What is so scary about fish?

Standing by the aquarium in Monte Carlo I had a revelation. I was staring at the ghostly sea creatures preserved in formaldehyde. Their saucer eyes staring at me from glass jars. I wondered, did Lovecraft see something like this exhibition? I had never totally understood Lovecraft’s fixated hatred of sea life, but here I realised just how alien it is. Deep sea creatures formed part of the great Victorian freak show catalogue. Part serious science, part marvel at the weirdness which was out there. Intrepid men visiting every corner and crevice of the Earth, and bringing back valuable or novel items for our amusement. Lovecraft was born in 1890, so he would have caught the tail end of this mania. I imagine a young Lovecraft seeing a squid from the depths, at an exhibition, or an illustration in a book, and being simultaneously horrified and fascinated by the creature.

These things evolved parallel to us, while we were walking the land, building our civilisations, creating our culture, creatures in the depths have just evolved to become stranger and stranger.

~

Wikipedia page on Lovecraft

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