Friday, August 10, 2012

Lovecraft and the Necronomicon by Dr. Bob Curran

Arguably no American writer has had more of an impact on the modern horror scene than Howard Phillips Lovecraft, the man who created the Cthulhu Mythos, with its strange gods, eerie places, and forbidden books. But what sort of a man was Lovecraft, how did he create such a terrible universe, and where did his inspiration come from? In A Haunted Mind, Dr. Bob Curran explores what motivated Lovecraft—his personal life is just as strange as some of his creations—and drove him to create his terrible cosmos. Using both folklore and history, Dr Curran investigates a wide variety of Lovecraftian mysteries.  Here Bob Curran's gives us a glimpse into the Lovecraft's personal library.

Part of the fascination—and horror—regarding Lovecraft’s fiction lies within the references to certain dark and forbidden occult books, the contents of which are enough to madden the most rational mind. The very titles of such blasphemous tomes such as The Neconomicon, The Book of Eibon, Mysteries of the Worm, and Cultes des Goules evoke the horrors that infest their yellowed and mouldering pages. Some Lovecraft scholars have suggested that these volumes might be based on actual works, the existence of which is denied to most academics, although Lovecraft may have been aware of them. Could this be true? Are there books out there that could drive the mind of the reader to the very edge of insanity by the secrets that lie within them? Let’s take a look at some of the terrifying works that Lovecraft mentions and see if they at all parallel real history.

Perhaps no book in the entire Cthulhu Mythos is as celebrated (or cursed) as the blasphemous Necronomicona Latin translation of a foul text known as the Kitab Al-Azif, which originated in the Middle East. It was supposedly written around [SC] a.d. [SC] 730 by the mad Arab demonologist, Abdul Alhazred. The fictitious writer was another product of Lovecraft’s mind, influenced by the small amount of Middle Eastern history that he knew, even though the name is not grammatically correct in Arabic. Since the Kitab Al-Azif first appeared in Lovecraft’s tale “The Hound” (written in 1922 and published in Weird Tales in 1924), it has been extensively written about and modern versions of it have been printed to satisfy fan appetites. Of course, these are not actual grimoires; they have been created from the imaginations of writers and publishers for a specific market. Some are add-ons to role-playing games, others are just curiosites. There are, however, rumors that such a book did exist, and that Lovecraft had access to it. Other stories say that it was based on another book of which Lovecraft might have been aware.
According to author Daniel Harms, the book was probably inspired by the work of the Roman writer Marcus Manilius, who lived in the first century [SC] a.d. [SC] No one is sure where he came from (or if Manilius was his real name), but he could have been a citizen of Rome around the time of the emperors Augustus or Tiberius. He was known as both a poet and an astrologer, and is credited as the author of Astronomica, a five-volume astronomical poem. According to Lovecraft scholar S.T. Joshi, Lovecraft was definitely familiar with Manilius’s work, as he quoted from it in an amateur astronomy column that he wrote for the Asheville Gazette-News in 1915. In “The Hound,” the Necronomicon is not yet the horror that it eventually becomes. Its exact nature is uncertain, but it is thought not to be a grimoire. Its author, Alhazred, is described as a “demonologist,” but in later references he is described as a “soothsayer” and a “wizard.” In fact, Alhazred sounds more like desert kahins, the fortune-telling oracle-mongers who communicated and consulted with the djinn (spirits) in the desert wastes, or interpreted the designs of local gods in the Middle East.

Although the exact nature of the Necronomicon was not specified in “The Hound,” its context is certainly set in “The Festival” (written in 1923 and published in 1925). In this story, the protagonist visits an ancestral home in the snowy town of Kingsport, which exerts a sinister hold over him when he learns that four of his kinsmen were hanged for witchcraft there in 1692. His destination becomes the home of an old, mute gentleman who may be more than he seems. In a musty room within this old gentleman’s house, a pile of “hoary and moldy” tomes sit on a table. The titles include Saducismus Triumphatus by Joseph Glanvill (printed in 1681), the Daemonolatreia of Regimius (printed in Lyons in 1595), and a Latin version of the Necronomicon translated by Olaus Wormius. The first two of these books are real, the last is not. Glanvill’s book confirms the existence of witches and deals in part with Swedish witchcraft cases, whereas the Daemonolatreia is a compendium of alleged demonic matters relating to the trial of European witches. The context of the Necronomicon is a witch book that deals with ancient and forbidden lore and, according to Lovecraft, is worse than any other volume in that terrible pile. But exactly what was the Necronomicon and what terrible secrets did it contain?
In 1927, Lovecraft penned “A History of the Necronomicon,” which was an exposition of the supposed history of the work. The first notes of this “history” appear in a very long letter to Clark Ashton Smith, as Lovecraft tried to keep the development of the text within certain historical parameters.
According to Lovecraft, the book was compiled around [SC] a.d. [SC] 730 in Sana’a (today the capital of Yemen) by a wandering poet and scholar named Abdul Alhazred. The choice of Sana’a may not have been an arbitrary one, because the city is one of the oldest continuously inhabited places in the world with a history dating back more than 2,500 years. What better site for the creation of a repository of arcane lore? Far from being a “crazed poet,” Alhazred may have been a well-traveled man who visited the ruins of Babylon Fortress and Memphis in Egypt. It is here that Lovecraft’s initial image of an urbane and measured researcher appears to break down slightly, for the title that he gives to the book is the Kitab Al-Azif. In ancient Arabia, the term Al-Azif was used by the kahina to describe the insect-like buzzing voices of the djinn with whom they communicated. Prolonged exposure to such buzzing was enough to drive any rational human insane. Therefore, many of the kahina were usually considered to be mad and issued many of their prophesies in rambling verse. Although the title Al-Azif has been used by countless Lovecraft aficionados to refer to the original work, Lovecraft uses it only once in a revision of Adolphe de Castro’s The Last Test. Nevertheless, Alhazred is portrayed as a rambling madman, transcribing terrible knowledge that he learned from the djinn in the wilderness. Some writers claim that during his travels he had visited Irem, City of the Pillars, which had been built by the djinn. According to Iraqi scholar Ibn Khallikan, the horror of the knowledge that Alhazred sought to share with a wider world was confirmed when, in [SC] a.d. [SC] 738, he was torn to pieces by invisible forces in a corner of the marketplace in Damascus. The book, however, survived.
Besides Alhazred’s texts, it is thought that Lovecraft may have had knowledge of another book, on which his work may have been based. Southern Jordan is home to one of the most mysterious places in the Middle East. It is a remote valley that boasts a spectacular rocky outcropping lying about 60 kilometers east of Aqaba known as Wadi Rum, or Valley of the Moon. It is perhaps the largest wadi in all of Jordan and contains traces of human habitation from around the third or fourth century.
It is thought that the word rum comes from an ancient language of the region and means “high” or “elevated.” Mount Um Dami rises 1,800 feet above sea level, while another rise not far away, the towering Jabal Rum, is one of the highest peaks in Jordan. The towering rocks of the region are said to be all that remains of the city of Irem, the stronghold of the djinn-kind, which was destroyed by the magic of King Solomon and never rebuilt.
Many people believe the wadi to be a mystical place. Local legends state that there was once a great city here—a fortress built by the djinn in the days before King Solomon ruled Israel in the second half of the 10th century [SC] b.c. [SC] Local muquarribun, Ghost Priests who still live among the Bedouin of the region, claim that in a local cave lie several cylinders in which are stored a number of scrolls known as The Whispers of Angels.
Written by the djinn, the knowledge that they contain supposedly dates from just before the formation of the earth, and concerns old pre-Islamic gods who dwelt at that time. They also revealed spells and incantations that could affect the very nature of reality itself. The incantations were used to create an earthly paradise in which the gods relaxed before the coming of Mankind, and the book reveals how animals and men were created, as well as instructions for the manipulation of our very reality. Another legend states that the scrolls contain words of power used by Allah in the creation of the world, which were written down by djinn who secretly overheard them. The muquarribun claim that some of their kind have access to and can read at least part of these scrolls, but not all of them.
Although the Ghost Priests of the Bedouin claimed sole knowledge of The Whispers of Angels, the Al Sulaba, the Lost Shamans of the Arabian Peninsula, also claimed to be the true guardians of such arcane texts. Little is known about this strange group; recently they seem to have vanished into the desert or may have completely died out. Even when they were first mentioned in 1853 by the explorer Sir Richard Burton (who referred to them as Khlawiyah, a name derived from khala meaning “wilderness”) they appear to have been small in number and nomadic by nature. Burton suggested that they might be the descendants of Crusaders. Their name may have derived from the Bedouin al-sulban, meaning “the crosses,” which suggests that they are of unknown or mixed origin. Among some of the other Bedouin groups they were classed as great magicians who were directly in touch with ancient gods and djinn out in the desert. They carried with them the ancient text of The Whispers of Angels, which they claimed came from a place known as Majlis al-Jinn—the Congregation of the Spirits—a mysterious cavern on the Selma Plateau in Oman. The cavern is part of a massive and partly inaccessible cave system which was once used by hermits who passed this knowledge into the hands of the Al Sulaba. The text was supposedly passed down in a number of lacquered wooden boxes, which the nomads carried away with them. Significantly, the Al Sulaba are also associated with the city of Sana’a, which is where Abdul Alhazred allegedly penned the Necronomicon.
But did he indeed write it? Does the blasphemous volume actually come from another source other than Al-Azif? According to journalist George Hay, the great Arab philosopher Al-Kindi is also a possible contender for producing the text. Al-Kindi was the first of the peripatetic Arab philosophers, earning the title “father of Islamic philosophy.” He is credited with melding ancient Greek and Middle Eastern philosophy and wrote on a whole range of subjects including mathematics, astrology, astronomy, meteorology, earthquakes, sword-making, and religious matters. One of his books, The Essence of the Soul, although dealing with religion and philosophy, also contained sections on magic; Hay claims this was the forerunner of the Necronomicon.
As for the Al-Azif, Lovecraft claims the formal translation into Greek was carried out by the fictional scholar Theodorus Philetas of Constantinople in [SC] a.d. [SC] 950. Lovecraft states that Theodorus found the Kitab Al-Azif in the Imperial Library, and set about translating and renaming it the Necronomicon. Lovecraft confidently asserted that the translation meant “an image of the laws of the dead” but, as writer Robert M. Price has pointed out, it can be translated in a number of ways: “the book of dead names,” “knower of the laws of the dead,” or simply “laws of the dead.” Claiming that Lovecraft’s Greek etymology is unsound, S.T. Joshi claims that the title actually means “book considering the dead,” perhaps simply referring to a manual of classification.
According to the writer Dennis Detwiller, around 1,000, the Greek Necronomicon was translated back into Arabic by philosopher and healer Ibn Sina under the title Kitab al-Majmu (The Book of Collections). Ibn Sina, better known by his Latin name Avicenna, wrote extensively in the fields of philosophy and medicine; his writings contributed extensively to the Islamic Golden Age between [SC] a.d. [SC] 750 and [SC] a.d. [SC] 1257.
The Kitab al-Majmu is connected to the Alawites, a Syrian Islamic sect. The Alawites belong to the Shia branch of Islam and trace their descendancy from a cousin of the Prophet Mohammed. The Kitab is not printed in the conventional way, but is passed down among them in handwritten form between what they describe as an “Initiated Master” and “Apprentice.” The Alawites have a mystical reputation and some Islamic clerics declare that they are not Muslims at all. Little is known about their holy books, although they seem to be pretty standard historical and religious texts and certainly not the Necronomicon.
However, despite the translation back to Arabic, the Greek translation was still popular, and in 1050 it came to the attention of Michael I Cerularius, a theologian noted for his strong views. It is said that Michael was so shocked by what he had heard about the book that he ordered all copies to be gathered up and burned along with all known copies of the Kitab Al-Azif. However, Michael was not thorough in his destruction of the terrible work, for a copy or two survived. According to some sources, a copy of Al-Azif was found somewhere in Jerusalem by a Crusader knight around 1099, and it was brought to the Comte de Champagne, a student of the occult, who set his knights to guard it. The book would later form the basis for a French version of the Necronomicon, and in the early 13th century, several French copies circulated in a number of French monasteries including Mortemer Abbey in Normandy and the monasteries of St. Hilaire and St. Martin du Canigou in Languedoc. In all of these holy houses, the copies were held in secret, and were not spoken about in the outside world.
It is interesting that a Christian Orthodox Patriarch was involved in the destruction of the Necronomicon, because legend states that a Syrian Coptic monastery dedicated to the Egyptian saint Pachomius held a certain book, written in a form of Greek, called The Testaments of the Twelve Patriarchs. This is allegedly one of the “Enochian texts,” which described the activities of the Grigori or Watchers (angels sent by God to watch over Earth who sinned with the daughters of men). In particular, The Testaments reveals some of the sorceries that the fallen angels taught men in return for enjoying their daughters. Much of the book is devoted to the teachings of the angels’ leader, Samyaza, which supposedly gave great magical power to whoever could translate them. There were, of course, restrictions on who could read the text: No woman could even look at the pages of the book and men had to undergo certain rituals before they read them.
