The H.P. Lovecraft Wiki
Advertisement

🔀 This is an article about the "shoggoth" species from "At the Mountains of Madness". For the ones from "Notebook Found in a Deserted House", see Dark Young of Shub-Niggurath
Formless protoplasm able to mock and reflect all forms and organs and processes - viscous agglutinations of bubbling cells - rubbery fifteen-foot spheroids infinitely plastic and ductile - slaves of suggestion, builders of cities - more and more sullen, more and more intelligent, more and more amphibious, more and more imitative! Great God! What madness made even those blasphemous Old Ones willing to use and carve such things?
~ Prof. William Dyer (HPL: At the Mountains of Madness)


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 Expanded Cthulhu Mythos, and not based on H.P. Lovecraft's works directly. This subject contains information from the Mythos Adjacent Works, and while share similar themes and features of the Mythos are not based on his work, or generally considered a part of the Mythos proper. Shoggoths are fictional creatures created by H. P. Lovecraft, first appearing in his novella At the Mountains of Madness (1936). They are depicted as amorphous, shapeshifting beings who were genetically engineered by the Elder Things as a race of servant-tools, but eventually rose up against their masters. The monsters were later mentioned in Lovecraft's The Shadow over Innsmouth (1936) and "The Thing on the Doorstep" (1937), and have become one of the most widely shared elements of the Cthulhu Mythos.

Description[]

A shoggoth is a sentient blob of self-shaping, gelatinous flesh, something like a giant amoeba. A shoggoth is some 15 feet in diameter if it shaped itself into a sphere, but larger and smaller versions exist. A shoggoth is capable of shaping itself into whatever organs or shapes it finds necessary at the moment; however, in its usual state it tends to sport a roiling profusion of eyes, mouths, and pseudopodia. When encountered at the South Pole, it moved at incredible speed. It was described as like watching a train closing in on someone standing on the tracks.

The shoggoth can kill its enemies by enveloping them and generating enough suction-force to decapitate their victims. That is specifically how they fought the Elder Things during their rebellion.

Apparently, they emit a horrible, overpowering stench that's strong enough to completely mask the alienating smell of the Elder Things.

A curious behavior of the shoggoth is their repetitive cry of "Tekeli-li! Tekeli-li!" Demonstrating their mindless mimicry, this is a phrase they copied from the Elder Things. Arthur Gordon Pym also encountered the phrase, as cries from flocks of large, white birds, in his journey in the Southern Ocean (ADJ: The Narrative of Arthur Gordon Pym of Nantucket [ Edgar Allan Poe ]).

History[]

The shoggoths were originally bred as servitor creatures by the Elder Things, who used them for underwater construction. Their ability to shape their bodies as needed made them ideal living construction machinery. Although created to be mindless, the shoggoths mutated through the aeons and slowly developed consciousness, and even became periodically rebellious. Eventually, they overthrew the Elder Things and killed them, and built their own cities (HPL: At the Mountains of Madness) Their architecture mimics the five-pointed symmetry of the Elder Things.

Though rare, some shoggoths have managed to survive into the modern era, most notably in Antarctica and in the deepest parts of the world's oceans. The race of humanoid amphibious beings known as the Deep Ones are known to ally with or make use of shoggoths, sometimes referred to as "Sea Shoggoths" (EXP: The Burrowers Beneath [ Brian Lumley ]).

The Mi-Go also conducted their own Shoggoth experiments, performing "mind-grafts" on the Shoggoths to produce a tamer-breed easy for the Mi-Go to control telepathically. The resultant Mi-Go and Shoggoth hybrids are called 'ghol' or ghol-things.(EXP:"The Perilous Legacy" [ Walter C. DeBill Jr. ])

One notorious shoggoth is Mr. Shiny (Albert Shiny), who takes the form of a human. (EXP: At Your Door RPG Module)

Shoggoth-Twsha[]

The Shoggoth-Twsha are a type of Shoggoth created by Chaosium for their Call of Cthulhu role-playing game. They are identical to other Shoggoths, they only differentiation being that they are servants of the Deep Ones, whose priests control them using pulsating orbs of grey slime.

In the Marvel Multiverse[]

In the Marvel Multiverse, the Shoggoths have seemingly a similar origin and early history to those in the Cthulhu Mythos.

At least one Shoggoth remained in the Mountains of Madness during the Hyborian Age. The albino-skinned people that inhabited the lower city of the Old Ones in the mountains in the land of Leng used the Shoggoth's cry as word for "death". That Shoggoth was seemingly destroyed by Conan.[1]

Along with "Exo-Parasites" and Viral "Parallels", Shoggoths were also locals of the Exo-Space, the "scavengers of the Outer Omniverse". They were drawn to dimensional tears to try and cross over to other dimensions to feast on their denizens. It is unknown if those creatures are truly Shoggoths or if they were named that way, in the same way cosmic horrors were called Cthulhus.[2]

Trivia[]

  • The shoggoth's cry of "Tekeli-li! Tekeli-li!" is directly taken from The Narrative of Arthur Gordon Pym of Nantucket (1838) by Edgar Allan Poe, which was an influence on Lovecraft. In the tongue of the natives that live in Antarctica, "Tekeli-li! Tekeli-li!" is used as an exclamation of woe and suffering. It is derived from the call of the white birds that flock around what is heavily implied to be a cosmic horror that resides at the South Pole.

In Popular Culture[]

Main article: Shoggoths in Popular Culture

Gallery[]

Main article: Shoggoth/Gallery

See also[]

  • Formless Spawn, another species of black amorphous shapeshifters with a propensity for inhabiting underground locations.

Links and references[]

Footnotes[]

Advertisement