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12 August 1991

Gershom Asylum for the Criminally Insane

Wetumpka State Penitentiary

Dear Mr. Brecklin,

I have to say that when I received your first letter and read of your theory of a shared delusion amongst the inmates of Gershom Asylum, I was quite skeptical. I don’t think I have ever heard of a case of group delusion existing within a community of the insane. Most of the mentally deranged live in a world of their own fabrication or a warped sense of reality that prevents them from seeing beyond their own narrow perceptions, however distorted, of reality. In other words, they are withdrawn and lack empathy for the perspectives of others that they might adjust their perceptions to match societal norms. Even if one were to hypothesize that one influential member of the community had somehow infected their own ideas into all the other inmates, I wouldn’t think that it would have much effect beyond maybe one or two weak minded individuals. Now, however, I have to report to you that certain things witnessed by me and my staff have caused me to return to your letter of several months ago and reevaluate the situation.

It’s hard to say which patient was patient zero – and I know you adamantly contend that the cause cannot be traced to any one patient, but I refuse to believe that. I must maintain the view that there is one patient influencing all of the others because I cannot believe that the source is some manner of pseudoscientific or fringe belief such as ESP or channeling or some such nonsense. There must be a perfectly rational and natural explanation no matter how unlikely the outcome.

Tracing things back to patient zero has been fraught with problems but I think a likely candidate is one patient I will simply refer to as Percy. I’m probably skirting the lines of confidentiality just by writing you and describing the phenomenon; I certainly don’t want a complete breach of patient confidentiality. You should understand this, but I do think that you deserve a description of the circumstances since it was you who first brought it to my attention. How you first caught wind of this is still a mystery but I shall explain some of the things we have witnessed.

One of our staff recalled the earliest known incident between Percy and another inmate. The staff member couldn’t recall the specifics of the things Percy was saying, but they’re pretty sure that it was quotes from that abhorred book you sent me. This particular inmate was so distressed by the things Percy was saying that he attacked Percy. We were forced to move the patient to solitary confinement. Unfortunately, the patient died shortly thereafter so I can’t interview him at this time.

After we began monitoring the things the patients were saying more carefully, I had the staff write down specific phrases that possessed common themes. I collected these notes and compared them to the copy of the Necronomicon that you sent me. As I said, that book is an abomination and I can only surmise that Percy must have memorized the damned thing. The patients mentioned many of those devilish names: Yig, Yog-Sothoth, Azathoth, Shub-Niggurath, Nyarlathotep, Dagon and Cthulhu. They mentioned many of those strange places: Carcosa, R’lyeh, Leng, Irem, and The Nameless City. They would quote random snippets of lines, phrases, and passages from the book as well.

In response to your specific inquiry into mentions of Cthulhu and his Star Spawn, yes, these were the main gibberings and phrases being uttered by the inmates. There was much talk of the “Metallic Children of Cthulhu”, the “Multihued Seeds of Cthulhu”, the “Star Spawned Metalloid Ones” and other such phrases and references.

The most common phrases were the following three, which virtually every inmate had apparently memorized through sheer repetition:

“That is not dead which can eternal lie, And with strange aeons even death may die.”

“Eternal is the power of Evil, and infinite in its contagion! The Great Cthulhu yet hath sway o’er the minds and spirits of Men, yea, even tho’ He lieth chained and ensorcelled, bound in the fetters of The Elder Sign, His malignant and loathly mind spreadeth the dark seeds of madness and corruption into dreams and nightmares of sleeping men.”[i]

“In dark places we shall banish to the deepest recesses of strife, but their kind shall never vanish for even in death, there is still life.”[ii]

There were two incidents that struck me as the most bizarre and unsettling. The first occurred one night when Percy was found in his darkened cell, huddled in the corner. He was reciting the following passage over and over in a rapid whisper:

“Many and multiform are the dim horrors of Earth, infesting her ways from the prime. They sleep beneath the unturned stone they rise with the tree from its roots, they move beneath the sea and in subterranean places, they dwell in the inmost adyta, they emerge betimes from the shutten sepulcher of haughty bronze and the low grave that is sealed with clay. There be some that are long known to man, and others as yet unknown that abide the terrible latter days of their revealing. Those which are the most dreadful and the loathliest of all are haply still to be declared. But among those that have revealed themselves aforetime and have made manifest their veritable presence, there is one which may not openly be named for its exceeding foulness. It is that spawn which the hidden dweller in the vaults has begotten upon mortality.”[iii]

The last incident occurred one late night when the orderlies called me. I was on duty that night and they roused me from slumber in my office. When I entering the cellblock, I heard all of the inmates chanting in unison the following atrocious phrase:

“Ph’nglui Mglw’nafh Cthulhu R’lyeh wgah’nagl fhtagn.”[iv]

I wouldn’t have known how to spell the horribly alien sounding words if not for the book you sent. I know not what it means, but I copied it just as it is written and there is no mistaking that this is what they were chanting.

And there you have it, Mr. Brecklin. I’ve reported it just as I’ve observed it and I await your response to explain how it is you knew about the mass delusion. More importantly, I hope the information you provide can help me further the research I’m conducting because frankly, I’m currently at a loss to explain just how it is that Percy can so thoroughly affect a community of people who should not be so easily corralled into participating in his mad delusions.

Looking forward to your response,

Dr. Nicolas Steiger

[i] Written by Lin Carter in “Dreams from R’lyeh: A Sonnet Cycle”.

[ii] This is another reference to “The Cave” in Tome of Horror. This epigraph actually has several references within it. The term “In dark places” is a reference to a song by Crimson Glory entitled “In Dark Places” that recounts the luring of a man to a watery death. The term “still life” is a reference to the song “Still Life” by Iron Maiden which is eerily similar to “In Dark Places” in that it also recounts the luring of a man to a watery death. The entire epigraph is very similar to Lovecraft’s famous Cthulhu couplet.

[iii] Written by Clark Ashton Smith from “The Nameless Offspring”.

[iv] From “The Call of Cthulhu” by H.P. Lovecraft. Translated as “In his house at R’lyeh dead Cthulhu waits dreaming”.

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