The Necronomicon and H.P. Lovecraft

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Andrew Bulhak

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Aug 27, 1992, 4:55:08 AM8/27/92
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I recently checked through some library catalogues, and found, much to
my amazement that the Necronomicon, by Abdul Alhazred, really exists,
and that there is a copy in the Uni. of Boston library.
Previously I thought that the Necronomicon was made up by H.P.
Lovecraft, author of the Cthulhu Mythos stories.
Does anyone know:
- Are the passages quoted from the Necronomicon (about
shoggoths, the old ones, et cetera) genuine?
- How much else in Lovecraft's stories is true?
- What were the circumstances of Lovecraft's death?

Anson Kennedy

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Aug 27, 1992, 10:08:11 AM8/27/92
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sl...@yoyo.cc.monash.edu.au (Andrew Bulhak) writes:

Check the publication date of the book. You may find that it came out
*after* HPL wrote his Cthulhu Mythos. In fact, this is the general
consensus of many people who have studied it (although I don't have
a specific reference to support this; if anyone *does* have some
info on who actually wrote the Necronomicon, I'd like to see it).
--

Anson Kennedy an...@netcom.com
Secretary of the Georgia Skeptics (but don't even THINK I speak for them!)

"If you don't watch the violence, \ "If I had been the Virgin Mary,
you'll never get desensitized to it." \ I would have said 'No.'"
-Bart Simpson \ -Margaret "Stevie" Smith (1902-1971)

mmax...@ucsd.edu

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Aug 27, 1992, 10:26:01 AM8/27/92
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In article <1992Aug27.0...@monu6.cc.monash.edu.au>

sl...@yoyo.cc.monash.edu.au (Andrew Bulhak) writes:
>I recently checked through some library catalogues, and found, much to
>my amazement that the Necronomicon, by Abdul Alhazred, really exists,
>and that there is a copy in the Uni. of Boston library.
>Previously I thought that the Necronomicon was made up by H.P.
>Lovecraft, author of the Cthulhu Mythos stories.
>Does anyone know:
> - Are the passages quoted from the Necronomicon (about
>shoggoths, the old ones, et cetera) genuine?
Yes

> - How much else in Lovecraft's stories is true?

Everything

> - What were the circumstances of Lovecraft's death?

Very mysterious.

Look, all humor aside. Just try and _get_ a copy of these books from
the library of your choice. Go ahead. Those bibliographic entries were
most likely created by bored librarians. There was a thread about
all this in alt.horror and on rec.arts.books a couple of weeks ago.
If you ask real nice, somebody may have saved that thread and might
consider sending it to you. If you give them a cookie. :)
-------------------
Matt Maxwell
mmax...@ucsd.edu

"He took personality tests
and stapled them to his lower lip" -- Stan Ridgway

Lee Harvey Oswald Smith

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Aug 27, 1992, 10:17:23 AM8/27/92
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sl...@yoyo.cc.monash.edu.au (Andrew Bulhak) writes:

Also, could it be that the Gray aliens from Zeta Reticuli are not really aliens
at all, but rather these massless multidimensional beings?
- Nobody *ever* sees a shoggoth nowadays (at last I have never met anyone
who has), but many people have seen aliens
- Aliens, like the Deep ones, require human sacrifice, except they justify
it as a need for fluids.
- If any solid object tried to manoeuver like UFOs have been seen to do, it
would be torn apart.
Could it be that people were not falling for the shoggoth schtick anymore, and
so the beings decided to repackage themselves as "aliens"?


Lee Harvey Oswald Smith
les...@nyx.cs.du.edu
"Do what thou wilt shall be the whole of the law."

Jerry Kuch

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Aug 27, 1992, 2:56:06 PM8/27/92
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>I recently checked through some library catalogues, and found, much to
>my amazement that the Necronomicon, by Abdul Alhazred, really exists,
>and that there is a copy in the Uni. of Boston library.
>Previously I thought that the Necronomicon was made up by H.P.
>Lovecraft, author of the Cthulhu Mythos stories.

It was made up by Lovecraft. Some knob wrote his own pulp-paperback
Necronomicon in the 1970s... I've heard from several people that it
sucks rather badly, but I've never actually looked at it.

