Frazetta Man

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A demonic, hairy humanoid servant of Asmodeus in Spectre (1977 film)
An example of Frazetta Man: "Caveman 1", by Frank Frazetta

"Frazetta Man", also known as Almas, Yeti, Orang-Pendek, Wild-Men, Beast-Men, Ape-Men, Piltdown Man, Java Man, Peking Man, Neanderthal Man, Cave Men, Ptetholites, Savages, Dawn Men, Gnophkehs, Voormis, Sagoths, Pakunis, Mangani, Faeries, Goblins, Orcs, Trolls, Dwarfs, "White Apes", etc....

Origin: variations on the ape-men theme have been a staple of science fiction, fantasy, and the pulps (dime-novels, penny-dreadfuls, etc.) since Darwinian Evolution came to the attention of writers; however, tales of hairy savages appear to be an ancient and universal part of human culture, shared by virtually every culture on Earth dating back to prehistoric times.

Description

"Just what the white ape-like creatures could have been, Mwanu had no idea, but he thought they were the builders of the ruined city... [a disposition and nature] violent and singular... half of the jungle and half of the impiously aged city..."
- H.P. Lovecraft, "Facts Concerning the Late Arthur Jermyn and His Family (fiction)"

"Frazetta Man", named for Frank Frazetta's paintings depicting half-human, ape-like Mooks getting punched around and stabbed up by muscle-bound barbarian heroes, appear in pulp and weird fiction in a variety of guises, evolving into (and devolving from) advanced human civilizations.

Generally, the different "races" that fall into this broad "sub-human" category can probably be thought of as competing tribes or species, each with its own savage traditions, cultures, cults, and relatively minor physical differences.

In a few cases, the inter-mingling with - and genetic tampering from - humanoid monsters may result in very marked alien characteristics mixed in among those of the vaguely-human and vaguely-ape (such as features of Deep One, Ghoul, and other, far stranger alien extractions).


Machen's "Little People"

See the separate article on Faeries, dedicated to Machen's "Little People".


Robert E. Howard's Worms of the Earth

See the dedicated article on Worms of the Earth (race)


Derleth's Tcho-Tchos

See the dedicated article on Tcho-Tchos.


Gnophkeh

Cannibal Gnophkeh

On this occasion he spoke of the perils to be faced, and exhorted the men of Olathoë, bravest of the Lomarians, to sustain the traditions of their ancestors, who when forced to move southward from Zobna before the advance of the great ice-sheet..., valiantly and victoriously swept aside the hairy, long-armed, cannibal Gnophkehs that stood in their way....
- H.P.Lovecraft, "Polaris"

The papyrus reputedly preserved the darkest secrets of the occult wisdom of the detested Gnophkehs, which name denoted the repulsively hirsute cannibals whom Yhemog's ancestors had driven into exile in the arctic barrens....
— Lin Carter and Clark Ashton Smith, "The Scroll of Morloc"


The Gnophkehs are a fictional race in the Cthulhu Mythos. They are hairy cannibals who once lived in the land of Lomar before it was invaded by people from Zobna. Gnoph-keh (note the hyphen) refers to a fictional species of non-humans that once dwelt in Hyperborea (present-day Greenland).


Voormi

Voormis in various states of evolution and savagery

"...Much was said regarding the genesis of the Voormis, who were popularly believed to be the offspring of women and certain atrocious creatures that had come forth in primal days from a tenebrous cavern-world in the bowels of Voormithadreth. ... Ralibar Vooz... avowed his skepticism.... They were merely the remnant of a low and degraded tribe of aborigines, who, sinking further into brutehood, had sought refuge in those volcanic fastnesses after the coming of the true Hyperboreans."
- Clark Ashton Smith, "The Seven Geases"

The voormis were furry hominids, bestial humanoids that once occupied Hyperborea. After most were wiped out by pre-human settlers, the most savage Voormi became restricted to caves in the upper slopes of the Eiglophian mountains.

