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The Entities, also called the Fears, the Powers, the Dread Powers, and The Things That Were Fear are various aspects of an amorphous force of fear that exists next to our reality. They are variously also referred to as gods, powers, or simply as the Fears. Their influence upon reality manifests as supernatural happenings — all supernatural phenomena in the world are simply extensions of them. These phenomena can take various forms such as people, animals, monsters, books, objects, or places, all with the goal of evoking fear, terror, and paranoia from all who encounter them.

"Imagine you are an ant, and you have never before seen a human. Then one day, into your colony, a huge fingernail is thrust, scraping and digging. You flee to another entrance, only to be confronted by a staring eye gazing at you. You climb to the top, trying to find escape, and above, you can see the vast, dark shadow of a boot falling upon you. Would that ant be able to construct these things into the form of a single human being? Or would it believe itself to be under attack by three different, equally terrible, but very distinct assailants?"
- Jurgen Leitner, MAG 80

These things... these forces, they are our fear. Deep fears. Primordial. Always looking for ways to grow and spread.
- Gerard Keay, MAG 111

These entities do not simply feed off of fear but are fears made manifest. It is not only human fear that counts but that of animals as well, particularly for The Flesh and The Hunt. The more fearful the world is of a certain thing, the more powerful the related entity becomes, becoming empowered by the increased fear of its realm of influence.

ATTENTION! SPOILERS AHEAD!!
This article contains information from later episodes of The Magnus Archives and may contain major spoilers for the setting and plot. Continue at your own risk.


Origins and Nature

In MAG 200 it is revealed there was originally one entity, implied to be (or least survive as) The Hunt. This entity existed before humans, and fed on animal fears.

As humans evolved and began to develop language and complex thoughts, they began to tear it apart into smaller and more specific fears, causing the current multiple entities to exist. As these new entities grew and fought among each other, they felt the urge to enter our world and "become one with the minds below". They received the opportunity to do this with the first avatars, who opened the first connection between their realm and ours. And from that they gained the ability to influence our world.

Most entities are near mindless, unable to conceptualize time or themselves and motivated purely by their desire to feed on fear and enter our world. The two exceptions are The Web and The End, who are at least sentient enough to make complex long term plans to escape this universe and to destroy reality, respectively.

Manifestations

Animals

Aspects of The Entities can appear as animals, such as the Monster Pig[1] or Agape the dog[2]. It is unclear if Monster Pig is a manifestation or an instance of an animal becoming an avatar.

Artefacts

The Entities can manifest as a variety of objects possessing anomalous properties (such as a table, a coffin, etc). They frequently manifest as books, which are said to represent the Entities in a "purer" form[3].

Locations

People can slip into a form of extra-dimensional space when influenced by a Fear. These spaces do not function under regular logic and the passage of time can also be distorted. These spaces can be delineated by a threshold or simply manifest spontaneously around a person. Escape can be achieved by physically exiting the manifestation, or by a change in the person’s mental or emotional state. Examples include:

People

Some humans can become attached to an Entity and become empowered by it, gaining supernatural abilities related to their patron but losing some or all of their humanity in the process. They are referred to as avatars. Avatars usually have mentalities reflective of their patron.

Avatars retain their agency but become physically dependent on their patron, suffering withdrawal effects, including death, if they go too long without feeding the entity that empowers them.

A death is required for someone to become a fully realized avatar but it can be literal or metaphysical in nature. Fledgling avatars can still have powers, but fully realized avatars are significantly more powerful. Eventually, most avatars will become unable to die or be harmed by conventional means, requiring something specific to their nature, or a Hunter, to kill them.

Other

Some beings, such as the NotThem, vampires, etc, possess human qualities but it is unclear if they were ever human. Sometimes they consist in part of a human, such as The Distortion after it was combined with Michael Shelley. Sometimes they appear completely inhuman, like The Still And Lightless Beast and The Lichtenberg Figure.

Rituals

Most entities have their own ‘ritual’, a symbolic act that, if completed, will allow the entity to merge with reality, changing the fabric of the world as it exerts its will and nature upon that reality. These rituals have the potential to bring other closely-tied entities along with it. It requires centuries for each Entity to build up the power needed for its ritual, and if it is stopped, it cannot try again until it rebuilds that power base. No ritual had ever succeeded as of MAG 159.

In MAG 160, Jonah Magnus reveals why: The entities are too closely connected to be summoned individually; they cannot be fully separated from each other due to overlap and opposing binaries. For example, the line between the Spiral and the Stranger can be blurred, and a world with only the Buried cannot exist because the Buried needs the contrast of open spaces to exist. A ritual attempting to summon a single entity will inevitably collapse under its weight. The only way to successfully complete a ritual is to summon every entity at once.

Jonah Magnus devises such a ritual using Jonathan Sims as a lynchpin. After being marked by every entity in his role as Archivist, he is made to recite an incantation to "open the door" and summon every entity at once. The reason an Archivist is needed for the ritual is that the Archivist functions as a living archive, not only recording events but embodying them. The power of events that involve the Archivist being marked by each of the Entities is enough to summon them, while also not splitting them up.

