Bugg-Shash ("Bugg-Shash the Terrible", "The Night-Thing", "The Black One", "The Filler of Space", "The Dweller in Darkness", "The Drowner", "The Bogeyman", "Saint Tenebrose", "Rahazzut", "Heklung'Kuen", or "Gathering of Bones")
Bugg-Shash, "The Drowner", is a gelatinous creature with innumerable human-like eyes and mouths within its black mass. It attacks human victims by wrapping its mass around them and drowning them in slime, often attacking several individuals at once. Once dead, the victim(s) can be controlled, puppet-like, to perform a task where there is light, something which the Drowner cannot endure.
Origin: (Bugg-Shash is a name which Brian Lumley first mentioned off-hand in his early story "Rising with Surtsey", and later applied to the nameless creature of David Sutton's "Demoniacal" when Lumley wrote "The Kiss of Bugg-Shash" as a sequel, where Bugg-Shash is first described in detail.)
In the Mythos
"...And then came the Black One! Never guessing that any such visitation might actually occur, Nuttall had failed to take the traditional precaution of prisoning the horror in a pentagram. And it WAS a horror! A thing with invisible, evil eyes that saw in the dark, with mouths and lips that sucked and slobbered.... The abominable chittering grew louder still. It surrounded the circle completely now and, for the first time, the two conscious men clearly saw that which the single, tiny remaining flame held at bay. Creeping up on all sides, to the very line of the chalked circle, the Thing came; a glistening, shuddering wall of jelly-like ooze in which many mouths gaped and just as many eyes monstrously ogled! This was Bugg-Shash the Drowner, The Black One, The Filler of Space. Indeed, the bulk of this ... Being? ... did seem to fill the entire study! All bar the blessed sanctuary of the circle. The eyes were beyond words, but worse still were those mouths. Sucking and whistling with thickly viscous lips, the mouths glistened and slobbered and, from out of those gluttonous orifices poured the lunatic chitterings of alien song - the Song of Bugg-Shash - as his substance towered up and leaned inwards to form a slimy ceiling over their very heads!"
— Brian Lumley, "The Kiss of Bugg-Shash"
"One of the Darkest Beings of the Netherworld, whose Trail is as that of a monstrous Snail, who hails from the blackest Pits of the most remote Spheres. Cousin to Yibb-Tstll, Bugg-Shash, too, is a Drowner; His lips do suck and lick; His Kiss is the slimy Kiss of the hideous Death. He wakes the very Dead to His Command, and encased in the horror of His Essence even the worm-ravaged Lich hastens to do His Bidding...."
— The Book of Eibon, as portrayed by Brian Lumley in "The Kiss of Bugg-Shash"
Lest any brash or inexperienced Wizard be tempted to call forth one of ye Drowners - be it Yibb-Tstll or Bugg-Shash - this Warning shall guide him & inform him of his Folly. For ye Drowners are of a like treacherous & require ye most delicate Handling & minutest Attention to thaumathurgic Detail. Yibb-Tstll may only be controlled by use of ye Soul-Searing Barrier of Naach-Tith, & Bugg-Shash may only be contained in ye Pentagram of Power. Too, ye Drowners must be sent early about ye Business of them, which is Death, lest they find ways to turn upon ye Caller. Call NOT upon Bugg-Shash for ye sake of mere idle curiosity; for ye Great Black One, neither him nor His Cousin, will return of His own Accord to His Place, but will seek out by any Means a Victim, being often that same Wizard which uttered ye Calling. Of ye two is Bugg-Shash most treacherous and vilely cunning, for should no Sacrifice or Victim be prepared for His Coming, He will not go back without He takes His Caller with Him, must needs He stay an hundred Years to accomplish His Purpose....
