“Out of the ?ons“


“Out of the ?ons“
   Short story (10,310 words); ghostwritten for Hazel Heald, probably in August 1933. First published in WT(April 1935); first collected in BWS;corrected text in HM
   An ancient mummy is housed in the Cabot Museum of Archaeology in Boston, with an accompanying scroll in indecipherable characters. The mummy and scroll remind the narrator—the curator of the museum—of a wild tale found in the Black Book or Nameless Cultsof von Junzt, which tells of the god Ghatanothoa, “whom no living thing could behold…without suffering a change more horrible than death itself. Sight of the god, or its image…meant paralysis and petrification of a singularly shocking sort, in which the victim was turned to stone and leather on the outside, while the brain within remained perpetually alive.” Von Junzt goes on to speak of an individual named T’yog who, 175,000 years ago, attempted to scale Mount Yaddith-Gho on the lost continent of Mu, where Ghatanothoa resided, and to “deliver mankind from its brooding menace”; he was protected from Ghatanothoa’s glance by a magic formula, but at the last minute the priests of Ghatanothoa stole the parchment on which the formula was written and substituted another one for it. The antediluvian mummy in the museum, therefore, is T’yog, petrified for millennia by Ghatanothoa.
   HPL was working on the story in early August 1933 (see SL4.222). Heald’s contribution is indicated in a letter: “‘Out of the ?ons’ may be regarded as a story of my own. The only thing supplied by the alleged authoress is the idea of an ancient mummy found to have a living brain” (HPL to R.H.Barlow, April 20, 1935; ms., JHL). Elsewhere he says: “Regarding the scheduled ‘Out of the ?ons’—I should say I didhave a hand in it… I wrotethe damn thing!” ( SL5.130). The story—probably the best of those ghostwritten for Heald—unites the atmosphere of HPL’s early “Dunsanian” tales with that of his later “Mythos” tales: T’yog’s ascent of Yaddith-Gho bears thematic and stylistic similarities with Barzai the Wise’s scaling of Ngranek in “The Other Gods,” and the entire subnarrative about Mu is narrated in a style analogous to that of Dunsany’s tales and plays of gods and men.
   See William Fulwiler, “Mu in ‘Bothon’ and ‘Out of the Eons,’” Crypt No. 11 (Candlemas 1983): 20–24.

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