>Does anyone know:
> - Are the passages quoted from the Necronomicon (about
>shoggoths, the old ones, et cetera) genuine?

Well, genuine in the sense that this guy probably read all of Lovecraft's
books and cut and pasted all the great pod people stuff into his own book,
but nothing more than that.

> - How much else in Lovecraft's stories is true?

Extremely little, probably.

> - What were the circumstances of Lovecraft's death?

I don't know. I would guess that he got old, and sick and died. I don't
recall anyone ever saying anything particularly strange about his death...
--
Jerry Kuch (t-ge...@microsoft.com) | "Sic Gorgianus Allos Subjectatus Nunc."
"I was wrong to play God. Life is precious, not a thing to be toyed with.
Now take out that brain and flush it down the toilet." - Montgomery Burns

Bob Ingria

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Aug 27, 1992, 4:02:24 PM8/27/92
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I recently checked through some library catalogues, and found, much to
my amazement that the Necronomicon, by Abdul Alhazred, really exists,
and that there is a copy in the Uni. of Boston library.
Previously I thought that the Necronomicon was made up by H.P.
Lovecraft, author of the Cthulhu Mythos stories.

It WAS made up by Lovecraft. However, there are several fake
Necronomicons (Necronomica for you prescriptivists out there) which
have been published:

The ``Simon'' Necronomicon - this is the most widely available form.
It's a black paperback with a pentagram on the cover. It's also
available in a harcover version and I even have a Greek translation of
this (from Kaktos Press, Athens). There is apparently a coven of
witches (or whatevers) in NYC that practice ``Necronomicon Magic''
using spells from this book. (The last time I was in Magickal Childe
bookstore in NY, many year ago, one of the calendars of events listed
regular classes in Necronomicon Magic.)

An ``Arabic'' Necronomicon - this is total gibberish consisting of the
same Arabic phrases repeated over and over throughout the book. One
of the authors of this hoax keeps threatening to publish ``The
Necronomicon Letters'': the letters from people who took this thing
seriously and demanded to see the original manuscript, get money to do
research, etc. This one is rare.

A ``Voynich Manuscript'' Necronomicon - this one was perpetrated by
Colin Wilson, unless I have my occultists confused. Has a prologue
about how the Necronomicon manuscript was discovered in the plaimpsest
of some other manuscript and painstakingly recovered. Out of print, I
believe.

Lyn Carter's Necronomicon - appeared in an issue of The Crypt of
Chthulhu within the last couple of years.

Gene Wolfe's _Peace_ has an excerpt from the Necronomicon in the next
to last chapter or so. The joke here is that the name Necronomicon is
never used, but the description of the book makes it clear what the
book is.

The NY Public Library on 42nd Street and Fifth Avenue has (or had)
a card catalog entry for the Necronomicon. This directs you to a book
seller's professional journal, which tells the story of a bookseller
who, as a lark, put out an announcement that he was selling an old
tome called the Necronomicon, whose Ex Libris plate showed that it had
been withdrawn from the Miskatonic University library. The article
then went on to explain the joke. I assume the card was there because
the librarians got tired of arguing with people about whether or not
the Necronomicon existed, so they put in an entry that would obviate
the need for discussion.

There are probably others, but these are the ones that I can think of
off the top of my head.

HPL also wrote a brief (one or two page or so) history of the
Necronomicon, which details the various editions and translations that
play a role in his mythology.

Does anyone know:
- Are the passages quoted from the Necronomicon (about
shoggoths, the old ones, et cetera) genuine?

Well, since Lovecraft invented them, of course they're genuine!

- How much else in Lovecraft's stories is true?

The mythology is mostly made up, except for obvious borrowings like
Dagon. However, HPL's brilliance, and one of the reasons why The
Necronomicon captures our imaginations and beliefs so strongly is that
he mixes his mythical books casually in with real works (like the
Malleus Malleficarum and Murray's _Witch Cult in Europe_) making it
difficult to tell the players without a score card.

- What were the circumstances of Lovecraft's death?

He died dirt poor because he never developed the genius to market
himself as well as his talent and audience would have allowed. Poor
HPL.

-30-
Bob

That is not dead that can eternal lie
And after strange eons even death may die.

