Any occult practitioners use the lovecraftion pantheon?

Oh gods, I've had two people in the US Navy (I was in for five years and work with them still as a civilian) approach me asking about the Lovecraftian pantheon as if it were a real thing. Necronomicon also. I have a Lovecraft/Cthulhu sleeve and wear a pentagram necklace so occasionally someone who knows about it high fives me or asks me how to summon elder gods.

Unfortunately, in both instances I was so bewildered by the fact that these people thought they were real, I had literally no idea what to say or even how to approach the topic from any witty or knowledgeable standpoint, just stammered, "Oh, yeah? Oh that's cool I didn't know", all the while thinking I was misunderstanding what they said. In hindsight, I was not.

The first person also claimed to be in a love affair with Rasputin. (Yes, that Rasputin.) She saw my pentagram necklace and started asking if I had a copy of the Necronomicon. I was like, "You mean the fictional book from Lovecraft's work?" To which she replied, "No the real one." Leading to the aforementioned bewilderment.

The second person was a self-proclaimed "heathen" who believes in Thor and Odin and the other Norse beings, which I thought was pretty cool. I asked him about how he practices that religion on the ship and he seemed pretty disappointed because he wasn't allowed to sacrifice any animals or battle anybody to the death. He later went on about some Lovecraftian beings that he and his friends commune with and I smiled and nodded until he talked about something else. Really nice guy just... I mean come on.

Does anybody know what the basis of people believing this stuff is real is, other than just misguided souls looking to be edgelords? I really don't wanna trash the belief if there's the smallest semblance of possibility it's a real practice for people but... I mean, I've read the source material... It's in the fiction section... Come on...

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