The Necronomicon is the title of a fictional book created by H.P. Lovecraft. Numerous other authors including Clark Ashton Smith, Brian Lumley, Ramsey Campbell and Keith Herber have added to its contents over the years.
The Kitab al Azif (original Arabic title of the Necronomicon) was written in the early 8th century by Abdul Alhazred. Alhazred was a poet in the court of a minor nobleman in the city of Sanaá. For reasons unknown he left the city and spent ten years wandering in the deserts. During this time he visited places such as: Irim, the City of the Pillars; the catacombs of Egypt; and the temple of Nug and Yeb in the Crimson Desert. In his old age Alhazred lived in the great city of Damascus, where he produced the Kitab al Azif. In the long years that followed many translations of this great work have been made.
Among other topics, the book includes:
- A section that mentions creatures beyond the threshold of space such as the Tomb Herd.
- A description of the powers the Other Name of Azathoth gives the wielder (but not the name itself).
- Information on the Gulf of S'glhuo.
- A chapter on a complicated and lengthy process capable of resurrecting the dead.
- A formula for temporarily banishing manifestations of Ahtu.
- Page 984 contains a passage in the Naacal, no translation is given.
- The Zoan Chant; a spell for reflected harmful powers sent against the caster.
- Stories about a Ghoul.
- A formula for Mind Transference.
- Instructions on how to make the Powder of Ibn Ghazi.
- A foot note containing an untitled formula capable of opening a gateway to Cthugha.
- A passage about the Crawling Ones and the Green Flame Tulzscha.
- Page 751 of the "complete" version contains a long chant capable of summoning Yog-Sothoth if used at the right time.
- Information on the Black Pharaoh Nephren-Ka.
- A large amount of information on the Antarctic Elder Things.
- Information on an ancient aquatic race Alhazred terms the Dwellers in the Depths. This page also features an astrological chart.
- Page 224 contains the Hoy-Dhin Chant.
- Instructions on how to destroy an egg of Yig using a combination of musical notes.
- An illustration of the Furnace of Nug.
- A prophecy foretelling the rebirth of the high priest Nophru Ka.
- A chapter on Umr-At-Tawil and the ultimate gate.
Here follows a small selection of quotes from various translations of the Necronomicon:
|“||And it was dreamed again of the priest Nophra-Ka and of the words he spoke at his death, how the son would rise to claim the title, and the son would rule the world in his father’s name, and the son would revenge his father’s murder, and the son would call the Beast that is worshipped, and the sands would drink the blood of the seed of the Pharaoh. In this manner did Nophra-Ka prophecy.||„|
|~ Kitab al Azif|
|“||...Verily do we know little of the other universes beyond the gate which YOG-SOTHOTH guards. Of those which come through the gate and make their habitation in this world none can tell; although Ibn Schacabao tells of the beings which crawl from the Gulf of S'ghlhuo that they may be known by their sound. In that Gulf the very worlds are of sound, and matter is known but as an odor; and the notes of our pipes in this world may create beauty or bring forth abominations in S'glhuo. For the barrier between haply grows thin, and when sourceless sounds occur we may justly look to the denizens of S'glhuo. They can do little harm to those of Earth, and fear only that shape which a certain sound may form in their universe...||„|
|~ Latin version|
|“||...Men know him as the Dweller in Darkness, that brother of the Old Ones called Nyogtha, the Thing that should not be. He can be summoned to Earth's surface through certain secret caverns and fissures, and sorcerers have seen him in Syria and below the black tower of Leng: from the Thang Grotto of Tartary he has come ravening to bring terror and destruction among the pavilions of the great Khan. Only by the looped cross, by the Vach-Viraj incantation, and by the Tikkoun elixir may he be driven back to the nighted caverns of hidden foulness where he dwelleth...||„|
|~ Latin version|
|“||...from the space which is not space, into any time when the Words are spoken, can the holder of the Knowledge summon The Black, blood of YibbTstll, that which liveth apart from him and eateth souls, that which smothers and is called Drowner. Only in water can one escape the drowning; that which is in water drowneth not...||„|
|~ Latin version|
