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->''"Great God, what simpletons! Show them Arthur Machen's ''Great God Pan'' and they'll think it a common Dunwich scandal!"''
--> -- from "Literature/TheDunwichHorror" by Creator/HPLovecraft

Written by Creator/ArthurMachen in 1894 and originally published in a magazine, ''The Great God Pan'' is known for being one of the prototypes of the CosmicHorrorStory. It was a huge influence on Creator/HPLovecraft, who used it as the basis for his own story ''Literature/TheDunwichHorror'', as well as for the [[Franchise/CthulhuMythos deity]] [[MotherOfAThousandYoung Shub-Niggurath]]. It is worth noting that the main themes of the story - the idea that there are ThingsManWasNotMeantToKnow and [[EldritchAbomination horrors outside of our reality that we do not understand]] - are very Lovecraftian in nature, making these tropes [[OlderThanTheyThink older than you think]].

''The Great God Pan'' is also [[http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/The_Great_God_Pan#Influence considered by]] Creator/StephenKing to be "one of the best horror stories ever written. Maybe the best in the English language." He has stated that 2008 novella ''N.'' was a "riff" on it.

In Wales a scientist, Dr. Raymond, experiments on a woman named Mary to enable her to "see Pan". Sadly, her mind is broken and Clarke, who watched the experiment, gives up occultism. Cut to several years later in London, where another man named Villiers meets an old friend of his who was led to misery by his wife Helen Vaughan. Curious, Villiers begins investigating. Meanwhile, an alarming number of wealthy, prominent men are being driven to [[GoMadFromTheRevelation madness]] and [[DrivenToSuicide suicide]] following their encounters with a mysterious woman known as Mrs. Beaumont. Though Clarke is initially hesitant to give him the information he needs, Villers soon learns that Mrs. Beaumont is indeed Helen Vaughan, the daughter of Mary and the [[EldritchAbomination pagan nature deity]] Pan.

You can read it [[http://en.wikisource.org/wiki/The_Great_God_Pan here]].

!!Provides examples of:

