Mama In Her Kerchief and I In My Madness: A Visitation of Sog-Nug-Hotep

by John Holbo on December 16, 2016

“Holding with Haeckel that all life is a chemical and physical process, and that the so-called “soul” is a myth …”
– H.P. Lovecraft, “Herbert West – Reanimator”

Years ago I made a parody Christmas book mash-up of Lovecraft/Haeckel/Clement Clark Moore. I called it Mama In Her Kerchief and I In My Madness: A Visitation of Sog-Nug-Hotep. I made print versions but then took them down (they weren’t quite it.) Yet it lived, lurking beneath the surface, in the form of a perennially popular pair of Flickr albums and this old Hilo post. Hidden, winter sun-dappled tide pools of hideous, unfathomable, happy depths for kiddies to dip their toes in! But 2016 is the year of fake news. You can’t spell ‘fake’ without the ‘Haeckel’. So my fraudulent yet innocent concoctions have wandered and, eventually, been mistook for genuine Victoriana. Oh, well. I can’t completely blame them. Real Victorian X-Mas cards are often dark and weird. Hence the joke.

Caliginous gloom is the best disinfectant. If, as some whisper, ‘even death may die’, then perhaps it is possible to quash a rumor that Haeckel actually designed X-Mas cards. Accordingly, I have seized the seasonal opportunity to republish and set the record straight. A new, improved version of the print edition is now on Amazon! It is also available on Kindle. Somehow Amazon not seen the connection yet, but I imagine that will resolve itself. (Also, I made slightly different covers for the two editions. Which do you prefer?)

For impoverished urchins, with nary a penny to spare, yet high-speed internet access, I have updated the Flickr galleries with some higher quality images. The old ones were skimpy. My most popular images, Blue Boy and Feeding Birdies, are available in larger sizes. Some others, including several of my favorites. (Maybe I’ll get around to doing all of them. But not today.)

Boy Blue and Blue Jelly (front)

Christmas Blessing Jelly (front)

I always liked this one, but maybe that’s just because I think it’s an especially effective use of Photoshop. I made that thing look like a nice Christmas doily.

Best Wishes (front)

I have also updated the actual “Mama In Her Kerchief” cards, which were pretty much too small to be readable before:

A Visitation of Sog-Nug, 1: T'was the night before C’thrishm’sh

A Visitation of Sog Nug-hotep, 2: The children were trembling

The rest of the poem is on Flickr. But if you buy the book, there’s even more than X-Mas cards! There real pseudo-scholarship you can use. This kind of stuff:

Mama in Her Kerchief and I In My Madness

And, later:





Jim Fett 12.16.16 at 2:27 am

A friend is a librarian at Moore’s old employer. They’ve got a Night before Christmas collection and other Moore related stuff. I’ll have to pass this along.


John Holbo 12.16.16 at 3:42 am

Thanks! Just because it’s esoteric doesn’t mean you can’t spread it around as widely and openly as possible.


Dr. Hilarius 12.16.16 at 3:48 am

John, this is all quite wonderful. I still have the Xmas tree siphonophore you made long ago.


John Holbo 12.16.16 at 4:01 am

Thanks, Dr. Hilarius,

That reminds me! My old Cafe Press store with this stuff is still open. Bit dusty, but you can still buy cards:


Lee A. Arnold 12.16.16 at 11:12 am

Beautiful! Merry Xyresic-mas!

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