Dead Names, Dead Dog: Playing Games, Part 2

Did John and I deliberately cover up evidence that Cthulhu appears in the Koran?

Yes, we do quote Parker Ryan.  Indeed, I even corresponded with Parker Ryan during his brief sojourn on Usenet.  He was bright and enthusiastic, though his conclusions often seemed questionable, as did his sources.  For example, he often quoted The Muqarribun:  Arab Magic and Myth, a work by Steve Lock and Jamal Khaldun.  I’ve yet to find any copy of this book, or any mention of it that did not spring from Ryan’s own work.

Further, I also knew from whence Ryan’s “khadhulu in the Koran” argument really came, even at the time.  Even if I hadn’t, Ryan actually says where it comes from.  A little investigation on Simon’s part would turn up its origin, in a book sitting on my shelf – the Call of Cthulhu roleplaying game!

The writings of William Hamblin, who created the doctor “Phileus P. Sadowsky”, a linguist who studied the works of the Cthulhu Mythos, have been a popular feature of the rulebook for some time.  Hamblin, who has a reputation as a practical joker, came up with the “khadhulu” link – as well as the linguistic derivation of the word into Greek and Latin from the various editions of the Necronomicon! His pieces are really brilliant works of fiction, drawing together disparate words from different language to create an aura of verisimiltude.

So, there’s your answer – John and I didn’t mention the “khadhulu” connection because we thought nobody would even try to use this as a serious source.  “Simon” should take some satisfaction in proving us wrong.

Let’s let bygones be bygones, though.  I heartily encourage “Simon” to pick up the fourth edition Call of Cthulhu rulebook, which contains all of Hamblin’s unedited pieces.  Therein he will find definitive proof that Cthulhu was mentioned in Chinese, Sanskrit, Assyrian, and Hebrew. (The last could be especially good in refuting us, as it’s got “Cthulhu” mentioned in the Bible!  Really!)  Hamblin has even been kind enough to contain etymologies for both “Shub-Niggurath” and “Yog-Sothoth” that are much more plausible than the ones “Simon” presents.  If “Simon” wants to use this material, it’s perfectly fine by us.

Published in: on July 21, 2006 at 5:13 pm  Comments (6)  

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6 CommentsLeave a comment

  1. I remember the Sadowsky material. You can even find the famoush couplet in the original Arabic! Every Necronomicon and Lovecraft fan should read those pieces.

    I remember reading the original Parker Ryan posts coming through the usenet as I was making my first appearances as Professor Enoch. As he was doing his thing I was spooking Sufis on mailing lists. I struck a nerve with something I found in Lovecraft’s writing and the Sufis made a couple cryptic comments (and a couple frantic private emails) and then blacklisted me.

    After that I posted on a couple lovecraft-related groups on usenet trying to coax out any information I could get about my chosen topic and got less than favorable response. You’d have thought at least Parker Ryan would have bit. Maybe it was a dead end. Maybe not.

  2. Ryan seems to have lost his Internet access within a year or so after making those posts. There was a note on one of his Usenet groups that he was now reading and taking email through the account of a family member. That apparently didn’t last long, either.

  3. […] evidence can be found in groundbreaking essays written for the Call of Cthulhu roleplaying game and quoted by reputable authors like Simon, and is therefore beyond reproach. Possibly related posts: (automatically generated)Review of Last […]

  4. […] should be getting to bed.  One quick note for Warlock:  you might want to read this brief mention of Ryan Parker. Possibly related posts: (automatically generated)On the Shelf Review – Unlocked Books: […]

  5. I really liked Ryan Parker’s Text when I first found it, but couldn’t locate that source either, the Muqarribun. I think he’s onto something with the Pillars of Irem, though. A casual search turned up mention of the mythical city in the Empty Quarter in literature prior to Lovecraft’s career, so he might have latched onto the name and idea from other writers of weird fiction.

    The Khadullu stuff in the Text pretty much left me cold. I did notice a candidate word from Arabic on page 146 of the 1962 Midland Book Edition of The Discovery of Language: Linguistic Science in the Nineteenth Century by Holger Pedersen, translated by John Webster Spargo, Bloomington, Indiana, which says it was published in 1931 by Harvard College, if I understand the copyright notice correctly.

    “…Thus, different forms of the verb _to kill_ in Arabic run as follows:

    katala he killed
    kutila he was killed
    katalta thou didst kill
    ya-ktulu he will kill
    katlun killing murder

    (each transliterated K in the above has a dot under it in the book)

    Lovecraft supposedly wrote Call of Cthulhu in 1926, so 1931 is too late for him to have seen this, although he might have stumbled across a similar list of Arabic verbal conjugations for _to kill_. The form “ya-ktulu” looks suspiciously like “Ia! Chtulhu!” which would conform to Lovecraft’s invented language, sometimes caled Turanian. Incidentally, Anton LaVey seems to have commissioned someone to produce some of this language for a ritual in his book Satanic Rituals. LaVey was also acquainted to some extent with Clark Ashton-Smith, one of Lovecraft’s major correpsondents and pen-pals.

    • The Muqarribun is a hoax volume, thus our difficulty with finding it. The author of the Lovecraftian rituals was Michael Aquino; LaVey took his name off later printings of the book after their falling out.

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