To Mssrs. Calavera & Sackett
Having received your wire concerning your investigations into certain offshore tremors in conjunction with the outbreaks of nervous attacks in Ipswich and other areas, I have compiled all the evidence I can muster at this time as regards the points of your inquiry which as yet elude you. Rest assured that I have the greatest respect for the seriousness of the situation and will not insult your intelligence by pandering to the lowest common denominator of what may be considered, "common taste." It is my hope that this document will aid you, but I caution you to tread lightly in these matters. The need for restraint and sound judgment in the face of unknowable and infinite terrors can hardly be overstated.
That having been said, I herein provide as requested the complete and unabridged text of what must be considered the last will and testament of one Reginald Garfield Kerry, late of Boston, Massachusetts and one-time associate of Gerald Frederick Sargent of Arkham (The text, as you may have heard, was recorded in a stenographer's pad along with many curious symbols that our philological arm is still analyzing). Whereas both aforementioned personages have vanished beyond the abilities of the regional constables to trace, and whereas the matter they had investigated prior to their disappearance was of vital importance not only to your analysis but also to certain esoteric studies at Miskatonic University, I also here enclose such related and sundry articles as may help to shed light on their fate.
You must please forgive me that I cannot provide you with the original document, but several roadblocks to successful transmittal of this information immediately presented themselves. Not only was much linguistic analysis necessary in order to translate certain passages of the more incoherent final entries, but the entire document was in danger of being lost forever due to the caustic and foul-smelling slime in which many of the pages were coated. The fortunately ignorant and stubborn postman who managed to deliver said package (addressed specifically to me, by the by), even against the warnings and protests of certain justifiably frightened locals, complained mightily of the smell even though the papers were wrapped in many sheets of heavy newsprint.
As the evidence presented here is scanty and biased at best, the reader is cautioned against making any objective conclusions. However certain passages from such obscure volumes as remain extant in our restricted book section at Miskatonic University's Orne Library may shed additional light on this matter. Be aware that under no circumstances are these documents or any derivative works to be distributed either to the general public or the police. Given the dire warnings of Von Junzt regarding certain events to take place in the near future, I cannot stress enough the importance of further research and the prevention of undue panic from an unprepared populace.
The testimonial of Reginald Kerry:
Knowing what I now know, seeing what I have seen, it is clearly impossible for my mortal existence upon this Earth to continue a few days, if not hours, beyond the completion of this document. Perhaps I write to prepare myself, to exorcise, to purge my soul and mind of the horrors I have witnessed even though I know in my heart that whatever diseased and evil thing has germinated and sunk its pallid and clammy roots into my spirit cannot be removed except by death. And this I know shall not overtake me in time to prevent the inevitable and ultimate nightmare of my soul.
It is therefore with a great deal of fear that I begin the account of the final months of my life as I have known it. By recording these occurrences I risk not myself, for my fate is now secured irrevocably forevermore, but that of my fellow creatures who walk unknowing and blissful between the black abysses that yawn unseen and hungering. If this tale survives unscathed through the events that shall shortly follow its penning, then know that to read this is to risk one's very existence as a man.
Whatever the outcome, I hope and believe that he who follows me shall be wise and destroy this manuscript before the truth becomes generally known. One cannot risk exposure to such depths of nighted sepulchral realities, though it may even be taken as nonsense. Such madness spreads and breeds further evil.
Thus do I begin. Whatever power of lunacy drives me to compose this dread account, mankind has been duly warned.
It was three months ago, almost to the day, that I met Gerald Frederick Sargent. At the time, I was pursuing a doctoral degree in Boston, researching the history and mythology of Europe in an effort to posit sociological connections between the beliefs of European immigrants and the subsequent cultural and religious development of the New England states. I had been loudly lamenting for some time the lack of reputable scholarly work regarding the powers of certain mythological references to inspire fundamental cultural trends in fledgling societies when Gerald found me.
He was a spare man of about five feet in height with a blond-haired boyish face that belied his forty years. Dressed in a brown tweed suit that seemed to hang on his skeletal frame and possessed of a quiet almost nervous voice, he had rather large eyes that darted to and fro, seeming to be constantly observing in detail everything that transpired around him. Buried in my studies at the college library I never even heard the soft footfall of his approach, and when he spoke I had to physically suppress a shudder.
