Sunday, May 8, 2011

The Holy and the Abominable

Among the terrible cults we encounter in the works of H. P. Lovecraft is the Esoteric Order of Dagon. Masquerading as an ordinary Masonic Temple of the sort that can be found in many cities and towns all across the United States, it is in fact dedicated to the appeasement of monstrous aquatic entities from before the dawn of civilization. Appeasement that even goes to the point of wedding such beings and creating hybrid children, resulting in the population of the town of Innsmouth, Massachusetts having an ever-increasing proportion of its population showing strange deformities.

Interestingly enough, the name of Dagon is not unique to Lovecraft and his various colleagues. It goes all the way back to the Bible, to the Old Testament, where various Prophets of the Lord strove against priests of Dagon. For an avid reader of Lovecraft, those accounts can bring a delightful frission of fear -- are we seeing yet again the tentacle-prints of the Great Old Ones upon human history?

In Historical Lovecraft: Tales of Horror Through Time
we have "The Chronicle of Aliyat Son of Aliyat" by Alter S. Reiss, which takes us to Judah in the time of King Uzziah. The author is a professional archaeologist who has done work on Philistine sites in Israel, and draws upon modern archaeological and geological evidence as well as the Biblical account of the fall of Ashdod and the abominable Temple of Dagon there, giving us a delightfully creepy suggestion of an intersection between one of the West's most holy books and eldritch abominations.

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