Occultech Public Safety Advisory
The Elder Sign
What is it?
It has been known since antiquity that the Elder Sign could keep at bay ghoulies and ghosties and things that go bump in the night. However, recent research at Miskatonic University by Dr Richard Pendergrass has revealed some of the details by which the Elder Sign works, and thus the dangers that are inherent to its use.
In an experiment that demonstrates that the Ethics Review Board at Miskatonic U is rather lax, Dr. Pendergrass examined the long term effects of Elder Sign exposure on two groups, as well as two controls. The first group was three students from Miskatonic University, majoring in English. The second was described in the paper as denizens of Boston's subway system (read: ghouls). The controls groups were similarly composed.
Both groups would spend three hours a day locked in a room with a high quality Elder Sign, while the control groups would spend three hours a day locked in a room with a symbol guaranteed by the Occult Studies department to be neutral. While there were very few differences between the behaviours of the two control groups beyond what would be expected of their members, there was a marked difference between the behaviours of the two test groups. While the students behaved in a way similar to their control group, the ghouls would spend their hour trying to get as far away from the Elder Sign as possible, either fighting each other to hide in the corner, or scrabbling at the door, trying to get out.
Toward the end of the second week, the behaviour of the two test groups started to change. The ghouls seemed to lose their fear of the Elder Sign, while the students would spend most of their time crowding around it. When asked about it after their sessions, they were unable or unwilling to explain their change in behaviour.
By the middle of the third week, signs of possessiveness began to arise in both the student and ghoul groups. Fights would start over who would be allowed to sit closest to the Elder Sign, and the subjects would be unwilling to leave the room after the three hours.
The experiment was cancelled after one of the students was hospitalized during a fight as to who was allowed to sit closest to the Elder Sign.
The control groups showed no signs other than boredom.
A psychological analysis of the students after the experiment (apparently Dr Pendergrass was unable to find any psychologists willing or capable to analyze the ghouls) showed signs of dependence on the Elder Sign as well as varying degrees of paranoid schizophrenia.
It's at this point of the paper that Dr Pendergrass starts discussing his theory as to how the Elder Sign works. He believes that the Elder Sign acts as a beacon to extra-dimensional parasites which feed off of those near the Sign. Various non-human beings are more sensitive to the presence of these parasites and thus are warded away by the Sign's presence. He also conjectures that higher dimension versions of the Sign exist which also enhance its potency.
If his theories are true, then the Elder Sign sealing R'lyeh might not be to keep Cthulhu in, as many believe, but rather to keep the dormant R'lyeh safe from outsiders.
Where can I get an Elder Sign?
Almost anywhere in Miskatonic. According to Dr Pendergrass, just walking through town probably gives you a low grade exposure to the parasite.
What should I do if I have one?
You should balance the long term effects of its presence versus its absence. If not having it means you die, then a little madness and having your soul consumed piecemeal is probably worth it, but I'd recommend locking it up somewhere safe when not using it.