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Title: The Dunwich Horror
Author: Lovecraft, H. P. (Howard Phillips)
Language: English
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Copyright Status: Not copyrighted in the United States. If you live elsewhere check the laws of your country before downloading this ebook. See comments about copyright issues at end of book.

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                       _The_ Dunwich Horror

                        by H. P. LOVECRAFT


     "Gorgons, and Hydras, and Chimeras--dire stories of Celæno and
     the Harpies--may reproduce themselves in the brain of
     superstition--_but they were there before_. They are transcripts,
     types--the archetypes are in us, and eternal. How else should the
     recital of that which we know in a waking sense to be false come
     to affect us at all? Is it that we naturally conceive terror from
     such objects, considered in their capacity of being able to
     inflict upon us bodily injury? Oh, least of all! _These terrors
     are of older standing. They date beyond body_--or without the
     body, they would have been the same.... That the kind of fear here
     treated is purely spiritual--that it is strong in proportion as it
     is objectless on earth, that it predominates in the period of our
     sinless infancy--are difficulties the solution of which might
     afford some probable insight into our ante-mundane condition, and
     a peep at least into the shadowland of pre-existence."--Charles
     Lamb: _Witches and Other Night-Fears_.


1

When a traveler in north central Massachusetts takes the wrong fork
at the junction of the Aylesbury pike just beyond Dean's Corners he
comes upon a lonely and curious country. The ground gets higher, and
the brier-bordered stone walls press closer and closer against the ruts
of the dusty, curving road. The trees of the frequent forest belts
seem too large, and the wild weeds, brambles, and grasses attain a
luxuriance not often found in settled regions. At the same time the
planted fields appear singularly few and barren; while the sparsely
scattered houses wear a surprizing uniform aspect of age, squalor, and
dilapidation. Without knowing why, one hesitates to ask directions
from the gnarled, solitary figures spied now and then on crumbling
doorsteps or in the sloping, rock-strewn meadows. Those figures are
so silent and furtive that one feels somehow confronted by forbidden
things, with which it would be better to have nothing to do. When a
rise in the road brings the mountains in view above the deep woods,
the feeling of strange uneasiness is increased. The summits are too
rounded and symmetrical to give a sense of comfort and naturalness, and
sometimes the sky silhouettes with especial clearness the queer circles
of tall stone pillars with which most of them are crowned.

Gorges and ravines of problematical depth intersect the way, and the
crude wooden bridges always seem of dubious safety. When the road
dips again there are stretches of marshland that one instinctively
dislikes, and indeed almost fears at evening when unseen whippoorwills
chatter and the fireflies come out in abnormal profusion to dance to
the raucous, creepily insistent rhythms of stridently piping bullfrogs.
The thin, shining line of the Miskatonic's upper reaches has an oddly
serpentlike suggestion as it winds close to the feet of the domed hills
among which it rises.

As the hills draw nearer, one heeds their wooded sides more than their
stone-crowned tops. Those sides loom up so darkly and precipitously
that one wishes they would keep their distance, but there is no road by
which to escape them. Across a covered bridge one sees a small village
huddled between the stream and the vertical slope of Round Mountain,
and wonders at the cluster of rotting gambrel roofs bespeaking an
earlier architectural period than that of the neighboring region. It
is not reassuring to see, on a closer glance, that most of the houses
are deserted and falling to ruin, and that the broken-steepled church
now harbors the one slovenly mercantile establishment of the hamlet.
One dreads to trust the tenebrous tunnel of the bridge, yet there is no
way to avoid it. Once across, it is hard to prevent the impression of a
faint, malign odor about the village street, as of the massed mold and
decay of centuries. It is always a relief to get clear of the place,
and to follow the narrow road around the base of the hills and across
the level country beyond till it rejoins the Aylesbury pike. Afterward
one sometimes learns that one has been through Dunwich.

Outsiders visit Dunwich as seldom as possible, and since a certain
season of horror all the signboards pointing toward it have been taken
down. The scenery, judged by any ordinary esthetic canon, is more
than commonly beautiful; yet there is no influx of artists or summer
tourists. Two centuries ago, when talk of witch-blood, Satan-worship,
and strange forest presences was not laughed at, it was the custom to
give reasons for avoiding the locality. In our sensible age--since
the Dunwich horror of 1928 was hushed up by those who had the town's
and the world's welfare at heart--people shun it without knowing
exactly why. Perhaps one reason--though it can not apply to uninformed
strangers--is that the natives are now repellently decadent, having
gone far along that path of retrogression so common in many New England
backwaters. They have come to form a race by themselves, with the
well-defined mental and physical stigmata of degeneracy and inbreeding.
The average of their intelligence is wofully low, whilst their annals
reek of overt viciousness and of half-hidden murders, incests, and
deeds of almost unnamable violence and perversity. The old gentry,
representing the two or three armigerous families which came from
Salem in 1692, have kept somewhat above the general level of decay;
though many branches are sunk into the sordid populace so deeply that
only their names remain as a key to the origin they disgrace. Some of
the Whateleys and Bishops still send their eldest sons to Harvard and
Miskatonic, though those sons seldom return to the moldering gambrel
roofs under which they and their ancestors were born.

No one, even those who have the facts concerning the recent horror,
can say just what is the matter with Dunwich; though old legends speak
of unhallowed rites and conclaves of the Indians, amidst which they
called forbidden shapes of shadow out of the great rounded hills, and
made wild orgiastic prayers that were answered by loud crackings and
rumblings from the ground below. In 1747 the Reverend Abijah Hoadley,
newly come to the Congregational Church at Dunwich Village, preached a
memorable sermon on the close presence of Satan and his imps, in which
he said:

     It must be allow'd that these Blasphemies of an infernall Train
     of Dæmons are Matters of too common Knowledge to be deny'd; the
     cursed Voices of _Azazel_ and _Buzrael_, of _Beelzebub_ and
     _Belial_, being heard from under Ground by above a Score of
     credible Witnesses now living. I myself did not more than a
     Fortnight ago catch a very plain Discourse of evill Powers in the
     Hill behind my House; wherein there were a Rattling and Rolling,
     Groaning, Screeching, and Hissing, such as no Things of this Earth
     cou'd raise up, and which must needs have come from those Caves
     that only black Magick can discover, and only the Divell unlock.

Mr. Hoadley disappeared soon after delivering this sermon; but the
text, printed in Springfield, is still extant. Noises in the hills
continued to be reported from year to year, and still form a puzzle to
geologists and physiographers.

Other traditions tell of foul odors near the hill-crowning circles of
stone pillars, and of rushing airy presences to be heard faintly at
certain hours from stated points at the bottom of the great ravines;
while still others try to explain the Devil's Hop Yard--a bleak,
blasted hillside where no tree, shrub, or grass-blade will grow. Then,
too, the natives are mortally afraid of the numerous whippoorwills
which grow vocal on warm nights. It is vowed that the birds are
psychopomps lying in wait for the souls of the dying, and that they
time their eery cries in unison with the sufferer's struggling breath.
If they can catch the fleeing soul when it leaves the body, they
instantly flutter away chittering in demoniac laughter; but if they
fail, they subside gradually into a disappointed silence.

These tales, of course, are obsolete and ridiculous; because they come
down from very old times. Dunwich is indeed ridiculously old--older by
far than any of the communities within thirty miles of it. South of the
village one may still spy the cellar walls and chimney of the ancient
Bishop house, which was built before 1700; whilst the ruins of the mill
at the falls, built in 1806, form the most modern piece of architecture
to be seen. Industry did not flourish here, and the Nineteenth Century
factory movement proved short-lived. Oldest of all are the great
rings of rough-hewn stone columns on the hilltops, but these are more
generally attributed to the Indians than to the settlers. Deposits of
skulls and bones, found within these circles and around the sizable
table-like rock on Sentinel Hill, sustain the popular belief that such
spots were once the burial-places of the Pocumtucks; even though many
ethnologists, disregarding the absurd improbability of such a theory,
persist in believing the remains Caucasian.


2

It was in the township of Dunwich, in a large and partly inhabited
farmhouse set against a hillside four miles from the village and a mile
and a half from any other dwelling, that Wilbur Whateley was born at 5
a. m. on Sunday, the second of February, 1913. This date was recalled
because it was Candlemas, which people in Dunwich curiously observe
under another name; and because the noises in the hills had sounded,
and all the dogs of the countryside had barked persistently, throughout
the night before. Less worthy of notice was the fact that the mother
was one of the decadent Whateleys, a somewhat deformed, unattractive
albino woman of 35, living with an aged and half-insane father
about whom the most frightful tales of wizardry had been whispered
in his youth. Lavinia Whateley had no known husband, but according
to the custom of the region made no attempt to disavow the child;
concerning the other side of whose ancestry the country folk might--and
did--speculate as widely as they chose. On the contrary, she seemed
strangely proud of the dark, goatish-looking infant who formed such a
contrast to her own sickly and pink-eyed albinism, and was heard to
mutter many curious prophecies about its unusual powers and tremendous
future.

Lavinia was one who would be apt to mutter such things, for she was a
lone creature given to wandering amidst thunderstorms in the hills and
trying to read the great odorous books which her father had inherited
through two centuries of Whateleys, and which were fast falling to
pieces with age and worm-holes. She had never been to school, but was
filled with disjointed scraps of ancient lore that Old Whateley had
taught her. The remote farmhouse had always been feared because of Old
Whateley's reputation for black magic, and the unexplained death by
violence of Mrs. Whateley when Lavinia was twelve years old had not
helped to make the place popular. Isolated among strange influences,
Lavinia was fond of wild and grandiose daydreams and singular
occupations; nor was her leisure much taken up by household cares in a
home from which all standards of order and cleanliness had long since
disappeared.

There was a hideous screaming which echoed above even the hill noises
and the dogs' barking on the night Wilbur was born, but no known doctor
or midwife presided at his coming. Neighbors knew nothing of him till
a week afterward, when Old Whateley drove his sleigh through the snow
into Dunwich Village and discoursed incoherently to the group of
loungers at Osborn's general store. There seemed to be a change in the
old man--an added element of furtiveness in the clouded brain which
subtly transformed him from an object to a subject of fear--though he
was not one to be perturbed by any common family event. Amidst it all
he showed some trace of the pride later noticed in his daughter, and
what he said of the child's paternity was remembered by many of his
hearers years afterward.

