was the source of all the mischief. Then there are the males, the very counterparts of the women, committing and submitting to the foulest uncleanness, frantic and frenzied, driven out of their senses by sleepless nights, by wine, by nocturnal shouting and uproar."
"When once the mysteries had assumed this promiscuous character, and men were mingled with women with all the licence of nocturnal orgies, there was no crime, no deed of shame, wanting. More uncleanness was wrought by men with men than with women. Whoever would not submit to defilement, or shrank from violating others, was sacrificed as a victim. To regard nothing as impious or criminal was the very sum of their religion." Livy, History Of Rome; Book 39
"DIONYSOS (or Dionysus) was the great Olympian god of wine, vegetation, pleasure and festivity. He was depicted as either an older bearded god or a pretty effeminate, long-haired youth. His attributes included the thyrsos (a pine-cone tipped staff) and fruiting vine.
Aaron J. Atsma, The Theoi Project: Greek Mythology
"All these monsters stared about seeking him, but they could not find him, since he was protected by his sacred circle."
Nikolai Gogol, The Viy
"In appearance, the vodyanoi resembled a repulsive old man with hirsute body and long, matter hair and beard. It was frequently suggested that, like the devils in Russian icons, he looked black or that is body-hair was black. Some physical details, on the other hand, suggested the influence of the watery milieu in which he lived. Thus, his hair might be green or he might have webbed feet, a fishy tail, scaly skin. " Elizabeth Warner, Russian Myths
"This is the name of a dangerous water being in the folklore and traditions of Russia. The Vodianoi, also called Vodyanoi, Vodyanoy or Vodnik, is variously described as an old man with a blue face, white beard and green hair; an old man covered in scales or fur with huge paws, glowing eyes, horns and a tail; or entirely as a grotesque fish."
“And God! The shapes of nightmare that float around in that perpetual daemon twilight! The blasphemies that lurk and leer and hold a Witches’ Sabbat with that woman as a high-priestess! The black shaggy entities that are not quite goats—the crocodile-headed beast with three legs and a dorsal row of tentacles—and the flat-nosed aegipans dancing in a pattern that Egypt’s priests knew and called accursed."
"Capricorn or Sea Goat. This sign resembles Aegipan, whom Jupiter (Zeus) wished to be put among the constellations because he was nourished with him, just as he put the goat nurse we have mentioned before. He, first, as Eratosthenes (Greek poet C3rd B.C.) says, when Jupiter attacked the Titanes, is said to have cast into the enemy the fear that is called 'panikos'. The lower part of his body has fish formation, because he hurled shellfish against the enemy, too, instead of stones." Pseudo-Hyginus, Astronomica 2. 28
"It stood among osiers and alders on a low, mound-shaped elevation; and in front, toward the marshes, there was a loamy meadow-bottom where the short fat stems and tufted leaves of the mandrake grew in lush abundance, being more plentiful and of greater size than elsewhere through all that sorcery-ridden province. The fleshly, bifurcated roots of this plant, held by many to resemble the human body, were used by Gilles and Sabine in the brewing of love-philtres."
Clark Ashton Smith, The Mandrakes "It looks as if the name 'mandrake' may have been applied to very strong plantroots shaped like little statuettes of the human figure. It was believed that small familiar demons took up their abode in these plants. Mandrakes revealed knowledge of the future by shaking their heads when questions were put to them." Grillot de Givry, Witchcraft, Magic & Alchemy "Mandrake. A poisonous perennial herb that grows in the Mediterranean region and that is reputed to have powerful magical properties. Mandrake, part of the nightshade family, has a strong and unpleasant odor. It is highly toxic, though it is used in theraputic remedies and as an aphrodisiac in love philtres. The magic attributed to mandrake is due to the shape of its thick root, which looks like a man or woman. According to lore, mandrake shrinks at the approach of a person. Touching it can be fatal. If uprooted, it shrieks and sweats blood, and whoever pulls it out dies in agony. Rosemary Ellen Guiley, The Encyclopedia Of Witches and Witchcraft
"Where wraiths, wind-wafted, kept their distant den; Where sighing spirits move the listless leaves, And owlets nest on ruin'd castles' eaves"
H.P. Lovecraft, To the Late John H. Fowler, Esq.
"The apparition or "double" of a living person, generally supoosed to be an omen of death. The wraith closely resembles its protoype in the flesh, even to the details of dress." Lewis Spence, An Encyclopedia Of Occultism
"This is the name of a transformation of a human into a monstrous cannibal wolf."
"The Werewolf is essentially a human form during the day but transforms, according to different versions, either at the height of the full moon, or by donning a special wolf skin, or permanently by some curse."
Well, NecronomiCon 2019 has come and gone and I already can't wait til 2021. This year was the best one since Niels & co restarted it back in 2013. The panels, films, vendors and guests were all stellar. My only complaint was that there was so much cool stuff it was hard to pick what to do and what to skip. Here's a rundown of how spent the Con.
