According to Howard Phillips Lovecraft the book is entirely fiction. Nevertheless, there are hoaxes available and many random references over the internet claiming that the book actually existed.

In the official website dedicated to H.P. Lovecraft there is a page that explicitly says that all versions available of the Necronomicon are hoaxes. Amongst all these things that are told about the supposed veracity of the book, there are even alleged connections with the welsh mathematician and astronomer John Dee.

It may be a silly one, but that's my skeptic question:

Is the Necronomicon historically real?

Here's a direct link to the supposedly "John Dee Version".

  • What do you mean by "historically real"?
    – user5582
    Jul 15, 2013 at 22:23
  • Even Lovecraft himself maintained that he made the book up.
    – Tacroy
    Jul 15, 2013 at 22:25
  • It would also help if you quote and give a reference for the particular claim that you want us to examine.
    – user5582
    Jul 15, 2013 at 22:26
  • If there is historical evidence that predates the fiction of Howard Phillips Lovecraft. For example, John Dee is older, so if there is actual evidence that he worked on a version of the "Necronomicon", then Lovecraft would have based himself in a "historically real" book. Jul 15, 2013 at 22:26
  • I've edited and added a link. Jul 15, 2013 at 22:31

4 Answers 4


Evidence suggests that the Necronomicon was a fictional invention of novelist H.P. Lovecraft.

From the references in the question it appears that Lovecraft himself was quite unambiguous about this.

According to Google ngrams there is no mention of "Necronomicon" between 1500 and 1922.

According to The Straight Dope

OK, cut to the punchline. Once and for all: the Necronomicon is fiction, pure fiction, invented by H. P. Lovecraft in his stories in the 1920s. There never was such a book, not nowhere, not no-how, before that.


There is the "Necronomicon of George Hay" (first published in 1978), claiming to be the English translation by John Dee, taken from a copy in the British Museum. Joshi calls it "one of the most exquisite hoaxes of modern times." Critic Colin Wilson (who wrote the intro to the Hay Necronomicon) admitted in a 1984 fanzine that it was a joke, concocted by him and a few friends.


The Necronomicon of the mad Arab Abdul Alhazred is a fictional grimoire.

"Afterall, the author of the most enduring and fictional grimoire, the Necronomicon, likewise had little initial knowledge of the subject." (p. 263)

The term first appeared in the story "The Hound", written in 1922 and published in 1924.
The Neronomicon may have been inspired by another fictional grimoire called the Sigsand manuscript, which was created by W.H. Hodgson sometimes between 1910 and 1914. H.P. Lovecraft was a reputed fan of Hodgson's work. (p. 264-265)


Owen, Davies (2009). Grimoires: A History of Magic Books. New York: Oxford University Press.


Current evidence leads us to conclude that: no, the Necronomicon is not in fact a real book. First things first, it was allegedly written by the "mad Arab" Abdul Alhazred, which just so happens to be a nom de plume or pseudonym adopted by H.P. Lovecraft in his early years of writing, even before he started publishing.

A perhaps famous version (which is now certainly seen as a hoax) is the one written and published by L. Sprague de Camp in 1973 by the Owlswick press, which due to its limited number of editions (378), came to be known as a rare book.

Hope I was able to help, - Wulf




Lovecraft made it up as part of his fictional universe. He says the name for it came to him in a dream:

The name Necronomicon...occurred to me in the course of a dream. (from http://www.hplovecraft.com/creation/necron/letters.aspx)

If a book predating lovecraft also went by the name "Necromicon", that was not the source of Lovecraft's fictional invention.

  • That could have been the real book whispering to him in his dreams... ;)
    – Erik
    Jan 8, 2016 at 7:49

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