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history of the necronomicon, mad poet, pope gregory, al azif

The Truth Behind the History of the Necronomicon

Author: Dawn Firewolf

I don't think there are many people out there who haven't heard of the Necronomicon and the dreadful things connected with it. We've all heard the theories about how it is a Satanist tool; actual copies of the book are bound in human skin and how you risk death and madness to read it. I'm also sure that quite a few of us has let our imaginations run riot about the possible results of rituals gone wrong (or maybe that's just me...) Indeed, there are quite a few people out there who are convinced of the authenticity of this book and the history behind it.



So...if you want a brief 'history' of the Necronomicon, keep reading. If you want to skip on to the truth, click here



The stories say that the Necronomicon, or Al Azif as it is also called in Arabic, was written by a man named Abdul Alhazred (also called the Mad Poet or the Mad Arab) circa 700 A.D.1 Abdul wrote it after spending many years visiting ancient ruins, including Babylon and Memphis, and living in the vast emptiness of the desert. He called the book Al Azif as a reference to the sound that the insects made at night, which was believed to actually be the howling of demons. It is also said that because of his work with this book, Abdul was set upon in broad daylight by a demon and eaten in Damascus around 738 A.D.



Isn't that lovely?



The stories go on to say that some time later, the Al Azif was translated into Greek and given the name Necronomicon Later, it was translated into Latin and both versions were banned by Pope Gregory in 1232 ~ but not before it is said that many terrible experiments were supposedly attempted by various individuals over the centuries.2



The book is suppressed in most countries but only fragments of Latin and English translations exist since the Arabic original disappeared long before medieval times. Various copies are said to be in existence ~ mostly under lock and key in museums around the world for even reading the book is said to have dire consequences ~ remember what happened to dear old Abdul after he wrote the thing.










The truth is that the Necronomicon and the entire mythos connected with it were invented by author H.P. Lovecraft during the early part of the 20th century (wow ~ I never thought I'd get to say that.) His personal correspondences are filled with anecdotes on how he came up with the names and various details of the entire Chthulu mythos.



One author that Lovecraft admired was a Welsh man named Author Machen. Machen often added an air of authenticity to his work by using actual documents and facts to 'support' the claims of the story. Another author who used this technique was Bram Stoker, who used all kinds of newspaper clippings and reports in his famous work, Dracula. Lovecraft himself decided to use this technique and 'improve' on it by creating an entire mythology and the texts to go along with it.3



Many of horror writers during Lovecraft's day enjoyed inventing fictitious tomes for their stories. They would also borrow their fellow authors' 'books' to use in their own stories to lend an air of credence to them. Lovecraft himself used Robert W. Chambers' King in Yellow4; Clark Aston Smith's Book of Eibon, Robert Bloch's De Vermis Mysteriis, August Derleth's Cultes des Goules and several others5. Adding to the feel of the stories would also be the mention of books that actually did exist ~ which is probably why people thought the Necronomicon was real as well.



Lovecraft stated many times that one of his favorite things as a child was a story called The Arabian Nights. He loved to dress up as an Arab, put a 'beard' on his face using burnt cork and pretend that he was a devout 'Mohammedan' (Muslim) by the name of Abdul Alhazred6. Lovecraft himself seems to be a little unsure of where the name came from ~ in some letters, he states that he doesn't know how he dreamed up the name and in others, he says that an adult had given the name to him as a 5 year old. Either way, when he grew up and became an author, he thought it would be both fun and an homage to use "Abdul Alhazred' as the author of a dark and terrible book that figured prominently in some of his stories.



As for that dark and terrible book itself - the name 'Necronomicon' came to him in a dream. While he did draw up a brief 'history' of it, he only quoted the book in his stories. As far as I know, Lovecraft never actually put together an actual 'Necronomicon'. In a letter dated May 7, 1932, Lovecraft said:




"As for writing the Necronomicon - I wish I had the energy and ingenuity to do it! I fear it would be quite a job in view of the very diverse passages and intimations which I have in the course of time attributed to it! I might, though, issue an Abridged Necronomicon - containing such parts as are considered at least reasonably safe for the perusal of mankind! When von Juntz's Black Book and the poems of Justin Geoffrey are on the market, I shall certainly have to think about the immortalisation of old Abdul!"7







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