Mysterious Books You Should Avoid Reading At All Costs

Let's investigate some mysterious and cursed books you should avoid reading at all costs!

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For as long as mankind can remember, the written word has served as a portal to incredible knowledge, sometimes passed down over thousands of years. But as enlightening as books can be, there are some you should never, ever read. From ancient tomes supposedly containing black magic to cursed texts that could lead to your demise, let's delve into the most mysterious books you should avoid reading at all costs.

The Lesser Key Of Solomon (Goetia)

If you like horror movies, you might’ve seen Hereditary or The Nun. But did you know that the demonic deviants in those movies come straight out of a real-life book? Known as The Lesser Key of Solomon, this infamous tome is probably the most influential grimoire, or book of magic, of its kind.

The book is composed of 5 different texts written across hundreds of years and first appeared as a collection in the 17th century, back when magic was commonly believed to exist. Mysteriously though, nobody knows who wrote it. What we do know is that the grimoire contains supposed spells and information on how to summon a whopping 72 demons.

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That includes King Paimon, the demon from Hereditary, and Valak, who features in The Nun. But why would anyone want to summon a demon? They’re said to possess great knowledge and power that they can impart with you, for a big price. Demons were believed to be notoriously tricky. One minute you could be hitting up your local fiend for some mad knowledge and the next, you just got possessed!

Apparently, a 14th century French monk named John of Morigny devoutly followed the teachings of one of the texts in The Lesser Key. Rather than receiving knowledge or wisdom however, he was cursed with horrific demonic visions.

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The monk was so traumatized that he wrote his own manuscript warning people to stay away from the text! Even if you’re not planning on messing with any magic though, you should still steer clear. People who merely read the original manuscript have reported the book’s pages turning by itself and ghostly figures appearing to torment them.

Grand Grimoire

You’ve probably heard of the gospel, Christianity’s ultimate message of Jesus Christ’s love. But there’s another gospel too, and it’s not quite as friendly. The Grand Grimoire, AKA The Gospel of Satan, is an unsettling text supposedly written back in 1520 by a man named Honorius of Thebes, who just so happened to be possessed by the devil.

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As you can imagine then, it doesn’t contain a great bundt cake recipe. Instead, The Grand Grimoire goes into great detail claiming how every new Pope is systematically corrupted by the devil, and also gives the reader the tools to summon Lucifer themselves. Some versions even contain instructions for necromancy, that is, the resurrection of the dead.

As such, the book is regarded as one of the most powerful black magic tomes in existence. Just opening it is apparently akin to signing your soul to the devil! While you can buy copies of Satan’s gospel, these imitations allegedly don’t have nearly the power of the original.

In fact, the original text is so dangerous, it’s locked away in the Vatican Secret Archives. This might sound like something out of The Da Vinci Code but, incredibly, it’s true! On the bright side, that’ll definitely make it easier for you to keep your mitts off it.

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Cursed Spanish Novel Published After 400 Years

The Spanish adventure novel ‘An Orphan’s Story’, or Historia del Huerfano, remained unpublished for 400 years despite being written way back in the 17th century, supposedly due to a curse that struck down anyone who tried to do so.

When Peruvian academic Belinda Palacios found out about the archived manuscript in 2016 however, she was determined to translate its handwritten words and type them out for a modern audience.

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Most translators wouldn’t have been so keen. As well as the original author’s failed attempts to publish their work, subsequent tries by different people had all ended in tragedy. One caught a strange disease, another had a car accident, and yet another had their life cut short from a mysterious, unknown cause.

The reports worried Palacios so much she asked her friend to burn the manuscript if anything happened to her! Even so, she kept plugging away at it and her efforts paid off. It was officially published in 2018 without anybody suffering any harm! So, it seems the curse has been broken at long last. That said, I still wouldn’t risk giving this one a read.

Rauðskinna: The Icelandic Book Of Black Magic

Some lost books, like the Rauðskinna, should stay lost forever. This unassuming tome was written by an Icelandic monk named Gottskalk Nikulausson, who supposedly filled it with evil magic, ultimately seeking to bend the devil to his will and rule the world. Luckily, he didn’t get his wish, and when he passed in 1520, the grizzly grimoire was buried with him.

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A couple of hundred years later however, a shady Icelandic mage called Lufter heard about the book and wanted to learn its dark secrets himself. So, he traveled to its burial place, a cathedral school in Holar where Gottskalk had been bishop. Then, it gets really wild.

