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ZeroMostel

Why would you want to contact a Yithian?

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yronimoswhateley

I wish I'd seen this sooner - I wonder how the original poster's spell-circle/game worked out?

 

The question of "why would you want to contact a Yithian" seems like one that could be answered just as easily by asking "why in the real world have spiritualists, occultists, priests, theosophists, psychologists, artists, etc. wanted to contact ghosts, spirits, gods, demons, angels, ascended masters, astral beings, alternate personalities, spirit guides, walk-ins, aliens, genies, etc.?"

 

THAT question has had countless answers over time, any one of which would work for the purposes of contacting Yithians or any other Lovecraftian nasty.

 

Some options - you might contact Yithians for:

  • receiving prophecies
  • delivering messages to from loved ones
  • gain wisdom and secret knowledge
  • obtain power or blessings
  • indulge curiosity
  • learn about the unseen universe
  • gain magical power
  • harm enemies
  • protect or help loved ones
  • impress or terrify followers
  • control other beings
  • journey into the spirit world
  • relieve suffering or fear
  • exorcise demons
  • entertainment
  • make requests
  • issue orders
  • to make bargains and seek favors
  • open doors
  • find opportunities
  • make money
  • obtain answers to difficult questions
  • seek guidance or advice
  • have a religious, mystic, or occult experience, or experience a scientific breakthrough

 

 

If you are having trouble figuring out Yithians, trying thinking instead about a more familiar story about ghosts, spirits, gods, demons, devils, angels, ascended masters, astral beings, devils, familiars, alternate personalities, spirit guides, walk-ins, aliens, genies, etc., and after sketching a basic story out of that, just change the more generic supernatural creature into a Yithian, and dress things up a bit.

 

For examples:

  • A group of bored teens might use a "Contact Yithian" spell ("Contact Spirit Guide" or "Conjure New Age Demon") found in a cheap paperback occult tome at the mall as part of a party game, lighting candles and using a Ouija board, etc.  Most of the teens are sure nothing weird would happen, they're just doing this to scare each other and have a few laughs, until one of the teens begins acting strangely and the "game" gets a little too serious....
  • A strange object is recovered from an archaeological dig:  a stone "bottle" covered in cuneiform runes, which appears to contain a "Djinn" capable of granting three wishes if freed from the relic by performing a ritual described in the runes.  Of course, the "Djinn" is actually a Yithian, and freeing it from it's bottle allows it to take possession of a human body.  Yithians, effectively time travelers, are in a unique and powerful, if imperfect position to grant wishes, not all of which can be guaranteed to work out in the "master's" favor....
  • The prophet Abdhul Alhazred related a story in his Nectronomicon about a gambler who, having foolishly squandered all his money, contrived to make a deal with a devil of the desolate places, that the gambler would trade his soul to the devil for wealth and comfort, upon which the devil took the gambler's soul away to serve the devil in an indescribable hell for many years; when the gambler was returned to Earth after serving the allotted time in hell, he found that the devil, wearing the gambler's face, had amassed tremendous wealth as promised, but had also done many great and terrible wickednesses while wearing the gambler's face; the gambler lived his remaining years in wealth and comfort, but was for all the rest of his days shunned by honest people, and who can say what terrible place his soul went to after death?
  • An infamous cult leader, the self-proclaimed "Most Wicked Man in the World", is supposed to have sacrificed a virginal follower to "The Ascended Masters"; the poor girl lay comatose for many weeks, before awakening, possessed by a spirit of prophecy.  She would spend the rest of her life imprisoned in the cultist's house, working great and terrible miracles upon his command, and narrating the text of the cultist's most infamous magickal text to the cultist's secretary.  She then disappeared, and is rumored to have been murdered upon the tome's completion, her body buried somewhere on the cultist's, where the girl's ghost can sometimes still seen to this day....

 

 

I just cooked these stories up in a couple minutes, I'm sure someone else could improve on them and give them a Weirder spin, but hopefully you get what I mean.....

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fluffy

Thanks yronimoswhateley.

 

So much content full of ideas from your coupla mins thunk.

 

Which I will duly adopt when situation arises.