"I dun't keer what folks think--ef Lavinny's boy looked like his pa, he
wouldn't look like nothin' ye expeck. Ye needn't think the only folks
is the folks hereabouts. Lavinny's read some, an' has seed some things
the most o' ye only tell abaout. I calc'late her man is as good a
husban' as ye kin find this side of Aylesbury; an' ef ye knowed as much
abaout the hills as I dew, ye wouldn't ast no better church weddin' nor
her'n. Let me tell ye suthin'--_some day yew folks'll hear a child o'
Lavinny's a-callin' its father's name on the top o' Sentinel Hill!_"

The only persons who saw Wilbur during the first month of his life
were old Zechariah Whateley, of the undecayed Whateleys, and Earl
Sawyer's common-law wife, Mamie Bishop. Mamie's visit was frankly one
of curiosity, and her subsequent tales did justice to her observations;
but Zechariah came to lead a pair of Alderney cows which Old Whateley
had bought of his son Curtis. This marked the beginning of a course of
cattle-buying on the part of small Wilbur's family which ended only
in 1928, when the Dunwich horror came and went; yet at no time did
the ramshackle Whateley barn seem over-crowded with livestock. There
came a period when people were curious enough to steal up and count
the herd that grazed precariously on the steep hillside above the old
farmhouse, and they could never find more than ten or twelve anemic,
bloodless-looking specimens. Evidently some blight or distemper,
perhaps sprung from the unwholesome pasturage or the diseased fungi
and timbers of the filthy barn, caused a heavy mortality amongst the
Whateley animals. Odd wounds or sores, having something of the aspect
of incisions, seemed to afflict the visible cattle; and once or twice
during the earlier months certain callers fancied they could discern
similar sores about the throats of the gray, unshaven old man and his
slatternly, crinkly-haired albino daughter.

In the spring after Wilbur's birth Lavinia resumed her customary
rambles in the hills, bearing in her misproportioned arms the swarthy
child. Public interest in the Whateleys subsided after most of the
country folk had seen the baby, and no one bothered to comment on the
swift development which that newcomer seemed every day to exhibit.
Wilbur's growth was indeed phenomenal, for within three months of his
birth he had attained a size and muscular power not usually found in
infants under a full year of age. His motions and even his vocal sounds
showed a restraint and deliberateness highly peculiar in an infant,
and no one was really unprepared when, at seven months, he began to
walk unassisted, with falterings which another month was sufficient to
remove.

It was somewhat after this time--on Hallowe'en--that a great blaze was
seen at midnight on the top of Sentinel Hill where the old table-like
stone stands amidst its tumulus of ancient bones. Considerable talk
was started when Silas Bishop--of the undecayed Bishops--mentioned
having seen the boy running sturdily up that hill ahead of his mother
about an hour before the blaze was remarked. Silas was rounding up a
stray heifer, but he nearly forgot his mission when he fleetingly spied
the two figures in the dim light of his lantern. They darted almost
noiselessly through the underbrush, and the astonished watcher seemed
to think they were entirely unclothed. Afterward he could not be sure
about the boy, who may have had some kind of a fringed belt and a pair
of dark blue trunks or trousers on. Wilbur was never subsequently seen
alive and conscious without complete and tightly buttoned attire, the
disarrangement or threatened disarrangement of which always seemed to
fill him with anger and alarm. His contrast with his squalid mother and
grandfather in this respect was thought very notable until the horror
of 1928 suggested the most valid of reasons.

The next January gossips were mildly interested in the fact that
"Lavinny's black brat" had commenced to talk, and at the age of only
eleven months. His speech was somewhat remarkable both because of its
difference from the ordinary accents of the region, and because it
displayed a freedom from infantile lisping of which many children of
three or four might well be proud. The boy was not talkative, yet when
he spoke he seemed to reflect some elusive element wholly unpossessed
by Dunwich and its denizens. The strangeness did not reside in what he
said, or even in the simple idioms he used; but seemed vaguely linked
with his intonation or with the internal organs that produced the
spoken sounds. His facial aspect, too, was remarkable for its maturity;
for though he shared his mother's and grandfather's chinlessness, his
firm and precociously shaped nose united with the expression on his
large, dark, almost Latin eyes to give him an air of quasi-adulthood
and well-nigh preternatural intelligence. He was, however, exceedingly
ugly despite his appearance of brilliancy; there being something almost
goatish or animalistic about his thick lips, large-pored, yellowish
skin, coarse crinkly hair, and oddly elongated ears. He was soon
disliked even more decidedly than his mother and grandsire, and all
conjectures about him were spiced with references to the bygone magic
of Old Whateley, and how the hills once shook when he shrieked the
dreadful name of _Yog-Sothoth_ in the midst of a circle of stones with
a great book open in his arms before him. Dogs abhorred the boy, and
he was always obliged to take various defensive measures against their
barking menace.


3

Meanwhile Old Whateley continued to buy cattle without measurably
increasing the size of his herd. He also cut timber and began to
repair the unused parts of his house--a spacious, peaked-roofed affair
whose rear end was buried entirely in the rocky hillside, and whose
three least-ruined ground-floor rooms had always been sufficient for
himself and his daughter. There must have been prodigious reserves
of strength in the old man to enable him to accomplish so much hard
labor; and though he still babbled dementedly at times, his carpentry
seemed to show the effects of sound calculation. It had really begun
as soon as Wilbur was born, when one of the many tool-sheds had been
put suddenly in order, clapboarded, and fitted with a stout fresh lock.
Now, in restoring the abandoned upper story of the house, he was a no
less thorough craftsman. His mania showed itself only in his tight
boarding-up of all the windows in the reclaimed section--though many
declared that it was a crazy thing to bother with the reclamation at
all. Less inexplicable was his fitting-up of another downstairs room
for his new grandson--a room which several callers saw, though no one
was ever admitted to the closely-boarded upper story. This chamber
he lined with tall, firm shelving; along which he began gradually to
arrange, in apparently careful order, all the rotting ancient books and
parts of books which during his own day had been heaped promiscuously
in odd corners of the various rooms.

"I made some use of 'em," he would say as he tried to mend a torn
black-letter page with paste prepared on the rusty kitchen stove, "but
the boy's fitten to make better use of 'em. He'd orter hev 'em as well
sot as he kin for they're goin' to be all of his larnin'."

When Wilbur was a year and seven months old--in September of 1914--his
size and accomplishments were almost alarming. He had grown as large as
a child of four, and was a fluent and incredibly intelligent talker.
He ran freely about the fields and hills, and accompanied his mother
on all her wanderings. At home he would pore diligently over the queer
pictures and charts in his grandfather's books, while Old Whateley
would instruct and catechize him through long, hushed afternoons. By
this time the restoration of the house was finished, and those who
watched it wondered why one of the upper windows had been made into a
solid plank door. It was a window in the rear of the east gable end,
close against the hill; and no one could imagine why a cleated wooden
runway was built up to it from the ground. About the period of this
work's completion people noticed that the old tool-house, tightly
locked and windowlessly clapboarded since Wilbur's birth, had been
abandoned again. The door swung listlessly open, and when Earl Sawyer
once stepped within after a cattle-selling call on Old Whateley he was
quite discomposed by the singular odor he encountered--such a stench,
he averred, as he had never before smelt in all his life except near
the Indian circles on the hills, and which could not come from anything
sane or of this earth. But then, the homes and sheds of Dunwich folk
have never been remarkable for olfactory immaculateness.

The following months were void of visible events, save that everyone
swore to a slow but steady increase in the mysterious hill noises. On
May Eve of 1915 there were tremors which even the Aylesbury people
felt, whilst the following Hallowe'en produced an underground rumbling
queerly synchronized with bursts of flame--"them witch Whateleys'
doin's"--from the summit of Sentinel Hill. Wilbur was growing up
uncannily, so that he looked like a boy of ten as he entered his
fourth year. He read avidly by himself now; but talked much less than
formerly. A settled taciturnity was absorbing him, and for the first
time people began to speak specifically of the dawning look of evil in
his goatish face. He would sometimes mutter an unfamiliar jargon, and
chant in bizarre rhythms which chilled the listener with a sense of
unexplainable terror. The aversion displayed toward him by dogs had now
become a matter of wide remark, and he was obliged to carry a pistol
in order to traverse the countryside in safety. His occasional use of
the weapon did not enhance his popularity amongst the owners of canine
guardians.

The few callers at the house would often find Lavinia alone on the
ground floor, while odd cries and footsteps resounded in the boarded-up
second story. She would never tell what her father and the boy were
doing up there, though once she turned pale and displayed an abnormal
degree of fear when a jocose fish-peddler tried the locked door leading
to the stairway. That peddler told the store loungers at Dunwich
Village that he thought he heard a horse stamping on that floor above.
The loungers reflected, thinking of the door and runway, and of
the cattle that so swiftly disappeared. Then they shuddered as they
recalled tales of Old Whateley's youth, and of the strange things that
are called out of the earth when a bullock is sacrificed at the proper
time to certain heathen gods. It had for some time been noticed that
dogs had begun to hate and fear the whole Whateley place as violently
as they hated and feared young Wilbur personally.

In 1917 the war came, and Squire Sawyer Whateley, as chairman of the
local draft board, had hard work finding a quota of young Dunwich men
fit even to be sent to a development camp. The government, alarmed at
such signs of wholesale regional decadence, sent several officers and
medical experts to investigate; conducting a survey which New England
newspaper readers may still recall. It was the publicity attending this
investigation which set reporters on the track of the Whateleys, and
caused the _Boston Globe_ and _Arkham Advertiser_ to print flamboyant
Sunday stories of young Wilbur's precociousness, Old Whateley's black
magic, the shelves of strange books, the sealed second story of the
ancient farmhouse, and the weirdness of the whole region and its hill
noises. Wilbur was four and a half then, and looked like a lad of
fifteen. His lip and cheek were fuzzy with a coarse dark down, and his
voice had begun to break. Earl Sawyer went out to the Whateley place
with both sets of reporters and camera men, and called their attention
to the queer stench which now seemed to trickle down from the sealed
upper spaces. It was, he said, exactly like a smell he had found in the
tool-shed abandoned when the house was finally repaired, and like the
faint odors which he sometimes thought he caught near the stone circles
on the mountains. Dunwich folk read the stories when they appeared, and
grinned over the obvious mistakes. They wondered, too, why the writers
made so much of the fact that Old Whateley always paid for his cattle
in gold pieces of extremely ancient date. The Whateleys had received
their visitors with ill-concealed distaste, though they did not dare
court further publicity by a violent resistance or refusal to talk.


4

For a decade the annals of the Whateleys sink indistinguishably into
the general life of a morbid community used to their queer ways and
hardened to their May Eve and All-Hallow orgies. Twice a year they
would light fires on the top of Sentinel Hill, at which times the
mountain rumblings would recur with greater and greater violence; while
at all seasons there were strange and portentous doings at the lonely
farmhouse. In the course of time callers professed to hear sounds
in the sealed upper story even when all the family were downstairs,
and they wondered how swiftly or how lingeringly a cow or bullock
was usually sacrificed. There was talk of a complaint to the Society
for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals; but nothing ever came of
it, since Dunwich folk are never anxious to call the outside world's
attention to themselves.

About 1923, when Wilbur was a boy of ten whose mind, voice, stature,
and bearded face gave all the impressions of maturity, a second great
siege of carpentry went on at the old house. It was all inside the
sealed upper part, and from bits of discarded lumber people concluded
that the youth and his grandfather had knocked out all the partitions
and even removed the attic floor, leaving only one vast open void
between the ground story and the peaked roof. They had torn down the
great central chimney, too, and fitted the rusty range with a flimsy
outside tin stove-pipe.

