The History of Unaussprechlichen Kulten

Over ten years ago, a friend of mine named Steven Harris created a website devoted to a creative elaboration of the history behind Unaussprechlichen Kulten, the infamous book of Mythos lore created by Robert E. Howard, a man best known as the author of the Conan stories.  It was really quite an impressive work.

Sadly, the Web being what it is, people started to take his material without credit and put it up on their own sites.  As a result of losing control of his work, Steven took the material down.  It has become something of a minor legend among Mythos fans.

No more, I say!  You can now find a pamphlet that I made out of Steven’s history on Scribd in all of its glory!  There’s actually only five or six copies made thereof, a fact that will hopefully net Stevenlots of money if he ever decides to sell them.

In addition, one more commonly available piece by Steven is the semi-famous “Yes, Virginia, there is a Cthulhu.”

I say all of the above knowing he will be highly embarrassed but secretly pleased by all of this.

Published in: on September 5, 2008 at 5:57 pm  Comments (10)  

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10 CommentsLeave a comment

  1. Wow, that was impressive.

  2. Is this the same as the Worlds of Cthulhu article on the same topic?

  3. No, though information from it does appear in the WoC article.

  4. I have been eager to read this magnificent work. Thank you very much, Mr. Harms!

    May I ask a question? Is it Mr. Harris who first said that Alexis Ladeau was born on October 28, 1794?

  5. ” Is it Mr. Harris who first said that Alexis Ladeau was born on October 28, 1794?”

    Its been a while, but I believe the date for Alexis Ladeau’s birth is from my own fevered mind. The year was derived from the likelihood that Alexis father was a victim of the Reign of Terror. Why? 1.) Because Ladeau is wealthy enough to go off exploring physically and spiritually without concern of expense (as far as we can tell), 2.) Moves in the same circles as Von Junzt to the point of becoming his closest friend, and 3.) Although French in nationality, he must have some skill with foreign languages and classical education during a turbulent time in French history indicating time spent outside the country in his formative years. All of these indicate access to some wealth and privilege. With that out of the way, that allows for two years, 1793 and 1794. Since it seems reasonable to assume Ladeau to be a minor noble French family, that would likely place their probable arrest and execution in 1794. Obviously, Alexis Ladeau could not have been born more than nine months after his father’s death. Also, it seems reasonable to assume that Von Junzt (born 1795) and Ladeau were close in age since they become such close friends, as opposed to Von Junzt and Gottfried Mulder who, by knowing Von Junzt longer, should have been that close friend. This suggests that Mulder was apt to be older and more a mentor/patron of the young Von Junzt. Therefore 1794 was decided.

    That gives us the year, but what about the date? I’ve got notes on the astrological data of October 28th, 1794 that indicates that I choose that date specifically for its significance. On that date, according to my notes, the Moon was in the ninth house indicating a strong intellect but with the danger of having emotions cloud issues. The Moon is just entering Sagittarius, as well, showing a restless spirit and a need for challenges. The Sun and Mercury were both in Scorpio indicating a strong intense obsession with mysteries to the point of allowing other matters to fall by the wayside. Venus was in Sagittarius indicating a person with a strong need for close friends and confidants for intellectual rapport and a willingness to sacrifice personal comforts for their benefit. Mars is in Capricorn indicating an strong ability to cope with physical demands encountered on expeditions. Jupiter in Capricorn suggests a person with strong concentration skills and an ability to gather loose notes into a coherent whole. A trait also reinforced by Saturn being in the sign of Taurus. Uranus and Pluto are in Virgo during this time indicating a love of research with unconventional and creative ideas of interpretation.

    Overall, it just seemed to fit what I took to be the personality of an individual who was adventurous, a good friend, and someone able to collect and collate notes from a departed friend. The additional sudden suicide also seemed to be justified by the chart as being a sudden emotional reaction rather than something well thought out. Now I certainly don’t think of astrology as being all that accurate for the most part, but its the only method of pinning down the date of birth for a fictional character outside of just guessing that I can think of.

