Excerpt from The Book That Binds the Dead

Position and Context

This is placed at the very end of Section 4: Gold. Louis Gold is working on forging this book, which is written in Greek. He reads Weer an excerpt (that he translates into English) from it.

The Story

The excerpt starts in mid-scene. The narrator, with a companion, finishes performing certain rites. They then stand naked by the side of a grave, waiting for something to happen. We find that they learned the rites from a spirit "who leans between the moon and the Dog-Star to speak with men," and that they are trying to raise the dead. Eventually, a dead body emerges from the grave: "His eyes were no more; their sockets seemed dark pits, save that there flickered behind them a point of light ... I knew this spark for the soul of the dead man, seeking now in all the chambers under the vault of the skull its old resting places." The narrator asks the dead man to tell him about the afterlife. His answer is: "O shades of the unborn years, depart from me, and trouble not the day that is mine."


The dead man's answer seems to indicate that he, like Weer, is endlessly reliving his past, as does the description of the dead man's soul as seeking "its old resting places."

The book Gold is forging is the Necronomicon, mentioned by H.P. Lovecraft several times in his Cthulhu mythos stories. This can be deduced by Gold's description of its author (a 7th century Arab from Sanaa), his placement of its inventor (Lovecraft) in Providence, Rhode Island, and its title, which Gold translates as "The Book that Binds the Dead," but says is often mistranslated as "The Book of the Names of the Dead" (as indeed it often has been). Lovecraft's own etymology is closer to "The Book of the Laws of the Dead."


Gold seems to like Lovecraft. Three of the books he has forged, Comte d'Erlette's Culte des Goules, Morryster's Marvells of Science, and The Necronomicon, are imaginary books mentioned by Lovecraft. Other books he has forged are Kate Boyne's diary, The Lusty Lawyer (a book the famously bad author Amanda Ros at one point actually planned to write), and a memoir by a missionary named Murchison (the clue that this is a forgery is that Gold has placed the Muchisons' mission in Tartary and not China; he was possibly confused by the story of the Easter egg, which was given to Rev. Murchison by a Russian).

Unresolved Questions

Who is the spirit that "leans between the Moon and the Dog-Star to speak with men"? This sounds like a specific reference, likely one of the Old Ones of the Cthulhu mythos. What is it referring to?

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