"Mr. Kerry, I presume?"
"Yes?" I replied, not knowing what this scarecrow-like creature could want of me.
"I could not help but learn of your studies into ethnic mythology, and I must say I am intrigued. May I sit?"
I motioned him to a chair opposite mine at one of the reading room's many desks. He introduced himself and smiled affably before he went on. "I am currently visiting your fine college campus in an effort to further my own studies into a similar topic to yours and was wondering if you would care to pool resources."
I must have looked astonished for I was told by my professors, skeptics all, that my chosen field was quite unique and of limited utility in determining cultural trends. "I wasn't aware," I stammered, "that this topic was of interest to anyone other than myself!"
"Well," he replied with a grin, "let me simply say that I have a personal interest."
At the time I respected his reticence. I wish, though it does no good now to do so, that I had told him to look elsewhere for support; but I was frankly flattered that someone had actually sought me out, that my study was considered sufficiently within the avante garde to warrant the effort of contacting an obscure student with virtually no credentials. So I was destined, by means of my own hubris, to throw in my lot with him.
I learned from him of his own studies at the famed Miskatonic University in Arkham where he had been researching selected esoteric volumes in an effort to provide himself with a greater understanding of certain archeological and mythological allusions as they influenced notable city founders throughout New England. In particular, he was nigh unto obsessed with a number of parallels between certain (possibly spurious) confessions made during the Salem witch trials of 1692 and passages in several of the manuscripts contained within the special vaults of Miskatonic's library. He mentioned more than a few names that I had heard rumors of, but had dismissed as fanciful: the Unaussprechlichen Kulten by Von Junzt, the Pnakotic Manuscripts, and the dreaded Necronomicon of the mad arab Abdul Alhazred.
Given the evidence at his disposal, it was his theory that many socio-economic and religious groups had fled Europe, not merely to escape persecution, but to flee the influence of some nameless power that had long been dominant in one form or another in the old world. When I pressed him for specifics his uncommunicativeness reasserted itself, but he did tell me that whatever this mysterious and malignant force was, the immigrants to the western hemisphere had been so woefully unsuccessful in avoiding that which they dreaded that even to this day the haunting tales of what awaited them in the dark frontiers beyond man's civilization are still whispered with fearful furtiveness in alley and forest alike.
He had sought me out, so he told me, because of my recent successes in bringing to the scientific community conclusive evidence that religion, far from being a mere distraction or impediment to man's advancement, was truly the essence of every culture from antiquity to the present. I had not only acknowledged recent philosophical works such as Macintyre and Weber's critiques of the Enlightenment, but also provided ample historical data to show the inevitable shaping of even atheistic cultures by way of religion and superstitious references that, from a philological standpoint, serve to underpin all morality and government.
May God forgive me for my arrogance, for I was ensorcelled by the man's gushing words of praise for my life's work. In me he had found a kindred spirit, someone who would take his own labors seriously and who would serve to impart additional respectability to a previously under-researched and ill-regarded field of study. He proposed to provide me with a room at Miskatonic (I would have to pay for food and utilities) and to procure a good deal of time with the volumes of abstruse lore contained within the library itself.
How ironic it is that at the time I concluded I had no choice but to agree! I had often felt a profound loneliness in my work and was immensely grateful for the indulgence of a fellow mind. I also felt that my absence from my own college would be more welcomed by my professors than mourned; so, approximately one week after our meeting, I found myself on the early morning train to Arkham.
How shall I describe that antique crumbling town in which I eventually found myself? As I stepped onto the platform with only the contents of my small suitcase, I cast my gaze far and wide to see the hoary, solemn, and even somewhat dire streets and buildings of Arkham. Disintegrating banisters, strangely sagging roofs and seemingly ancient paving were the norm here as if the whole city had either failed or refused to enter the modern age and chose instead to brood in its omnipresent decay and immutable stolidity. Everywhere I looked it seemed as though the buildings huddled gravely together, leaning precariously over the crudely paved roads and casting their bizarre malformed shadows in eldritch shapes that seemed profound even in broad daylight.
