The Church of Starry Wisdom, or Starry Wisdom Cult, is a cult that worships Nyarlathotep in his aspect as the Haunter of the Dark. The cult was founded in Providence, Rhode Island circa 1844 by Professor Enoch Bowen, a renowned archeologist and occultist. The cult used a sacred relic known as the Shining Trapezohedron to summon the Haunter of the Dark, who demanded outrageous sacrifices in return for limitless knowledge of the universe.
Although the cult was publicly denounced by the other local churches, it nonetheless grew to have a membership of around 200 members. Mysterious disappearances in the area brought the cult under public scrutiny. After run-ins with both local citizens and the municipal government, the church closed and 181 people left Providence for unknown reasons. However, there is veiled evidence that they were dealt a more summary kind of justice than banishment.
Though the Providence sect was officially disbanded in 1877, the Church of Starry Wisdom has appeared in other places including Yorkshire, England (1880 to 1890), Chicago, Illinois (where it was known as the Celestial Providence sect, but was later disbanded following the Great Chicago Fire of 1871), Arkham, Massachusetts, (during the 1920s), and more recently in San Francisco (though the group was reputedly destroyed by arson). A few contemporary sects may still exist in Canada. As recently as the 1970s the cult was present on Bioko (Fernando Pó) in Equatorial Guinea
- Harms, "Starry Wisdom Cult", pp. 285–6; "Dexter, (Doctor) Ambrose", p. 86.
- Robert Anton Wilson and Robert Shea, "The Illuminatus! Trilogy".