An interpretation of Cthulhu in the sunken
city of R’lyeh
Cthulhu is a fictional cosmic entity created
by horror author H. P. Lovecraft in 1926, first
appearing in the short story "The Call of
Cthulhu" when it was published in Weird
Tales in 1928.
Cthulhu is one of the central Great Old
Ones of H. P. Lovecraft’s Cthulhu Mythos. It
is often cited for the extreme descriptions
given of its hideous appearance, its gargantu-
an size, and the abject terror that it evokes.
Cthulhu is often referred to in science fiction
and fantasy circles as a tongue-in-cheek
shorthand for extreme horror or evil.
Cthulhu has also been spelled as Tulu,
Clulu, Clooloo, Cthulu, Cighulu, Cathulu,
Kutulu, Q’thulu, Ktulu, Kthulhut, Kulhu, Thu
Thu, and in many other ways. It is often
preceded by the epithet Great, Dead, or
Lovecraft transcribed the pronunciation of
Cthulhu as "Khlûl’-hloo" (IPA: /ˈkɬʊl.ɬuː/ ?).
S. T. Joshi points out, however, that Lovecraft
gave several differing pronunciations on dif-
ferent occasions. According to Lovecraft,
this is merely the closest that the human vo-
cal apparatus can come to reproducing the
syllables of an alien language. Long after
the pronunciation kə-
THOO-loo (IPA: /kəˈθuːluː/) became common,
and the game Call of Cthulhu endorsed it.
After its first appearance in "The Call of
Cthulhu", Cthulhu makes a few minor ap-
pearances in other of Lovecraft’s works.
August Derleth, a correspondent of Love-
craft’s, used the creature’s name to identify
the system of lore employed by Lovecraft and
his literary successors, the Cthulhu Mythos.
The Call of Cthulhu
The most detailed descriptions of Cthulhu in
"The Call of Cthulhu" are based on statues of
the creature. One, constructed by an artist
after a series of baleful dreams, is said to
have "yielded simultaneous pictures of an oc-
topus, a dragon, and a human caricature.... A
pulpy, tentacled head surmounted a grot-
esque scaly body with rudimentary wings."
Another, recovered by police from a raid on a