Warning for the Necronomicon Aspiring Reader

After many efforts to get the right permissions from French authorities to examine the unique copy of the original Arabic version of the Necronomicon kept at the French National Library in Paris, I finally succeeded to get it retrieved and handed to me in the Reading Room. I was surprised by the strange feeling of discomfort and anxiety that crept over me while touching its antique cover. Anyway, this is what I found written on a paper placed between the two first pages of the codex. It’s a message by Professor Charles Mopsik, who died of a mysterious illness 3 days only after writing it – on Friday, June 13th, 2003 – at the age of 46. It seems that I was the first to get a hand on the copy since the sheet was put inside. The Chief Curator of Hebrew Manuscripts didn’t know about this hidden letter, but he told me it should stay where I found it, for warning the potential readers of the danger was a good idea. He himself kind of naturally felt the evil nature of the manuscript, and didn’t like to stay in its vicinity. Here’s the text:

Tuesday, June 10th, 2003 Dear fellow Scholar, I hope that you’ll get this warning before you’ll start reading this copy of the Kitâb ‘Azîf al-Amwât, also known as the Necronomicon. Please, do not try to decipher any sentence of it before you read this note – which I wrote in English, instead of French, so that everyone will clearly understand my point. My name is Charles Mopsik – you may know me through my many research articles on theurgical and mystagogical Jewish traditions – and I’m dying. I was once like you – a brilliant academic scholar – drawn by the fame a publication about this original version of the Necronomicon would bring, for that’s why you’re here holding this Codex. Heed my story below as a warning. Beware and stop before it is too late. I postponed for many years the task of deciphering this Book. In 1987, I first came upon it by chance – if one may call it – while going through the Hebrew manuscripts kept at the French National Library directly from the shelves in the basement where they are meticulously conserved. Strangely, the cardboard box where it was stored didn’t have any cataloging number, and the Chief Curator at the time didn’t have any clue about its identity. While I handled it, I had a feeling of unease and wrongness, even before I opened it and started decrypting the first words. No doubts, this was the original Necronomicon, lost in Arabic script, but miraculously preserved here in Hebrew letters – not unlike the fate of many other Arabic medieval works, forgotten by the Muslims but kept by the Jews in their alphabet. Imagine my excitement. But I didn’t read any further beyond the title. I told my Mentor, Jean Zacklad, about my discovery. He encouraged me to pursue its study and to publish a scientific edition of it with a critical apparatus – he even got me a bad photocopy of the complete Greek version from the codex kept in the Vatican Library, which I have no idea how he managed to pull the strings to get it – but he died soon after, and I got carried away by my academic career. In October 2001, I decided to return to the procrastinated task, and I started the deciphering of it for a scientific transcription. The Author’s Arabic was excellent, full of scholarly discursions known as adab – parenthetically, the translations in Greek and Latin are quite bad, too often misunderstanding a word for another – but the topic of the Book was sheer madness. It was a perverted ode to all what’s against Life itself, a description of a dark and tainted Reality populated by ancient Creatures with no purpose other than Power and Madness, devoted only to Chaos and Horror, Cruelty and Folly.

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Forget Lovecraft, it is much worse. Even the Marquis de Sade’s most ruthless and malicious pages are like Disney’s cartoons compared to the cruelty and viciousness of what’s within the Book. Its Author was clearly totally insane. But oddly, a perverse fever was empowering me, and I couldn’t stop going every day to the Library to read it, while every night I couldn’t sleep for the horrific nightmares I had. I’m a pious person, so I had to prove the Book wrong. In the folly of my academic pride, I selected an unpretentious incantation, an invocation to a simple and lesser Creature, and I tested it. I was home at night, I drew on my kitchen’s floor what was needed, and I pronounced the cursed and twisted words. To my utter astonishment, it did work. Abû-l-Khawf al-Ḥazridî was right, and I was wrong. I won’t tell you here all the things I was forced to do further, for the shame of my actions. And now I’m dying, for it is the price to pay for my terrible deeds. My health is slowly waning, sucked away by malevolent and vile Powers. My last days are lived in absolute fear of my future and ineluctable encounter with the Demon I called upon this Dimension. Needless to say that my soul won’t find any everlasting peace, but will painfully serve instead as a toy for a sadistic Master – and that’s why I abide in this sickening dread. The only positive thought is that my death will temporarily close the evil portal I foolishly opened. Dear fellow Scholar, this Book is true – and that’s why it is dangerous. Its horrifying knowledge should have been kept forbidden to humankind, but I don’t have any moral strength left to destroy the manuscript. Please, go back to the life you have, for if you start reading this copy of the Necronomicon, everything will be taken away from you. I hope that you’ll heed my warning. Beware! Yours truly, Charles Mopsik

Charles Mopsik made his point loud and clear. Yet as a scientist, I wasn’t totally convinced by his arguments: succeeding in invoking a minor demon doesn’t prove that the whole system is true. Is our Universe – created by our beneficent Demiurge – really only one Plane amongst many – populated by evil Ancient Gods? I lacked on the spot the necessary depth of sophisticated reasoning to elaborate an articulate critical objection to his so-called proof. Mopsik seemed to have been deeply disturbed by al-Ḥazridî’s text, as I slowly started to be. Part of me wanted to flee screaming, while another part wanted to brave the fear and begin decrypting. Even so, I returned the codex without trying to decipher it, inexplicably slightly relieved instead of being disappointed. Although, before returning it, I did take discreetly some pictures of a few randomly chosen pages, just for the sake of it. It was like I was mysteriously compelled to do it. Who knows, maybe one day I’ll get over my apprehension and give a proper look at them.

Prof. H. P. G., University of Jerusalem

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