X

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johnmcfloss

I always like to think that the Yithians have a certain vested interest in making sure that time resolves in a certain way - that humanity dies in the right time and circumstance to ensure that the Beetle Race they're due to inhabit in the future, are the dominant race to step to the forefront (and with a world that offers them everything they can to be prosperous and successful, and build a wonderful utopian society for the Yithians to steal).

 

If someone summons Azathoth and it wipes the planet clean, the great race just as scuppered as we are (or, at least, they will be). So their agents in the present are involved in trying to make sure humanity doesn't do anything too stupid, which generally makes them allies of convenience to investigator parties.

 

(Right up, of course, until the moment they aren't. The Yithians don't really care about us, they just want to make sure our eventual decline and extinction happens in the method best suited for themselves).

 

If I was really going to run with it, I'd suggest at least two different factions, working in different ways to the same goals, and using the players and cultists as catspaws. There's definitely Story there.

 

 

OH. And in addition. I'd suggest throwing "Faerie Myths" into Yronimous' list of inspirations (especially for Dark Ages games) - "This child has suddenly changed it's attitude and mannerisms, and both knows things it shouldn't, and doesn't know things it should" is pretty much Rote for Changelings and Yithians.

 

Especially when a group of similarly weird strangers turn up, claiming the child is now theirs, and the child knows them and wants to go.

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Beyond13

I always like to think that the Yithians have a certain vested interest in making sure that time resolves in a certain way - that humanity dies in the right time and circumstance to ensure that the Beetle Race they're due to inhabit in the future, are the dominant race to step to the forefront .

 

It's a comforting thought but I think that it is not the true depths of Lovecraftian horror.  The point of the story is that against the vast stretches of time that science was now proving existed, humanity with its few thousand years of history and its few hundred thousand years of existence was nothing.  You have to put Lovecraftian horror in context both of who Lovecraft was - a scientific minded Anglophile who considered himself an heir of the Enlightenment - and the scientific and philosophical discoveries of the early 20th century that began to undermine his tidy world view.

 

What's more horrible: that powers vastly more potent than humanity might influence man's destiny, or that humanity has an inevitable and unavoidable empty destiny?  Humanity after all had always believed the former, and had only lately arrived at a contrary viewpoint.

 

For Lovecraft, both were terrible thoughts, but it was the later that was by far the most terrible.  Lovecraft had grown up with a belief in the inevitability of human progress.  His life was informed by a certain sort of happy Historicism, of a simian race that had become ennobled in mind and spirit and gradually dragged itself out of barbarity to reach a present pinnacle in the English race, culture, civilization, and British empire.  But that present peak was only a stepping stone to ever higher and higher attainment, as man progressed toward complete understanding and eventually mastery of all he surveyed.  Eventually it was believed science would relinquish its last secret, the universe would yield to man's might, and the whole logical structure of the universe would be revealed, and that thereafter the inheritors of the British Empire in their mighty power would cast their ships out over the vastness of the eternal unchanging universe.  That was the world view that gave Lovecraft and the millions like him at the time solace, and which was shattered not only by events like World War I, alone but by the even more terrible (to his mind) discoveries of science itself: a universe that had a beginning and thus was not unchanging and possibly had an end, mathematics that were inherently incomplete and unprovable, science that was irrational, scales of time and space that were incomprehensible, fixed limits to all power, and facts about the universe that were inherently unknowable.  Science had peered over the horizon and discovered something altogether terrible.

 

The point of man's extinction in the story is that from the perspective of the transcendent Yithians something that has already happened.  They've seen it.  The past and the future are the same to them - inevitable and unchangeable.  All human striving could not and will not change it one whit because all Yithian striving also can not and will not change it one whit.   If you were perhaps the sort to imagine that though one man's mortal life was meaningless, the deeds he did echoed down through the ages contributing to the human race as a whole, well so much for that.  The span of all humanities existence was no more meaningful than a human life, and so all human life is meaningless.  If the Yithians are merely bad guys who are arranging human extinction then they can be struggled against and a chance, however remote, exists that man might obtain a victory and save himself and thwart the plans of humanities enemies.  The truth is infinitely worse than that.  There is nothing that we can do and there is nothing the Yithians can do either.  They are just as trapped as we are.  They may struggle on through the ages, but that only guarantees that they will be there at the end to witness the destruction of everything, quite helpless to do anything about it. 

