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Humans Are Cthulhu

"Do you ever feel, in your caves of steel,
The chill of an ancient fear?
Do you shudder and say, when you pass this way,
A human once walked here?"
Ken MacLeod, Newton's Wake

Humanity isn't always on the low end of the cosmic totem pole. If a story takes the point of view of animals or relatively weak or primitive non-humans, there'll be a Perspective Flip related to Clarke's Third Law where modern, technologically-advanced humans — excuse us; MAN (DUN-DUN DUUUUNNNN) — shall be seen as unnaturally and nauseatingly inconceivable.

The non-human creatures will usually consider Man as Always Chaotic Evil, and treat it either with wary respect or an odd reverence as a divinity. Whether it's born from survival instinct or cultural baggage, most will be reluctant at best to actively resist Man's activities, let alone be curious to know them, lest one would suffer in the most merciless manner at the hands of Man's Industrialized Evil. Possibly the Genre Savvy non-human society realizes that committing to major action against Man would risk breaking the Masquerade, crossing some sort of Moral Event Horizon, or is just plain suicidal.

To meet this trope, the non-humans must consider either individual (completely normal) Man or the Man's civilization as a whole to be:

One exception to this treatment happens when some non-humans, usually children, become pals with a human, again usually another child. The contact is treated as an exception rather than a rule, in that this one human is different and kind, while still considering revealing themselves to Man as a whole as endangering themselves. The non-humans who engage in this contact may or may not have their society's sanction to do so — it may be verboten and seen as risky, or alternately a useful tradition where they selectively reveal themselves to worthy humans. There are advantages to getting on a god's good side, after all.

The non-human society may be a Cargo Cult, primitive fantasy creatures or Insufficiently Advanced Aliens, a Mouse World, robots, or a Hidden Elf Village separated from human civilization. They may only consider humans to be things of myth, and be terrified to find out otherwise.

See also Humans Through Alien Eyes and Humans Are the Real Monsters. In a way we are The Fair Folk and/or the Uncanny Valley to others in this trope.

Often results in Nightmare Fuel or a God Guise. May be a case of Obliviously Evil. Has surprisingly little to do with Humanoid Abomination.


Examples:

    open/close all folders 

    Anime and Manga 
  • Seeing them from the perspective of the raccoon-dogs in Uchouten Kazoku, humans are "more sly, cunning and wicked than even foxes or tengu."
  • The manga Peach Fuzz might be an odd version of this. The ferret sees her owner as some sort of evil God, which she really isn't, instead of just an owner.
  • Neon Genesis Evangelion: Humans are actually the real last angel and not the Ambiguously Gay white haired Bishōnen that you thought it was, and your fellow man will be the final enemy. And they actually succeed in causing the End of the World as We Know It. Though it's kind of an It Was His Sled moment.
    • Except Angels are explicitly the offspring of Adam, while the Lilim (humanity) are the offspring of Lilith.
  • The Borrower Arrietty
  • The inhabitants of Crescent Forest in Happy Happy Clover view humans as this, even after Clover befriends a pair of human children. At one point in the manga, the main characters Clover and Mallow discover the story of Santa Claus. But their school teacher, named "Professor Hoot" takes the book away from them and doesn't allow them to read the rest of it. Since he told them that the whole Santa story was for "Grown-Ups". After Professor Hoot takes the book away from her, Clover decides to tell Kale's Baby Brothers about Santa Clause. Which made them all excited about Santa and Christmas. However, when Kale (One of Clover's friends and the oldest brother) discovers that his brothers had been talking about Santa and been writing letters to Santa about what they want for Christmas. He get's extremely upset at Clover for telling his brothers about this. He's so upset, that he decides to rip all the letters to shreds and tells Clover that the whole Santa story is stupid.
  • To lesser aliens in the Macross franchise. As if reverse engineering and adaption of Supervision Army technology wasn't fearsome enough (beware their shape shifting starships and literally massive fleets), humans evolved to develop infectious psychological weapons known as music, dancing, culture, and romance. The greatest threat is when all of these mind altering horrors are concentrated into a single being called an "Idol". To hear them sing, to watch them dance, is to lose all sense of logical reason and worship an Idol's existence... and each human migrant fleet carries at least one of them. Capturing or attempting to kill an Idol is highly discouraged, as doing so unleashes the wrath of a fierce bodyguard. No interstellar superpower has withstood the Children of Earth. The conquering giant Zentradi and their dimorphic Meltrandi relatives? Reduced to a servitor race. The genocidal spirit devouring Protodeviln? Pacified. The ancient and infinite numbering Vajra? Fled known space. Adding more to the madness, they were defeated by a mere fraction of mankind's entire empire: a single fleet or a lone warship. Worst yet, said to have almost lost their home world, humanity is rapidly spreading throughout the galaxy, ensuring they cannot be exterminated. Do not be fooled by their passive diplomacy or individual frailty. Once you have encountered humanity, your entire civilization will either collapse or restructure itself to become a part of them.

    Comics 
  • One of Alan Moore's "Future Shocks" from 2000 AD features alien nomads in search of "The Chariot of the Gods". When their leader insists that they've found it, they wait for the Chariot to descend to the ground from above them... and then they all get crushed by Neil Armstrong as he makes his first step on the Moon.
  • A good 1950/60's comic(maybe from Crypt?) tolds a story when a group of earthling scientists encounter an alien spaceship that come to dispose some of their ugly mutants caused by radiation. When the scientists opened the hibernation pod containing the mutants, it turns out that the mutants are Homo Sapiens. And quite good-looking by earth standards. The aliens' real appearance is left for the readers to imagine.
  • In Warren Ellis's Ultimate Galactus trilogy for Ultimate Marvel, he spends 3/4 of the series revealing the reimagined version ( a hundred-thousand-mile long hive mind of giant, world-killing robots) of the planet-eating Galactus from the mainstream continuity. When Professor X makes contact with Gah Lakh Tus, he is physically jarred by the utter horror and disgust that the being feels for organic life. In fact, the whole point of Gah Lakh Tus seems to be that of a universal exterminator, that can sustain itself on any planet's core energy, but is dedicated to seeking out and killing anything organic simply because we creep the living hell out of it. In the end, scrappy little humanity/mutants/post-humanity/Eagleland comes together and uses a horrific, multidimensional superweapon powered by aborting a baby universe with a hydrogen bomb, and giving Nick Fury an even bigger ego in the process. Maybe Gah Lakh Tus was right to shit itself over us.
    • Don't forget that in addition to that, Professor X modified Cerebro to link the minds of every human on Earth together to Mind Rape Gah Lakh Tus. After that double whammy, Gah Lakh Tus decides that trying to eat Earth isn't worth it and flees.
  • In the Hellraiser comics, it's stated that Leviathan abhors humanity, viewing it as chaotic and disgusting.

