Cumbrian Cthulhu Now On Sale!



Cumbrian Cthulhu

‘All new tales of Cumbrian horror inspired by H.P. Lovecraft's legendary Cthulhu mythos’

Information regarding the Cumbrian Cthulhu charity project and the upcoming release of anthology volumes one and two





The cover art of Cumbrian Cthulhu Volumes one and two


Cumbrian Cthulhu aims to encourage and publish stories by amateur horror writers, celebrating the mystical beauty of Cumbria and the timeless horror of H.P. Lovecraft.

We will donate 100% of sales profits from each volume produced to The Lake District Search and Mountain Rescue Association (LDSAMRA).



Both books are available NOW from LULU.COM, our publishing site. They will be available on Amazon.com in a few weeks, however we urge everyone to buy from LULU.COM, where the profit (and therefore charity donation) is substantially higher.



CONTACT DETAILS







Okay, so what on earth is a Cthulhu?
Cthulhu is an ancient monster created by legendary horror writer H. P. Lovecraft. Cthulhu lies in a deathly sleep in a sunken city, sending madness to the dreams of mankind. His cultists on earth seek to expedite the prophecy that when the stars are correctly aligned, Cthulhu will rise from the ocean to reclaim and destroy the earth.

Howard Phillips Lovecraft (1890 - 1937) was an American author whose guiding aesthetic and philosophical principle was what he termed ‘cosmic horror.’

Although Lovecraft's readership was limited during his lifetime, his reputation has grown over the decades, and he is now regarded as one of the most influential horror writers of the 20th century.

During his life Lovecraft encouraged other writers to use his created worlds and monsters in their own stories. This tradition continues today, with regular books being published every year. His stories continue to inspire writers and artists today, with influences found in music, film and graphic novels. It is our great hope that our ‘Cumbrian Cthulhu’ books will eventually become a part of the Lovecraftian fiction legacy.



Where did the idea for Cumbrian Cthulhu come from?
My name is Andrew McGuigan and I began the Cumbrian Cthulhu project in 2009.  I am a proud Cumbrian myself, born in Beckermet in 1975 before moving to the North East of England when I was a small child.

When growing up I was lucky enough to return every year during holidays. With caravan and awning my family toured the Lake District, climbing hills, paddling in lakes and finding pubs for me that served my favourite chicken in a basket (often the Britannia at Elterwater.)

Today my parents are retired and living in the beautiful west coast town Maryport. It was during a visit in 2009 that I read about the excavation of the local Roman fort site at Senhouse. At the time I was re-reading a Lovecraft anthology which included the classic ‘Shadows over Innsmouth’ and it gave me the inspiration to try some writing. The proposed excavations seemed like an interesting situation around which to base a horror story. By borrowing some local history books from my parents I constructed a three part horror story set in 1950’s Maryport, using the geographical references of the time, and bringing in some of Lovecraft’s better known monsters. I have been a fan of H.P. Lovecraft for several years and I admire the way that he encouraged his fellow writers to base their stories on the particular creatures and worlds he had invented. It took a few months, but finally I finished what would be my first Cumbrian Cthulhu story, ‘The Chamber in the hillside.’

The story takes the form of three warning letters written by an elderly archaeologist after he reads of proposed plans to excavate the Roman fort site at Senhouse, Maryport. He states that contrary to popular belief the area has been dug before, back in 1954 by a team he himself assembled. The three letters describe the horrors that were found, and the writer’s subsequent descent into madness.
Having written the story, I started an online blog so I could publish it there for friends to easily read. It then occurred to me that other amateur writers might wish to contribute stories in a similar theme and it may be possible to gather together a small collection of new Cumbrian Lovecraft fiction.
And so cumbriancthulhu.blogspot was born.




How did the other writers, artists and contributors come to the project?
Once my first story was online I sent out paper copies to several writers groups in Cumbria and also the Times & Star newspaper. All of the letters included a card advertising the blog site and an invitation to contribute stories. We were lucky enough to be featured on the Yog-Sothoth website, which was encouraging to see in those early days! Take up was very slow at first, but a big change occurred six months later when I was joined by our resident artist Andy Paciorek who not only wrote stories, but also expressed a desire to illustrate each Cumbrian Cthulhu tale. Right from the beginning I have always been very impressed by Andy’s work. There is no doubt he has brought a much valued extra dimension to the stories and elevated them from simple text to a solid unified collection.
The main boost to our writing force came when I had a small article about the Cumbrian Cthulhu website published in ‘Pulse’ an internal Civil Service magazine. Several enthusiastic amateur writers made contact, and our total number of stories went from eight to twenty within a year, all illustrated by Andy.

It was mid 2011 that I decided to move forward with an actual printed anthology of our stories and art. All of our contributors agreed that it would be in line with the spirit of our project to donate any book sales profits to a Cumbrian charity and we quickly decided on the Lake District Search and Mountain Rescue Association. The horrors of our Cumbrian Cthulhu protagonists are nothing but pure fiction, written for fun. The volunteers of LDSAMRA selflessly assist those with real injury and placate real fear everyday. They save lives each year and do their best to ensure that Lakeland walkers are well informed regarding safety precautions and the potential hazards of the high fells and elements.