 

Imagine yourself in a conversation with a Yithian:

 

Human: Our destruction is inevitable?  I don't believe it.  When I return I will devote all my efforts toward saving humanity.

Yithian: Yes.  It is these very efforts that lead to man's destruction.

Human: What?  You mean I'm responsible?  ...Then I'll kill myself.

Yithian: Yes, you will, but this also only furthers the events that transpire in man's final days.

Human: Then erase all my memory of these events. 

Yithian: Out of pity, we will, but sadly it will change nothing.  You do not understand even now.  Time and space are bounded and finite.  These things have already happened.  We are even now in communication with ourselves from after the time of humanities extinction.  Neither you nor we have any hope at all.

Human: *goes insane and begins babbling incoherently*

Yithian: As expected, subject 10382 also was unable to bear the truth.  Prepare the memory eradication device.

Yithian #2: Sadly, it will not perform perfectly in this case.

Yithian: More the pity.

Yithian #2: Why do you torment yourself with these pathetic self-doomed creatures.

Yithian: It is a defensive mechanism.  If I did not, I would go as insane as subject 10382

Yithian #2: It will not succeed forever.

Yitihian: No, nothing does.

 

I honestly think the Yithians are horrified by what they do and that if they could they'd change everything.  They might even pretend that they can change humanities future to gain assistance or perhaps comfort humanity in some small way, but the truth is that they can do nothing.  If they've lobotomized themselves to the suffering of others it's only because if they didn't, they'd go insane.  I think somewhere deep in their cold hearts they pity the little doomed race, but what good is pity?  It cannot change anything.

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yronimoswhateley

...OH. And in addition. I'd suggest throwing "Faerie Myths" into Yronimous' list of inspirations (especially for Dark Ages games) - "This child has suddenly changed it's attitude and mannerisms, and both knows things it shouldn't, and doesn't know things it should" is pretty much Rote for Changelings and Yithians.

 

Especially when a group of similarly weird strangers turn up, claiming the child is now theirs, and the child knows them and wants to go.

 

Oh, I really like that one!

 

And i could easily imagine the child's family "contacting the faeries" in some tragic effort to make a bargain and get their child back, or even in a desperate attempt to force the faeries to return the child, who has in the mean time been trapped on a monstrous alien world (not necessarily the same one described in "The Shadow Out of Time" - after all, who can say how many different bodies the Yithians have possessed over how many thousands or millions of years while tampering with human affairs at just that moment?)  What would it take to get the Yithians to return the child?  In what condition would the body and mind of the child be in after being returned?

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johnmcfloss

It's a comforting thought but I think that it is not the true depths of Lovecraftian horror.  

 

I'm not sure I'd considering it comforting - but I suspect this comes down more to our personal bias than anything specific.

I see it as the equivalent of someone stopping you from drinking poison. But only because they were planning on pushing you down the stairs tomorrow, and your insurance is more likely to pay out if it looks accidental. Pure sociopathia.

 

(I'm also coming at this primarily through the RPG, where predestination, unless handled well, just tends to feel like it's robbing players of their own agency. Mine picked up a spell once that let them glimpse into the future, and making sure things played out that way was a nightmare in bookkeeping)

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Beyond13
johnmcfloss, on 22 Nov 2017 - 10:47 AM, said:

(I'm also coming at this primarily through the RPG, where predestination, unless handled well, just tends to feel like it's robbing players of their own agency. Mine picked up a spell once that let them glimpse into the future, and making sure things played out that way was a nightmare in bookkeeping)

 

No, that's the whole point.  Predestination, if handled well, will feel like it robs the players of all their agency.  That's the point.  That the terrible shattering thought that Lovecraft is pointing at.  It's not a 'fun' thought.  The whole point that Lovecraft is getting at is that if you are intelligent enough to really grasp both the reality and the consequences of having no agency, you'd probably go insane.  Granted, it's almost impossible to create that in an RPG because our ordinary experience of the world is that we do have agency, but Lovecraft is suggesting that our sense that we have any agency is in fact an illusion we shelter in.

