Safeguarding Sanity

The Elder Sign is one of the only things known to man that can provide any measure of protection against the Deep Ones. I felt it would be prudent to make one, considering the reading we will begin tomorrow.

However, most of us do not have a chunk of granite handy, or the necessary tools (or skill) to carve it, so we must make do with a crude approximation.

You will need oven-bake clay like Sculpy or Fimo, and a tool to etch it (even a toothpick will do). As you can see, I’ve used a type of clay that looks a bit like stone when baked – for that authentic Innsmouth feeling.

Elder Sign StonesBe sure to pre-heat your oven (follow the directions for your particular clay), and cover your work area to prevent stains. I generally roll out my clay on the same parchment paper I use to bake it.

The method is simple: break off a small stone’s worth of clay from your brick and roll it between your hands and against a hard surface, kneading it until it is pliable. Form it into a rough stone shape (or a flattened pebble shape, if you prefer a pendant), and smooth its surface. Carefully carve an Elder Sign into it, removing excess clay as you go. I have used the simpler Lovecraft version here, though those with greater artistic ability may attempt the more complex Derleth version.

Elder Sign PebbleYou may mutter a few incantations of protection over your clay before you slide it into the oven, but then bake according to the package directions. Allow it to cool thoroughly before handling, then enjoy your new ward against the Deep Ones.



You may well need it before all is said and done.

Reading: Elder Sign (Wikipedia)
Alternate Reading: “The Shadow Over Innsmouth” (for tomorrow’s lesson)

About Headmistress

Sarah L. Crowder, current headmistress of Vacation Necronomicon School, was once a pupil at the prestigious Miskatonic Academy for Girls -- though she did not graduate, as the school closed under mysterious circumstances shortly before her studies were completed. She spent many years contemplating both the arcane arts and hidden dimensions of commonplace life, and now lends her talents to our little online haven for workaday scholars.
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7 Responses to Safeguarding Sanity

  1. Pingback: Summer School, Assignment Three « TENTACLII :: H.P. Lovecraft blog

  2. Borrowind says:

    No clay or incantations, I regret – but here’s my finished assignment…

  3. Headmistress says:

    @Borrowind – Your explanation of the Elder Sign is far more in depth than Wikipedia, though I would expect nothing less at this point. And I think your warding coffee is perfect, and well in keeping with the tongue-in-cheek aspect of today’s lesson. I am not familiar with Vinca script, but some of it reminds me of the symbols in the much younger Minoan Linear A – which is also likely to remain untranslated. Fascinating information on the Stonehenge laser scan survey, too. Thanks!

  4. Pingback: Once Upon a Time in the West of London | Scrivenings and scribblings by writer and artist Paul Anderson

  5. nina says:

    I was driving from Maryland to Michigan yesterday and stayed over at a fleabag hotel in Pittsburgh last night. That’s my excuse for not doing the assignment. I do, however, remember when I was 4 years old making snakes out of plasticine clay that the lady next door had given me. I would coil the snake in a spiral and hand it to her, and she would flatten it into a disk. Dismayed, I would make another, and the same thing would happen. She would flatten the snakes into spiral disks. She was Mrs. Tamayo from Mexico, where they know (I feel certain) how to keep evil away. So, if I had some Sculpy, that is the amulet I would make.

  6. Headmistress says:

    @Nina – That’s quite a drive! I feel certain that would be a good choice of amulet, too…


  7. Paul says:

    I have no clay with which to make my Elder sign.

    However I do solemnly promise to have the sign tattooed upon my body, as a permanent protection against the terrors that lie beyond.

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