Origin: (earliest known story/scenario the creature appears in, indicate whether this is uncertain)
The "Horned Gods" of Mars are an otherwise nameless, insect-like species which developed an extremely advanced science, biomechanical technology, and Mythos magic system in a very ancient epoch of Martian history. The Horned Gods in many ways resemble the Gargoyles known from ancient times to countless Earthly cultures: grotesque horned heads with huge insect eyes and gaping mouths filled with sharp chitinous teeth or fangs, mounted on winged locust-like bodies, perched on three spindly insect-like legs, and with three insect-like fingered arms.
The "Horned Gods" seem to have created Martian humanoids by genetically manipulating proto-human stock stolen from a primitive Earth, and then transplanted these modified humans back onto Earth to serve as bodies which the "Horned Gods" could transfer their minds into to escape their dying world.
It's unclear whether the Horned Martians ever succeeded in transferring their minds before their Martian humanoid creations rose up in rebellion, armed with their former masters' technology and magic, and somehow rendered the "Horned Gods" all but extinct. It is possible that they succeeded, and that modern humans are the result of the genetic tampering of ancient Martian insect witches, with the transferred minds of these horrors guiding human history and destiny through the ages.
Horned Martian Technology
By the time they had become extinct on Mars, the Horned Gods had become masters of biotechnology, growing great nests that towered in the bleak Martian sky, as well as living construction, transportation, and thinking machinery of various sorts, and even living spacecraft which they used to travel between primitive Earth and dying Mars in preparation for their bold plan to colonize Earth using the bodies and brains of genetically-modified proto-humans.
According to some theories, humanoid Martians and Earthly Humans are the descendants of humanoid races engineered by Horned Martians to more easily survive on Mars and Earth and act as vessels for a mass mind-transfer of Horned Martians in their last-ditch effort to escape the changing environment of dying Mars; it is unclear whether the Horned Martians succeeded in their mind transfer, but whatever the case, the bodies of the Horned Martians have long since gone extinct, and were succeeded on Mars by a dark age followed by the rise of the White Martians, until the drying seas and encroaching desert wastelands drove the White Martians too into extinction, with Red Martians in turn engineered to succeed the White Martians only to descend into their own savagery and extinction as Mars fell to waste, while on Earth the human civilizations of the Hyborian Age fell into chaos and entered a dark age from which Earth has only recently begun to recover.
Horned Martian Magick
The Horned Martians were also highly developed telepaths and wizards, mastering mind transfer, telepathy, telekinesis, the opening of gates into other dimensions and worlds, and lots more. Vastly ancient Mythos Tomes filled with long-forgotten lore penned by Horned Martians are said to wait buried even today in shadowy vaults, crumbling desert ruins, icy polar tombs, and slumbering bio-machines covered in the muck of dried-up sea beds, waiting to be discovered by wizards courageous enough - or mad enough - to seek them out.
Heresies and Controversies
- Horned Martians are possibly related to the Mi-Go. (fan theory)
- The insect-like Horned Martians nearly destroyed Mars when through the use of their "black magic"; they accidentally opened a portal into "Hell" (actually a bizarre alternate dimension); they were barely able to repel the invading forces of Hell using an artifact they called a "Soul Cube"; in the ensuing chaos, they fled their dying world, and according to some theories mind-transferred to Earth into specially engineered proto-human bodies, in which the transferred minds of the Horned Martians would then "evolve" into modern, Earthly humans. (fan interpretation, based on the backstory of DOOM3)
- A few bio-mechanical spacecraft and other machines, abandoned by the Horned Martians on Mars, in the Martian Dreamland of Barsoom, and on Earth and elsewhere over the ages, have gone mad in their neglect and isolation, and have evolved into active Dreamers, intelligent and skilled with psychic and magical powers of their own; their travels and presence are responsible for many mysterious accounts of UFO sightings on Earth and in many other worlds. (fan interpretation)
What has become of Millicent Frastley?
Is there any hope that she is still alive?
Why haven't they found her?
It's rather ghastly to think the little child was not yet five
What has become of Millicent Frastley?
Last seen alone playing at the edge of the park
There was no one with her to keep her from straying away
And she wandered off into the oncoming dark
A silent and glittering black motor drew up
To where she sat nibbling grass
And an arm with two elbows then held out a tin filled with cinnamon balls
And beckoned the youngster in...
The car after hours and hours of travel
Arrived at a gate in an endless wall
It pulled up the drive and stopped on the gravel
At the foot of a vast and crumbling hall...
The child was removed to a ballroom whose hangings
And mirrors were streaked with a luminous slime
They leapt through the air with their buzzings and twangings
To work themselves up to their ritual crime
They stung her and stripped off her garments and lastly
They sucked her inside a kind of a pod
And then it was that little Millicent Frastley
Was sacrificed to the insect god
— Edward Gorey, "The Insect God"
Associated Mythos Elements
- location: Mars
- location: Barsoom, the Martian Dreamlands
- race: Martians, including...
- Film: see Quatermass and the Pit (1967 film)