They were aggressive creatures, hunting large and dangerous prey such as saber-toothed tigers. The humans of Hyperborea hunted the Voormis for sport, but they were considered more dangerous than other animals. They possessed "quasi-human cunning" and could fight with thrown objects as well as nails and teeth. The natives of Hyperborea believed them to be at least partially descended from humans.


"White Apes"

"Just what the white ape-like creatures could have been, Mwanu had no idea, but he thought they were the builders of the ruined city..."
- H.P. Lovecraft, "Facts Concerning the Late Arthur Jermyn and His Family (fiction)"

Certainly, the madness began with Sir Wade, whose wild stories of Africa were at once the delight and terror of his few friends. It shewed in his collection of trophies and specimens, which were not such as a normal man would accumulate and preserve, and appeared strikingly in the Oriental seclusion in which he kept his wife. The latter, he had said, was the daughter of a Portuguese trader whom he had met in Africa; and did not like English ways. She, with an infant son born in Africa, had accompanied him back from the second and longest of his trips, and had gone with him on the third and last, never returning. No one had ever seen her closely, not even the servants; for her disposition had been violent and singular. During her brief stay at Jermyn House she occupied a remote wing, and was waited on by her husband alone....
- H.P. Lovecraft, "Facts Concerning the Late Arthur Jermyn and His Family (fiction)"

In a rational age like the eighteenth century it was unwise for a man of learning to talk about wild sights and strange scenes under a Congo moon; of the gigantic walls and pillars of a forgotten city, crumbling and vine-grown, and of damp, silent, stone steps leading interminably down into the darkness of abysmal treasure-vaults and inconceivable catacombs. Especially was it unwise to rave of the living things that might haunt such a place; of creatures half of the jungle and half of the impiously aged city—fabulous creatures which even a Pliny might describe with scepticism; things that might have sprung up after the great apes had overrun the dying city with the walls and the pillars, the vaults and the weird carvings. Yet after he came home for the last time Sir Wade would speak of such matters with a shudderingly uncanny zest, mostly after his third glass at the Knight’s Head; boasting of what he had found in the jungle and of how he had dwelt among terrible ruins known only to him. And finally he had spoken of the living things in such a manner that he was taken to the madhouse....
- H.P. Lovecraft, "Facts Concerning the Late Arthur Jermyn and His Family (fiction)"

The "White Apes" are a "race" of light-coloured humanoids creatures, described by Victorian gentlemen as "ape-like" or resembling gorillas, less hairy and "infinitely nearer to mankind" than to ape, which dwelt in tribes in a stone city in the Congolese region of Africa which the "White Apes" themselves had built in some ancient time according to the folklore of local tribes. These "White Apes" appear to have been genetically compatible with human beings and were, essentially, genetically human. In their isolation in Africa, the "White Apes" also commanded at least a stone-age human facility for architecture, engineering, culture, language, religion or superstition, art, poetry, etc., with descendants of a mixed "White Ape" and human bloodline raised in western civilization judged by their peers as physically repulsive and repellent, but otherwise largely indistinguishable from ordinary humans. Unfortunately, this tribe of "White Apes" were exterminated and their city destroyed at roughly the beginning of the 20th century by warlike African N'bangu tribesmen.


