A man finds himself, and his entire ship, hijacked. The captors aren’t too bad though as the man is able to escape. He escapes on a lifeboat, with some supplies. He eventually falls asleep, only to find himself in a strange land. The ground is all muck. There are dead things everywhere. The best he can suppose is that somehow the bottom of the ocean was heaved upwards in this small spot, which is actually quite substantial.
The man decides to go it on foot for a while. He finds a hill to climb and there finds a strange stone. On the stone he sees strange picture carvings of a large fish man. The man is almost the size of a whale. The man assumes that some primitives must have carved these and must have worshiped some fish gods.
The man stays at this spot just a while longer, but ultimately sees the very thing on the carving. It’s just as large as the carving portrayed it as and even more terrifying. The man makes a run back to his boat and gets out of the place as fast as he can.
He eventually wakes up in a hospital, haunted by visions of the creature, the Dagon. He decides that he must take his own life to end his torturous visions of the monster.
This Dagon thing is real, people, well, not real, but in folklore, mythology, and religion. Dagon is apparently a big deal. While some interpret the original words that mean Dagon to mean something like “fish-god,” many say it has been misinterpreted and is closer to the word “grain.” Dagon is mentioned in the Bible, of all things. This is not something I knew about, which is highly interesting, especially since I spent four years doing a seminary program. Dagon is mentioned specifically in relation to the Philistines, you know, those unsophisticated brutes, or so we say.
Many, including weird, old H.P., took the fish-god interpretation of Dagon. Sometimes Dagon is depicted as a merman. If you Google some illustrations of Dagon, you’ll come up with all sorts of interesting things.
This story wasn’t that awesome, but it does pose this interesting scenario, which has been repeated over and over in our media. That scenario is that you see something so terrifying that it changes you forever. It’s called Post Traumatic Stress Disorder. Actually, PTSD works either by sight or experience. Basically, if you experience something traumatic, you can develop PTSD, it doesn’t even have to be war, which is what we most commonly associate the disorder with. You can get PTSD from car accidents, abusive relationships, bullying, and the list goes on. It’s a situation that shakes you to your core and you can’t go back to being the same person you were before it.
Our character in this story has PTSD, perhaps on either one or two accounts. Getting your ship taken over by pirates, or whatever they were, was probably pretty traumatizing. That’s an opportunity for PTSD right there. Seeing a giant fish god is also an opportunity to develop PTSD.
Here’s my question–did the fish god thing really happen? Of course if we’re looking at this from a rational point of view, the fish god thing did not happen, but let’s imagine that it’s remotely possible. Did it happen? The reason I’m asking this question is because of the nature of trauma. Sometimes when we experience trauma it throws us off to such an extent that we may not remember what happened to us, but we may also be thrown into this entirely different state, maybe one that involves hallucinations or vivid nightmares.
Our main character could have hallucinated this whole fish god sighting and experience because his ship was hijacked by pirates, he saw some awful stuff, and then got lost at sea. I mean, that’s all pretty traumatic.
Ultimately, if you become extremely traumatized, your reality may not be reality.
This story reminded me of The Life of Pi.
Did this guy really see the fish god?
What would you do if you were lost at sea?