Ibn Schacabac (not Ibn Schacabao)

402 views
Skip to first unread message

John Whelan

unread,
Mar 22, 2013, 1:21:57 AM3/22/13
to
The character "Ibn Schacabac" is mentioned twice in Lovecraft's
fiction. In the FESTIVAL, the narrator quotes the Necronomicon, in
which Alhazred quotes Ibn Schacabac. He is mentioned again in "The
Case of Charles Dexter Ward", as an ancient wizard whose remains are
among those Curwen and his buddies are tampering with.

"Ibn Shacabac" means "son of Schacabac". Schacabac is the name of the
"Barber's sixth brother" in the tale of Bromecide's Feast from The
Thousand and One Nights (Arabian Nights). He is a starving man who
obtains a sort of salvation through the power of make-believe. Hence,
"son of Schacabac" is an appropriate name for a mystic or wizard.

His name was rendered, correctly, as "Ibn Schacabac" when "THE
FESTIVAL" was printed in WEIRD TALES. The early ARKHAM HOUSE editions
of THE FESTIVAL, however, mis-rendered his name as "Ibn Schacabao".
For all I know, this may (possibly) be in deference to a typescript
they were using. Even if this was so, the typescript was apparently
in error.

Because when Wandrei and Derleth again came across the name again in
CHARLES DEXTER WARD, they transcribed it as "Ibn Schacabac". It is
unlikely that Derleth & Wandrei were influenced by the WEIRD TALES
text in coming up with this reading. Their own texts of THE FESTIVAL
(after all) already said "Ibn Schacabao". Nor can it be readily
credited that two different editors (Derleth and WEIRD TALES)
independently made the exact same mistake. If two independent
sources, reading two different manuscripts or typescripts, say "Ibn
Schacabac", then it must be the correct reading of the name.

When the Joshi text of "The Festival" came out in '86 (DAGON AND OTHER
MACABRE TALES), he failed to fix this error, and it remained "Ibn
Schacabao". When the Joshi text of "Charles Dexter Ward" came out in
'89, he compounded the error by changing it to "Ibn Schacabao" there
as well.

Ramsey Campbell

unread,
Mar 24, 2013, 1:11:22 PM3/24/13
to
"...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..." Translated from the Latin version of the NECRONOMICON,apparently.

John Whelan

unread,
Mar 25, 2013, 2:01:49 AM3/25/13
to
Ramsey Campbell wrote:
> "...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..." Translated from the Latin version of the NCRONOMICON,
> apparently.

The above passage is not actually from the Necronomicon at all, but
rather from the incoherent scribblings of a patient (name withheld in
the psychiatric literature) who was briefly confined in an Arkham
asylum back in the early 1960s.

A handful of deranged occultists have siezed on these incoherent
ramblings as a source of mystic wisdom, but they have generally been
ignored by cult investigators, in favor of more pressing dangers
elsewhere. A number of these particular occultists have indeed met
with unknown and (possibly) horrible ends, but they have not (yet)
been proven to be a serious danger to any but themselves.

It is not known what became of the patient. He was, at some point,
released; and the doctors have so far succeeded in keeping his
identity a secret.

Please note that the text has been tidied up considerably by his
followers, in an attempt to make sense of it. The original ramblings,
as reported in the psychic literature, were so chaotic and rife with
mis-spellings as to be almost entirely incoherent. "Schacabao" in
place of "Schacabac" was by no means the worst offense.

Ramsey Campbell

unread,
Mar 25, 2013, 4:26:39 AM3/25/13
to
Good try, John! But that's not the source.

John Whelan

unread,
Mar 25, 2013, 1:14:12 PM3/25/13
to
Ramsey Campbell wrote:
> Good try, John! But that's not the source.

Did you not say the source was NECRONOMICON? I thought you were the
one who wanted to play make-believe.

The source is not HPL, but another author writing a quarter century
after HPL's death. His spelling of "Ibn Schacabao" is based on the
old Arkham text of "The Festival", where "Ibn Schacabac" was
misprinted with a final "o". His precise identify is therefore
irrelevant to the issues addressed.

If you want this writer named, because you are eager to promote his
work, then name him yourself.




Ramsey Campbell

unread,
Mar 26, 2013, 7:03:50 AM3/26/13
to
Don't worry. I don't think his name needs promoting here.

jwjbw...@gmail.com

unread,
Mar 26, 2013, 8:48:59 AM3/26/13
to
On Tuesday, March 26, 2013 7:03:50 AM UTC-4, Ramsey Campbell wrote:
> Don't worry. I don't think his name needs promoting here.

Because he's that famous and important, eh? Say no more ... say no more! You've given us enough clues. It's obviously Wilum Pugmire!

Ramsey Campbell

unread,
Mar 27, 2013, 6:11:13 AM3/27/13
to
If only it had been! He would have done more justice to the material.

jwjbw...@gmail.com

unread,
Mar 27, 2013, 9:52:06 AM3/27/13
to
You can't expect the same level of artistic commitment in these ghostwritten pieces. Also, please recall he was only 12 at the time.

John Whelan

unread,
Apr 25, 2013, 12:56:19 AM4/25/13
to
Further evidence for "Schacabac" is that HPL is reported to have read,
as a child, THE ARABIAN NIGHTS in Andrew Lang's edition; and
"Schacabac" is indeed the spelling used for this character in Lang's
version. See "The Tale of the Barber's Sixth Brother".

John Whelan

unread,
Sep 25, 2013, 4:48:38 PM9/25/13
to
CONFIRMED: Lovecraft's MS of "Charles Dexter Ward" says "Ibn Schacabac"

Page 40 of MS, far right of page, 8th line from bottom.

https://repository.library.brown.edu/studio/item/bdr:310517/

Aardvark

unread,
Mar 7, 2016, 2:07:37 PM3/7/16
to
And Joshi now agrees, in his Variorum Edition. It's "Schacabac" now, in both "The Festival" and "Charles Dexter Ward".
Message has been deleted

Per Persson

unread,
Nov 18, 2020, 9:24:09 AM11/18/20
to
On Friday, March 22, 2013 at 6:21:57 AM UTC+1, Aardvark wrote:

> His name was rendered, correctly, as "Ibn Schacabac" when "THE
> FESTIVAL" was printed in WEIRD TALES.

Here's a copy of Weird Tales with the trailing c spelling, last paragraph on this page: https://archive.org/details/WeirdTalesV05N01192501/page/n174/mode/1up

--pp

LUIS F. INTERIANO-COELLO

unread,
May 29, 2021, 10:25:42 AM5/29/21
to
Thanks for this link, @Aardvark! I did not know HPL's MS were viewable online.
Reply all
Reply to author
Forward
0 new messages