|“||Nor is it to be thought that man is either the oldest or the last of earth's masters, or that the common bulk of life and substance walks alone. The Old Ones were, the Old Ones are, and the Old Ones shall be. Not in the spaces we know, but between them, they walk serene and primal, undimensioned and to us unseen. Yog-Sothoth knows the gate. Yog-Sothoth is the gate. Yog-Sothoth is the key and guardian of the gate. Past, present, future, all are one in Yog-Sothoth. He knows where the Old Ones broke through of old, and where They shall break through again. He knows where They had trod earth's fields, and where They still tread them, and why no one can behold Them as They tread. By Their smell can men sometimes know Them near, but of Their semblance can no man know, saving only in the features of those They have begotten on mankind; and of those are there many sorts, differing in likeness from man's truest eidolon to that shape without sight or substance which is Them. They walk unseen and foul in lonely places where the Words have been spoken and the Rites howled through at their Seasons. The wind gibbers with Their voices, and the earth mutters with Their consciousness. They bend the forest and crush the city, yet may not forest or city behold the hand that smites. Kadath in the cold waste hath known Them, and what man knows Kadath? The ice desert of the South and the sunken isles of Ocean hold stones whereon Their seal is engraver, but who hath seen the deep frozen city or the sealed tower long garlanded with seaweed and barnacles? Great Cthulhu is Their cousin, yet can he spy Them only dimly. Iä! Shub-Niggurath! As a foulness shall ye know Them. Their hand is at your throats, yet ye see Them not; and Their habitation is even one with your guarded threshold. Yog-Sothoth is the key to the gate, whereby the spheres meet. Man rules now where They ruled once; They shall soon rule where man rules now. After summer is winter, after winter summer. They wait patient and potent, for here shall They reign again.||„|
|~ Latin version|
The Arabic manuscripts are faithful reproductions of Abdul al Alhazred's original. These version are written upon scrolls and preserved in codices. All in all its contents total over one thousand pages complete with star charts, formula tables and astrological maps.
The original, smelling like corpse, eventually went to sorcerers siblings.
In 950 AD Theodore Philétas of Constantinople made a Greek translation of the Kitab al Azif. This volume was named the Necronomicon after its opening words. Despite a few errors Philétas's reproductions of the book's charts and tables are faithful to Alhazred 's original illustrations. In 1050 the Patriarch Michel had many of copies of the book burnt.
Sometime between 1501 and 1550 the Italian Aldus Manutius commissioned the printing of around one hundred folio sized copies of Philétas's Greek translation.
Interestingly, the Greek translation contains a spell not present in the original. It is a formula used to open a Gate under Memphis through which the black sphinx; one of the million favoured ones, may enter the world. It is unknown whether Philétas added this spell of his own accord or if it had been added to his Arabic version by a previous owner.
A Latin translation of Philétas's Greek version was made in 1228 by a Dominican monk named Olaus Wormius (no relation to the 16th century Danish physician Ole Worm). Unfortunately Wormius's beautifully stylised illustrations robbed many of the star charts of their accuracy. This edition was widely printed up until Pope Gregory IX outlawed it, after which many copies were destroyed.
The Latin translation was reprinted in 1477 by a German publisher. The production was printed in black letter and a number of woodcuts were added.
Another reprint was made in Spain during the year of 1662. Both this and the above version were 802 page long folios.
There are 5 known remaining copies in libraries: Bibloithèque Nationale in France, British Museum, Widener Library in Harvard, Buenos Aires' university and Miskatonic University. Other secret ones exist: one at a Londonian book-seller, one at Kingsport.
English "Dee" TranslationEdit
While staying at the home of a Baron Hauptman the famed occultist Doctor John Dee made an English translation from Hauptman's Greek copy. Dee's translation is garbled and in many places he has changed outright the meaning of certain things to fit with in his own Enochian beliefs. Never the less, his translations of many of the spells remains accurate. This version exists only in manuscript form.
