After eight years, my article on the Simon Necronomicon, “Reviving Dead Names,” will appear in Penn State University Press’s anthology Magic in the Modern World. I have practically a full set of the Magic in History books, so it’s particularly nice to be a part of the series.
In a sense, this is a continuation of the work that went into The Necronomicon Files, describing the context of the Necronomicon‘s appearance in the NYC occult scene of the Seventies. At the same time, it is not a debunking work – my sharp-eyed reviewers kept an eye out for that, so as not to blunt its impact – but a description of the numerous strategies used to legitimize the book’s original appearance, and a discussion of their efficacy, or lack thereof. Olav Hammer’s Claiming Knowledge was invaluable in developing my arguments.
The curious part about the Necronomicon is its combination of high and consistent sales, with its relative lack of impact on the modern occult scene. We have many works on witchcraft, magic, and similar topics that sold much less than Simon’s book, but which are more quoted and have had more of an impact on the spiritual marketplace. My article explores some potential reasons for the change.
Also, I got to keep the South Park endnote, which was key to the piece.