The H.P. Lovecraft Wiki

This subject is written on a topic in the real world and reflects factual information. This subject contains information from the "Lovecraft Circle" Myth Cycles, and while guided by HPL are not based on his work alone. 𝓦𝐓 "Fane of the Black Pharaoh" is a short story by Robert Bloch that appeared in the December 1937 issue of Weird Tales. One of Bloch's Egyptian tales, it elaborates on the hints dropped in H. P. Lovecraft's fiction about the Black Pharaoh Nephren-Ka.


The story focuses on Captain Carteret, an archaeologist who is given a chance by a mysterious Egyptian stranger to see the legendary temple-tomb of Nephren-Ka, which has been hidden for thousands of years below the surface of what is now Cairo.

Nephren-Ka, according to the story, was

the last and greatest of that Egyptian cult of priest-sorcerers.... The tale goes that Nephren-Ka, on the throne, renounced all religion save that of Nyarlathotep. He sought the power of prophecy, and built temples to the Blind Ape of Truth. His utterly atrocious sacrifices at length provoked a revolt, and it is said that the infamous Pharaoh was at last dethroned. According to this account, the new ruler and his people immediately destroyed all vestiges of the former reign, demolished all temples and idols of Nyarlathotep, and drove out the wicked priests who prostituted their faith to the carnivorous Bubastis, Anubis, and Sebek. The Book of the Dead was then amended so that all references to the Pharaoh Nephren-Ka and his accursed cults were deleted.

The story further cites the Saracenic Rituals chapter of Ludvig Prinn's De Vermis Mysteriis, which says of Nephren-Ka that

before he died down in the darkness, he conjured up the earthly image of Nyarlathotep in a final gigantic sacrifice; and that the god granted him his desires. Nephren-Ka had stood before the images of the Blind Ape of Truth and received the gift of divination over the gory bodies of a hundred willing victims. Then, in nightmare manner, Prinn recounts that the entombed Pharaoh wandered among his dead companions and inscribed on the twisted walls of his tomb the secrets of the future. In pictures and ideographs he wrote the history of days to come, revelling in omniscient knowledge till the end.

Publication History[]

After its appearance in Weird Tales, "Fane of the Black Pharaoh" was reprinted in Avon Fantasy Reader No. 5 (1947). It was included in the original Mysteries of the Worm (Zebra, 1981) and both subsequent editions (Chaosium, 1993, 2009). It was featured in both Tales of the Lovecraft Mythos (Fedogan & Bremer, 1992) and The Nyarlathotep Cycle: The God of a Thousand Forms (Chaosium, 1997).[1]

It was translated into French as "Le sanctuaire du pharaon noir", published in L'embarquement pour Arkham (1994), the French edition of Mysteries of the Worm.[1]


  1. 1.0 1.1 Internet Speculative Fiction Database, "Title: Fane of the Black Pharaoh".