Necronomicon Ex-Mortis (Also known as "The Book of the Dead" and "Naturom Demonto") is the antagonistic object in the Evil Dead franchise. It has power to harness the Kandarian Demon's ability to control both the dead and Deadites, as well as summon the Kandarian Demon itself.
The origins of the Necronomicon Ex-Mortis varies from universe to universe, though most state that it was written by one of The Dark Ones long ago, back when the they ruled the Earth and the seas ran red with blood. In two realities, the birthplace of the book was in a temple of what would be considered modern Egypt. Regardless of where it was created, the Ex-Mortis contained pages made from human skin, with it's images and Sumerian text inked in human blood. According to one account, the book's cover comes from the flesh of a powerful demon who had more control over Deadites than The Dark Ones did.
In another universe, the Necronomicon was written by a human named Abdul Alzeez in the year 730 AD. The Ex-Mortis of that world was actually a collection of ancient texts written by The Dark Ones, translated by Alzeez.
Written in the book were prophecies, funerary incantations, and demon resurrection passages. It is unknown how many copies and variations of the Necronomicon were written by The Dark Ones themselves before their banishment to another dimension, as the number varies from universe to universe, though most seem to have at least three copies at the minimum.
These three copies were eventually discovered in a graveyard in modern England (although how these books ended up in this graveyard is unknown). In 1300 AD, the time-displaced Ash Williams journeyed to this graveyard and took the real book back to Castle Kandar, where it was locked away in a tower for many years. Shortly after Ash brought the book to the castle, Evil Ash and his "Army of Darkness" attacked the castle, wanting to take The Necronomicon and use it to conquer the world, but the combined armies of Lord Arthur and Henry The Red defeated them.
Long after the castle was abandoned by the knights and kings, the ruined castle was where Professor Raymond Knowby, Henrietta Knowby, Annie Knowby, and Ed Getley discovered the Necronomicon and the Kandarian Dagger in the early to mid-1980's. Raymond and his wife Henrietta took the book and dagger back to their cabin in the mountains and left their daughter Annie to continue her work at the archaeological site. At some point between the time-displaced Ash taking the book to the castle and Professor Knowby rediscovering it, a handful of pages were torn out of the book and hidden in the ruins castle, with Annie Knowby finding them after her father and mother returned to their cabin. When Raymond Knowby arrived to his cabin, he began to study and translate his latest find, reading out-loud and recording a passage that awoke an evil spirit in the woods surrounding the cabin, causing his wife to become possessed by a Deadite. A week later, a group of five friends found the cabin and decided to spend the weekend there, and unknowingly summoned whatever evil the Knowbys unleashed just a few days ago by playing Raymond's recording of the translations. After fighting his Deadite friends for most of the night, Ash Williams finds himself surrounded by his possessed friends. Just when all hope seems lost for him, he decides to toss the book of the dead into the fire in the fireplace, causing the book's flesh bound cover to let out a scream, and stops the Deadites in their tracks. It's presumed that this version of the Necronomicon was eventually completely destroyed and reduced to ashes since it was left in the fireplace for several hours.
The following day after Ash Williams destroyed the book brought to the cabin by Raymond Knowby, Annie Knowby brought the missing pages of the book to the cabin. One of these pages contained a spell which opened a hole in time and space, and another contained a prophecy describing the arrival of "The Hero From The Sky" in 1300 AD. Annie later used the page containing the space-time vortex spell to send the Kandarian Demon back in time. The usage of this spell also caused Ash Williams to accidentally get sucked into the vortex also, thus fulfilling the "The Hero From The Sky" prophecy mentioned on the other Necronomicon page.
The Book In The 21st Century
At some point after returning from 1300 AD, Ash Williams discovered another copy of the Necronomicon (quite possibly one of the other copies he discovered in the graveyard since the one he left at the cabin was destroyed). Williams then sought the help of the employees of the occult bookstore Books From Beyond with translating some of the spells within the book. This copy was then hidden away in a wooden trunk in Ash's Trailer for roughly 30 years, until (while under the influence of marijuana) he read aloud the spell that summoned the Kandarian Demon, once again throwing him into the world of Deadites and demons.