    Fan Works 
  • An interesting variation happens in You Got HaruhiRolled!. On several occasions, the writer, superstarultra, Self Insert himself into the fic, with massive amounts of Self-Deprecation. This includes calling himself and his friends demonic, otherworldly creatures. Which, if you think about it is entirely accurate: the characters of the fanfic only exist because he is writing the fic, so, Rage Against the Author notwithstanding, they cannot perform any action which he does not write them as doing. From the perspective of the characters, superstarultra, along with his friends who have given him some of his most humiliating ideas, are Eldritch Abominations.
  • In the Minecraft Fanfic "Diary of a Creeper", humans are depicted as alien monstrosities capable and willing to slaughter everything in the world.
  • The sixth chapter of the My Little Pony: Friendship Is Magic fanfic The Monster Mash manages to do this without humans existing in-universe. Twilight casts a spell to look through reality and goes mad from the revelation - screaming about how people nopony else can see are watching her. After Pinkie Pie, who's known about these watchers all along, helps her come to terms with the situation, Twilight turns to address the reader.
  • In the Pony POV Series, it's revealed that the ponies of the G2 era viewed humans as divine, due to Megan's actions in the original series. The possibility that they're capable of evil is shocking to these ponies. And then there's the Shadows Who Make, Watch, and Rule — beings beyond even the Alicorn/Draconequi Elders — who turn out to be the writers, readers, and Hasbro, respectively.

    Films — Animated 
  • Bambi.
    • In Bambi 2, Bambi is lured by a deer call, thinking it's his mother's voice calling to him. Thankfully The King of the Forest pulled Bambi away in time to keep from getting blasted, telling him that's just another of Man's tricks.
  • Early in FernGully, the humans are simply remembered as a pack of sissies who fled the forest once Hexxus attacked. When Zack arrives, he tries to convince Crysta that humans are godlike, and that the marks they make on the trees are to frighten the "tree-eating monster" away. (He really should have just stopped talking while he was ahead.)
  • Watership Down and The Plague Dogs, both animated films based on books by Richard Adams.
    Holly: Men came... filled in the burrows. Couldn't get out. There was a strange sound... hissing! Runs blocked with dead bodies!
    [...]
    Fiver: They'll never rest until they've spoiled the earth.
    Holly: No... they just killed us because we were in their way.
  • In Happy Feet, one of the major themes is how "aliens" are responsible for the shortage of fish, and Mumble eventually sets out to find out who these creatures are and if he can communicate with them.
    • There is also an encounter with a fishing fleet that is as vast, awesome and implacable as any cyclopean temple or Ancient Astronaut.
    • And then there's the penguin Love-Lace, who thinks that the plastic six-pack holder around his neck is a gift from the gods—at least until he grows too big for it and it starts choking him.
      • A subtle one, but when Love-Lace is being tossed around by the Orcas (which ultimately frees him from the six-pack holder) one of them shows obvious wounds from being hit by a spinning propeller. As penguins, the characters know all about Orcas as top-level predators. Imagine what they must think of an entity that can make a whole series of deep gashes in an Orca.
  • Once Upon a Forest. They're depicted as alien and inscrutable (the only time we see a human above the foot level, he's wrapped in a Hazmat Suit). At the very end of the movie, the animals are shocked to see that they can also be benevolent, as they work to clean up the mess they accidentally made in the forest. The benevolent humans are also seen destroying the animal traps that the "evil" humans from before had left.
  • The humans-as-aliens idea appears in Antz (1998). A plastic-wrapped sandwich is "surrounded by Some Kind of Force Field", and an unseen sadistic human with a magnifying glass becomes a Flying Saucer with Death Ray (complete with The War Of The Worlds 1953 sound effects) in a clear take-off of the "It's beautiful" scene in Independence Day. Also the human at the picnic, who is practically a living mountain compared to the insects (all we ever see are his feet and legs). A kid's sneaker is the size of a battleship (the scale according to Word of God).
  • The humans in The Secret of NIMH often come off this way — the humans aren't evil, just totally uncaring about animal life (most particularly in the plow and the flashbacks to NIMH).
  • The exterminator from The Ant Bully.
  • This seems to be how the bees initially view humanity in Bee Movie, though that starts to change after the protagonist talks to a human.
  • In Rango, it's subtle but pervasive: humans with modern technology are treated like incomprehensible gods. Something mundane like a road is strange and incomprehensible enough to become integral to a spirit quest, seeing Las Vegas and its sprinklers is like a vision of a cyclopian city, we have enough water to just dump it in the desert, artifacts like pipes are treated as a Cargo Cult, and the Spirit of the West...takes the form of Clint Eastwood in a golf cart, with Oscars as the Golden Guardians.
  • In The Sponge Bob Squarepants Movie, there is supposed to be a monstrous "cyclops" guarding Shell City that kills any creature that tries to enter. He easily (and accidentally) defeats Dennis (probably the toughest guy in the whole SpongeBob universe; the Strangler apparently being a close second) by stepping on him. He then takes SpongeBob and Patrick to his gift shop (which is Shell City) and throughout his scenes he is portrayed as a sadistic monster. He even has an evil laugh. And...he's really just the owner of a waterfront gift shop, sells tacky knick-knacks, and inexplicably never takes off his diving suit.
  • Played straight and subverted in Finding Nemo: the fish on the reef regard humans as terrifying, otherworldly beings (especially since they're wearing scuba masks, as seen in the picture above) and a source of fear and awe. The fish in a human's fish tank, however, are sufficiently used to them to regard them more as a source of free entertainment, except the one that accidentally keeps killing fish.

    Films — Live-Action 
  • Played slightly off in Dr. Who and the Daleks with humanoid aliens in place of the humans. The Daleks consider the Thals to be hideous monsters. Shortly afterwards, a human meets a Thal, and discovers they're actually quite pleasant, blonde-haired, golden-skinned, well-muscled humanoids. The Thal explains that there were mutations from the radiation, but the form he has was always best for survival, and wonders what the Daleks must look like if they think he's a monster.
  • One can argue that the Na'vi in James Cameron's Avatar regard Mankind as a race of Eldritch Abominations, their existence outside of Eywa makes humans incomprehensible and terrifying on a subconscious level. Add to that the human's tendency towards violence and destruction, and their extraterrestrial origin makes humans a full-blown cosmic horror. That most of the humans are mostly indifferent to the Na'vi civilization further reinforces this interpretation.
    • Furthermore, from the perspective of the Na'vi, humans literally came out of nowhere, descending from the heavens in great metal monstrosities and possessing fearsome weaponry that was unfamiliar to their essentially Stone Age civilization. They even call humans as a whole "Sky People."

