Of Evill Sorceries Done in New-England of Daemons in no Humane Shape
Origin: From a fragment written by H.P. Lovecraft, used by August Derleth in composing The Lurker at the Threshold (fiction), where it was renamed Thaumaturgical Prodigies in the New England Canaan.
Of Evill Sorceries Done in New-England of Daemons in no Humane Shape; English.
General Content: The treatise,written by a witch-hunter, describes the blasphemous activities of witches, warlocks, Indian shamans, and other evil-doers in colonial New England. Terrible magicks, monstrous births, and dire Indian legends are all described in lurid detail.
"But, not to speak at too great Length upon so horrid a Matter, I will add onlie what is commonly reported concerning an Happening in New Plymouth, fifty Years since, when Mr. Bradford was Governour. 'Tis said, one Richard Billington, being instructed partly by evill- Books, and partly by an antient Wonder-Worker amongst the Indian Savages, so fell away from good Christian Practice that he not only lay'd claim to Immortality in the Flesh, but sett up in the Woods a Place of Dagon, namely a great Ring of Stones, inside which he say'd Prayers to the Divell, and sung certain Rites of Magick abominable by Scripture. This being brought to the Notice of the Magistrates, he deny'd all blasphemous Dealings; but not long after he privately shew'd great Fear about some Thing he had call'd out of the Sky at Night. There were in that year seven slayings in the Woods near to Richard Billington's Stones, those slain being crushed and half-melted in a Fashion outside all Experience. Upon Talk of a Tryall, Billington dropt out of Sight, nor was any clear Word of him ever after heard.
"Two months from then, by Night, there was heard a Band of Wampanaug Savages howling and singing in the Woods; and it appeared, they took down the Ring of Stones and did much besides. For their head Man Misquamacus, that same antient Wonder-Worker of whom Billington had learnt some of his Sorceries, came shortly into the town and told Mr. Bradford some strange Things: namely, that Billington had done worse Evill than cou'd be well repair 'd, and that he was no doubt eat up by what he had call'd out of the Sky. That there was no Way to send back that Thing he had summon'd, so the Wampanaug wise Men had caught and prison'd it where the Ring of Stones had been.
"They had digg'd a Hole three Ells deep and two across, and had thither charmed the Daemon with Spells that they knew; covering it over with Great Rocks and setting on Top a flat Stone carved with what they call'd the Elder Sign. On this they made a Mound of the Earth digg'd from the Pit, sticking on it a tall Stone carv'd with a Warning. The old Savage affirm'd, this mound must on no Account be disturb'd, lest the Daemon come loose again which it wou'd if the bury'd flatt Stone with the Elder Sign shou'd get out of Place. On being ask'd what the Daemon look'd like, he gave a very curious and circumstantiall Relation, saying it was sometimes small and solid, like a great Toad the Bigness of a Ground-Hog, but sometimes big and cloudy, without any Shape at all.
"It had the Name Ossadagowah, which signifys the child of Sadogowah; the last a frightfull Spirit spoke of by old Men as coming down from the Stars and being formerly worshipt in Lands to the North. The Wampanaugs, and Nansets, and Nahiggansets, knew how to draw it out of the Sky, but never did so because of the exceeding great Evilness of it. They knew also how to catch and prison it, tho' they cou'd not send it back whence it came. It was however declar'd, that the old Tribes of Lamah, who dwelt under the Great Bear and were antiently destroy'd for their Wickedness, knew how to manage it in all Ways. Many upstart Men pretended to a Knowledge of such antient Secrets, but none in these Parts cou'd give any Proof of truly having it. It was say'd by some, that Ossadogowah often went back to the Sky from choice without any sending, but that he cou'd not come back unless summon'd.
"This much the antient Wizard Misquamacus told to Mr. Bradford, and ever after a great Mound in the Woods near the Pond southwest of New-Plymouth hath been straitly lett alone. The tall Stone is these Twenty years gone, but the Mound is mark'd by the Circumstance, that nothing, neither Grass nor Brush, will grow upon it. Grave Men doubt that the evill Billington was eat up, as the Savages believe, by what he call'd out of the Sky; notwithstanding certain Reports of the Idle, of his being since seen in divers places, and that no longer ago than the late monstrous Witchcrafts in Essex-County, in the Year 1692."
"But in respect of generall Infamy, no Report more terrible hath come to Notice, than of what Goodwife Doten, Relict of John Doten of Duxbury in the Old Colonie, brought out of the Woods near Candlemas of 1683. She affirmed, and her good neighbors likewise, that it had been borne that which was neither Beast nor Man, but like to a monstrous Bat with humane Face. The which was burnt by Order of the High-Sheriff on the 5th of June in the Year 1684."
- H.P. Lovecraft
- Fiction: The Lurker at the Threshold (fiction)
- Ambrose Dewart found a partially legible, handwritten copy of a portion of this document in Billington House. The fragment relates rumors that Richard Billington had called up a daemon named Ossadagowah at a ring of stones near New Dunwich.
- Misquamacus, an "ancient wonder-worker of the Wampanaug Indians", teaches "Sorceries" to Richard Billington and imprisons Ossadagowah, a spawn of Tsathoggua, in a ring of stones.
- In the early years of the Plymouth Colony, Richard Billington set up "a great Ring of Stones" where he said "Prayers to ye Devil" and "sung certain Rites of Magick abominable by Scripture". After a series of mysterious deaths were linked to him, he disappeared, and was "eaten up by what he had call'd out of ye Sky."
- Lovecraft's original quotes used by Derleth in The Lurker at the Threshold are presented in "The Fragments at the Threshold" in The Crypt of Cthulhu #6, p. 24-28.
- Call of Cthulhu Scenario: The Ilsley Variant
- Call of Cthulhu Scenario: The Horror on Old Hill (Scenario)
- CoC Miskatonic University (Supplement)
- Call of Cthulhu article about the tome (alters elements of Derleth's description to better fit history): The Arkham Gazette, Issue 3
- The sourcebook makes the connection that the anonymous work was at the hand of Abijiah Hoadley, the preacher at Dunwich who vanished a while back.
Rumors and Speculations
- Should be covering various supernatural occurences along the Miskatonic River valley, focusing on Dunwich and Arkham.
- In a tome about "evil sorceries" in New England, I'd imagine witch trials would be an appropriate subject to reference.
- Could be thought of as a fictionalized version of Cotton Mathers' Wonders of the Invisible World.