Beast in the Cave

...Of all the unnatural monsters either of us had in our lifetimes beheld, this was in surpassing degree the strangest. It appeared to be an anthropoid ape of large proportions, escaped, perhaps, from some itinerant menagerie. Its hair was snow-white, a thing due no doubt to the bleaching action of a long existence within the inky confines of the cave, but it was also surprisingly thin, being indeed largely absent save on the head, where it was of such length and abundance that it fell over the shoulders in considerable profusion.... The inclination of the limbs was very singular, explaining, however, the alternation in their use which I had before noted, whereby the beast used sometimes all four, and on other occasions but two for its progress. From the tips of the fingers or toes long nail-like claws extended. The hands or feet were not prehensile, a fact that I ascribed to that long residence in the cave which, as I before mentioned, seemed evident from the all-pervading and almost unearthly whiteness so characteristic of the whole anatomy. No tail seemed to be present.... ...A sudden sound emitted by the [creature] was of a nature difficult to describe. It was not like the normal note of any known species of simian, and I wondered if this unnatural quality were not the result of a long-continued and complete silence, broken by the sensations produced by the advent of the light, a thing which the beast could not have seen since its first entrance into the cave. The sound, which I might feebly attempt to classify as a kind of deep-toned chattering, was faintly continued.... With a jerk, the white body rolled over so that its face was turned in our direction. For a moment I was so struck with horror at the eyes thus revealed that I noted nothing else. They were black, those eyes, deep, jetty black, in hideous contrast to the snow-white hair and flesh. Like those of other cave denizens, they were deeply sunken in their orbits, and were entirely destitute of iris. As I looked more closely, I saw that they were set in a face less prognathous than that of the average ape, and infinitely more hairy. The nose was quite distinct. As we gazed upon the uncanny sight presented to our vision, the thick lips opened, and several sounds issued from them, after which the thing relaxed in death.... I made no motion, but stood rigidly still, my horrified eyes fixed upon the floor ahead. Then fear left, and wonder, awe, compassion, and reverence succeeded in its place, for the sounds uttered by the stricken figure that lay stretched out on the limestone had told us the awesome truth. ...The strange beast of the unfathomed cave was, or had at one time been, a man....
H.P. Lovecraft, "Beast in the Cave (fiction)"

"[The beast in the cave was] a MAN, long ago lost in the cave, and mentally and physically metamorphosed by perpetual darkness, perpetual silence, and perpetual solitude!"
- H.P. Lovecraft, letter to Reinhardt Kleiner

TO DO


Savage Hyperboreans

"A gray man-ape," he grunted. "Dumb, and man-eating. They dwell in the hills that border the eastern shore of this sea...."
- Robert E. Howard, "Shadows in the Moonlight"

Robert E. Howard's fantasy novels involving ancient Hyperborea (Conan, Kull, Bran Mak Morn) contain many ape-like proto- and post-human "races" (such as Howard's Picts) which evolve out of savagery into humans, and then descend back into brute savagery again, numerous times in repeated cycles, with humans and sub-humans in the setting violently co-existing in Hyperborea, all at various points in their rise and fall from humanity.


Tsul 'Kalu

Tsul 'Kalu, or just Kalu, is a terribly ancient and wise creature seen sometimes in the backwoods of Tennessee, North Carolina, West Virginia, and Eastern Kentucky, look like a tall, skeleton-thin sasquatch covered in shaggy whitish hair, with intelligent, red, slanting eyes (from which the creature's name - meaning "he who has them [eyes] slanting"). The creatures seem to originate from some strange spirit world somewhere deep within the Earth, and possess a crude form of stone-age technology along with the powers to hypnotize victims, read minds, and cast spells.

See Tsul 'Kalu for details...


Deros

Deros, a creation of Richard Sharpe Shaver in books that were promoted as "The Shaver Mystery", are an ancient race of aliens living in caverns under the earth who, taking shelter from the harmful effects of the Sun's radiation (which interferes with the Deros' immortality), have slowly gone insane in the dark, damp caverns and vaults deep in the earth, and are responsible for tragedies, insanities, bad luck, nightmares, hauntings, demonic oppression, and alien abduction on the surface world, because sadism is the last pleasure left to these degenerate beings.

See Dero for details...


Ptetholites

The Ptetholites are a fictional people created by Brian Lumley. They appear in his short story The Caller of the Black.

The Ptetholites were a primitive race of proto-humans who lived in the early Hyperborean period (estimated some 900,000 to one million years ago). Little is known about their culture or traditions save that they practised basic magic and warred with the fledgeling Hyperborean civilisation.