    Literature 
  • The original Felix Salten Bambi novel. Early on, humans are just another predator, only they are the only ones capable of bringing down a deer (thus the deer protagonists' fear of humans). The deer then believe that humans are Gods, and only the cleverest of them have figured out that guns aren't just magic ("he is only dangerous when he has his third arm"). The humans' use of guns and dogs are a point of contention for the other animals, but mostly because it's just unfair. The ending of the book comes when the Old Buck shows Bambi a human who has been killed by a gun that backfired.
    • Also, one of Bambi's friends, Gobo, disappears for a year before returning with a halter around his neck. He says he is now cared for by a human, and that man is not always cruel but can be a friend. The other animals are confused by this, some believing him, others denying it, and Gobo is also reluctant to admit he's now a pet. Later he sees a human in a meadow, and runs to it to show the animals the kindness of his master, but the other human turns out to be a hunter who kills him.
  • The Call of the Wild and White Fang, at least, have the wolves consider humans as gods—but not all of them are evil, and White Fang manages to develop a positive relationship with a benevolent human. On the other hand, Buck killing a human at the end of Call of the Wild completes his transformation into a wild beast, realizing that they are just as mortal as any other prey.
  • The short story Menagerie: A Child's Fable (which is actually not at all meant for children) is about a group of animals in a pet shop who figure out a way to escape their cages once the owner of the shop mysteriously vanishes, and form their own society. The animals, especially the owner's dog, view their master as a god who has abandoned them, despite the fact that he was horribly cruel, and at the end the dog wonders if their society crumbled because of their losing faith that he would return.
  • In Rudyard Kipling's The Jungle Book humans are recognized as another animal, but also as something else strange and terrifying. Mowgli is the only animal immune to Kaa's hypnosis, and the other animals can't look him in the face: Bagheera says this is why the wolf pack ultimately turned on him. The story "How Fear Came" says that man came to the jungle as a punishment, bringing fire and terror.
  • George R. R. Martin's story Sandkings, which was made into an Outer Limits episode. The title aliens worship their human owner until he mistreats them.
    • See also Creator/Theodore Sturgeon's "Microcosmic God", in which a scientist creates hyper-accelerated intelligent creatures, who regard him as a god. They surpass human technology, and the scientist passes off their inventions as his ... for a while.
  • The Silverwing series by Kenneth Oppel deals with this, particularly the second book, Sunwing. The bats get caught up in a human war when captured, placed in first a false paradise (a conservatory or somesuch) and then exploited, using a fictionalized version of the "Bat Bombs" tested by the US in World War II. At least one of the protagonists loses his parents this way. The humans in the series occasionally simply band bats (just for research, but the bats don't know that). Some colonies of bats believe that humans are evil and banded bats are exiled for fear they will bring bad luck. Other colonies believe that humans are good and the bands are a sign that humans will one day soon help the bats defeat their enemies which leads to a scene in which Goliath appears decked out in dozens of metal bands — implying that he killed and ate the bats wearing them previously. The protagonists constantly question exactly whose side the humans are on.
  • Watership Down. Humans are portrayed as a force of nature and their influence is everywhere. Every single plot point in the books and the state of all four warrens somehow relates to humans. For example, the entire justification for Efrafa's police-state regime is to conceal its existence from Men. In addition, the description of the human technology that threatens the first warren is Lovecraftian in style, and Fiver's mystical visions warning him of the coming of humans (a presumably unintentional parallel with the actual story "The Call of Cthulhu") emphasize this perspective.
  • The Plague Dogs, by the same author. At one point, the fugitive dogs discuss whether or not it's possible that humans can communicate across great distances. While they eventually conclude that it's a silly idea, they mention lots of other things — like making the sun shine indoors just by touching a wall — that demonstrate just how many "miracles" (from the canine perspective) we perform every day, without even thinking about it.
  • In the second tome of the Empire of the Ants trilogy by Bernard Werber, the local ants try to exterminate humans (or "fingers"). However, they seriously underestimated our numbers, and their only victory was against a picnicking family, where they made a child seriously ill by pouring wasp venom inside a light wound. After that encounter they realize they were underestimating our numbers and they reevaluate a bit.
    "I now estimate there are between 100 and 150 Fingers on the planet".
  • Wonderfully evoked in the short story The Horror Out of Time by Randall Garrett, which appeared in his 1980 anthology of pastiches, Takeoff! In the typical Lovecraftian manner it is a first-person account of the narrator's discovery of prehistoric ruins on an island recently lifted from the floor of the sea, his entry into what appears to be a temple there — and the mind-breakingly horrific sight of the crucifix, complete with Christ figure, that he finds on its back wall, at which point the reader finally realizes the narrator is not a Victorian human, but some other type of creature which evolved long after mankind disappeared:
    The creature's horrible five-fingered hands and five-toed feet were nailed firmly to a great stone cross!
  • The cats in Warrior Cats view Twolegs (AKA humans) this way, although they also consider us to be somewhat silly (for doing such things as playing in water or riding on horses). That said, they do have a healthy respect for man, particularly our "monsters" (motorized vehicles), which at one point destroyed their entire forest home, forcing them to find a new one. Some of them, especially ones who used to live as pets, know very well that humans are not Always Chaotic Evil, just unable to understand cats, and even remember their old owners affectionately, though they tend to pick up the wild cats' habits and hide whenever humans come around.
  • Clifford Simak's City.
  • Averted in A Rustle in the Grass by Robin Hawdon, a novel about ants told in a Heroic Fantasy style. Only one old ant has even heard legends of humans ("If such creatures exist, our activities would be but a rustle in the grass to them"), and the other ants scoff when scouts return with wild reports of a giant creature standing in the middle of the river without being swept away. Although the campfire lit by the man later proves crucial in fending off an invasion by a more aggressive species of ant, the man himself is regarded as neither good nor evil, but simply a colossal beast with strange abilities. In fact, the closest we get to an Eldritch Abomination is a toad, regarded as The Dreaded by the ants.
  • There is a short story where someone is running from "the dark ones", who chase them relentlessly before bringing them down by impaling them. The Reveal shows that the person being chased is a whale.
  • A.E. van Vogt's short story The Monster (also titled "Resurrection"), summarized here and available here (TXT, 6.6k words), has an alien expedition reviving (and then re-killing) specimens of long-extinct Man. The later specimens, representing humanity's far future from our point of view, have developed preposterously advanced psychic powers that terrify the aliens into committing suicide.
  • Gordon R. Dickson's Danger -- Human! is similar. The various alien species of the galaxy have records reaching back to a particular point in history, where a terrible catastrophe whose nature is now lost to the ages wiped out nearly everything. The only surviving records include a map indicating Earth with the note indicating extreme danger. A research group eventually decides to capture a lone ordinary human, under the tightest possible security that they can muster, to study and perhaps figure out why. As one can probably guess when exposed to this treatment the human in question snaps. He manages to miraculously overcome all of their security measures through human ingenuity and an unexpected immunity to death rays. He steals a starship and is last seen on a course back to Earth. The head researcher realizes what's going to happen next and despairs.
    • Dickson also wrote a story titled "The Monster and the Maiden". The "monster" is a scuba diver. The "maiden's" home is beneath the surface of Loch Ness.
  • Toyed with in the Nomes Trilogy by Terry Pratchett. The characters are nomes, four-inch tall humanoids with a ten-year lifespan. To them, humans are very slow-moving creatures with voices described as "mooing". For quite a while the nomes think of humans as stupid, despite one group scavenging trash from a fast-food restaurant and the other group inhabiting a department store. The latter group considered the creator of the Store, Arnold Bros (est 1903), to be some kind of god living in the highest levels, but they didn't think of him as human. The main protagonist of the trilogy, Masklin, once thinks that humans must actually be quite intelligent, maybe as intelligent as rats. Later, he starts to understand that the bizarre and harmful things they do aren't done out of malice, and that it really is their world. He does wonder what it's like to live "forever". In the end his viewpoint, at least, is that humans were ignorant of the nomes all along, and as a species are lonely.
    • Of course, the third book of the trilogy reveals that the talking box the nomes have been carrying around for thousands of generations is actually an artificial intelligence inhabiting the command module of the main computer of the huge starship that the space-faring ancestors of modern day nomes arrived in on Earth. A ship that is still "parked" under the surface of the moon. Which makes the nomes of old an alien species.