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Lisa

Ruthanna Emrys's take on them in "Litany of Earth" and "Winter Tide" is that they are terrible, but they are the ones who will remember the rest of us, and for this reason, are to be honored. That said, no one in her stories that I've read thus far has voluntarily contacted one, and... let's just say one understands why.

 

I don't think most folks who know about the Yithians voluntarily contact them. I think the ones who do are mostly Yithian agents, and most of the rest are ignorant about exactly what they're doing. The remainder are probably desperate.

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yronimoswhateley

Oh, I think plenty of people would try to contact Yithians. 

 

Scientists burning with curiosity about all the wisdom and knowledge that could be gained from that contact.

 

Pessimists and cynics who feel that no matter how bad a Yithian might be they cannot possibly be as bad as humans.

 

Aleister Crowley gleefully tried to contact the Theosophical equivalents/inspirations of Yithians just because he felt sure he could.

 

The hopeless, the lost, the desperate, the broken would all contact the Yithians for guidance, advice, help, direction, hope, faith.... people have historically been happy to try to contact all sorts of imaginary gods, goddesses, demons, angels, spirits, ghosts and such over and over for those very reasons, even without hope of getting answers or responses from them; priests, medium, fortune tellers, and the like have made livings, if not fortunes, from that.  I have a feeling that knowing they would get answers from those they contact would change things very much - it would scare a few away, but convince others, and, I think, things might work out about even in the end....

 

Someone who finds out that Yithians have been meddling in his life over and over might want to contact them to ask why, and try to get them to stop - if the meddling is bad enough, that person might feel like things couldn't get much worse if he deliberately contacted them. 

 

Certainly, in spite of the nightmarish descriptions of alien abductions, there are still sizeable UFO contactee cults:  believing they have contacted UFOs and aliens seems to give some people a sense of purpose and control over their lives.

 

The Yithians, whatever their motives, are certainly older and wiser than humans are... they have been everywhere, everywhen, seeing far more of time and space than humans.  Whether humans admire, respect, or fear it, there are plenty of precedents for humans willing to make great sacrifices for chances to benefit from that sort of age and wisdom.  In fact, the tone Lovecraft uses in writing "The Shadow Out of Time" almost suggests that Lovecraft himself rather admired and idealized his creations, and might not have hesitated to contact them in exchange for being allowed to join their weird utopia, becoming one of their number! (Lovecraft was a strange guy with really strange political, religious, aesthetic, philosophical, and personal ideals which this story perhaps reveals some weird insight into.....)

 

Among the most tempting benefits that might be gained by (or at least offered as schmuck-bait for) someone like Lovecraft from Yithians include eternal life beyond the "galling limits of time and space", escape from an unhappy life as a mere human being, acceptance into a kind of atheist and socialist scientist-philosopher aristocratic utopia that might appeal to those who are dissatisfied with human politics and religion, and almost limitless access to all of the knowledge and wisdom and mysteries plundered from unnumbered civilizations across time and space.....

 

I think that there are optimists who would contact the Yithians in the hope of making the world a better place, and cynics and pessimists who would contact the Yithians in the belief that things couldn't get any worse than they are already after contacting them....

 

So, I can't help thinking that most folks who would know about the Yithians - cultists, free-thinkers, artists, dreamers, mystics, scientists, truth-seekers, the misguided, philosophers, priests, antiquarians, futurists, escapists, and such - would find it hard to resist contacting the Yithians if they could.

 

And, I can't help thinking that all of them, no matter what they expected, would walk away from such contact feeling disquieted, repelled, and terrified:  I believe contact with beings like the Yithians must surely be both awesome and awful, terrific and terrible.....

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eternalchampion

I don’t know about the rest of you but I feel that the original question has been answered. Just a note, in Delta Green Mythos there is an organization called “the Motion†whose members act as Yithians’ agents inside humanity’s civilization. Many of them can be the type of dreamer or researcher, as it was described above. People like them would certainly need the aforementioned spell anyway.