Mike McCormick

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Aug 27, 1992, 10:58:00 PM8/27/92
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Actually you cnaan pick-up a copy of the Necromnomicon at any large bookstore.
It's already in paperback!!!

Mika O. Latokartano

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Aug 28, 1992, 7:19:12 AM8/28/92
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In article <3qcnmx...@netcom.com> an...@netcom.com (Anson Kennedy) writes:
>sl...@yoyo.cc.monash.edu.au (Andrew Bulhak) writes:
>
>>I recently checked through some library catalogues, and found, much to
>>my amazement that the Necronomicon, by Abdul Alhazred, really exists,
>>and that there is a copy in the Uni. of Boston library.
>>Previously I thought that the Necronomicon was made up by H.P.
>>Lovecraft, author of the Cthulhu Mythos stories.
>>Does anyone know:
>> - Are the passages quoted from the Necronomicon (about
>>shoggoths, the old ones, et cetera) genuine?
>> - How much else in Lovecraft's stories is true?
>> - What were the circumstances of Lovecraft's death?
>
>Check the publication date of the book. You may find that it came out
>*after* HPL wrote his Cthulhu Mythos. In fact, this is the general
>consensus of many people who have studied it (although I don't have
>a specific reference to support this; if anyone *does* have some
>info on who actually wrote the Necronomicon, I'd like to see it).


There's so much conflicting info on this matter. In H.R. Giger's
"ARh+" there is a reference to Giger's Necronomicon. This, of course,
isn't _the_ Necronomicon, although at the time it came out it lit
the hopes of many Lovecraft-fans... In the reference they mention,
however, that fragments of the original Necronomicon by the Mad Arab
Abdul Alhazred (sp) are located in a museum - can't remember now
whether it was in London or somewhere in the US. I can check this out
if there is interest.

Then there is this excerpt from an Encyclopedia of Parapsychology and
Occultism that I found from our university's library:

---------


This article has been reprinted without permission.
The text has been taken 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 Soul.

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.

(End of excerpt)
---------------------------------

So, who knows what the true story is.

- Mika


--
[ Mika O. Latokartano | "Oh, goody! My Aludium-Q-36- ]
[ Internet : m...@jyu.fi | Explosive Space-Modulator!" ]
[ m...@vipunen.hut.fi | - Marvin Martian ]

Mika O. Latokartano

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Aug 28, 1992, 7:27:35 AM8/28/92
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In article <1992Aug28....@jyu.fi> m...@jyu.fi (Mika O. Latokartano) writes:

>
> 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.
>
>(End of excerpt)
>---------------------------------
>
> So, who knows what the true story is.
>

Just want to comment myself to present my own view on the matter...:)
I believe the Necronomicon was only the product of the great literary mind
of H.P. Lovecraft, and no such book actually exists. Lovecraft created
a unique world of mythos so bizarre and horrifying by cleverly mixing
fact and fiction. He's stories are just fantasy, products of his
wonderfully imaginative mind.

Lefty

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Aug 28, 1992, 4:23:18 PM8/28/92
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In article <1992Aug27.0...@monu6.cc.monash.edu.au>,

sl...@yoyo.cc.monash.edu.au (Andrew Bulhak) wrote:
>
> I recently checked through some library catalogues, and found, much to
> my amazement that the Necronomicon, by Abdul Alhazred, really exists,
> and that there is a copy in the Uni. of Boston library.
> Previously I thought that the Necronomicon was made up by H.P.
> Lovecraft, author of the Cthulhu Mythos stories.
> Does anyone know:
> - Are the passages quoted from the Necronomicon (about
> shoggoths, the old ones, et cetera) genuine?

Yes, absolutely.

> - How much else in Lovecraft's stories is true?

All of it. It is not widely known, but Lovecraft's writings consisted
entirely of nonfiction.

> - What were the circumstances of Lovecraft's death?

He disappeared inexplicably, leaving behind large quantities of blood, a
pile of fine ash, and a handwritten document which ended "I can see them
coming for me now! Aaauuugggghhhhh!"

--
Lefty (le...@apple.com)
C:.M:.C:., D:.O:.D:.

Gene Gross

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Aug 31, 1992, 8:28:03 AM8/31/92
to

The Necronomicon is a fantasy and a fake. It was published sometime
within the past two decades to appeal to a new audience of Lovecraft
fans. Prior to Howard's invention of the book for his stories, there
was never such a book.

