In the Mythos
Oozing and surging up out of that yawning trap door in the Cyclopean crypt I had glimpsed such an unbelievable behemothic monstrosity that I could not doubt the power of its original to kill with its mere sight. I might call it gigantic — tentacled — proboscidian — octopus-eyed — semi-amorphous — plastic — partly squamous and partly rugose.... But nothing I could say could even adumbrate the loathsome, unholy, non-human, extra-galactic horror and hatefulness and unutterable evil of that forbidden spawn of black chaos and illimitable night.
— H.P. Lovecraft and Hazel Heald, "Out of the Aeons (fiction)"
Ghatanothoa is a huge, misshapen monster whose form is so hideous that merely seeing it transforms the viewer into a petrified body with leathery skin and preserved organs. The victim's brain remains alive, going mad from its confinement.
Ghatanothoa lived in the mountains of Mu when that continent existed, having arrived or been brought there from Yuggoth. It was worshipped by a hundred priests, who possessed great privileges. The job of these priests was to appease the monster so that it would not emerge from its secret lair, endangering the people.
In the "Year of the Red Moon", T'yog, a priest of Shub-Niggurath, attempted to save mankind from Ghatanothoa. He created a magical scroll to protect him from Ghatanothoa's petrifying power by prayer to Shub-Niggurath, Nug and Yeb, and other deities. With this, he believed he could physically encounter the god and force it to parlay with him. He believed that this could gain him immense power, as well as benefiting the human race. The priests of Ghatanothoa replaced it secretly with a powerless imitation. Thus, T'yog too was petrified into a half-living statue, which lasted up until the modern era.
According to Colin Wilson's story "The Return of the Lloigor", Ghatanothoa, the "dark one", was the leader of the lloigor, an alien species.
Ghatanothoa has no known cult on the Earth's surface today, though Deep Ones no doubt do pay homage at Ghatanothoa's sunken lair beneath the ocean and Lloigor do the same from the Hollow Earth beneath the oceans, while in the Thuvian Age, a Muvian cult of human priests placated the monster with prayer and sacrifice in hopes of keeping it within its volcanic lair, and a cult of Mi-Go seems to have accompanied Ghatanothoa to Earth from Yuggoth in prehuman history.
Associated Mythos Elements
- race: Star-Spawn of Cthulhu (by some accounts Ghatanothoa is one of the spawn of Cthulhu)
- race: Xothan - Ghatanotoa is the son of Cthulhu and Idh-yaa, and sibling of Cthylla, Ythogtha, and Zoth-Ommog
- race: Lloigor, servants of Ghatanothoa by some accounts
- location: Xoth and Yuggoth, worlds where Ghatanothoa dwelt before coming to Earth
- location: Mu - lost continent where Ghatanothoa lived and is now imprisoned
- character: T'yog, Muvian priest of Shub-Niggurath and Nug and Yeb, who opposed Ghatanothoa
- setting: Lin Carter's Xothic Cycle