Now this is somewhat interesting. The “Hounds of Tindalos” are well-known to fans of H. P. Lovecraft and the Cthulhu Mythos as the evocative creation of Frank Belknap Long, first appearing in the 1931 story of the same name and receiving a name-check in Lovecraft’s own “Whisperer in Darkness” that year. The Hounds are immortal inter-dimensional creatures that travel through angles and ruthlessly destroy any prey that attract their attention.
What I didn’t know is that there is an actual folklore creature called the tindalo from the Solomon Islands whose essence follows the outline of the Hounds, except that the tindalo was once human. These creatures were reported by Robert Codrington and a few other travelers at the end of the nineteenth century and were cited by both Edwin Sidney Hartland in his Legend of Perseus (1894-1896) and James Frazer, of Golden Bough fame. Codrington wrote of them most extensively in his The Melanesians (1915):
Other reports more or less simply state that when a man falls sick, he considers it the case that a tindalo is out to kill him.
I can’t imagine that the coincidence of name and attribute as vengeful disembodies spirits is entirely a coincidence. However, I can’t find any reference to where Long got the idea or the name for his creatures. Given how common the tindalo (plural: tindalos) was in early twentieth century popular anthropological literature, I would think this must be the source.
I am an author and researcher focusing on pop culture, science, and history. Bylines: New Republic, Esquire, Slate, etc. There's more about me in the About Jason tab.
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