The Sussex ManuscriptEdit
- Main article: The Sussex Manuscript
Baron Frederic of Sussex produced a supposed translation in illuminated manuscript form. This translation is rife with inaccuracies and fanciful ideas added by the author. It contains such outlandish misconceptions as Cthulhu being a manifestation of Nyarlathotep, and Abhoth having created the solar system. Although this "translation" is commonly called The Sussex Manuscript its proper title is Cultus Maleficarum.
Doctor Friedrich Wilhelm von Junz made a translation from an unknown Greek copy. This translation may have been published eight years after his death 1840 but there little further details.
Joachim Ferry's Notes on the NecronomiconEdit
In 1901 the noted occultist Joachim Ferry produced a pamphlet on the book. It is mostly made up of translated quotes from the Latin version, augmented by pages of notes and speculation on their meaning. The accuracy of this publication was called into question when Ferry freely admitted including excerpts from his own dreams.
A secret encrypted Arabian copy of the Necronomicon.
The Necronomicon Ex-Mortis, appears in the Trilogy of films, known as the Evil Dead Series. It is described as being "bound in flesh, and writ in human blood" and has a mutilated face as the cover. It is written in Summerian and contains many spells, some linked to Kandarian cults.
Following these movies, the Necronomicon is frequently described as being binded in human skin, as in Stuart Gordon's TV adaptaion of "The Dreams in the Witch-House".
Role-Playing Game StatsEdit
- Kitab al Azif: Sanity Loss 2D10/1D10; Cthulhu Mythos +18 Percent. Average 68 weeks to study and comprehend/ hours to skim.
- Gothic Translation: Sanity Loss ?/?; Cthulhu Mythos +16 Percent. Average ? weeks to study and comprehend/ ?hours to skim.
- Greek Translation: Sanity Loss 1D10/2D10; Cthulhu Mythos +17 Percent. Average 68 weeks to study and comprehend/? hours to skim.
- Latin Translation: Sanity Loss 1D10/2D10; Cthulhu Mythos +16 Percent. Average 66 weeks to study and comprehend/ hours to skim.
- English "Dee" Translation: Sanity Loss 1D10/2D10; Cthulhu Mythos +15 Percent. Average 50 weeks to study and comprehend/ hours to skim.
- The Sussex Manuscript: Sanity Loss D/D; Cthulhu Mythos + Percent. Average weeks to study and comprehend/ hours to skim.
- Das Verichteraraberbuch: Sanity Loss 2D10/1D10; Cthulhu Mythos +16 Percent. Average 66 weeks to study and comprehend/ hours to skim.
- Joachim Ferry's Notes on the Necronomicon: Sanity Loss 1D6/1D3; Cthulhu Mythos +6 Percent. Average 8 weeks to study and comprehend/ hours to skim.
Behind the MythosEdit
Although the Necronomicon is a fictional book invented by Lovecraft, many publications over the years were named "Necronomicon" or pretended to be the genuine article.
Among them are:
- Necronomicon (Donald A. Wolheim; 1934): A review published by the Branford Review and the East Haven News of a non existing translation by W.T. Faraday of the latin Necronomicon. Lovecraft learned about it in 1936.
- The Necronomicon (J. Vernon Shea): A short story which was annoted by Lovecraft, first published in Dragon & Microchips: Le Seul Fanzine Qui Rêve.
- 1936: Ads for buying the Necronomicon are published, Lovecraft thinking it was a joke made by one member of his Circle.
- July 1945: Through Publishers' Weekly, Grove Street Bookstore is looking for a copy of the Necronomicon, De Vermiis Mysteris by Ludvig Prinn and Commentaries on Witchcraft by Mycroft.
- 1946: Philip Duschnes is selling a fake Latin Necronomicon.
- The Necronomicon: A Study (Mark Owings, 1967): fictionnal history of the Necronomicon published by Mirage Press, contains "Excerpts from Cthulhu in the Necronomicon by Professor Laban Shrewsbury", done with Lovecraft and Derleth estates' approval, illustrated by Frank D. McSherry, Jr.
- Al Azif (L. Sprague de Camp, 1973): supposed Necronomicon with a preface short story of its retrieval by de Camp followed by 16 pages of pseudo-Duraic script by Robert Dills repeated over and over again, published by Owlswick Press.
