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Great old one compendium

This is a compendium of the lesser known Great Old Ones of the Cthulhu Mythos of H. P. Lovecraft.

Contents: A B C D E M N O Q R S T V W Y Z
ReferencesNotesExternal links



Aphoom-Zhah (The Cold Flame) debuted in Lin Carter's short story "The Acolyte of the Flame" (1985)—although the being was first mentioned in an earlier tale by Carter, "The Horror in the Gallery" (1976). Aphoom-Zhah is also mentioned in Carter's "The Light from the Pole" (1980), a story Carter wrote from an early draft by Clark Ashton Smith. Smith later developed this draft into "The Coming of the White Worm" (1941).

Aphoom-Zhah is the progeny of Cthugha and is worshipped as the Lord of the Pole because he is trapped, like Ithaqua, above the Arctic Circle. Aphoom-Zhah frequently visited Hyperborea during the last ice age. His legend is chronicled in the Pnakotic Manuscripts.

Aphoom-Zhah appears as a vast, cold, grey flame that freezes whatever it touches. The being came to Earth from the star Fomalhaut, briefly visiting the planet Yaksh (Neptune) before taking up residence in Mount Yarak, a legendary mountain atop the North Pole. When the Elder Gods tried to imprison him beneath the pole, Aphoom-Zhah erupted with such fury that he froze the lands around him. Aphoom-Zhah is believed to be responsible for the glaciation that eventually overwhelmed Hyperborea, Zobna, and Lomar.

Aphoom-Zhah likely spawned Gnoph-Keh, Rhan-Tegoth, and Voorm. Though no human cult worships this being, Aphoom-Zhah is revered by the gnophkeh and the Voormi.<ref>Harms, "Aphoom-Zhah", Encyclopedia Cthulhiana, p. 9.</ref>


Atlach-Nacha is the creation of Clark Ashton Smith and first appeared in his short story "The Seven Geases" (1934). In the story, Atlach-Nacha is the reluctant recipient of a human sacrifice given to it by the toad-god Tsathoggua.

Atlach-Nacha resembles a huge spider with an almost-human face. It dwells in a huge cavern deep beneath Mount Voormithadreth, a mountain in the now vanished kingdom of Hyperborea in the Arctic. There it spins a gigantic web, bridging a massive chasm between the Dreamlands and the waking world. Some believe that when the web is complete, the end of the world will come, because it will create a permanent junction with the Dreamlands allowing monsters to move freely into the waking world.

Atlach-Nacha probably came to Earth from the planet Cykranosh (or Saturn as we know it today) with Tsathoggua. Because of its appearance, Atlach-Nacha is often referred to as the Spider-God(dess) and is believed to be the regent of all spiders. Furthermore, the giant, bloated purple spiders of Leng are thought to be its children and servitors.

There is some disagreement about its gender. In Smith's original story, Atlach-Nacha is referred to as a male, but in later stories by other authors, it is implied to be a female.



Basatan is first mentioned in the short story "Master of the Crabs" (1948) by Clark Ashton Smith. It is a sea-god, also known as the Master of the Crabs.

Basatan is (most likely) a Great Old One. Very little is known about the deity, except that "he" possesses a ring with supernatural powers. Basatan may be associated somehow with the constellation Cancer.


Bokrug (The Great Water Lizard) first appeared in Lovecraft's short story "The Doom That Came to Sarnath" (1920). The being is also part of Lovecraft's Dream Cycle.

Bokrug is the god of the semi-amphibian Thuum'ha of Ib in the land of Mnar. The deity slept beneath the calm waters of a lake that bordered Ib and the city of Sarnath. When the humans of Sarnath cruelly slaughtered the populace of Ib and stole the god's idol, the deity was awakened. Each year thereafter, strange ripples disturbed the otherwise placid lake. On the one-thousandth anniversary of Ib's destruction, Bokrug rose up and destroyed Sarnath (so utterly that not even ruins remained). Afterwards, the Thuum'ha recolonised Ib and thenceforth lived undisturbed.