Smirke's List

Robert Smirke categorised all the disparate entities into 14 main categories. Each Entity is comprised of a variety of smaller terrors, some direct, some abstract, and some tend to bleed over between one Entity and the next. Whilst fears do change and are subject to place, time, and culture, they are thought to have remained fairly stable since the industrial revolution, though an entity's power fluctuates with the world's fear of their domain. Each entity has a variety of names, though Smirke's names are generally the most commonly used.

These classifications are much like colours, infinite fears that can be grouped into a few categories — each entity can be separated to some degree, but the fears bleed/feed into one another around the edges, and within each entity are different shades of the same hue. This also works to explain why some entities oppose one another, their colours "clash" like red and green or blue and orange.

“Like colours, but if colours hated me.”
- Jonathan Sims, Head Archivist of The Magnus Institute, London, MAG 111

The Buried

Main article: The Buried
  • Also called The Centre, Choke, Too Close I Cannot Breathe, Forever Deep Below Creation.
  • The fear of small spaces, suffocating, drowning, being buried alive. Fear of everything crashing down around/on oneself. Fear of being trapped without enough space.
  • Manifests as caves, dirt, financial issues, heavy rain, underground transport, tight spaces such as coffins.
  • Artefacts associated with The Buried: The Coffin, The Box,[4] DIG,[5] Seven Lamps of Architecture.
  • Known avatars and servants of The Buried: "The Governor”, Enrique MacMillian, Hezekiah Wakely.
  • The Buried's ritual is called the Sunken Sky.[6]
  • This entity was two in Sims' first draft of the Fears: Breathless and Close.

The Corruption

Main article: The Corruption
  • Also called Filth, The Crawling Rot, Flesh Hive.
  • The fear of corruption, disease, filth. Fear of the feelings of disgust, revulsion and the things or beings that might evoke such feelings.
  • Manifests as mould, bugs, rot, decay, infection, the feeling of one's skin crawling. Can also manifest as unhealthy love and companionship.
  • Artefacts associated with The Corruption: A Journal of the Plague Year, The Tale of a Field Hospital, The Scalpel,[7] The Syringe.[8]
  • Known avatars and servants of The Corruption: Jane Prentiss, John Amherst, Timothy Hodge, Jordan Kennedy[9].
  • John theorises that Jane Prentiss might have attempted to start a ritual in the tunnels by creating a doorway into The Corruption.[10]
  • In Sims' first attempt at sketching out the Fears, The Corruption was split between Hive and Filth.

The Dark

Main article: The Dark

The Desolation

Main article: The Desolation
  • Also called The Lightless Flame, The Torturing Flame, The Devastation, The Blackened Earth, The Ravening Burn, Asag.
  • The fear of pain, loss, burning, and destruction, especially with a senseless cause.
  • Followers are enriched by destroying the lives of people who had things to live for, and destroying things before their potential is realised.
  • Manifests as fire, wax, heat, burns, destruction of potential.
  • Artefacts associated with The Desolation: “small book bound in red”.[13][14]
  • Known avatars and servants of The Desolation: The Cult of the Lightless Flame (Agnes Montague, Arthur Nolan, Diego Molina, Eileen Montague, Eugene Vanderstock, Jude Perry).
  • The Desolation's latest and only known attempt at a ritual was called "The Scoured Earth."[15]
  • This fear was known as Burnt, in early drafts.

The End

Main article: The End
  • Also called Death, Terminus, The Coming End That Waits For All And Cannot Be Ignored.
  • The fear of death itself—⁠uncaring and unstoppable.
  • Manifests as bones, various forms of the dead (skeletons, mummies, zombies, etc.). Also has close ties to dreams and can manifest through them.
  • Artefacts associated with The End: Book of the Dead, Catalogue of the Trapped Dead, Death's Game Pieces.[16]
  • Known avatars and servants of The End: Justin GoughNathaniel Thorp, Oliver BanksTova McHugh.
  • The End has no known attempts at a ritual. According to Peter Lukas this is because it sees no need to, as Death claims all in the end.[17][18]

The Eye

Main article: The Eye

The Flesh

Main article: The Flesh
  • Also called Viscera.
  • Born from the fear held by animals bred for meat, and in the human realisation that we are just animated meat and bones.
  • Manifests as meat, corpses, blood, bones, butchers, meat-related industry. Often manifests as strange bodies—bodies being unnaturally twisted, reshaped, and butchered.
  • Thought to be the newest of the 14, born around the time of the Industrial Revolution.
  • Artefacts associated with The Flesh: The Boneturner's Tale, the Meat Grinder,[21] The Stalwart Hunters' Almanac (suspected).
  • Known avatars and servants of The Flesh: AngelaEustace WickJohn HaanToby Carlisle, Tom HaanJared Hopworth.
  • The Flesh's ritual is called The Last Feast.[22]