  • Fray, the destructive force of nature of which The Carpet People (by Terry Pratchett) live in constant fear, is presumably some human activity. Most likely footsteps, but it might be a hoover. Beyond that, humans are The Precursors, given the entire world is inside a shaggy carpet and the major resources are copper from a dropped penny, wood and ash from a matchstick and rare varnish from the distant Achairleg.
  • On a funnier note, Wuffles from Pratchett's The Truth refers to his master, Lord Vetinari, as God. This is lampshaded by Gaspode the Wonder Dog, who admits that Wuffles' views are rather old-fashioned. Of course, Wuffles' master is Lord Vetinari. There are humans who believe that he sees and controls everything, and they're really not far off the mark.
    • The fact that most actual Discworld gods can barely find their own noses without a mirror makes Wuffles' faith in his master even more justified.
  • More seriously, Granny Aching casts humans as an ethical Cthulhu in The Wee Free Men, in her "We have a duty" speech to Tiffany. Humans are like gods to livestock, ordering their births and deaths, but have a corresponding responsibility to care for and defend them.
  • Taken to its logical conclusion in Flies by Isaac Asimov. A maker of fly spray can't figure out why flies constantly circle around him, joking that he must smell like a lady fly in heat. As it turns out, they believe he's a god punishing them for their sinful ways. This is one of the few stories Asimov wrote that qualifies as horror, particularly when you realize the Aesop he's leading up to . . .
  • Alan Dean Foster's science fiction trilogy The Damned has two vast coalitions of aliens at war with each other for millenia across the Milky Way. One faction (the good-guy underdogs) discovers Earth and finds that compared to every other known intelligent species modern-day humans are unbelievably fast and strong and savage, both physically and psychologically (none of the other species is particularly good at the concept of "waging war"). They ultimately decide they have no choice but to recruit humanity to their cause anyway, knowing that once the war is won they'll have a very dangerous situation on their hands trying to figure out how to live safely with their allies.
    • His short story With Friends Like These... takes a look at the theme from another angle. Ages ago, the old galactic civilization deemed humanity too dangerous and sealed off Earth until it became a myth, but now aliens needs Mankind's skill at battle against another alien race. So a few representatives go to Earth, see a quiet pastoral culture relaxing in a hammock, and ask the "mythical creatures" to help. Cue the little shock when aliens see that humans are so calm because their hammock is too high on The Kardashev Scale to worry. Not only have humans evolved psionic powers and are in telepathic contact with various other mammalian species (which presumably they Uplifted), not only is the whole planet filled with machinery and computers for miles below the surface, but the entire freaking planet Earth (with moon) breaks orbit to follow the aliens' starship!.
    • A story-within-a-story seen in Carnivores of Light and Darkness tells of two warring anthills contacting a man, probably to get him to help destroy the other mound. One group of ants sees this as a divine miracle.
  • Mike Resnick's novella "Seven Views of Olduvai Gorge" follows a group of alien archaeologists studying Earth after the fall of the vast, tyrannical Empire of Man and extinction of the feared human race.
  • Andrea I. Alton is the author of Demon of Undoing, a novel set on another world where the dominant species is a catlike race. Their culture is incredibly rigid and bound in protocol, so when the spacefaring humans come to their world and are stranded, the humans get labeled as "demons" for the way they shake up the society due to "revolutionary ideas."
  • Stephen King's short story I Am The Doorway (appears in the collection Night Shift) combines this with Eldritch Abomination when a Lovecraftian alien invades the body of an astronaut and makes him do unspeakable things to his fellow men. It is eventually revealed that the creature is behaving this way because it finds humans just as horrifying as humans find it.
    • Also in From a Buick 8 there is a mutual exchange of absolute revulsion and horror as the intelligent beings that dwell through the Buick's portal find humans as mind-rapingly alien and horrible as the humans find them.
  • In Saturn's Children by Charles Stross, humanity died out long ago and left behind a race of intelligent robots that took its place. The book deals with a plot by a consortium of wealthy robots who are trying to recreate a living human, which could have cataclysmic effects on robot society because obedience to humans is still hard-coded into their programming. A military organization called the "Pink Police" is dedicated to ensuring that something like this never happens.
    • Biological matter ('pink goo replicators') is viewed by the robots with approximately the same horror as nanotech in some modern sci-fi: there's no off switch and every single cell contains its own repair/reproduction machinery!
  • Richard Ford's novel Quest For The Faradawn features a human raised by animals (a la The Jungle Book), going on a quest to save the animals from the murderous savagery of a human civilization that is explicitly described as Always Chaotic Evil.
  • The Toad series by Australian Author Morris Gleitzmen is about a toad named Limpy's plans to save his family from the wrath of humans.
  • There's a short story out there by Walt Sheldon called "The Hunters" where the world is invaded by ferocious and pitiless aliens who relentlessly destroy all of civilization. The Reveal is that this is another planet, and the invading aliens are actually human conquerors.
  • Oddly enough, the short story "Memory" by H.P. Lovecraft.
    • Also ''Through the Gates of the Silver Key, whose second half deals with a space alien named Zkauba being posessed by the human sorcerer Randolph Carter, and who is is "...disgusted by the thought of the repellant Earth-mammal" until Carter discovers a way to suppress Zkauba's personality entirely, and then proceeds to enter suspended animation until his host's homeworld is cold and dead, then travel thousands of lightyears to earth just so he can try to return to his body shortly after he left it, all while holding Zkauba prisoner in his own body.
    • Lovecraft again: It is highly suggested that sometimes Nyarlahotep manifests in a form that is so alien to the creature viewing it that it goes insane, and that each one of his forms can do that to some creature. Since Nyarlahotep commonly manifests as a human, it stands to reason that there is some creature to which humans are so alien that viewing one would make them go insane.
  • Mark Twain's short story "Some Learned Fables for Good Old Boys and Girls" involves a group of animals who set out on a scientific expedition, defining the works of Man as best they can. For example, a speeding car becomes first the Vernal Equinox, then later the Transit of Venus. http://books.google.ca/books?id=Fga1suDGzVsC
  • Harry Turtledove's World War series has this to some extent. Humans are twice as big as the aliens known simply as the Race, and evolve far more quickly than the Race or the other two sentient species they'd encountered beforehand, so they're not prepared at all when they invade Earth during World War II, their expectations based on recordings from 800 years before. It reaches its apex at the very end of the series, when humans are able to create faster than light travel by extrapolating off the Race's technology, leaving them firmly in control of the situation that had been an uneasy balance for several decades.
  • A Leprechaun's Tale by Steve Doyle.
  • Anticipated by the title of I Am Legend. At the end the last surviving human foresees that the coming society of vampires will remember him as a mythic horror, the Stalker Of The Daytime, the Killer That Walks In The Sunlight.
  • In The Lion, The Witch And The Wardrobe, Mr. Tumnus has a shelf full of books that describe humans as purely mythical, or potentially so.
  • Stanisław Lem’s Bajki robotów (“Robot Tales”) is a collection of bedtime stories robots tell their kids. Most of them avoid mentioning humans, but those that don’t treat them as eldritch horror: whatever they touch starts to rust and mold, they can topple whole civilizations, and they are mind-bendingly ugly. Although they are considered extinct, legends predict that one day they will rise again to take revenge at their creation. Luckily, they are probably just a myth and never existed in the first place…
  • Author Garry Kilworth has written a number of books, where humans range from understandable but big and dangerous, to terrifying giants unaware of the existence of mousekind.
  • In T. L. Lancaster's "God of Wolves", a Pack of Wolves decide that the Humans are the Gods after watching one kill a Short face bear with "flying Claws" aka spear heads, and seeing that "the trees offer their flesh in service" aka Spear shafts. They pledge to serve the "Man Gods" anyway they can and become the dogs of today.
  • In This Book Is Full of Spiders, a psychiatrist relates a story about how he thought his laundry room was haunted, but it turned out to be a hive of bees in the walls, which he promptly exterminated. When asked to explain the point of his story, he notes that there really was an unfathomable and malicious force living in his house. Just ask the bees!
  • In the Myth Adventures series, at one point Skeeve and company visit an Uberwaldean dimension where vampires react to humans as horrifying monsters, presumably due to our habit of staking them.
  • In Dr. Seuss' short story "What Was I Scared Of?", (one of four stories in The Sneeches and Other Stories) the protagonist keeps running into a ghostly pair of Pale Green Pants which he is terrified of... Until the end, when he discovers that the pants are even more terrified of him. (Unlike most examples of this Trope, the story has a happy ending, with the two of them coming to terms with the fears and becoming friends.)
  • Brian Patten's poem "The Newcomer" describes the arrival of a being unlike anything seen before. There's something new in the river... It ends:
    No beak no claws no feathers,
    No scales no fur no gills,
    It lives in the trees and the water,
    In the earth and the snow and the hills,
    And it kills and it kills and it kills.