There is also an implication of connection with the moon-beasts given that Ib descended down from the moon and bear much similarities in physical description.


Chaugnar Faugn

Some were the figures of well-known myth — gorgons, chimaeras, dragons, cyclops, and all their shuddersome congeners. Others were drawn from darker and more furtively whispered cycles of subterranean legend — black, formless Tsathoggua, many-tentacled Cthulhu, proboscidian Chaugnar Faugn, and other rumoured blasphemies from forbidden books like the Necronomicon, the Book of Eibon, or the Unaussprechlichen Kulten of von Junzt.
—H.P. Lovecraft, "The Horror in the Museum" (emphasis added)

Chaugnar Faugn (The Elephant God, The Horror from the Hills) was created by Frank Belknap Long and first appeared in his novel The Horror from the Hills (1931).

Chaugnar Faugn (or Chaugnar Faughn) appears as a horribly grotesque idol, made of an unknown element, combining the worst aspects of octopus, elephant, and human being. When Chaugnar Faugn hungers, it can move incredibly quickly for its size and use its lamprey-like "trunk" to drain the blood from any organism it encounters.

Chaugnar Faugn came to the Earth from another dimension eons ago. Upon arriving, he found the dominant lifeform to be only simple amphibians. From these creatures, he created the Miri Nigri to be his servitors. The Miri Nigri would later mate with early humans to produce hybrids that would eventually evolve into the horrid Tcho-Tcho people.


He hung motionless in a black, forbidding sky and at first thought he was suspended somewhere in the intrasolar deeps much closer to the Sun than on Earth. But then he realized that the dully gleaming orb which floated before his dreaming vision was not the Sun. Ugly dark blotches mottled the dull orange surface and great columns of spinning flame arced around the rim.... [He watched] the titan sunspots drift slowly across the hideous disc, at times growing larger and merging into great gaping chasms in the fiery atmosphere, while at others dwindling almost to nothingness.... Something was stirring deep within that fiery atmosphere; something monstrous that roared an insatiable anger against the chains of the Elder Gods which had bound it there for an eternity.... Unable to resist, utterly powerless to control his movements, he was diving headlong towards that ravening chaos, that age-old intelligence which was Cthugha.
—John Glasby, "The Dark Mirror"

Cthugha is the creation of August Derleth and first appeared in his short story "The House on Curwen Street" (1944).

Cthugha resembles a giant ball of fire. He is served by the Flame Creatures of Cthugha. Fthaggua, regent of the fire vampires, may be his progeny. He has at least one other known progeny, the being known as Aphoom-Zhah.

In August Derleth's short story "The Dweller in Darkness" (1944), the protagonists attempt to summon Cthugha to drive an avatar of Nyarlathotep out of a forest in Canada. If the summoning of Cthugha is improperly done, one may unintentionally summon Yomagn'tho instead.


Cynothoglys (The Mortician God) first appeared in Thomas Ligotti's short story "The Prodigy of Dreams" (1994). The being appears as a shapeless, multiform entity with a single arm used for catching those who summoned it and bringing them painless, ecstatic death. In ancient times, it held a small cult in Italy, which paid it homage rather than worshipping it, since actual worship would be the same as summoning the god. They considered it to be no mere Cloacina, but the mortician of all creatures, even the gods themselves. The extent of its power is unknown, though it could be like that of the mighty Outer Gods; that is, unlimited.


Dweller in the Gulf

The Dweller in the Gulf appears in a short story of the same name by Clark Ashton Smith, first published in 1932. The Dweller in the Gulf lives deep beneath the surface of the planet Mars, but may have originated elsewhere. It is worshipped exclusively by a blind, troglodyte sect of the Martian race the Aihai and can be ritually summoned by the stroking of its idol.