 

I would certainly suggest the novel “Denied to the enemy†of Dennis Detwiller. The author fleshes out the Yithians in a very interesting way.

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ZeroMostel

Oh, I think plenty of people would try to contact Yithians. 

 

I think that there are optimists who would contact the Yithians in the hope of making the world a better place, and cynics and pessimists who would contact the Yithians in the belief that things couldn't get any worse than they are already after contacting them....

 

So, I can't help thinking that most folks who would know about the Yithians - cultists, free-thinkers, artists, dreamers, mystics, scientists, truth-seekers, the misguided, philosophers, priests, antiquarians, futurists, escapists, and such - would find it hard to resist contacting the Yithians if they could.

 

And, I can't help thinking that all of them, no matter what they expected, would walk away from such contact feeling disquieted, repelled, and terrified:  I believe contact with beings like the Yithians must surely be both awesome and awful, terrific and terrible.....

 

Now You have me thinking of a "cult" of such people. Maybe even ones who want to escape man's "fate" and be part of the Beetles who inhabit the earth after man.

 

OOOO I gotta run with this 

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WinstonP

Now You have me thinking of a "cult" of such people. Maybe even ones who want to escape man's "fate" and be part of the Beatles who inhabit the earth after man.

 

OOOO I gotta run with this

 

Wait, The Yithians come back as The Beatles?!

 

Does this make Yoko a Mythos entity? ;)

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ZeroMostel

In Ma

 

Wait, The Yithians come back as The Beatles?!

Does this make Yoko a Mythos entity? ;)

 

According to Macho women with guns, she is.

 

Sorry for the misspelling. it has been corrected

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johnmcfloss

According to Macho women with guns, she is.

 

Sorry for the misspelling. it has been corrected

 

...to be honest, "Four Yithian bodysnatchers get lost/forgotten in 1960's Britain, and decide the best way to create a large enough ripple through time that they're noticed and retrieved (without accidentally messing up history or outing themselves), is to become world-famous musicians, and seed clues to their nature in album art and backmasking in the hopes that another Yithian at some point in the future works it out and comes back for them" sounds like a pretty solid basis to build up from. Possibly fiction or a one-shot over a campaign, but

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windandfire

...to be honest, "Four Yithian bodysnatchers get lost/forgotten in 1960's Britain, and decide the best way to create a large enough ripple through time that they're noticed and retrieved (without accidentally messing up history or outing themselves), is to become world-famous musicians, and seed clues to their nature in album art and backmasking in the hopes that another Yithian at some point in the future works it out and comes back for them" sounds like a pretty solid basis to build up from. Possibly fiction or a one-shot over a campaign, but

I think I just found my April fool's day game

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ZeroMostel

...to be honest, "Four Yithian bodysnatchers get lost/forgotten in 1960's Britain, and decide the best way to create a large enough ripple through time that they're noticed and retrieved (without accidentally messing up history or outing themselves), is to become world-famous musicians, and seed clues to their nature in album art and backmasking in the hopes that another Yithian at some point in the future works it out and comes back for them" sounds like a pretty solid basis to build up from. Possibly fiction or a one-shot over a campaign, but

 

So then Yoko IS a Great old one.

 

Probably Nyarlathotep. Only something that gruesome could sing that bad.

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yronimoswhateley

Now You have me thinking of a "cult" of such people. Maybe even ones who want to escape man's "fate" and be part of the Beetles who inhabit the earth after man.

 

OOOO I gotta run with this 

 

And now you've got me thinking more and more about it....

 

In Lovecraft's atheist's nightmare of a universe, religion is kind of reality, but not quite - there are gods, after a fashion, but they're really only other (alien) people who benefited by starting the game of being alive a little earlier than humans... there is neither heaven or hell, at least not quite, but rather an afterlife, after a fashion, because there is a soul, after a fashion, in the form a disembodied intellect that persists after death, but has nowhere to go and nothing to do without a body; there is no truly divine judgment and intervention in your future, but rather a do-it-yourself quality to making your own afterlife out of whatever nature and chance have randomly provided as building materials.... 

