Exhibit / September 13, 2016
Object Name: Necronomicon advertisement
Maker and Year: Schlangekraft, Inc./Barnes Graphics, Inc., 1980
Object Type: Print advertisement
Image Source: Omni magazine (November, 1980)
Description: (K.E. Roberts):
The Necronomicon is a fictional grimoire invented by American author H.P. Lovecraft. The tome is referenced in many of his stories, the first being 1924’s “The Hound,” and is a significant component of the Cthulhu Mythos. The Simon Necronomicon, as it has come to be called, was first published in 1977 and has been in print continuously since the Avon Books edition of 1980. The book is purportedly “a series of myths and rituals… that have survived the darkest days of magick and occultism,” delivered to the editor, known only as Simon, by a priest who was “ordained by uncanonical methods.” The “editor” and author of the book itself is probably American occultist Peter Levenda, though Levenda denies the claim. Two of Simon’s other books are registered in Levenda’s name, however, with Simon listed as Levenda’s pseudonym, at the U.S. Copyright Office.
5 thoughts on “‘Necronomicon’ Advertisement, 1980”
This is interesting, I remember Omni magazine, my dad often brought home copies from the dead letter office/AMF or from the airlines courtesy magazine racks. He loved it. It wasn’t highbrow or lowbrow but full of interesting articles about astronomy mostly although I recall it was a range of subjects science, math and perhaps a little history or historical profiles. Think I read through some issues but probably most of it went over my head as I was an early tween at the time circa 5th — 7th grade. And the idea of the fictional grimoire via versions by H.P. Lovecraft and also Peter Levenda via his probable alias Simon is very interesting. Plus this universal idea of a fictional and/or ancient grimoire or some sort of book of dark magic is really quite common in pop culture today, so it is interesting to see this advertisement that ran in a former non-fiction/science-oriented magazine. The whole mail order one page and send away advertisement seems so retro and charming now as well.
i bought a paperback copy back in ’90. I wasn’t aware of the Cthulhu Mythos at the time. I half heartedly thought this was a dark tome of conjurings not to be treated lightly. The inclusion of a pronunciation guide made it seem even more legitimate. I remember being quite drunk one night and haphazardly reciting some these invocations expecting to summon some Eldritch horror. It never happened. A few years later I started reading the works of H.P. Lovecraft and soon realized it was literally a work of fiction. How naive I was! Peter Levenda was just building upon what Clark Ashton Smith and August Derleth had already elaborated on from Lovecraft’s stories. Still, I wax nostalgic upon those innocent days when I was fearful of the Book of the Dead.
The advertisement did NOT appear in the September 1980 issue of Omni.
You’re right. It was the November 1980 issue of Omni, page 123. Thank goodness you caught that. We look forward to your next disbursement of justice, internet warrior!
OH MAN DO I REMEMBER THIS! I think I saw it in an issue of Epic Illustrated and may have marked the first time I ever encountered a reference to H.P. Lovecraft. Years later, my best friend bought a copy of it and we both giggled over how silly it was.
I remember a group of us wayward kids did a jokey “Satanic Panic” skit on video tape where we stomp a copy because of its pernicious influence over us.