The Ptetholite civilisation was most likely formed into primitive tribal systems and alliances. They were rumoured to have worshipped Iquatha and Arwassa, though whether this was true worship or merely propitiation is unknown. During wars with rival tribes the Ptetholite shamens often called upon the powers of the Black; the blood of Yibb-Tstll, to kill their enemies. This incantation (later known as the Sixth Sathlattae) is the Ptetholites most enduring legacy.

Despite being one of the very first humanoid races to feature in the histories of the world they were remarkable in that they possessed a written language system.

In the end it was the constant wars with the neighbouring Hyperborean peoples that brought the already waning civilisation to its end. The sorcerer Edril Ghambiz turned the power of the Black against them, destroying most of their population. The few survivors fled far to the south. There they erected a great series of Columns baring inscriptions that told of the former powers of their people and the doom which befell them.

It is from these Columns that we learn much of the Ptetholites histories. An artefact known as the Phitmar Stone which supposedly bears an inscription in Ptetholite was discovered in the Seventies.

An unnamed Old Dynasty Egyptian magical text (possibly a translation of the Book of Eibon) mentions the Nyahites of Ptathlia and their worship of certain underground deities.


Sagoth

Sagoth from At the Earth's Core (1976 film)...

...Streaming through the pass which leads into the valley, came a swarm of hairy men—gorilla-like creatures armed with spears and hatchets, and bearing long, oval shields... and one who seemed to have authority among them directed that we be brought with them....

Our guards, whom I already have described as gorilla-like men, were rather lighter in build than a gorilla, but even so they were indeed mighty creatures. Their arms and legs were proportioned more in conformity with human standards, but their entire bodies were covered with shaggy, brown hair, and their faces were quite as brutal as those of the few stuffed specimens of the gorilla which I had seen in the museums at home.

Their only redeeming feature lay in the development of the head above and back of the ears. In this respect they were not one whit less human than we. They were clothed in a sort of tunic of light cloth which reached to the knees. Beneath this they wore only a loin cloth of the same material, while their feet were shod with thick hide of some mammoth creature of this inner world. Their arms and necks were encircled by many ornaments of metal—silver predominating—and on their tunics were sewn the heads of tiny reptiles in odd and rather artistic designs.

They talked among themselves as they marched along on either side of us, but in a language which I perceived differed from that employed by our fellow prisoners....
Edgar Rice Burroughs, At the Earth's Core

Sagoths appear in Edgar Rice Burroughs' Pellucidar (Earth's Core) novels as ape-men living in the Hollow Earth.

Though ape-like in appearance, this subterranean race of humanoid or proto-humanoid creatures are advanced tool-users and intellectually nearly the equals of modern man, and perhaps psychically the superiors of humans, with the lowest specimen of Sagoth capable of telepathy and other feats of psychic power or magic.

The Sagoths are enslaved to the Mahars: large, slimy, winged, psychic Serpent People dwelling in a hellish volcanic cavern in the darker reaches of Pallucidar with their Sagoth slaves.

The Sagoths serve as foot soldiers, guards, slavers, administrators, and hand-servants for their Mahar masters, capturing "lesser" human and humanoid races to serve as brutal menial laborers, farmers, and food for the Mahar/Sagoth civilizaton.


Mangani

[Mangani were] manlike apes which the natives of the Gobi speak of in whispers; but which no white man ever [before Tarzan] had seen....
Edgar Rice Burroughs, Jungle Tales of Tarzan

Notwithstanding her youth, she was large and powerful - a splendid, clean-limbed animal, with a round, high forehead, which denoted more intelligence than most of her kind possessed. So, also, she had a great capacity for mother love and mother sorrow. But she was still an ape, a huge, fierce, terrible beast of a species closely allied to the gorilla, yet more intelligent; which, with the strength of their cousin, made her kind the most fearsome of those awe-inspiring progenitors of man.
Edgar Rice Burroughs, Tarzan of the Apes

