The public perception of cosmic terrors and those that summon them to Earth is not, on the whole, a pleasant one. Traditionally interplanetary horrors have been viewed as less than beneficial to mankind – taking a pessimistic outlook, one might almost say that the public simply does not want monstrosities from the outer dark anywhere near them. Humanity has, it seems, taken the ultimate Not In My Back Yard stand. For those individuals engaged in researching such beings, the reception has been just as lukewarm. They are stereotyped as belonging to peculiar sects or degenerate and isolated families. They are publicly characterised as “Mad”, “Evil”, or “Insane with greed”. Unpleasant motives are attributed to their research – typically they are suspected of summoning such unholy creations purely for their own nefarious ends, perhaps power over their fellow men, or the destruction of the world. However, as I hope to show, nothing could be further from the truth.
The Institute of Applied Teratology (IAT) is a grant-funded research centre dedicated to the study, summoning, and harnessing of the powers of such beings. Its work currently includes an extensive cataloguing program, genetic study of the interdimensional, and public information programs designed to foster a more favourable view of these studies. Day classes are held in which members of the public can come along to the institute, view Cosmic Horrors, summon a necro-organism of their choice, and examine the archives of the Institute. Educational classes are also held, in which some of the more common misapprehensions and confusions about cosmic horrors are cleared up: for instance how to distinguish a Cosmic Horror (e.g. Cthulhu) from the far more dangerous Cosmetic Horror (e.g. Barbara Cartland).
Researchers at the IAT have long known that the peculiar properties of interstellar demons, creatures from between the stars, and those that lurk between the dimensions make them invaluable to modern day science, giving us a glimpse, a sinister and terrifying glimpse, of how life might exist outside of the normal parameters of our safe and cosy corner of the space-time continuum.
It has long been recognised that the worst thing a scientist can possibly do is to answer finally the question he or she is working on – with no further research to be done, grants are not likely to be forthcoming. This is why scientists always answer one question with another, and never fail to include recommendations for further research in their papers. Astronomers in particular seem to have got this down to a fine art, and top astronomers can often originate several impossible, separate, and/or contradictory theories of cosmological genesis in the course of a single week.
For psychopathologists there is an added twist, however. Like medical researchers, psychopathologists are in part concerned with the promotion of mental health. This ethical problem puts them under pressure to solve the problems of humanity, a struggle which, if they are diligent, they may actually win. This will be disastrous for the science, removing all the raw material for research. What could be done in such a situation? One answer might be to utilise the powers of denizens of the nether reaches. It has long been known that the merest glimpse of some such creatures can drive humans out of their minds. A creature trapped in a mirror or some other kind of physically restraining gate could therefore provide a useful and instantaneous supply of lunatics, requiring only ordinary people as raw material. Well, relatively ordinary people. It might be argued that this is rather unethical, and that i.e. pharmaceuticals researchers don’t go around infecting healthy people so that they can test new drugs. To which we at the IAT say: You can prove that, can you?
With demand for electricity set to grow in the next century, and in the face of growing environmental fears, how can mankind find a large enough energy supply without polluting our surroundings even further? Yet again, terrors from beyond the stars can help. IAT archivists, in the unusually bound copy of “Die Kreaturen Fahr”, have discovered numerous references to an unnamed being whose passing is marked by an inexplicable and ominous gust of wind, as frigid as if it had come from space itself. Such a being, if called and bound near to a turbine or other wind-harnessing device, could provide a constant supply of energy.
Other possible sources include such sentient star-like beings as that creature known only as Azathoth. Documents suggest that this being resembles nothing more than a small sun, yet that when the stars are right it can be summoned to earth from certain locations on the planet’s surface. If reports of this being’s physical make-up are correct, it would no doubt be possible to utilize the heat given off to power a steam turbine. Researchers at the IAT have yet to succeed in their attempts to summon this being, but are working day and night on it. A press release will be made in the event of success.
Obviously a high concern for every government, as shown by the recurring interest in weapons of mass destruction. However, such weapons are expensive to create, difficult to manufacture, and dangerous to store. If we accept that a true world peace can only be made possible by the threat of instant annihilation for transgressors, then how can true peace be possible in a world without nuclear weapons? Again, cosmic horrors can come to the rescue. Typically, the summoning of powerful creatures such as these is accompanied by the death of all involved, and the laying waste of a large area around the site of the summoning. Almost exactly what world leaders look for in weapons of mass destruction – well, apart from the first part.
Cosmic Horrors offer great advantages over conventional weaponry. First, they require no storage facilities. Second, they rarely need testing on innocent pacific islands or in the middle of deserts. Thirdly, since no specialist equipment is required for their summoning, fifth columnists can be easily sneaked into enemy countries without anything amiss being found by customs. Fourthly, they can be sold by international arms dealers without a licence, which means that licences need not be issued by top government officials, which in turn means that no-one in a cabinet position need lose his job when it all goes belly-up. Finally, after the completion of the summons and the imposition of localised destruction such abominations usually return to their own dimensions, leaving no long-term adverse environmental effects on the target area (apart from an inability to grow anything there, and recurrent nightmares for the occupants of any buildings erected in the vicinity – but these are hard to prove and therefore unlikely to result in compensation claims).
But what of the home? It is all very well to live in a world of peace, but if someone has just lost all her belongings in a burglary she is unlikely to be all for global harmony. Yet again, cosmic horrors provide an answer. Some of the smaller creatures from between the dimensions are easily bound in place with the aid of a pentagram or other enclosing mark, and can be called into and out of our dimension quickly and easily. Upon leaving the house, a home-owner can summon such a being into their living room, for instance, and leave the house without a thought, safe in the knowledge that any thief who may try to break into that building will not only be caught, but devoured as well. Even when prison is no longer a deterrent, loss of life, sanity, and the eating of one’s soul will surely still give potential felons second thoughts.
As you can no doubt imagine, in this discussion we have only been able to scratch the surface of this subject, perhaps weakening the resistance that still stands between the everyday world of technology and the other dimensions the lurk between those we know of. There are many more applications in which the summoning of hinder beings can bring untold benefits to mankind, and we hope that the readers of this paper will be provoked to do more research themselves.
How to contact the authors
If you wish to discuss this paper, or perhaps learn more about the work of the IAT, you are welcome to contact the authors. Simply sail due west from the Ascension Islands (UK) for roughly fifty nautical miles, then look out for a small island to the south. Land there. In the centre of the island you will find a large bronze door, with a large jade seal on it. Remove the seal. My colleagues and I will will then be glad to come down and discuss with you any questions you may have.