 

The whole thing makes a world in which a 'cult' or 'religion' of people who know these appalling facts in ways that cults and religions in the real world - which depend on mere faith in more idealized versions of such things - never could; a somewhat bizarre and strange and ultimately fatalistic thing, in which those who know the truth must make their own afterlife as best as they can out of whatever they can, free of ordinary reason and morality and ethics in any form that normal people in the real world would understand:  it would be a universe where everyone who understands how it works is doomed to monstrosity because there is no other reasonable choice, a universe where sociopathy is enlightenment and virtue, and the willingness to lie and cheat and steal lives and bodies and exploit ignorance and blindness and manipulate to your ultimately temporary favor anything that can be manipulated for as long as you can manipulate it are the keys to whatever passes for heaven and eternal life....  It is, perhaps, no wonder that anyone who truly understands these cosmic truths would seem "insane" or "evil" to common people.

 

If I were one of these cultists in such a universe, I certainly would jump at a chance to be reborn as a glorified cockroach on a dying world, because it's better than any of the awful and depressing alternatives:  you either keep your body alive as close to forever as possible far into a world increasingly unsuitable to sustain it, or plan and act to repeatedly steal someone or something else's body, or you spend eternity as a homeless spirit drifting aimlessly through a purposeless universe that is even more meaningless for disembodied spirits than it is for those in bodies....

 

In the end, besides a small matter of different experiences, what difference would there be, really, between "Yithians" and "humans", if we're simply disembodied spirits wearing temporary meat suits?  Whether formerly human or formerly rugose cone vegetable-things, we will all merely be future-cockroach-things creeping around a dying Earth eventually, if we're lucky enough to escape the alternative of haunting the dying world as useless ghosts without bodies....

 

From that perspective, these cultists' purpose becomes that of keeping the planet as habitable as possible for the long haul, and keeping the planet populated with enough bodies suited to its environment that you always have a body to jump into after death after death after death after death forever... a population of living bodies in any form (but especially a desirable, comfortable one) become a priceless commodity and investment, one to be carefully managed and protected, not for its own good, but for yours....

 

And then, when it comes to others - other humans, aliens, etc. - they would represent competition for your investment in living bodies, and you would probably want to keep the truth about the "afterlife" secret from them, dooming them all to an eternity as a useless ghosts, because you certainly don't want to give them any competitive advantage when it comes to taking your next body.  Distract them with false religions, hide any tomes that reveal the truth, guide them into the wrong directions after death or during life, trick them into giving up their bodies and never coming back to life:  ideally, the universe is a place where only a handful of chosen spirits know the truth and control everything, while everyone else is doomed to a disembodied existence without hope of ever seeing life or afterlife or presence and purpose again.... 

 

There would be two kinds of beings in such a universe:  those enlightened masters of the universe - human and alien - who are in on the secret of eternal life and have no choice but to abandon all humanity to embrace the awful truth, and those unenlightened ones who are perhaps best left in the dark to be abandoned into oblivion, both as a competitive advantage over them and as a mercy for them.  Which would you want to be, if the terrible "choice" were revealed to you?

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eternalchampion

Interesting yronimoswhateley but, I must say, not very horrifying!

 

But, if I may add a little bit of something in this line of though, we could say that the four-dimensional creatures in “Interstellar†are Yithians, or that that humans might become Yithians given the… time?

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ZeroMostel

Interesting yronimoswhateley but, I must say, not very horrifying!

 

But, if I may add a little bit of something in this line of though, we could say that the four-dimensional creatures in “Interstellar†are Yithians, or that that humans might become Yithians given the… time?

 

If this is the case, then the Yithians are not so much a race as then a society. A group of people escaping the fate of their worlds and jumping en masse to other creatures and being. The cone shaped beings might not have even been intelligent, just handy shapes to inhabit, that of course could hold the mentality of their new owners. 

 

The "magic" used for such could be harnessed by a "cult" Jumping forward in time to escape whatever they needed to do, swapping or co-oping bodies as they went.

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eternalchampion

If this is the case, then the Yithians are not so much a race as then a society. A group of people escaping the fate of their worlds and jumping en masse to other creatures and being. The cone shaped beings might not have even been intelligent, just handy shapes to inhabit, that of course could hold the mentality of their new owners. 