I have never published a book before and I realized that in order to make the production as professional as possible I would need further help. I contacted my old University at Northumbria to see if any creative writing students would be interested in gaining experience as a proof readers and editors.

Creative Writing Programme Leader David Stewart was a great help, pleased to pass on our information and to encourage the involvement of Northumbria students. I received a reply on the same day of asking and we were pleased to welcome recent graduate Lucy Collier to the Cumbrian Cthulhu team as our new editor. We were also fortunate enough to recruit Kate Taylor and Matt Walby giving us much needed help managing the research of media contacts and social network promotion respectively. Ben Powell-Jones, a university friend of mine came aboard as our book cover artist and was able to produce fantastic digital art and titles to the exact designs I imagined, designs that were frustratingly well beyond my own ability to realise!
As Cumbrian Cthulhu has grown, I have been constantly impressed by the generosity of those giving their time and help freely either for fun, career experience or just to be a part of a creative project alongside others. Without their enthusiasm and hard work there would be no Cumbrian Cthulhu book, promotion, illustrations or stories at all.



Tell me about the Cumbrian Cthulhu stories

The stories are a tribute to both the imagination of H.P. Lovecraft and the awesome beauty and rich history of the Cumbrian Lake District. You don’t have to be a Lovecraft fan to understand the stories as each one is self contained with no requirement for additional knowledge. Although the stories feature traditional themes of horror, they do not contain explicit language or sexual content, instead following Lovecraft’s themes of fear of the unknown mixed with discoveries of insanity causing otherworldly creatures and gods. We believe the stories would be of interest to fans of horror in general and fans of Lovecraft specifically, as well as those interested in Cumbrian folklore.
All of our stories are fiction, but set within the recognised landmarks and history of Cumbria. Two local tales of Cumbrian folklore have been adapted to fit the Lovecraft Mythos. We have a version of the famous ‘Croglin Vampire’ story and also ‘The Treasure of the Moresby Swan.’

Our writers research Cumbrian history back through the ages, and tales take place in many eras: from Roman soldiers building forts along the Solway Firth and turning back invading creatures from the Maryport sea, to cultist villagers living in then wooded fells of Blencathra during the building of Christian Furness Abbey. There are detective tales from the 1950’s, treasure seeking crypt robbers in the 1970’s and a modern Bed and Breakfast that serves some very strange sausages.









Why give the sales profits to charity? Why choose LDSAMRA?
As a group of amateur writers and artists completing our first project, we are fully aware that our impact on the wide world of literature may be very small! If we accomplish nothing else, this is an opportunity to draw some attention to a good cause in Cumbria and give something back to a place we all love. While sales will be unpredictable, we would much prefer to give any and all of our profits to LDSAMRA, with the relative increased readership being sufficient reward in itself..

 We hope that by promoting LDSAMRA alongside the book at every opportunity, we can at least do our very best to raise awareness and help to increase donations to a very worthy cause.


Could I write for Cumbrian Cthulhu?
Yes, please do so! cumbriancthulhu.blogspot.com  is a home for budding horror writers who wish to have their short stories published online. We will also publish physical collections of stories as regularly as we have enough content and spare time!

The only requirements are that the stories are set somewhere in the Cumbrian region and are based around the themes of H.P. Lovecraft’s legendary Cthulhu Mythos. There are no grading systems for your submissions, we all amateur writers here. As long as you are happy with your final drafts and as long as they fit the criteria above and have no illegal or libellous content, you are on! Feel free to supply your own original artwork to complement your story. Cumbrian Cthulhu poetry is welcome as well. You may revise your work at any time after publication online. The Cumbrian Cthulhu website will always be a stress free and relaxed project, ideal for new writers to ‘put themselves out there’ without judgment.

Whilst it is our intention to avoid editing and censorship, the only caveat we make is for submissions that contain themes that would be considered deliberately overly extreme or offensive. Remember that these stories are intended to be a representation of H.P. Lovecraft's Mythos and always respectful to Cumbria.
Come up with a story idea. Anthologies of H. P. Lovecraft’s works are available for reference and collections of new Cthulhu Mythos tales appear regularly.
Research your setting and era. Use accurate and interesting source material. There are many books available detailing the history of The Lake District and the North West coast of England. You can find beautiful photographs and personal accounts from the villages, towns and industries as they grew throughout the ages. The region is rich with inspiring vistas and preserved local tradition, fuel for any overactive imagination! Send your submissions as Word document attachments including contact information to: Cumbrian.Cthulhu@gmail.com







A plea for additional sales
If you buy the books, thank you! You have made a group of amateur writers, artists and production staff very happy. We love you.

