We Get (More) Necronomicon Questions, Part 2

In response to a previous post, Luis Abbadie says:
Meanwhile, there are detailed instructions of bloody murders in Tyson’s Necronomicon, even worse in Chaosium’s Book of Eibon, in Sergio Basile’s Necronomicon 2: La Tomba di Alhazred there are several pages of gruesomeness, in Pizzari’s Vatican Necronomicon (where the mad Arab details the sacrifice of a goat and Pizzari suggests that the goat is an euphemism for a human offering), even in Lin Carter’s and Fred Pelton’s versions there is talk of boodshed -and what of the russian De Vermis Mysteriis, Book of Dagon and pseudo-Red Book of Appin so popular online? And the blatant publication of all these (except for Pizzari’s book and the three later titles) as straightforward fiction is no excuse when Cthulhu believers are convinced that fiction is channeled from the astral Necronomicon and now Tyson’s is the basis for what looks like the newest Llewellyn New Age religious franchise; ALL of these books are undoubtedly being used as the basis for actual occult praxis by somebody outthere, let’s face it.
But ole Simonomicon gives two lines alluding obliquely to a murder weapon and we hear endless ohnoes??? Give. Me. A. break.
As I see it, the evaluation rests on the following three questions:
  • What’s the intent? A number of the works Luis cites are actually pieces of fiction, and I’m willing to give people creative rein therein.  I’d say the Tyson Necronomicon falls on the line, largely due to the odd decisions made about it which we’ve already discussed.  Also, I’d make exceptions for works published for the sake of historical reporting.  (The Simon book doesn’t count.)
  • How wide is the audience? Though Luis names a large number of occult works, most of them have limited circulation.  Even those available on the Internet don’t have the advertising power that places a copy in every chain bookstore in the country.
  • How hard is it? Oddly enough, the more fantastic a rite is to perform, the less trouble I have with it, because the less likely it is that someone will actually seek to carry it out.
Let’s take a quick example from another book – the description of the creation of a prophetic head from the Picatrix.  To do so, the magicians kidnap a man with specific physical attributes and bring him back to their temple.  They seal him in a container of sesame oil, leaving only his head protruding, and they feed him dried figs for forty days…
Based on the criteria above, the publication of this is perfectly fine.  The book is a historical work intended for a limited audience, and the possibility of some sick individual going to the great lengths of kidnapping someone to give them a six-week oil bath is unlikely in the extreme.
On the other hand, we have the Simon Necronomicon.  Even if the description is brief, it appears in a book that is presented as a text of power marketed to would-be occultists which has sold, at last count, 800,000 copies.  It’s certainly unlikely that anyone will actually kill eleven people, but I can easily see someone trying this on one or two.
(It could also be argued that Simon never meant for the Necronomicon to get as big as it has, if you’re looking for an objection to the above.)
I’m always open to debate, so if anyone sees a flaw in the above, please let me know.
Published in: on September 17, 2008 at 11:56 pm  Comments (7)  

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7 CommentsLeave a comment

  1. Have you ever considered the idea that none of these rituals, which describe murder and etc, were metaphors. If you look at it across the board, and not just make Simon the exception then I could understand. Yes the Simon Necronomicon has sold 800,000 copies, and the way you keep talking about it would cause other people to look into other Necronomicons, like Tyson’s.

    It’s pretty much a precedent to say that the Simon necronomicon doesn’t have any historical value when it has sold 800,000 copies That’s oky though because when someone like yourself is constantly trying to disprove something, that people obviously see that there is power in, you go on looking like the one who has issues, and that is what is beggining to happen. I hope you feel better Mister Dan Harms. You’ve got some more studying to do


  2. Warlock,

    Nobody is required to use a particular metaphor. If one leads someone to commit a harmful act against someone else, then perhaps better metaphors should be picked.

    The Necronomicon might make history – but if you’ll look at my comment, it’s about reporting history. There is an important difference.

    I will respond to your post shortly.

  3. So I guess you are now lobbying that the Governemt should appy censorship laws to reading material that may not be pornographic in nature?

    I am beginning to see how the iNQUISITION BEGAN*

  4. This actually reminded me of something my wife asked me the other day. She’s working on a novel and wanted me to research ancient ritual murders for her (not necessarily plain old human sacrifices, but like that one in the Picatrix which are designed to produce a specific result). Do you have any suggestions for good resources?

  5. The Necronomicon, Simon’s or otherwise, is a book; that’s all. If anyone does harmful things inspired thereby, the same people are just as likely to be so inspired by TV shows, a bad date or the simple fact they aren’t getting laid enough. To blame the book is foolish, in my opinion.

    Let the information flow freely. There is a wide array of resources which make even the most half-assed research expose the Necronomicon as a work of fiction. (In fairness, however, so were the Rosicrucians, at one time, and the Keys of Solomon were written centuries after Solomon died…) Forgery, lies and pretense about lineage are staples of the Western Occult tradition.

    And, while we’re at it, if you want to go off on harmful occult influences, consider the teachings of the Order of Nine Angles, who demand human sacrifice, aka, culling, as a requirement for advancement to certain degrees of attainment. I would easily regard the ONA as far more harmful than the Necronomicon, yet I see far more obsession and madness among the detractors of a fictional grimoire than a malevolent body of Satanists. If we can permit quietly the publication (via lulu) of the teachings of ONA, why should we freak out over the Necronomicon? (I support the free flow of information, of course. If someone does something foolish with the available information, that is their responsibility, not that of the author or publisher. No book robs us of our ability to make our own decisions.)

  6. Well, I guess I am going to have to read this book now to consider whether it might actually have any bad influence on anyone. I remember when I first saw it on a shelf in a bookstore and laughed out loud, because I was a fan of HPL from my teens (and still reread his stories with great enjoyment periodically). However, I never actually read this or any of the other versions. Since my business is magic, I guess I will have to read it. I do get the occasional customer who works with this or other versions of this thing. I haven’t had any extended conversations with such folks, though. I personally like magic that has some history to it.

    I was just reading some of the reviews of this book on Amazon. I especially like the spoofs, such as the comment that said “I want to use this book to turn all the judges and contestants on American Idol into ash!” I did notice that the book was typically bought in conjunction with Anton LeVey’s Satanic Bible, which to me says that its readership base is composed primarily of snot-nosed boys.

  7. Also checkout http://www.warlockasylum.wordpress.com for insights into the Necronomicon’s use as a grimoire

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