* AmbiguousSituation: It's never clarified [[spoiler:how Villiers convinces Helen to hang herself, given that his plan to call the cops on her if she doesn't oblige seems feeble considering that her "murders" left no proof that a {{Muggle}} police would buy and that she is, well, an EldritchAbomination after all.]]
* BitchInSheepsClothing: Helen (when she doesn't have the UncannyValley effect going on) often appears to be a beautiful and charming woman.
-->"Yes, I married, Villiers. I met a girl, a girl of the most wonderful and most strange beauty, at the house of some people whom I knew... My friends had come to know her at Florence; she told them she was an orphan, the child of an English father and an Italian mother, and she charmed them as she charmed me. The first time I saw her was at an evening party. I was standing by the door talking to a friend, when suddenly above the hum and babble of conversation I heard a voice which seemed to thrill to my heart. She was singing an Italian song. I was introduced to her that evening, and in three months I married Helen. Villiers, that woman, if I can call her woman, corrupted my soul."
* BreakTheCutie: It was what got everyone into that mess.
* BreakThemByTalking: Although Helen's horrors are widely considered to be related to sexual or physical experiences, the only time we have a glimpse of what happens in her bedroom she is simply sitting in the bed and telling something to his soon-to-be-dead husband. ''What'' was she saying, of course, is unrevealed.
* CampbellCountry: Takes place in Britain, though it predates the Trope Codifier.
* CosmicHorrorStory: As mentioned above, Lovecraft cited this story as one of his main influences.
* DeathBySex: The unspeakable horrors that drive Helen's victims to suicide are strongly implied to be sexual in nature, although Victorian propriety prevented Machen from elaborating.
* DidYouJustRomanceCthulhu: More like "Were you just raped by Cthulhu" and "Did you just romance [[Literature/TheDunwichHorror Wilbur Whateley]]?"
* DisposableVagrant: What Dr. Raymond regards Mary as (see the ValuesDissonance [[YMMV/GreatGodPan entry]]).
* DontGoInTheWoods:
** "Ah, mother, mother, why did you let me go in the forest with Helen?"
** "The man in the wood! father! father!"
* DrivenToSuicide: Both Helen's victims and [[spoiler:herself]].
* EldritchAbomination: This version of Pan is definitely very different from the satyr god of Myth/GreekMythology. In addition, it is strongly implied Pan is also the [[Myth/CelticMythology Celtic god]] Nodens, who would later join Lovecraft's works as one of his eldritch deities...
* GoneMadFromTheRevelation: What happens to Mary, who is rendered "an idiot" after her encounter with Pan, as well as all of Helen's victims.
* HalfHumanHybrid: [[spoiler:Though somewhat implied to be less of a hybrid and more an avatar.]]
* HaveAGayOldTime: [[DrinkingGame Take a shot]] every time "queer" is used instead of "weird" or "strange". Also: "gay curtains".
* HumanoidAbomination: Helen was probably one of the first in modern literature.
* ImMelting: [[spoiler:A variation in which the person becomes a blob ''after'' dying.]]
* LeaveBehindAPistol: A non-firearms variant.
--> Austin said nothing, but nodded his head slightly; he still looked white and sick. Villiers pulled out a drawer in the bamboo table, and showed Austin a long coil of cord, hard and new; and at one end was a running noose.\\
"It is the best hempen cord," said Villiers, "just as it used to be made for the old trade, the man told me. Not an inch of jute from end to end."\\
Austin set his teeth hard, and stared at Villiers, growing whiter as he looked.\\
"You would not do it," he murmured at last. "You would not have blood on your hands. My God!" he exclaimed, with sudden vehemence, "you cannot mean this, Villiers, that you will make yourself a hangman?"\\
"No. I shall offer a choice, and leave Helen Vaughan alone with this cord in a locked room for fifteen minutes. If when we go in it is not done, I shall call the nearest policeman. That is all."
* MadScientist: Dr. Raymond is pretty vocal about using a girl as a test subject for his insight into the supernatural.
* MeaningfulName: [[spoiler:[[TheBible Mary had a child with a divine entity]]]].
%% * MysteryMagnet
* MysticalPregnancy: Mary is impregnated by Pan during the experiment.
* NatureSpirit: A very, ''very'' dark version, being an EldritchAbomination embodying the wilds and the "[[DarkIsEvil darkness beyond the stars]]".
* SemiDivine: [[spoiler:Helen is the child of a god and a female human, which makes her a monstrous and twisted version of a demigod]].
* ShoutOut: Helen Vaughan is likely a ShoutOut to Helen of Troy, an outstandingly beautiful and charming daughter of Zeus and Leda.
* SlimeGirl: [[spoiler:Helen after dying.]]
* NoodleIncident: Quite possibly the most skillful and frightening use of this trope ever.
* OccultDetective: Villiers would qualify if he knew what he was investigating was supernatural.
* PlatonicCave: Raymond believes in this, and it is what drove him to perform the experiment.
* RapeAsDrama: Or rather, rape as horror. Never spoken outright, but it permeates the story in implication, from Dr. Raymond's creepy possession of and regard of Mary as his property, [[MysticalPregnancy what Pan does to Mary]] and of course what Helen does to her victims, which is almost explicitly sexual in nature and traumatizes them to madness and suicide.
* ShaggySearchTechnique: Pretty much every single clue in the mystery is found this way. This was actually a staple in pretty much all of Machen's early works.
* ShapeShifterSwanSong: Apparently, [[spoiler:Helen becomes a sort of living, primordial ooze upon dying.]]
-->"Though horror and revolting nausea rose up within me, and an odor of corruption choked my breath, I remained firm. I was then privileged or accursed, I dare not say which, to see that which was on the bed, lying there black like ink, transformed before my eyes. The skin, and the flesh, and the muscles, and the bones, and the firm structure of the human body that I had thought to be unchangeable, and permanent as adamant, began to melt and dissolve.\\
I know that the body may be separated into its elements by external agencies, but I should have refused to believe what I saw. For here there was some internal force, of which I knew nothing, that caused dissolution and change.\\
Here too was all the work by which man had been made repeatedly before my eyes. I saw the form waver from sex to sex, dividing itself from itself, and then again reunited. Then I saw the body descend to the beasts whence it ascended, and that which was on the heights go down to the depths, even to the abyss of all being. The principle of life, which makes organism, always remained, while the outward form changed."
%% * SupernaturalFiction
* TakeOurWordForIt: There's a lot of unspeakably awful stuff that's hinted at or only described off-screen.
* ThingsManWasNotMeantToKnow:
-->"It was an ill work I did that night when you were present; I broke open the door of the house of life, without knowing or caring what might pass forth or enter in. I recollect your telling me at the time, sharply enough, and rightly enough too, in one sense, that I had ruined the reason of a human being by a foolish experiment, based on an absurd theory. What I said Mary would see, she saw, but I forgot that no human eyes could look on such a vision with impunity. And I forgot, as I have just said, that when the house of life is thus thrown open, there may enter in that for which we have no name, and human flesh may become the veil of a horror one dare not express. I played with energies which I did not understand, and you have seen the ending of it."
* UncannyValley: {{Invoked}}: several characters describe Helen as beautiful but... wrong.
-->"Everyone who saw her at the police court said she was at once the most beautiful woman and the most repulsive they had ever set eyes on. I have spoken to a man who saw her, and I assure you he positively shuddered as he tried to describe the woman, but he couldn't tell why."
* TheVamp: Helen.
* YouCannotGraspTheTrueForm: Pan is described this way.
-->"We know what happened to those who chanced to meet the Great God Pan, and those who are wise know that all symbols are symbols of something, not of nothing. It was, indeed, an exquisite symbol beneath which men long ago veiled their knowledge of the most awful, most secret forces which lie at the heart of all things; forces before which the souls of men must wither and die and blacken, as their bodies blacken under the electric current. Such forces cannot be named, cannot be spoken, cannot be imagined except under a veil and a symbol, a symbol to the most of us appearing a quaint, poetic fancy, to some a foolish tale. [[spoiler:But you and I, at all events, have known something of the terror that may dwell in the secret place of life, manifested under human flesh; that which is without form taking to itself a form]]."