The Dweller resembles a massive, eyeless, soft-shelled tortoise but has a triangular head and two whiplike tails. At the ends of its tails are two bell-shaped suckers used for the ceremonial—usually forced— removal of its discoverers' eyes, turning them into the deity's blind, mute servitors.



Eihort (God of the Labyrinth) first appeared "in person" in Ramsey Campbell's short story "Before the Storm" (1980). However, the being was first mentioned in Campbell's "The Franklyn Paragraphs" (1973).

Eihort lives in a network of tunnels deep beneath the Severn Valley in England. It appears as a "bloated blanched oval supported on myriad fleshless legs" with eyes continuously forming in its gelatinous body. When it captures a mortal, it offers the captive a bargain. If the captive refuses, Eihort smashes the victim to death. If the captive accepts the bargain, the horror implants its immature brood inside the victim's body. The brood will eventually mature and kill the host. According to the Revelations of Glaaki, after the fall of humanity Eihort's brood will be born into light.<ref>Harms, "Eihort", Encyclopedia Cthulhiana, p. 96.</ref>

"Ei" and "Hort" are nouns of the modern German language, "Ei" meaning "egg" and "Hort" meaning "hoard".



Mnomquah (the Lord of the Black Lake) is first referenced in Brian Lumley's short story "The Sorcerer's Book" (1984). Mnomquah is trapped inside the Dreamlands' moon, though how he became imprisoned there is not known. He appears as a vast reptile with a crown of snaking feelers and empty sockets in place of eyes (though they still serve as sensory organs). His mate is the repulsive Oorn. It is said that when the other Great Old Ones return to lay waste to the world, Mnomquah will be reunited with his bride.

Mnomquah is called the Lord of the Black Lake because he rules over the Lake of Ubboth beneath the surface of the moon. Because of his appearance and residence, Mnomquah may have some relation to Bokrug.


Nug and Yeb

Nug (more properly Naggoob) and Yeb, the Twin Blasphemies, are the spawn of Shub-Niggurath and Yog-Sothoth. Nug is the parent of Cthulhu and the parent of Kthanid via the influence of Yog-Sothoth. Nug is a god among ghouls, while Yeb is the leader of Abhoth's alien cult.<ref>Harms, "Nug and Yeb", Encyclopedia Cthulhiana, pp. 216–7.</ref> Both Nug and Yeb closely resemble Shub-Niggurath.


Men knew him as the Dweller in Darkness, that brother of the Old Ones called Nyogtha, the Thing that should not be. He can be summoned to Earth's surface through certain secret caverns and fissures, and sorcerers have seen him in Syria and below the black tower of Leng; from the Thang Grotto of Tartary he has come ravening to bring terror and destruction among the pavilions of the great Khan. Only by the looped cross, by the Vach-Viraj incantation and by the Tikkoun elixir may he be driven back to the nighted caverns of hidden foulness where he dwelleth.
—Henry Kuttner, "The Salem Horror"

Nyogtha (the Thing That Should Not Be) appears in Henry Kuttner's short story "The Salem Horror" (1937). Nyogtha is one of the most feared of the earth elementals. He is cousin to the monstrous Cyäegha and appears as a shapeless, dark mass, not too much unlike Ubbo-Sathla.



Oorn is mentioned in the book Mad Moon of Dreams (1987) by Brian Lumley. She is the wife of the reptilian Mnomquah. She has the form of a huge tentacled mollusc with snaking appendages that can spew digestive fluid on things she wishes to eat. Like her husband, her only true worshippers are the Men of Leng and the Moon-beasts. A temple devoted to Oorn and Mnomquah is near Sarkomand in the Dreamlands.


