Ghouls are a species of creature appearing in H. P. Lovecraft's story Pickman's Model. They are a supposedly imaginary species painted by the artist Richard Pickman, who at the story's conclusion is revealed to have been painting real-life ghouls engaged in various activities.

History

Background

The ghouls were created through a human mating with the entity Shaurash-ho. The first ghoul, Yogash, and the many others after him cross-bred with humans, resulting in some ghouls being indistinguishable from humans.

Pickman's Model

Richard Pickman is an aspiring artist from Boston. He was formerly a member of the Boston Art Club, but submitted a disturbing image entitled "Ghoul Feeding" and was kicked out.

The narrator, a friend of Pickman's, is given a tour of Pickman's workshop. He is shown a series of disturbing pictures, including "The Lesson" (a group of ghouls showing a child how to feed like them), "Subway Accident" (a group of ghouls attacking a crowd in a subway by coming through a crack in the floor), an unnamed picture of ghouls hiding in the cellars of various houses waiting for their first victims, and finally a painting of a ghoul gnawing at a human victim. Pickman suddenly takes out a revolver and leaves the room. The sound of a huge creature scurrying across the ground is heard, followed by six shots. Pickman comes back in and claims to have been shooting a rat. The narrator leaves, but realizes he has accidentally pocketed a photo from Pickman's studio. He looks at it and discovers it to be an image of the ghoul from Pickman's latest picture, which is very much real.

Trivia

  • In The Dream-Quest of Unknown Kadath, the protagonist Randolph Carter is rescued from the night-gaunts by a group of friendly ghouls. Among them is Pickman himself, hinting that he was a ghoul all along.
    • Due to this taking place in the Dreamlands, it is possible that it did not really happen.
  • According to one source, there are some ghouls that worship Baoht Z'uqqa-mogg, a Great Old One.
  • Ghouls are descended from Cthulhu through their progenitor, Shaurash-ho.

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