When Ash returned to the Knowby's cabin to try to bury the book in the cellar (which he believed would put an end to the demons once and for all), the blood of the deceased Evil Ash touched the book, and caused it to start talking. The Necronomicon told Ash that without him, Ash is a nobody, but when the book unleashes its evil, Ash gets to play hero. Ash then placed the book in the refrigerator, wanting to ignore the fact that what the book was telling him was true.
The Living Manifestation of The Book
When the book's creator, Ruby, cut the flesh face off the book using the Kandarian Dagger, the face flew across the main room of the cabin and landed directly on the face of Pablo Simon Bolivar. Although Bolivar did not know it at the time, the book had chosen him to become the book, slowly transferring the spells and incantations from its pages onto his skin.
Passages, Abilities, & Characteristics
Known Passages & Spells
Awakening The Kandarian Demon
Recitation of this passage unleashed the Kandarian Demon upon the world of the living, normally close to the location where the passage was read. This was the passage read aloud and recorded on a reel-to-reel tape recorder by Professor Raymond Knowby while at his cabin.
Opening A Rift In Time & Space
Another passage in the book allowed the reader to open a rift in time and space. Some accounts suggest that the reader's desired destination could be chosen by simply thinking about the destination while reading the spell, while others claim that the book itself chooses the destination. Annie Knowby read this passage in an attempt to put an end to the Kandarian Demon's assault on her family's property.
Not much is known about the funerary incantations found within the book, although they are most likely used to help the spirits of the deceased move on to another plane of existence.
Through means unknown, The Dark Ones received visions of the future (or futures that could be). These visions were written down in the Necronomicon, some including detailed drawings (such as the "Hero From The Sky" prophecy).
A Guide To Demons
Besides containing various spells and incantations, the book also doubles as a guide on various demons, their powers, and how to summon them.
Resurrecting The Dead
Though it's famously known for being able to unleash the Kandarian Demon (which then creates Deadites), the book can also resurrect a deceased individual as a zombie (an emotionless corpse with no free will, obeying whoever possesses the book), or fully restore a corpse by repairing disintegrated flesh and the allowing the original spirit to re-enter the body. The Ash Williams of Earth-818793 used this resurrection spell to bring Sheila's deceased brother back to life as a full human to protect her when Ash couldn't stay in 1300 AD.
Transfer of Power To A Human
After being "de-faced", the Necronomicon can transfer its powers and spells to a human being. This was done to Pablo Simon Bolivar while at the Knowby cabin, and slowly over time, Pablo's body became covered with the various spells and incantations contained within the original book.
Potion Brewing Instructions
The Wise Man of 1300 AD discovered the recipe in the book for a potion that would allow an individual to sleep for a century with each drop they swallowed. This potion was given to Ash Williams so he could return to his proper time.
The Necronomicon has displayed the ability to rewrite history to a certain extent. On Earth-818793, this spell was only able to work when the blood of the Chosen One was used to create the page, and Ash Williams used his blood to undo Evil Ash's takeover in his absence. In the "original" Evil Dead universe, The Dark One called Ruby used a somewhat similar spell to alter a predetermined destiny of a few individuals.
The Book's Abilities
The book itself is capable of verbal communication. In the "original" Evil Dead universe, the book was only able to begin speaking when blood touched the cover, while on Earth-818793, it always had the ability to talk, frequently telling that Earth's Ash how much it despised him.
Living Creature Absorption
On Earth-818793, the book demonstrated the ability to take on the characteristics of a living creature it trapped within its pages (in this case, a scorpion that had crawled across the open book). This was how it was able to go from Egypt to the United States to once again torment Ash.
Concealment From Supernatural Entities
Destroying The BookThere is conflicting statements on if (or how) the Necronomicon could be destroyed. During the morning of Ash's second day at the cabin, he tossed the book into the cabin's fireplace. Shortly after the arrival of Annie Knowby and company, Ash was seen throwing a log into the fireplace, but the book nowhere to be found, so it's entirely possible this "cabin copy" of the book had a weakness for fire. More than 30 years later, Ash allegedly told Pablo Simon Bolivar that fire couldn't destroy the book that he now had in his possession.
The Ash Williams of Earth-818793 made multiple attempts at destroying his copy of the Necronomicon. Shortly after beginning his self-imposed exile from society, Ash attempted to cut the book in half with a chainsaw, but this proved to be ineffective. Several years later, following the complete takeover of Earth by Hell's Prophet, the book simply fell apart into dust after all the evil contained within its pages was unleashed upon the Earth.
In the world where Annie Knowby escaped Hell with a simulacrum copy of Ash Williams, she managed to destroy both the Necronomicon and Kandarian Dagger by throwing them into a fire pit, although this scenario was later revealed to be a simulation created by The Dark Ones.
Located in a graveyard in medieval England, two books were left to fool (or potentially kill) anyone who attempted to remove the real Necronomicon from the graveyard. One book had a large hole in the center of the pages that sucked in the potential thieves, while the other had the capability to fly and bite the unsuspecting individual.
On Earth-818793, the two fake books were said to be bound to the graveyard by a curse, unable to be removed from the area unless there was a serious tampering with the fabric of the time-stream and the nature of magic itself. In another reality, the evil clone of Ash Williams retrieved the books, revealing that they contain the same information found in the original copy, but could only be opened and used if the spell that was required to remove the book was said correctly.
On Earth-818793, a Latin variation of the Necronomicon was written by "Mad Arab" Abdul Alhazred. Not much is known about this version of the book, except it contained a prophecy that the world was going to end in the year 2012 AD. This version of the book was later acquired by Herbert West (who then gave it to Ash Williams in Las Vegas, Nevada).
Evolution In The Films
In Evil Dead II, the book is officially called Necronomicon Ex-Mortis (what 'Book of the Dead' is translated from). The book pretty much retains all of its original features from the first film, but with a much darker color of brown and many of its pages are missing. The pages missing mean that the powers of the book are much greater, as evidenced by the passages on the pages brought by Annie Knowby. However, it appears some of the passages, such as the time portal, are hard to control or can't be controlled at all.
The book is first found wrapped in plastic and barbed wire and the pages have warnings and annotations scrawled on them to not read the text. Passages containing evil spells are also scribbled out with ink in an effort to render them unreadable, but Eric manages to uncover the missing words with pencil and paper.
Unlike the first film, the book is unaffected by fire. However, as well as containing passages on summoning demons, the book also contains instructions on how to destroy them as well as clues about their motivations and aims.
- The Necronomicon was originally created by H.P. Lovecraft and was first briefly mentioned in his 1924 short story The Hound, and continued to appear in other stories, but it was later given its own short story in 1927 titled: History of the Necronomicon.
- In the original script of The Evil Dead, Professor Knowby's recording revealed that the book discovered in the ruins of "Ca'n Dar" was only one volume in a series of six books detailing Sumarian burial practices and rites, and "Naturan Demanto" was the volume (given only to sacred high priests of the Ca'n Dar tribe) that specifically detailed demons and demon resurrection. This information was ultimately scrapped for the final film.
- The first draft of Evil Dead II later revisited the idea of the book being one in a series, cutting down the number of volumes to two (calling them "Nosfero Demanto, The Books of The Dead"). One book contained "good" magic, and the other contained evil spells. The separate "good" book was scrapped in favor of the "missing pages" brought by Annie Knowby and Ed Getley in the final film. The second draft of the Evil Dead II script re-titled the book as "Nosfero Ex Mortes, The Book of The Evil Dead".