Why The Great Old Ones Make You Lose Your Sanity

One of the biggest influences in modern horror is H. P. Lovecraft’s Cthulu mythos and stories. Cthulu and the Great Old Ones are elder gods who – unlike deities from ancient religions – don’t give a shit about humanity and simply to gaze upon them makes mortals lose their minds:

The Abominations, as you aptly described them, are to us as we are to that benighted creature. They exist in dimensions beyond our own, whose nature we can hardly guess. When they appear to us, we see only fragments of their bodies – long stretches of writhing flesh, glistening with juices that should not exist outside of a body, which whip through the air and vanish back where they came from in a way that our minds simply refuse to accept. Witnesses have tried to describe these as great tentacles, words failing them in the presence of such incomprehensibility. Those who heard the stories seized on this, and explained them as resembling cephalopods. This is a comforting lie, as there is nothing in the most stygian depths of the darkest sea that is not our beloved brother compared to the horrors of the Abominations.

This is a creature who is incomprehensibly alien, and our only glimpse is a sickening flash of writhing, elongated flesh that slips into our world and back out. Worse than the appearance of the creature, though, is it’s disappearance – your mind knows, on some level, that this creature – this hateful, hungry god of a creature – is not moving it’s body between “here” and “away”, but between being a glimpse of a writhing horror, and a horror that watches unseen.

Imagine our two-dimensional creature again, and imagine yourself to be a cruel child. If you chose to torment the creature, it would be powerless to resist. It cannot perceive you unless you chose to intersect it’s plane – you can watch it’s every move, and it cannot hope to escape your gaze. It would be the simplest thing in the world to push a pin through it, like a butterfly on a card. Take a glass of water and push it into the creature’s plane and it will find itself trapped, drowning, in an inescapable sea. The creature is entirely at your mercy, and always will be.

Same as you. Same as me.

Full thread http://www.reddit.com/r/AskScienceFiction/comments/1zwhxf/what_makes_eldritch_abominations_like_the_old/cfxmqcz

Cthulu illlustration from Wikipedia http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/File:Cthulhu_by_Alexander_Liptak.png