In the spring after this event Old Whateley noticed the growing number
of whippoorwills that would come out of Cold Spring Glen to chirp under
his window at night. He seemed to regard the circumstance as one of
great significance, and told the loungers at Osborn's that he thought
his time had almost come.

"They whistle jest in tune with my breathin' naow," he said, "an' I
guess they're gittin' ready to ketch my soul. They know it's a-goin'
aout, an' dun't calc'late to miss it. Yew'll know, boys, arter I'm
gone, whether they git me er not. Ef they dew, they'll keep up
a-singin' an' laffin' till break o' day. Ef they dun't, they'll kinder
quiet daown like. I expeck them an' the souls they hunts fer hev some
pretty tough tussles sometimes."

On Lammas Night, 1924, Dr. Houghton of Aylesbury was hastily summoned
by Wilbur Whateley, who had lashed his one remaining horse through the
darkness and telephoned from Osborn's in the village. He found Old
Whateley in a very grave state, with a cardiac action and stertorous
breathing that told of an end not far off. The shapeless albino
daughter and oddly bearded grandson stood by the bedside, whilst from
the vacant abyss overhead there came a disquieting suggestion of
rhythmical surging or lapping, as of the waves on some level beach. The
doctor, though, was chiefly disturbed by the chattering night birds
outside; a seemingly limitless legion of whippoorwills that cried their
endless message in repetitions timed diabolically to the wheezing gasps
of the dying man. It was uncanny and unnatural--too much, thought Dr.
Houghton, like the whole of the region he had entered so reluctantly in
response to the urgent call.

Toward 1 o'clock Old Whateley gained consciousness, and interrupted his
wheezing to choke out a few words to his grandson.

"More space, Willy, more space soon. Yew grows--an' _that_ grows
faster. It'll be ready to sarve ye soon, boy. Open up the gates to
Yog-Sothoth with the long chant that ye'll find on page 751 _of the
complete edition_, an' _then_ put a match to the prison. Fire from
airth can't burn it nohaow!"

He was obviously quite mad. After a pause, during which the flock of
whippoorwills outside adjusted their cries to the altered tempo while
some indications of the strange hill noises came from afar off, he
added another sentence or two.

"Feed it reg'lar, Willy, an' mind the quantity; but dun't let it grow
too fast fer the place, fer ef it busts quarters or gits aout afore ye
opens to Yog-Sothoth, it's all over an' no use. Only them from beyont
kin make it multiply an' work.... Only them, the old uns as wants to
come back...."

But speech gave place to gasps again, and Lavinia screamed at the
way the whippoorwills followed the change. It was the same for more
than an hour, when the final throaty rattle came. Dr. Houghton drew
shrunken lids over the glazing gray eyes as the tumult of birds faded
imperceptibly to silence. Lavinia sobbed, but Wilbur only chuckled
whilst the hill noises rumbled faintly.

"They didn't git him," he muttered in his heavy bass voice.

Wilbur was by this time a scholar of really tremendous erudition in
his one-sided way, and was quietly known by correspondence to many
librarians in distant places where rare and forbidden books of old days
are kept. He was more and more hated and dreaded around Dunwich because
of certain youthful disappearances which suspicion laid vaguely at his
door; but was always able to silence inquiry through fear or through
use of that fund of old-time gold which still, as in his grandfather's
time, went forth regularly and increasingly for cattle-buying. He
was now tremendously mature of aspect, and his height, having reached
the normal adult limit, seemed inclined to wax beyond that figure. In
1925, when a scholarly correspondent from Miskatonic University called
upon him one day and departed pale and puzzled, he was fully six and
three-quarters feet tall.

Through all the years Wilbur had treated his half-deformed albino
mother with a growing contempt, finally forbidding her to go to the
hills with him on May Eve and Hallowmass; and in 1926 the poor creature
complained to Mamie Bishop of being afraid of him.

"They's more abaout him as I knows than I kin tell ye, Mamie," she
said, "an' naowadays they's more nor what I know myself. I vaow afur
Gawd, I dun't know what he wants nor what he's a-tryin' to dew."

That Hallowe'en the hill noises sounded louder than ever, and fire
burned on Sentinel Hill as usual, but people paid more attention
to the rhythmical screaming of vast flocks of unnaturally belated
whippoorwills which seemed to be assembled near the unlighted Whateley
farmhouse. After midnight their shrill notes burst into a kind of
pandemoniac cachinnation which filled all the countryside, and not
until dawn did they finally quiet down. Then they vanished, hurrying
southward where they were fully a month overdue. What this meant, no
one could quite be certain till later. None of the countryfolk seemed
to have died--but poor Lavinia Whateley, the twisted albino, was never
seen again.

In the summer of 1927 Wilbur repaired two sheds in the farmyard and
began moving his books and effects out to them. Soon afterward Earl
Sawyer told the loungers at Osborn's that more carpentry was going on
in the Whateley farmhouse. Wilbur was closing all the doors and windows
on the ground floor, and seemed to be taking out partitions as he and
his grandfather had done upstairs four years before. He was living
in one of the sheds, and Sawyer thought he seemed unusually worried
and tremulous. People generally suspected him of knowing something
about his mother's disappearance, and very few ever approached his
neighborhood now. His height had increased to more than seven feet, and
showed no signs of ceasing its development.


5

The following winter brought an event no less strange than Wilbur's
first trip outside the Dunwich region. Correspondence with the Widener
Library at Harvard, the Bibliotheque Nationale in Paris, the British
Museum, the University of Buenos Aires, and the Library of Miskatonic
University at Arkham had failed to get him the loan of a book he
desperately wanted; so at length he set out in person, shabby, dirty,
bearded, and uncouth of dialect, to consult the copy at Miskatonic,
which was the nearest to him geographically. Almost eight feet tall,
and carrying a cheap new valise from Osborn's general store, this
dark and goatish gargoyle appeared one day in Arkham in quest of the
dreaded volume kept under lock and key at the college library--the
hideous _Necronomicon_ of the mad Arab Alhazred in Olaus Wormius' Latin
version, as printed in Spain in the Seventeenth Century. He had never
seen a city before, but had no thought save to find his way to the
university grounds; where, indeed, he passed heedlessly by the great
white-fanged watchdog that barked with unnatural fury and enmity, and
tugged frantically at its stout chain.

Wilbur had with him the priceless but imperfect copy of Dr. Dee's
English version which his grandfather had bequeathed him, and upon
receiving access to the Latin copy he at once began to collate the two
texts with the aim of discovering a certain passage which would have
come on the 751st page of his own defective volume. This much he could
not civilly refrain from telling the librarian--the same erudite Henry
Armitage (A. M. Miskatonic, Ph. D. Princeton, Litt. D. Johns Hopkins)
who had once called at the farm, and who now politely plied him with
questions. He was looking, he had to admit, for a kind of formula or
incantation containing the frightful name _Yog-Sothoth_, and it puzzled
him to find discrepancies, duplications, and ambiguities which made
the matter of determination far from easy. As he copied the formula
he finally chose, Dr. Armitage looked involuntarily over his shoulder
at the open pages; the left-hand one of which, in the Latin version,
contained such monstrous threats to the peace and sanity of the world.

    Nor is it to be thought [ran the text as Armitage mentally
    translated it] that man is either the oldest or the last of earth's
    masters, or that the common bulk of life and substance walks alone.
    The Old Ones were, the Old Ones are, and the Old Ones shall be. Not
    in the spaces we know, but _between_ them. They walk serene and
    primal, undimensioned and to us unseen. _Yog-Sothoth_ knows the
    gate. _Yog-Sothoth_ is the gate. _Yog-Sothoth_ is the key and
    guardian of the gate. Past, present, future, all are one in
    _Yog-Sothoth_. He knows where the Old Ones broke through of old,
    and where They shall break through again. He knows where They have
    trod earth's fields, and where They still tread them, and why no
    one can behold Them as They tread. By Their smell can men sometimes
    know Them near, but of Their semblance can no man know, _saving
    only in the features of those They have begotten on mankind_; and
    of those are there many sorts, differing in likeness from man's
    truest eidolon to that shape without sight or substance which is
    _They_. They walk unseen and foul in lonely places where the Words
    have been spoken and the Rites howled through at their Seasons.
    The wind gibbers with Their voices, and the earth mutters with
    Their consciousness. They bend the forest and crush the city, yet
    may not forest or city behold the hand that smites. Kadath in the
    cold waste hath known Them, and what man knows Kadath? The ice
    desert of the South and the sunken isles of Ocean hold stones
    whereon Their seal is engraven, but who hath seen the deep frozen
    city or the sealed tower long garlanded with seaweed and barnacles?
    Great Cthulhu is Their cousin, yet can he spy Them only dimly. _Iä
    Shub-Niggurath!_ As a foulness shall ye know Them. Their hand is at
    your throats, yet ye see Them not; and Their habitation is even one
    with your guarded threshold. _Yog-Sothoth_ is the key to the gate,
    whereby the spheres meet. Man rules now where They ruled once; They
    shall soon rule where man rules now. After summer is winter, and
    after winter summer. They wait patient and potent, for here shall
    They reign again.

Dr. Armitage, associating what he was reading with what he had heard
of Dunwich and its brooding presences, and of Wilbur Whateley and his
dim, hideous aura that stretched from a dubious birth to a cloud of
probable matricide, felt a wave of fright as tangible as a draft of the
tomb's cold clamminess. The bent, goatish giant before him seemed like
the spawn of another planet or dimension; like something only partly of
mankind, and linked to black gulfs of essence and entity that stretch
like titan fantasms beyond all spheres of force and matter, space and
time.

Presently Wilbur raised his head and began speaking in that strange,
resonant fashion which hinted at sound-producing organs unlike the run
of mankind's.

"Mr. Armitage," he said, "I calc'late I've got to take that book home.
They's things in it I've got to try under sarten conditions that I
can't git here, an' it 'ud be a mortal sin to let a red-tape rule hold
me up. Let me take it along, sir, an' I'll swar they wun't nobody know
the difference. I dun't need to tell ye I'll take good keer of it. It
wa'n't me that put this Dee copy in the shape it is...."

He stopped as he saw firm denial on the librarian's face, and his own
goatish features grew crafty. Armitage, half ready to tell him he might
make a copy of what parts he needed, thought suddenly of the possible
consequences and checked himself. There was too much responsibility
in giving such a being the key to such blasphemous outer spheres.
Whateley saw how things stood, and tried to answer lightly.

"Wal, all right, ef ye feel that way abaout it. Maybe Harvard wun't be
so fussy as yew be." And without saying more he rose and strode out of
the building, stooping at each doorway.

