Essay

Yes Virginia, There Is A Cthulhu

Dear Editor,

I am 8 years old. Some of my friends say there is no Cthulhu. Papa says, ‘If you see it in The Arkham Review, it’s so.’ Please tell me the truth; is there a Cthulhu?

-Virginia Olmsted
115 W. 95th st.
Arkham, MA.

Virginia, your little friends are wrong. They have been affected by the skepticism of a skeptical age. They do not believe in anything except what they can see. They think that nothing can exist which is not comprehensible by their little minds. All minds, Virginia, whether they be men’s or children’s, are little. In this great universe of ours, man is a mere insect compared to the boundless world about him and the whole of truth and knowledge.

Yes, Virginia, there is a Cthulhu. He exists as certainly as the stars, the seas, and the infinite exist. Alas! How dreary would be the world if there were no Cthulhu! It would be as dreary as if there were no Virginias.

Not believe in Cthulhu! You might get your papa to hire men to watch in all the coastlines and volcanic islands on Christmas Eve to catch Cthulhu, but even if they did not see him, what would that prove? Nobody sees Cthulhu. The most real things in the world are those that neither children nor men can see. Nobody can conceive or imagine all the horrors there are unseen and unseeable in the world.

You may tear apart the baby’s rattle and see what makes the noise inside, but there is a veil covering the unseen world which not the strongest man could tear apart. Only fear, fancy, madness, and obsession, can push aside that curtain and view the supernal beauty and glory beyond. Is it all real? Ah, Virginia, in this world, there is nothing else real and abiding.

No Cthulhu! Thank God! He lives, and he lives forever. A thousand years from now, Virginia, nay, ten times ten thousand years from now, he will continue to destroy the heart of childhood.

Merry Christmas Virginia,

Archibald Gilman
The Arkham Review
919 NE Wilbur Dr.
Arkham, MA.

Based on the “Yes Virginia, There Is A Santa Claus” letters published in The New York Sun in 1897, by the real eight year old Virginia O’Hanlon and newspaper reporter Francis Pharcellus Church.

Artwork by Les Edwards

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The Shadow Over Innsmouth

H.P. Lovecraft’s The Shadow Over Innsmouth

Two years ago, I wrote a stage adaptation of H.P. Lovecraft’s The Shadow Over Innsmouth for the H.P. Lovecraft Film Festival. I believe this work, like the original story, should be in the public domain. You are free to read, download, distribute, and perform this piece for commercial and noncommercial purposes.

8 M, 2 W, 10+ extras.

An excerpt:

Scene I

Darkness.

The sound of waves and wind, rising.

Lights up on Area 1, the Ritual Room, where two cultist kneel, in tableau. They wear dark green robes, their faces obscured by hoods. They break and draw a wide chalk circle on the stage floor.

ROBERT OLMSTEAD sits upstage of this, at a rolling desk.

His head bent over a typewriter. OLMSTEAD and the desk are moved downstage, into the light. Wearily, he looks up at the paper in front of him. He types as he speaks, slowly at first, then faster. As he speaks, a photograph of Devil’s Reef is projected on the Cyclorama.

OLMSTEAD:

April 31st 1927, office of the late Anne-Marie Tilton, Miskatonic University, Arkham Massachusetts. (He trembles slightly) My name is Robert Olmstead and I am a fiction. A character in some strange and perverse tale of horror.

I have been maneuvered and positioned and now, I am no longer in control of myself. There is an inhuman element inside of me. Perhaps it was always there waiting, sleeping…

For this cannot be reality. Yet, I am present and I breath and I perceive the world around me as I always have…and yet, if I am to believe in the notion of my own sanity…I must also assume that which would compromise it.

Innsmouth. A squalid town, worm-eaten and decayed.

What I found there, what found me, is very old and very deadly. A dangerous kind of belief that ends in the destruction of all that we hold dear.

Or I am mad.

But that does not mean that I have not seen the truth. If there is any part of this account which should be heeded, let it be this: The town must be destroyed. Down to it’s very foundations, the waterfront and the reef.

He continues to type as lights and projection fade. The sound of the waves take over…

A full copy can be read and downloaded here.

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