According to the legend, Lufter managed to summon the departed monk’s spirit and demand he hand over the Rauðskinna. His mission was almost a success when a student standing in the belfry noticed the ghoulish scene. Wasting no time, he rang the church bells, dissipating the spirit.

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Loftur fled, but was taken by the sea on his journey home and dragged to the underworld in retaliation for his arrogance. As for the book? Some say it was burned after the fiasco, but others are convinced it’s still out there, maybe just waiting to be fished up. This is probably just a myth, but I’m not gonna go looking for the Rauðskinna to find out.

Codex Gigas, The Devil's Bible

Satan sure does get around. As well as his own gospel, he’s apparently also responsible for a colossal tome called the Codex Gigas, or Devil’s Bible. At 3 feet tall and a whopping 165lbs in weight, I don’t envy whoever lugged it to its current home at the National Library of Sweden. But its size isn’t even half of what makes this book so interesting.

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The tale goes that back in the 13th century, in what’s now the Czech Republic, a Benedictine monk named Herman Heremitus was found guilty of sinning. Because of this, he was sentenced to be walled up alive! Just before the last brick was placed however, he begged for mercy. So, the head monk offered Herman a deal.

If he could transcribe all of the world’s knowledge into one book in a single night, he’d be spared. Knowing this would be impossible, Herman desperately prayed to the devil for help. To his shock, it worked out.

Satan popped and agreed to write the rest of the book for him, possibly by possessing the monk to write at superhuman speeds. In exchange, he only asked for one thing: Herman’s soul. Fair enough. The next day, the head monk checked in on Herman, and was astonished that the task had been completed.

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Regardless of how likely this story is, the tome itself is very real, and it’s undoubtedly impressive. It contains the Old and New testaments of the Bible, various historical accounts, and instructions for casting spells and exorcisms, among other things! But the sheer amount of stuff in here means it should’ve taken at least 20 years to finish.

Judging by the handwriting, the book does appear to have been penned by one hand. Normally, people’s handwriting changes with age, yet there’s zero evidence of that happening here.

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Could it really have been written in just one night? What’s more, the last 12 pages of the codex are torn out, leading people to suspect they contained the very prayer Herman used to summon the devil. Could the legend be true? If so, who knew Satan was such a prolific ghost writer?

The Book Of Soyga

Back in the 1580s, John Dee, advisor to Britain’s Queen Elizabeth I, came into possession of The Book of Soyga, a Latin treatise on demonology and magic. At the time, many people believed in magic, so he thought the book could be very useful.

The only problem was that the final 36 pages were written in code. Desperate to uncover the knowledge hidden within, John worked tirelessly to try and crack the code, but nothing seemed to work.

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Supposedly, he even summoned the archangel Uriel to ask for their help! However, Uriel told him something horrifying. The book was cursed, and anybody who managed to decipher its meaning would pass away 2 and a half years later.

Apparently disregarding the spooky threat though, John carried on trying for the rest of his life to no avail. Then, the book mysteriously vanished.

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Until, that is, nearly 400 years later, when a historian dug out a copy from a pile of dusty books in London’s British Library. Despite the book’s dark reputation, code breakers and historians got to work trying to decipher it. But it was another 12 years until the code was eventually broken, in 2006.

One Jim Reeds cracked it, revealing the previously hidden names of a variety of demons, angels, and magical incantations. So, what happened to Jim!? Thankfully, he’s fine. But many people still believe the curse is real, and say it only smites those who understand the true meaning of the text, not just read its words. Ignorance is probably bliss in this case.

Untitled Persephone's Grimoire

Coming up with titles for stuff is hard and Wiccan high priestess Persephone Adrastea Eirene must have had this issue back in the 1960s, because she left her grimoire mysteriously untitled.

Wicca is a form of modern witchcraft, usually organized into covens or groups of practitioners. As a high priestess, Persephone was the top dog of one of these covens. So, as you can probably guess, she was incredibly powerful, at least, if you believe in all this stuff.

Her grimoire doesn’t just contain spells and curses though, it’s also got a family history in it, and a recipe for hairspray. I guess even powerful witches need to keep their mop in check! Before you hop onto eBay looking for one of these though, don’t. They’re cursed.

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Indeed, the book contains an eerie warning scrawled across its cover in suspiciously red ink: “To those not of the craft – the reading of this book is forbidden! Proceed no further or justice will exact a swift and terrible retribution – and you will surely suffer at the hand of the craft”.

