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Updated: Jun 1, 2023

This short text was written by Lovecraft in 1927, and was published after his death in 1938. It is a brief pseudo-history describing the origins of that infamous fictional book: the occult grimoire Necronomicon, a now-famous element of some of his stories.

The text tells how the Necronomicon, also referred to as the Book of the Dead, was penned by the mad arab Abdul Alhazred under a purported original Arabic title of Al-azif. Among other things, the work contains an account of the Old Ones, their history, and the means for summoning them.

The very act of studying the text of this grimoire is inherently dangerous, as those who attempt to master its arcane knowledge generally meet terrible ends. Alhazred died after being devoured by invisible demons in front of a terrified crowd. His work was subsequently suppressed, though survived. No original Arabic copies survive, nor any Greek translations. Only five Greek to Latin translations (retitled The Necronomicon) are held in libraries (The British Museum, The Bibliothèque nationale de France, The University of Buenos Aires, Widener Library at Harvard University, and Miskatonic University), though private copies do exist.

Capitalizing on the notoriety of the fictional volume, real-life publishers have printed many books entitled Necronomicon since Lovecraft's death and Pop Culture has also seen many incarnations of the Necronomicon used in various media, the most well known is probably The Evil Dead series of films.




Of the latin texts now existing one (5th century) is known to be in the British Museum under lock and key, while another (17th century) is in the Bibliotheque Nationale at Paris. A seventeenth-century edition is in the Widener Library at Harvard, and in the library of Miskotonic University at Arkham. - HPL ~ The History of the Necronomicon

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