Armitage heard the savage yelping of the great watchdog, and studied
Whateley's gorilla-like lope as he crossed the bit of campus visible
from the window. He thought of the wild tales he had heard, and
recalled the old Sunday stories in the _Advertiser_; these things, and
the lore he had picked up from Dunwich rustics and villagers during
his one visit there. Unseen things not of earth--or at least not of
tri-dimensional earth--rushed fetid and horrible through New England's
glens, and brooded obscenely on the mountain tops. Of this he had
long felt certain. Now he seemed to sense the close presence of some
terrible part of the intruding horror, and to glimpse a hellish advance
in the black dominion of the ancient and once passive nightmare. He
locked away the _Necronomicon_ with a shudder of disgust, but the room
still reeked with an unholy and unidentifiable stench. "As a foulness
shall ye know them," he quoted. Yes--the odor was the same as that
which had sickened him at the Whateley farmhouse less than three years
before. He thought of Wilbur, goatish and ominous, once again, and
laughed mockingly at the village rumors of his parentage.

"Inbreeding?" Armitage muttered half aloud to himself. "Great God, what
simpletons! Show them Arthur Machen's _Great God Pan_ and they'll think
it a common Dunwich scandal! But what thing--what cursed shapeless
influence on or off this three-dimensioned earth--was Wilbur Whateley's
father? Born on Candlemas--nine months after May Eve of 1912, when the
talk about the queer earth noises reached clear to Arkham--what walked
on the mountains that May Night? What Roodmas horror fastened itself on
the world in half-human flesh and blood?"

During the ensuing weeks Dr. Armitage set about to collect all possible
data on Wilbur Whateley and the formless presences around Dunwich. He
got in communication with Dr. Houghton of Aylesbury, who had attended
Old Whateley in his last illness, and found much to ponder over in the
grandfather's last words as quoted by the physician. A visit to Dunwich
Village failed to bring out much that was new; but a close survey of
the _Necronomicon_, in those parts which Wilbur had sought so avidly,
seemed to supply new and terrible clues to the nature, methods, and
desires of the strange evil so vaguely threatening this planet. Talks
with several students of archaic lore in Boston, and letters to many
others elsewhere, gave him a growing amazement which passed slowly
through varied degrees of alarm to a state of really acute spiritual
fear. As the summer drew on he felt dimly that something ought to be
done about the lurking terrors of the upper Miskatonic valley, and
about the monstrous being known to the human world as Wilbur Whateley.


6

The Dunwich horror itself came between Lammas and the equinox in 1928,
and Dr. Armitage was among those who witnessed its monstrous prologue.
He had heard, meanwhile, of Whateley's grotesque trip to Cambridge,
and of his frantic efforts to borrow or copy from the _Necronomicon_
at the Widener Library. Those efforts had been in vain, since Armitage
had issued warnings of the keenest intensity to all librarians having
charge of the dreaded volume. Wilbur had been shockingly nervous at
Cambridge; anxious for the book, yet almost equally anxious to get
home again, as if he feared the results of being away long.

Early in August the half-expected outcome developed, and in the small
hours of the third Dr. Armitage was awakened suddenly by the wild,
fierce cries of the savage watchdog on the college campus. Deep and
terrible, the snarling, half-mad growls and barks continued; always
in mounting volume, but with hideously significant pauses. Then there
rang out a scream from a wholly different throat--such a scream as
roused half the sleepers of Arkham and haunted their dreams ever
afterward--such a scream as could come from no being born of earth, or
wholly of earth.

Armitage hastened into some clothing and rushed across the street and
lawn to the college buildings, saw that others were ahead of him; and
heard the echoes of a burglar-alarm still shrilling from the library.
An open window showed black and gaping in the moonlight. What had come
had indeed completed its entrance; for the barking and the screaming,
now fast fading into a mixed low growling and moaning, proceeded
unmistakably from within. Some instinct warned Armitage that what was
taking place was not a thing for unfortified eyes to see, so he brushed
back the crowd with authority as he unlocked the vestibule door. Among
the others he saw Professor Warren Rice and Dr. Francis Morgan, men to
whom he had told some of his conjectures and misgivings; and these two
he motioned to accompany him inside. The inward sounds, except for a
watchful, droning whine from the dog, had by this time quite subsided;
but Armitage now perceived with a sudden start that a loud chorus of
whippoorwills among the shrubbery had commenced a damnably rhythmical
piping, as if in unison with the last breath of a dying man.

The building was full of a frightful stench which Dr. Armitage knew
too well, and the three men rushed across the hall to the small
genealogical reading-room whence the low whining came. For a second
nobody dared to turn on the light; then Armitage summoned up his
courage and snapped the switch. One of the three--it is not certain
which--shrieked aloud at what sprawled before them among disordered
tables and overturned chairs. Professor Rice declares that he wholly
lost consciousness for an instant, though he did not stumble or fall.

The thing that lay half-bent on its side in a fetid pool of
greenish-yellow ichor and tarry stickiness was almost nine feet tall,
and the dog had torn off all the clothing and some of the skin. It
was not quite dead, but twitched silently and spasmodically while its
chest heaved in monstrous unison with the mad piping of the expectant
whippoorwills outside. Bits of shoe-leather and fragments of apparel
were scattered about the room, and just inside the window an empty
canvas sack lay where it had evidently been thrown. Near the central
desk a revolver had fallen, a dented but undischarged cartridge later
explaining why it had not been fired. The thing itself, however,
crowded out all other images at the time. It would be trite and not
wholly accurate to say that no human pen could describe it, but one may
properly say that it could not be vividly visualized by anyone whose
ideas of aspect and contour are too closely bound up with the common
life-forms of this planet and of the three known dimensions. It was
partly human, beyond a doubt, with very manlike hands and head, and the
goatish, chinless face had the stamp of the Whateleys upon it. But the
torso and lower parts of the body were teratologically fabulous, so
that only generous clothing could ever have enabled it to walk on earth
unchallenged or uneradicated.

Above the waist it was semi-anthropomorphic; though its chest, where
the dog's rending paws still rested watchfully, had the leathery,
reticulated hide of a crocodile or alligator. The back was piebald
with yellow and black, and dimly suggested the squamous covering of
certain snakes. Below the waist, though, it was the worst; for here
all human resemblance left off and sheer fantasy began. The skin was
thickly covered with coarse black fur, and from the abdomen a score of
long greenish-gray tentacles with red sucking mouths protruded limply.
Their arrangement was odd, and seemed to follow the symmetries of some
cosmic geometry unknown to earth or the solar system. On each of the
hips, deep set in a kind of pinkish, ciliated orbit, was what seemed to
be a rudimentary eye; whilst in lieu of a tail there depended a kind of
trunk or feeler with purple annular markings, and with many evidences
of being an undeveloped mouth or throat. The limbs, save for their
black fur, roughly resembled the hind legs of prehistoric earth's giant
saurians; and terminated in ridgy-veined pads that were neither hooves
nor claws. When the thing breathed, its tail and tentacles rhythmically
changed color, as if from some circulatory cause normal to the
non-human side of its ancestry. In the tentacles this was observable as
a deepening of the greenish tinge, whilst in the tail it was manifest
as a yellowish appearance which alternated with a sickly grayish-white
in the spaces between the purple rings. Of genuine blood there was
none; only the fetid greenish-yellow ichor which trickled along the
painted floor beyond the radius of the stickiness, and left a curious
discoloration behind it.

As the presence of the three men seemed to rouse the dying thing, it
began to mumble without turning or raising its head. Dr. Armitage
made no written record of its mouthings, but asserts confidently that
nothing in English was uttered. At first the syllables defied all
correlation with any speech of earth, but toward the last there came
some disjointed fragments evidently taken from the _Necronomicon_,
that monstrous blasphemy in quest of which the thing had perished.
Those fragments, as Armitage recalls them, ran something like "_N'gai,
n'gha'ghaa, bugg-shoggog, y'hah; Yog-Sothoth, Yog-Sothoth...._"
They trailed off into nothingness as the whippoorwills shrieked in
rhythmical crescendoes of unholy anticipation.

Then came a halt in the gasping, and the dog raised his head in a long,
lugubrious howl. A change came over the yellow, goatish face of the
prostrate thing, and the great black eyes fell in appallingly. Outside
the window the shrilling of the whippoorwills had suddenly ceased, and
above the murmurs of the gathering crowd there came the sound of a
panic-struck whirring and fluttering. Against the moon vast clouds of
feathery watchers rose and raced from sight, frantic at that which they
had sought for prey.

All at once the dog started up abruptly, gave a frightened bark, and
leaped nervously out the window by which it had entered. A cry rose
from the crowd, and Dr. Armitage shouted to the men outside that no
one must be admitted till the police or medical examiner came. He was
thankful that the windows were just too high to permit of peering
in, and drew the dark curtains carefully down over each one. By this
time two policemen had arrived; and Dr. Morgan, meeting them in the
vestibule, was urging them for their own sakes to postpone entrance to
the stench-filled reading-room till the examiner came and the prostrate
thing could be covered up.

Meanwhile frightful changes were taking place on the floor. One need
not describe the _kind_ and _rate_ of shrinkage and disintegration that
occurred before the eyes of Dr. Armitage and Professor Rice; but it is
permissible to say that, aside from the external appearance of face
and hands, the really human elements in Wilbur Whateley must have been
very small. When the medical examiner came, there was only a sticky
whitish mass on the painted boards, and the monstrous odor had nearly
disappeared. Apparently Whateley had had no skull or bony skeleton; at
least, in any true or stable sense. He had taken somewhat after his
unknown father.


7

Yet all this was only the prologue of the actual Dunwich horror.
Formalities were gone through by bewildered officials, abnormal details
were duly kept from press and public, and men were sent to Dunwich
and Aylesbury to look up property and notify any who might be heirs
of the late Wilbur Whateley. They found the countryside in great
agitation, both because of the growing rumblings beneath the domed
hills, and because of the unwonted stench and the surging, lapping
sounds which came increasingly from the great empty shell formed by
Whateley's boarded-up farmhouse. Earl Sawyer, who tended the horse and
cattle during Wilbur's absence, had developed a wofully acute case
of nerves. The officials devised excuses not to enter the noisome
boarded place; and were glad to confine their survey of the deceased's
living quarters, the newly mended sheds, to a single visit. They filed
a ponderous report at the court-house in Aylesbury, and litigations
concerning heirship are said to be still in progress amongst the
innumerable Whateleys, decayed and undecayed, of the upper Miskatonic
valley.

An almost interminable manuscript in strange characters, written in a
huge ledger and adjudged a sort of diary because of the spacing and
the variations in ink and penmanship, presented a baffling puzzle to
those who found it on the old bureau which served as its owner's
desk. After a week of debate it was sent to Miskatonic University,
together with the deceased's collection of strange books, for study
and possible translation; but even the best linguists soon saw that it
was not likely to be unriddled with ease. No trace of the ancient gold
with which Wilbur and Old Whateley always paid their debts has yet been
discovered.