The Hunt

Main article: The Hunt
  • The animalistic fear of being chased or hunted; the primal fear of being prey.
  • Manifests as predators, predatory monsters, animal instincts, animalistic traits.
  • Takes hold of apparently "normal" people after they are exposed to the need for The Hunt. Self-proclaimed monster hunters might become 'Hunters' and proceed to develop a need to hunt and kill monsters.
  • It is less able to affect humans due to our self-removal from the food chain.
  • Artefacts associated with The Hunt: The Stalwart Hunters' Almanac (suspected).
  • Known avatars and servants of The Hunt: Alice "Daisy" TonnerJulia MontaukRobert MontaukTrevor Herbert, Basira Hussain.
  • The Hunt's ritual is called The Everchase. Daisy suggests that the Hunt is too caught up in the chase to ever reach the end of its ritual if it has an end at all.[23]
  • In Jonathan Sim's first list of what would become the Entities, this one was called Fang.

The Lonely

Main article: The Lonely

The Slaughter

Main article: The Slaughter
  • The fear of unpredictable, unmotivated violence. The fear of pain coming at sudden, random moments.
  • Manifests as people driven "mad with Slaughter," soldiers, music that either induces Slaughter or warns that Slaughter is coming. Often manifests in imagery of war or murder, and can appear wild like a frenzied killer or calm and regimented like soldiers firing on the battlefield.
  • Artefacts associated with The Slaughter: Blood Money,[25] Slaughter Gun,[27] Slaughter Knife,[28] a rusted train car which perpetually smells of blood and which houses the spirit of a WWII medic driven mad by Slaughter,[29] "slaughter book".[30]
  • Known avatars and servants of The Slaughter: Alfred GrifterAmritsar Ghosts, Melanie KingThe Deserter, "The Piper".
  • The Slaughter's only known attempt at a ritual was called "The Risen War."[31]
  • This fear was named Butchery before the Entities were fully formed.

The Spiral

Main article: The Spiral
  • Also called Es Mentiras (It Is Lies), The Twisting Deceit, It Is Not What It Is.
  • The fear of madness, that the world you know is wrong, that your mind is lying to you. Fear of deception, lying, deceiving of the mind and senses.
  • The Spiral appears with imagery of spirals, patterns and fractals, and often manifests as hallucinations or illusions.
  • Artefacts associated with The Spiral: The Fractal Pot,[32] The Pattern Rug.[33]
  • Known avatars and servants of The Spiral: GabrielThe Distortion (Michael and Helen), The Man Who Wasn't There.
  • The Spiral's ritual is The Great Twisting.[34]

The Stranger

Main article: The Stranger

The Vast

Main article: The Vast
  • Also called The Falling Titan.
  • The fear of heights, falling, and large open spaces including sky, space, and deep water. More broadly: the human fear of insignificance and meaninglessness, of losing oneself in too much space.
  • Manifests as void, wide-open spaces, vertigo, falling, the transformation of something that should have a limit into something infinite.
  • Artefacts associated with The Vast: Ex Altiora.
  • Known avatars and servants of The Vast: Michael "Mike" CrewThe Fairchilds (Simon Fairchild, Harriet Fairchild).
  • The Vast's only known ritual was called "The Awful Deep."[39]
  • This fear was known as Vertigo in Sims' earliest drafts.

The Web

Main article: The Web
  • Also called The Spider, The Great Spider, Mother of Puppets, The Mother, The Spinner of Schemes, The Hidden Machination.
  • The fear of being controlled or trapped, especially being unaware of one's own entrapment. The fear of being forced to do things against one's own will, of being manipulated. 
  • Manifests as spiders, spider webs, web-like patterns, puppets.
  • Artefacts associated with The Web: The Web Table, A Guest for Mr. Spider, 蜘蛛が食べている (kumo ga tabete iru).[40] 
  • Known avatars and servants of The Web: Annabelle CaneEmma HarveyNeil LagorioRaymond Fielding.
  • According to Peter Lukas, The Web has never attempted a ritual, presumably because it likes or accepts the world as it is.[17] It is also possible that The Web never attempted a ritual because it was more focused on using The Mass Ritual to escape to other universes than having a ritual of its own.
  • The Web first appeared as Weaver, before the Entities gained definite articles.

Other

The Extinction

Main article: The Extinction
  • Also called The Terrible Change, The Future Without Us, The World Is Always Ending.
  • A new entity hypothesized by Adelard Dekker to be currently emerging. As of MAG 175, it is confirmed to exist, although whether it is on the same level as the other Entities or the existential threat Dekker feared remains unclear.
  • The fear of catastrophic change, destruction of nature, destruction of human skin and tissue, the destruction of humanity itself and its replacement by something different; all of this especially via mankind's own causing.
  • Manifests through human technology such as computers, code, and radio, and seems to present horrifying visions of what humans could become, or what could become of humans.
  • Most avatars agree that they would like to prevent The Extinction from emerging if possible.[39]

References

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