Everyone involved in this project has kindly given their time and work for free. All profits from Cumbrian Cthulhu sales will be donated directly to LDSAMRA. We would very much like you to assist us in keeping the sales rolling.
Please recommend the books to at least one other person so we can continue to make donations. Why not buy someone a copy as a present, or make them buy you a copy as a present? Nag until a friend or relative gives in. Use the emotions of guilt, shame or the crimes of bribery and blackmail. Sit with your victim until you have witnessed the online book sale transaction completed. If everyone who buys a book gets another person to buy one, we will sell a copy to the entire population of the world. It’s that easy. Unless of course someone breaks the chain. I can only imagine the years of bad luck such a deed would bring upon a person. It really doesn’t bear thinking about.
Anyway, thanks again for buying the book. Follow our Twitter to check on plans for the next book. We are always looking for new writers.

PS. You should probably buy another copy just for yourself so you can keep it in mint condition. It’s bound to be worth loads in the future, just like those Harry Potter first editions.

Statement of fiction and disclaimer
All stories and characters are completely fictitious; this project was created with a great love and respect for both Cumbria and Lovecraft.  We would like to make it very clear that Cumbrian Cthulhu is completely independent and separate from LDSAMRA and they have no connection or involvement with the content of our books or website.  As a group of amateur writers and artists we have merely chosen a slightly different way to make donations, mainly due to Andrew McGuigan being too fat to do sponsored fell runs and yet strangely still having no sellable cake or fudge making ability. Neither can he keep his mouth shut long enough for a sponsored silence and the less said about the confusion leading to the naked eating of the bath full of baked beans the better. So if you have any issues with the Cumbrian Cthulhu books, speak to Andrew. It’s really not LDSAMRA’s fault, or anything to do with them.


About LDSAMRA
The Lake District Search and Mountain Rescue Association is the umbrella body for mountain rescue teams in Cumbria (UK). It covers the Lake District and Cumbria in 12 member teams and is a registered charity solely funded by voluntary contributions. Teams are largely autonomous, but LDSAMRA coordinates the development of operational matters such as radio communications and insurance, as well as the day to day running of an efficient, voluntary rescue service.  All the teams rely almost totally on donations received from the public. Charitable gifts are always gratefully received, either to specific teams direct, or to mountain rescue generally.




WHAT HELP DOES CUMBRIAN CTHULHU REQUIRE NOW?

We need as much exposure and promotion as possible please!

Feel free to copy any information from this pack to publish on your website, or in your magazine. Use any of the images provided alongside.

Link to our LULU.COM page on Facebook and mention us on Twitter.

We would particularly appreciate any publication of the poster image advertising the books and the LDSAMRA donation.

Email me with any specific ideas for assistance you would like to provide the project.



Such a Quiet Place. Part One



Such A Quiet Place
Part One
Written & Illustrated by Andy Paciorek
With Special Thanks to Andreea V. Balcan.


 
So bitter is the touch of the cold fingers of fate, that should a car engine suddenly cease on a long winter night’s journey; it never does so outside a cosy inn, brimming with fine wine, real ale, hearty food, good cheer and a roaring log fire. No, it is typical, cliché perhaps, that when on such an evening, should a vehicle suddenly give up the ghost, it will decide to do so in the cold, dark middle of nowhere, situated to the back of beyond.
And so it happened to me.

The journey had run smoothly from Nottingham to Scotch Corner, where I took a short break at the service station and the opportunity to fill the tank with petrol and my own yawning belly with hot coffee and convenience food. It was upon resuming my journey north that my troubles began. Firstly the GPS stopping working and then the radio that had kept me company and kept me alert, with its mixture of music and talk descended into a crackle of static and no attempts to retune to any station were successful. By coincidence or otherwise, this coincided with a fall of snow. First a few flakes upon the windscreen, but then rapidly progressing to a flurry and then a heavy and rapid bluster. In both sound and vision now I was beset by quiet white noise.

Had my wife, Caroline, been in the car with me, I would have indulged her in jovial banter about the north – south divide (her being a native of Cumbria and myself hailing from Hertfordshire; the Midlands home we shared being our happy median) and how once past Scotch Corner I would have jibed her about how we were now approaching the ‘end of the world’. But she was not travelling with me; in fact it was to join her that I was making this journey. Earlier in the week she had received a telephone call informing her that her Aunt Isobel had taken ill. Being her nearest living relative, since the death of her own parents, my wife felt an obligation to the old woman, cantankerous and strange as she was. And she was a peculiar woman, short of temper and both very religious and highly superstitious in her ways. And old, very old, in her late nineties at the least but still for the most part strong and independent of character, despite her wizened frame, though she had been very lean and stubborn in the thirty odd years I had known her.
We would make a point of visiting her maybe once or twice a year and take walks along the coast with the old lady or play chess with her in her ancient yet solid and attractive cottage. Chess was a passion of the old lady, and so sharp in mind and strategy was she that neither my wife nor myself ever came close to beating her in a game though we were rather adept players ourselves. “The sport of Kings … and Queens”, Aunt Isobel would cackle when claiming an inevitable checkmate. Yet in life she was never made a queen by any man. Unmarried, childless, Isobel was a true maiden aunt …apparently; however I recalled vaguely a conversation with my wife’s mother many years ago, when she spoke of a man whom Isobel had loved. He was apparently a seafarer – a fisherman or a trader, perhaps a smuggler or pirate for all I knew, but whatever his trade, for one summer he had seduced the Isobel and melted her heart. Apparently the man appeared, by my mother-in-law’s recollection, to be a couple of decades at least older than the teenage Isobel. It was not meant to be, as though he told Isobel he would return for her after his next sea voyage, he was never seen in those parts again. Isobel grieved fearing him lost at sea, but the truth may have been that there was an ‘Isobel’ in every port, the last one forgotten as soon as the next succumbed to his charms. It was said that after the second summer had passed without his return, Isobel never mentioned her erstwhile lover again and never fell into the arms or bed or another man. Though sometimes on our strolls along the shoreline I would see her gaze wistfully across the waves as if she still hoped against hope, after long lonesome decades, that her seadog paramour would still return.

