"Out of the Aeons" is a short story by H. P. Lovecraft and Hazel Heald, a writer from Somerville, Massachusetts. It is one of five stories Lovecraft revised for Heald. It focuses on a Boston museum that displays an ancient mummy recovered from a sunken island.
The story is told from the point of view of the curator of the Cabot Museum in Boston. In 1878, a freighter captain sighted an uncharted island in the Pacific, presumably risen from its sunken state due to volcanic activity. From it, he recovered a strange mummy and a metal cylinder containing a scroll. Early in November 1879, the mummy is put on display in the museum, and the island vanishes without a trace.
Over the years, the mummy garners a reputation as a possible link to an ancient tale of K'naa from the Black Book by von Junzt where a priest named Tyog, challenges the demon Ghatanothoa using the power of a magical scroll, written in Naacal on yakith-lizard skin and inspired by Great Old Ones opposed to Ghatanothoa. In his sleep, however, one of the cultists stole the true magical scroll and replaced it with a fake one, and T'yog was never seen again. When the possible link to the Black Book and T'yog reaches the general public, the narrator begins to notice more and more suspicious foreigners coming to the museum.
Soon, several attempts are made to steal the mummy. During one attempt on the 1st December 1932, two men, armed with the true scroll, die as the mummy seemingly springs to life, opens its eyes and reveals an image of the approaching form of Ghatanothoa. The image had retained the power of Ghatanothoa to mummify any who view it, turning one of the thieves into a mummy, but the image has significantly faded by the time the curator examines it ,and it only frightens the him. Though he does not understand what he has seen, the curator is horribly shaken and orders the dissection of the mummy on the 8th December. The curator and all present are shocked that the mummy is in fact the remains of T'yog with a living brain which is still aware of its surroundings.
The modern worldEdit
- Richard H. Johnson Ph.D. - The late curator of the Cabot Museum. Having thoroughly researched the mummy and its origins he died of heart failure under suspicious circumstances on the 22nd April 1933.
- Captain Charles Weatherbee - The Captain of the Eridanus, the freighter that discovered the mummy.
- Curator Pickman - The curator of the museum when the mummy first arrived.
- Staurt Reynolds - A journalist from the Boston Pillar whose article from the 5th April 1923 brought the mummy into the public eye.
- Swami Chandraputra - Appearing in a turban and a heavy beard Swami is one of many occult experts who visits the mummy
- Etienne-Laurent de Marigny - A New Orleans mystic writing for the Occult Review who wrote about the links between the mummy's scroll with hieroglyphs in the Black Book.
- Friedrich von Junzt - Author of the Black Book
- Dr William Minot - The doctor who witnessed the autopsy of a petrified intruder at the museum and was called in to perform the scientific examination on the mummy. He was stabbed in the back 18th of January 1933.
- Wentworth Moore Sc.D. - The museum taxidermist examined the mummy as it began to "decay" and who later assisted Dr Minot in its dissection. He disappeared in March 1933.
- Lawrence Cabot and Dudley Salton - Museum trustees present for the dissection.
- Drs Mason, Wells and Carver - Museum staff present for the dissection.
K'naa (Circa. 200,000 B.C.)Edit
- Ghatanothoa - A demon left beneath the crypts of a fortress atop Yaddith-Gho both worshipped and feared by the people of K'naa with the power to turn those who see him into living mummy-like statues.
- Imash-mo - The High Priest of Ghatanothoa who stole T'yog's scroll and swapped it out for the counterfeit.
- King Thabon - Puppet ruler of K'naa under the heavy influence of the Priests of Ghatanothoa.
- T'yog - High Priest of Shub-Niggurath and Guardian of the copper Temple of the Goat of a Thousand Young. Though he hoped his Crusade against Ghatanothoa would launch him to power in K'naa he was betrayed by Imash-mo and he was trapped in the petrified shell of his body for over 170,000 years before likey being killed by his dissection in the Cabot Museum.
- Shub-Niggurath - The Outer God woshipped by T'yog and his order who helped inspire the protective scroll against Ghatanothoa.
- Nug, Yeb and Yig - Great Old Ones also believed by T'yog to be sympathetic to his cause.
Robert Bloch wrote a screen adaptation of the story for the 1971 TV series Night Gallery, however it was not produced. It was rewritten by Alvin T. Sapinsley, filmed, and broadcast as "Last Rites of a Dead Druid". Sapinsley's screenplay bore no relation to the original Lovecraft tale that Bloch had adapted.
- Several members of Lovecraft's Cthulhu Mythos are mentioned in this story, including Shub-Niggurath and Yig, who inspire T'Yog with the scroll to ward off Ghatanothoa's power.
- The first curator of the Cabot Museum was named "Pickman", sharing a name with the eponymous character of Lovecraft's "Pickman's Model".
- The unusual "Swami Chandraputra" is actually Randolph Carter, who, as described in "Through the Gates of the Silver Key," uses that alias after his mind is trapped in an alien body.
- The story helped inspire the Xothic legend cycle of Lin Carter.