"Burrowers Beneath" is the title of Robert Blake's short story (HPL: "The Haunter of the Dark") which became the basis and inspiration for the Chthonians (/ˈθoʊniənz/; from Greek: chthon, "earth"). (EXP: The Burrowers Beneath). Chthonians were then an integral part of the expanded Cthulhu Mythos in works by other authors.
Chthonians are massive burrowing worm-like creatures.
|“||Flowing tentacles and pulpy gray-black, elongated sack of a body...no distinguishing features at all other than the reaching, groping tentacles. Or was there—yes—a lump in the upper body of the thing...a container of sorts for the brain, basal ganglia, or whichever diseased organ governed this horror's loathsome life!||„|
|~ Brian Lumley , The Burrowers Beneath|
Chthonians are described as immense squids, with elongated worm-like bodies coated with slime. Despite their squid-like appearance, chthonians are land-dwellers and are even harmed by water. Chthonians are powerful burrowers, live for more than a thousand years, and are protective of their young. It is said that a chanting sound accompanies every chthonian, and that by such they can be detected while underground and unseen.
The most important individual chthonian is the gigantic Shudde M'ell, which is worshipped by the rest.
In Greek mythology, "chthonian" refers to beings that inhabit the underworld; they are considered to be the dark, shadowy counterparts of the Olympians.
Behind the Mythos
The species is the creation of Brian Lumley and was first featured in his short story "Cement Surroundings" (1969)—though the creature never made a direct appearance. The chthonians had a more prominent role in Lumley's novel The Burrowers Beneath (1974), whose title was taken from a fictional story from Lovecraft's "The Haunter of the Dark."