Such a Quiet Place. Part Two



Such A Quiet Place
Part Two

Written & Illustrated by Andy Paciorek
With Special Thanks to Andreea V. Balcan.


I gazed through the misty haze below the orange glow of the electric streetlights that cast long deep shadows on the chaste white snow. I listened to the low guttural growl that issued from the end of that long terrace and squinted my eyes to discern the source of this noise. Silhouetted in the shimmering golden light were a pack of dogs. There seemed to be quite a few and the sight of them filled me with trepidation. Though the clarity of my view was obscure, I sensed instinctively that there was something not right about these hounds but even so their very presence seemed wrong. On holidays abroad in Europe and Asia I had viewed upon packs of feral dogs roaming the towns at night but never more than a couple of strays at a time had I witnessed in Britain. Especially here it would be assumed that their occurrence would not be tolerated, for Cumbrian sheep farmers are extremely protective of their flocks and the salt-marsh mutton and lamb of this area commanded a very good price at market.

There was something so unnerving about the gathering of dogs, that although it was a slightly longer walk and would mean being exposed to this wintry onslaught longer still, I decided to turn and take an alternative route down Lumley Lane. Here the walking was more hazardous even without the gathering inches of snow, for this street was still cobbled. The terraces of Derleth were mainly Victorian and though there were a couple of 20th Century builds, the rest of the buildings were older, mainly 18th Century cottages. I remember Aunt Isobel had said that all new building in Derleth had always followed the same labyrinthine pattern of what came before. She supposed that the mixture of hiding points and escape routes were of great use in the bygone days of sea smuggling (which she hinted were perhaps not quite as bygone as some may assume). She also said that there ran a greater maze of caverns and tunnels that led from sea-cove mouths to deep below the streets of Derleth, meandering out and upwards from the cellars of certain houses.

Though I slipped a couple of times and gathering myself up, dusting myself down and cursing, I made good headway to Aunt Isobel’s house and was soon at the wrought iron gates of Ambrose Cottage. I unfastened the latch and with a little difficulty as I moved away the gathering of snow behind it I proceeded up the path to the door. I found the door locked and gave it a gentle rap of gloved knuckles. No answer. I tried again a little harder and still no response. I moved around the house and could see the comforting luminance of lamplight radiating gently from out of the windows. I gazed into one and saw nothing except for the old leather chair in which Isobel would often sit and read her way through the copious collection of books that stretched along the walls. Isobel was a voracious reader of many diverse subjects, though the shelves were notably absent of the Mills & Boon type books that are a favourite amongst many women of Isobel’s age. I moved further along and gazed through another frosty pane into the sitting room. There I saw a small table, upon it a game of chess in mid-play.
My mind ran over the pieces and I could see that a white knight was about to be claimed by a black bishop but beyond that I could not foresee any potential developments; the mind of Isobel would however already have been many moves ahead and the word ‘Checkmate’ would already be tickling behind her thin, tight lips. For some unfathomable reason the sight of the abandoned chess match disturbed me and a shiver ran down my already cold spine. In the hearth, only the bare embers of flame remained in the dry pool of grey ash.

I speculated on what the situation may be. If my wife and Aunt Isobel had just gone out somewhere for a little while (and would they in this weather?) then Isobel would have ensured that only one lamp at most would have remained lit and that the fire would be safely stoked to burn until their return. My wife had mentioned Isobel’s condition in her text and I wondered whether the situation had worsened and she had been taken into hospital. I was uncertain where the nearest hospital actually was, Whitehaven perhaps.
And still the snow fell. I huddled onto the small porch, looking under flowerpots in search of a door key to no avail. I popped another of the sweet and nasty clumps of candy into my mouth and contemplated my next action. Standing there in the freezing cold and waiting for who knows how long for their return home, did not seem to me the most enticing prospect. Otherwise I could walk further and try a neighbour’s house, though Derleth people were defiantly private and parochial by nature, surely they weren’t devoid of all compassion particularly on such a frigid night or alternatively I could try to break into Isobel’s house, causing of course the minimum of damage possible, and to get warm and to use the land line to ring Caroline’s mobile phone. Isobel, if well enough, would be most displeased at this, but rather her wrath than hypothermia. And perhaps if my prospects as a ‘burglar’ were not great surely a police cell would be warmer than here. I chuckled at this imagining, but my reverie of pondering was very soon to be shattered with an alarming ferocity.

