Scholar and author Daniel Harms is our guest in podcast episode 136. Harms is known for his serious analysis and writings about the work of horror fiction virtuoso H. P. Lovecraft, including The Cthulhu Mythos Encyclopedia and The Necronomicon Files: The Truth Behind The Legend. He’s also responsible for two significant publications of existing texts: The Long-Lost Friend: A 19th Century American Grimoire originally composed by Johann Georg Hohman and Frederick Hockley’s Experimentum, Potens Magna in Occult Philosophy (the latter is our focus during Harms’ interview in the Occult of Personality Membership Section).
Daniel describes how the fiction of H. P. Lovecraft drew his interest and led him to research real esoteric history and philosophy. His work on Lovecraft’s writing, including the Cthulhu Mythos Encylopedia, has caused many to view him as an authority on the subject.
Along with co-author John W. Gonce III, Harms is also responsible for The Necronomicon Files: The Truth Behind The Legend, the definitive book about Lovecraft’s most famous literary device – the dreaded Necronomicon of Abdul Alhazred. Despite the controversies that surround the subject, Harms’ scholarship, discernment, and maturity allows him to separate fact from fiction.
In addition to discussing the Necronomicon, we also spend time on the infamous Simon who brought the book from the pages of Lovecraft’s stories into reality. Harms indicates that one reason for this was to provide a magickal grimoire for neo-pagans, or at least an example of one. This eventually segues into an exposition about Harms’ version of Hohman’s The Long-Lost Friend: A 19th Century American Grimoire.
“Originally published in 1820 near Reading, Pennsylvania, under the German title Der Lange Verborgene Freund, this text is the work of immigrant Johann George Hohman. A collection of herbal formulas and magical prayers, The Long-Lost Friend draws from the traditional folk magic of Pennsylvania Dutch customs and pow-wow healers. This is authentic American folk magic at its best—household remedies combined with charms and incantations to cure common ailments and settle rural troubles. The most well-known grimoire of the New World, this work has influenced the practices of hoodoo, Santeria, Paganism, and other faiths.”
Harms has revised and expanded the original and added crucial commentary to the existing text, making it the definitive edition of this popular folk magic book. If you have any interest in folk magick and / or modern grimoires, this book is a must-have. Harms deserves credit for his scholarly approach which informs his work and brings a level of excellence to it that’s refreshing.
In the Occult of Personality Membership Section, Daniel Harms discusses nineteenth-century occultist Frederick Hockley and Harms’ work on the re-issue of Hockley’s Experimentum, Potens Magna in Occult Philosophy, a masterpiece of esoteric publishing.
Papers Falling From an Attic Window – Daniel Harms’ web site
The Cthulhu Mythos Encyclopedia by Daniel Harms
The Necronomicon Files: The Truth Behind The Legend by Daniel Harms and John W. Gonce III
“H. P. Lovecraft” Wikipedia entry
“Cthulhu Mythos” Wikipedia entry
“Necronomicon” Wikipedia entry
The Necronomicon by Simon
“Lovecraft and the Call of Cthulhu” by Simon
Pow-Wows, or Long Lost Friend by John George Hoffman