— Feery's Notes on the Cthaat Aquadingen, as portrayed by Brian Lumley in "The Kiss of Bugg-Shash"
"Bugg-Shash is unbearable! His lips suck; He knows not defeat but brings down His victim at the last; aye, even though He follows that victim unto Death and beyond to achieve His purpose. And there was a riddle known to my forefathers: 'What evil wakes that should lie dead, Swathed in horror toe to head?'"
— apparently John Dee's expurgated Necronomicon, as portrayed by Brian Lumley in "The Kiss of Bugg-Shash"
Heresies and Controversies
- Yibb-Tstll is literally a cousin (a literal "blood relative" on the family tree) of Bugg-Shash (literal fan interpretation of Lumley's occult references to the similar natures of these beings in "The Kiss of Bugg-Shash")
- Bugg-Shash is not directly related to Yibb-Tstll, but is called its "cousin" due to certain similarities in their nature as "Drowners". (figurative fan interpretation of Lumley's occult references to the similar natures of these beings in "The Kiss of Bugg-Shash")
- Bugg-Shash is one of The Drowners introduced by Brian Lumley: parasitic alien entities which thrive by vampyrizing the Great Old Ones themselves. (Encyclopaedia Cthulhiana, and possibly Brian Lumley in "The House of the Temple")
- Bugg-Shash and other "Drowners" are referred to in a number of Mythos Tomes as "guardian" or "protective" spirits, "saints", "angels", and such, which, when properly appeased, may protect cultists from the consequences of summoning more powerful beings, such as Great Old Ones, by "drowning" or weakening them; in this capacity Bugg-Shash is sometimes referred to in Voodoo-inspired cults (and others, including some Christian-inspired Mythos cults) as "Saint Tenebrose", "Saint Eldritch", "Saint Shadow". (YSDC Forums)
- Bugg-Shash, as an amorphous monster with origins "in the blackest pits of the most remote spheres", might be related in some fashion to Ubbo-Sathla, Abhoth, and/or Shoggoths. (YSDC Forums)
- Maybe the Mi-go, with their own distaste for light ("Whisperer in Darkness") are cultivating Bugg-Shash on the darker side of Yuggoth, growing it petri-like from the last scraps of Ubbo-Sathla (or collected Abhoth matter), and the experiment is just about to go awry.... (YSDC Forums)
- The name Bugg-Shash has some suspicious similarity to the group of related words "barghest", "bogey", "bugbear", "boggart", "puck", "pooka", "puki", "baubau", "bobo", "buka", "bag-man", etc., the name "Bughuul"; implying some etymological relationship between Bugg-Shash and words for any number of terrifying mythological bogeyman monsters known for lurking in darkness. (YSDC Forums)
- Bugg-Shash is also known as Bockshass, Bogjess or Bugg-Shash in various English dialects, from the Scots Boag-Jass; originally the Gaelic bòcan-seasg: the "barren spirit" or bringer of sterility, from the barren wastes it would supposedly leave in its ravening wake. (YSDC Forums)
- Bugg-Shash, through association with the bogeyman, is thus identified with black, faceless bogey-men who hide under beds and in closets, emerging at night to horribly tickle naughty children in their beds: Nightgaunts, who are also associated with Yibb-Tstll and other "Drowners". (YSDC Forums)
- Bugg-Shash may appear as a formless, translucent black goo, covered in eyes and mouths, and embedded with the skeletal remains of previously-engulfed victims, including the undying, lichly remains of desiccated wizards now under the Drowner's parasitic control. (Lumley's quotes, especially from the Book of Eibon, and YSDC Forums)
- Bugg-Shash may be willing to trade some of the knowledge it has absorbed from its victims, perhaps narrated by absorbed liches under the Drowner's control, for a price. (YSDC Forums)
- Bugg-Shash may have once been a cleric of the Great Old Ones, punished for some forgotten infraction with a curse which has infested Bugg-Shash with the black slime and turned it into its current form as "the Drowner". (YSDC Forums)
- A vaguely similar being appears in the scenario "Of Angels and Bones", where it is described as a formless alien creature that can create a body for itself from the dead bones of other creature, and create "spawn" from skeletons. ("Of Angels and Bones")
