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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. They also believe him responsible for the death of his unnamed wife and for fathering his daughter Lavinia's illegitimate son. In reality, after years of indoctrinating her in black magic and ancient lore, he sacrificed Lavinia to the Outer God Yog-Sothoth, who spawned twins Wilbur and his unnamed brother by her.

Old Whateley raises Wilbur much like 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 in order to destroy 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 also harbors a deep hatred for mankind and nature. Having spent most of his life pursuing his heinous goals, he has no qualms sacrificing even those closest to him in order to achieve them. He allows his daughter to be impregnated by rape and later leaves her without recourse in the mercy of his equally vicious grandson. His only saving grace is the close relationship he develops with Wilbur. Due to his death, he escapes all repercussions. Everyone and 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)


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