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"Lest some would label it blasphemy, I have chosen to explain certain actions and beliefs, and let God be the judge of us all."
~ François Honoré-Balfour , Cultes des Goules

This subject contains information from the "Lovecraft Circle" Myth Cycles, and while guided by HPL are not based on his work alone. This subject contains information from the Derleth Cthulhu Mythos, and not based on H.P. Lovecraft's works directly. This subject contains information from the Expanded Cthulhu Mythos, and not based on H.P. Lovecraft's works directly. Cultes des Goules, or Cults of Ghouls, is a fictional book of black magic. In the Cthulhu Mythos, it is said to have been written by François Honoré-Balfour (Comte d'Erlette) in 1702. It was published in France and later denounced by the Church. Only a handful of copies are in existence. One of the known copies was kept for 91 years in an arcane library of the Church of Starry Wisdom in Providence, Rhode Island. After Robert Blake's mysterious death in 1935, Doctor Dexter removed the grimoire and added it to his library.


The book, a 600-page quarto, goes into details about the existence of necromancy and necrophilia in France at the beginning of the 18th century. According to the author, there was a society of tomb robbers and grave robbers, with various blasphemous rites and practices. Members of the society called themselves "goules". A person wishing to join the society must perform necrophagy at the initiation ceremony. Other acts include divination by reanimating the dead and necrophilia. (EXP: The Keeper's Companion)

The French witch covens are also mentioned, along with their ties to a secret society of subhumans (ghouls) inhabiting the catacombs of Paris. The Great Old One Nyogtha is also referred to frequently, as is the Outer God Shub-Niggurath, who is described as being linked to werewolves and other lycanthropes (EXP: The Keeper's Companion). There are also tales of the Yeti (EXP: The Encyclopedia Cthulhiana).

Also included are some prophecies, a few necromancy spells and ways to contact different beings such as Nyogtha, Shub-Niggurath and her dark youngs, ghouls and byakhees. Simple phrases in ghoul's language are translated and included. The Voorish Sign is also mentioned. Reading the book frequently may alter the physiology of the reader to be more ghoul-like. (EXP: The Keeper's Companion)

The book was written based on an earlier manuscript by a d'Erlette predecessor, Antoine-Marie Augustin de Montmorency-les-Roches, who due to his involvement in the Affair of the Poison was vanished by the king's order in 1681 (EXP: The Encyclopedia Cthulhiana). The manuscript was copied and distributed secretly since 1865 (EXP: The Keeper's Companion).


Cultes des Goules was written by François Honoré-Balfour in 1702, then privately printed and circulated in Paris in the early month of 1703. It is believed that no more than sixty copies were produced. The publication was met with denunciation from both the Church and the masses, and the author, while being exempted from punishment due to his aristocratic status, never published anything again, spending his last twenty years in self-imposed seclusion. (EXP: The Keeper's Companion)

After the book was printed, the cult is thought to have hidden underground, and therefore no concrete evidence of their existence has ever been found. (EXP: The Keeper's Companion)

In 1737, an expurgated version published in Rouen was published, only slightly more common than the first version. This version was then translated into Italian by different, independent translators by hand in the early 19th century (EXP: The Keeper's Companion). It was also translated into Spanish (EXP: The Encyclopedia Cthulhiana). Part of the book was also translated into English by Lazarus Garvey, but he disappeared into the Himalayas before the work could be completed (EXP: "They Only Come Out at Night").

Fourteen copies of the original French publication are known to exist. One may be found in the Miskatonic University library, another was kept by the Church of Starry Wisdom, and yet another was in the personal library of Titus Crow. (EXP: The Encyclopedia Cthulhiana)

Titus also owns a copy that he uses to pilot Ogre. (EXP: Demonbane) Although it does not appear in the actual series, an official illustration depicts his grimoire as taking the form of a human girl. (similarly to Al Azif, Etheldreda and the R'lyeh Text)

Behind the Mythos[]

August Derleth claimed to have invented the fictional text, but this was denied by both Lovecraft and Bloch himself.

Cultes des Goules is mentioned numerous times in the works of Caitlin R. Kiernan and plays an especially important role in her 2003 novel Low Red Moon. The text is also prominently mentioned in her short story "Spindleshanks (New Orleans, 1956)" collected in To Charles Fort, With Love (2005).