If Bugg-Shash is, in fact, a parasitic alien entity which thrives by vampyrizing the Great Old Ones, perhaps cultists and wizards might attempt to conjure Bugg-Shash as a weapon or protection against those beings, or to weaken a Great Old One enough that it might be controlled. (YSDC Forums)
Bugg-Shash is at least partly or temporarily dispelled by light, though Bugg-Shash will wait patiently in darkness for its victim to fall into shadow again and return to torment its victim. Thus, the Drowner might be useful as an entry-level monster for an inexperienced group of investigators to face; Bugg-Shash can thus be temporarily dispelled in an early scenario, and return again later on as a recurring threat. (YSDC Forums)
Perhaps the slime of the Drowner has special properties of industrial or commercial interest, similarly to snail slime (which is used, among other things, in cosmetics), such that a corporate "cult" might find a use for summoning the Drowner to harvest its slime. The investigators might get hooked into the scenario while following a trail of mysterious and gruesome deaths of people who use this product! (YSDC Forums)
Lone cultists are generally warned against trying to summon the treacherous Bugg-Shash, but might attempt to do so anyway for misguided reasons of their own; if the wizard is not completely mad or foolish such summonings should include the preparation of a living sacrifice to distract the gluttonous Bugg-Shash from inflicting a hideous Death upon its summoner. The sorts of favors and tasks a wizard might ask or demand of Bugg-Shash in return seem to be largely limited by Bugg-Shash's difficult-to-control and almost single-minded purpose and business of death and ruin.
Organized cultists are more likely to summon a being claiming some intermediary status from Bugg-Shash: typically, servants like Nightgaunts and Byakhee, Familiar Spirits, Cats of the outer-worlds (Neptune and Uranus) who have allied themselves to the entity for their own mysterious reasons, or other, far stranger entities.
One possible Cult of the Drowner is the "Bugg-shash Man", "Bag-Man", or "Bogey Man": a shadowy group of old men and women who creep through the night dressed in black robes and hoods, stealing or buying naughty children from their hopeless parents, stuffing the children into sacks, and carrying them off to be sacrificed to the Drowner; sometimes, the Drowner performs a "miracle", returning a previous year's child victim to malevolent, shambling, raving life as a "prophet" of the Night-Thing, to the horror of the child's former parents and to the Drowner's cultists. (YSDC Forums)
Bugg-Shash is associated with the reanimated dead; thus, it might play a role in a sort of "zombie apocalypse" scenario, or it might be associated with liches, or with bodies that have "come back wrong" after being reanimated by The Drowner, only to return to its loved ones with a malevolent personality in control of the body. Thus, there might be a great deal of temptation among even good people to summon Bugg-Shash to perform a "miracle" and raise a dead child or other loved one. (YSDC Forums)
Associated Mythos Elements
- Yibb-Tstll and possibly others (known with Bugg-Shash collectively as "The Drowners")
- Cthaat Aquadingen
- possibly Deep Ones and other aquatic horrors
- perhaps Nightgaunts, which are associated with the "cousin" Yibb-Tstll
- Ysior (Tyler Hudak, Island of Ignorance article "Dweller in Darkness"; the name "Ysior" contains an "Easter Egg")
- the Bogeyman
- dwells in (or is imprisoned in) the Netherworld, "the blackest Pits of the most remote Spheres"
- Fiction: "The Kiss of Bugg-Shash"; first appearances are "Rising with Surtsey" (only as a reference to the name), and later David Sutton's "Demoniacal" (allegedly as the nameless creature; "The Kiss of Bugg-Shash" was written as a sequel to "Demoniacal")
- YSDC Forums: "What Can You Do With: Bugg-Shash"
- Scenario "All Hallow's Eve" and Island of Ignorance article "Dweller in Darkness", both by Tyler Hudak