In the distance I could hear the muttering flow of the Miskatonic River, its dark babbling seeming to provide the sole counterpoint to the unsettling and flutelike piping winds that whistled and darted amongst archaic brickwork and set every hanging sign at every somber storefront swinging and creaking in tune to the mad and tuneless notes of the breeze.
Though I could not completely repress my feelings of trepidation as I took in the sights of this place, at the time all of the imagery in my mind brought on by Arkham's byways was of less import to me than my hunger for knowledge. I was soon met by Gerald who quickly showed me to my room at the university western dormitory on College Street; and having disposed of the pathetic sundries of life, I now proposed in his presence to begin my researches immediately.
The library itself was every bit as imposing as the town in which it dwelled. Its archaic and ornate frontispiece, dominated by a groaning gothic clock face with arms like twisted daggers, stood sentinel-like over the campus, flaunting its frowning gaze like some cyclopean giant. The dark front doors, massive and double and carved of solid oak that moaned and sighed as Gerald and I pulled at the brass handles, finally admitted us to the great hall. Inside our footsteps weirdly echoed along the marble floor, and I could not wholly dismiss the fanciful notion that I had entered a great vault or hoary crypt whose contents stirred curiously in the darkness.
Gerald led me up two flights of iron stairs and thence to the door of one of the chief librarians, a Dr. Phillip Retief, D.L.S. From him we received permission to view a few of the extant copies of those books that Gerald had deemed of vital importance to our combined sociological inquiries. Also provided was a list of known references thus far researched by contributing linguists who had taken the time to outline key passages and their generally understood meanings.
I had intended, of course, to use these combined resources to help me work out the practical points of how a culture can be shaped by superstition and thus form profound systems of governance either in acceptance of or in rebellion against certain truths which may be either welcome or unwelcome. But what I found in the course of these studies was instead horror upon horror.
The writings of Alhazred, von Junzt, and Prinn alike were so disjointed, cryptic, and utterly alien that I marveled that the hand of mortal man could pen such blasphemous words. I read of arcane formulae, ancient prophecies, and of the Great Old Ones who once were cast to Earth and warred ever and anon amongst themselves before mankind ever crawled from the maw of whatever slime-spawned thing that had given them life. I read of the Outer Gods who haunt the interstices of space and time and who gnaw and gibber amongst the dark places of the universe that lie just beyond our reach. Still other passages were of accounts utterly beyond the realm of sanity and reason.
How many times did I and my associate pore over these forbidden volumes whilst my wits were brought ever closer to the point of dissolution? How many instances were there when, after I had subjected my brain to wonders and terrors beyond time and space, after having pored over passages that had no key and sentences that seemed to have no meaning or relation to my cause, I was forced to retire in exhausted and stupefied disappointment?
But as the weeks passed and as I again and again returned to the room and the accursed tomes with ever-increasing weariness and dread only to scribble hasty notes in my stenographer's pad, I felt the looming of nameless forces that had long since swallowed up my petty ambitions and replaced them with the crawling loathsome lusts begotten of their dark knowledge. I felt ever more strongly the sensation of being drawn body and soul into those things that no man had the right or the power to know, even though such wild secrets as we could ascertain amidst the glowing half-light of the lamps in that cramped and moldy inner reading room filled me with a loathing such as I have never known. But did I dare to believe such things? To think that such blasphemous and unspeakable horrors existed as were recorded therein was nigh unto unimaginable!
Although fleeing Arkham forever would have been a prodigious relief, I found myself unable to cease my reading. While every fiber of my shuddering reason recoiled against the assault of the hellish words in those frightful volumes, at the same time there arose within me a harmony, an according discord that seemed to gather me up into something that was not, after all, new but was instead something that I seemed to know and indeed had known long before my consciousness emerged from the oblivion of seeming non-entity. I felt at once repulsed and attracted, sickened and exultant. As secret after secret revealed itself and branded its abhorrent certainty into my brain, I seemed to see more and more that the natural and blissful life I had lead as a budding academic was the real lie and these hateful blasphemies to be the real truth.
