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Chapter 5

  • Then, apparently crossing my incoherent note and reaching me Saturda_fternoon, September 8th, came that curiously different and calming lette_eatly typed on a new machine; that strange letter of reassurance an_nvitation which must have marked so prodigious a transition in the whol_ightmare drama of the lonely hills. Again I will quote from memory - seekin_or special reasons to preserve as much of the flavour of the style as I can.
  • It was postmarked Bellows Falls, and the signature as well as the body of th_etter was typed - as is frequent with beginners in typing. The text, though,
  • was marvellously accurate for a tyro’s work; and I concluded that Akeley mus_ave used a machine at some previous period - perhaps in college. To say tha_he letter relieved me would be only fair, yet beneath my relief lay _ubstratum of uneasiness. If Akeley had been sane in his terror, was he no_ane in his deliverance? And the sort of "improved rapport" mentioned … wha_as it? The entire thing implied such a diametrical reversal of Akeley’_revious attitude! But here is the substance of the text, carefull_ranscribed from a memory in which I take some pride.
  • Townshend, Vermont, Thursday, Sept. 6, 1928.
  • My dear Wilmarth: -
  • It gives me great pleasure to be able to set you at rest regarding all th_illy things I’ve been writing you. I say "silly," although by that I mean m_rightened attitude rather than my descriptions of certain phenomena. Thos_henomena are real and important enough; my mistake had been in establishin_n anomalous attitude toward them.
  • I think I mentioned that my strange visitors were beginning to communicat_ith me, and to attempt such communication. Last night this exchange of speec_ecame actual. In response to certain signals I admitted to the house _essenger from those outside - a fellow-human, let me hasten to say. He tol_e much that neither you nor I had even begun to guess, and showed clearly ho_otally we had misjudged and misinterpreted the purpose of the Outer Ones i_aintaining their secret colony on this planet.
  • It seems that the evil legends about what they have offered to men, and wha_hey wish in connection with the earth, are wholly the result of an ignoran_isconception of allegorical speech - speech, of course, moulded by cultura_ackgrounds and thought-habits vastly different from anything we dream of. M_wn conjectures, I freely own, shot as widely past the mark as any of th_uesses of illiterate farmers and savage Indians. What I had thought morbi_nd shameful and ignominious is in reality awesome and mind-expanding and eve_lorious - my previous estimate being merely a phase of man’s eternal tendenc_o hate and fear and shrink from the utterly different.
  • Now I regret the harm I have inflicted upon these alien and incredible being_n the course of our nightly skirmishes. If only I had consented to tal_eacefully and reasonably with them in the first place! But they bear me n_rudge, their emotions being organised very differently from ours. It is thei_isfortune to have had as their human agents in Vermont some very inferio_pecimens - the late Walter Brown, for example. He prejudiced me vastl_gainst them. Actually, they have never knowingly harmed men, but have ofte_een cruelly wronged and spied upon by our species. There is a whole secre_ult of evil men (a man of your mystical erudition will understand me when _ink them with Hastur and the Yellow Sign) devoted to the purpose of trackin_hem down and injuring them on behalf of monstrous powers from othe_imensions. It is against these aggressors - not against normal humanity -
  • that the drastic precautions of the Outer Ones are directed. Incidentally, _earned that many of our lost letters were stolen not by the Outer Ones but b_he emissaries of this malign cult.
  • All that the Outer Ones wish of man is peace and non-molestation and a_ncreasing intellectual rapport. This latter is absolutely necessary now tha_ur inventions and devices are expanding our knowledge and motions, and makin_t more and more impossible for the Outer Ones’ necessary outposts to exis_ecretly on this planet. The alien beings desire to know mankind more fully,
  • and to have a few of mankind’s philosophic and scientific leaders know mor_bout them. With such an exchange of knowledge all perils will pass, and _atisfactory modus vivendi be established. The very idea of any attempt t_nslave or degrade mankind is ridiculous.
  • As a beginning of this improved rapport, the Outer Ones have naturally chose_e - whose knowledge of them is already so considerable - as their primar_nterpreter on earth. Much was told me last night - facts of the mos_tupendous and vista-opening nature - and more will be subsequentl_ommunicated to me both orally and in writing. I shall not be called upon t_ake any trip outside just yet, though I shall probably wish to do so later on
  • - employing special means and transcending everything which we have hithert_een accustomed to regard as human experience. My house will be besieged n_onger. Everything has reverted to normal, and the dogs will have no furthe_ccupation. In place of terror I have been given a rich boon of knowledge an_ntellectual adventure which few other mortals have ever shared.
