There’s more to ancient grimoires of black magic and demon evocation than what you’ve seen in the Evil Dead movies. In fact the Book of the Dead featured in those films–the Necronomicon–doesn’t even exist. But it’s based on the legends and myths of three books that do.
Below are the grandmasters of creepy manuscripts, ancient grimoires used to conjure spirits and demons from other dimensions:
The Voynich Manuscript
Widely considered to be one of the most mysterious manuscripts in the world, The Voynich Manuscript contains a ciphered unknown alphabet written on vellum (calfskin) and depicts bizarre plants, zodiac-like astronomical charts, and tiny naked people in interconnected bathtubs. Cryptographers, mathematicians and linguists have been unable to decipher this book for centuries. Despite its arcane nature, scholars maintain it was written during the medieval years of 1404 and 1438. Its name comes from antique book dealer Wilfrid Voynich, who bought the volume second-hand in Italy in 1912.
The Munich Manual of Demonic Magic
Also known as The Necromancer’s Manual, it is a “recipe book” of a 15th century German magician for the evocations of demonic spirits. The Manual contains the three major kinds of magic found in grimoires: Illusionist, Psychological, and Divinatory. Illusionist spells are meant to fool people into seeing things like castles or armies. Psychological spells are meant to leverage emotional or political power over people. Divinatory actions are intended to extract information from the future or past.
The Munich Manual contains passages that describe sacrificing mythological creatures. But perhaps the most eerie component of this book is that it completely ignores angel folklore and focuses exclusively on black magick and classical exorcisms.
The Red Dragon/Grand Grimoire
The Grand Grimoire, circa 1520 AD, also called the “The Red Dragon,” and the “Gospel of Satan,” was discovered in the tomb of Solomon in 1750 and is written in either Biblical Hebrew or Aramaic. The 4-part book is owned by the Roman Catholic Church and is kept in the Vatican Secret Archives, where it is unavailable to the public. How do we know it exists? The Church claims official ownership of it.
The legend of the Red Dragon is that the manuscript was based on writings by the apocryphal Honorius of Thebes, who many claimed was possessed by Satan. The book is said to contain proof of demonic evocation and occult spells as well as detailing the process whereby newly elected popes slowly turn to the wisdom of Satan. Unsurprisingly, it it is still used widely by practitioners of voodoo, especially in Haiti, where it is called “Le Veritable Dragon Rouge”.
Oh, the book is also rumored to be impervious to fire.