The last onrushing nightmare came with the following scribbled passage from the fevered pen of the mad Arab, drawn from a nearly disintegrated and ichor-stained margin and here printed in its entirety, unriddled as best as can be from the Latin of Olaus Wormius:
"Twas then I saw the unseeable, knew the unknowable. He it is who travels, seeks the truth, and knows the nameless things that gnaw at his heart and soul; he shall realize his birthright and shall arise in lands unknown by men but known to the Great Old Ones who hunger and await their advent when the stars are right. Oh how foolish are you men who flee across the sea that is not yours and seek refuge in a land that can offer no shelter, for it too shall be grasped by the lords of chaos! The son of the deep and his brothers shall be as tokens to you of the horrors yet to come. He shall cry out his obscene ecstasy, willing all who hear to cry out in terror and exultation. And great Cthulhu shall call him first among the blessed."
Though afterwards I saw these words written in my own hand upon my notepad and though Gerald told me that I had been writing with an almost inhuman fervor, I have no recollection of when I first transcribed this extract from that horrible book. When I first read it, my vision clouded over and such an overpowering eruption of fright hurled my mind into the void that no matter how many times I try to remember my deeds of that night, I fail. How little the finite mind can endure before crumbling in the face of such cosmic suffering!
When I first began to stir from my death-like coma, all was a blur. I heard little save for the whistling wind outside, like the piping of those insane flutes forever serenading the formless chaos that bubbles and blasphemes at the center of all. Also there were phrases such as "almost ready" and "excellent progress," which seemed to be uttered in many voices as if a conversation were going on just outside the boundaries of my delirium, but these descended into formless and unknowable mutterings as I again fell into nothingness.
I judge that it was about midmorning when I finally awoke to see Gerald sitting by my bedside with an eager expectant look in his large eyes. "Good thing you're awake," he said. "I was almost ready to bury you. I suppose I'll have to cancel the funeral arrangements."
He laughed unpleasantly. Though his comment was undoubtedly meant to be humorous, all I felt was a sudden disgust toward the fellow. I didn't care for his humor, I didn't like the way he was staring at me, as unblinking as a fish, and I hated his horrid laugh. I told him to be quiet rather harshly. He grinned widely, almost mockingly, but he obeyed.
Somewhat groggily, I began to question him as to what had happened, loath as I was to go back to the bitter hours between my exposure to the grotesque words of the Necronomicon and my rising again to the land of the living. I discovered to my unease that I had been unconscious for three days, suffering all the while from a violent fever of the brain and now and then uttering piteous shrieks and incoherent babble. During this time Gerald swore up and down that he had not let anyone see me and that he had been my only attendant. This last point I cross-examined him on rather pointedly, convinced even through the haze of delirium, that I had heard several voices of varying tonalities uttering words in my presence. Of the ominous words spoken by those voices I said nothing to him, choosing to keep my own council more and more as time passed. I had begun to distrust not only my companion, but this entire accursed town. What sort of place could this be that its inhabitants would knowingly shelter such abominations as those tomes that moldered within the deep and dark?
And what other blasphemous monsters might lurk within the subtly fearsome walls of its antiquarian houses and halls? It was as if my mind had become clear for the first time in my life as I now began to hold suspect the very nature of reality as I had known it. Such truths as mankind had not dared to entertain since time immemorial had been awakened by whatever lived in this place and were now seething and bubbling in my brain. How long could I stay in the twilit streets of Arkham before I went altogether mad?
It was as if Gerald had read my thoughts for he now said, "Still, I'm glad you found those passages as quickly as you did. It means we've done all the research we can at Miskatonic. It's time for the next stage."
He rose from the wooden chair where he had been reposing and walked to the far corner of my room. Hefting two obviously heavy-laden travel bags with more strength than I thought he possessed, he said to me, "Are you ready for a small amount of field work?"
Gerald explained that the field work in question was to take place in what he considered to be one of the most interesting regions in the northeast, the small fishing port of Innsmouth. I had only heard of Innsmouth from news reports about some type of riot or police action. The villagers had apparently been up to something illegal and there had been mass arrests and destruction of private property. Furthermore, rumors had persisted even to the present day of terrible pacts in the late nineteenth century, devilish rites and "bad blood" that had long tainted the folk of that town.
