Yesterday I shared some rough drafts of historical images of Cthulhu that I've drawn. Today, I'd like to share an actual piece of weird illustration I found in my research. Ancient astronaut theorists often claim that ancient art depicts flying saucers, extraterrestrials, and other nonsense. But how about trans-dimensional portals to the outer gulfs of the cosmos?
The above image come from a nineteenth century edition of Francis Quarles' Emblems Divine and Mortal (1635) (courtesy of Liam's Picture from Old Books), redrawing a grotesque illustration original done by William Marshall. The oldest version I was able to find, from a 1778 edition, is given below.
If you can believe it, this image is supposed to be a picture of Adam and Eve! The man, holding an apple, is obviously Adam. The ball from which animal heads emerge appears to represent Eve's womb, from which sin emerges into the world. As a result of the sexual union of Adam and Eve, buildings burn, storms rage, the ocean churns, and all the ills of the world spill out onto the earth.
The illustration is meant to be symbolic, but if one squints and uses a little bit of imagination, one can imagine this illustration as depicting a wizard or a priest of the Old Ones opening a portal to the Outer Spheres, allowing the Hounds of Tindalos to emerge, while in the background Yog Sothoth rages in the sky (as per the climax of the Dunwich Horror) and the Old Ones smite a city, as in the passage from the Necronomicon quoted in Dunwich Horror: "They bend the forest and crush the city..." The ship tossing in the sea must therefore represent the rising of Cthulhu from "The Call of Cthulhu." Surely, this literal interpretation of what we see in the picture makes more intuitive sense than claiming it a symbolic illustration of the consequences of Adam and Eve's sex life!
The point, of course, is that when looking at weird old art, one can see what one wants to see. The question is whether that interpretation can be supported by facts, evidence, logic, and reasoning. This picture is obviously not a picture of the rising of Lovecraft's Old Ones, nor has it ever been shown that any ancient art is pictures of aliens.
I am an author and researcher focusing on pop culture, science, and history. Bylines: New Republic, Slate, etc. There's more about me in the About Jason tab.
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