Byatis, the serpent-bearded, the god of forgetfulness, came with the Great Old Ones from the stars, called by obeisances made to his image, which was brought by the Deep Ones to Earth. He may be called by the touching of his image by a living being. His gaze brings darkness on the mind; and it is said that those who look upon his eye will be forced to walk into his clutches. He feasts upon those who stray to him, and from those upon whom he feasts he draws a part of their vitality, and so grows vaster.
~ The De Vermis Mysteriis about Byatis.

Byatis, also known as the Berkeley Toad, is a toad-like Great Old One.

Overview

According to the story "The Room in the Castle" by Ramsey Campbell, Byatis is a horrific creature with one eye and a trunk-like nose. He resembles a cross between a spider and a crab, being in possession of two huge crab claws and a mass of growths beneath his face "in the Fashion of some Sea Monster". According to an eighteenth-century document, Byatis is "somewhat like a Spider, somewhat like a Crab, and somewhat like a Horror in Dreams." He is said to have hypnotic powers, and anyone who looks into his eye will become his slave. He can be summoned by any living creature touching an image of him.

Byatis was summoned to Earth by the Deep Ones when they arrived here, bringing their images of it with them. It was imprisoned in a stone chamber beneath the earth by the Elder Gods, only to later be freed by the Romans, who worshipped the creature as a god, and go on a rampage across Britain, killing hundreds of people before becoming dormant. The Normans later invaded and built a castle on top of the spot where Byatis slumbered.

In the 1700s, a farmer in Brichester discovered one of the images of Byatis that the Deep Ones brought to Earth and accidently used it to summon Byatis. He fled from the place, but began to have consistent nightmares about the creature he saw and was soon taken ill. He disappeared from his house and was found in the woods, beating a great black drum. Byatis then appeared and consumed him. The men who found him suffered nightmares of Byatis until they died

Soon after, an evil wizard named Sir Gilbert Morley subdued Byatis through black magic and trapped him in his castle. He lured people to his house and fed them to Byatis as sacrifices. He did this because Byatis allowed him to communicate with Cthulhu, Daoloth, Glaaki and Shub-Niggurath by tapping into the creature's cosmic vitality. Morley originally kept Byatis in the cellar, but the monster soon grew too large and so an underground chamber was constructed to contain Byatis. Eventually, Byatis consumed Morley, but in doing so became too large to leave the chamber.

In the twentieth century, a man named Parry discovered the room and was attacked by Byatis. Horrified by the discovery that the Berkeley Toad really existed, he decided to destroy it and so returned to the castle with petrol. To his infinite horror, he realised that the enormous creature that attacked him before was really just one of the monster's tentacles and that Byatis was even larger than he first realised. He lit Byatis on fire and completely destroyed its body. However, the story implies that Byatis' astral form survived and is now free.

Trivia

  • Many believe that Byatis and the Shambler from the Stars are one and the same creature, but this is unconfirmed.
  • According to Ludwig Prinn, Byatis is one of the three gods of divination, alongside Han and Yig.

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