Sam Heimer, Kyla and James Quigley, Cryptocurium, Nick Gucker.
We then hightailed it out of there to see Robert Lloyd Parry perform two readings as M.R. James! He did the Ash Tree and Oh Whistle And I'll Come To You, My Lad with no microphone and lit only by 5 candles! It was fantastic and I'm so glad I got to see the performance.
The next day started with me on the very first panel of the con! It was called Scripturum Obscurum: Remarkable Unsung Authors and I, as promised, blathered about Margaret St. Clair and Charles Saunders. I was a little intimidated because the other panelists were pretty amazing. Fiona Maeve, Gemma Files, Leslie Clinger and Victor LaValle (go read his book The Changeling!) and they all suggested intriguing authors/books. The two most notable: Victor suggested Corregidora by Gayl Jones (about a woman who, after a hysterectomy, begins hearing the voices of her ancestors through the empty space in her abdomen!) and Fiona suggested Tentacle by Rita Indiana (a post apocalyptic epic with a voodoo prophecy and a transgender character that transitions with the help of a sacred anemone!).
Myself and Scott Nicolay Photo by Matthew Bartlett
The next day we tabled then I was on another panel, this one about Manly Wade Wellman! Again, an intimidating crew. I was sandwiched between Nathan Ballingrud and Orrin Grey two authors whose work I love and respect. We had a great time and I think we got to shed some light on Wellman's works and adaptations.
Orrin Grey, myself and Nathan Ballingrud
Photos by Kevin Wilson
We also got to see two of the films that were being screened: Aniara, (Sweden, 2019: an extremely depressing space epic) and The Hellstrom Chronicle (USA, 1971: a somewhat faux documentary about insects framed as a horror movie).
But probably my favorite part of the whole trip was hanging out with our carload of crudbags and Phil Gelatt & Victoria Dalpe who hosted us for the weekend. We stay with them every NecronomiCon and there's always the same cavalcade of sweet weirdos. Jordan Smith, Laura Maxfield, Andrea Sparacio (who did the cover and GOH illustrations in the Memento book!), Tim Mucci and Joseph E Dwyer. Usually we just see each other in the morning while chugging coffee or at night before we pass out, but this year we got some quality time and barbecued. Orrin Grey and Joshua Hackett were there and it was great to hang out with them not just on the vendor room floor.
Justine, Andrea, Tim, Vicki & Jeanne during the nerd BBQ!
On the way back we managed to stop at Ender's Island, a beautiful Christian retreat that offers art classes and recovery treatment. They also happen to have the mummified arm of St. Edmund on site!
I had an absolute blast this year and I'm honestly sad that it's over. I was filled with inspiration and hope. Thank you to all the organizers and volunteers that make NecronomiCon go. Extra thanks to Niels Hobbs and s.j. bagley who are great people (and the organizers I personally know haha!). Also super special thanks to my amazingly talented, inspired, inspiring and supportive partner Jeanne D'Angelo who had her own amazing zines for sale but also talked to people about my work and calmed me down when I was stressing out about dumb stuff. She's also an excellent navigator.
"Objects are eight feet long all over. Six-foot five-ridged barrel torso 3.5 feet central diameter, 1 foot end diameters. Dark grey, flexible, and infinitely tough. Seven-foot membraneous wings of same colour, found folded, spread out of furrows between ridges. Wing framework tubular or glandular, of lighter grey, with orifices at wing tips. Spread wings have serrated edge. Around equator, one at central apex of each of the five vertical, stave-like ridges, are five systems of light grey flexible arms or tentacles found tightly folded to torso but expansible to maximum length of over 3 feet. Like arms of primitive crinoid. Single stalks 3 inches diameter branch after 6 inches into five sub-stalks, each of which branches after 8 inches into five small, tapering tentacles or tendrils, giving each stalk a total of 25 tentacles. “At top of torso blunt bulbous neck of lighter grey with gill-like suggestions holds yellowish five-pointed starfish-shaped apparent head covered with three-inch wiry cilia of various prismatic colours. Head thick and puffy, about 2 feet point to point, with three-inch flexible yellowish tubes projecting from each point. Slit in exact centre of top probably breathing aperture. At end of each tube is spherical expansion where yellowish membrane rolls back on handling to reveal glassy, red-irised globe, evidently an eye. Five slightly longer reddish tubes start from inner angles of starfish-shaped head and end in sac-like swellings of same colour which upon pressure open to bell-shaped orifices 2 inches maximum diameter and lined with sharp white tooth-like projections. Probable mouths. All these tubes, cilia, and points of starfish-head found folded tightly down; tubes and points clinging to bulbous neck and torso. Flexibility surprising despite vast toughness."
