by 'Prof. Wolf von Archensbak'
Translated for Call of Cthulhu by Andy J.
from White Dwarf Games Workshop
November 1985, #71
“Cults of the Dark Gods” (Andy Bradbury, pp
Article discussing actual cults and groups in
interpreting them a la
This material is a translation of a part of the researches of
'Professor von Archensbak' related to certain cults, or
quasi-religions, believed to be connected with the plans of the Great Old
Ones to resume their domination of our planet.
The Professor had originally intended to withhold this information
until he had completed his major work on Cthulhu-orientated cults.
After the recent death of the great Bulgarian scholar, 'Dr. Philius
Sadowsky,' whilst he was preparing a definitive commentary on the Necronomicon, however,
von Archensbak has asked me to prepare a synopsis of his findings for
THE VICTORY OF
Following the publication of my monograph on the Sigsand, or
Sussex, Manuscript I have received a number of letters from self-styled
fellow 'researchers'. In many cases these communicants were mere cranks of
one persuasion or another. Yet in the midst of this nonsense certain
information has been drawn to my attention, by one who wishes to remain
anonymous, which has both confirmed certain data already in my possession
and more importantly, has fleshed out certain portions of that data which
were hitherto sketchy and unclear.
As I stated in my earlier work, there can be little doubt that
the Sigsand Manuscript is
either wholly derived from some Arabic source, or at least depends upon
such work for its central thesis. What was unclear to me when I wrote
those words, however, was the identity of that original
Let me state, quite categorically, that the document to which I
refer is still unknown to me. Nevertheless I am at least able to indicate
the probable source of the Sigsand material, together with a list
of the main groups, or cults, through which that teaching has been
disseminated down the ages, even unto the present day.
As the American writer, H.P. Lovecraft, has so often
observed, the time of the Great Old Ones' rule on
Earth most surely preceded our own times by many millennia. Yet the
knowledge of their being and of their power, together with the loathsome
and blasphemous rites inspired by that knowledge, has persisted within
isolated groups like some dreadful canker upon the soul and body of the
Thus far had my researches led before new information was laid
before me. A simple belief that such 'lost' peoples as the dreaded Tcho-Tcho of the Tsang plateau, the Abominable Snowmen of Mi-Go and the Deep Ones of Ponape (also spelled
Pohnpei and earlier Bonabee), were the scattered remnants of
the Old Ones' worshippers on Earth.
How little I knew!.
click images to enlarge
In tracing the history of that infamous and terrible cult of
the Hashishim more commonly called the Assassins, we must
look to the deviant groupings of the Muslim faith.
The first, and most important schism within Islam was based
upon different attitudes regarding him whom they call The Prophet
(i.e. Mohammed). On the one hand we have the Sunni's, who
accept the Koran (as presented by The Prophet) as the source of
religious authority. The main opposition group is that of the
Shi'ite persuasion, which holds that every
age has its own
divinely inspired leader or Imam who has absolute, God-given
authority over all men.
According to the Shi'ites each Imam has positively superhuman
powers - handed down from age to age since Adam. To the Shi'ites, each
Imam is, quite literally, the voice of God on earth.
As the Shi'ite sect begun to emerge, being in the minority, it
protected itself by resorting to secrecy. And when Shi'ism itself began to
fragment this led to the formation of a whole range of new secret
societies - most notably the Ishmaelites.
The Ishmaelites are distinguished by their belief that
Ishmael son of Ja'far was the seventh Imam and heir to the power
authority of Adam - all other Sunni's and Shi'ites believe
Ishmael to have been an evil man legally deprived of the Imamate by
his father. The Ishmaelite sect also gave rise to yet another sub-group, a
secret society within a secret society.! I refer, of course, to the
So far as modern scholars, including my own source, have been
able to ascertain the facts in this matter, the cult of the
Assassins was established by Hassan ibn Sabah - the Old Man
of the Mountains - in about 1,090 AD.
Ibn Sabah's nickname
allegedly accorded him by the Crusaders, tells us much about both parties.