Such a Quiet Place. Part three.



Such A Quiet Place
Part three

Written & Illustrated by Andy Paciorek
With Special Thanks to Andreea V. Balcan.



I had to keep moving though, I did not doubt that soon others of its kind would smell blood and discover their kin lying near lifeless in the frost. But where could I go? I just had to keep on moving. If the beasts did not kill me then surely the devouring winter would soon claim my life. To retrace my steps on Lumley Lane would likely be a fatal idiocy and Glannoventa Street was certainly a no-go area. With some difficulty I scaled a wall beside the garage into a yard and then finding the back gates of the yard locked and bolted, I scaled another which was no mean feat and sapped me of more energy still. I then made my way limping down the back alley towards Gaiman Road again.

There I traversed along the nearest thing to a main road that Derleth possessed, though with the deepening snowfall it was difficult to differentiate between road and field. I would have to keep my wits about me not to wander too close to cliff or to shore. As best I could I kept to the shade of hedgerow and the dark shadows of the scattered gnarled trees that lined the route. Slow progress, especially as constantly I looked around in all directions for the approach of more of these monstrous talking hounds. For the most part, luck finally seemed to be on my side, as I would only gaze upon the occasional beast at a distance or hear their howling carried on the wind. As I traversed over a dip, the most intense light I had seen all night momentarily blinded my eyes. Could it be? Could I dare to hope? But yes, indeed ahead of me upon the road was a car parked with its headlights at full glare. With trepidation I approached the car and as I neared I saw that the driver’s side door was open. Keeping to the shadows still I crept closer. My eyes then beheld a scene of the most gruesome atrocity. The driver of the car, a man as best I could tell, had been dragged from his vehicle by three of the abominations, which now were indulged like hellish gluttons in tearing him limb from limb.
Against wisdom and conscious effort I dry-retched groaningly and one of the creatures stirred and glanced upwards, its muzzle a mass of blood and flesh. Thankfully for me, though it was more concerned with the others claiming all the choice spoils and it dived its head back into the gory mess that had once been a man.

Again another route had been denied to me and what was the sense of heading that way anyway, back to my dead car, to my own death by freezing, on the slim chance I would make it that far?
I again edged backwards keeping my eye on the car and the foul activity around it, and slipping behind a tree I climbed a barbed wire fence into a farmer’s field. This was a risky manoeuvre as I was heading away from any source of illumination in the darkest and most dangerous of situations, but I knew not where safety and comfort could be sought on this terrible night.
So wading through the deep snow in a gradually upwards incline, I wandered aimlessly, my clothing stunk of frozen blood, my leg and head ached and my lips were chapped to bleeding point. I felt nauseous, exhausted, disorientated and desolate. I was truly lost in all senses of the word but still something, some spirit deep inside of me spurred me onwards. I could barely see in front of me, the blackness of the night was impenetrable and clots of blizzard stuck to my eyelids and face. I fell over something, my hand touching something sticky and cold. Raising myself to my feet I realised I had stumbled over the remains of a slaughtered sheep, its body a filthy tangle of fleece and bone and scarce remnants of innards. Looking about me squinting my eyes, I realised that what I had taken for small hillocks of snow were in fact the carcasses of many more sheep, scores of them. All of them butchered roughly and callously, the field was a swamp of offal and wool. The predators had been here obviously, but where they now?

The Echo of Echoes




The Echo of Echoes

Written and illustrated by Andy Paciorek,
With special thanks to Andreea V. Balcan .

The day will come when you will be forced to take sides. There will be no luxury of apathy, no sitting on the fence, for those who do not oppose nor conform, will be crushed underfoot without mercy. The time will come to decide, whether humanity itself is worth defending against all odds or whether self-preservation and abandonment of your own species and everything you ever thought you knew is the wiser option. Either way you will lose.

I sit here within this circle of stone sisterhood, scribbling my thoughts into my notebook with my papers scattered around me. My back reclining against the monolithic matriarch of Long Meg herself; I would rather, in what may be my last moments, be nestling my head in the lap of a living woman rather than a petrified witch of legend. Yet so foul now is the miasma of horror that exudes from my every pore, that I fear I would be shunned by the most lowly drug-addicted harlot. But not for any satiation of carnal desire do I crave the company anyway, so sombre and wretched has my demeanour been of late that there is no amour nor affection residing within my being. No, I would wish more for such a thing for the sensation of comfort and warmth, a reminder of what it means to be human, perhaps the illusion of hope that everything is going to be alright, that the world as we think we know it is not going to end. But everything is Not going to be all right! I have heard the echoes and the end times approach.