It was in the dark of September ninth that the horror broke loose.
The hill noises had been very pronounced during the evening, and dogs
barked frantically all night. Early risers on the tenth noticed a
peculiar stench in the air. About 7 o'clock Luther Brown, the hired boy
at George Corey's, between Cold Spring Glen and the village, rushed
frenziedly back from his morning trip to Ten-Acre Meadow with the cows.
He was almost convulsed with fright as he stumbled into the kitchen;
and in the yard outside the no less frightened herd were pawing and
lowing pitifully, having followed the boy back in the panic they shared
with him. Between gasps Luther tried to stammer out his tale to Mrs.
Corey.

"Up thar in the rud beyont the glen, Mis' Corey--they's suthin' ben
thar! It smells like thunder, an' all the bushes an' little trees is
pushed back from the rud like they'd a haouse ben moved along of it.
An' that ain't the wust, nuther. They's _prints_ in the rud, Mis'
Corey--great raound prints as big as barrel-heads, all sunk daown deep
like a elephant had ben along, _only they's a sight more nor four feet
could make_. I looked at one or two afore I run, an' I see every one
was covered with lines spreadin' aout from one place, like as if big
palm-leaf fans--twict or three times as big as any they is--hed of ben
paounded daown into the rud. An' the smell was awful, like what it is
araound Wizard Whateley's ol' haouse...."

Here he faltered, and seemed to shiver afresh with the fright that had
sent him flying home. Mrs. Corey, unable to extract more information,
began telephoning the neighbors; thus starting on its rounds the
overture of panic that heralded the major terrors. When she got Sally
Sawyer, housekeeper at Seth Bishop's, the nearest place to Whateley's,
it became her turn to listen instead of transmit; for Sally's boy
Chauncey, who slept poorly, had been up on the hill toward Whateley's,
and had dashed back in terror after one look at the place, and at the
pasturage where Mr. Bishop's cows had been left out all night.

"Yes, Mis' Corey," came Sally's tremulous voice over the party wire,
"Cha'ncey he just come back a-post-in', and couldn't haff talk fer
bein' scairt! He says Ol' Whateley's haouse is all blowed up, with
the timbers scattered raound like they'd ben dynamite inside; only
the bottom floor ain't through, but is all covered with a kind o'
tarlike stuff that smells awful an' drips daown offen the aidges onto
the graoun' whar the side timbers is blowed away. An' they's awful
kinder marks in the yard, tew--great raound marks bigger raound than a
hogshead, an' all sticky with stuff like is on the blowed-up haouse.
Cha'ncey he says they leads off into the medders, whar a great swath
wider'n a barn is matted daown, an' all the stun walls tumbled every
which way wherever it goes.

"An' he says, says he, Mis' Corey, as haow he sot to look fer Seth's
caows, frighted ez he was; an' faound 'em in the upper pasture nigh the
Devil's Hop Yard in an awful shape. Haff on 'em's clean gone, an' nigh
haff o' them that's left is sucked most dry o' blood, with sores on 'em
like they's ben on Whateley's cattle ever senct Lavinny's black brat
was born. Seth he's gone aout naow to look at 'em, though I'll vaow he
wun't keer ter git very nigh Wizard Whateley's! Cha'ncey didn't look
keerful ter see whar the big matted-daown swath led arter it leff the
pasturage, but he says he thinks it p'inted towards the glen rud to the
village.

"I tell ye, Mis' Corey, they's suthin' abroad as hadn't orter be
abroad, an' I fer one think that black Wilbur Whateley, as come to
the bad eend he desarved, is at the bottom of the breedin' of it. He
wa'n't all human hisself, I allus says to everybody; an' I think he an'
Ol' Whateley must a raised suthin' in that there nailed-up haouse as
ain't even so human as he was. They's allus ben unseen things araound
Dunwich--livin' things--as ain't human an' ain't good fer human folks.

"The graoun' was a'talkin' lass night, an' towards mornin' Cha'ncey
he heerd the whippoorwills so laoud in Col' Spring Glen he couldn't
sleep none. Then he thought he heerd another faintlike saound over
towards Wizard Whateley's--a kinder rippin' or tearin' o' wood, like
some big box or crate was bein' opened fur off. What with this an'
that, he didn't git to sleep at all till sunup, an' no sooner was he
up this mornin', but he's got to go over to Whateley's an' see what's
the matter. He see enough, I tell ye, Mis' Corey! This dun't mean no
good, an' I think as all the men-folks ought to git up a party an'
do suthin'. I know suthin' awful's abaout, an' feel my time is nigh,
though only Gawd knows jest what it is.

"Did your Luther take accaount o' whar them big tracks led tew? No?
Wal, Mis' Corey, ef they was on the glen rud this side o' the glen,
an' ain't got to your haouse yet, I calc'late they must go into the
glen itself. They would do that. I allus says Col' Spring Glen ain't no
healthy nor decent place. The whippoorwills an' fireflies there never
did act like they was creaters o' Gawd, an' they's them as says ye kin
hear strange things a-rushin' an' a-talkin' in the air daown thar ef ye
stand in the right place, atween the rock falls an' Bear's Den."

       *       *       *       *       *

By that noon fully three-quarters of the men and boys of Dunwich were
trooping over the roads and meadows between the new-made Whateley ruins
and Cold Spring Glen; examining in horror the vast, monstrous prints,
the maimed Bishop cattle, the strange, noisome wreck of the farmhouse,
and the bruised, matted vegetation of the fields and road-sides.
Whatever had burst loose upon the world had assuredly gone down into
the great sinister ravine; for all the trees on the banks were bent and
broken, and a great avenue had been gouged in the precipice-hanging
underbrush. It was as though a house, launched by an avalanche, had
slid down through the tangled growths of the almost vertical slope.
From below no sound came, but only a distant, undefinable fetor; and
it is not to be wondered at that the men preferred to stay on the edge
and argue, rather than descend and beard the unknown Cyclopean horror
in its lair. Three dogs that were with the party had barked furiously
at first, but seemed cowed and reluctant when near the glen. Someone
telephoned the news to the _Aylesbury Transcript_; but the editor,
accustomed to wild tales from Dunwich, did no more than concoct a
humorous paragraph about it; an item soon afterward reproduced by the
Associated Press.

That night everyone went home, and every house and barn was barricaded
as stoutly as possible. Needless to say, no cattle were allowed to
remain in open pasturage. About 2 in the morning a frightful stench and
the savage barking of the dogs awakened the household at Elmer Frye's,
on the eastern edge of Cold Spring Glen, and all agreed that they
could hear a sort of muffled swishing or lapping sound from somewhere
outside. Mrs. Frye proposed telephoning the neighbors, and Elmer was
about to agree when the noise of splintering wood burst in upon their
deliberations. It came, apparently, from the barn; and was quickly
followed by a hideous screaming and stamping amongst the cattle. The
dogs slavered and crouched close to the feet of the fear-numbed family.
Frye lit a lantern through force of habit, but knew it would be death
to go out into that black farmyard. The children and the women-folk
whimpered, kept from screaming by some obscure, vestigial instinct
of defense which told them their lives depended on silence. At last
the noise of the cattle subsided to a pitiful moaning, and a great
snapping, crashing, and crackling ensued. The Fryes, huddled together
in the sitting-room, did not dare to move until the last echoes died
away far down in Cold Spring Glen. Then, amidst the dismal moans from
the stable and the demoniac piping of late whippoorwills in the glen,
Selina Frye tottered to the telephone and spread what news she could of
the second phase of the horror.

The next day all the countryside was in a panic; and cowed,
uncommunicative groups came and went where the fiendish thing had
occurred. Two titan swaths of destruction stretched from the glen
to the Frye farmyard, monstrous prints covered the bare patches of
ground, and one side of the old red barn had completely caved in. Of
the cattle, only about a quarter could be found and identified. Some of
these were in curious fragments, and all that survived had to be shot.
Earl Sawyer suggested that help be asked from Aylesbury or Arkham, but
others maintained it would be of no use. Old Zebulon Whateley, of a
branch that hovered about half-way between soundness and decadence,
made darkly wild suggestions about rites that ought to be practised on
the hilltops. He came of a line where tradition ran strong, and his
memories of chantings in the great stone circles were not altogether
connected with Wilbur and his grandfather.

Darkness fell upon a stricken countryside too passive to organize
for real defense. In a few cases closely related families would band
together and watch in the gloom under one roof; but, in general there
was only a repetition of the barricading of the night before, and a
futile, ineffective gesture of loading muskets and setting pitchforks
handily about. Nothing, however, occurred except some hill noises; and
when the day came there were many who hoped that the new horror had
gone as swiftly as it had come. There were even bold souls who proposed
an offensive expedition down in the glen, though they did not venture
to set an actual example to the still reluctant majority.

When night came again the barricading was repeated, though there was
less huddling together of families. In the morning both the Frye and
the Seth Bishop households reported excitement among the dogs and vague
sounds and stenches from afar, while early explorers noted with horror
a fresh set of the monstrous tracks in the road skirting Sentinel Hill.
As before, the sides of the road showed a bruising indicative of the
blasphemously stupendous bulk of the horror; whilst the conformation
of the tracks seemed to argue a passage in two directions, as if the
moving mountain had come from Cold Spring Glen and returned to it along
the same path. At the base of the hill a thirty-foot swath of crushed
shrubbery and saplings led steeply upward, and the seekers gasped when
they saw that even the most perpendicular places did not deflect the
inexorable trail. Whatever the horror was, it could scale a sheer stony
cliff of almost complete verticality; and as the investigators climbed
around to the hill's summit by safer routes they saw that the trail
ended--or rather, reversed--there.

It was here that the Whateleys used to build their hellish fires and
chant their hellish rituals by the table-like stone on May Eve and
Hallowmass. Now that very stone formed the center of a vast space
thrashed around by the mountainous horror, whilst upon its slightly
concave surface was a thick fetid deposit of the same tarry stickiness
observed on the floor of the ruined Whateley farmhouse when the horror
escaped. Men looked at one another and muttered. Then they looked down
the hill. Apparently the horror had descended by a route much the same
as that of its ascent. To speculate was futile. Reason, logic, and
normal ideas of motivation stood confounded. Only old Zebulon, who
was not with the group, could have done justice to the situation or
suggested a plausible explanation.

Thursday night began much like the others, but it ended less happily.
The whippoorwills in the glen had screamed with such unusual
persistence that many could not sleep, and about 3 a. m. all the party
telephones rang tremulously. Those who took down their receivers
heard a fright-mad voice shriek out, "Help, oh, my Gawd!..." and some
thought a crashing sound followed the breaking off of the exclamation.
There was nothing more. No one dared do anything, and no one knew
till morning whence the call came. Then those who had heard it called
everyone on the line, and found that only the Fryes did not reply. The
truth appeared an hour later, when a hastily assembled group of armed
men trudged out to the Frye place at the head of the glen. It was
horrible, yet hardly a surprize. There were more swaths and monstrous
prints, but there was no longer any house. It had caved in like an
egg-shell, and amongst the ruins nothing living or dead could be
discovered--only a stench and a tarry stickiness. The Elmer Fryes had
been erased from Dunwich.


