Hounds of Tindalos

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Hounds of Tindalos

Origin: "The Hounds of Tindalos" by Frank Belknap Long (1929).


"What were they like?" I said, to humor him.
He leaned forward and gripped my arm. He was shivering horribly. "No words in our language can describe them!" He spoke in a hoarse whisper. "They are symbolized vaguely in the myth of the Fall, and in an obscene form which is occasionally found engraved on ancient tablets. The Greeks had a name for them, which veiled their essential foulness. The tree, the snake and the apple—these are the vague symbols of a most awful mystery. His voice had risen to a scream. "Frank, Frank, a terrible and unspeakable deed was done in the beginning. Before time, the deed, and from the deed—"
<bHe had risen and was hysterically pacing the room. "The seeds of the deed move through angles in dim recesses of time. They are hungry and athirst!"
"Chalmers." I pleaded to quiet him. "We are living in the third decade of the Twentieth Century."
"They are lean and athirst!" he shrieked. "The Hounds of Tindalos!"
— Frank Belknap Long, "The Hounds of Tindalos"

The Hounds of Tindalos are monstrous creatures which dwell in angular time, and pursue human beings who stray out of the curved time that is humanity's normal habitat. Users of the drug Liao, which allows the mind to wander through time leaving the body behind, risk drawing the attention of the Hounds if they travel too far. The Hounds will then pursue the person through time, eventually catching up with that person in the present and slaying them.

Accounts of the form and appearance of the Hounds vary drastically from one source to another, and the occultist Halpin Chalmers -- a witness of the Hounds and also one of their victims -- may be correct in saying that human language cannot describe them.

The Hounds of Tindalos take their nature from a nameless, foul deed before the beginning of time, the origin of the Christian account of the Fall, in which the Hounds participated fully and humans took part only partially. Foulness expresses itself in angles, while purity expresses itself through curves; the pure element in humanity derives from a curve, and it is for this reason that we dwell in curved. The Hounds desire to devour this pure part of humans.

Since it dwells in angular time, a Hound of Tindalos pursuing its prey can manifest through any angle, but if its chosen prey is in a place without angles, the Hound cannot appear. However, the Hounds can enlist the help of other preternatural beings, including Doels and satyrs, to gain access to their prey. Victims of the Hounds are found horribly mangled, and splashed with a bluish ichor that resembles living protoplasm but contains no enzymes.

Heresies and Controversies

The behavior of the Hounds of Tindalos is reminiscent of the houndlike creature that seeks out and slays those who possess the Amulet of Leng, and it is possible that these are two manifestations of the same race of beings.