“Gorgons, and Hydras, and Chimaeras… may reproduce themselves in the brain of superstition — but they were there before. They are transcripts, types — the archetypes are in us, and eternal… These terror are of older standing. They date beyond body…”
I opened this week’s post with the quote that Lovecraft originally used to open his tale, The Dunwich Horror. Dispensing with some convention, the entirety of this post with work towards unpacking the Horror, as it is one of his more complex and is very rich with magical tech. We will begin by gaining a sense of place, to anchor ourselves in the world of the Dunwich Horror.
In the beginning of the tale, Lovecraft speaks about a wrong turn at ‘Dean’s Corner’ he is likely speaking of Atkins Corner outside of Amherst, MA and near Round Mountain. A bit further north, however, Heath or (more likely) Rowe are good candidates for Dunwich, having been settled in 1765, they are of an appropriate age, size, and vicinity to other landmarks mentioned like the stone circle of Burnt Hill and Round Mountain. One need only take a passing look at the Rowe Quarry before finding themselves in agreement that this is a very good approximation of what Dunwich was and is in our modern world.
If, however, that doesn’t suit you as Lovecraftian enough, there are plenty of other Dunwich-esque ghost towns to choose from in the area.
Lovecraft’s first mention of the horror, paints it with an immediate sense of intrigue and mystery:
“In our sensible age — since the Dunwich horror of 1928 was hushed up by those who had the town’s and the world’s welfare at heart — people shun it without knowing exactly why.”
Here is something new, evidence of a conspiracy, and a possible secret society among government officials. Who are ‘Those that had the town’s and the world’s welfare at heart’? Also, it is an interesting vector into superstition in the Americas and elsewhere, how much of it was derived from secret campaigns such as the one described?
We are also quickly offered a beginnings of an appropriate spirit list when:
“In 1747 the Reverend Abijah Hoadley, newly come to the Congregational Church at Dunwich Village, preached a memorable sermon on the close presence of Satan and his imps; in which he said:
‘It must be allow’d, that these blasphemies of an infernal train of daemons are matters of too common knowledge to be denied; the cursed voices of Azazel, Buzrael, of Bellzebub, and Belial, being heard now from under ground by above a score of credible witnesses. I [myself caught] a very plain discourse of evil powers in the hills behind my house… which must needs have come from those caves that only black magic can discover, and only the devil can unlock.’”
Fantastic, here we have some more familiar demons we can add to our growing canon, Azazel, Buzrael, Bellzebub, and Belial. In addition, Lovecraft is giving a nod to treasure spells with the mention of caves that only magic can uncover, so there are hints of the Book of Saint Cyprian here as well, as treasure finding spells are quite prevalent in that immaterial grimoire.
When speaking of the denizens of the Dunwich area, employs familiar tropes:
“the natives are now repentantly decadent, having gone far along that path of retrogression so common in many New England backwaters. They have come to form a race by themselves, with the well-defined mental and physical stigmata of degeneracy and inbreeding. The average of their intelligence is woefully low, whilst their annals reek of overt viciousness and of half-hidden murders, incests, and deeds of almost unnamable violence and perversity.”
Here we have another example of the depths of Lovecraft’s bias, which, even though it is framed as race; ‘They have come to form a race by themselves…’; is really a response to socio-economic class. Remember that Lovecraft was born to a family where the grandparents were of a higher socioeconomic class, and that family unit, and the associated class status, dissolved before his eyes at a young age. His father likely struggled as a salesman and died of syphilis contracted through adultery, his mother suffered from mental health issues, meaning neither of them were the principle providers for the family. His grandfather Whipple would have been the patron, but he also lost his money towards the end of his life and died in debt. The artifice of a higher socioeconomic class was present in the homes and artifacts of Lovecraft’s extended family, but he was always poor. So poor, in fact, that it kept him from attending university, of which he would have clearly excelled.
The universality of his race-framed class-based commentary lends evidence to the theory that these passages, while used as a literary trope, were in fact a way to elevate his own status (as the nameless narrator in so many of his tales), if only in his own view.
The Dunwich Horror, as we will increasingly see, is in touch with what Corinne Boyer terms, the ‘Wild Adversary,’ as we can see in the following passage:
“the natives are mortally afraid of the numerous whippoorwills which grow vocal on warm nights. It is vowed that the birds are psychopomps lying in wait for the souls of the dying, and that they time their eerie cries in unison with the sufferer’s straggling breath. If they can catch the fleeing soul when it leaves the body, they instantly flutter away chittering in daemonic laughter; but if they fail, they subside gradually into a disappointed silence.”
