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WAS H.P. LOVECRAFT AN OCCULTIST???
HOWARD PHILIPS LOVECRAFT (1890-1937) Was not an occultist of any kind, but just a writer of short horror stories who was unknown in his day.
As mentioned earlier, far from being a believer in magic Lovecraft was, in fact, an atheist! People claiming he was an occultist are just wishful thinkers, and there is absolutely no evidence to support it. Some desperate people cite Lovecraft's mentionings of John Dee in his stories as proof he was an occultist. So what? Anyone can insert a figure from history into their story to make it more authentic...in fact authors of fiction do this all the time. A big hullabaloo is made about Lovecraft mentioning a cult leader with a shaved head from England that sounds like Crowley as proof he knew Crowley. People who leap to this conclusion are forgetting Crowley was the original occult kook, and was sometimes mentioned in newspapers articles during his lifetime, even American newspapers. It's not hard to see how Lovecraft could have heard of him without actually meeting him. Niether the diaries of Aleister Crowley, nor the volumes of correspondence of Lovecraft, ever mention of ever having any contact with one another.
Like Edgar Allan Poe, Lovecraft didn’t achieve fame until years after his death. Unfortunately, Nazi Germany noticed Lovecraft, and found out he was a white supremacist too. Before WWII, the Nazis approached Lovecraft to write the American equivalent of Mein Kampf. Lovecraft was bigoted enough that he agreed to do it. Fortunately a friend and his ex-wife (who was Jewish) found out about the plot and managed to talk him out of writing it, so he wouldn’t go to prison for treason.
Lovecraft's racism has not gone unnoticed among scholars, either. H.P. Lovecraft scholar S.T. Joshi has said "There is no denying the reality of Lovecraft's racism, nor can it merely be passed off as ‘typical of his time,’ for it appears that Lovecraft expressed his views more pronouncedly (although usually not for publication) than many others of his era. It is also foolish to deny that racism enters into his fiction."In his book H.P. Lovecraft: Against The World, Against Life, Michel Houellebecq argues that "racial hatred" provided the emotional force and inspiration for much of Lovecraft's greatest works. Some of his most hostile racist views can be found in his poetry, particularly in "On the Creation of N*****s", and "New England Fallen" (both 1912).
Many would be Harry Potters assume that he was an occultist because his short stories that usually centered around a spell book called "The Necronomicon". Lovecraft told people on numerous occasions there was no real Necronomicon. The one thing he did have in common with occultists was that he died broke at the home of two spinster aunts he lived with. Lovecraft's stories usually had one central theme: Stupid people who tried their hand at occult and got fried every single time. If you take anything away after reading Lovecraft, make it that. The occult ruins lives, avoid it.
Was the Necronomicon or Al Azif a real book? Nope. The book, like it's fictional author Abdul Al Hazared were all products of the very imaginative mind of Lovecraft. But just as even today, people want to desperately hope they can have powers like the witches portrayed in Charmed or The Craft, people wanted to believe the horrible Necronomicon was real back then too. Lovecraft got several letters from his readers asking if the Necronomicon was real and if so where could they get a copy. Lovecraft always told people who asked them that the Necronomicon was not real and never told people otherwise.
"By the way - there is no "Necronomicon of the mad Arab Abdul Alhazred." That hellish & forbidden volume is an imaginative conception of mine, which others of the [Weird Tales] group have also used as a background of allusion."- from a letter to Robert Bloch, May 9, 1933
"..I read the Arabian Nights at the age of five. In those days I used to dress up in a turban, burnt-cork a beard on my face, and call myself by the synthetic name (Allah only knows where I got it!) of Abdul Alhazred - which I later revived, in memory of olld times, to confer on the hypothetical author of the hypothetical Necronomicon!" –from a letter to Robert E. Howard, October 4, 1930
"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!" –from a letter to Robert E. Howard, May 7, 1932
"As for the "Necronomicon" - this month's triple use of such allusions is bringing me in an unusual number of inquiries concerning the real nature & obtainability of Alhazred's, Eibon's, & von Junzt's works. In each case I am frankly confessing the fakery involved."