The term 'old man' could be derived from the idea of a wise
man or sage, since Ibn Sabah himself was certainly not 'old' in
years. It is quite possible, on the other hand, that 'old' was meant to
refer to the alleged antiquity of Ibn Sabah's authority, which implies
that some of the Crusaders at least were prepared to recognize that
The 'mountains' referred to, are in northern Iraq, where
Ibn Sabah had his personal stronghold at Alamut - The
Eagle's Nest - from which he and his successors directed a reign of
terror which reached throughout the Arab world, and beyond.
But what was the real purpose behind the formation of this
Certainly Hassan ibn Sabah and the later Grand Masters
of the sect were interested in power, indeed there was a time, before
their ambitions were temporarily thwarted by the arrival of Genghis
Khan and the Mongol hordes, when it looked as though the Assassins
might take control of the entire Muslim world.
The influence of the Assassins, as their name implies,
was based primarily upon the practice of executing anyone who incurred the
Master's displeasure or who offered a threat to the cult, either real or
imagined. These executions were earned out by carefully trained and
utterly dedicated killers called the Fidavis. The training is of
particular interest since it involved certain mind altering
I have already mentioned that the Assassins were also
known as the Hashishim. This alternative title relates to the
practice of drugging initiates with hashish and then introducing
them into a purpose-built 'heaven on earth' — a luxurious palace
surrounded by beautiful gardens and inhabited by throngs of lovely women
who attended to the initiate's every desire during his brief stay. After a
suitable period of time the initiate was drugged again, returned to the
Eagle's Nest, and told that he could only return to Paradise if the Master
willed it, that is, if he unhesitatingly obeyed the Master's every
command. The results of this process were remarkably successful
The 'uniform' of the Assassins, who most certainly remain to
existence even today, consisted of a white robe, a red belt
and black or red boots. It should be noted, however, that just as
they are skilled in the many means of killing so are they well trained in
every aspect of the art of disguise. Their absolute obedience to the will
of their masters is unparalleled, even by the deadly Ninjas of the East,
since they have no fear of death but rather welcome it as the one road
back to that paradise they have already experienced!
In the 13th century the invading Mongols, led by Genghis Khan's
liutenant, Halaku, seemed to have wiped out the Assassins as part
of their drive to exterminate Islam. Yet when the Mongols were finally
forced back by the Sultan of Egypt the Assassins reemerged as
strong as ever, not only in Syria (where their power had remained
largely intact), but also in Persia, Afghanistan (where they
called themselves the Roshaniya - the
'illuminated ones') and India (as the Thugees).
But the Assassins were no longer operating only in the
Middle-East and India. By indirect means they had penetrated into the very
heart of Christendom itself, thus providing the basis for every subsequent
secret society of any note throughout the length and breadth of
The exact date for the foundation of the Knights
Templar, like many other aspects of this ambiguous organization, is
almost impossible to fix with absolute precision. Some writers suggest
1118 or 1120AD, whilst others place it up to ten years earlier. What we
can be sure of, however, is that by 1120AD at the latest, the first nine
members of the order were securely installed in that part of the
(Christian) King of Jerusalem's palace - that part which stood on the site
of what had once been King Solomon's Temple.
Even at this early part of the history of the Templars
we come across a series of intriguing paradoxes.
Firstly, it Is alleged that Hugues de Payen, the first
Master of the Order, and all his colleagues were 'poor' knights.
Yet within a very short space of time following the foundation of the
Order the knights began to send large sums of money back to France,
specifically to the Abbot of the Cistercian monastery at Clairvaux -
Saint Bernard. This was extremely fortunate, from the monk's
point of view, since it lifted them from being on the verge of
bankruptcy to a position as one of the most influential orders in the
Secondly, there is the question of the seemingly instant
acceptance of the founder knights by King Baudouin I. By what means were
the nine, able to gain such immediate and extensive favours?
Thirdly, we must examine the Templars' declared objective - to
make the roads of Palestine safe for pilgrims and other travellers. Yet
how could they hope to succeed in such a massive task?. Their seal
emphasized their alleged poverty by showing two knights upon a single
horse. Even with e horse apiece, how could nine men police such a large
area simple handed? And lastly, who were they guarding the roads
In 1127 a majority of the Templars, including Hugues de
Payen, returned to France where they were welcomed as "the epitome and
apotheosis of Christian values"! De Payen was officially proclaimed the
Grand Master (!) of the Knights of the Order of the Temple, a
semi-religious order of warrior-monks. It was also at this time that they
were granted the exclusive tight to wear white mantles over their armour
adorned with a red cross on the left side.
