Monsters, as a general rule, are terrifying creatures. Many are humanoid can be distinguished from real humans by some specific, describable characteristics, such as a decayed appearance and the slow, stumbling march of a zombie, or the pale skin and sharp teeth of vampires. Others take on twisted forms of familiar animals, or combinations thereof. But there is another category of monsters so indescribably horrifying that we have no language to explain how scary they actually are. These monsters are Eldritch Abominations.
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Eldritch Abominations are so beyond our level of comprehension that it is difficult to look at them, because we simply do not understand what they are and how they can exist. They may be alien and completely at odds with our understanding of Earth’s physics. Or they may simply be unseeable, whether it is because our eyes refuse to believe or process what they are observing, or because we are so terrified we simply cannot turn our gaze upon them.
In Popular Culture
The concept of Eldritch Abominations was created by the dark horror fiction author H.P. Lovecraft. He only very briefly touched upon them within the vast universe of characters and gods that he created, but it was enough to spur on many science fiction and horror writers who followed in his footsteps, continuing to write in the same universe. In this way, Lovecraft’s ideas were like a prototype machining service, creating the initial piece that led to the fully evolved creation of these monsters and their place in the horror genre.
Many books, movies, and games have examined this concept in greater detail. For example, in the game Amnesia: The Dark Descent, the protagonist Daniel must monitor both his health and sanity while solving puzzles and avoiding monsters. These monsters are so terrifying to behold that he begins to hallucinate anytime he sets eyes on one. Therefore, the player must avoid the monsters, while at the same time not actually look at them. This often leads to tense situations where the player is unsure whether the monster has noticed their presence and is pursuing or not. If the player does chance a look at the monster, it is hidden away in shadows or indistinct, and therefore indescribable.
Characteristics of Eldritch Abominations
But what does an Eldritch Abomination look like?
Well, by nature they are exceedingly difficult to describe, but it is a little easier to describe the emotions they stir in the person unfortunate enough to discover them. There is a clear feeling of unease, and direct visual contact with the creature typically causes insanity or an obsession with committing evil acts such as torture and murder. They can cause pure and unrelenting terror unless you immediately submit to them.
Some have attempted to describe them, however, and characteristics that often come up include tentacles, indistinctness or an ever-changing appearance, and vast variations in size (from slightly larger than human to immense, even larger than a planet). Others have identified monsters in folklore that fit the category, such as the Boogyman and Shadowlurker.
In any case, if you feel a sudden onset of terror in your bedroom at night, it is best to flee immediately. Turning on a light is also a good way to end the terror, forcing the abomination to leave lest it be visible for what it really is.
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