Dead Names: The Dark History of the Necronomicon


The dark history of the Necronomicon––one of the world's most feared and fascinating books––told by the one man who saw it all...and lived to tell the tale.

The Necronomicon is one of the most controversial books ever published. The master of Gothic suspense, H.P. Lovecraft, wrote about a mystical and dreaded grimoire, known as the Necronomicon––an ancient text written by an Arab that, if it were to fall into the wrong hands, could have disastrous consequences. But no one ...

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Burton, Michigan 2006 Hardcover First Hardcover Edition Collectible-Fine. No Dust Jacket as Issued Black Cloth Covered Boards. 8vo-over 7?"-9?" tall. 260 pages. This scarce ... hardcover edition is limited to 350 numbered (this is #215) and 13 lettered copies--SIGNED by Simon on the colophon page. Written by the author of the occult classic NECRONOMICON--often alleged to be Peter Levenda. The book is in as-new condition. Read more Show Less

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The dark history of the Necronomicon––one of the world's most feared and fascinating books––told by the one man who saw it all...and lived to tell the tale.

The Necronomicon is one of the most controversial books ever published. The master of Gothic suspense, H.P. Lovecraft, wrote about a mystical and dreaded grimoire, known as the Necronomicon––an ancient text written by an Arab that, if it were to fall into the wrong hands, could have disastrous consequences. But no one thought the Necronomicon had any basis in the world outside of Lovecraft's fiction. Until...

Simon was a young man drawn to the mysterious world of the occult through his association with several Eastern Orthodox religions and his friendship with the owner of an occult bookstore in Brooklyn. In 1972 he stumbled upon a stolen text in a friend's apartment, unaware that what he held in his hands was the real Necronomicon––something long thought to be a creation of Lovecraft's brilliant mind and deft pen. After an arduous translation, done in the utmost secrecy (since the tome was in fact stolen), Simon and his close circle of friends unveiled the now–infamous grimoire to a clamoring public.

In Dead Names, Simon tells the amazing true story that surrounds the Necronomicon. From the main players' humble beginnings in the pageantry–filled and secret world of Eastern Orthodox religion, to the accidental discovery of the Necronomicon, to the Son of Sam murders, the JFK assassination , the brilliant William S. Burroughs, and the eventual suspicious deaths of almost everyone involved with the grimoire, this book is an enthralling account of a book steeped in legend, lies, and murder.

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Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly
Simon's 1977 "translation" of the Necronomicon exploited the name and legend of H.P. Lovecraft's invented book, but bore little resemblance to what Lovecraft's readers had come to expect. Now in this "history," memoir and answer to his critics, the author tries to have it both ways: his was not the Lovecraftian Necronomicon, but another work of blasphemous elder lore with the same title. Possibly Lovecraft had heard of it, Simon suggests. We are also asked to believe that the volume, like the Lovecraftian original, has a long and sinister history, including links to the Son of Sam murders, assorted suicides, the New York occult scene and even the World Trade Center attack. Lacking is any evidence that this is other than the work of the author's imagination. While the result may be of interest to students of the occult, it has little to offer to fantasy readers or Lovecraft fans. (May) Copyright 2007 Reed Business Information.
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9781596061019
  • Publisher: Subterranean Press
  • Publication date: 5/28/2007
  • Pages: 264
  • Product dimensions: 6.45 (w) x 9.13 (h) x 0.95 (d)

Meet the Author

Simon is a student of magic, occultism, and religion since the mid-1960s and the editor of the Necronomicon, Simon was a frequent lecturer for the famed Warlock Shop in Brooklyn and the Magickal Childe Bookstore in Manhattan for more than ten years before his sudden disappearance in 1984, speaking on topics as diverse as religion and politics, occultism and fascism, ceremonial magic, demonolatry, the Tarot, the Qabala, and Asian occult systems. He also conducted private classes for the New York City OTO during this period, with a focus on Enochian magic, "Owandering bishops," and Afro-Caribbean occult beliefs. An ordained priest of an Eastern Orthodox church, Simon has appeared on television and radio discussing such topics as exorcism, satanism, and Nazism. The media events he organized in the 1970s and 1980s — with rock bands, ritual performances, and celebrity appearances — helped to promote the "occult renaissance" in New York City. After decades of study in European, Asian, and Latin American cult centers, this book marks his first public appearance in more than twenty years.

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Read an Excerpt

Dead Names

The Dark History of the Necronomicon
By Catherine Simon

HarperCollins Publishers, Inc.