“At bottom of torso rough but dissimilarly functioning counterparts of head arrangements exist. Bulbous light-grey pseudo-neck, without gill suggestions, holds greenish five-pointed starfish-arrangement. Tough, muscular arms 4 feet long and tapering from 7 inches diameter at base to about 2.5 at point. To each point is attached small end of a greenish five-veined membraneous triangle 8 inches long and 6 wide at farther end. This is the paddle, fin, or pseudo-foot which has made prints in rocks from a thousand million to fifty or sixty million years old. From inner angles of starfish-arrangement project two-foot reddish tubes tapering from 3 inches diameter at base to 1 at tip. Orifices at tips. All these parts infinitely tough and leathery, but extremely flexible. Four-foot arms with paddles undoubtedly used for locomotion of some sort, marine or otherwise. When moved, display suggestions of exaggerated muscularity. As found, all these projections tightly folded over pseudo-neck and end of torso, corresponding to projections at other end." H.P. Lovecraft, At the Mountains Of Madness
SERVITOR OF GLA'AKI "But those in the cult certainly were supposed to have the real witches' marks. It was the long, thin spines which are supposed to cover the body of their god Glaaki. In the initiation ceremony the novice was held (sometimes willing, sometimes not) on the lake shore while Glaaki rose from the depths. It would drive one of its spines into the chest of the victim, and when a fluid had been injected into the body the spine detached from itself from the body of Glaaki."
Through the emission of impulses, perhaps magnetic, from the brain of Glaaki, the man was kept alive while he was controlled almost completely by the being." Ramsey Campbell, The Inhabitant Of the Lake
"The Great Race's members were immense rugose cones ten feet high, and with head and other organs attached to foot-thick, distensible limbs spreading from the apexes. They spoke by the clicking or scraping of huge paws or claws attached to the end of two of their four limbs, and walked by the expansion and contraction of a viscous layer attached to their vast, ten-foot bases."
"These members were sometimes contracted almost to nothing, and sometimes extended to any distance up to about ten feet. Terminating two of them were enormous claws or nippers. At the end of a third were four red, trumpetlike appendages. The fourth terminated in an irregular yellowish globe some two feet in diameter and having three great dark eyes ranged along its central circumference. Surmounting this head were four slender grey stalks bearing flower-like appendages, whilst from its nether side dangled eight greenish antennae or tentacles. The great base of the central cone was fringed with a rubbery, grey substance which moved the whole entity through expansion and contraction." H.P. Lovecraft, The Shadow Out Of Time
"And hoary Nodens raised a howl of triumph when Nyarlathotep, close on his quarry, stopped baffled by a glare that seared his formless hunting-horrors to grey dust." H.P. Lovecraft, Dream-Quest Of Unknown Kadath
"And in the air about him were great viperine creatures, which had curiously distorted heads, and grotesquely great clawed appendages, supporting themselves with ease by the aid of black rubbery wings of singularly monstrous dimensions." H.P. Lovecraft & August Derleth, The Lurker At the Threshold
"...the basis of the fear was a horrible elder race of half-polypous, utterly alien entities which had come through space from immeasurably distant universes and had dominated the earth and three other solar planets about 600 million years ago."
"There were veiled suggestions of a monstrous plasticity, and of temporary lapses of visibility, while other fragmentary whispers referred to their control and military use of great winds. Singular whistling noises, and colossal footprints made up of five circular toe marks, seemed also to be associated with them."H.P. Lovecraft, The Shadow Out Of Time
"In Islamic tradition Israfel is the angel who will blow the last trumpet to signal the Day of Judgement and the resurrection of the faithful." Carol Rose, Spirits, Fairies, Leprechauns, and Goblins
"Isrāfīl is usually conceived as having a huge, hairy body that is covered with mouths and tongues and that reaches from the seventh heaven to the throne of God. One wing protects his body, another shields him from God, while the other two extend east and west."
"It was of no use to demonstrate to such opponents that the Vermont myths differed but little in essence from those universal legends of natural personification which filled the ancient world with fauns and dryads and satyrs, suggested the kallikanzari of modern Greece, and gave to wild Wales and Ireland their dark hints of strange, small, and terrible hidden races of troglodytes and burrowers."
H.P. Lovecraft,The Whisperer In Darkness
The kallikantzaroi are monstrous beings, black, hairy, sometimes gigantic, sometimes very small, usually equipped with animal-like limbs: donkeys' ears, goatish paws, equine hooves. They are often blind or lame; they are invariably males provided with enormous sexual organs."
"They pounce on anyone they see, overwhelm them and with their nails (which are clawlike and very long because they never cut them) scratch their face and chest and left on the ground half-dead." Carlo Ginzburg, Ecstasies: Deciphering the Witches' Sabbath
HUMANOID AMOEBA "Looking down again, they saw that a blob of something was growing on the pavement ten feet from them."
"Turning they saw it emerge into the light--shapeless and jelly-green under the white flare."
"There was a final surge, a shrinking, and its shapelessness contracted into limbs, a head, feet. the naked man-thing pushed itself to its knees and then stood straight, the flesh by now opaque. Eye sockets caved into the face. A mouth ripped apart on the skull and the chest began to move with a west steamy sound in irregular gasps."
"Something was happening at the front. Figures, three or four of them, were detaching themselves from the mother mass and preceding it."