“He saw why the shadow on the frosted pane yesterday had been headless, and he screamed.” – Ramsey Campbell, “Cold Print”
Y’Golonac is one of those Cthulhu Mythos monsters you might not know immediately, but you probably know him when you see him. Relative to the early tales of cosmic horror by H.P. Lovecraft, Y’Gonolac is a late creation in the Lovecraftian world. Y’Golonac only appears in 1969 in Ramsey Campbell’s “Cold Print”, but the obese, headless and neck-less human body with a human mouth has been depicted in games and fan art often.
Y’Golonac and The Revelations of Glaaki
According to the collective Lovecraftian mythology, Y’Golonac appears in the Revelations of Glaaki. This figure is bound behind a brick wall, but it can be conjured by those who simply read Y’Gonolac’s name in the Revelations. When summoned, the human conjurer might be asked to become a priest of Y’Golonac. If this opportunity is turned down (if offered), the human is simply devoured by the creature. This quote comes from the original story by Brian Lumley: “As the desk was thrust aside by the towering naked figure…Strutt’s last thought was an unbelieving conviction that this was happening because he had read the Revelations.”
Y’Golonac the Defiler
Y’Golonac is unlike many of the gods and monsters in Lovecraftian fiction in that he understands human emotions and motivations. Y’Golonac understands enough to carry on conversations with potential human hosts or servants. He understands enough that Y’Golonac answers when his name is read. Furthermore, Brian Lumley portrayed Y’Golonac with almost demonic traits, as he’s viewed as a being of perversion and depravity. The level of depravity the creature represents is something more cosmic than a mere demon interacting with the human race, though. Y’Golonac represents any sort of perversion that can be imagined by any sentient being anywhere. This cosmic level of abstraction certainly qualifies Y’Golonac for the status of Great Old One.
Because he does understand humanity, Y’Golonac has been compared to Nyarlathotep. Y’Golonac is more sadistic and intentionally perverse than that creature, thus somewhat more attuned to the mortal races.
Y’Golonac – Lovecraft Horror
That isn’t to say Y’Golonac isn’t a cosmic horror. Poor Strutt finally meets his fate the way most people who encounter Cthulhu Mythos abominations do–as a meal. Strutt begins by having his face devoured first: “…but before he could scream out his protest his breath was cut off, as the hands descended on his face and the wet red mouths opened in their palms.”
Y’Golonac has a small cult and is considered a minor deity in the grand scheme of things. Unlike many of the Old Ones, he strives to build up a cult and answers anytime someone reads his name while evil is present, at least if they’re near the city of Brichester in the Severn Valley. He seeks worshippers who are both evil and subtle. If Y’Golonac finds such a person (that is–a debased human), he can possess them and take their form. According to other sources, Y’Golonac also appears able to take the form of a flabby, neurotic human being.
About Ramsey Campbell, the Creator of Y’Golonac
Ramsey Campbell was born in the United Kingdom in 1946 and is a leading horror author since the 1960s until today. According to prominent Cthulhu Mythos historian S.T. Joshi, Ramsey Campbell will be seen by future generations as the preeminent horror writer of our time, comparable to Algernon Blackwood or H.P. Lovecraft. Whether that proves to be the case or not, Ramsey Campbell is an eminent horror author of the late-20th and early-21st century. Furthermore, Campbell was influenced by Lovecraft’s horror tales from an early age and he’s written a number of Cthulhu Mythos tales over the years. These rank among the best Mythos stories in the past half-century.
Ramsey Campbell has written novelizations of films likeThe Bride of Frankenstein, Dracula’s Daughter, and The Wolfman. Campbell also finished three of Robert E Howard’s unfinished Solomon Kane novels: “The Castle of the Devil”, “The Children of Asshur”, and “Hawk of Basti”. Ramsey Campbell is also a skilled editor and his work in this field includes 1980′s New Tales of the Cthulhu Mythos. He’s also written articles on the subject of horror cinema, some of which ended up in the 1986 release The Penguin Encyclopedia of Horror and the Supernatural.
Ramsey Campbell has received a number of awards over the years, including Bram Stoker Awards forAncient Images (1989) and Alone with the Horrors (1994). He’s also won a number of British Fantasy Awards, including an award for the short story “In the Bag” and awards for novels like 1981′s To Wake the Dead (also known as The Parasite), Incarnate (1985), The Hungry Moon (1988), The Influence(1989), Midnight Sun (1991), The Long Lost (1994), Silent Children (2001), and Grin of the Dark(2008). He also won a British Fantasy Award for best collection with Ghosts and Grisly Things (1999). Ramsey Campbell won a World Fantasy Award for his novel The Doll Who Ate His Mother (1976) and his short story like “The Chimney” (1978), while garnering another nomination for his novel The Nameless (1982).