Nyarlathotep vs The Black Man

Is the Black Man also Nyarlathotep?

  • Iä! Yes, he is.

    Votes: 0 0.0%
  • No, they aren't the same thing.

    Votes: 2 100.0%
  • It is all a violet-litten dream.

    Votes: 0 0.0%

  • Total voters


Well-Known Member
Jul 26, 2015
In The Dreams in the Witch House, we have the appearance of "The Black Man". Id like you all to weigh in on his appearance. It seems that many readers conclude he is Nyarlathotep I would assume this is based on this passage:

"Whether anybody had ever managed to do this, one could hardly conjecture with any degree of authority. Old legends are hazy and ambiguous, and in historic times all attempts at crossing forbidden gaps seem complicated by strange and terrible alliances with beings and messengers from outside. There was the immemorial figure of the deputy or messenger of hidden and terrible powers—the “Black Man” of the witch-cult, and the “Nyarlathotep” of the Necronomicon. There was, too, the baffling problem of the lesser messengers or intermediaries—the quasi-animals and queer hybrids which legend depicts as witches’ familiars. As Gilman and Elwood retired, too sleepy to argue further, they heard Joe Mazurewicz reel into the house half-drunk, and shuddered at the desperate wildness of his whining prayers."​

It was the subject of an argument between Gilman and Elwood in which they argue the parallels.

The only other mention I could find was in reference to Brown Jenkin's pronunciation of “Nyarlathotep”.

Here's where I question this - the Black Man in the story doesn't do a great deal of interaction with Gilman directly. Gilman knows he's supposed to sign the Black Man's book, or go with him to the Throne of Azathoth. Yet this same Black Man seems to act much like a quiet ghost much of the time during the kidnapping of the baby. He's not nearly as menacing or controlling as Keziah. He doesn't fit the image of The Black Man (devil) of witches or of some alien being (certainly not much like the loquacious fellow in Dream Quest of Unknown Kadath).

So I am not quite sold on the notion of him as Nyarlathotep, except as a suspicion in crazy Gilman's mind. What do you all think?


Well-Known Member
Aug 21, 2010
I think it seems like a familiar Lovecraftian move, of presenting as a shudder-inducing surmise or guess what's clearly meant as a "fact." It wouldn't seem characteristic of Lovecraft to state something that way when, all along -- "Nawww, two different beings!!"

I'd take a lot of convincing to suppose that they're not the same. But it won't keep me awake wondering.

w h pugmire esq

Well-Known Member
Jan 11, 2009
I linger within ye shadows of Sesqua Valley, dream
It is impossible to say, and this is typical of Lovecraft, who sometimes creates an unexplanable and inexplicable aspect of antique myth which may or may not be rooted in reality. The same thing occurs with the myth of Shub-Niggurath and ye Goat with a Thousand Young: does this refer to one entity or two separate beings? I have always consider'd ye figure in "The Dreams in the Witch House" to be a manifestation of Nyarlathotep--yet one of the poorest in all of Lovecraft's fiction, for in this story the Strange Dark One does nothing of significance in waking reality. I cannot remember if there is any other story by HPL--his own work or in ye revisions/collaborations--where Nyarlathotep is referred to as "the Black Man."

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