8

In the meantime a quieter yet even more spiritually poignant phase of
the horror had been blackly unwinding itself behind the closed door of
a shelf-lined room in Arkham. The curious manuscript record or diary of
Wilbur Whateley, delivered to Miskatonic University for translation,
had caused much worry and bafflement among the experts in languages
both ancient and modern; its very alphabet, notwithstanding a general
resemblance to the heavily shaded Arabic used in Mesopotamia, being
absolutely unknown to any available authority. The final conclusion of
the linguists was that the text represented an artificial alphabet,
giving the effect of a cipher; though none of the usual methods of
cryptographic solution seemed to furnish any clue, even when applied
on the basis of every tongue the writer might conceivably have used.
The ancient books taken from Whateley's quarters, while absorbingly
interesting and in several cases promising to open up new and terrible
lines of research among philosophers and men of science, were of no
assistance whatever in this matter. One of them, a heavy tome with
an iron clasp, was in another unknown alphabet--this one of a very
different cast, and resembling Sanskrit more than anything else. The
old ledger was at length given wholly into the charge of Dr. Armitage,
both because of his peculiar interest in the Whateley matter, and
because of his wide linguistic learning and skill in the mystical
formulæ of antiquity and the Middle Ages.

Armitage had an idea that the alphabet might be something esoterically
used by certain forbidden cults which have come down from old times,
and which have inherited many forms and traditions from the wizards of
the Saracenic world. That question, however, he did not deem vital;
since it would be unnecessary to know the origin of the symbols if,
as he suspected, they were used as a cipher in a modern language. It
was his belief that, considering the great amount of text involved, the
writer would scarcely have wished the trouble of using another speech
than his own, save perhaps in certain special formulæ and incantations.
Accordingly he attacked the manuscript with the preliminary assumption
that the bulk of it was in English.

Dr. Armitage knew, from the repeated failures of his colleagues, that
the riddle was a deep and complex one, and that no simple mode of
solution could merit even a trial. All through late August he fortified
himself with the massed lore of cryptography, drawing upon the fullest
resources of his own library, and wading night after night amidst the
arcana of Trithemius' _Poligraphia_, Giambattista Porta's _De Furtivis
Literarum Notis_, De Vigenere's _Traité des Chiffres_, Falconer's
_Cryptomenysis Patefacta_, Davys' and Thicknesse's Eighteenth Century
treatises, and such fairly modern authorities as Blair, von Marten,
and Klüber's _Kryptographik_. He interspersed his study of the books
with attacks on the manuscript itself, and in time became convinced
that he had to deal with one of those subtlest and most ingenious of
cryptograms, in which many separate lists of corresponding letters are
arranged like the multiplication table, and the message built up with
arbitrary key-words known only to the initiated. The older authorities
seemed rather more helpful than the newer ones, and Armitage concluded
that the code of the manuscript was one of great antiquity, no doubt
handed down through a long line of mystical experimenters. Several
times he seemed near daylight, only to be set back by some unforeseen
obstacle. Then, as September approached, the clouds began to clear.
Certain letters, as used in certain parts of the manuscript, emerged
definitely and unmistakably; and it became obvious that the text was
indeed in English.

On the evening of September second the last major barrier gave way, and
Dr. Armitage read for the first time a continuous passage of Wilbur
Whateley's annals. It was in truth a diary, as all had thought; and
it was couched in a style clearly showing the mixed occult erudition
and general illiteracy of the strange being who wrote it. Almost the
first long passage that Armitage deciphered, an entry dated November
26, 1916, proved highly startling and disquieting. It was written, he
remembered, by a child of three and a half who looked like a lad of
twelve or thirteen.

    Today learned the Aklo for the Sabaoth, [it ran] which did not
    like, it being answerable from the hill and not from the air. That
    upstairs more ahead of me than I had thought it would be, and is
    not like to have much earth brain. Shot Elam Hutchins's collie
    Jack when he went to bite me, and Elam says he would kill me if he
    dast. I guess he won't. Grandfather kept me saying the Dho formula
    last night, and I think I saw the inner city at the 2 magnetic
    poles. I shall go to those poles when the earth is cleared off, if
    I can't break through with the Dho-Hna formula when I commit it.
    They from the air told me at Sabbat that it will be years before I
    can clear off the earth, and I guess Grandfather will be dead then,
    so I shall have to learn all the angles of the planes and all the
    formulas between the Yr and the Nhhngr. They from outside will
    help, but they can not take body without human blood. That upstairs
    looks it will have the right cast. I can see it a little when I
    make the Yoorish sign or blow the power of Ibn Ghazi at it, and it
    is near like them at May Eve on the Hill. The other face may wear
    off some. I wonder how I shall look when the earth is cleared and
    there are no earth beings on it. He that came with the Aklo Sabaoth
    said I may be transfigured, there being much of outside to work on.

Morning found Dr. Armitage in a cold sweat of terror and a frenzy of
wakeful concentration. He had not left the manuscript all night, but
sat at his table under the electric light turning page after page
with shaking hands as fast as he could decipher the cryptic text. He
had nervously telephoned his wife he would not be home, and when she
brought him a breakfast from the house he could scarcely dispose of a
mouthful. All that day he read on, now and then halted maddeningly as
a reapplication of the complex key became necessary. Lunch and dinner
were brought him, but he ate only the smallest fraction of either.
Toward the middle of the next night he drowsed off in his chair, but
soon woke out of a tangle of nightmares almost as hideous as the truths
and menaces to man's existence that he had uncovered.

On the morning of September fourth Professor Rice and Dr. Morgan
insisted on seeing him for a while, and departed trembling and
ashen-gray. That evening he went to bed, but slept only fitfully.
Wednesday--the next day--he was back at the manuscript, and began to
take copious notes both from the current sections and from those he had
already deciphered. In the small hours of that night he slept a little
in an easy-chair in his office, but was at the manuscript again before
dawn. Some time before noon his physician, Dr. Hartwell, called to see
him and insisted that he cease work. He refused, intimating that it was
of the most vital importance for him to complete the reading of the
diary, and promising an explanation in due course of time.

That evening, just as twilight fell, he finished his terrible perusal
and sank back exhausted. His wife, bringing his dinner, found him in a
half-comatose state; but he was conscious enough to warn her off with
a sharp cry when he saw her eyes wander toward the notes he had taken.
Weakly rising, he gathered up the scribbled papers and sealed them all
in a great envelope, which he immediately placed in his inside coat
pocket. He had sufficient strength to get home, but was so clearly in
need of medical aid that Dr. Hartwell was summoned at once. As the
doctor put him to bed he could only mutter over and over again, "_But
what, in God's name, can we do?_"

Dr. Armitage slept, but was partly delirious the next day. He made
no explanations to Hartwell, but in his calmer moments spoke of the
imperative need of a long conference with Rice and Morgan. His wilder
wanderings were very startling indeed, including frantic appeals
that something in a boarded-up farmhouse be destroyed, and fantastic
references to some plan for the extirpation of the entire human race
and all animal and vegetable life from the earth by some terrible elder
race of beings from another dimension. He would shout that the world
was in danger, since the Elder Things wished to strip it and drag it
away from the solar system and cosmos of matter into some other plane
or phase of entity from which it had once fallen, vigintillions of eons
ago. At other times he would call for the dreaded _Necronomicon_ and
the _Dæmonolatreia_ of Remigius, in which he seemed hopeful of finding
some formula to check the peril he conjured up.

"Stop them, stop them!" he would shout. "Those Whateleys meant to let
them in, and the worst of all is left! Tell Rice and Morgan we must do
something--it's a blind business, but I know how to make the powder....
It hasn't been fed since the second of August, when Wilbur came here to
his death, and at that rate...."

But Armitage had a sound physique despite his seventy-three years, and
slept off his disorder that night without developing any real fever. He
woke late Friday, clear of head, though sober, with a gnawing fear and
tremendous sense of responsibility. Saturday afternoon he felt able to
go over to the library and summon Rice and Morgan for a conference, and
the rest of that day and evening the three men tortured their brains
in the wildest speculation and the most desperate debate. Strange and
terrible books were drawn voluminously from the stack shelves and from
secure places of storage, and diagrams and formulæ were copied with
feverish haste and in bewildering abundance. Of skepticism there was
none. All three had seen the body of Wilbur Whateley as it lay on the
floor in a room of that very building, and after that not one of them
could feel even slightly inclined to treat the diary as a madman's
raving.

Opinions were divided as to notifying the Massachusetts State Police,
and the negative finally won. There were things involved which simply
could not be believed by those who had not seen a sample, as indeed was
made clear during certain subsequent investigations. Late at night the
conference disbanded without having developed a definite plan, but all
day Sunday Armitage was busy comparing formulæ and mixing chemicals
obtained from the college laboratory. The more he reflected on the
hellish diary, the more he was inclined to doubt the efficacy of any
material agent in stamping out the entity which Wilbur Whateley had
left behind him--the earth-threatening entity which, unknown to him,
was to burst forth in a few hours and become the memorable Dunwich
horror.

Monday was a repetition of Sunday with Dr. Armitage, for the task
in hand required an infinity of research and experiment. Further
consultations of the monstrous diary brought about various changes of
plan, and he knew that even in the end a large amount of uncertainty
must remain. By Tuesday he had a definite line of action mapped out,
and believed he would try a trip to Dunwich within a week. Then, on
Wednesday, the great shock came. Tucked obscurely away in a corner of
the _Arkham Advertiser_ was a facetious little item from the Associated
Press, telling what a record-breaking monster the bootleg whisky of
Dunwich had raised up. Armitage, half stunned, could only telephone
for Rice and Morgan. Far into the night they discussed, and the next
day was a whirlwind of preparation on the part of them all. Armitage
knew he would be meddling with terrible powers, yet saw that there was
no other way to annul the deeper and more malign meddling which others
had done before him.


9

Friday morning Armitage, Rice and Morgan set out by motor for Dunwich,
arriving at the village about 1 in the afternoon. The day was pleasant,
but even in the brightest sunlight a kind of quiet dread and portent
seemed to hover about the strangely domed hills and the deep, shadowy
ravines of the stricken region. Now and then on some mountain top a
gaunt circle of stones could be glimpsed against the sky. From the
air of hushed fright at Osborn's store they knew something hideous
had happened, and soon learned of the annihilation of the Elmer Frye
house and family. Throughout that afternoon they rode around Dunwich,
questioning the natives concerning all that had occurred, and seeing
for themselves with rising pangs of horror the drear Frye ruins with
their lingering traces of the tarry stickiness, the blasphemous tracks
in the Frye yard, the wounded Seth Bishop cattle, and the enormous
swaths of disturbed vegetation in various places. The trail up and down
Sentinel Hill seemed to Armitage of almost cataclysmic significance,
and he looked long at the sinister altarlike stone on the summit.