Perhaps I should explain how I came to be here on the dawn of this wintering day, here on the moors of Maughanby near Penrith, and how my life came to be in such disarray. Until recently I was a journalist, not for some mighty media empire or broadcasting giant, but merely a reporter for a local rag, The Westmoreland & Cumberland Chronicle, but still I was good at my job … too good. Attention to detail was my downfall, in career and in life. Closer scrutiny of certain local cases, recent and then as I delved further, I discovered historically, started to reveal strange patterns. In investigating myriad cases, - disappearances, strange deaths, thefts of religious and artistic artefacts, vague connections kept appearing regarding the names and properties of the Mordrake and Moorecroft families. Loose connections I grant you, nothing concrete to directly incriminate, yet I feel .. I know, that this is due to skilled concealment and repression of evidence on their part and of their associates from both sides of the law. From my research into both of these houses, I learnt that this was a skill that they had honed over centuries. Tracing the family trees back beneath dark soil to their tangled and gnarled roots, I discovered a hazy trail of mystique and maleficence weaving back to Brigante times and probably beyond. Oh yes, names had changed over time, but the blood lines remained strong and true, if at times mutated by interbreeding.
Though the names of Demdike and Chattox and the like may be familiar to readers of the accounts of North British witchcraft, the names of Mordrake and Moorecroft are mysteriously absent, yet in terms of esoteric involvement and influence these families were and still are at the heart of weird and woeful occult, heathen practice. Sacrifice and slaughter and sexual deviancy are as endemic to them as the wealth and respect that they have gathered about themselves.

I took my findings to my editors, Mr Leigth and Mr Bradley – two of the most different characters ever to work together. I had left my car-keys in the office one evening and had returned to collect them, when from behind closed doors I heard them discussing both my report and me. Actually it was only the heated voice of Bradley I heard; Leigth, though in many ways the dominant character of the pair is a man of few words. Bradley ranted about good reporters gone bad and law-suits from wealthy respectable members of the community who kept themselves to themselves, and a tirade of how the paper was concerned with facts and not works of fabulous fiction. So it was the next day, that Mr Leigth called me into his office and to cut to the chase, basically informed me in a gentle and tactful manner that I was due a rest and was required to take leave of an indefinite period. I was livid, but could say nothing and did as was bid. Yet I continued my research and it took me in an unforeseen direction, wide reaching in both geography and fields of study. And though my report was buried in favour of the usual and mundane tales of cattle markets and rescues of careless tourists to the lakes and hills, my research did not remain unknown to those parties it directly concerned. In my investigation, I learnt to my dismay that Mr Leigth was a close and personal friend of one Mr Algeron Moorecroft.

That my career in the press had come to an end was without doubt and was the least of my worries. Though I was nothing but an insignificant ant in the families’ grand plans, it is an undeniable fact that the fate of many an ant is to be trampled beneath the heel of a heavy boot. Though I doubt there was anything I could do to halt their cataclysmic ambitions (of which I was only becoming aware at that point) I knew I might be considered an irritation, best rid of. I wondered only whether they would try to conform me or simply to annihilate me.
They made it known to me that I was known to them. They made their displeasure apparent, not in so vulgar and obtuse a manner as verbal threat or poison pen letter; instead they spoke to me in dreams, telling me to desist. But these were not the worst of my night-thoughts by any means. As my research intensified and I delved further into the past and further across the globe, unearthing more and more dark buried secrets, nightmares of terrible landscapes, abnormal practices and malformed, grotesque beings infested my every sleeping moment. I had little respite when awake, but I could at least then try to master my own thoughts, even if the skin of what I considered reality peeled away before my eyes like the layers of a rotten onion.
So I shunned sleep, I drowned myself in caffeine and through the shadier contacts I had made as a matter of course of my newspaper work, I armed myself with a hearty supply of amphetamine.
But I have not spoken of their plans have I? Well not here, there are many folders of paperwork and files on my computer back at my house detailing my research, but already I suspect they may have been destroyed. The plans of the Moorecrofts and Mordrakes, and not only them but of kindred dark souls across the entire globe were nothing less than the end of the world itself. To be more precise they planned to be the heralds and the conduits through whose means the Old Gods would return to rule the earth for future aeons.

The Old Gods … the forgotten monstrous force of eternity, their presence hidden from the masses, but known and served for centuries and across numerous nations by certain clans and families. The fools! Blind and greedy in their devotion to those foul eternal monsters, they think they will be rewarded for their obedience to the Ancient Ones but once they have paved the way of the New Dawn, set the machinery running for the re-emergence of the Outer Gods, they will have served their purpose and course and be utterly destroyed like the rest of mankind. Of that I am sure! I say re-emerge for they have never left this world, least not all of them. Many of greater and lesser degree sleep beneath the soil, within the mountains, below the lakes and oceans. Their tendrils spread across the entire planet, yet there are places where their presence still is more manifest – in the frozen wastes of the Artic and Antarctic, in New England, the Himalayas, regions of North Africa and in Asia and here in sleepy, beautiful Cumbria.

