Sunday, January 15, 2006

Ponape Scriptures

First, fellow bloggers, here is a public thanks to Megg for her technical and moral support. Also for the stories (Tom), articles and research discussion (James, John, T. Peter, Kelly) and to Fran and Lance for posting comments. Those of you who read - and there are a lot of you - and link up to me, a big thanks! too.

I don't want this to be just another Mythos blog. But I won't ignore it either. Here is a bit of obscurianta, and especially since Lin Carter (and Fritz Lieber) are becoming a forgotten part of Lovecraft's world.

The Ponape Scriptures is one of those additions to the weird books of Lovecraft's world via an in-joke. Those who are die hard fans know that in The Call of Cthulhu HPL picked the most desolate stretch of the Pacific Ocean to make his island of R'lyeh.

A derivitive and parody of Atlantis, Lemuria and Mu, R'lyeh is an abberant anagram of Lemuria. He sets the coordinates at S. Latitude 47° 9′, W. Longitude 126° 43′. Derleth later altered these to S. Latitude 49° 51′, W. Longitude 128° 34′.

Carter noted that the only real island near there - about a day away by steamship - was Ponphei. He introduced the Ponape Scriptures in his story Out of the Ages. The Scripture is a manuscript found in the Caroline Islands by Captain Abner Exekiel Hoag sometime around 1734 and even then was old. The book was made of palm leaves and bound in wood.

Polynesians often did use this type of book to record their myths and stories.

Part of the sheer fun that Lovecraft had - and we share today - was creating weird, black books and trading names of gods with his pals. Here's to Lin Carter!

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