One dark October, sitting alone in my room by the sea, I read a book of tales of horror. As a storm raged outside in the black night, the wind battered at my window and huge waves crashed on the stony beach below.
By flickering light I learnt of Great Cthulhu, a mountainous monster, corpulent and bloated, with the head of an octopus and massive claws and tentacles. I read of him sleeping in the ocean depths and learnt that, when the stars are right, he will arise from his watery tomb to devastate the Earth.
Such was the fictional creation of HP Lovecraft in his tales such as The Call of Cthulhu. But what I learnt that set my mind reeling in disbelief and in terror at the madness of unthinking human action, was that cultists of Cthulhu - magicians of power - are right now and in reality casting the dread spell to bring this about, and with it the end of all mankind...
I hope you'll forgive the hyperbole. I'm not really predicting the end of the world as we know it, but reading too much Lovecraft after a few glasses of wine tends to let me get too carried away with my imagination.
But part of what I said is true. There are people out there who really do practice Lovecraftian magic - quite a few of them in fact. What I have struggled to understand is, why? Why worship, or work with, entities that are a fictional creation? And why work with powers - even fictional powers - that are depicted as being so destructive?
To find out, over the next few days I will be looking at some answers to those questions from books that have been published on the subject, such as the Grimoire of the Necronomicon, by Donald Tyson, and an excellent talk on Working with The Great Old Ones given by Steve Ash at pagan forum Secret Chiefs last week.
So come back to A Bad Witch's Blog tomorrow to find out just how close we are to the Apocalypse...
Omnibus: At the Mountains of Madness and Other Novels of Terror No. 1 (H.P. Lovecraft Omnibus)
The Call of Cthulhu: And Other Weird Stories (Penguin Modern Classics)
Grimoire of the Necronomicon
Call of Cthulhu (Call of Cthulhu Roleplaying) (Call of Cthulhu Roleplaying)