I know how this must sound – the sleep-deprived, chemically polluted ravings of a man close to the edge. Yes, though I teeter on the precipice, I have never been more lucid. I even now emit a laugh, not the roar or a lunatic, but a small weary smile of gallows humour as I think on the irony of Bradley’s words. Fiction – Ha! All the miserable facts of everyday existence are the fiction, masks concealing the huge clandestine truth of existence. It is in the fantastic fiction of novelists and poets, in the images of artists where the real truths have if not entirely revealed, been most alluded to. What may be considered imagination or inspiration is instead sensitivity to the unknown things. There is more fact in the purple prose of the notorious Providence pulp-writer than in all the newssheets of the world.
It is inevitable that it is so, of such magnitude is the presence and manifestation of the Great Old Ones that from the dawn of time to the dusk of their awakening and the midnight that falls at the death of the universe, ripples of their being have undulated back and forth across the vast dimension of time. It is to be expected that such echoes would touch the minds of and be represented as best possible by those of an openly creative disposition. It is there, manifest in the grotesque visions of Hieronymous Bosch, in the perverse ink-lines of Alfred Kubin and in the strange half-sleep drawings of Austin Osman Spare.
It is there in comic-books and celluloid – Kubrick felt drawn and revealed truths without perhaps knowing it in his choice of literature to film – masked orgies, madness in the mountains, the worship of a devastating force, violence on the streets of a broken society, even in the silent sentinel monoliths the monstrous presence is manifest.
Oh, they may claim other sources of inspiration, find other explanations to claim the monstrous genius as their own, but would they have dared admit that they didn’t know or even if they did know from where those thoughts and images truly sprung?

The echoes resonate in some of the lines of Gogol and Baudelaire, of Rabelais and Poe. William Blake knew it, he felt it – when he spoke of an eternity in a grain of sand he may well have spoke of the Old Gods; of their great cosmic fractal entity that replicates eternally from the microcosm of a molecule of a speck of dust on the scale of a butterfly’s wing to the ravenous nebulae that span light years across the depths of space. The echo of echoes, the harmony of chaos – the discord of logic, the end of the beginning and the beginning of the end; such is the magnitude of the Ancient Ones. Resonating through time they are the Ouroboros of the archaic alchemists – the infinite serpent that continuously devours and gives birth to itself.


The echoes have of course been felt by others, still and growing stronger as the days approach. Manifest not in words of novels or poems, or on marks on paper or canvas but as acts of the most saddening violence and depravity. The world grows insane; lurid, tragic news-clippings gather by my feet, headlines screaming “Gruesome Torture-Den Found in Whitehaven Shed”, “Archaeology Students Die in Mysterious Circumstances”, “More Strange Disappearances at Ashness Bridge” “Young Mother Murders Newborn Son” … the list goes on and on. More and more people turn now to drink and drugs to blind their nightmares and waking horrors, as the Ancients stir from their womb of sleep, their presence becomes felt more by even the less sensitive. And there are other signs – the fluorescent froth that floats on Windermere heralding the awakening of the amphibious underlings of the breathing darkness. The black beacons are once more lit on the hilltops, invisible to many but drawing others to their death. And in the wider world, rioters take to the streets as nature rebels also wreaking more and more environmental disasters.
Long hours I spent in my house engrossed in newspaper stories and genealogy papers, and in books and articles on science, witchcraft, ufology, meteorology, astronomy, clairvoyance, cryptozoology, applied mathematics, ley-lines, earth mysteries and many more diverse and esoteric subjects besides. I was gripped by the practice of reading and reinterpreting the riddles of Meso-America and of the Middle East, and the lines of grimoires and Enochian script and other eldritch tomes. Then what seemed at first like random and strange abstract jigsaw puzzle pieces began to lock into place displaying a weird and terrifying truth. Synchronous interconnections of people and places and events of past, present and future revealed themselves.

The ancients felt the ripple of echoes, Nostradamus saw the hazy shapes in his pail of water, John Dee heard the faint whispers and glimpsed the vague forms of the Others in the reflections of his black obsidian mirror. In the glyphs and codices of the ancient Egyptians and the ancient Mayans, fluctuations to the common order were recorded but they were vague and more dimly understood for they spoke more of mathematical equations and of astronomy rather than of the horrendous events that will unfold. Much has been said of 2012 but the days of October 28 or December 21 or December 24 may pass unremarkably as the matter of configuration of the sun, earth and centre of the galaxy are just minor recurrent movements, single steps in a much longer dance. All molecules of matter will concur, not in a straight line but as a great expanding Mandelbrot spiral as the awakening occurs. The end may not come upon any of those specific dates, it is in motion already and the calendar becomes meaningless anyway for when the rebirth of the Old Ones and the death of the human aeon coincide birth and death throes will echo and ripple back and forth across the ribbons of time.