Tarzan of the Apes, silent spectator of this savage scene, had an opportunity during the feast to examine his captors more closely. He saw that they were rather lighter in build than the gorillas he had seen in his own native jungle, but even though they were not as heavy as Bolgani, they were yet mighty creatures. Their arms and legs were of more human conformation and proportion than those of a gorilla, but the shaggy brown hair covering their entire body increased their beast-like appearance while their faces were even more brutal than that of Bolgani himself, except that the development of the skull denoted a brain capacity seemingly as great as that of man. They were entirely naked, nor was there among them any suggestion of ornamentation, while their only weapons were clubs. These, however, showed indications of having been shaped by some sharp instrument as though an effort had been made to insure a firm grip and a well-balanced weapon....

That these gorilla-men of the inner world used even one word of [the Mangani] language suggested one of two possibilities - either they held an origin in common with the creatures of the outer crust, or else that the laws of evolution and progress were so constant that this was the only form of primitive language that could have been possible to any creatures emerging from the lower orders toward the estate of man. But the suggestion that impressed Tarzan most vividly was that this single word, uttered by the creature grasping him by the throat, postulated familiarity on the part of his fierce captors with the entire ape language that he had used since boyhood....
Edgar Rice Burroughs, Tarzan at the Earth's Core

Mangani ("ape-creatures", "great apes", or simply "apes") is the name of a fictional species of great apes in the Tarzan novels of Edgar Rice Burroughs, where they are described in terms that suggest they are actually hairy, primitive, proto-humans native to remote African rain forests. In the invented language of the creatures, "Mangani" (meaning "great-ape") is the apes' word for their own kind, although the term is also applied (with modifications) to humans. The Mangani are represented as the apes who foster and raise Tarzan.

The Mangani are comparable to Burroughs' Sagoths (see above): advanced, quasi-human tool-users with a common language and appearance, though the Sagoths of the Underworld are more bestial and primitive in appearance.


Morlock

A gang of hungry Morlocks...

Morlocks appear in H.G. Wells' The Time Machine, where they appear as a degenerate, troglodytic race of cannibals living in underground factory-abbatoirs beneath a far-future post-apocalyptic Earth, where they creep up to the surface by night to capture and eat their decadent and effete surface-dwelling cousins, the Eloi.

See also the thematically similar Deros.

Mole People

Mole People attack albino Sumerian mutants in Mole People (1956 film)...

TO DO

See: Mole People (1956 film)

Pakuni

TO DO

Pakuni appear in Land of the Lost (1974 franchise), where they appear as hairy ape-creatures with their own language, stone-age technology, and culture. The Pakuni live in the pocket dimension called "The Land of the Lost", where they may have migrated by accident through an interdimensional portal from Earth, or perhaps devolved from an advanced civilization of humanoid beings which may have built and populated the pocket dimension for their own mysterious purposes.


Kromagg

A Kromagg General

TO DO

Kromaggs appear in Sliders (1995 series), where they are essentially Edgard Rice Burroughs' Sagoths crossed with H.G. Wells' Morlocks, dressed in fascist uniforms while commanding advanced modern/near-future dimension-bridging technology which allows them to invade and conquer alternate universes. The Kromaggs are theorized by the series' main characters to have evolved from a different branch of humanity in an alternate universe, where they developed "sliding" technology that allowed them to spread out from their home version of Earth ("Kromagg Prime", a place they were evicted from in a genocidal war with the humans they evolved alongside), and conquer human-dominated versions of Earth in preparation for retaking their home world.


Heresies and Controversies

  • The Voormis resemble and may be the same as the Gnophkehs.


Keeper Notes

Associated Mythos Elements

References

"White Ape":

"Frazetta Man":

Gnophkeh:

Voormi:

Mangani:

Sagoth:

Pakuni:

Morlock:

Kromagg: