|The Simon Necronomicon is a grimoire which some consider the best-known version of the fictional Necronomicon. Its authorship is unknown, but Peter Levenda is a widely cited possibility. The title is often simplified to The Simonomicon.
It is called the "Simon Necronomicon" because it is introduced by a man identified only as "Simon". The book is largely based on Sumerian mythology, and its introduction attempts to identify the fictional Great Old Ones (and other creatures introduced in Lovecraft's Mythos) with gods and demons from Sumeria. The tales presented in the book are a blend of Mesopotamian myths (not only Sumerian, but Akkadian, Babylonian and Assyrian as well), and a storyline of unknown authenticity about a man known as the "Mad Arab."
The book was released in 1977 by Schlangekraft, Inc. in a limited leatherbound edition of 666, which was followed by a clothbound edition of 3333, and (in March 1980) by an Avon paperback. It has not been out of print since 1980, and had sold 800,000 copies by 2006, making it the most popular version of the Necronomicon to date.
The introduction to the book (comprising about 50 pages of a total of around 250) is the only part that Simon indicates that he wrote. It relates how Simon and his associates were said to have been introduced to a copy of the Greek Necronomicon by a mysterious monk. The introduction also attempts to establish links between Lovecraft, Aleister Crowley and Sumerian mythology, as well as draw parallels to other religions (such as Christianity, Wicca, and Satanism). Some of the discussion is based on ideas concerning the connection between Crowley and Lovecraft first put forward by Kenneth Grant.
Much of the book is a guide to magic and conjuration. Many magical incantations, seals and rituals are described. Most of these are used to ward off evil or to invoke the Elder Gods to one's aid. Some of them are curses to be used against one's enemies. The incantations are written in a mix of English and ancient Sumerian with a few possible misspellings in the Sumerian words.
The many magical seals in the book usually pertain to a particular god or demon, and are used when invoking the entity. In some cases there are specific instructions on how to carve the seals, including the materials that should be used and the time of day it should be carved in other cases, only the seal itself is given.
For some rituals, the book mentions that sacrifices should be offered. One ritual in particular describes a human sacrifice of eleven men, needed to enchant a sword which can summon Tiamat (p. 160-161).
Both the introduction and the book's marketing make sensational claims for the book's magical power. The back blurb claims it is "the most potent and potentially, the most dangerous Black Book known to the Western World", and that its rituals will bring "beings and monsters" into "physical appearance". The book's introduction gives readers frequent warnings that the powers it contains are potentially life threatening, and that perfect mental health is needed otherwise the book is extremely dangerous. It claims a curse hit those who helped publish the book. It also claims that the Golden Dawn methods of magical banishing will not work on the entities in this book.
There is debate over the historic authenticity of the Simon Necronomicon. No manuscript has ever been made available for examination, nor do any accredited scholars of ancient religion accept it as an authentic document from the period claimed. Consequently, a larger debate centers around the book's content.
From 2006 the question of whether the Necronomicon displays influences from later civilizations is no longer under dispute, as Simon has stated in Dead Names that the book contains Gnostic and Neoplatonic material. Simon and his supporters now claim the Necronomicon is an ancient work that may have been corrupted through the ages. Their opponents maintain that the book is a modern hoax combining published Mesopotamian material with Lovecraft's fiction and modern magical practices. Despite Simon's change of mind, the current edition of the book still claims, as it always has, to be based on real Sumerian sources.
According to one book on the topic, The Necronomicon Files, 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, to an extent that it appears unlikely that separate translations could have arrived at the same result . In addition, two members of the Magickal Childe scene, Khem Caigan (the Necronomicon's illustrator) and Alan Cabal, an American occultist, have independently stated that the book was widely known as a hoax in the local occult community. Simon has yet to produce any other individuals who are willing to back up his version of events.
A crucial difficulty with the Necronomicon's authenticity is the question of how Lovecraft would have learned about the book before 1921, and why he would have maintained that he invented it. Some proponents, such as Kenneth Grant, assert that Lovecraft was an unconscious medium who learned about a real book in his dreams, or cite possible links between Lovecraft and the Hermetic Order of the Golden Dawn (or other magical orders).
Magical Power - Useful or a Cursed Book?
Many practitioners of magic maintain that, no matter what the book's origins, the Simon Necronomicon provides a complete and workable system that can be pursued as a path to personal revelation and growth. Other magic users warn that it is dangerous, and many of the rituals it contains are corrupt or are deliberate traps which should never be attempted. There are a number of documented cases of people claiming to have been cursed by the book's power just as the book itself warns can happen.
Accusations of Black magic and Connections to Murder
The sensational claims for the book's power and its avowed connection to evil forces meant it has been frequently condemned as black magic by Christian groups. One example is Patricia Pulling who in her book, The Devil's Web: Who Is Stalking Your Children For Satan? (published by Vital Issues Press, 1989) warned against the Simon Necronomicon which she claimed was used regularly by teenagers one portion of the book urges police officers to open interrogations of suspected teenage occultists with the question, "Have you read the Necronomicon, or are you familiar with it?"
The book has featured as courtroom evidence in the murder trials of Roderick Ferrell and Glen Mason with suggestions that it played a part in these crimes which were claimed to be Satanic human sacrifices. Ferrell in particular seems to have taken the book very seriously indeed using it as part of the rituals in his small cult.
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.