In Lovecraft's The Case of Charles Dexter Ward, the phrase "do not call up any that you can not put down" is oft repeated.

... doe not call up Any that you can not put downe; by the Which I meane, Any that can in Turne call up Somewhat against you, whereby your Powerfullest Devices may not be of use. Ask of the Lesser, lest the Greater shal not wish to Answer, and shal commande more than you.

The contradiction:

Joseph Curwen was a very powerful necromancer; his spell against his descendant transcended time, and he even summoned Yog-Sothoth thrice. He was killed by a monster that he had raised but not managed to put down.


Dr. Willett, who knew nothing of necromancy and just happened to stumble upon the words of the unsummoning incantation, managed to put Curwen down. The latter wasn't even caught flat-footed.

Did I miss something, or was the doctor just very lucky?


Curwen wasn't killed by something he called up. The warning "Do not call up..." I think means that you shouldn't call up someone from "essential saltes" that would be hostile to you and immediately prevent you from controlling him. I would assume that anyone so called would be a little disoriented at first, so you could be prepared to put down any subject that wasn't cooperative or responsive to your threats.

And yes, Curwen was put down by Dr. Willett using the "descending node" of the spell.


It seems to me that any necromancer who was called up from the saltes MIGHT be able to somehow silence the words of the descending node of the spell if He/She/It had the power or the will to conquer the caster. I would guess that Ward had such knowledge but did not expect or resist the Dr. precisely Because the Doctor was not a necromancer, so he should not have known how to put Ward downe.


Without looking back to my book, I don't believe Curwen was unsummoned. He was simply transformed to dust. Something that is possible to be done to humans.

Your Answer

By clicking “Post Your Answer”, you agree to our terms of service, privacy policy and cookie policy