    Live-Action TV 
  • The Twilight Zone:
    • TOS episode "The Little People". Tiny aliens (smaller than ants) worship a human astronaut who discovers (and later mistreats) them.
    • This is reversed in "The Invaders", where the minuscule aliens are eventually revealed to be human astronauts, while the apparently human protagonist is revealed to be a giant Human Alien. Even though the protagonist is visibly human in every way, the human astronauts are so shaken by their encounter with her that they tell future voyagers to avoid her home planet at all costs.
  • Also, there was an Outer Limits episode in which some Martian creatures see the human scientist examining them as a god. They even build a statue of him. The scientist then mistreats them, cue to Rage Against the Heavens. They then get free. Solution: Kill It with Fire. If any of them survived, it would just reinforce them in their belief...
  • Babylon 5
    • G'Kar invokes this trope to illustrate an encounter with Sufficiently Advanced Aliens his friendly human scientist had.
      G'Kar [lifts an ant from a flower and then puts it back]: I have just picked it up on the tip of my glove. If I put it down again and it asks another ant, "What was that?", how would it explain? There are things in the universe billions of years older than either of our races. They're vast, timeless, and if they're aware of us at all, it is as little more than ants, and we have as much chance of communicating with them as an ant has with us. We know, we've tried, and we've learned that we can either stay out from underfoot or be stepped on.
    • By the end of the series, it is shown a million years in the future that humans have ascended like the Vorlons to become quasi-godlike Energy Beings with highly advanced technology, making humans the new generation of Precursors charged with teaching younger races.
  • The Star Trek: The Next Generation episode "Who Watches the Watchers" features humans observing a pre-warp civilization that is similar in nature to an early Vulcan civilization. These proto-Vulcans observe humans with their futuristic technology and conclude that they must be gods. Picard ends up taking an arrow in the chest to prove that he is just as mortal as they are.

