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Proceedings of the Miskatonic Cthulhian Society
vol. 307 no. 2 (March-April 1939)
(incorporates Acta Cthulhiana and Zeitschrift fuer Untersuchungen dei Carcosa)
Miskatonic University Press, 165 pp.

Art: Tom Sullivan
Proceedings of the Miskatonic Cthulhian Society
While the SF Site does not usually review scientific or literary journals, we recently had the chance to peruse one of the premiere scientific journals of preante-archaeobiology and -anthropology. Published since the late 1600's, the Proceedings of the Miskatonic Cthulhian Society began as an journal of occult research based on scientific principles. Jamieson Randee, long-time contributor to The Skeptical Inquisitor, the publication of the Cooperative for the Rational Inquiry into Claims of the Paranormal, called The Proceedings "the first voice of sanity in American research into the paranormal." In the early 19th century the journal published the first scientifically-based debunking of Symmes' hollow Earth theories, and was among the first to present studies of the powers of Obeah and of Mojo shaman escaping slavery in the South. By the beginning of this century the editorial staff had been largely occupied by members of the Order of the Golden Dawn and Theosophists and the mission of the journal was largely twisted to their ends. Aleister Crowley's A Treatise on Astrology: Liber 536 was slated for publication in the May 1916 issue, but due to his falling out with members of the Golden Dawn, he was forced to publish his work elsewhere in 1917-18. By the mid 1920s tired of unscrupulous foreign control of The Proceedings, the eminent Harvard University scholar, Randolph Carter, who saw the need to apply emerging technologies and scientific theories to the study of the paranormal and in particular to alledged transdimensional beings, took over the editorship. Along with the British investigator Harry Price (author of Poltergeist over England, 1945), who served as editor for European contributions, the two redefined the mission of The Proceedings to that which it adheres to today. Since Carter's time The Proceedings have always been on the cutting edge of research into extradimensional beings and the psychophysiological implications of their existence. With the appointment of the eminent anthropologist Gertrude Barrows Bennett as editor in 1996, the Proceedings have continued in their fine tradition.
Past Feature Reviews
A review by Georges T. Dodds

For those of you not familiar with the international reputation of Miskatonic University, established at its Arkham, Mass. campus on the scenic banks of the Miskatonic River since 1687, I will give a short synopsis. Heir to the collections of grimoires and associated materials of John Dee, the Count d'Erlette, and more recently the Kabbalah files of Arthur Edward Waite, Miskatonic well deserves its reputation as a centre for studies in the lore of the Old Ones. Its copies of the haemographed 1523 Leipzig and original Alexandrian library Necronomicon, the unedited goatskin manuscript of The King in Yellow from Chapman's 1923 expedition to the Gobi desert, as well as the library's recent acquisitions from collectors in Warsaw, Lyons, and the Puthuum Monastery near Ulan-Bator, make it the premiere research library in the western world. The Miskatonic Research Museum holds the world's only collection of intact Mnar stones and Ultharian cat-amulets, among other artifacts. Offering the Lovecraft professorship in Ry'leh Studies, Miskatonic has attracted the finest scholars, including most recently Dr. Charles Dexter Ward, Jr.

The current issue contains five articles ranging from microcristallography to textual analysis. The first paper entitled Cthulhoid Piping. I. Fractal modelling of patterns by Hanns H. Ewers, Gustav Meyrink and R. Ebing-Krafft, of the Muenchen Institut fuer Unsprechenzie Kulten, deals with the use of chaos theory and fractal modelling in describing and ultimately predicting patterns in Cthulhoid piping. Wide band recordings of presumed Cthulhoid transdimensional incursions of the "Tekeli" and "Phtagn" types were submitted to digital deconstruction and attempts were made at reconstruction using the Ry'leh algorithm. They found that upon rerunning the analysis on several occasions the fractal mapping of results resulted in mutually inconsistent layers resulting in simulation equipment failure. Patterns when intermittently apparent were most closely (but not significantly, P>0.05) correlated to the trance-type techno music of adolescent raves, though elements of Tuvan throat singing were also found to correlate to a lesser degree. Unfortunately, the authors were unable to reach the late Dr. Jules de Grandin at the Institut Lyonnais d'experimentation transdimensionnelle, whose recent Horla algorithm was shown to reduce tonal scatter in intermediate level Cthulhoid piping reconstruction.