– from a letter to Robert Bloch dated early to mid July 1933
"Regarding the Necronomicon - I must confess that this monstrous & abhorred volume is merely a figment of my own imagination! Inventing horrible books is quite a pastime among devotees of the weird, & . . . . . many of the regular W.T. contributors have such things to their credit - or discredit. It rather amuses the diffferent writers to use one another's synthetic demons & imaginary books in their stories - so that Clark Ashton Smith often speaks of my Necronomicon while I refer to his Book of Eibon . . & so on. This pooling of resources tends to build up quite a pseudo-convincing background of dark mythology, legendry, & bibliography - though of course none of us has the least wish actually to mislead readers."
– from a letter to Miss Margaret Sylvester, dated January 13, 1934
And there are many more letters from Lovecraft surviving that prove the Necronomicon never really existed. It seems rightly so, since prior to Lovecraft's stories, there is no mention of the Necronomicon anywhere in history! There is no known example of a book called The Necronomicon or Al Azif in printed or written form prior to the one published by Schlangekraft and Avon Books. Period!
One person emailed me to say the Necronomicon must be real because it has names of Sumerian and Babylonian mythological figures in it. I suppose Wonder Woman comics are real because they mention Greek mythological figures too? Is Harry Potter real because it mentions London? Just because writers insert names of real places or idols doesn't make it real.
You'll find pages about the Necronomicon on the internet, giving made up information, claiming such things as Idres Shaw conducted searches for the book, etc., but they are just deluded ramblings of deluded people. If you believe in things like that, you might as well believe the flat earth webpages too.
Several portions of the Necronomicon bear striking similarities with other works mentioned in its bibliography, such as R. C. Thompson's The Devils and Evil Spirits of Babylonia and Pritchard's Ancient Near Eastern Texts Relating to the Old Testament. The similarities are so much so that critics have concluded it's extremely unlikely translations could have arrived at the same result. Some folks out there (Daniel Harms and John Wisdom Gonce to be exact) have noticed a striking similarity between the "Hymn to the Ancient Ones" on page 199 of The Necronomicon and to this piece from the book Pritchard's Ancient Near Eastern Texts Relating to the Old Testament (Princeton University Press, 1955):
"They are lying down, the great ones. The bolts are fallen; the fastenings are placed. The crowds and people are quiet. The open gates are (now)closed. The gods of the land and the goddesses of the land, Shamash, Sin, Adad, and Ishtar, Have betaken themselves to sleep in heaven. They are not pronouncing judgement; They are not deciding things. Veiled is the night; The temple and the most holy places are quiet and dark." (p. 391)
The Necronomicon's Humwawa, a demon described as having an entrail-like face, in Sumerian mythology was described instead as being a friendly forest spirit. Absu, which The Necronomicon describes as hell was actually a mythical underground freshwater sea. The Necronomicon also mentions the demon Pazuzu. Slater seemed to have been fond of Pazuzu, describing him as a being an unfairly maligned idol and even sold statues of said idol in his Magickal Childe mail order catalog. Pazuzu became popular among occultniks after the release of the 1973 horror movie The Exorcist...about the same time the Necronomicon was "discovered".
The structure of the book seems to have been inspired by Goetia:The Lesser Key of Solomon written by Aleister Crowley. The Goetia, like the later Necronomicon, both have the "good spirits" in the front, an "invocation to the fire god", and the "evil spirits" toward the end among other similarities. The Goetia, like the Necronomicon, was a book falsley attributed to someone else; The Goetia to King Solomon (it obviously wasn't written by him), the Necronomicon by the ficticious "mad Arab Adul Alhazred". Just as the Necronomicon was plagarized from the earlier Goetia, et al, the Goetia itself was plagarized from a 15th century grimorie titled Grimorium Verium (also falsley attributed to King Solomon). Crowley is mentioned in the introduction in the Necronomicon, and Slater and his friends would have been familiar with him.
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