In the question Short story with monsters in the stratosphere who attack a biplane Aaron Decker asks:

I'm trying to find the title of a short story I read a number of years ago.

In the story, the narrator reads off of pages of a diary that are found amid plane wreckage. The diary details how a pilot believed there to be creatures that live in the stratosphere. The pilot then climbs to a high altitude in a biplane and the creatures start to attack him. If I recall correctly, he tries to attack them with a shotgun, at which point the diary entries end.

I remembered reading a story like that, but not the author or title, so I didn't answer.

I did make a comment:

I think that maybe H.P. Lovecraft refered to some sort of supernatural dangers facing pilots who flew too high. But that wasn't a story but merely an off hand reference in one of his stories. And I guess it might have been inspired by "the Horror of the heights" by Sir Arthur Conan Doyle. And maybe I might be confusing it with a reference to mountain climbers who climbed too high being taken by the Mi-go in "The Whisperer in Darkness", possibly inspired by Mallory and Irvine.

So now I wonder whether H.P. Lovecraft did make an off hand one sentence reference to some sort of dire fate awaiting pilots who flew too high in one of his stories.

Does anyone remember such a reference in an H.P. Lovecraft story?

  • 3
    As far as I can remember, the only instances of something similar are in "At the Mountains of Madness", particularly in the final. On the plane, while remembering what he saw and read, Danforth (the narrator's companion) is getting mad and "his shrieks were confined to the repetition of a single, mad word of all too obvious source: "Tekeli-li! Tekeli-li!""
    – Zab Zonk
    Commented Mar 8, 2021 at 18:49
  • The question does bring back fond memories of the 1976 pseudoscience documentary Overlords of the UFO which at the end discusses flying saucers as giant creatures see 1:22:41 mark youtu.be/xoALMKyfb2k Commented Mar 8, 2021 at 20:10

1 Answer 1


Yes, near the end of At the Mountains of Madness the narrator mentions very high altitude things that attack pilots:

Their height, then, must have been tremendous beyond all known comparison—carrying them up into tenuous atmospheric strata peopled by such gaseous wraiths as rash flyers have barely lived to whisper of after unexplainable falls.

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