    Music 

    Newspaper Comics 
  • The "Eyeballs in the Sky" Running Gag from The Perishers, in which a society of crabs in a rockpool worship a pair of giant eyes that appear once every year (when the gang goes to the seaside). Not exactly this trope, though, as the eyes don't belong to a human but to a dog.

    Tabletop Games 
  • GURPS Bunnies & Burrows is made of this trope. Unsurprisingly, it's based heavily on Watership Down, which is also (largely) made of this trope. The standard ability scores (for rabbits) are 10; humans have scores of 20-40!
  • The Chronicles Of Fate. By way of Evolutionary Levels, humanity has evolved into an empire of literal Cthulhus (or beings so divinely powerful they might as well be) called The Union. These humans, now called "Unians", have become so terrifyingly powerful and ancient and alien they would seem like Cthulhus not just to rabbits or dogs or bats, but to 21st-century humans as well, even good ol' Azathoth, Yog-Sothoth, and Nyarlathotep would crap their non-existent, infini-dimensional trousers at the prospect of messing with them. Know what the younger races call us? "Old Ones".
    "An empire vast, greater than the infinite, older than the time before time, the immaculate embodiment of might, Gods to the gods, power and radiance and grace and terror and grandeur pure, love and hate and ecstasy and death, walking the worlds as they please, striding time as others would walk across a room, conquering as others would breathe, endlessly, feared and beloved as no others are. The Union is of humanity in only the same sense as humanity is of the bacteria that its cells are evolved from. They are Precursors to all that now is, Elder things, with knowledge and wisdom reclaimed each time from an infinitude of past cycles. They are children to none but Josh, Source-Of-All, younger than none, older than all, firstborn and greatest."
  • In Warhammer 40,000 the Imperium of Man is the defacto galactic power. It stretches across a million worlds, has entire solar systems devoted to industry and can burn offending planets down to the crust. Over a million fanatical Super Soldiers bring fire and death to its enemies; and that's not mentioning the battle nuns, city sized mechs and billions of common soldiers humanity can field. To top it off, it's led by a literal Physical God who gets stronger the more people worship him - and he has uncountable worshippers. While it has problems with the extragalactic swarm of locusts the Tyranids, the extradimensional Chaos Gods and the star gods the C'tan, anything else is just screwed.
    • Not to mention that the Imperium routinely exterminates lesser alien races daily. The prehistoric Tau would have met this same fate if a chance warp storm didn't suddenly cut them off from the Imperium.
    • And then, some count the Emperor of Mankind himself as the fifth Chaos God, and in that case absolutely the most potent and terrible of them all once freed from his mortal shell.
      "For more than a hundred centuries the Emperor has sat unmoving on the Golden Throne of Earth. He is the master of mankind by the will of the gods and master of a million worlds by the might of his inexhaustible armies. He is a rotting carcass writhing invisibly with power from the Dark Age of Technology. He is the Carrion Lord of the Imperium for whom a thousand souls die every day, for whom blood is drunk and flesh eaten. Human blood and human flesh - the stuff of which the Imperium is made. (...) Forget the power of technology, science and common humanity. Forget the promise of progress and understanding, for there is no peace amongst the stars, only an eternity of carnage and slaughter and the laughter of thirsting gods."
    • By Imperial Decree, only certain human worlds are actually allowed to learn about the Imperium's existence. Feral Worlds, colonies who have devolved to the point that they've reverted to a medieval-level of technology or lower before the arrival of the imperium, are often left to their own devices until they can "advance" enough. This is to keep their warrior traditions and to keep them fit for recruitment for possible Space Marine chapters. For them, joining the Space Marines is akin to joining the gods themselves.
  • In Traveller the Vargr think this about humans because the human organizational ability is beyond the comprehension of the Vargr. Vargr Space Pirate s might "only" sack one colony and an armada containing people from dozens of parsecs away might set out in a machine like manner to pay them a visit. Zhodani, of course, are the spookiest of all humans-even to other humans. When one of their outposts is raided, they prefer to go the Best Served Cold route, carefully searching out the perps for years then when they find them, taking Revenge in a variety of ways, which could involve the ever-popular standby, Death from Above, but might also involve such subtle means as kidnapping and brainwashing the Vargr's leader. In general, in the Traveller universe you do not want to mess with humaniti.
  • In KULT, Humans are immortal superbeings, they are just slumbering and are unaware of their power. The powers that be try to make sure that they don't learn how to change this.
  • In Werewolf: The Apocalypse, the Red Talons (an all-lupus tribe of Garou) tend to see humans as destructive, disgusting, and incomprehensible.
  • In JAGS Wonderland, the inhabitants of the lower "Chessboards" have trouble understanding the concept of "math" and "physics", while Humans can understand the literary rules followed by the inhabitants of Wonderland... by basically going insane. Turns out, mankind has the potential to master both, essentially becoming gods.

    Video Games 
  • In SimAnt, one of your objectives as an ant is to drive away the human (whose feet and lawnmower are the greatest threats ants face while above ground). Once this is done, a "For Sale - Any Price" sign appears on the overworld view.
  • The ending of Yorito Nagai in Siren 2/Forbbiden Siren 2: he enter in a dimension dominated entirely by Yamibitos LIVING LIKE NORMAL HUMANS. Nagai, dominated by the horror, shoot his machine gun against all. A new archive adds to your inventory, the "Yamibito's Diary". The owner writes: "A terrible monster fell from the sky. The monster was destroyed, but others of its kind still remain in their nest."
  • In the point and click adventure game Inherit the Earth, the various inhabitants of the world are uplifted animals who revere humanity as gods, complete with a creation myth at the end of which humanity dissapears into the heavans.
  • Chrono Cross advances the idea that humans are slowly destroying the planet, and that they became such enemies of nature because of long-term exposure to Lavos, an eldritch abomination itself that was the villain of the previous game.
    • While Lavos was using humans for its own ends, the idea that humans are enemies of nature is dubious and given only by biased sources, like the dwarves (who pollute and construct giant toxin spewing steam tanks) and the dragons (who are part of an Evil Plan against humanity and are probably just upset that the technology of Chronopolis utterly kicked the ass of its hippy dinosaur equivalent).
  • Devil Survivor 2 gives us one demon who certainly feels this way after suffering a No-Holds-Barred Beatdown from one of your human allies.
    "How do I put this... Humans have become such dreadful beings."
  • In Dawn of War, the Chaos units seem to believe the player to be one of the dark gods.
  • In Pikmin, although humans don't appear, a lot of human trash is around waiting to be looted by the tiny protagonists in the second game; one of those being a set of dentures, which they name "Behemoth Jaw". Captain Olimar's notes show that he can't concieve the idea of a beast with teeth that massive ever living, and only hopes that he never has to confront something of that size.
  • The trailer for the EVE Online expansion Revelations II ends with the following lines:
    We are the usurpers to the heavenly throne.
    We are the enemies of the gods.
  • Pokémon, human children enslave creatures capable of unimaginable power, to rein fire from above, tremors from below, and floods all around. Which they do at the command of a ten-year old human. note 
  • While the wolves in Wolf don't talk (and thus it's pretty hard to know what they think of humans), the game certainly encourages you to act like Humans Are Cthulhu: They'll kill you faster than anything else, and from a distance. Aerial humans are always hunters, but it's impossible to tell a harmless hiker from a deadly hunter until the bullets start flying, so avoid the walking ones, too.
  • A variation of this happens in B.B. Hood's ending in Darkstalkers 2. Nonhumans don't regard humans as abominations previous to this, but her merciless spree of Van Helsing Hate Crimes towards them quickly changes that.
  • In The Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim, dragons are timeless, eternal creatures that can be returned even from physical death, and who cannot fathom the concept of mortality and finality. The Dragonborn can consume a dragon's soul, preventing it from ever returning - you are essentially regarded as an abomination of nature. The first dragon you fight screams in terror once it finally realizes exactly what it's crossed paths with. To make matters worse, you eventually learn Dragonrend, a Shout that imparts awareness of mortality on a dragon (the exact words are "Mortal", "Finite" and "Temporary") and which dragons (and the Greybeards) regard as utterly vile and evil.