Of course those last few items I had ignored as the fanciful ramblings of earthy "down-easterners," given as many of them were to tales that they gleefully regaled unsuspecting tourists with in order to garner interest in buying worthless trinkets. In fact about the time of the incident, many unscrupulous blackguards had palmed off utterly ridiculous items like "golden tiaras" and "heathen statuary" that had supposedly been hurled into burning piles and had somehow failed to melt or crumble despite the shock of the dynamiting and the intense heat of the gasoline-kerosene infernos that had seared the town.
To this day, Innsmouth had stood virtually deserted. Strangely, no one had yet attempted a serious resettling, and Arkham folk persisted in shunning the place even now. All this seeming nonsense notwithstanding, I was nevertheless eager to vacate Arkham (hopefully for good and all) and to take to the road for a bit of fresh air. Thus, although it was with considerable difficulty that I managed to quit my bed, I forced myself to go through the motions of a civilized man and gather my meager belongings and research notes for the trip to Innsmouth. Gerald had already purchased a small camera for a photographic documentary, though he insisted that I use it as he "never had an eye for composition."
There had at one time been a regular bus from Arkham to Innsmouth but this had abruptly ceased its run following the police raids, so we climbed into Gerald's old Ford to make the trip north. Though I was nothing loathe to embark on what I thought to be a pleasant trip through the country, I confess to being puzzled at the time as to how an expedition to the ruined fishing village would advance the study of our theories. But when I put the question to Gerald, he only gave me a queer look and told me that he wished to construct a "case in point."
"Surely," said I, "we would make more headway if we were to consult a more influential town such as Boston or Philadelphia. I doubt we would be taken seriously if we were to present Innsmouth as one of the cradles of civilization."
Then a curious thing happened. At the time we had completed loading the decrepit vehicle and Gerald had started the engine. The above comment had just left my lips when Gerald rounded on me sharply and fixed me with a gaze of utter fury. His eyes blazed with a dark passion that made me recoil, but just as quickly as it had appeared it vanished into a good-humored if thin smile.
"Don't worry," he said. "Innsmouth is more important than you might think. If you will trust me in this, you'll soon have all the answers you'll ever want."
With that, we drove off, taking the most direct route via College and Garrison toward the Innsmouth road. I kept my own council during this early stage of our journey, for the anger in Gerald's countenance at my simple question had unnerved me to a marked degree and succeeded in draining the last ounce of reserves that remained since my period of infirmity. As the countryside rolled along, I felt my eyelids grow heavy.
Would that I had not slept, weary though I certainly was, for such dreams as only haunted madmen could fashion pursued me to the brink of shrieking. I felt a presence within and without, the roar of the sea, and the eldritch subaquean rumblings of something stirring deep below.
And there were words, horrible words that awoke tremulous quavers amid that morphean and formless realm of dreams. Phnglui mglw'naf Cthulhu R'lyeh w'gah nagl fhtaghn! Ia, Cthulhu fhtaghn!
And then came the final dreaded paroxysm of terror, supremely horrible not merely because I somehow knew the meaning of the words that came next, but that those words had been uttered by me. Ia, G'thrufrn! Phnglui R'lyeh fhtaghn G'thrufrn. Ia, Ia!
It seemed that I hung by a frail thread over a dreadful pit of ultimate darkness while these echoes of the blasphemous voice from the stygian gulfs of the sea washed over me, tearing at my soul and my flesh as the waves devour the rocks on which they crash. I threw my arms in front of me in a vain and piteous effort to ward off the unspeakable wall of unholy sound.
I looked, saw my hands, and screamed myself awake.
Research Annotation #1
At this point, the narrative is cut short by several pages that are torn out and resumed on the next properly preserved sheet. From the fragments that remain attached to the spiral binding, they seem to be a recounting of an attempt by Mr. Sargent to quell the ravings of the madman he now had occupying the passenger compartment of his car. Either these missing passages, clearly removed after the fact, are records of something Mr. Kerry could not bear to make public or they were confiscated to frustrate and mock our efforts. We may never know.
Though we have for some time suspected the backgrounds of these two individuals, there remains, sadly, nothing conclusive as to the confidences they shared. I shall let the following article, taken from the Boston Globe of August 19, 19XX, provide the one admittedly incomplete clue to as to the intentions of that fateful expedition.
