Dead Names, Dead Dog: The Spellbook Shuffle, Part 2

I suppose that Mondays aren’t such great days to solicit feedback.  No matter!  We shall soldier on from last time with “Simon’s” discussion of the Necronomicon Spellbook in Dead Names.

First, some history.

The Report on the Necronomicon first appeared in 1981 from Schlangekraft and Barnes Graphics.  It was published as a small run, twenty-four page pamphlet, with almost identical contents with later versions (though the sigils were printed on two pages in the middle, and it included some section headings omitted later).  This is the reason why the Spellbook was reprinted in double-spaced pages with very large type – it’s an attempt to turn what is, in effect, a long article into an entire book.  Magickal Childe would reprint the book in 1987 as the Necronomicon Spellbook in a larger edition, and it would be reissued by Avon in 1998.

Minimal efforts at revision were made between these copies.  For example, Spellbook readers might be familiar with the following comment on one of the Seals of Marduk:

Scientist [sic] predict a worldwide famine in twenty years.

That comment was exactly the same in 1981 as it was in 1998, seventeen years later – save for the missing “s” in the original.  It’s not as if a great deal of effort went into the rework.

Let’s get back to “Simon’s” version:

I thought [the Spellbook] could have been expanded more fully.  There was, however, no time to do this, and the publishers were happy with the Report as is, so it was reborn as the Necronomicon Spellbook – only after some legal wrangling with Herman…  He had not republished or reprinted the Report in years….

First, “Simon’s” comment that the Report was “reborn” via Avon as the Spellbook is dead wrong.  The book had that title for over a decade before Avon picked it up.  “Simon” can’t even claim that he was unaware of the 1987 printing, because that was the one used as the template for the Avon edition – right down to that missing “s” in “scientists.”  After all the bluster about inaccuracies in the accounts of others regarding his books, it turns out “Simon” can’t even get the title of his own straight.

Second, his statement that there was “no time” to expand the book is highly unlikely.  If he was “wrangling with Herman” over the publication rights, that couldn’t have occurred later than 1992, the year in which Slater died.  That means that “Simon” knew he wanted to reprint the book for at least six years before its reappearance, and likely more.  It seems highly unlikely that “Simon” couldn’t have found the time to do any work on the book during that period, and that the breathless pace suggested by his “no time” comment is misleading, to say the least.

So here’s the question:  why should anyone accept “Simon’s” version of events in Dead Names, when even a casual acquaintance with easily-verified facts undercuts his story?  By this point, the answer should be obvious.

Next time, we look at another side of the same passage.

Published in: on October 19, 2006 at 11:09 pm  Comments (3)  

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3 CommentsLeave a comment

  1. I’m afraid I only get to check this infrequently, and regretfully a lot of it goes over my head. However, I do find it fascinating. I’ve loved the “Dead Names, Dead Dog” series of articles, and wish you the best of luck with all future projects. I’ll look forward to reading them.

  2. […] Last time, we examined the historical accuracy of “Simon’s” description in Dead Names of the events surrounding the Necronomicon Spellbook.  Now we’re going to examine another aspect of the same passage. […]

  3. […] has accomplished something by setting new, lower standards for occult literature.  Remember, I gave Simon a hard time for publishing the Necronomicon Spellbook, a twenty-four page pamphlet made more impressive with the insertion of considerable spacing and […]

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