Lovecraft, Lovecraft-H.P.

The Temple

The TempleThe Temple

A German man named Karl Heinrich Graf von Altberg-Ehrenstein is a captain of a submarine during WWI. It is the job of his submarine to sink enemy ships, which the submarine does quite well. After sinking the ship called Victory, and its lifeboats, the submarine dives to evade any further attack. Upon surfacing, a man was found clinging to the railings of the sub. He was dead. In his pocket was a strange figurine, that was probably old, which someone in the crew kept. The body was tossed into the sea.

The sub submerged again. At this point something happened. The sub was not able to resurface. Something was damaged. The captain tried to keep the crew busy, repairing and re-repairing parts of the sub, but to no avail. Soon things started to happen upon the ship. People started to rant about someone who was coming. People started to act strange. They saw things that were not there. Two men committed suicide.

More men followed in the craziness. The captain shot them. Ultimately, it was just him and another man left. The other man wanted to go out into the ocean, to commit suicide. He said it was better to die and repent now than to be judged later. The captain let him go.

The electricity was running out. Only the captain was left now. He began to observe something strange out the window. It looked like a city. It was a city. It was the city of Atlantis. There was a temple there, which he could just see the doorway of. He wanted to know what was inside of that door more than anything, but all he had was one suit to explore with. He had no portable lights. His air would ultimately run out. He penned his story on paper, tossed it into a bottle and hoped that it would reach someone, then he departed towards the temple, knowing he would not return.


The idea of a lost city is a fairly common theme in our societies. Atlantis is, of course, the chief of those lost cities. Atlantis really first came about during the heyday of Greek philosophers and historians. Some theorize that maybe islands that were destroyed by volcanic eruptions were Atlantis, or maybe it was Antarctica. We don’t have any real evidence that such a place ever existed. The people of this mythical place were supposedly quite advanced.

Here’s the thing–we’ve had countless civilizations disappear, for whatever reason–the colony of Roanoke, the Etruscans–just to name a couple. Sometimes, civilizations just vanish. This is why the idea of an Atlantis isn’t that far-fetched. It’s so mythical though and it’s grown in such legendary stature that I doubt anything we would ever find would match our image of what Atlantis might be.

People have spent lifetimes looking for Atlantis, but they’ve never found it, nor do I believe that this ship captain found it.


I do believe in a higher power that might make a joke of you in some manner if you do something awful. Some people call this karma. Indeed, if this ship captain and his crew all died for going around sinking innocent people into the water, then you know, they kind of deserved it.

I happen to think they got cabin fever and their guilt got to them. It’s not that I’m not a believer in the weird, because I certainly am, but this story is a little too woo-woo for me to take seriously in the manner that a strange little figure caused everyone inside a submarine to go crazy. I think they were already partially there and being stressed out, by essentially looking death in the face, caused them to go over the edge. War screws people up; it wasn’t any different during WWI. They were already on this line between sanity and insanity and that line blurred really fast when their submarine wouldn’t resurface. Who wants to die thousands of feet under millions upon millions of tons of water? No one.


War happens, but don’t be a dick about it.

Weigh In

What would you do if you trapped in a submarine?

Do you think the guys on this sub deserved what they got?


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