- The Necromantic Grimoire of Augustus Rupp' (Rob Lynn, 1973): supposed Necronomicon
- Necronomicon (Robert C. Culp, February 1976): a fanzine volume published by the Esoteric Cult of Dagon.
- H.R. Giger's Necronomicon I & II (1977 & 1985): following a short movie, two artbooks with no link to the Mythos, supposedly made to complement the lost manuscript.
- Necronomicon (Simon, 1977): published by Schlangekrafte, claims to be the Sumerian text which inspired Lovecraft, parallels Aleister Crowley's works. Sigil by Khem Caigan (Khem Set-Rising). The author Peter Levenda used a pseudonym.
- The Necronomicon: The Book of Dead Names (George Hay, 1978): supposed John Dee translation of the Liber Logaeth. Introduced by Colin Wilson mixing facts and non facts about Lovecraft and the Necronomicon, written by Robert Turner and David Langford, non fiction essays appendices by L. Sprague de Camp, Christopher Frayling and Angela Carter. Illustrated by Gavin Stamp and Robert Turner. Contains some of Al Azif pseudo-Duraic script. Sigils based on medieval occult practices such as the Goetia.
- A table of working
- The configuration of planetary and astrological stones to form a circle Four hand signs
- Ye Elder Sign
- Ye Sigil of Koth
- To Compuund Ye Incense of Zkauba
- To Make Ye Powder of Ibn Ghazi
- Ye Unction of Khephnes Ye Egyptian
- To Fashion the Scimitar of Barzai
- Ye Alphabet of Nug-Soth
- Ye Voice of Hastur
- Concerning Nyarlathotep
- Of Leng in Ye Cold Waste
- Of Kadath Ye Unknown
- To Call Forth Yog-Sothoth
- To Conjure of Ye Globes
- Ye Adjuration of Great Cthulhu
- To Summon Shub-Niggurath Ye Black
- The Talisman of Yhe
- Ye Formula of Dho-Hna
- Metal Hurlant: "Spécial Lovecraft" (Les Humanoïdes Associés, 1978): contains "Le Necronomicon" by Phillipe Druillet, 2 illustrations were published in Autumn 1966 in Anubis.
- Necronomicon Spellbook (Simon, 1981): expands on the use of sigils in the Simon Necronomicon.
- Necronomicon: The Book of Shades (Elizabeth Ann Saint George, 1983): A translastion of the supposed Arabian manuscript found in 1964 in Perou. Published by Spook Enterprises.
- Sabean Trilogy (Frank G. Ripel): Italian work by the Head of the Ordo Rosae Misticae (ORM). Parallels Kenneth Grant occultism with a stronger emphasis on Lovecraft in the lengthy creation-myth and cosmology, a stronger emphasis on more old-school magic and variation on Aleister Crowley's Mass of the Phoenix.
- Magic of Atlantis: Sauthenerom: The Real Source of the Necronomicon (1985)
- Red Magic
- Stellar Magic
- Crypt of Cthulhu #58: "A Critical Commentary on the Necronomicon" (Robert M. Price, 1988): critical commentary on the fictional volume as if a real work.
- SECTION ONE - PRELIMINARY QUESTIONS
- I The Critical Approach
- II Abdul Alhazred
- III What Kind of Book ?
- IV Alhazred's Sources
- V The History of the Religion
- VI The Verse-Numbering System
- SECTION TWO - THE AUTHENTICAL MATERIAL
- VII That Which Came Before Men
- VIII From the Book of Thoth
- IX Concerning the Dead
- SECTION THREE - THE APOCRYPHAL MATERIAL
- X The Fall of Cthulhu
- XI Apocalyptic Tracts
- XII Rites of Exorcism
- XIII Christian Interpolations
- Necronomicon: 18 Aphorisms for Clarinet and Piano (Larry Sitsky, 1989): inspired by the Hay Necronomicon.