  • The Outer Beings are perhaps the most marvellous organic things in or beyon_ll space and time-members of a cosmos-wide race of which all other life-form_re merely degenerate variants. They are more vegetable than animal, if thes_erms can be applied to the sort of matter composing them, and have a somewha_ungoid structure; though the presence of a chlorophyll-like substance and _ery singular nutritive system differentiate them altogether from tru_ormophytic fungi. Indeed, the type is composed of a form of matter totall_lien to our part of space - with electrons having a wholly differen_ibration-rate. That is why the beings cannot be photographed on the ordinar_amera films and plates of our known universe, even though our eyes can se_hem. With proper knowledge, however, any good chemist could make _hotographic emulsion which would record their images.
  • The genus is unique in its ability to traverse the heatless and airles_nterstellar void in full corporeal form, and some of its variants cannot d_his without mechanical aid or curious surgical transpositions. Only a fe_pecies have the ether-resisting wings characteristic of the Vermont variety.
  • Those inhabiting certain remote peaks in the Old World were brought in othe_ays. Their external resemblance to animal life, and to the sort of structur_e understand as material, is a matter of parallel evolution rather than o_lose kinship. Their brain-capacity exceeds that of any other surviving life-
  • form, although the winged types of our hill country are by no means the mos_ighly developed. Telepathy is their usual means of discourse, though we hav_udimentary vocal organs which, after a slight operation (for surgery is a_ncredibly expert and everyday thing among them), can roughly duplicate th_peech of such types of organism as still use speech.
  • Their main immediate abode is a still undiscovered and almost lightless plane_t the very edge of our solar system - beyond Neptune, and the ninth i_istance from the sun. It is, as we have inferred, the object mysticall_inted at as "Yuggoth" in certain ancient and forbidden writings; and it wil_oon be the scene of a strange focussing of thought upon our world in a_ffort to facilitate mental rapport. I would not be surprised if astronomer_ecome sufficiently sensitive to these thought-currents to discover Yuggot_hen the Outer Ones wish them to do so. But Yuggoth, of course, is only th_tepping-stone. The main body of the beings inhabits strangely organize_bysses wholly beyond the utmost reach of any human imagination. The space-
  • time globule which we recognize as the totality of all cosmic entity is onl_n atom in the genuine infinity which is theirs. And as much of this infinit_s any human brain can hold is eventually to be opened up to me, as it ha_een to not more than fifty other men since the human race has existed.
  • You will probably call this raving at first, Wilmarth, but in time you wil_ppreciate the titanic opportunity I have stumbled upon. I want you to shar_s much of it as is possible, and to that end must tell you thousands o_hings that won’t go on paper. In the past I have warned you not to come t_ee me. Now that all is safe, I take pleasure in rescinding that warning an_nviting you.
  • Can’t you make a trip up here before your college term opens? It would b_arvelously delightful if you could. Bring along the phonograph record and al_y letters to you as consultative data - we shall need them in piecin_ogether the whole tremendous story. You might bring the Kodak prints, too,
  • since I seem to have mislaid the negatives and my own prints in all thi_ecent excitement. But what a wealth of facts I have to add to all thi_roping and tentative material - and what a stupendous device I have t_upplement my additions!
  • Don’t hesitate - I am free from espionage now, and you will not meet anythin_nnatural or disturbing. Just come along and let my car meet you at th_rattleboro station - prepare to stay as long as you can, and expect many a_vening of discussion of things beyond all human conjecture. Don’t tell anyon_bout it, of course \- for this matter must not get to the promiscuous public.
  • The train service to Brattleboro is not bad - you can get a timetable i_oston. Take the B. & M. to Greenfield, and then change for the brie_emainder of the way. I suggest your taking the convenient 4:10 P.M. -
  • standard-from Boston. This gets into Greenfield at 7:35, and at 9:19 a trai_eaves there which reaches Brattleboro at 10:01. That is weekdays. Let me kno_he date and I’ll have my car on hand at the station.
  • Pardon this typed letter, but my handwriting has grown shaky of late, as yo_now, and I don’t feel equal to long stretches of script. I got this ne_orona in Brattleboro yesterday - it seems to work very well.
  • Awaiting word, and hoping to see you shortly with the phonograph record an_ll my letters - and the Kodak prints -
  • I am
  • Yours in anticipation,
  • Henry W. Akeley
  • TO ALBERT N. WILMARTH, ESQ.,
  • MISKATONIC UNIVERSITY,
  • ARKHAM, MASS.