I find that Whippoorwills are an excellent addition to the Lovecraftian Magical Aesthetic. These could be considered a natural omen of Lovecraftian Magic or spirit-forms being active in the vicinity of the magician.
The connections with the natural world continue, finding their anchor in the description of a touchpoint between humans and the Wild Adversary:
“Oldest of all are the great rings of rough-hewn stone columns on the hill-tops… Deposits of skulls and bones, found within these circles and around the sizeable table-like rock on Sentinel Hill, sustain the popular belief that such spots were once… burial places…”
The stone circle is a very real place in the area framed by his earlier description, and is known as the ‘Burnt Hill Stone Circle’.
As the tale progresses, we are introduced to the Whateley clan, the primary antagonists, beginning with the matriarch:
“Lavinia [Whateley]… had never been to school, but was filled with disjointed scraps of ancient lore that Old Whateley had taught her. The remote farmhouse had always been feared because of Old Whateley’s reputation for black magic…”
A phrase that touches on an environment of patrilineal transmission of magic associated with the possession of original grimoires.
Moving from Lavinia to her son, Wilbur, we are offered the following:
“[Wilbur was] exceedingly ugly despite his appearance of brilliancy; there being something almost goatish… about his thick lips, large pored, yellowish skin, coarse crinkly hair, and oddly elongated ears. He was soon disliked even more decidedly than his mother and grandsire, and all conjectures about him were spiced with references to the bygone magic of Old Whateley, and how the hills once shook when he shrieked the dreadful name of Yog-Sothoth in the midst of a circle of stones with a great book open in his arms before him.”
So much here… First, the references to being more hated than his mother or grandfather point to Wilbur being a manifestation of Howard. The mention of Old Whateley being the original possessor of magic in the family, or at least, the point of transmission, reminds of the biographical data I’ve come across about Whipple Phillips. There is also the outdoor, forest aesthetic and the trope of the grimoire as a required talisman [Auratic Grimoires] for magic to be effective, without the book present, the magic does not work.
The pronounced role of ‘book’ in The Dunwich Horror continues:
“Old Whateley… cut timber and began to repair the unused parts of his house… fitting up [a] downstairs room for his new grandson — a room which several callers saw, though no one was ever admitted to the closely boarded upper story. This chamber he lined with tall, firm shelving; along which he began to gradually arrange, in apparently careful order, all the rotting ancient books and parts of books which during his own day had been heaped promiscuously in odd corners of the various rooms.”
Lovecraft was clearly a lover of book and had his own extensive collection, but the correlation between a grandfather outfitting a library of esoterica and grimoires from a grandson is to close to his own experience to ignore. The following sentences, I think, is wholly biographical in origin:
“At home, [Wilbur] would pore diligently over the queer pictures and charts in his grandfather’s books, while Old Whateley would instruct and catechise him through long, hushed afternoons.”
It isn’t long before our spirit list begins to expand, grasping at the earth with mycelial tendrils:
“In 1917… The government, alarmed at such signs of wholesale regional decadence, sent several offices and medical experts to investigate… It was the publicity attending this investigation which set reporters on the track of the Whateleys… Earl Sawyer went out to the Whateley place with… reporters… and called… attention to the queer stench whihcn ow seemed to trickle down from the sealed upper spaces…”
Two things here, first the latter, a distinction of Lovecraftian Spirit Forms from traditional ones would be the associated odors. Lovecraft has made descriptions of horrendous smells associated with Lovecraftian spirit forms, which is the exact opposite of traditional Solomonic spirits who (according to Dr. Stephen Skinner) will not appear when in malodorous environments. Second, the former, here again is mention of government interference with the perpetrators of the Dunwich Horror. The year 1917 is nine years into the ‘regular force of special agents’ career that would become what we know as the FBI. This juxtaposition of agents of the supernatural vs agents of the government should be very familiar to us.
The biographical threads continue, in a description of the death of Old Whateley, the grandfather:
“In the spring [of 1923] Old Whateley noticed the growing number of whippoorwills that would come out of Cold Spring Glen to chirp under his window at night. He seemed to regard the circumstance as one of great significance… On Lammas Night, 1924, Dr. Houghton of Aylesbury was hastily summoned by Wilbur Whateley… He found Old Whateley in a very grave state… Toward one o’ clock Old Whateley gained consciousness, and interrupted his weeping to choke out a few words to his grandson.
