#WorldbuildingWednesday is a series of articles posted every Wednesday that flesh out some aspect of the Ascension Epoch’s shared universe.
One of the more subtle distinctions between the Ascension Epoch and the Primary World (i.e. our own world) is the attitudes and beliefs of the general population. Many settings that posit the existence of extraordinary creatures and phenomena nonetheless place them in a reality where they are unknown or disbelieved. The Ascension Epoch, however, is not “the world outside your window” with some hidden fantasy element, but a world where people can be empirically observed transforming into human/animal hybrids, where there is an SI unit for psychic flux, and where an invasion by a hostile alien power is matter of historical record.
However, not all of the fantastic elements of the setting are well known. Many truths are completely unknown, or only guessed at by a few organizations who have received supernatural revelation or compiled lifetimes of obscure data. Some things are partially understood, and can even be roughly quantified and simulated, but still have significant gaps in our understanding. And there are many ideas that are widely held and yet greatly mistaken.
So what is actually believed – by the general public, scientists, historians, and fringe groups – and how true are those beliefs?
Let’s start with general knowledge and beliefs about non-human civilizations.
- Virtually everyone knows that Mars is inhabited by an advanced, sentient race, and that the planet itself, while inhospitable, is capable of sustaining human life. This is true, as far as it goes. However…
- Most people believe that the Martians that invaded earth are still active on Mars and possibly preparing for another attack. This is an article of faith and a particular concern among many high level military officers. It is, however, false. There may be more surviving Martian invaders on earth than on Mars.
- Virtually no human beings are aware that there are other sentient races on Mars, some that predate the invaders, and others created by them. Of those few human beings aware of this fact, two are still on Mars or lost in the Empyrean (John Carter and Gullivar Jones, respectively).
- A few other alien artifacts and bodies have been recovered, particularly Selenite corpses and Mi-Go parts. Biologists have a hard time explaining these, so mostly they don’t try. Owing to the lesson of Mars, the general public assumes that there are a lot of other alien races out there, and that any sort of weird creature they find on earth is probably extraterrestrial in origin. In the specific case of the Mi-Go and the general tendency, however, they are wrong: most are ultraterrestrial.
- The existence of sentient, non-human civilizations on earth in the form of the Deep Ones and the human-derived “Atlanteans” is known through tissue, genetic, skeletal, archaeological evidence and direct encounters. Outside of the military, intelligence, and certain occult circles, little else is known of the Deep One society, population, origin, or motives. Atlanteans are more well known, though few in number and isolated.
- The existence of Atlantis or other super-ancient empires is speculated on much as it is today, but with little to substantiate its existence. Aside from Atlantis itself, its outposts were few and most of them have been destroyed, buried, or drowned over the ages. Very few Atlantean artifacts are in anyone’s possession, and those that have them generally don’t know what to make of them (even the Compass Society). There are no written or pictoral records. Since the “Atlantean” peoples that survive were actually the empire’s slave caste, and the empire fell shortly after their rebellion, and their long term existence as primitive isolate tribes, there is very little they can offer on the matter: even their own traditions don’t speak of Old Atlantis clearly. Various remote viewers and psychic mediums have reported viewing Atlantis or channeling the spirits of Atlanteans, but this is given only a little more consideration than similar reports would be in the Primary World. Without any way to objectively verify it, it’s interesting, but nothing more.
- The existence of the Dero and similar dwarvish races are unattested in “credible” scientific or historical artifacts. The inner circle of the Vril Ya faith, however, is aware of their existence, as are various high gnosis groups like the Compass Society, Challenger Foundation, Kraken, and so on.
- The existence of the Mangani and related sapient, talking ape populations (such as the various North American Big Feet) is a secret closely guarded by the Compass Society, as directed by their founder Lord Greystoke.
Next week, we’ll explore what the general public knows (or thinks they know) about other paranormal phenomena.