At length the visitors, apprised of a party of State Police which had
come from Aylesbury that morning in response to the first telephone
reports of the Frye tragedy, decided to seek out the officers and
compare notes as far as practicable. This, however, they found more
easily planned than performed; since no sign of the party could be
found in any direction. There had been five of them in a car, but now
the car stood empty near the ruins in the Frye yard. The natives, all
of whom had talked with the policemen, seemed at first as perplexed as
Armitage and his companions. Then old Sam Hutchins thought of something
and turned pale, nudging Fred Farr and pointing to the dank, deep
hollow that yawned close by.

"Gawd," he gasped, "I telled 'em not ter go daown into the glen, an' I
never thought nobody'd dew it with them tracks an' that smell an' the
whippoorwills a-screechin' daown thar in the dark o' noonday...."

A cold shudder ran through natives and visitors alike, and every ear
seemed strained in a kind of instinctive, unconscious listening.
Armitage, now that he had actually come upon the horror and its
monstrous work, trembled with the responsibility he felt to be
his. Night would soon fall, and it was then that the mountainous
blasphemy lumbered upon its eldritch course. _Negotium perambulans in
tenebris...._ The old librarian rehearsed the formulæ he had memorized,
and clutched the paper containing the alternative ones he had not
memorized. He saw that his electric flashlight was in working order.
Rice, beside him, took from a valise a metal sprayer of the sort used
in combating insects; whilst Morgan uncased the big-game rifle on which
he relied despite his colleague's warnings that no material weapon
would be of help.

Armitage, having read the hideous diary, knew painfully well what kind
of a manifestation to expect, but he did not add to the fright of the
Dunwich people by giving any hints or clues. He hoped that it might
be conquered without any revelation to the world of the monstrous
thing it had escaped. As the shadows gathered, the natives commenced
to disperse homeward, anxious to bar themselves indoors despite the
present evidence that all human locks and bolts were useless before a
force that could bend trees and crush houses when it chose. They shook
their heads at the visitors' plan to stand guard at the Frye ruins near
the glen; and as they left, had little expectancy of ever seeing the
watchers again.

There were rumblings under the hills that night, and the whippoorwills
piped threateningly. Once in a while a wind, sweeping up out of Cold
Spring Glen, would bring a touch of ineffable fetor to the heavy night
air; such a fetor as all three of the watchers had smelled once before,
when they stood above a dying thing that had passed for fifteen years
and a half as a human being. But the looked-for terror did not appear.
Whatever was down there in the glen was biding its time, and Armitage
told his colleagues it would be suicidal to try to attack it in the
dark.

Morning came wanly, and the night-sounds ceased. It was a gray, bleak
day, with now and then a drizzle of rain; and heavier and heavier
clouds seemed to be piling themselves up beyond the hills to the
northwest. The men from Arkham were undecided what to do. Seeking
shelter from the increasing rainfall beneath one of the few undestroyed
Frye outbuildings, they debated the wisdom of waiting, or of taking the
aggressive and going down into the glen in quest of their nameless,
monstrous quarry. The downpour waxed in heaviness, and distant peals of
thunder sounded from far horizons. Sheet lightning shimmered, and then
a forky bolt flashed near at hand, as if descending into the accursed
glen itself. The sky grew very dark, and the watchers hoped that the
storm would prove a short, sharp one followed by clear weather.

It was still gruesomely dark when, not much over an hour later, a
confused babel of voices sounded down the road. Another moment brought
to view a frightened group of more than a dozen men, running, shouting,
and even whimpering hysterically. Someone in the lead began sobbing out
words, and the Arkham men started violently when those words developed
a coherent form.

"Oh, my Gawd, my Gawd!" the voice choked out; "it's a-goin' agin, _an'
this time by day_! It's aout--it's aout an' a-movin' this very minute,
an' only the Lord knows when it'll be on us all!"

The speaker panted into silence, but another took up his message.

"Nigh on a haour ago Zeb Whateley here heerd the 'phone a-ringin', an'
it was Mis' Corey, George's wife that lives daown by the junction.
She says the hired boy Luther was aout drivin' in the caows from the
storm arter the big bolt, when he see all the trees a-bendin' at the
maouth o' the glen--opposite side ter this--an' smelt the same awful
smell like he smelt when he faound the big tracks las' Monday mornin'.
An' she says he says they was a swishin', lappin' saound, more nor
what the bendin' trees an' bushes could make, an' all on a suddent the
trees along the rud begun ter git pushed one side, an' they was a awful
stompin' an' splashin' in the mud. But mind ye, Luther he didn't see
nothin' at all, only jest the bendin' trees an' underbrush.

"Then fur ahead where Bishop's Brook goes under the rud he heerd a
awful creakin' an' strainin' on the bridge, an' says he could tell the
saound o' wood a-startin' to crack an' split. An' all the whiles he
never see a thing, only them trees an' bushes a-bendin'. An' when the
swishin' saound got very fur off--on the rud towards Wizard Whateley's
an' Sentinel Hill--Luther he had the guts ter step up whar he'd heerd
it fust an' look at the graound. It was all mud an' water, an' the sky
was dark, an' the rain was wipin' aout all tracks abaout as fast as
could be; but beginnin' at the glen maouth, whar the trees bed moved,
they was still some o' them awful prints big as bar'ls like he seen
Monday."

At this point the first excited speaker interrupted.

"But _that_ ain't the trouble naow--that was only the start. Zeb here
was callin' folks up an' everybody was a-listenin' in when a call from
Seth Bishop's cut in. His haousekeeper Sally was carryin' on fit ter
kill--she'd jest seed the trees a-bendin' beside the rud, an' says
they was a kind o' mushy saound, like a elephant puffin' an' treadin',
a-headin' fer the haouse. Then she up an' spoke suddent of a fearful
smell, an' says her boy Cha'ncey was a-screamin' as haow it was jest
like what he smelt up to the Whateley rewins Monday mornin'. An' the
dogs was all barkin' an' whinin' awful.

"An' then she let aout a turrible yell, an' says the shed daown the
rud hed jest caved in like the storm hed blowed it over, only the wind
wa'n't strong enough to dew that. Everybody was a-listenin', an' ye
could hear lots o' folks on the wire a-gaspin'. All to onct Sally she
yelled agin, an' says the front yard picket fence bed jest crumpled up,
though they wa'n't no sign o' what done it. Then everybody on the line
could hear Cha'ncey an' ol' Seth Bishop a-yellin', tew, an' Sally was
shriekin' aout that suthin' heavy hed struck the haouse--not lightnin'
nor nothin', but suthin' heavy agin' the front, that kep' a-launchin'
itself agin an' agin, though ye couldn't see nuthin' aout the front
winders. An' then ... an' then...."

Lines of fright deepened on every face; and Armitage, shaken as he was,
had barely poise enough to prompt the speaker.

"An' then ... Sally she yelled aout, 'O help, the haouse is a-cavin'
in' ... an' on the wire we could hoar a turrible crashin', an' a hull
flock o' screamin' ... jest like when Elmer Frye's place was took, only
wuss...."

The man paused, and another of the crowd spoke.

"That's all--not a saound nor squeak over the 'phone arter that. Jest
still-like. We that heerd it got aout Fords an' wagons an' raounded
up as many able-bodied men-folks as we could get, at Corey's place,
an' come up here ter see what yew thought best ter dew. Not but what I
think it's the Lord's judgment fer our iniquities, that no mortal kin
ever set aside."

Armitage saw that the time for positive action had come, and spoke
decisively to the faltering group of frightened rustics.

"We must follow it, boys." He made his voice as reassuring as possible.
"I believe there's a chance of putting it out of business. You men
know that those Whateleys were wizards--well, this thing is a thing
of wizardry, and must be put down by the same means. I've seen Wilbur
Whateley's diary and read some of the strange old books he used to
read, and I think I know the right kind of a spell to recite to make
the thing fade away. Of course, one can't be sure, but we can always
take a chance. It's invisible--I knew it would be--but there's a powder
in this long-distance sprayer that might make it show up for a second.
Later on we'll try it. It's a frightful thing to have alive, but it
isn't as bad as what Wilbur would have let in if he'd lived longer.
You'll never know what the world has escaped. Now we've only this one
thing to fight, and it can't multiply. It can, though, do a lot of
harm; so we mustn't hesitate to rid the community of it.

"We must follow it--and the way to begin is to go to the place that has
just been wrecked. Let somebody lead the way--I don't know your roads
very well, but I've an idea there might be a shorter cut across lots.
How about it?"

The men shuffled about a moment, and then Earl Sawyer spoke softly,
pointing with a grimy finger through the steadily lessening rain.

"I guess ye kin git to Seth Bishop's quickest by cuttin' acrost the
lower medder here, wadin' the brook at the low place, an' climbin'
through Carrier's mowin' an' the timber-lot beyont. That comes aout on
the upper rud mighty nigh Seth's--a leetle t'other side."

Armitage, with Rice and Morgan, started to walk in the direction
indicated; and most of the natives followed slowly. The sky was growing
lighter, and there were signs that the storm had worn itself away. When
Armitage inadvertently took a wrong direction, Joe Osborn warned him
and walked ahead to show the right one. Courage and confidence were
mounting; though the twilight of the almost perpendicular wooded hill
which lay toward the end of their short cut, and among whose fantastic
ancient trees they had to scramble as if up a ladder, put these
qualities to a severe test.

At length they emerged on a muddy road to find the sun coming out.
They were a little beyond the Seth Bishop place, but bent trees and
hideously unmistakable tracks showed what had passed by. Only a few
moments were consumed in surveying the ruins just around the bend. It
was the Frye incident all over again, and nothing dead or living was
found in either of the collapsed shells which had been the Bishop house
and barn. No one cared to remain there amidst the stench and the tarry
stickiness, but all turned instinctively to the line of horrible prints
leading on toward the wrecked Whateley farmhouse and the altar-crowned
slopes of Sentinel Hill.

As the men passed the site of Wilbur Whateley's abode they shuddered
visibly, and seemed again to mix hesitancy with their zeal. It was
no joke tracking down something as big as a house that one could not
see, but that had all the vicious malevolence of a demon. Opposite the
base of Sentinel Hill the tracks left the road, and there was a fresh
bending and matting visible along the broad swath marking the monster's
former route to and from the summit.

Armitage produced a pocket telescope of considerable power and scanned
the steep green side of the hill. Then he handed the instrument to
Morgan, whose sight was keener. After a moment of gazing Morgan cried
out sharply, passing the glass to Earl Sawyer and indicating a certain
spot on the slope with his finger. Sawyer, as clumsy as most non-users
of optical devices are, fumbled a while; but eventually focused the
lenses with Armitage's aid. When he did so his cry was less restrained
than Morgan's had been.

"Gawd almighty, the grass an' bushes is a-movin'! It's a-goin'
up--slow-like--creepin' up ter the top this minute, heaven only knows
what fer!"

Then the germ of panic seemed to spread among the seekers. It was one
thing to chase the nameless entity, but quite another to find it.
Spells might be all right--but suppose they weren't? Voices began
questioning Armitage about what he knew of the thing, and no reply
seemed quite to satisfy. Everyone seemed to feel himself in close
proximity to phases of nature and of being utterly forbidden, and
wholly outside the sane experience of mankind.


