I remember a story from the POV of a British man; one of his teachers is an archaeologist, whose lifelong dream is to find something called the Tablet of the Gods or something along those lines, a sort of ancient record holding the absolute truth of reality, and leaves for an expedition to find it. He returns a changed, miserable man with the original stone and the translation, and hands them over to his student, who's curious about the contents and the change in his teacher. The man goes crazy almost immediately after reading the translation and goes into a minirampage across his house. He stumbles to a hypnotist friend and begs him to erase his memory of reading the tablet's contents, and returns home in a haze, ordering his servant to dump the tablet and the sheets.

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    Do you have an any idea when you read this, where you read this (e.g. in a magazine, an anthology etc), what the original language was and so on? All information helps!
    – Mr Lister
    Dec 29, 2019 at 13:39
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    The problem is that going mad after reading an eldritch tome is obligatory in Lovecraftian horror so it's a very common trope. Are there no details you can remember? Character names of place names? Dec 30, 2019 at 11:34
  • Unfortunately I already added most of what I remembered from this story already, except maybe that it was written in English as a standalone story, a few lines where after breaking his pocketwatch he calls time a lie, and the hypnotist saying that at first, he'd fought "like a lion". Nothing else besides, though. Thanks either way for taking the time to read the question. Jan 1, 2020 at 19:45

1 Answer 1


This is "The Man Who Found Out", by Algernon Blackwood, POSSIBLY the origin of the trope.

  • ✓ Tablets of the Gods
  • ✓ Absolute truth of the nature of the universe
  • ✓ The guy is miserable after he finds it
  • ✓ Other guy flips out
  • ✓ Uses hypnosis to erase his memory
  • ✓ Orders servant to discard the tablets and some burnt papers

Then he did a curious thing. Taking a heavy stick from the rack in the corner he approached the mantlepiece, and with a heavy shattering blow he smashed the clock to pieces. The glass fell in shivering atoms. “Cease your lying voice for ever,” he said, in a curiously still, even tone. “There is no such thing as time!”

I think you remembered EVERYTHING but the title and author.

The story's in the public domain, here's a pdf: The Man Who Found Out

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