 

The "magic" used for such could be harnessed by a "cult" Jumping forward in time to escape whatever they needed to do, swapping or co-oping bodies as they went.

 

Also Interesting. But then the "Great Race" would not be an actual race, but a society of higher intellects.

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ZeroMostel

Also Interesting. But then the "Great Race" would not be an actual race, but a society of higher intellects.

 

Or similar personalities. I have yet to see any intelligent race on earth.

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eternalchampion

Or similar personalities. I have yet to see any intelligent race on earth.

 

Good point.

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yronimoswhateley

"Race", perhaps, is only a very narrow human construct.  We might all be the same "Yithian" monster in the end... some more mature and aware and accomplished at surfing from body to body and exploiting meat than others, but, in the end, "humanity" is just a meaningless distinction between wandering madness and another, a distinction with no more important a basis in the ultimate reality than that of which body that it currently inhabits, as if we cease to be "human" the moment we stop standing in one building, and walk across the street to another....

 

As for how horrifying any of it is, it all depends on what logical conclusion you take it all to.

 

For example, as I've hinted elsewhere, a Yithian mind-swap would be effectively indistinguishable from demonic possession, with all of the unsettling horror that can be applied to a demonic possession story, except that it is a demonic possession in a universe where the only "gods" you can turn to for help, protection, or the power of "exorcism" are indifferent alien monsters who do not know or care that you even exist. 

 

To paraphrase one of Orwell's more Lovecraftian expressions, if you want to see a future in a world where Lovecraft's twisted parody of religion exists, imagine the "boot" of a horde of invisible but horrifically real demonic Yithian spirits stamping on human faces forever and ever, until something better to stamp on comes along to replace humans as we go extinct; your only way out of that fate is to join the demons in their eternal face-stomping....

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ZeroMostel

"Race", perhaps, is only a very narrow human construct.  We might all be the same "Yithian" monster in the end... some more mature and aware and accomplished at surfing from body to body and exploiting meat than others, but, in the end, "humanity" is just a meaningless distinction between wandering madness and another, a distinction with no more important a basis in the ultimate reality than that of which body that it currently inhabits, as if we cease to be "human" the moment we stop standing in one building, and walk across the street to another....

 

As for how horrifying any of it is, it all depends on what logical conclusion you take it all to.

 

For example, as I've hinted elsewhere, a Yithian mind-swap would be effectively indistinguishable from demonic possession, with all of the unsettling horror that can be applied to a demonic possession story, except that it is a demonic possession in a universe where the only "gods" you can turn to for help, protection, or the power of "exorcism" are indifferent alien monsters who do not know or care that you even exist. 

 

To paraphrase one of Orwell's more Lovecraftian expressions, if you want to see a future in a world where Lovecraft's twisted parody of religion exists, imagine the "boot" of a horde of invisible but horrifically real demonic Yithian spirits stamping on human faces forever and ever, until something better to stamp on comes along to replace humans as we go extinct; your only way out of that fate is to join the demons in their eternal face-stomping....

 

I would say that the mind swap would be the closest thing to demonic possession in this world, however from what I understand, being "possessed" is more that your body is taken over and you are no longer in the driver's seat. You can see everything that is going on, but cannot do anything about it. A mind swap is literally that, you are in another body and controlling that one. They can wipe your mind before you go, so you end up with a load of unaccounted for time, but you at least didn't have the horror of being out of control.

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yronimoswhateley

Why not include the horror of being out of control in your story about Yithian mind-swapping, if that's what scares you and your audience? 

 

 

 

Just because Lovecraft didn't use it in one story, doesn't necessarily mean he wouldn't have used it if he'd thought of it, or that he wouldn't have used it in another story if he'd had the chance to, and it certainly doesn't mean you cannot use it if you want to.  Maybe the victims of a Yithian body-snatching can have their own minds projected into an alien body if the Yithian wants to or bothers being so considerate, but the Yithian could just as easily leave your disembodied mind floating just beyond the door of time and space to watch what the Yithian does to and with your body - effectively, an out-of-body experience - or, if you prefer, leaves your mind intact and conscious of every awful thing the Yithian does, but unable to resist, to act, to scream....

