a reply to: Kantjil
There are a lot of Internet urban legends and Lovecraft's creations are ideally suited for being the objects of them. Lovecraft understood something
about human psychology and realized early on that if readers believed there was some truth to the story, some factual basis to it, that it would be
far more horrifying than the run-of-the-mill horror tale.
Isn't that the power of urban legends? They're spread by people who swear that it "really happened" (to the girlfriend of the cousin of a friend of a
friend). The creative minds of other media have clearly tapped into this same concept whether directly influenced by Lovecraft or not. For example,
horror movies that are "based on actual events!" like Tobe Hooper's (Texas Chainsaw Massacre
). An even better example might be The Blair
which kicked off the found footage genre and also made extensive use of viral marketing. How many people who saw The Fourth Kind
then immediately Googled names from the movie? The Internet makes it possible for individuals to create urban legends that can reach millions of
people in a short time — consider Creepypasta creations like Slender Man — or the This Man
hoax which is the
creation of sociologist and marketer Andrea Natella. Ever heard of the Ningen? This is a modern day mythical cryptid invented by Japanese forum users.
That said, there are always people finding things to believe in. Hell look at all the people who believe the fiction Trump is spinning. People can be
easily manipulated because at some point, they'll take over where the manipulator leaves off and delude themselves to the point that they'll fiercely
argue that a lie is true. Then there are people who are mentally ill and still others who believe in things like the possibility that belief alone can
turn fiction into reality. That's the premise of Candy Man
which is based on story by Clive Barker who is IMO the
modern king of horror.
Another example which is wholly influenced by Lovecraft is the movie In the Mouth of Madness
, a work of genius starring Sam Neill.
Sorry to rant but I find this blurring of fiction of reality, particularly when it's intentionally done, is something that I find extremely
interesting. Back on the topic of Cthulhu:
1. In the early 70's, there was the publication of what is called the "Simon Necronomicon" that had a whole alleged back story involving this
mysterious character "Simon" who showed up one day with a box containing a very old manuscript. Lots of over the years have fallen for this hoax and
believe it to be real but most relatively sane people with any serious interest in the occult accept that it's a complete hoax and the prevailing
theory is that "Simon" is actually Peter Levanda
. However, there are those who despite all
evidence to the contrary believe that it's a real ancient grimoire. Any cult of more than a handful of people would likely fall into this category.
2. I've also seen individuals who claim to believe that Lovecraft was basing his writing on dreams that were actually astral projections and that he
was unknowingly writing about things that exist... somewhere. This is one I give extra points for creativity.
3. Ever heard of Pastafarianism or The Church of the Flying Spaghetti Monster? This a parody religion whose deity is based on Cthulhu. Parody
religions are another thing I find extremely fascinating but keep in mind that the "adherents" are almost exclusively atheists who are elaborately
critiquing religion by creating their own ridiculous mythos and ceremony. Other examples would be Church of the SubGenius, Discordianism (Hail Eris!)
and some of the "Satanists" out there, notably the
Temple of Satan
who are next level trolls
(then again, there are certainly Christians who believe that this "parody religion" is simply a facade for actual Satanists who are actually trying to
do Satan's work while creating plausible deniability).
In conclusion. There's certainly precedent for authors of fiction creating real world religions — Scientology and Mormonism come to mind — but I
doubt there are any actual cults worshiping Cthulhu though it's always impossible to rule out the existence of a handful of feckless people believing
. Certainly nothing of an appreciable scale.
EDIT to add:
Somewhere in there I should have included something about mass hysteria. Remember Satanic Panic? Ritual abuse cases and false memory nonsense that
swept the country and were taken VERY SERIOUSLY at the time even though none of the actual cases ever turned out to be true. That hasn't stopped
people from capitalizing on their own wild ritual abuse stories for attention and less often profit. It's also something that lingers to this day and
it's not uncommon to see the occasional ritual abuse thread by people who are wholly convinced that there are vast networks of Satanists ritually
abusing tens of thousands of children.
Then again.. it only has to happen once right? Then it's based on real events.
edit on 2016-2-22 by theantediluvian because: (no reason