Orphan Child Released from Sanatorium Psychoanalysts Baffled
In what appears to be a final happy ending to a series of unfortunate circumstances, officials at the John R. Delaney asylum have released into the state's care one Reginald Kerry. Father Thomas Kerry of St. Stephen's parish claims to have found the boy on the rectory doorstep with a note, presumably from the mother, with the curious inscription, "I charge you in the name of God to raise the boy to manhood." Reginald was christened in honor of the priest's grandfather, a pillar of the community though no friend to the church.
According to the reports of the asylum officials, the boy presented curious psychological anomalies and psychosomatic symptoms of a most peculiar nature as early as five years of age. After three attempted drowning suicides which followed late night pursuits to Boston harbor and numerous police actions, the boy was remanded to the care of the doctors at John R. Delaney for observation. While under their care, Reginald was recorded as uttering curious phrases and as being prone to hallucinations, both of these conditions eventually ending in total mental breakdown and subsequent permanent amnesia.
Now, six months following the onset of said memory loss, Dr. Brandenburg, the chief psychoanalyst assigned to the Kerry case, has pronounced that his patient has regained normal brain function but retains no memory of his earlier psychoses and subsequent breakdown. Reginald is to be remanded to the care of the local orphanage to be raised as a ward of the state. Dr. Brandenburg's detailed report will shortly be made available to the general public in the American Psychological Journal. Excerpts of this report will be published shortly in an upcoming article.
Here continues the testimonial of Reginald Kerry:
It was almost evening when we reached Innsmouth or what had once been Innsmouth, now little more than a burned-out skeleton. The smell of soot lay like a mist over all, penetrating and punctuating our own sense of desolation. What few abandoned town houses, churches, or residences remained standing after the conflagration gaped with vacant stares from out their shattered window panes and grimaced toothlessly in half-destroyed doorways as if they lamented or cursed the destroying fire that had condemned them. All the while the lowering sun crept in through broken rooftops, myriad beams stabbing like bloody brands through the wounds in the walls.
As we began to wander the streets of the near-deserted town in search of corroborating data for our project (Gerald called it "getting the feel of the place."), I initially despaired of finding any such answers in this run-down realm of death and emptiness. What few pitiful citizens remained were not anxious to talk to either of us and avoided our questions and our gazes with equally desperate zeal. And though I did not completely understand, as I do now, their reasons for it, I could not help but notice how they seemed to shun the presence of my companion with an energy almost amounting to stark panic. I glanced at Gerald during one of these encounters and noted with a vague feeling of uneasiness how his mouth seemed perpetually twisted in a sneer of mocking irony.
But soon all my vague misgivings began to give way to a deeper horror, which was all the more terrible for the simple fact that I could not divine its origin save to say it arose within the unknown shadows that had been ever growing in my soul since that terrible night in the library. Through the lingering smell of the conflagrations and blasting that had laid low most of the seacoast structures and left behind that scorched air that never seemed to completely lift, I knew there was something else, another foulness that lay underneath and pervaded all. I sensed the thing clawing at me, like a subtle and deceptive undercurrent that can suddenly seize a reckless swimmer, pulling him down to choking depth in the swirling waters of a mighty river.
The town smelled of fish. At first the rank unclean stench threatened to choke me as an oppression of the body and stifle all rational thought like a parasite in the brain. I tried to shake off this olfactory domination by attempting to exercise my reason; I told myself that this was, after all, a fishing port and that it was naturally to be expected that it would acquire the permanent taint of its trade. The feeling of dread, however, would not be denied and I found myself shrinking before this evil foetor from the sea. I fought back a near-overwhelming flood of nausea and leaned against the balustrade of the nearest scorched structure, a dirty and unpleasant wreck whose crumbling sign still read "Gilman House."
I felt my companion's stare boring into my brain as I tottered, unable to take a breath without my lungs filling with the decaying wind. He made no initial move to assist me but simply stared with that same grim of pervasive mockery stretching his lips over what I now perceived to be rather yellowish teeth. At last he came to my aid when I was on the verge of fainting. Lifting me up with surprising strength for one who appeared so frail, he supported me as he began to steer me eastward.