10

In the end the three men from Arkham--old, white-bearded Dr.
Armitage, stocky, iron-gray Professor Rice, and lean, youngish Dr.
Morgan--ascended the mountain alone. After much patient instruction
regarding its focusing and use, they left the telescope with the
frightened group that remained in the road; and as they climbed they
were watched closely by those among whom the glass was passed around.
It was hard going, and Armitage had to be helped more than once. High
above the toiling group the great swath trembled as its hellish maker
repassed with snail-like deliberateness. Then it was obvious that the
pursuers were gaining.

Curtis Whateley--of the undecayed branch--was holding the telescope
when the Arkham party detoured radically from the swath. He told the
crowd that the men were evidently trying to get to a subordinate peak
which overlooked the swath at a point considerably ahead of where the
shrubbery was now bending. This, indeed, proved to be true; and the
party were seen to gain the minor elevation only a short time after the
invisible blasphemy had passed it.

Then Wesley Corey, who had taken the glass, cried out that Armitage was
adjusting the sprayer which Rice held, and that something must be about
to happen. The crowd stirred uneasily, recalling that this sprayer was
expected to give the unseen horror a moment of visibility. Two or three
men shut their eyes, but Curtis Whateley snatched back the telescope
and strained his vision to the utmost. He saw that Rice, from the
party's point of vantage above and behind the entity, had an excellent
chance of spreading the potent powder with marvelous effect.

Those without the telescope saw only an instant's flash of gray
cloud--a cloud about the size of a moderately large building--near the
top of the mountain. Curtis, who had held the instrument, dropped it
with a piercing shriek into the ankle-deep mud of the road. He reeled,
and would have crumpled to the ground had not two or three others
seized and steadied him. All he could do was moan half-inaudibly:

"Oh, oh, great Gawd ... _that ... that_...."

[Illustration: "Oh, oh, great Gawd ... that ... that."]

There was a pandemonium of questioning, and only Henry Wheeler thought
to rescue the fallen telescope and wipe it clean of mud. Curtis was
past all coherence, and even isolated replies were almost too much for
him.

"Bigger 'n a barn ... all made o' squirmin' ropes ... hull thing sort
o' shaped like a hen's egg bigger'n anything, with dozens o' legs like
hogsheads that haff shut up when they step ... nothin' solid abaout
it--all like jelly, an' made o' sep'rit wrigglin' ropes pushed clost
together ... great bulgin' eyes all over it ... ten or twenty maouths
or trunks a-stickin' aout all along the sides, big as stovepipes, an'
all a-tossin' an' openin' an' shuttin' ... all gray, with kinder blue
or purple rings ... _an' Gawd in Heaven--that haff face on top_!..."

This final memory, whatever it was, proved too much for poor Curtis,
and he collapsed completely before he could say more. Fred Farr and
Will Hutchins carried him to the roadside and laid him on the damp
grass. Henry Wheeler, trembling, turned the rescued telescope on the
mountain to see what he might. Through the lenses were discernible
three tiny figures, apparently running toward the summit as fast as the
steep incline allowed. Only these--nothing more. Then everyone noticed
a strangely unseasonable noise in the deep valley behind, and even in
the underbrush of Sentinel Hill itself. It was the piping of unnumbered
whippoorwills, and in their shrill chorus there seemed to lurk a note
of tense and evil expectancy.

Earl Sawyer now took the telescope and reported the three figures as
standing on the topmost ridge, virtually level with the altar-stone
but at a considerable distance from it. One figure, he said, seemed
to be raising its hands above its head at rhythmic intervals; and
as Sawyer mentioned the circumstance the crowd seemed to hear a
faint, half-musical sound from the distance, as if a loud chant
were accompanying the gestures. The weird silhouette on that
remote peak must have been a spectacle of infinite grotesqueness
and impressiveness, but no observer was in a mood for esthetic
appreciation. "I guess he's sayin' the spell," whispered Wheeler as
he snatched back the telescope. The whippoorwills were piping wildly,
and in a singularly curious irregular rhythm quite unlike that of the
visible ritual.

Suddenly the sunshine seemed to lessen without the intervention of any
discernible cloud. It was a very peculiar phenomenon, and was plainly
marked by all. A rumbling sound seemed brewing beneath the hills, mixed
strangely with a concordant rumbling which clearly came from the sky.
Lightning flashed aloft, and the wondering crowd looked in vain for
the portents of storm. The chanting of the men from Arkham now became
unmistakable, and Wheeler saw through the glass that they were all
raising their arms in the rhythmic incantation. From some farmhouse far
away came the frantic barking of dogs.

The change in the quality of the daylight increased, and the crowd
gazed about the horizon in wonder. A purplish darkness, born of
nothing more than a spectral deepening of the sky's blue, pressed down
upon the rumbling hills. Then the lightning flashed again, somewhat
brighter than before, and the crowd fancied that it had showed a
certain mistiness around the altar-stone on the distant height. No
one, however, had been using the telescope at that instant. The
whippoorwills continued their irregular pulsation, and the men of
Dunwich braced themselves tensely against some imponderable menace with
which the atmosphere seemed surcharged.

Without warning came those deep, cracked, raucous vocal sounds which
will never leave the memory of the stricken group who heard them. Not
from any human throat were they born, for the organs of man can yield
no such acoustic perversions. Rather would one have said they came
from the pit itself, had not their source been so unmistakably the
altar-stone on the peak. It is almost erroneous to call them _sounds_
at all, since so much of their ghastly, infra-bass timbre spoke to
dim seats of consciousness and terror far subtler than the ear; yet
one must do so, since their form was indisputably though vaguely that
of half-articulate _words_. They were loud--loud as the rumblings and
the thunder above which they echoed--yet did they come from no visible
being. And because imagination might suggest a conjectural source in
the world of non-visible beings, the huddled crowd at the mountain's
base huddled still closer, and winced as if in expectation of a blow.

"_Ygnaiih ... ygnaiih ... thflthkh'ngha ... Yog-Sothoth...._" rang the
hideous croaking out of space. "_Y'bthnk ... h'ehye ... n'grkdl'lh...._"

The speaking impulse seemed to falter here, as if some frightful
psychic struggle were going on. Henry Wheeler strained his eye at
the telescope, but saw only the three grotesquely silhouetted human
figures on the peak, all moving their arms furiously in strange
gestures as their incantation drew near its culmination. From what
black wells of Acherontic fear or feeling, from what unplumbed gulfs of
extra-cosmic consciousness or obscure, long-latent heredity, were those
half-articulate thunder-croakings drawn? Presently they began to gather
renewed force and coherence as they grew in stark, utter, ultimate
frenzy.

"_Eh-ya-ya-ya-yahaah ... e'yaya-yayaaaa ... ngh'aaaa ... ngh'aaaa_ ...
h'yuh ... h'yuh ... HELP! HELP! ... _ff--ff--ff_--FATHER! FATHER!
YOG-SOTHOTH!..."

But that was all. The pallid group in the road, still reeling at
the _indisputably English_ syllables that had poured thickly and
thunderously down from the frantic vacancy beside that shocking
altar-stone, were never to hear such syllables again. Instead, they
jumped violently at the terrific report which seemed to rend the hills;
the deafening, cataclysmic peal whose source, be it inner earth or
sky, no hearer was ever able to place. A single lightning bolt shot
from the purple zenith to the altar-stone, and a great tidal wave of
viewless force and indescribable stench swept down from the hill to
all the countryside. Trees, grass, and underbrush were whipped into a
fury; and the frightened crowd at the mountain's base, weakened by the
lethal fetor that seemed about to asphyxiate them, were almost hurled
off their feet. Dogs howled from the distance, green grass and foliage
wilted to a curious, sickly yellow-gray, and over field and forest were
scattered the bodies of dead whippoorwills.

The stench left quickly, but the vegetation never came right again.
To this day there is something queer and unholy about the growths on
and around that fearsome hill. Curtis Whateley was only just regaining
consciousness when the Arkham men came slowly down the mountain in the
beams of a sunlight once more brilliant and untainted. They were grave
and quiet, and seemed shaken by memories and reflections even more
terrible than those which had reduced the group of natives to a state
of cowed quivering. In reply to a jumble of questions they only shook
their heads and reaffirmed one vital fact.

"The thing has gone for ever," Armitage said. "It has been split up
into what it was originally made of, and can never exist again. It was
an impossibility in a normal world. Only the least fraction was really
matter in any sense we know. It was like its father--and most of it has
gone back to him in some vague realm or dimension outside our material
universe; some vague abyss out of which only the most accursed rites of
human blasphemy could ever have called him for a moment on the hills."

There was a brief silence, and in that pause the scattered senses of
poor Curtis Whateley began to knit back into a sort of continuity; so
that he put his hands to his head with a moan. Memory seemed to pick
itself up where it had left off, and the horror of the sight that had
prostrated him burst in upon him again.

"_Oh, oh, my Gawd, that haff face ... that haff face on top of it ...
that face with the red eyes an' crinkly albino hair, an' no chin, like
the Whateleys.... It was a octopus, centipede, spider kind o' thing,
but they was a haff-shaped man's face on top of it, an' it looked like
Wizard Whateley's, only it was yards an' yards acrost...._"

He paused exhausted, as the whole group of natives stared in a
bewilderment not quite crystallized into fresh terror. Only old Zebulon
Whateley, who wanderingly remembered ancient things but who had been
silent heretofore, spoke aloud.

"Fifteen year' gone," he rambled, "I heerd Ol' Whateley say as haow
some day we'd hear a child o' Lavinny's a-callin' its father's name on
the top o' Sentinel Hill...."

But Joe Osborn interrupted him to question the Arkham men anew.

"_What was it, anyhaow_, an' haowever did young Wizard Whateley call it
aout o' the air it come from?"

Armitage chose his words carefully.

"It was--well, it was mostly a kind of force that doesn't belong in our
part of space; a kind of force that acts and grows and shapes itself
by other laws than those of our sort of Nature. We have no business
calling in such things from outside, and only very wicked people
and very wicked cults ever try to. There was some of it in Wilbur
Whateley himself--enough to make a devil and a precocious monster of
him, and to make his passing out a pretty terrible sight. I'm going
to burn his accursed diary, and if you men are wise you'll dynamite
that altar-stone up there, and pull down all the rings of standing
stones on the other hills. Things like that brought down the beings
those Whateleys were so fond of--the beings they were going to let in
tangibly to wipe out the human race and drag the earth off to some
nameless place for some nameless purpose.

"But as to this thing we've just sent back--the Whateleys raised it for
a terrible part in the doings that were to come. It grew fast and big
from the same reason that Wilbur grew fast and big--but it beat him
because it had a greater share of the _outsideness_ in it. You needn't
ask how Wilbur called it out of the air. He didn't call it out. _It was
his twin brother, but it looked more like the father than he did._"





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