'More space, Willy, more space soon. Yew grows - an' that grows faster… Open up the gates to Yog-Sothoth with the long chant that ye'll find on page 751 of the complete edition…'"
I like this passage for a couple of reasons, the call to use the complete grimoire mirrors the modern obsession with recreating historically accurate and complete classical grimoires, the assertion being the more complete the edition, the more effective the ritual. There is also the emphasis on using the long chant. This is also inline with modern thought, especially that of Dr. Skinner, who I will paraphrase as saying that you have to work up to results, magic does not happen for those that only give it a passing effort. Lammas Eve is also quite interesting, a pagan holiday where a lammas bread loaf is baked from grain harvested between the Summer Solstice and the September Equinox, brought to a church to be blessed, and then used in further plant and harvest magic. It also correlates with St. Peter and his release from prison, an echo of the event foretold by Old Whateley on his deathbed:
“Open up the gates to Yog-Sothoth with the long chant that ye’ll find on page 751 of the complete edition, an then put a match to the prison. Fire from birth can’t burn it nohaow.”
Saint Peter was crucified on an upside cross, at his own request. The upside down cross is an exceedingly popular symbol for those that identify with the occult.
With Wizard Whateley out of the way, Wilbur becomes the focus of the tale:
“Wilbur was by this time a scholar of really tremendous erudition in his one-sided way, and was quietly known by correspondence to many librarians in distant places where rare and forbidden books of old days are kept.”
Another biographical clue, I think, another match between the triad of Whateley’s and Lovecraft’s actual family unit. I’ve mused throughout this project at HPLs grasp of classical Solomonic shapes while there is no evidence that he possessed the books he would need to gain that knowledge. It is known that he was a inveterate epistolarian (how’s that for a Lovecraftian turn of phrase, he’s starting to get into my head, I think), and the accommodating nature of librarians and librarianship as a mission and philosophy suggests that if he turned his pen in their direction, that he could have gained extensive knowledge of books that would have otherwise been unavailable to him. This also adds libraries, blissfully, to the Lovecraftian aesthetic, particularly those old and venerated institutions that are known to have occult books in their collections. This trope is continued when Lovecraft writes of his alter-ego Wilbur’s acts of:
“Correspondence with the Widener Library at Harvard, the Bibliotheque Nationale in Paris, the British Museum, the University of Buenos Ayres, and the Library of Miskatonic University of Arkham had failed to get him the loan of a book he desperately wanted; so at length he set out in person… to consult the copy at Miskatonic…”
While the British Museum and to a lesser extent the Bibliotheque Nationale’s occult collections are legendary, a quick check of the Widener Library’s current collection of occult books published before 1900 reveals that Lovecraft could have very well obtained specialist knowledge of the occult from that source. More research would have to be undertaken, of course, to verify which of these books were in Widener’s collection in the 1920s, but that is beyond the scope of this article. Our author continues:
“Wilbur had with him the priceless but imperfect copy of Dr. Dee’s English version [of the Necronomicon] which his grandfather had bequeathed him, and upon receiving access to the Latin copy [at Miskatonic University] he at once began to collate the two texts with the aim of discovering a certain passage which would have come on the 751st page of his own defective volume… He was looking… for a kind of formula or incantation containing the frightful name Yog-Sothoth, and it puzzled him to find discrepancies, duplications, and ambiguities which made the matter of determination far from easy.”
Another sign that Lovecraft had intimate knowledge of classical grimoires, as this description of comparing multiple copies of what is ostensibly the same text is spot on. As I’ve been writing this, I have been musing, if The Dunwich Horror does, in fact, contain biographical material, did Lovecraft inherit a copy of an esoteric work by John Dee from his grandfather? It was not extant in his library at the time of his death, according to S.T. Joshi’s bibliography, the complexity of The Dunwich Horror continues to deepen.
The Dunwich Horror offers us quite a treat at this point in the tale, as we are offered a rare fragment of a translation from the Necronomicon. These small bits, as offered by Lovecraft, are of the utmost importance in building an authentic Lovecraftian aesthetic:
“Nor is it to be thought… that man is either the oldest or the last of earth’s masters, or that the common bulk of life and substance walks alone. The Old Ones were, the Old Ones are, and the Old Ones shall be. Not in the spaces we know, but between them, They walk serene and primal, undimensioned and to us unseen. 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.