The stench of rotting sea life became ever more crushing as we neared the sea, and as we approached the beach and I saw the endless formless expanse before us, I felt some indescribable feeling wash over and through me. I seemed to sense a connection, not with the water itself, but something far older: older, perhaps, than time itself. Someone called me from out of the depths, someone I knew and had always known. Without warning there arose within me a black freezing awe and a wicked desire to see, to call, to meet that horrible thing that gnashed and gibbered beneath abyssal and cyclopean monoliths of alien stone.
Now may the reader most especially give heed and understand as this is all-important. It may be that I shall be regarded by posterity only as a madman, but I refuse to omit one nuance of that experience that I seemed destined to undergo, that I now know that I was born for. And even though I attempt to write coherently of an event which to anyone else may appear to be utter madness, I find I cannot help but write in full of that terrible voyage and what happened in that hellish place that men call Devil Reef, that lonely outcropping in the midst of the vast black expanse of the waters that had once been a scene of so much horror in Innsmouth and that I knew would soon be again.
It was as if in a dream that I felt myself being hoisted by irresistible hands over the gunwale of an old fishing boat, and though I could not express the dread and recognition, I again discerned the voices which I had overheard during my convalescence at Miskatonic. And such words! R'lyeh, Yog-Sothoth, Cthulhu, Irem, Azathoth, Nyarlathotep. But to me these were almost as nothing compared to the final word that blasted me with a raging tempest of passionate horror from which I know I shall never be free until the final moments of my mortal being: that one name which was the most wonderful, the most loathsome, the most exultant, and the foulest of all though I knew not why.
G'thrufrn. I was vaguely conscious of a resonance in my soul as the last syllables of that horrid name assailed my ears. I wanted to scream, to flee, to cry out to Heaven of my anguish and return to the simple muddled existence I had known, but I could not. I wanted to leap out of the boat, to swim down, down into the blackness and recklessly embrace the Thing that called to me.
Through the addled haze encompassing my vision I discerned in the darkness of the oncoming night the forbidding prominences of Devil's Reef and knew that something there was waiting, hungering, slithering. Rough hands dragged me out of the boat, along the rocks and barnacles, through the stench of dead fish. Something or someone, I knew not what or who, moved beyond the field of my vision, darting through complex angles, stark and hard against the reflected malignity of my companion's eyes.
And then I saw It!
It touched me! Formless, hideous, blasphemous, unholy watcher! From out of the elder vaults had it come. Eyes exploded from its roiling sacks, and mouths from out its purulent tubules uttered that hideous song. Tekeli-li, Tekeli-li!
It told me my name.
And I screamed.
Research Annotation #2
At this juncture the narrative completely loses coherence except for the final few paragraphs. These intervening ravings consist equally of unintelligible scribbles combined with hieroglyphics of a most archaic taxonomy. It will take additional time to cross-reference these with known writings, particularly some of the more obscure passages by Alhazred. It is useful to note, as has been alluded to earlier, that in some segments of the Unaussprechlichen Kulten, Von Junzt gives indirect hints of a wave of darkness that is a herald of the coming age.
The key to understanding this is the name of G'thrufrn, perhaps the most obscure name to be found in any manuscript dealing with these dark cosmic truths. If the eyewitness accounts (transcripts included) are to be believed, this entity has indeed already been sighted in and around Innsmouth and has set Von Junzt's prophecy in motion.
Final paragraphs of the testimonial of Reginald Kerry:
I am changing. I know it now. I had thought to take my own life after the desperate violent escape from Devil's Reef, but I am prevented from doing so. The eldritch voice and the unholy touch of the shoggoth have tainted me.
No, untrue. They have released me! I am more than a mere pathetic man. I was never a man! I remember all and curse the insignificant race of mankind for its audacity in concealing my true heritage.
It can't be. I am still a man, a human being. But I feel that other, clawing its way out from within my mind. My other nature.
My true nature!
My skin is turning. My flesh is twisting. I feel protrusions on my back and face. It is only a matter of time now.