    Webcomics 
  • In Kid Radd, somebody uses the term "humanlike power" as we might say "godlike power." They're treated as gods, and many characters spend a good deal of time contemplating the implications and cruelty of what most videogames are created for. Though it's the villains who try to Rage Against the Heavens. Pretty accurate, really, except when they assume the humans know what they're doing (and that all humans are programmers).
  • Referenced in this Questionable Content strip:
    Dora: "I've totally seen you take muffins into the bathroom."
    Faye: "I like to grant them one brief, horrifying glimpse of what awaits them in the Muffin Afterlife before devouring them. I am Muffin Cthulhu."
  • Captain SNES: The Game Masta has the sprites view the Creators as gods, who sent one of their own to help Videoland in its time of need. However, some of those Touched find out that the people who made them had done so for their own entertainment, which, considering that involves the deaths of many of their loved ones done for a child's plaything, they get pretty damn pissed.
  • The animals of Kevin & Kell have had little exposure to humans, but they believe that habitat-destroying behavior is a defining attribute. In support of this perception is the secret future of the human world known to time travelers, in which humans render the planet uninhabitable to most species, including themselves.
    • Exposure to humans exacerbates the condition of "domestication", which dulls the senses and causes a general loss of survival knowledge.
  • Someone made the case that Parson is an eldritch abomination to the people of Erfworld. Forbidden knowledge, ability to break the (for them) set-in-stone physical laws of Erfworld, has already lived for thousands upon thousands of turns, unholy intelligence and learning - face it, he is Nyarlathotep.
    • It gets worse. Erfworld runs on Bloodless Carnage, so biologically speaking, Parson may be the only being in the world with a circulatory system. He may be the only organism that exists on a cellular level...at any rate, his biology and physiology are utterly alien, and he's a native of a universe with completely different physical laws...
    • Also, there are words in his language that cannot be uttered in their universe. Specifically, even mild swears are automatically censored. And then he broke that restriction by sheer force of will.
  • To the Basement-dwellers in The Mansion of E, humans have become legendary boogeymen.
  • This strip of Amazing Super Powers.
  • In TwoKinds, Humans regularly show up and enslave the Petting Zoo People after completely wrecking their towns. Humans also live about four times as long as they do (80-90 years to their 20-30), and can use Magic without relying on its crystallized form. The Petting Zoo People think that humans are devoid of mercy or compassion, and that they eat the ones who can't be used for slave labour. A Keidran's reaction to an average human is, understandably, just short of pants-shitting terror. However, some have figured out that humans are really just sparsely-furred sentient apes with a slow metabolism and a mean streak, and thus die just as good as anything else when you shoot them with poisoned arrows.
    • Though as it turns out, many of the Keidran are no better; many Keidran are involved in selling other Keidran as slaves to humans, kill other Keidran, and have no compunctions about killing humans as well when it suits them, not recognizing the true threat that humans present.
  • Off-White: The wolf Gebo, upon seeing a human with a gun on a horse, interprets this as a two headed elk with a voice like thunder. Note the similarity between this and some of the Real Life examples below.
  • Parodied in At Arm's Length when Reece (a 200+ year old anthroporphic vixen with four arms and magic) senses an unnatural entity from an exotic plane of existence coming, and a human pops up.

    Web Original 
  • In plush toy psychiatry game Die Anstalt, the toys' owners, who so mistreated them, are so mysterious and vague they seem like an alien gods to them. They're all represented with the same barely-humanoid girl silhouette. Her pigtails look like antenna and one time she's introduced with Also Sprach Zarathustra.
  • The modern weapons technology of humanity causes the invading Legions of Hell to see modern humans as this in The Salvation War. This is mostly because, in demonic time frames, a few centuries is nothing and the last time they visited humans were pretty much helpless, easily slaughtered sheep. Imagine their surprise when they came to claim Earth after it was condemned by Heaven to the demons and found that the humans suddenly had the "magic" to slaughter great numbers from afar. But this was nothing compared to the reaction of one of the Demonic Grand Dukes who surrendered to the humans when he learned about nuclear weaponry:
    Abigor was sitting on his couch, mouth agape, staring at the screen as the credits rolled by. What sort of gods were the humans, to be able to destroy a city with a single bomb? He closed his mouth, then shook his head. A single bomb, capable of annihilating an entire city. An entire army would be nothing. They had played with him, when they could have destroyed him and everyone with him with ease.
  • No humans you are the Old Ones. And everyone is very comfortable with that.
  • This track from Rob Balder seems at first to be an inversion — humans are the Beverly Hillbillies of the galaxy — but by the end of the song, the alien narrators seem to be afraid they're underestimating the danger.
  • "Humans are insane." from /tg/'s archive. Also try "We Made A Mistake" for a case study. NSFW for the usual 4chan flavor.
  • Another /tg/ original tells of how when humans finally achieved interstellar travel, they came across the remnants of countless alien civilizations, all of them having succumbed to madness and self destruction. Finally, when the make contact with non-insane aliens, they learn the truth. Humanity resides in a pocket of space that makes all sentient lifeforms within it go insane, yet humans are somehow immune. When the non-insane aliens see human ships coming out of their equivalent of the Bermuda triangle, they virtually crap their pants. The humans decide to play up their Cthulhu status, noting that it makes negotiations very easy and deters the aliens from attacking them. Funnily enough, humanity notes that the fact that they're essentially playing a galaxy-sized practical joke lends credence to the idea that they're actually a little crazy.
  • This video.
  • The SCP Foundation has SCP-1470, the Psychic Jumping Spider who was happy enough to socialize with people, then realized that the ones he was communicating with were not other psychic jumping spiders who just preferred not to be seen, but those vague huge background shapes he'd been mostly ignoring. The writer started off wanting to write creepy stuff about a psychic spider, but...
    [then] it switched completely to a story about how incredibly mind fuckingly large we are in comparison to tiny milimeter sized jumping spiders. For me the subtext is all about how when he finally sees the doctor for who she is he flips his tiny spider wig like a sailor spotting Cthulu.
  • This exchange on Tumblr.
  • This PSA about how dangerous and tough humans are