One hundred and eighty years later, the Templars were so rich that
they had become the bankers of Europe, so powerful that they
recognized allegiance to no one, not even the Pope, yet at the same time
they were reviled on all sides as despotic, degenerate
I can hardly think that I need to impress upon my readers the
many similarities between the Assassins on the one side, and the Templars on the
other. Indeed, many of those who came into contact with the Templars
quickly learnt that the sect had adopted many of the Assassins' ideas
[Translator's Note: At this point Professor Archensbak's
notes become totally fragmentary. In essence he merely outlines the
conflict which arose between Phillipe IV - Phillipe le Bel - and
the Templars, which Archensbak attributes primarily to the Templars'
growing arrogance towards everyone, from the Pope downwards, and more
importantly to the fact that Phillipe was heavily in debt to the Templars
with little or no hope of being able to pay that debt.]
When two Popes in succession refused to help Phillips in his
plan to suppress the Templars, both died under suspicious circumstances.
Phillipe was thus able to have his own candidate elected to the office,
and in less than two years a list of charges of blasphemy had been drawn
up, and the Templars' strongholds had been overthrown.
Amongst the charges drawn up against the Templars two, in
particular, are worthy of note.
In the first it was alleged that all Templars, on entering the
order, were required to reject Jesus Christ as a false prophet
and to spit and trample upon a crucifix placed on the floor for this
The second charge concerns something, possibly a sculpture of a
bearded head, which was called Bafomet, said to have been held in
the highest reverence.
On the subject of the renunciation of Christ by the members
of what was apparently a Christian order I will have more to say later.
For the moment let me merely suggest a parallel between this practice
and the Assassins' effective rejection of Mohammed.
The matter of Bafomet may be dealt with immediately -
since there can be little doubt as to its true significance.
Many scholars have worried over the name Bafomet, not
only because of the uncertainty as to what it was, but also because this
Arabic-sounding word is not found in that language in that exact form. Yet
we hardly need to look far for en explanation,
for there is indeed a very similar word in Arabic, namely
abufihamet - which breaks down as abu, meaning 'father of'
or 'source of,' and fihamet (from the root word fehm),
meaning 'wisdom' or 'understanding.'
If we then take Bafomet to mean 'father of wisdom' are
we not led inexorably back to the Assassins yet again, at their
belief in the Imam of the age - their own Grand Master - as the
only true source of all knowledge.
Moreover, despite the praise heaped upon them as the defenders
of the Holy Land, the Templars actually fought only when it suited them to
do so, and even then it was not always only on behalf of their fellow
So, now, we have seen the Assassins as a cult dedicated
to the pursuit of power, though not averse to the accumulation of wealth -
through murder, kidnapping and blackmail - when the opportunity arose. The
Templars, on the other hand seem to have had little interest in
power for its own sake, except as a means of protecting their own
interests. Their dedication to the pursuit of wealth in all its forms,
however, was legendary, almost obsessive.
So what happened to the Templars, and to their vast
As an organization they were broken up by the raids staged by
Philippe IV in 1307. In 1312 the Order was officially disbanded by
papal decree, and in 1314 the last Grand Master, Jacques de Molay,
was burned at the stake by command of Phillipe.
Yet this was hardly the end of the Templars. In the first place
their treasure was never found, nor has it been discovered up to the time
at which I write. As for the individual members. comparatively few were
seized, and even fewer put to death. The survivors undoubtedly found 'new'
Some knights simply moved from France to Prussia where they
would undoubtedly have been welcomed by highly sympathetic knights of the
Teutonic Order. Others, taking advantage of the war which was in
progress between Scotland and England took the road to the Highlands,
where the papal decree had been totally ignored. In both cases the exiles
did not simply rest on the memories of their past. Rather they began to
build the foundations of new orders.
One society, created by the exiles in Scotland, became what we now
know as Freemasonry. Those in Germany, with a far greater
dedication to secrecy, borrowed their new title from the Afghans. They
became the llluminati!