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On _The Necronomicon_

To: alt.magick.tyagi,alt.magick,alt.horror.cthulhu,alt.necronomicon,alt.pagan.magick,alt.evil
From: (ny'rl'thot'p)
Subject: On _The Necronomicon_ (LONG)
Date: 16 Jun 1998 12:37:27 -0700

[from ]

This article has been reprinted without permission from:

"Encyclopedia of Occultism and Parapsychology, 2nd Ed."

        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.

        In 1936, Lovecraft wrote a pseudo-scholarly essay titled A
History of the Necronomicon, which claimed that its original title was Al
Azif, deriving from the word used by Arabs to designate nocturnal sound
of insects resembling the howling of demons.  There followed an account
of various editions of the Necronomicon from A.D. 730 onwards.  Lovecraft
had claimed that there was a copy of the work in the library of
Miskatonic University, in Arkham (a city invented by him in his fiction).
Lovecraft's essay was published in leaflet form by Wilson H. Shephard,
Alabama, 1938, and has since been reprinted.  The Necronomicon was cited
in various stories by Lovecraft, and gradually acquired a spurious life
of its own.  Someone inserted an index card for the book in the files of
Yale Library.  A New York bookseller could not resist inserting an entry
for a Latin edition in one of his sale catalogs.

        Eventually a group of writers and researchers headed by occult
scholar Colin Wilson solemnly presented The Necronomicon : The Book of
Dead Names as a newly discovered lost masterpiece of occult literature.
In an introduction to this publication, Wilson suggested that Lovecraft's
invention may have had some substance in fact, perhaps revealed through
Lovecraft's subconsious mind.   Wilson told a story as fabulous as that
of the origin of Golden Dawn cipher manuscript, concerning a Dr.
Stanislaus Hinterstoisser, president of the  Salzburg Institute for the
Study of Magic and Occult Phenomena, who claimed that Lovecraft's father
was an Egyptian Freemason, that he had seen a copy of The Necronomicon in
Boston, U.S. (where Lovecraft senior had worked), which was a section of
a book by Alkindi (died A.D. 850) known as The Book of the Essence of the

        Science-fiction writer L. Sprague de Camp (who published an
excellent biography of Lovecraft in 1975) is said to have acquired an
Arabic manuscript from Baghdad titled Al Azif.  The British occultist
Robert Turner, after researching in the British Museum Library, claimed
that the Alkindi work was known to the famous magician John Dee
(1527-1608) who had a copy in cipher manuscript.  This book, known as
Liber Logaeth, was recently examined by computer analysis, and so The
Necronomicon : The Book of Dead Names has now been published, edited by
George Hay, introduced by Colin Wilson, researched by Robert Turner and
David Langford (Neville Spearman, U.K., 1978; Corgi paperback, 1980).

        No doubt other recensions of The Necronomicon will be discovered
in the course of time.  Meanwhile, librarians need no longer be
embarressed by requests for this elusive work.

-- (emailed replies may be posted); 408/2-666-SLUG
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