- I. OF THE OLD ONES & THEIR SPAWN
- II. OF TIMES & SEASONS TO BE OBSERVED
- III. TO RAISE UP THE STONES
- IV. THE SIGNS OF POWER
- V. THE INCENSE OF ZKAUBA
- VI. THE POWDER OF IBN GHAZI
- VII. THE UNCTION OF KHEPHNES
- VIII. THE SCIMITAR OF BARZAI
- IX. THE ALPHABET OF NUG-SOTH
- X. THE VOICE OF HASTUR
- XI. NYARLATHOTEP
- XII. LENG IN THE COLD WASTE
- XIII. KADATH THE UNKNOWN
- XIV. TO CALL FORTH YOG-SOTHOTH
- XV. TO CONJURE THE GLOBES
- XVI. THE ADJURATION OF GREAT CTHULHU
- XVII. SHUB-NIGGURATH THE BLACK
- XVIII. THE FORMULA OF DHO-HNA
- Crypt of Cthulhu #63: "The Sussex Manuscript" (Fred L. Pelton, 1989): supposed to be the English translation of the book. To be published by Arkham House in 1987 before Derleth ultimately cancelled it.
- Crypt of Cthulhu #70: "The Necronomicon" (Lin Carter, 1990): fragment of Carter's unfinished episodic novel and Lovecraftian occultism version. Supposedly the John Dee translation.
- BOOK ONE: THE BOOK OF THE EPISODES
- The Doom of Yakthoob
- The Thing Under Memphis
- The City of Pillars
- The Vault Beneath the Mosque
- The Madness out of Time
- Dreams of the Black Lotus
- The Shadow from the Stars
- BOOK TWO: THE BOOK OF PREPARATIONS
- BOOK THREE: THE BOOK OF THE GATES
- BOOK IV: THE BOOK OF DISMISSALS
- BOOK ONE: THE BOOK OF THE EPISODES
- Savage Pencil's Rock'n'Roll Necronomicon (Savage Pencil, 1992): a collection of Savage Pencil's cartoons
- Necronomicon (Pietro Pizzari, 1993): the supposed Necronomicon from the Vatican.
- Necronomicon. Nuova edizione con sconvolgenti rivelazioni e le tavolette di Kutu (Fanucci, 1994): the supposed 1990 translation by Venustiano Carranza.
- Necronomicon 2. La tomba di Alhazred (Fanucci, 1997): supposedly taken from Alhazred's tomb.
- The R'lyeh Text: Hidden Leaves from the Necronomicon (Robert Turner, 1995): introduction by Colin Wilson, essays by Patricia Shore and Arnold Arnold. A sequel to the Hay Necronomicon.
- The Necronomicon Anti-FAQ (Colin Low, 1995): a FAQ based on information from the fictional The Book of the Arab, by Justin Geoffry, Starry Wisdom Press, 1979 and on the Arab magical practices' research by Parker Ryan.
- Necronomicon (Merlyn Stone, 1999): supposed Necronomicon containing information from her three prior grimoires.
- El Necronomicón (EDAF, 2001): Spanish translation of the Simon Necronomicon; appendix by Alberto Santos Castillo contains fragments and quotes from the Necronomicon, mostly from Cthulhu Mythos fiction.
- The Necronomicon: Selected Stories and Essays Concerning the Blasphemous Tome of the Mad Arab (Robert M. Price, 2002): anthology of fiction and essays dealing with the Necronomicon and reprints essays and fiction including Lovecraft's "History of the Necronomicon", L. Sprague de Camp's introduction to the Al Azif, Carter's Necronomicon fragment, Pelton's Sussex Manuscript and Price's "A Critical Commentary on the Necronomicon"
- The Necronomicon Files: The Truth Behind Lovecraft's Legend (John Wisdom Gonce III & Daniel Harms, 2003): a study of the Necronomicon books
- Fragmentos Originales del Necronomicón: El Libro de los Nombres Muertos de Abdul Al-Hazred (Marcelo Bigliano, 2004) Spanish translation of the medieval grimoire elements from the Hay Necronomicon.