  • The complexity of my emotions upon reading, re-reading, and pondering ove_his strange and unlooked-for letter is past adequate description. I have sai_hat I was at once relieved and made uneasy, but this expresses only crudel_he overtones of diverse and largely subconscious feelings which comprise_oth the relief and the uneasiness. To begin with, the thing was s_ntipodally at variance with the whole chain of horrors preceding it - th_hange of mood from stark terror to cool complacency and even exultation wa_o unheralded, lightning-like, and complete! I could scarcely believe that _ingle day could so alter the psychological perspective of one who had writte_hat final frenzied bulletin of Wednesday, no matter what relievin_isclosures that day might have brought. At certain moments a sense o_onflicting unrealities made me wonder whether this whole distantly reporte_rama of fantastic forces were not a kind of half-illusory dream create_argely within my own mind. Then I thought of the phonograph record and gav_ay to still greater bewilderment.
  • The letter seemed so unlike anything which could have been expected! As _nalysed my impression, I saw that it consisted of two distinct phases. First,
  • granting that Akeley had been sane before and was still sane, the indicate_hange in the situation itself was so swift and unthinkable. And secondly, th_hange in Akeley’s own manner, attitude, and language was so vastly beyond th_ormal or the predictable. The man’s whole personality seemed to hav_ndergone an insidious mutation - a mutation so deep that one could scarcel_econcile his two aspects with the supposition that both represented equa_anity. Word-choice, spelling - all were subtly different. And with m_cademic sensitiveness to prose style, I could trace profound divergences i_is commonest reactions and rhythm-responses. Certainly, the emotiona_ataclysm or revelation which could produce so radical an overturn must be a_xtreme one indeed! Yet in another way the letter seemed quite characteristi_f Akeley. The same old passion for infinity - the same old scholarl_nquisitiveness. I could not a moment - or more than a moment - credit th_dea of spuriousness or malign substitution. Did not the invitation - th_illingness to have me test the truth of the letter in person - prove it_enuineness?
  • I did not retire Saturday night, but sat up thinking of the shadows an_arvels behind the letter I had received. My mind, aching from the quic_uccession of monstrous conceptions it had been forced to confront during th_ast four months, worked upon this startling new material in a cycle of doub_nd acceptance which repeated most of the steps experienced in facing th_arlier wonders; till long before dawn a burning interest and curiosity ha_egun to replace the original storm of perplexity and uneasiness. Mad or sane,
  • metamorphosed or merely relieved, the chances were that Akeley had actuall_ncountered some stupendous change of perspective in his hazardous research;
  • some change at once diminishing his danger - real or fancied - and openin_izzy new vistas of cosmic and superhuman knowledge. My own zeal for th_nknown flared up to meet his, and I felt myself touched by the contagion o_he morbid barrier-breaking. To shake off the maddening and wearyin_imitations of time and space and natural law - to be linked with the vas_utside - to come close to the nighted and abysmal secrets of the infinite an_he ultimate - surely such a thing was worth the risk of one’s life, soul, an_anity! And Akeley had said there was no longer any peril - he had invited m_o visit him instead of warning me away as before. I tingled at the thought o_hat he might now have to tell me - there was an almost paralysing fascinatio_n the thought of sitting in that lonely and lately-beleaguered farmhouse wit_ man who had talked with actual emissaries from outer space; sitting ther_ith the terrible record and the pile of letters in which Akeley ha_ummarised his earlier conclusions.
  • So late Sunday morning I telegraphed Akeley that I would meet him i_rattleboro on the following Wednesday - September 12th - if that date wer_onvenient for him. In only one respect did I depart from his suggestions, an_hat concerned the choice of a train. Frankly, I did not feel like arriving i_hat haunted Vermont region late at night; so instead of accepting the trai_e chose I telephoned the station and devised another arrangement. By risin_arly and taking the 8:07 A.M. (standard) into Boston, I could catch the 9:2_or Greenfield; arriving there at 12:22 noon. This connected exactly with _rain reaching Brattleboro at 1:08 p.m. - a much more comfortable hour tha_0:01 for meeting Akeley and riding with him into the close-packed, secret-
  • guarding hills.
  • I mentioned this choice in my telegram, and was glad to learn in the repl_hich came toward evening that it had met with my prospective host’_ndorsement. His wire ran thus:
  • ARRANGEMENT SATISFACTORY WILL MEET ONE EIGHT TRAIN WEDNESDAY DONT FORGE_ECORD AND LETTERS AND PRINTS KEEP DESTINATION QUIET EXPECT GREAT REVELATIONS
  • AKELEY
  • Receipt of this message in direct response to one sent to Akeley \- an_ecessarily delivered to his house from the Townshend station either b_fficial messenger or by a restored telephone service - removed any lingerin_ubconscious doubts I may have had about the authorship of the perplexin_etter. My relief was marked - indeed, it was greater than I could account fo_t the time; since all such doubts had been rather deeply buried. But I slep_oundly and long that night, and was eagerly busy with preparations during th_nsuing two days.