But before I am taken and the shreds of my humanity ripped away forever, I will close this journal and deliver it to the one small post office that still remains in Innsmouth. God grant that it arrives in time to prevent further atrocities of nature.
I will be remembered. It will be amusing to see these transient less-than-insects struggle to wrap their pinprick brains around the truth. As if they could hope to grasp the awesome reality of the glory that is about to sweep their race from the face of the universe and hurl their souls screaming into chaos.
If only I could have remained ignorant, but that was not to be. Some poor, wretched, and unknown soul sought to shelter me in the arms of a priest, but it was futile. I weep for what I have lost, and I fear that I am not the last to see this hideous metamorphosis. How many other potential horrors lie hidden in the guise of humanity? I do not know and I cannot help them. My mad story may yet be the impetus for their awakening, for that is beyond doubt what the Thing inside me, the Thing that I truly am, wanted all along.
I exult in the regaining of my princedom, rectifying the wrongs against me. Curse the elder things for injuring me long ago! In how many bodies have I been trapped, caught within the disgusting evolution of this pathetic barely-sentient filth! I was my fathers' favorite. I remember the words he said to me and I howled at their import. To descend upon this planet only to suffer a mortal wound as I and many of my brothers did at their hands. But now the elder things are dead or subjugated by their own creations. Their world is gone and ours shall arise when the stars are right. Long have I waited, regenerating inside this wretched disguise, but I shall soon be free.'
Ia, Cthulhu! Ia, G'thrufrn! Let the world tremble!
There is not much time. Goodbye.
Arkham Advertiser October 31, 19XX
Late at night, residents of Innsmouth reportedly witnessed a strange shape spring up suddenly from the bay with a shocking howl and move toward Devil Reef where it allegedly dove beneath the waters and disappeared amidst profound local subsurface quakes.
Accounts of the incident, which local government officials have been loath to credit, would seem to describe an impossible creature whose form violates all known laws of adaptive evolution. Allegedly possessing characteristics both of anthropoid and cephalopod, and possessing bat-like wings, the malformed monstrosity was, of course, quick to disappear, leaving no trace of itself but a trail of greenish foul-smelling slime which the authorities are quick to dismiss as a chemical spill.
It is interesting to note that accounts of the shrieking of the thing were coincident with reports of violent and disturbing dreams from as far abroad as Rowley, Ipswich, Essex and even some sections of Arkham itself. It is also curious that many of the victims of these visions, most of whom were artists of various persuasions, seemed to undergo a sudden and momentary mental breakdown, suffering from spontaneous and unaccountable cases of what was later diagnosed as "transient hebephrenic schizophrenia."
Research Annotation #3 and Final Notes
Fortunately, we were able to intercept the above article prior to its publishing and silence the writer with a minimum of persuasion, but if it is true that more of these monstrous avatars of Cthulhu walk the earth in human flesh, it may be impossible to keep their existence a secret for long. We must watch and wait, thwarting their cult and protecting humanity as we may. In any event, much is explained concerning the peace accord that was created between the Antarctic civilization of the elder things and the dark empire of R'lyeh; no doubt some device of arcane science succeeded in maiming certain prominent members of Cthulhu's vile spawn and forcing them into this semi-hibernation. We must look for further developments.
Also in this vein, you may wish to especially investigate the background of the creature that is obviously their agent, Gerald Sargent, whom we strongly suspect to possess what has been often called the "Innsmouth Look." As all of the known tainted inhabitants of Innsmouth are either dead or in custody, we are mystified as to how this one creature could still be at large. We almost dare not suspect it, but in light of the narrative of Daniel Upton regarding the incident with Edward Pickman Derby, we fear the worst concerning Mr. Sargent. Our advice to you is this: if Sargent was not, as we pray, devoured by the entity he sought to awaken, it will be up to you and us to find the thing that was once Ephraim Waite as soon as possible. Your actions upon meeting him will be obvious to you.
We only pray that the mysterious unnamed third party hinted at in Mr. Kerry's ravings was not he whom we suspect. As a precaution, our agent in Kingsport will contact you shortly with further vital information.
I am, sir,
Your obedient servant,
Phillip D. Retief, D.L.S. Chief Librarian Miskatonic University Library Arkham, MA November 15, 19XX