The second article, Homology in the regulatory portion of the cerebroside methyl esterase gene of the timber wolf (Canis lupus L.) and the Tindalos Hound (Canis Tindalosii Long) by William Hodgson (U.S. Naval Academy Hospital, Innsmouth) and Stefan Grabinski (Warsaw University) discusses the genetics of brain function in the rare Tindalos hound of the Carcosan hinterlands. Sequencing of the regulatory portion of the crb locus (Chromosome 3) has shown that the hound regulatory sequence contains a transposon sequence hitherto unidentified in all but the Ulthar cat (Felix Ultharii H.P.L.). This suggests that the altered cerebroside ester to methyl cerebroside ratio in neurons of the right temporal lobe of these species may be responsible for the novel brain wave patterns in this species as previously described by Ambrosius Beerce (J. Amer. Vet. Med. Assoc. 73:666-679) and Monty R. James (Royal Edinborough Vet. College Proc. 213: 1089-1097)

The third article, Star Stones of Mnar: III. Altered quantum states in the microcrystalline structure lead to inconsistencies in covalent bonding angles by Ignatius Donnelly and Pierre Benoit (Centre de Recherche Oceanographique de l'Atlantide) deals with the chemical structure of Mnar stones. Using X-ray crystallography and polarized ultra short-wave diffraction imaging, the authors have attempted to characterize the nature of the high-iridium lattice of Mnar stones collected in Ulthar, Sarnath, Kadath, from the ill-fated ship the Mary Celeste, and from material dredged from Innsmouth Harbour. Evidence appears to show novel orbital and quantum states pervading the silicon backbone at sites where it bonds with iridium-chelate complexes. However, data shows electron depletion from lower energy orbitals and apparent superconcentration in higher level orbitals. This results in paradoxical bonding angles for much of the silicon backbone that are similar to those reported in the now declassified materials investigated in the US government's Roswell labs under the code name "Colour out of Space."

The fourth article, Text and subtext in the Nyarlathotep fragments from the Takla Makan desert of northwest China by F. Manchu (Lanzhou Institute for Desert Studies) and Sarsfield Ward (British Museum, Rare Manuscripts Division) details the discovery, in a 350 B.C.E. tomb of the recently discovered Celtic people of the Takla Makan, of a goat skin manuscript imprinted with crude cuneiform-like characters. However, upon inspection under UV lighting, an entirely new text appeared, apparently erased to allow the cuneiform text to be written. While the new text listed the worldly possessions of the priestess buried at the site, the older hidden text, now deciphered and translated by Dr. Ward is a hymn to Chaos, appealed to under the name Nyarlathotep. Graphical and textual comparisons with early Sumerian documents discovered by Austen Layard at Nineveh (British Museum Cat. No. 4123.56), the Tel Armana tablets, and some Gnostic fragments preserved at the Vatican, suggest that the Takla Makan regions may have been the origin of the Crawling Chaos cult which make its way across the Middle East and disappeared into central Africa c. 275 C.E. Dr. Ward has found that numerous alternate readings may be made of the text when standard cryptographic algorithms are used, some of these are published in interlinear translation.

Finally, the fifth article, by Richard Marsh (Royal British Anthropological Society) and Achmed Abdullah (Essene Texts Curator, Tel Aviv University), Techniques in depiction of extra-dimensional Cthulhoid life forms from St. John's Revelations to H.P. Lovecraft's oeuvre discusses the limitations of language in describing Cthulhoid entities and the techniques that writers have used to provide their readers with their impression of these beings. The authors bring up Tertullian and Origen's commentaries on "Revelations" in the context of the Montanist interpretation of the third and fourth chapters, particularly in the light of the collapse of the Cretan civilisation and the establishment of apostate churches in the ruins of Knossos. They link purported accounts of the Knossos movement at sites throughout Europe and its export to America. Citing evidence of Knossos sites near Mobile, Alabama, they suggest the early Welsh expedition by Madoc (see Robert Southey's Madoc in Atzlan) as the vector. Recent evidence, suggests that the abandoned Mission Hall on Angell St. in Providence, RI, may have been Lovecraft's contact point and that the Welsh descendants of Madoc may have inspired him in his overuse of the term "eldritch."

Overall, this issue of the Proceedings shows an interesting and diverse crossection of the research currently going on in the field and is a must read for all current investigators of Cthulhian lore.

Copyright © 1999 Georges T. Dodds

Georges Dodds is a research scientist in vegetable crop physiology, who for close to 25 years has read and collected close to 2000 titles of predominantly pre-1950 science-fiction and fantasy, both in English and French. He writes columns on early imaginative literature for WARP, the newsletter/fanzine of the Montreal Science Fiction and Fantasy Association.

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