- Necronomicon: The Wanderings of Alhazred (Donald Tyson, 2004): episodic book of marvels, showing Alhazred encountering various elements of the Mythos, with some rituals and sigils.
- Alhazred: Author of the Necronomicon (Donald Tyson, 2006): novel
- The Gates of the Necronomicon (Simon, 2006): expands on the gate-walking ritual in the Simon Necronomicon.
- Dead Names: The Dark History of the Necronomicon (Simon, 2006): expands on the pseudohistory surrounding the writing of the Simon Necronomicon.
- Necronomicon (Patrice Wooley, 2007): French graphic novel
- Necronomicon Gnosis - A Practical (Asenath Mason, 2007): a coherent system of Lovecraftian magic sourcing the Hay and Simon Necronomicons, The R'lyeh Text, Kenneth Grant's Typhonian Trilogies, Phil Hine's Pseudonomicon, Stephen Sennit's Nox & Liber Koth and others.
- Necronomicon Tarot (Donald Tyson, 2007) includes an interpretation booklet, illustrated by Ann Stokes.
- Grimoire of the Necronomicon (Donald Tyson, 2008): occult system based on medieval planetary magic, natural magic, Aleister Crowley and the Simon Necronomicon.
- Necronomicon (William Messner-Loebs, 2008): a four issues comic, art by Andrew Ritchie.
- Atlantean Necronomicon: The Veils of Negative Existence (Warlock Asylum, 2010): expands on the Simon Necronomicon by incorporating world mythology and related occult traditions like Kenneth Grant's Ordo Templi Orientalis (OTO).
- Black Velvet Necronomicon (Mike Dubisch, 2010): artbook.
- The Lovecraft Necronomicon Primer: A Guide to the Cthulhu Mythos (T. Allan Bilstad, 2011)
- The 13 Gates of the Necronomicon: A Workbook of Magic (Donald Tyson, 2012): encyclopedia of Lovecraft's fiction and gate rituals based on the Simon Necronomicon.
- Kolchack Necronomicon (C. J. Henderson, 2012): illustrated stories.
- "The Lovecraftian Gambit" (illustrated by Hack)
- "The Lovecraftian Horror" (illustrated by Calderon)
- "The Lovecraftian Damnation" (illustrated by Hack)
- H.P. Lovecraft Necronomicon (1993): film
- Necronomicon - Geträumte Sünden (Jess Franco, 1968): German erotic film, allegedly based on a story from a Necronomicon book read by Franco.
Some real books are known to be bound in human flesh, among them:
- The John Hay Library of Brown University in Providence has 4.
- The College of Physicians of Philadelphia has 4
- The Houghton Library of Harvard University in Cambridge has 1.
- The Grolier Club of New York City has 1.
- The University and the Public Library of Cincinnati both have 1.
- In the game Team Fortress 2, there is a magic book called the bombinomicon, which is similar to the necronomicon.... but with bombs.
- In the animated series The Real Ghostbusters, based off of the 1984 film Ghostbusters, the heroes encountered the Necronomicon on several occasions. In the first appearance, 'The Collect Call Of Cthulu', it was referred to by name. In its later appearances, after a notorious consulting firm engaged in massive Executive Meddling, it was referred to as 'The Book With No Name'. The staff attempted to argue that one, they had already used the name prior, and two, concerns about teaching kids dark magic were invalid, since the book was a completely fictional one. The consulting firm and ABC executives, having apparently seen published recreations of the fictional tome in bookstores, refused to believe this.
- At least one deluxe DVD copy of the first Evil Dead film came in a prop package resembling the book as depicted in that film series.
- A copy of Necronomicon can possibily be found at the main hall of Kaer Morhen in Witcher 3 video game. Sometimes the book can be seen in in-game stores.
- In the video game League of Legends, there is an item called "Morellonomicon", which is named after both Necronomicon and a Rioter known as Morello.
- Another reference to the Necronomicon in the same game is from a quote, from a champion named Karthus: "I'm putting your name in my little black necronomicon." (This is also a reference to the anime series Death Note).
- In the new Danganronpa v3, there is a Necronomicon used in one of the chapters as a motive