By their smell can men sometimes know them near, but of their semblance can no man know, saving only in the features of those they have begotten on mankind; and of those are there many sorts, differing in likeness from man’s truest eidolon to that shape without sight or substance which is them. They walk unseen and foul in lonely places where the words have been spoken and thirties howled through at their seasons.
The wind gibbers with their voices, and the earth mutters with their consciousness. They bend the forest and crush the city, yet may not forest or city behold the hand that smites. Hadath in the cold waste hath known them, and what man knows Hadath?
The ice desert of the South and the sunken isles of ocean hold stones whereon their seal is engraved, but who hath seen the deep frozen city or the sealed tower long garlanded with seaweed and barnacles?
Great Cthulhu is their cousin, yet can he spy them only dimly. Ia! Shub-Niggurath! As a foulness shall ye know them. Their hand is at your throats, yet ye see them not; and their habitation is even one with your guarded threshold.
Yog-Sothoth is the key to the gate, whereby the spheres meet. Man rules now where they ruled once; they shall soon rule where man rules now. After summer is winter, and after winter summer. They wait patient and potent, for here shall they reign again.”
and, in an effort to more closely emulate the actual text of the un-iterated tome, here is an algorithmic interpretation of what might have been the original Latin:
.. Nec putandum istius terre dominis aut maiore aut illud, aut mole et substantia communis ingrediturque solo. Quod esset e vetera et vetera, et e vetera erit. Non enim quia per spatia, sed inter illos ambulabo et Serenissimum & cujusque primae veritatis, et undimensioned nobis ómnia sæcula. Scit Yog-Sothoth porta. Yog-Sothoth est in porta. Yog-Sothoth est clavis et custos portae per.
Praeteritis, praesentibus, et futuris, qui sunt in cunctis Yog-Sothoth. Et nescit quo e vetera fregit per quod vetus est, et adhuc ibi sunt, et conteram in. Qui scit ubi sunt agri, quam calcaverunt viri de terra, et in quibus tamen illum et quare non potest illa et ecce non audet.
Nunc cognosco ex odore homines accedere, sed simulato nemo scit, nisi qui non modo geniti liniamenta generis et ex illis sunt plurimae species erunt genus hominis imaginem transformamur a claritate in eidolon cubito verissimo, qui visus seu quae est figura absque illis. Et ambulate in turpi sola pervenire possimus locis, ubi verba sunt triginta est et ululaverunt vinitores in tempore suo tempore.
Et cum ventum loquitur voces suas, et terram eorum cum Molestus Puer Sextus mussat consciousness. Tendant silva conculcet ea aut urbs silvarum non vident et manibus ferit. Frigore Hadath deserta scit et novit quid Hadath?
Glaciem maris insulas tenuerunt merito obrue saxa Austrum exaratum super sigillo quis vidit munitionem abyssi constringitur civitas diu clauso redimitus barnacles algas;
Valde Cthulhu consobrinam suam esse, sed se solum potest, quod linum inspectura. Ia! Shub Niggurath! Quasi foeditatem eorum cognoscetis eos. Sit manus tua in cervice, sed non illa quoque non videntes creditis: et habitatio tua custodiri limine quisquam.
Yog-Sothoth est clavis ad portam, quibus orbes conveniant. Ubi diutius dominantes aliquando nunc homo regitur; quod imperare ejus cum quo aliquis principatur nunc. Aestas et hiems, aestas et hyems. Patienter exspectant potens, regnant etiam hac.
Say that to the bathroom mirror three times at midnight, and report back.
We see in the next phrase, as well as in a very important part towards the end of the tale, how important math and logic is to the Lovecraftian Magical Aesthetic:
“Unseen things not of earth — or at least not of tri-dimensional earth — rushed fetid and horrible through New England’s glens, and brooded obscenely on the mountain-tops.”
This likely has mathematical connotations, which, matching with the mention of Dee above, a consummate mathematician, helps to further clarify the exacting magical aesthetic that Lovecraft is laying down for us. Not only must the incantations be complete and exact, but so do the measurements. This is echoed in the mentions of the intense but unseen carpentry in the Whateley home’s upper level.
Along with the maths, we have a resurgence of Lovecraft’s intimate knowledge with pagan holidays. This is evident when we read:
“What Roodmas horror fastened itself on the world in half-human flesh and blood?”