At some point, The Testaments was removed from Syria and taken to one of the religious houses in Mount Athos in Greece. Again, it was placed in a secret location and no woman was permitted to see it. However, at the end of the 19th century, one of the men who allegedly consulted its pages was Grigory Yefimovich Rasputin. This book was supposedly the source of Rasputin’s occult powers, which later held much of Russia in thrall. What became of The Testaments (if it ever existed) afterward is unknown.
Although Greek, French, and Belgian variations of the Necronomicon existed, the edition to which most people refer is a 1228 Latin translation by one of Lovecraft’s fictional characters, a Danish monk named Olaus Wormius. The name Olaus Wormius emerges again in connection with another version of the Necronomicon in 1487. This time, Olaus Wormius is a monk in Catholic Spain, and is a secretary to Tomas de Torquemada, a senior official in the Inquisition.
Both of these versions of Olaus Wormius were based on a Danish physician named Ole Worm (1588–1655). Something of a perpetual student, he obtained degrees from the University of Marburg in Germany (1605) and the University of Basel in Switzerland (1611), holding a doctorate in medicine. His contribution to modern medicine lies in the naming of bones in the cranium, which are known today as Wormian bones. He also acted as a court physician to King Christian IV of Denmark, advising the Monarch on various contagions that had broken out in the country. This urbane and learned Protestant physician seems very far removed from the Lovecraftian creation of Olaus Wormius, who translated the blasphemous Greek text of the Necronomicon in far-away Spain.
According to Lovecraft, the fictional Wormius sent a printed copy of the translated text to Johannes Trithemius, Abbot of the Schottenklöster in Wurzburg, Germany. Trithemius was a learned cryptologist and occult scholar who, in 1499, produced a book entitled Steganographia, which was allegedly about magic. Although he had published a number of books on the occult, Trithemius was shocked and alarmed at the content of Wormius’s book, and reported it to the church officials, who had Wormius seized and burned at the stake as a witch. (The real Ole Worm died at home.)
Despite all this suppression, copies of the Necronomicon continued to circulate. The most famous was the black-letter text, which was a direct printing of Wormius’s earlier text that had been printed in Germany around 1400. According to Lovecraft, the book had now been placed on the Vatican’s Index Librorum Prohibitorum (The List of Banned Books). Unfortunately, the Index did not actually exist at this time and was only introduced in 1559 by Pope Paul IV. Therefore, Lovecraft’s knowledge of Vatican history seems slightly suspect. It is quite possible that other lists of banned literature may have existed, but many of these related to religious heresies or those which directly challenged the views of the Church
Despite having a place on the list, copies of the book still continued to circulate; more French editions appeared, along with Russian and Italian version. In fact, the Leonardo da Vinci reputedly possessed a copy of the book, and a copy was also translated by the Spanish writer Miguel de Cervantes (author of Don Quixote). However, one of the copies made around this time was of special interest: Around 1586, the most comprehensive and accurate English translation of the Necronomicon was written by a mysterious but well-known individual named Dr. John Dee.
Dee was an enigmatic figure in 16th-century society who straddled the worlds of science and magic as they gradually became distinct from each other. The son of a minor courtier, Dee was born in Tower Ward, London, in 1527. His family was Welsh, and had arrived in London as part of the retinue of Henry VII. Raised as a Catholic, he was educated at Chelmsford Grammar School, where his abilities were recognized; he was recommended for a scholarship to St. John’s College in Cambridge. In the late 1540s and early 1550s he traveled through Europe, visiting the courts of many European rulers and lecturing at several universities. It is thought that at this time he was acting as both a diplomat and spy on behalf of the English throne.
Always interested in both science and the occult (particularly in astrology) Dee was arrested for treason in 1555 because he allegedly cast the horoscopes of Queen Mary I and Princess Elizabeth (later Elizabeth I), which showed the Queen in an unfavourable light and doomed to an early death. He appeared before the Parliamentary Star Chamber and exonerated himself, but he was placed under the supervision of a number of Catholic bishops anyway. This led to continual rumors of magic and necromancy, which would follow him for the rest of his life. When Mary died in 1558, Dee found some favor with her successor, her half-sister Elizabeth, and become her consultant regarding astrological and scientific matters. He put forward proposals for the creation of an early English empire, as well as extending English claims in the New World.
While on a visit to Prague, he visited the court of the Holy Roman Emperor Rudolf II. According to some accounts, Dee supposedly came across a copy of the Necronomicon. Others say that he found Olaus Wormius’s translation at the castle of a Transylvanian noble, although there is no mention of a trip to the country in any of Dee’s own diaries. A third story stated that Dee acquired the book from his questionable associate, the spirit-medium Edward Kelley. Kelley allegedly purchased it in Prague from a Jewish mystic and Kabbalist named Jacob Eliezer—the so-called “Black Rabbi” who fled to the city from Italy to avoid charges of necromancy.
Regardless of where he obtained the Latin version of the Necronomicon, Dee supposedly started work on the English translation in 1586. According to journalist George Hay, there are two dates for the printing of the work: One is recorded as 1585 in Haarlem, Holland, which would make the translation slightly earlier. The other year is 1571 in Antwerp. Daniel Harms, however, dismisses both accounts, saying that the English translation was undertaken from 1586 onward, and that the text was never printed but kept in a handwritten form only. Dee died in 1608 or 1609, and if he possessed a copy of the Necronomicon no one knows what happened to it. He did, however, leave several mysterious volumes including the Book of Soyga, which was a Latin treaty on magic and the mystic arts written sometime before the 16th century. It contained Kabbalistic tables as well as incantations for the summoning of various angels—the angel Uriel in particular. After Dee’s death, it was deemed lost, but was found again in 1994 and is now in the Bodleian Library at the University of Oxford. Of his Necronomicon, however, there was no trace.
In his Guide to the Cthulhu Cult, Fred Pelton mentions another copy of the Wormius volume written by Baron Frederick I of Sussex under the title Cultus Maleficarum, more commonly known as The Sussex Manuscript. This is, Pelton says, a confused and barely intelligible version, and is not considered to be reliable. However, it should be noted that Sussex was never a Barony, so the book that Pelton produced as evidence was probably written by Pelton himself. Although August Derleth considered publishing it, and made reference to it in some of his stories, this idea was eventually abandoned. Lovecraft scholars suggest that Dee’s translation is probably the most complete and reliable version in English.
Although vehemently suppressed, versions of the Necronomicon were starting to appear in many languages besides English at this time. A reference to yet another copy appeared in a work entitled My Understanding of the Great Book, by a German scholar named Joachim Kindler. The copy surfaced in the city of Buda in 1641, and he says it was written in the Gothic tongue (a language spoken by the ancient Germanic tribes), although other writers dispute this and say that it was written in a form of proto-Turkish. Kindler gives the first real clues—apart from scattered quotations—as to the overall content of the abhorred volume. The translation, he claims, “offers proofs logickal and glorious” of the “stellar numbers, potentiated objecks, signs and passes, probatories, phylacteries, and craftsmanly artes.” In other words, the Necronomicon could be viewed as a grimoire in the conventional sense.
It is here that the book may take on a slightly more substantive form through another historical figure. In 1664, the Kabbalist Nathan of Gaza supposedly wrote and circulated the Sepher ha-Sha’are ha-Daath (The Book of the Gates of Knowledge). Contained within this work were two chapters of what Nathan called “The Book of Alhazred.” These chapters, according to Nathan, concerned the dark side of Jewish mysticism and referred to the Qliphoth or “husks,” which represented the impure and unpredictable forces abroad in the world. These chapters, he added, would only be read by dark magicians, but he included them as a warning to all who sought the mystical path.
Nathan of Gaza was an historical figure who was born in Jerusalem in 1643. He was a Talmudic scholar, a seer, and a prophet for the “false Messiah” Sabbatai Zevi (Tzevi). Nathan’s father, Elisha Hayyim ben Jacob, was a German Jew, which gave him the Jewish family name “Ashkenazi” (his mother was Polish), but most of his early studies lay in a more Eastern version of the Talmud. After studying both the Kabbalah and Talmud under the renowned scholar Jacob Hagiz, Nathan settled in Gaza where he became something of a mystic, experiencing ecstatic visions and pronouncing radical views to all who would listen. In 1663, he married the daughter of a prosperous man named Samuel Lissabona and his father-in-law’s wealth allowed him to continue with his theological and mystical studies without having to look for work.