 

But, even if you really insist on some sort of "purist" approach that only handles things the way Lovecraft handled them in the stories he wrote, are you really in control of the weeks, months, years spent as a prisoner and slave in alien hell on monstrously prehistoric Earth, while some inhuman thing uses your body in ways that wreck your reputation, family, friends, property, and your body's health in monstrous, alien, and incomprehensible pursuits?

 

Maybe it's not really the loss of control that scares you, maybe it's the body horror - after all, a possession story tends to be loaded with body horror.  If body horror is what pushes your buttons, then play to that - after all, you have had an alien mind that wasn't evolved to fit your body wearing it anyway like an ill-fitting suit... you need only describe all of the wear-and-tear that an immortal alien invertebrate mind can inflict on a human body it doesn't know or care how to take care of, and all of the most nightmarish "customizations" and "modifications" it might choose to make to a human body to make that body more comfortable for it, or more suitable for monstrous alien research, "spell-casting", use of inhuman technology, or anything else you can imagine.  Meanwhile, you can also work on describing the monstrous and inexplicable alien body the victim occupies, with all of its alien form, fit, comfort, senses, transformations, and deterioration from the neglect and abuse inflicted upon it by its half-mad, confused, and horribly ignorant occupying human mind, as well as the abuses inflicted by the other alien inmates your human mind shares its "cell" with while swapped:  the occupants of a human mental institution or prison can do nightmarish things to each other, so just imagine what might happen to you while you have been mind-swapped into a Yithian mental institution or prison full of monstrous alien minds collected from all across time and space, while trapped in immortal and unfamiliar bodies....

 

"The Thing on the Doorstep" also covers much the same sort of ground as a Yithian story, even though the mind-swap involved wasn't (necessarily) with an alien - Edward Derby's mind and life were shattered by the experience, both because what happened when he was out of his body was horrible, and because what was happening with his body while he was away was horrible.  Why should having an alien cultist steal your body for years while you are left in an inhuman shell in a strange and horrible place be any less of a nightmare both while you are away, and after you return and find out what the monster has been up to for all those years it pretended to be you?

 

Or maybe neither loss of control or body horror are what frighten and disturb you.  That's alright:  find out what DOES frighten and disturb you, and find a way to apply it to a possession/mind-swap/whatever story - I can't think of any common fear (e.g., fear of death, mutilation/contamination, helplessness/confinement/being controlled, isolation/separation/abandonment, humiliation/shame...) that couldn't be applied to a possession story, it's pretty wide open for all sorts of different horror.

 

 

 

Again, though, it's how use use the material that makes it scary.  A trip to the grocery store or going to sleep at night don't sound very scary as-is, either, but the only thing stopping someone from turning something even as mundane, dull, and every-day as that into a cosmic horror story is a little willing suspension of disbelief and the vision to inject something a little cosmic, and something a little horrible into the event, and tap into that frame of mind where climbing into or out of bed in a dark, quiet room really is a frightening experience....

 

And, to bring it back around to the original topic of the thread, of course there all sorts of reasons to contact a Yithian, even foolish reasons, and the only thing stopping someone from turning that event into a cosmic horror story is the process of tapping into that frame of mind where lighting up a candle in the dark and using a ouija board or saying "Bloody Mary" three times while looking at a mirror both seems like a great idea, and at the same time really is a very unsettling experience whether something actually happens or not.  (Of course, in the world of dark fantasy and horror, if calling out to Yithian body-snatchers in the dark doesn't seem like a good - or at least harmless - idea at the time, isn't as eerie and atmospheric an experience as you make it as a writer or storyteller, AND fails to result in something awful happening, then it's not the subject matter that's a problem - after all, those basic components have worked together as horror story-telling devices for a very, very long time, perhaps dating far back into pre-human history when making too much noise in your cave or burrow in the dark and silent night would attract the attention, fangs, and claws of unseen, unknown, and unfriendly monsters from the darkness of the dawn of time!)

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