Gene

HARRY BENJAMIN GIBSON

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Sep 16, 1992, 2:03:42 PM9/16/92
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Does anybody know who wrote and published the "Arabic" Necronomnicon? I have
been looking for it for years, I think it would make a great coffee table book

Alice

Given Eve's choice, I'd eat the apple.

Melchar

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Sep 17, 1992, 2:25:01 PM9/17/92
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le...@apple.com (Lefty) writes:

> In article <1992Aug27.0...@monu6.cc.monash.edu.au>,
> sl...@yoyo.cc.monash.edu.au (Andrew Bulhak) wrote:
> >
> > I recently checked through some library catalogues, and found, much to
> > my amazement that the Necronomicon, by Abdul Alhazred, really exists,
> > and that there is a copy in the Uni. of Boston library.
> > Previously I thought that the Necronomicon was made up by H.P.
> > Lovecraft, author of the Cthulhu Mythos stories.
> > Does anyone know:
> > - Are the passages quoted from the Necronomicon (about
> > shoggoths, the old ones, et cetera) genuine?

Actually, since Lovecraft wrote his fiction, there have been 2
books written/published which were entitled 'The Necronomicon'. Both are
badly written books on the occult that have little to do with Lovecraft's
material (relying on the name to sell the books) -- one published in
hardback (black cover, silver printing on the cover & spine; c. 1977
Schlangecraft Inc -- Barnes Publishing) --
The other came out in paperback a few years later (c. 80-82 I
believe) -- but someone ripped off my copy of that, so I can't give exact
info on it.
I hope this helps.

Seth Bradley

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Sep 17, 1992, 5:12:54 PM9/17/92
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In article <e1c0qB...@west.darkside.com> mel...@west.darkside.com (Melchar) writes:
> Actually, since Lovecraft wrote his fiction, there have been 2
>books written/published which were entitled 'The Necronomicon'. Both are
>badly written books on the occult that have little to do with Lovecraft's
>material (relying on the name to sell the books) -- one published in
>hardback (black cover, silver printing on the cover & spine; c. 1977
>Schlangecraft Inc -- Barnes Publishing) --

What the original poster is referring to has been mentioned before in
the horror news group. It was a beautiful bound volume, with iron
clasps, I believe, entirely written in Arabic, if I remember correctly.
Of course, if you can't read Arabic, you won't know what is in it :-).
It was supposed to have been published in _very_ small quantities, and
I'd imagine finding a copy for sale would be very difficult indeed.
Advertising in one of the rare book journals might turn up a copy.
I'd love to see one for myself :-). Followups to alt.horror.
--
Seth J. Bradley, Senior System Administrator, Intel SCIC
Internet: sbra...@scic.intel.com UUCP: uunet!scic.intel.com!sbradley
----------------------------------------
"A system admin's life is a sorry one. The only advantage he has over
Emergency Room doctors is that malpractice suits are rare. On the other
hand, ER doctors never have to deal with patients installing new versions
of their own innards!" -Michael O'Brien

John Boerp

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Sep 23, 1992, 8:26:17 AM9/23/92
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Dra...@cup.portal.com (HARRY BENJAMIN GIBSON) writes:

>Does anybody know who wrote and published the "Arabic" Necronomnicon? I have
>been looking for it for years, I think it would make a great coffee table book

The Necronomicon is a mere fantasy of H.P. Lovecraft. I you want the book
anyway, buy the one from H.R. Giger. It got the same name but it's "only"
a picture collection.

A r n d

--

Your Eyes burn bright... but no longer have fire.

Steve Lamont

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Sep 24, 1992, 9:36:26 AM9/24/92
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In article <Bv16J...@midget.yps.saar.de> bo...@midget.saar.de (John Boerp) writes:
>The Necronomicon is a mere fantasy of H.P. Lovecraft. ...

So They would wish us to believe...

spl
--
Steve Lamont, SciViGuy -- (619) 534-7968 -- s...@dim.ucsd.edu
UCSD Microscopy and Imaging Resource/UCSD Med School/La Jolla, CA 92093-0608
"When the cells are talking, you have to listen to them..."
- Liz Yoder, UCSD Neuroscience graduate student

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