And on the fringe, some have spoken of the return of the dark planet, Nibiru, but science has scoffed this with their data and astronomical observation, but their telescopes are faced the wrong way. Nibiru, Planet X … call it what you will, will return but from beneath, not from outward. It will rise from the soil and rise from the sea and explode forth from the mouths of men and beasts.
And he too will return from his slumber at the bottom of the ocean, that great Devil-Fish deity I dare not name. He was sealed within his sleeping tomb for millennia, but I hope it may be possible that he may be trapped again but such folly for I fear his confinement was of his own bidding.
He may be released by the direct intervention of the faithful deviant followers or it may occur through the foolhardiness and greed of deep-sea explorers. The hidden texts declare that the walls of his nadir cell are marked with warnings of all the written tongues of the time – Sumerian, Egyptian, Akkadian and the forgotten languages of the Atlanteans, Lemurians, Hyperboreans and of other forgotten extinct races. But did Carter and Carnarvon pay heed to the warnings on the tomb of Tutankhamun? They did not, and though the curse there was of questionable merit, should this submerged edifice be breached, he will awaken and he will rise and when he does great tsunamis will rage for hundreds of miles inland, drowning cities and claiming multitudes of lives.

I discovered this and many more grim truths in my studies, but what could I do? I could write and warn, perhaps scupper the intentions of certain individuals who seek to bring about the abominations upon the earth, but there were too many others to take their place. I could not turn my mind off; still I dug deeper and deeper into more arcane material. I rarely left my home at that stage, only fleeting journeys to buy fast food, more coffee and cigarettes and the occasional drive into Newcastle or Carlisle to procure more Speed.
But then I noticed I was being watched, being followed and it was no longer safe to stay at home, so I drove and wandered and walked and wondered. I knew I could not run forever, but I wanted more time to learn more, to satiate my self-devouring addiction to this terrible knowledge. And so I eventually roamed here to Long Meg.

And now as I scribble what may be my final words, the light fails suddenly. Does the twilight fall already? I look upwards –the golden sun sinks into a spiralling winter sky of blue and grey and crimson. For all the cruelty of fate and the wasted chances of mankind, this is a beautiful place. The light falls sublimely on the sisterhood of standing stones circling me, in the distance horizon the faint outline of the mounts of the English Lake District. It is indeed a beautiful place … A beautiful place to die perhaps. I know my time is coming, I feel the anticipation of great change … the calm before the storm. I fear it but welcome it more for I know I will not bear witness to the darker times ahead.
They are coming. I see their shadowy forms beyond the edge of the stone circle. Men, no not men, amorphous smoky man –like forms. Perhaps the bodies of men acting as the vehicles of another force, hungry to get out but confined in these mortal vessels until the physics of the planet are altered to suit their needs. Tendrils of purple mist seems to issue from their fingers and to caress the stone bodies of Long Meg’s daughters and is it my fancy or do I hear faint ecstatic sighs emitted from these petrified maidens upon the return and touch of their dark masters?

They come nearer. The faint purple mist creeps beneath the stones approaching me It is strange, they say your life flashes in front of your eyes when death approaches, I hastily scribble these words, but all that comes to my mind is an image of myself within the womb, strange … a comfort mechanism perhaps – I wondered whether before birth I had a vision of my death. Perhaps this is not death but rebirth.

Closer still .. I feel a serene dread and both love and abhorrence for the encroaching beings. I realise I have not chosen a side to be on … the choice is not mine.
My fingers touch the stone of Long Meg and I feel the grooves of a ‘cup and ring’ marking. The design of concentric circles engraved by the crude tools of prehistoric man . Oddly the touch of it soothes me, I recognise it as the eternal spiralling circle of time and existence, reverberations of infinite endless realities – the echo of an echo of an echo…

They are here …

Friends of Cumbrian Cthulhu: Eolith Designs

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 Eolith Designs' sculptures take their inspiration from the dawn and dusk of civilisations; from real and imagined histories, and the world of myth and legend. Bringing together things that were, things that could have been, and things that may be.

 Each Sculpture is a unique work of art created by the artist.  The processes involved in casting and finishing ensure that no two will ever be identical. Each design is also strictly limited and each sculpture comes with it's own certificate of authenticity, signed and numbered by the artist. The collection will change and grow as new designs emerge and others are lost to history.

Check out the descriptions and links below to see the fantastic images on the Eolith Designs website!




“If I say that my somewhat extravagant imagination yielded simultaneous pictures of an octopus, a dragon, and a human caricature, I shall not be unfaithful to the spirit of the thing.”
H.P. Lovecraft – The Call of Cthulhu

Egyptian Cthulhu is approximately 8½ inches (21cm) tall and weighs approximately 600g.

 Egyptian Cthulhu




Following the collapse of the Hittite Empire around 1180 BC strange new religions emerged amongst The People of a Thousand Gods. 
Kutullu appears to have been worshipped as an aspect of Illuyankas the great sea dragon. Few inscriptions remain and little is known of his cult. This statue hastily buried by priests before his temple fell to invaders is the only known image of the deity.

Hittite Cthulhu is approximately 9 inches (22.5cm) tall, including his base, and weighs approximately 330g.

Syro-Hittite Cthulhu 


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