Copyright ©2006 Catherine Simon
All right reserved.

ISBN: 006078704X

Chapter One

Set and Setting

This story begins -- as do so many others of our generation -- in 1968. Specifically, on January 31, 1968: the Tet Offensive and, coincidentally, the pagan feast of Oimelc, one of the four cross-quarter days observed by the Celts of ancient Europe, and sacred as well to members of a new occult movement known as Wicca. Saigon would fall on April 30, 1975: Walpurgisnacht, another pagan holiday, another cross-quarter day.

As Walter Cronkite was giving the latest news reports from Vietnam and telling a shocked nation that he thought "we were winning this thing," a young man sat watching television in his living room in the Pelham Bay section of the Bronx in New York City and made a decision that he was not, under any circumstances, going to war. He could avoid it in any number of ways. He could go to college and thus take advantage of a stipulation that as long as he maintained a C average he could avoid being drafted. He could admit to the draft board that he was gay. He could feign illness, flat feet, or bad eyesight. He could flee to Canada or Sweden.

But there was another option.

Other than college students, homosexuals, and the physicallydisabled, there was another category of deferment: 4-D. Ministerial. The clergy deferment. Priests are not drafted. And William Andrew Prazsky had a closet full of vestments: chasubles, surplices, Roman collars, cassocks. Not to mention chalices, ciboria, and relics of the saints. An ersatz mitre and homemade crozier. Some evenings, the odor of a curious sanctity -- the result of burning Gloria incense in a gleaming brass censer, swung on chains in great arcs -- would waft out of his bedroom and into the plain wooden house that he shared with his father and his elderly grandmother, both Czechs. His grandmother, Antonia, was a Czech immigrant. His parents were separated; his mother, Petronella, a Slovak and a Roman Catholic, lived alone in a Manhattan apartment on the Lower East Side. His father -- William Anthony Prazsky -- was a Presbyterian. Andrew grew up speaking both Czech, English, and Slovak. Tall, thin, dark, and with the fussiness of an old maid already at seventeen -- oddly coupled with the coarseness of his background and upbringing, his father a mechanic for the Triboro Bridge and Tunnel Authority -- he was a strange and easily identifiable sight at Christopher Columbus High School: a student with poor grades who dressed in a suit and carried a briefcase, and who constantly was seen hanging out at department offices, kissing up to teachers in the hopes of improving his grades through social networking. He knew that college was probably out of the question; he would never be able to maintain a C average on his own. He could not admit to the draft board that he was gay; it would have killed his father if he ever found out. He had no money for a trip abroad and would not have managed the life of a political expatriate very well in any event. He didn't know if he could fake an illness that would earn him the 4-F deferment, but he could fake something else. He could fake being a priest.

Already he had developed a snuff habit, and grew a mustache that he waxed faithfully like Salvador Dali: a walking social and cultural anachronism that went largely unnoticed in the turbulent Sixties, when so many other strange and nefarious deeds were being committed or at least contemplated. He would eventually forego snuff for cigarettes and his mustache for a full beard, but not until he had met another young man at Columbus High and thereby hatched a plan that would not only keep them both out of the Army, but uncover one of the strangest and most controversial books ever published.

Peter Levenda was born in the Bronx, like Prazsky, and in the same year: 1950. His father was an actor who studied at the American Academy of Dramatic Arts, but who had an earlier reputation as a segregationist during the Gary, Indiana, School Strike of 1945. His mother had studied dance and choreography. At the time of their marriage, his father was twenty-one and his mother only seventeen. Peter, their first child, arrived ten months later.

Peter had an uncommon intelligence, as noted by educators after a statewide intelligence test on which he scored extremely high. This was the 1950s, when various government and quasigovernment organizations were developing "special schools" for gifted children. Longtime collaborator and husband of fantasy author Marion Zimmer Bradley -- Walter Breen -- was one of these, selected by a group in New York City at the same time that Peter was being considered in Chicago. So was theoretical physicist Jack Sarfatti. What stopped any further progress, though, was the fact that Peter's father had been investigated by the FBI during the Gary School Strike and was considered a security risk.

Instead, in 1963, the family moved to Charlestown, New Hampshire: to a former prison farm on the top of Hubbard Hill. The place had been owned by one Percy Whitmore, who was widely regarded as crazy by the local population. It seemed he was raising Morgan horses on his property when they were all taken in a TB test; added to that was the indignity of having power lines cut across his property. Like something out of the movie The Ring, this loss of his horses and the desecration of his land by the government led to a kind of nervous breakdown. Percy had a wife and daughter, and one day they simply disappeared and were never seen again. It would take a youthful Peter Levenda -- many years later -- to solve that particular mystery by accident, when he came across their unidentified graves during one of his long, solitary walks in the woods they owned: two graves, side by side, with simple slabs of granite to mark the spot and nothing else.