What exactly that “terrible retribution” would be, who knows. There are no recorded incidents of non-wiccans reading the book, but maybe that’s because they weren’t around long enough to tell the tale.

Even so, the original manuscripts were sold in 2013 for a whopping $13,865, so someone was very eager to check them out. Sounds like a lot of money to pay for a book you’ll only read once though.

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Tomino's Hell

Back in 1919, a seemingly ordinary poetry collection named Sakin was released in Japan. The author, one Saijō Yaso, was known for producing children’s nursery rhymes, so everybody assumed this latest book would follow in the same vein.

Yet nestled within its pages was a poem so twisted, so horrifying that it inspired a spine-chilling legend. The poem, called Tomino’s Hell, is often associated with a creepy painting that you may have seen doing the rounds on the web.

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The unsettling image is by mysterious Japanese artist Yūko Tatsushima, whom we know very little about. We do know her painting isn’t directly related to Tomino’s Hell though and seems to have merely been adopted as a scary accompanying visual on story sites like ‘creepypasta’. It’s definitely done the job!

The poem itself tells the bleak, traumatic story of a young child named Tomino. Supposedly, Yaso was inspired to write it when he lost a loved one. But though the circumstances are sad, the legend around the poem is downright terrifying. Apparently, reading it out loud directly causes your demise!

In 1974, Japanese poet and director Terayama Shuji released a movie inspired by the poem – and sure enough, met his untimely end only a few years later. Many other readers are said to have passed from illness, accidents, and sudden, inexplicable causes too.

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Not that everyone who reads it kicks the bucket, but there are usually consequences. Survivors of the poem’s curse have complained of a lingering, eerie feeling that they just can’t shake. If for some reason you’re still desperate to read this thing though, silently doing so inside your head apparently protects you from the worst effects.

Pseudomonarchia Daemonum: The False Monarchy of Demons

Even if you’re not a fan of spooky stuff, you might still have heard of the Necronomicon. Created by horror author HP Lovecraft, it’s a famous fictional spell book detailing a pantheon of evil deities and how to contact them.

Despite being fictional, it’s proven highly influential and even inspired people to make their own twisted versions of the grimoire! Though, none can quite top this absolute atrocity below, made from a skinned Furby. I’d be less likely to read that than anything else so far!

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Unbeknownst to most people though, the Necronomicon is based on a real book! Known as The Pseudomonarchia Daemonum, or The False Monarchy of Demons, the real-life inspiration is a compendium of 69 demons and how to contact them.

This might sound familiar, and it should! The 16th century book inspired many infamous grimoires like The Lesser Key of Solomon. That said, this tome of terrors is probably a mockery of demons, not a glorification.

Its author, a magician called Johann Weyer, believed their powers paled in comparison to the divine, hence labeling them a “false” monarchy. He also believed anyone who’d summon a demon to be the worst kind of magician.

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So, perhaps he wrote the book to ensure anyone who tried would get their comeuppance when their shady demonic dealings inevitably went wrong. That still doesn’t explain where Weyer got all his dark knowledge from in the first place though. Had he summoned a demon to attain it? That’d be some twist!

The Cursed Great Omar

Lady luck can be a fickle mistress but she can also be downright evil. Enter the curse of The Great Omar. In the early 1900s, London bookbinding company Sangorski & Sutcliffe decided to create a gorgeous version of a book by Edward FitzGerald known as The Rubaiyat of Omar Khayyam.

The bookbinders were passionate about the project, working hard until 1911 when they finally finished the manuscript. At first, it seemed like the work had paid off. It was the most detailed, lavish, expensive book they’d ever created; it was even covered in over 1,000 jewels!

In a final symbol of excess, the cover was adorned with 3 peacocks, representing royalty and earning it the nickname ‘The Great Omar’. But while peacocks are a symbol of royalty, their feathers are associated with bad luck.

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Despite its beauty, Sangorski & Sutcliffe found it maddeningly difficult to actually sell their creation. Eventually, the book was put up for auction, and sold for £450, the equivalent of a whopping $76,500 today! Even so, this was less than half of what the bookbinders had hoped for.

Anyway, the book was all set to be shipped off to its buyer in New York on a lovely new boat named The Titanic. The ship went down, and the book sunk to the bottom of the sea where it remains to this day! Then, just a few weeks later, Sangorski drowned while at the beach with his family.