Another obscure (I say obscure because I didn’t know it, if I’m being real [and typically Western]) holiday, this one associated with the Gallican Rite and Saint Helena and her finding of the true cross on May 3rd. With the timing of this post being prior to May, this is a good opportunity to participate in or perpetrate a Catholic / Lovecraftian match in ritual. If you are looking for a less Old World feel, the Santacruzan ritual practiced in the Philippines is a ritual cognate, and you can dress up!
As an aside, at this point in the tale, following Wilbur’s fated visit to Miskatonic University, we find Dr. Armitage busy:
“During the ensuing weeks Dr. Armitage set about to collect all possible data on Wilbur Whateley and the formless presences around Dunwich.”
Being a librarian in formal training and demeanor, I can verify the above described behavior to be very librian-ish. It is exactly what I do in a situation I don’t fully understand, I research it exhaustively. I mention this to call attention to the level of truth and detail in Lovecraft’s fiction. But back to our Lovecraftian Holy Calendar:
“The Dunwich Horror itself came between Lammas and the Equinox in 1928… Dr. Armitage [our librarian] was among those who witnessed its monstrous prologue. He had heard, meanwhile, of Whateley’s grotesque trip to Cambridge, and of his frantic efforts to borrow or copy from the Necronomicon at the Widener Library…”
The actual date is named later in the manuscript as September 9, a solid date to place on our Magical Calendar too associate with Dunwich. In keeping with the stories prose, we’ll just call 9/9 Dunwichmas for here on out. Also of note is that the Widener Library at Harvard still maintains several editions of the Necronomicon in their offsite storage faciilty in Southborough, Massachusetts , an archive where robots outnumber humans to a great degree and where it shares rarified and dusty oxygen with an original Gutenberg Bible.
and a final quote from the Lovecraftian spirit form that was Wilber Whateley, commented by the author to be straight from the Necronomicon, for the completionist in me.
“N’fai, n’gha’ghaa, bugg-shoggog, y’hah; Yog-Sothoth, Yog-Sothoth…”
Skipping ahead past the actual first manifestation of the horror, we come to another event that Lovecraft calls out as being more significant:
“In the meantime a quieter yet even more spiritually poignant phase of the horror had been blackly unwinding itself behind the closed doors of a shelf lined room in Arkham. The curious manuscript record or diary of Wilbur Whateley… had caused much worry and bafflement among the experts in languages both ancient and modern… The final conclusion of the linguists was that the text represented an artificial alphabet, giving the effect of a cipher; though none of the usual methods of cryptographic solution seemed to furnish any clue… The ancient books taken from Whateley’s quarters… One of them, a heavy tome with an iron claps, was in another unknown alphabet — this one of a very different cast… resembling Sanskrit…”
This deepens our aesthetic, and our interpretation, or rather, definition of an auratic grimoire. The emphasis on linguistic ciphers as being, in the author’s words, ‘spiritually poignant’. There are two amazing ciphered codices that are accessible to the practicing magician and would help build up our aesthetic, or at least inform the creation of our own ciphered text. The first example being the Voynich Manuscript and the second is the Codex Seraphinianus. The Gnome School library is blessed with a copy of the latter, while the former is available en toto online. It is clear from the text of the Dunwich Horror that more magical potency is placed on the magical book than on the spirits it assists in conjuring. Invented languages also are also placed high in our taxonomy. Our author continues, siting our librarian, once again:
“Armitage had an idea that the alphabet might be something esoterically used by certain forbidden cults which have come down from old times, and which have inherited many forms and traditions from the wizards of the Saracenic world…”
This is an interesting cultural touchpoint for journeying and the building up of Lovecraftian rituals. While I haven’t read them, there are two books that promise to help round out this endeavor; Empire of Magic: Medieval Romance and the Politics of Cultural Fantasy and Saracens: Islam in the Medieval European Imagination; both from Columbia University Press.
Other tomes of note, that should find their way into any serious Lovecraftian mage’s library are mentioned in the following passage:
“Dr. Armitage… fortified himself with the massed lore of cryptography… Trithemius’ Poligraphia, Giambattista Porta’s De Furtivis Literarum Notis, De Vigenere’s Trait, des Chiffres, Falconer’s Cryptomenysis Patefacta, Davis’ and Thicknesse’s eighteenth-century treatises, and such fairly modern authorities as Blair, von Marten, and Kluber’s Kryptographic.”
and finally, an exacting and unique Lovecraftian cryptographic method is described:
“one of those subtlest and most ingenious of cryptograms, in which many separate lists of corresponding letters are arranged like the multiplication table, and the message built up with arbitrary key-words…”
The act of Cryptographica Magica has so many implications on the practice of a Lovecraftian mage. For instance, it opens the door for aligning one’s practice with that of Saint Hildegard de Bingen’s mystical works, particularly her Lingua Ignota found in the Riesen Codex or Austin Spare’s Alphabet of Desire described in the Logomachy of Zos.