  6. “I say all of the above knowing he will be highly embarrassed but secretly pleased by all of this.”

    Ah, Mr. Harms, you know me too well.

    I suppose this is as good an opportunity as any to relate a bit of the story behind the History’s creation and the massive Mythos literary movement that wasn’t. The History, and all of my ephemeral since, came into being after having picked up the first edition of the Encyclopedia Cthulhiana in a nearby game store. Since then, thousands of dollars (scary thought really) have been spent on the most obscure and the most available Cthulhu Mythos material out there to build a library of research material. It is far from complete, but it has been useful to Mr. Harms on more than one occasion and therefore justified in his eyes. Anyhow, at the end of the EC there is this nifty chronology of the Necronomicon which made me think that the same could be done with other Mythos tomes. That idea blossomed into a whole web page devoted to the Unaussprechlichen Kulten with a history of the tome, a FAQ, a chronology of Von Junzt and his family, detailed descriptions of various cults mentioned in the tome, a recipe for Beef Junzt discovered in a cook book, etc. It was so impressive that it gained the attention of Mr. Harms who quite unexpectedly contacted me and we began a correspondence that he’s been unable to end despite his gallant efforts

    In any case, the History and the Unassprechilichen Kulten web page were a volley in what was a then budding literary movement within Cthulhu Mythos fandom. Its manifesto was never complied, collated, and published with a nifty name or illustration. However, its tenets spread themselves across various posting on alt.horror.cthulhu by a variety of idealistic visionaries with literary pretensions from about 1994- 2000. I suppose it could have been called The Dan Harms Machine, but he would have repudiated it. The impetus, however, was his Encyclopedia which revealed to many that there was some consistency, real or apparent, within the lore of the Cthulhu Mythos. As a result, it occurred to some, myself included, that the way forward for the fictional sub-genre of Cthulhu Mythos stories was away from traditional story telling and more towards psudeo-scholarly work. In other words, the element of realism that gave the Mythos its powerful storytelling ability had been lost due to overuse and just plain bad writing, but could be regained if writers could write hoaxes. Work that spoke of the Mythos as something real without the necessity of unlikely plots or wooden dialogue. Some examples of mine….

    “Titus Crow: A Sketch of His Life”
    http://www.epberglund.com/RGttCM/nightscapes/NS13/ns13nf01.htm

    And to a lesser extent, “Notes Towards A Mythos History Of The Asteroids”
    http://members.fortunecity.com/moderan/nonfic/asteroid.html

    All are written with tongue in cheek and well-researched to the point of absurdity. So, you might be asking, what happened to that movement? Aside from some successes, it generally failed for a number of reasons, far too many to bore you with. Many felt that codifying the Mythos in this way and allowing for an established canon of fiction closed out those without access and stifled creativity. In the end, I think the allure of being the next Lovecraft or Howard or what have you simply is too strong. No one wants to play in other people’s sandboxes unless they can build a taller sand castle. Mythos fiction does seem to be doing reasonably well right now with a few talented people working in the field, so perhaps it was nothing more than a view from the mid-90s. I still think there is an audience for it, but I don’t think its likely to ever become the vast literary Cthulhu Mythos movement we envisioned it back then. Still, I gained a few friends out of the seemingly endless arguing over justifications and positions to have made it all worth the effort.

  7. I deeply appreciate it, Mr. Harris!

  8. […] which has as a major plot point the differences between the various editions of von Junzt’s Unaussprechlichen Kulten.  “Temple” follows suit, but it doesn’t let us see any of these – no copies are […]

  9. Man, I remember that page way back when the only way i could get on the internet was using AOL 3.0

    My favorite story/history was the one about the music box that was really a recorded chant for summoning a demon.

    ;_; Best Unaussprechlichen Kulten Webpage ever!

  10. Thanks for this resource! The book will be a great handout for my next CoC-adventures and already inspired a short biography of von Junzt (also as a handout). A shame the web page isn’t online anymore. What does the author do?


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