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She wanted to be a man - to be fully human - that was why she got hold of him. She had sensed the mixture of fine-wrought brain and weak will in him. Some day she would crowd him out and disappear with his body - disappear to become a great magician like her father and leave him marooned in that female shell that wasn’t even quite human. Yes, he knew about the Innsmouth blood now. There had been traffick with things from the sea - it was horrible… And old Ephraim - he had known the secret, and when he grew old did a hideous thing to keep alive - he wanted to live forever - Asenath would succeed - one successful demonstration had taken place already.
~ Edward Derby, about Asenath/Ephraim

Ephraim Waite, also known as Asenath Waite or Kamog, is the main antagonist of The Thing on the Doorstep, a 1937 short story by H. P. Lovecraft. He is a practitioner of the Dark Arts and the father of Asenath Waite who it is heavily implied he has possessed.


Ephraim was a native of the town of Innsmouth, in which it was common practice for the inhabitants to mate with the Deep Ones, fish-people who worshipped the Great Old Ones and supplied the townspeople with gold. Ephraim took a Deep One female as his bride and sired a daughter, Asenath Waite. He was also proficient in black magic, as he was a member of a secret coven of Dark Arts practitioners in which he was known as Kamog.

As he grew old, Ephraim seemingly lost his mind and died insane in an asylum. After her father's death, Asenath became a student of Hall School in Kingsport, and later Miskatonic University. It was at the university that she met Edward Pickman Derby, a fellow student who she soon married. Together they bought a house in Arkham, Massachusetts, with Asenath bringing along three unpleasant servants from Innsmouth and books about the Dark Arts, including the famous Necronomicon.

However, Derby soon realized that the person he had married was not Asenath: it was in fact Ephraim possessing Asenath's body in order to live forever. Enraged by being trapped in the body of a woman, who he saw as inferior, Ephraim began possessing Derby's body instead. At one point, Derby's soul was transported to an unknown dimension (described as "the black realm") where he encountered Shoggoths and a being he described as "the watcher" while Ephraim's soul possessed his body. Derby went to his friend Daniel Upton to tell him about this experience and that Ephraim was trying to possess his body. Ephraim then attempted to convince Upton to forget this, but Upton noticed a subtle change in Derby's eyes while he was possessed.

Seemingly, Ephraim was killed when Derby eventually snapped, burned Asenath's copy of the Necronomicon and bludgeoned her to death with a candlestick. He soon realized that this was not the case and that Ephraim's spirit would remain in the body until it was cremated (which was impossible because he buried it to avoid being imprisoned for murder). Fleeing to Upton's house, Derby began raving about Asenath and how he could still feel Asenath/Ephraim clawing at his mind. Upton decided to commit Derby to an asylum, seeing as Ephraim would be trapped there if he possessed Derby.

Soon after, Upton was called by the sanatorium, who told him that Derby had regained his sanity. On visiting him, it became apparent that Ephraim had taken over completely. This was confirmed when Upton was visited by a mysterious figure (the titular thing on the doorstep) revealed to be Derby, trapped in the decomposing body of Asenath. Derby begged him to kill the man in the asylum, who was not him but in fact possessed by Ephraim. Upton took a gun, went to the asylum and shot Asenath/Ephraim/Derby in the head. He was immediately imprisoned for murder, and Derby's body was later cremated, finally killing Ephraim for good.


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