    Western Animation 
  • Peace on Earth, the classic MGM animated short.
  • "The User" in ReBoot. They rail against his/her taste in games, but come season 3, he/she does the right thing and restores mainframe from its grim and gritty state. Expanding on that, the sprites respect and fear it, being a dangerous entity who challenges them in games and occasionally creates viruses, but at the same time sends upgrades and stuff to help the people out.
    • To be fair, the User probably doesn't know that winning a video game would reduce the entire sector it landed in to rubble and its inhabitants to mindless leech things.
    • Some sprites, like Agent Fax Modem, believe the User is a myth created by the Guardians who create games themselves so they'll be needed (possibly a reference to how the actual Mulder was an atheist despite believing all kinds of conspiracy theories). As this same episode had the Guardians try to blow Mainframe up to get rid of a web-creature, the theory actually had some credit, but said system restore in the next season actually shows the User manually typing commands, confirming for the viewer at least that he does actually exists.
  • South Park combined this with Gaia's Vengeance in the episode "Lice Capades", where we see the head lice of Clyde being warned by one of them that their "planet" is alive and rejecting their presence after seeing a gigantic eye looking down upon him from the sky (a school nurse, discovering Clyde's lice to begin with) before they are massacred by a liquid which dissolves their bodies (anti-lice shampoo) followed by a hurricane which decimates the survivors (caused by a hair dryer). At one point, one of the lice (still rejecting the idea that the world is alive) shoots several times into Clyde's skin, causing him to obliviously reach back and pluck him off and throw him to the ground. And given the fact that we're told that all of the kids in the class had lice...
    • Also in South Park, this time with "sea monkey" brine shrimp, in the episode aptly named "The Simpsons Did It Already".
  • Played in The Simpsons with Lisa's tooth city in the Treehouse of Horror short "The Genesis Tub".
  • Futurama played with it in the episode "Godfellas", with the alien species who think Bender is their god and live on his body.
    • "Fear Of Bot Planet" takes place on a world of robots that think humans are the boogieman, er, men. A movie about a human terrorizing robots was made, and one robot tale of human horror is that they can bite you on the neck, suck out your transmission oil and turn their victim into a human. As it turns out, the leaders of the titular bot planet are aware of what losers humanity is, but keep use fear of humans as a way to distract the public from the real problems, such as a crippling lugnut shortage and a council of inept robot elders.
  • Done in I Am Weasel, where both I Am Weasel and I.R. Baboon made their own tiny society based on their own DNA. In the Simpsons version, it's vaguely implied, but not definitely stated, that the reason the tiny people develop so quickly is because they were created by Lisa's DNA (and electricity and Buzz Cola). In I Am Weasel, this is actually a plot point, since Weasel's people develop technology quickly and Baboon's don't.
  • Robot Chicken
    • Members of a kingdom of ants start spontaneously combusting. One ant in despair asks God why he is doing this, then the camera zooms out to show Indiana Jones using the Staff of Ra and unknowingly burning the ants in the model city.
    • G.I. Joe and Cobra are both terrorized by a giant hand from the sky. It turns out to be a jerkass kid mangling his action figures. Duke kills him with a tank.
  • Rainbow Brite is one of the odder versions of this trope. The premise of this show is that a magical little girl gets sent to a grey Crapsack World in order to bring color back to it. She begins her quest by killing some of the native creatures, invading the home of two innocent mooks of the world's ruler, burglary, and reckless endangerment of the beings she rescues. Trouble is, the world as it is works. It is a valid functioning ecosystem full of beings that like the world just like it is, thank you. The difference is simply that they have different tastes and values than little miss Brite. Her resolution to remake the entire world in color is nothing less than intention to commit genocide on a planetary scale. From the perspective of most of the inhabitants of the world she is an incomprehensible being from another world with Blue and Orange Morality that intends to destroy everything to make it more habitable for her and those like her.

    Real Life 
  • See the Fridge tab for more ideas.
  • Some Indigenous peoples of various places have mistaken European explorers for various things. The Aztecs didn't even realize the Spanish Conquistadors were human at first, because they'd never seen a horse, much less an armored man on an armored horse. They thought it was some kind of four legged monster with metal skin! The Native Americans mistook Columbus for a god, some tribes of Aborigines mistook white men for their own dead ancestors (because white people look like corpses to dark skinned people who've never seen a white person before) and of course there's the Cargo Cult.
    • Although the Aztecs did work out the difference pretty quickly when they tested to see if the new gods drowned. Answer: they did.
    • A humorous example from Stephen Pinker's The Blank Slate (a non-fiction dissection of tabula rasa ideology by a modern scientist) comes from a human aboriginal people who were first contacted by explorers in the twentieth century. The explorers were terrified by the native people's cries - as the valley they were found in had supposedly been uninhabited. The natives had been cut off from outside contact and had never known that the rest of the human family existed outside their valley. The natives were equally terrified, as they had no idea what was happening when a man took off his hat, nor could they explain the pale skin of the strangers who walked among them. After some exchanges with the tribe over many years, a tribesman described how the natives determined the explorers were neither ghosts nor gods. "Their shit smells just like ours."
  • There's a theory that Centaurs (half-men, half-horses) were inspired by sights of the first horse-riding peoples who tore through Greece and terrorized the locals.
    • Incidentally, this was a way to depict the enemy riders as being monstrous, more animal than man. Conversely, said horsemen actually saw it as a compliment, a statement that they are such skilled riders that they are literally one with their horse to become a single badass monster.
  • Some Native Americans had legends about "pale skinned people who would come from the sea foam". As such, the European explorers were mistaken for these mythological people.
    • Which is probably referring to the Norse Vikings who raided the east coast a few hundreds years earlier.
  • This same problem went double for the Aztecs: not only were they thrown off by the bizarre four-legged monsters and people made of metal, but in a real-life example of Contrived Coincidence, they also had a legend about how the pale-skinned god Quetzalcoatl was exiled across the ocean to the east, but would eventually return to reclaim his kingdom from his brother Tezcatlipoca. This added a certain amount of extra chaos when Hernan Cortez arrived.
    • It went triple for them because Cortez returned in one of the years predicted for Quetzalcoatl's return. It would be like if aliens made First Contact with humanity in 1999 or 2012. Talk about bad timing....
  • In South Africa a common word for a white person is "mlungu", which refers to sea foam; white people came via the sea and are more or less the same color as sea foam.
  • If any prehistoric people were to time travel to present times, this is probably how they would see us.
    • Similarly, some extremely isolated groups of modern low-tech people are likely to have this reaction, particularly if the first major contact with technologically advanced people is somebody clear-cutting a swath of jungle near their home. (For people who spend their entire lives in deep jungle, the universe is the sky and the jungle, and you mostly can't see the sky. Imagine the reaction to beings of vast, incomprehensible power, who obliterate whole regions for incomprehensible reasons. To the technologically advanced, it's just unsightly, wasteful, and excessive, but it might be for the sake of more land. To technologically limited locals, it's a post-apocalyptic Cosmic Horror Story.)
  • In the 1997 Attack of the Killer Whatever movie Kingdom of the Spiders, the supposedly killer tarantulas are actually fleeing the actors they were supposed to be attacking; from their point-of-view an Attack of the 50-Foot Whatever. Given the large number of spiders who died during this production, their fear was entirely justified.
  • As of yet, we have not discovered any credible evidence of intelligent life outside of the Earth. There is one hypothesis that given the billions of years since our galaxy formed, something intelligent and capable of space travel should have come to earth by now even if they were limited to slower than light travel. Since this doesn't appear to have happened, humans might actually be the first form of life to attain sentience in our galaxy. If that is true, then we are the real Precursors and if humanity survives long enough over millions of years to travel out into space and witness other forms of intelligent life arise, we might just be an Eldritch Abomination to them.
    • However, this notion (commonly referred to as Fermi's Paradox, and briefly stated as "Where is everybody?") may entirely miss the point. Any aliens that exist will have their own capabilities and their own agendas, and there is no reason to assume that these include spreading across the galaxy. The psychological differences that this implies are enough in themselves to justify us and them seeing each other as Abominations.


Lovecraftian SuperpowerLovecraftian TropesEldritch Abomination
Humans Are BastardsHumans Are IndexedHumans Are Diplomats
Humans Are MoronsSliding Scale of Villain EffectivenessNon-Malicious Monster
Alluring AnglerfishImageSource/Animated FilmsMore Teeth than the Osmond Family

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