Sutcliffe however committed to making a second copy, one just as lavish. This time, he stored it in a secure vault in London. But guess what? It was destroyed during the blitz of WWII.

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Unsurprisingly, by this point, people suspected the book was cursed. Yet in spite of all this bad fortune, Sutcliffe’s nephew took it upon himself to finish a third version! That one’s thus far avoided disaster and now resides in the British Library. Let’s hope it stays there.

The Book Of Abramelin

Egypt is a fascinating place teeming with history, but it’s not often we associate it with spell books and wizards. According to one text penned in 1458 however, magic was a big part of the proceedings.

Catchily titled The Book of the Sacred Magic of Abramelin the Mage, it tells the supposedly true story of an Egyptian mage, as well as serving as a spell book. Unfortunately, it’s also very, very cursed. Simply owning the tome is enough to apparently bring demons from other realms to haunt and curse you with severe bad luck including death.

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However, believers are divided on this one. Some do subscribe to the idea that the book is cursed, while others say it’s no riskier than any other book of magic. Either way, my ethos is to steer clear of any book that might carry a risk of, you know, haunting you.

The Voynich Manuscript

Back in 1912, Polish bibliophile Wilfrid Voynich discovered a book so mysterious it still has people scratching their heads today. Now known as the Voynich Manuscript, Wilfred found it in a college just outside of Rome and was immediately struck by its oddness.

It’s not surprising, the entire 240-page document is written in an unknown language that’s proven utterly indecipherable to this day! There’s no credited author and seriously strange illustrations adorn many of the pages. Illustrations include extinct or made-up plants, strange organic machinery, and women in their birthday suits bathing in the plants.

Voynich_Manuscript

The wacky book’s been dated back to the 15th century, but that’s pretty much all we know for sure! Many have tried to decipher it, but none have succeeded. Some even believe the manuscript contains some kind of forbidden knowledge and that cracking the code will cast a fatal curse on the codebreaker.

The Long Lost Friend

When it comes to “books you should avoid reading”, you probably wouldn't think there would be a home remedy book. Yet The Long Lost Friend, published in 1820, is just such a book, albeit, with a few spells thrown in for good measure.

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In 1928, a Pennsylvanian witch convinced a local villager called John Blymire that he’d been cursed, and told him the perpetrator was another local called Nelson Rehmeyer. Apparently, he’d used a copy of The Long Lost Friend to perform the curse. At first, Blymire had rejected the witch. Rehmeyer was a well-liked healer who’d even patched Blymire up in the past!

But Rehmeyer had been going through a period of bad luck, and the witch was convincing. So, eventually, he accepted her words and set out to break the curse. Blymire and two of his friends broke into Rehmeyer’s house, took his life, and attempted to burn the house down with the book inside it.

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Only, the house didn’t actually burn down, leading some to blame the power of the magical text inside. This only fueled the rumors that Rehmeyer had been up to no good, something the witch was probably happy about.

Whether she’d actually believed Rehmeyer to be malevolent or not, we can’t be sure, but she seems to have had a grudge on him for some reason. Regardless, his old house still stands today, and is spookily known as ‘Hex Hollow’.

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Even spookier, the clocks inside are all stopped at a minute past midnight, the exact time Nelson closed his eyes for good. As such, many consider the place haunted. If the legends are true, that fishy copy of the Long Lost Friend is still out there, maybe even in that same house.

The Munich Manual Of Demonic Magic

As we’ve learned, messing around with old grimoires is generally a bad idea. If you believe the legends, possessions, hauntings, or even an early demise could await a reckless reader! The Munich Manual of Demonic Magic however is a 15th century spell book that could be far more dangerous for guys than girls.

Most magical texts from the time feature a combination of angelic and demonic magic, but this one’s purely about the dark side. So, you might imagine it’d be equally dangerous for everybody, regardless of gender. The thing is, one of the most powerful spells it contains involves creating a mirror of Lilith, used for conjuring the demon of the same name.

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According to Judaic and Mesopotamian mythology, Lilith was the first wife of Adam and was cast out from the Garden of Eden for not obeying her husband. From thereon, she became a demon. As such, she can be pretty spiky, especially towards men that summon her without proper reason.

The original manuscript is written in Latin and tucked away in Munich’s Bavarian State Library, but you can check out a translated edition online.

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I hope you were amazed at these mysterious and cursed books that you shouldn't read! You can still read them at your own risk, but you have been warned! Thanks for reading.

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