A great deal of Nathan’s study lay in the work of the 16th-century rabbi Isaac Luria. Much of the mystical and quasi-magical Lurianic teaching centered around the nature of the Zohar (The Book of Splendor), which was one of the foundations of Kabbalistic teaching. It was during the reading of the Zohar that Nathan experienced one of his most significant visions in which he learned the secrets of the Talmud and various Kabbalistic secrets. The vision lasted for 24 hours and transformed Nathan’s life and his perception of reality. The insight told him that Sabbatai Zevi, a rabbi, was the true Messiah sent by God.
This was not the last special vision that Nathan was to undergo. As the years passed, he experienced a series of minor visions, all confirming Sabbatai Zevi as the true Messiah. In the spring of 1665, he experienced a second significant vision. This one, he claimed, was not just a prophesy. He was possessed by a divine spirit—those around him claimed that he smelled differently. Prompted by these visions, it was Nathan who pushed Sabbatai Zevi into declaring himself as the new Jewish Messiah.
In December 1665, Nathan and Sabbatai Zevi parted company as the latter traveled to Turkey to consolidate his position as Messiah there. Nathan now confronted the rabbis in Jerusalem who had proclaimed Sabbatai “a false Messiah.” He circulated many documents concerning the Messiah, seeking to prove that his visions had been correct.
The campaign of the new Messiah was going badly in Turkey as well. In September 1666, Sabbatai was arrested and when he appeared in court before the Sultan, Sabbatai immediately cast off his Jewish garb and donned a Turkish turban, renouncing Judaism and accepting the Islamic faith. Because he had been associated with this “false Messiah,” Nathan of Gaza found himself shunned by the Jewish community. However, this did not stop him from publishing texts and books that circulated throughout the world. One of these may have been the Sepher ha-Sha’are ha-Daath.
Throughout the succeeding centuries, various copies and sections of the Necronomicon surfaced in several parts of the world, most notably in America where a number of English variations appeared among some of the remote New England communities. Several of these copies had been passed down through the generations of families as heirlooms. According to tradition, many of these families were living in remote areas such as Rhode Island and Vermont, and were lacking in formal education, but they possessed an arcane knowledge that they obtained from the book and others like it. For example, according to Lovecraft’s own The Case of Charles Dexter Ward, a 1771 raid on a farmhouse near Providence, Rhode Island, supposedly uncovered a copy belonging to a degenerate branch of the Curwen family. Subsequent writers have suggested that certain raiders took this book and made copies of it, which then found their way into the hands of certain antiquarians in the area. One of these was allegedly a relative of Lovecraft.
According to Keith Herber in Arkham Unveiled, somewhere between 1895 and 1900, Henry Armitage, head librarian at Lovecraft’s fictional Miskatonic University (clearly modeled on Brown University, not far from Lovecraft’s own house), purchased a copy of the Necronomicon from Whipple Phillips, Lovecraft’s grandfather. This is perhaps the first time the book was directly linked with the family of the Mythos author. Lovecraft fans claim the book is at Brown University, but is only available to certain scholars.
One such scholar may have been writer Brian Lumley’s fictional character Joachim Feery who, in 1901, supposedly published a book entitled Original Notes on the Necronomicon. Feery also published a series of commentaries on some of the more monstrous tomes, such as The Book of Dzyan, De Vermis Mysteriis, and the Necronomicon. In all of his work, there were inconsistencies and discrepancies and, when questioned about this, Feery claimed that he had consulted his father’s work (who had also written a commentary on the Necronomicon) or that any addition information had come to him in his dreams. This made his writings suspect and irrelevant, and even a second “amended” work a year later did nothing to reinstate his reputation.
Other writers have attempted to link the deadly book with actual places and historical events. For instance, a copy of the Necronomicon was apparently donated to Harvard University by the estate of an antiquary who perished on the RMS Titanic; the occultist Aleister Crowley supposedly published a copy in 1916; in 1928, a copy was found in Russia in a secret library of Ivan the Terrible; eventually it found its way into the hands of Joseph Stalin before World War II.

A Haunted Mind will be available through all retailers August 20th.

Dr. Bob Curran has travelled throughout the world, fascinated by the myths and stories that he has found. He has written a number of books, including VampiresLost Lands, Forgotten Realms; Zombies; and Werewolves, all from New Page Books. He lives in Northern Ireland with his wife and family. 

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