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Old Whateley is the overarching antagonist of the short horror story The Dunwich Horror written by the late H.P. Lovecraft.
He was born and raised in the remote hamlet of Dunwich, Massachusetts. The head of the sinister and inbred Whateley family, he is feared and despised by the townsfolk for his reputed use of black magic. Indeed, his family has long been affiliated with the evil occult. They also believe him responsible for the death of his unnamed wife and for incestuously fathering his daughter Lavinia's illegitimate son. In reality, after years of indoctrinating her in black magic and ancient lore, he sacrificed her to the Outer God Yog-Sothoth, who spawned twins Wilbur and his unnamed brother by her.
Old Whateley raises Wilbur much like he did Lavinia, by catechising him in the dark arts with his incomplete edition of the fearsome Necronomicon, and as the end of his life draws near, teaches him to care for and command his more monstrous brother, who is kept out of sight. Eventually, Old Whateley's plan to summon Yog-Sothoth to Earth is revealed. At which point, however, he has passed away unscathed, Lavinia has disappeared without a trace and Wilbur is left to carry out his own destiny, incidentally his grandfather's final wish.
Old Whateley is described as "obviously quite mad", but is much more cunning than he appears to be. He harbors a deep hatred and callous disregard for mankind and nature. He is implied to be very controlling, manipulative and abusive of his family. For reasons known only to him, he wants humanity and Earth destroyed at the hands of the Old Ones. Having spent most of his life pursuing this heinous goal, he has no qualms sacrificing even those closest to him in order to succeed. He allows his invalid daughter to be impregnated by rape and later leaves her without recourse in the mercy of his grandson, who he has brainwashed into becoming as cruel and misanthropic as he is, and gloats at the prospect of the townsfolks' destruction. His only saving grace is the close relationship he develops with Wilbur as they work, worship, and study together. Due to his death, he escapes all repercussions. Everyone and everything else he touches are not as fortunate.
- Unnamed Wife (deceased)
- Yog-Sothoth (spiritual son-in-law)
- Lavinia Whateley (daughter, presumed deceased)
- Wilbur Whateley (surrogate grandson, deceased)
- The Dunwich Horror (surrogate grandson, deceased)