I envision long hours researching or devising and then implementing a cipher, encrypting one’s own magical diary and spell book, as a method of practice that has a very close match to our Lovecraftian aesthetic.
The Dunwich Horror continues, following a troupe of academics cum mercenaries as they track down the invisible demon, until:
“Then a germ of panic seemed to spread among the seekers. It was one thing to chase the nameless entity, but quite another to find it. Spell might be all right — but suppose they weren’t? Voices began questioning Ermitage about what he knew of thing, and no reply seemed quite to satisfy. Everyone seemed to feel himself in close proximity to phases of Nature and of being utterly forbidden, and wholly outside the sane experience of mankind.”
This passage paints for us a very accurate (and of growing recognition among magical practitioners) depiction of dealing with Boyer's Wild Adversary, with spirits of place, encountering spirit forms in the natural world, away from magical circles and other types of protection, other than talismans and grimoires.
Of the spirit-form, the Dunwich Horror, we are finally treated with a description in the tenth chapter of the work from one Curtis Whateley:
“Bigger’n a barn… all made o’ squirming ropes… hull thing sort o’ shaped like a hen’s egg bigger’n anything, with dozens o’ legs like hogsheads that half shut up when they step… nothin solid about it — all like jelly, an made o sep’rit wriggling ropes pushed close together… great bulging’ eyes all over it… ten or twenty mouths or trunks a-sticking out all along the sides, big as stovepipes, al all a tossing an opinion an shutting… all grey, with kinder blue or purple rings… an Gawd in heaven — that half face on top!… that face with the red eyes an’ crinkly albino hair, an no chin… It was a octopus, centipede, spider kind o thing, but they was a half shaped man’s face on top of it… ”
The tarot card match for The Dunwich Horror spirit-form as is described above is the Queen of Cups.
In her Etteilla incarnation, the Queen offers us the key phrase ‘femme d’un homme en place’. Femme traces back to the proto-indo-european [PIE] root *dhe(i)-, which means ‘to suck’. Homme is a complex phrase, but at its PIE foundation it is related to *dhghem-, or ‘earth’. Place can also be tracked back this far to *plat-, or, ‘to spread’. Rebuilding this deconstruction of our key phrase we have a meaning for the Queen of Cups that approaches ‘A spreading of a sucking across the earth.’ This very closely matches the Dunwich Horror itself, that octopoid centipedal man-faced arachnid that sucked cattle dry in its womb, the Whateley home.
The Sola-Busca manifestation of the Queen of Cups we find a blonde woman sitting on a throne carved with grotesque dolphins.
While Peter Mark Adams, in his work on the Sola-Busca, fixated on these dolphins and the artistic similarities to paintings of this time, I would like to focus on the name stamped across the top of the card, Polisena. This name and the aquatic theme of the queen’s depiction bring us to the Italian province of Rovigo, formerly known as Polisine. In keeping with the Sola-Busca’s general connotations of commerce, trade, and warfare (I mean, the Sola-Busca really is shaping up to be a kind of prototypical version of the board game ‘Risk’), this province would have been a very strategic one. Nearly all of the fresh water in Italy passes through Polisena, into the Adriatic Sea. The etymology of the word stems from the Latin term policinum, meaning wetland. This geographical data point also points to the Dunwich Horror’s second womb, Cold Spring Glen, home to preternaturally intelligent whippoorwills and fireflies - a glen also being a wet depression where fresh water naturally flows and collects. Polisena is related directly to the myth of Phaeton, who becomes a final pagan patron of the Dunwich Horror archetype. Phaeton was a hybrid of the the Oceanid Clymene and the solar god Helios. Phaeton, like the Whateley twins, Wilbur and his brother the Dunwich Horror, threatened to bring ruin to the earth. In Phaeton’s myth he steals Helios chariot, which drags the sun across the sky, and loses control. It was only with Old Wizard Whateley’s help that Wilber was able to control and keep his brother, the Horror, in the womb of the Whateley home.
In both manifestations, the sky is changed and a greater god is called upon to strike the son down and end his apocalyptic task by, and this is the exact same in both stories, a lightning bolt from an unclouded sky.