Quachil Uttaus

Quachil Uttaus is dubiously classified as a Great Old One and has the appearance of a squat, mummified corpse. The being first appeared in Clark Ashton Smith's short story "The Treader of the Dust" (1935). In a passage from the story, Smith describes him this way:

It was a figure no larger than a young child, but sere and shriveled as some millennial mummy. Its hairless head, its unfeatured face, borne on a neck of skeleton thinness, were lined with a thousand reticulated wrinkles. The body was like that of some monstrous, withered abortion that had never drawn breath. The pipy arms, ending in bony claws, were outthrust as if ankylosed in a posture of an eternal dreadful groping.

Quachil Uttaus can reduce all living tissue that he comes into contact with to dust (and is therefore similar to another of Smith's characters, Ubbo-Sathla). Quachil Uttaus is usually associated with age, death, and decay.


Rlim Shaikorth

Rlim Shaikorth was created by Clark Ashton Smith and is featured in his short story "The Coming of the White Worm" (1941). Rlim Shaikorth appears as a huge, whitish worm with a gaping maw and eyes made of dripping globules of blood. One of Rlim Shaikorth's avatars is known as the White Worm and is part of Smith's Hyperborean cycle.

The White Worm travels on a gigantic iceberg called Yikilth, which it can guide across the ocean. In its colossal ice-citadel, the White Worm prowls the seas, blasting ships and inhabited land masses with extreme cold. Victims of the White Worm are frozen solid, their bodies appearing eerily white, and remain preternaturally cold—they will not melt nor warm even when exposed to fire.


Shudde M'ell

Shudde M'ell is the creation of Brian Lumley and is featured in his novel The Burrowers Beneath (1974).

Shudde M'ell is "a great gray thing a mile long chanting and exuding strange acids... charging through the depths of the earth at a fantastic speed, in a dreadful fury... melting basaltic rocks like butter under a blowtorch." (The Burrowers Beneath, Lumley.) Shudde M'ell is the supreme regent of the chthonians, a horrifying race of burrowing creatures, and is probably the largest and most malignant member of his kind. According to some legends, he was once imprisoned beneath G'harne, but now he is free to wander the earth with his kin.


Summanus (Lord of Hell, Monarch of Night, The Terror that Walketh in Darkness) is the creation of Brian Lumley — who based the Great Old One on the Roman deity of the same name — and first appeared in Lumley's short story "What Dark God?" (1975). The god appears as a mouthless human with whitish tentacles hidden under his clothing. He can use these tentacles to siphon blood from his victims.

Summanus had a following in Roman times, but if he is worshiped today, his cult is even more secretive. The rites needed for the proper worship of Summanus are found in the Tuscan Rituals.



Tharapithia is an obscure deity dwelling beneath an unwholesome oak grove somewhere in the Baltic. Its strength is derived from the roots of the old oaks. It is worshipped by local pagan tribes and is possibly related to the cult of Demeter. Tharapithia wreaked havoc on the conquering Teutons.



Vulthoom is featured in the Clark Ashton Smith story of the same name, first published in the September 1935 issue of Weird Tales. The being is also known as Gsarthotegga and The Sleeper of Ravermos.

"Vulthoom" (short story)

In the story, Vulthoom is the Martian Aihai's equivalent of Satan. Though most rational people believe him to be a myth, he is nonetheless greatly feared by the lower class. In truth he is a mysterious being from another universe, exiled by his fellows there and lying in wait on Mars in the underground city of Ravermos. He plans to take over Mars and then conquer Earth as his next trophy. Because of his vast intellect and advanced technology, he seems godlike. However, Vulthoom is not a 'true deity,' but is instead simply a very powerful being who must rest for millennia at a time. While under the influence of the hallucinogenic perfume of an alien blossom, one man envisioned Vulthoom as a gigantic, otherworldly plant, but the being's true form is unknown.


The Worm that Gnaws in the Night

The Worm that Gnaws in the Night (the Doom of Shaggai) appears in Lin Carter's short story "Shaggai" (1971). The being is portrayed as an enormous, worm-like entity. The Worm was first observed by the wizard Eibon, who chanced upon it on a sojourn to the planet Shaggai. To his horror, Eibon discovered that the massive worm was slowly eating away at the vitals of Shaggai and subsequently made a hasty return to Earth.



