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The Hazards of Genealogy )

To: alt.magick.tyagi,alt.magick,alt.horror.cthulhu,alt.necronomicon,alt.pagan.magick,alt.evil
From: "Donovan K. Loucks" 
Subject: The Hazards of Genealogy (was: On _The Necronomicon_ (LONG))
Date: 21 Jun 1998 23:54:01 -0700

First, "ny'rl'thot'p"  quoted from the
_Encyclopedia of Occultism and Parapsychology_:

      Necronomicon, The

      A fabled grimoire or textbook of black magic for evoking demons,
   supposedly compiled by the "mad Arab Abdul Alhazred"-in fact, an
   invention of H.P. Lovecraft, writer of supernatural and fantasy
   fiction.  The name "Abdul Alhazred" was adopted playfully by Lovecraft
   around the age of five, after reading an edition of The Arabian Nigths,
   and was used in later life in Lovecraft's fiction.  It may also contain
   a reference to the name "Hazard," an old Rhode Island family. 

Then, Dan Clore  wrote:

   HPL was related to some Hazards (maternal uncle?).

Finally, John Kelley  wrote:

   I think it's more of a play on "All has read". HPL was a BIG bookworm.

There's no telling.  Others have noticed the similarity between the name
"Alhazred" and the phrase "all has read".  One of the characters in SPI's
long-out-of-print board game, "Swords and Socery", was named "Unamit
Ahazredit" -- I believe that's the spelling; I sold my copy years ago. 

Still, Lovecraft said that there were Hazards in his ancestry.  Lovecraft
_claimed_ that his great-great-great-great-great-grandfather was Robert
Hazard, who lived from 1635 to 1710 and left 133 slaves in his will.
Unfortunately, there doesn't seem to be any evidence to support this.
Perhaps, like others in Rhode Island, Lovecraft was simply eager to be a
part of this well-known family.

In a letter to Wilfred Blanch Talman dated 1 June 1928 Lovecraft speaks of
the Hazard heraldic arms:

   _Hazard_, if you ask me, is anybody's guess; since according to the
   book we saw at the libe nobody has ever succeeded in conclusively
   placing the old Tom from who all the R.I. Hazards -- really eminent
   line, in the direct descent -- are sprung.  The only standard of choice
   is whatever the main branch choose through caprice to sport.  There has
   been dispute as to whether the first ancestor was really a _Hazard_ or
   _Hassard_, though the two are nearly related, as extreme similarity of
   arms proves.  Both are in our notes -- the one you cite being _Hazard_,
   whilst _Hassard_ is gules, two bars argent; on a chief, or, 3 escallops
   of the first -- crest, an escallap or. 

In a letter to James F. Morton dated 7 July 1933 Lovecraft describes a
visit to the North Kingston/Saunderstown area with E. Hoffmann Price:

   We visited the antient snuff-mill where the late eminent painter,
   Gilbert Stuart, Esq., was born, and spent some time at the great
   Rowland Robinson house (1705) amidst its gigantick willows, where a
   country-gentleman of vast urbanity shew'd us the interior as well as
   the exterior.  The Robinsons are an offshoot of the Hazards, and so
   value the connexion that they have always had over the door the
   heraldick escallop of the Hazard arms . . . . . a thing which, I may
   reflect with satisfaction, belongs to me as much as to them. 

When I visited the Rowland Robinson house on my last trip, I wasn't as
fortunate as Lovecraft, and was nearly run off the property by its touchy
resident.  She did allow a few photos, but I hadn't the courage to ask
about the Hazard arms, which I never saw.  Perhaps next time I'll be more

 Donovan K. Loucks 
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