Excerpted from Dead Names by Catherine Simon Copyright ©2006 by Catherine Simon. Excerpted by permission.
All rights reserved. No part of this excerpt may be reproduced or reprinted without permission in writing from the publisher.
Excerpts are provided by Dial-A-Book Inc. solely for the personal use of visitors to this web site.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted April 13, 2006


    Suddenly, I'm a believer. This is an amazing book, a real moving read. You can tell just how farking smart and REAL 'Simon' is. Truly an astounding tale. And full of so much tangenital information. Suddenly, I know ALL KINDS OF NEW AND FASCINATING STUFF, stuff which any person who is interested in the cultural side of the occult should be very glad to read about. Buy this book. Buy a copy for your grandfather, your neighbor, your boss, the 12 year old skater-chick who lives down the street, etc.

    2 out of 2 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted October 31, 2006


    In the 1920s and 30s there was a brilliant pulp fiction writer named H. P. Lovecraft. He created his own made up religion, which would come to be known as the 'Cthulhu Mythos', providing a backdrop for a series of short stories which were published in a fantasy magazine called 'Weird Tales'. The best and most well known of these stories are 'The Call of Cthulhu' and 'The Dunwich Horror', and they center around 'The Old Ones', alien gods/demons of unimaginable power who will one day return to our world and bring about the end of mankind. In the course of creating this entirely made up religion, he created an ancient grimoire which could be used to open the portals between the worlds and bring the Old Ones back. He called it the Necronomicon. There it is. A concise history of the Necronomicon. Anything that claims to be an 'authentic' Necronomicon is just as real as the planet Oz or flesh eating zombies. If you're inclined to believe in these things, either grow up or seek professional help. By the way, Lovecraft is a great writer. I highly recommend the Arkham House editions of his works. People are SO gullable, how many morons carry around this book while listening to Marilyn Manson on their ipods thinking that they are exploring the 'dark arts'? Lovecraft invented the Necronomican to tie his stories together into what has become known as the Cthulu mythos. I can't fault the author for trying to make a buck but anyone who thinks this is anything but fiction should contact me about a bridge I'm selling in Brooklyn. Of course the issue of 'whether the Necronomicon' is 'real' or not can not be solved by this book but it makes for a great read. I, myself, have never read Lovecraft because I'm one of those 'truth is stranger than fiction' readers (one scholarly book a day!). Anyway besides giving some good insight into the weird counter-intelligence scene that works through religion we also get an excellent analysis of ancient Sumerian religion and its connection to other cultures. The 'pop science' position on Sumeria is that it could not be tied to African-based cultures but I had just browsed a book showing the Elamite as an African-based culture -- Dravidian at least! I just think that white U.S. culture is very myopic and this includes the comments on Taoist magic versus ceremonial magic in this book. Taoists are playful and use all the emotions in their healing. The most poignant part of the book was just the psychic reliving of the psychic armor created in the development of Western monotheism. Professor Brian Fagan's book 'The Long Summer' gives a good detailed analysis of how the Holocene warming period that enabled civilization then led to desertification and wars and this great fear that the Gods would forget humans or that the Gods are destruction. I'm almost willing to through out that the great fear of the Ocean as Tiamat, Leviathan, etc. is some sort of vast 'reverse psychology' somatic dissociation dynamic. I also suggest taking ALL names and ALL sources provided and search everywhere for things you aren't quite sure of. You don't need Simon, or Harms, or Gonce to tell you what's right or wrong. you can find these things yourself w/ the info provided in this text. Simon provides extensive (at times exhausting)background information so that the reader can make his or her own conclusions, which in my opinion, point clearly to a legitimate existance of the Necronomicon. However, one must ignore the poor writing of Simon, whose energy went more into the research than the construction of the book. At times, subjects stray away from an end until another chapter, and the story of the two priests crashing Bobby Kennedy's funeral was superfluous for me because I wanted to get to the bare bones of the subject, which can be found in the second half of the book. however, as stated before, RESEARCH THE NAMES GIVEN. The last chapter is pretty much muckracking towards Harms and Gonce an

    1 out of 3 people found this review helpful.

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