Yibb-Tstll is an obscure god, said to watch at the center of all time as the universe revolves. Because of this insight, only Yog-Sothoth is said to be wiser. Its blood, the Black, is a weapon which takes the form of black snowflakes that stick to and smother a victim. Its touch causes an instant change in the person affected—this change is usually fatal but occasionally brings some benefit.

Yibb-Tstll is sometimes described as an immobile, dark, tentacled entity with a pulpy, alien head, detached eyes, and large bat wings under which countless Nightgaunts suck black milk from its innumerable breasts. In Brian Lumley's short story "Rising with Surtsey" (1971), the narrator proclaims: "... I wanted to bound, to float in my madness through eldritch depths of unhallowed black blood. I wanted to cling to the writhing breasts of Yibb-Tstll. Insane..."


Yig (the Father of Serpents) is a deity that appears as a serpent man or as a giant snake. Although Yig is easy to anger, he is easy to placate as well. Yig often sends his serpent minions, the children of Yig, to destroy or transform his enemies.

To Native Americans, Yig is regarded as "bad medicine". He is also alluded to in western American folklore. He is identified with the Mesoamerican deity Quetzalcoatl, and may be a prototype for that god and other serpentine gods worldwide. Some authors identify him with the Stygian serpent god Set from Robert E. Howard's Conan stories, and also with the Great Serpent worshiped by the Serpent People of Valusia from Howard's Kull stories.

Yig is the subject of a song by the band Gwar entitled "The Horror of Yig". The band The Darkest of the Hillside Thickets, famous for their Lovecraft references, also refers to Yig in a song titled "Yig Snake Daddy".



Zathog appears in Richard Tierney's novel The Winds of Zarr (1971), as well as in his short story "From Beyond the Stars" (1975). After warring with the Elder Gods, Zathog, eager for revenge, entered into a compact with the brutal Zarr. The Zarr controlled most of the galaxy where they dwelt and desired to conquer the rest of the universe. In return for helping him free his brethren, Zathog promised to give the Zarr the ability to travel through time and space.


Zushakon (or Zuchequon or Zul-Che-Quon) is the creation of Henry Kuttner and debuted in his short story "Bells of Horror" (1939). The being is the son of Ubbo-Sathla, procreated by binary fission. Other sources, however, consider him the progeny of Shub-Niggurath and Hastur.

Zushakon is the god of death to the Mutsune tribe of California. Zushakon has an intense hatred of light and will slay anyone who exposes one of his sacred artifacts to it. He can be summoned by the ringing of three specially consecrated bells.

His arrival is heralded by the rapid darkening and chilling of the surrounding environment and the sound of flapping, as if produced by very large wings, steadily increasing in volume. Furthermore, all creatures nearby suffer an irritation of the eyes that is so severe, they are compelled to quite literally gouge them out. Upon his arrival, the surrounding shadows darken, thicken, swirl, and finally clot into his dreadful shape. It is not known whether the clot of darkness that forms is merely a gateway or the actual entity himself.

According to the famed occult detective Doctor Anton Zarnak, who witnessed Zushakon's arrival during an unsuccessful attempt to exorcise him from a client, Zushakon is an earth elemental and can be repelled by bright lights or by summoning the fire god Cthugha. The unfortunate victim, who died during the struggle, had dug up a mound that contained the remains of a Mutsune shaman. Inside, he found an obsidian tablet and a carving of a hooded, possibly winged, humanoid figure surrounded by toad-like beings prostrate in worship before it. Inscribed on the tablet was an ancient, now-extinct script promising death to anyone who exposed the contents of the barrow. It is very likely that the winged figure in the carving is Zushakon himself.

After he departs, Zushakon may return yet again during the first earthquake or solar eclipse following an earlier, successful summoning of him.

See also



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External links

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