🐙 Miskatonic University is a university located in Arkham, named after the Miskatonic River, which flows through the town. The school appears in numerous Cthulhu Mythos stories by Lovecraft and other writers.
The Miskatonic University is a highly prestigious university, on par with Harvard University, in fact, at least in the 1920s, Harvard and Miskatonic are the two most popular schools for the children of the Massachusetts “Old Gentry”. (HPL: The Dunwich Horror)
Miskatonic University is famous for its collection of Cthulhu Mythos arcane literature and occult books. The library holds one of the very few genuine copies of the Necronomicon. Other tomes include the Unaussprechlichen Kulten by Friedrich von Junzt and the fragmentary Book of Eibon.
Opinions differ as to whether mystical and Mythos studies at the University are covert or overt. Sometimes the Miskatonic University is an apparently ordinary university whose occult undercurrent only occasionally breaks the surface while at other times the stranger elements are openly displayed and form part of the campus' cultural identity.
To represent Miskatonic University in their The Whisperer in Darkness film in 2009, the H.P. Lovecraft Historical Society chose Mount Holyoke College. The film uses Pasadena City College for interior scenes of the school.
Faculty and Students
The following table lists the professors of Miskatonic University and their respective departments from Lovecraft's stories.
|Dr. Henry Armitage||Chief Librarian||"The Dunwich Horror"|
|Professor Ferdinand C. Ashley||Ancient History||"The Shadow Out of Time"|
|Professor Atwood||Physics||At the Mountains of Madness|
|Professor Dexter||Zoology||"The Whisperer in Darkness"|
|Professor William Dyer||Geology||"At the Mountains of Madness"|
"The Shadow Out of Time"
|Professor Ellery||Chemistry||"The Dreams in the Witch House"|
|Professor Tyler M. Freeborn||Anthropology||"The Shadow Out of Time"|
|Dr. Allen Halsey||Dean of the Medical School||"Herbert West--Reanimator"|
|Professor Lake||Biology||At the Mountains of Madness|
|Dr. Francis Morgan||Archaeology||"The Dunwich Horror"|
|Professor Frank H. Pabodie||Engineering||At the Mountains of Madness|
|Professor Nathaniel Wingate Peaslee||Political Economy||"The Shadow Out of Time"|
|Professor Wingate Peaslee||Psychology||"The Shadow Out of Time"|
|Professor Warren Rice||Languages||"The Dunwich Horror"|
|Professor Upham||Mathematics||"The Dreams in the Witch House"|
|"Old" Waldron||College doctor||"The Dreams in the Witch House"|
|Albert N. Wilmarth||English||"At the Mountains of Madness"|
"The Whisperer in Darkness"
The university's student body is implied to have been predominantly male throughout the early 20th century and the only female student mentioned is the infamous Asenath Waite. (HPL: "The Thing on the Doorstep")
In popular culture
- In episode 7 of the second season of Riverdale a box appears whose inscription alludes to the Antarctic expedition of the Miskatonic University. This would also be a reference to At the Mountains of Madness.
- In the anime Digimon Tamers, one of the characters (Professor Aishwarya Rai) claims that he has led his research on quantum theory at "Miscatonic University". Also, a character named Tetsuo Uchiharato is interviewed on television after the appearance of a strange substance. This man, who is also a professor at the same university, theorizes that the substance is related to the Hypnos program (another reference to the Mythos).
- In the final chapter of Scooby-Doo! Mystery Incorporated, the gang is invited to join the Miskatonic University in the new reality by a professor from said university who noticed the change in reality that they caused to investigate the mysteries of the institution.
Chaosium Press published several guides to the 1920s Miskatonic University. The first was a lengthy section in 'Arkham Unveiled' (1990) by Keith Herber with others and put a full university setting around existing H. P. Lovecraftian Mythos references. The second was Miskatonic University (1995), a full-length book by Sandy Antunes. Subtitled 'Where Science Meets the Mythos', this edition tried to merge and reconcile the Chaosium setting of 'Arkham Unveiled', the original Mythos sources, and historical 'period' details derived especially from 1920s Boston University, while also adding new items to the setting. A copy of this out-of-print book is in Boston University's Special Collections, and Chaosium granted rights in 1997 to the Miskatonic University website to reuse some of this material for their website. The third was a new edition of 'Miskatonic University' (2005) by 'Sam Johnson & friends' published in late 2005. This edition reworked the previous book and added more mystical and mythos game elements.
Joan Stanley published a small book, Ex Libris Miskatonici: A Catalogue of Selected Items from the Special Collections in the Miskatonic University Library, which is a researched historical fiction reference for canonical Mythos book references regarding MU.
Work was started at Chaosium on a sourcebook Arkham 1990 including a modern-day Miskatonic University, but that has not (as of 2006) yet been published.
Mottos for MU have ranged from "Ex Ignorantia Ad Sapientiam; Ex Luce Ad Tenebras" (Out Of Ignorance Into Wisdom; Out Of Light Into Darkness) to "A Small Sacrifice for Knowledge", and their mascot has been stated as everything from the Badger to the Fighting Cephalopods (as in, "Go ′Pods!").
Lovecraft has declared that the word was "a jumble of Algonquin language roots." (EXP: The Lovecraft Lexicon)
Miskatonic University is modeled on northeastern Ivy League institutions of Lovecraft's day, like Harvard University, Yale University, Dartmouth and especially Brown University of his hometown Providence, Rhode Island; which Lovecraft himself wished to attend.
- The Whisperer in Darkness. Dir. Sean Branney. 2011. DVD. Fungi, LLC, 2012. Special Features disc. "The Whisperer Behind the Scenes."
- A History of The Necronomicon. ISBN 0-318-04715-2., pp. 281–2. (List of professors.)
- Ross Wells. 2002. EXploZion! iUniverse. p. 15