Necromancer's World: Explore the Realms of the Dead and the Spirits
Necromancer: The Dark Art of Raising the Dead
Have you ever wondered what it would be like to communicate with the dead, to summon their spirits, or to reanimate their corpses? If so, you might be interested in necromancy, the practice of magical sorcery involving the dead. Necromancy is one of the most ancient and controversial forms of magic, as well as one of the most fascinating and terrifying. In this article, we will explore the origin, history, methods, ethics, and consequences of necromancy, as well as its representation in fiction and popular culture, and its relevance in the modern world.
What is necromancy and who are necromancers?
The word necromancy comes from the Greek words nekros (dead body) and manteia (divination), meaning "divination by the dead". Necromancers are people who use witchcraft or sorcery to communicate with the dead, usually for the purpose of foretelling the future, discovering hidden knowledge, or accomplishing some otherwise impossible task. Necromancers may also use their power to reanimate dead bodies or to use them as weapons.
Necromancers come in different shapes and sizes, depending on their culture, motivation, and morality. Some necromancers may be evil villains who seek to exploit the dead for their own gain or to harm others. Some may be curious scholars who want to learn from the dead or to uncover secrets of life and death. Some may be grieving mourners who want to contact their lost loved ones or to ease their pain. Some may be powerful wizards who want to achieve immortality or to master the forces of nature. Some may be humble healers who want to help the sick or the dying.
The origin and history of necromancy
Necromancy is one of the oldest forms of magic, dating back to ancient times. There are records of necromantic practices in ancient Egypt, Babylonia, Greece, Rome, China, Persia, Chaldea, Etruria, and Babylonia. Necromancy was often related to shamanism, which calls upon spirits such as the ghosts of ancestors. Classical necromancers addressed the dead in a mixture of high-pitch squeaking and low droning, similar to the trance-state mutterings of shamans.
In ancient Greece, necromancers were called nekyomanteis (diviners by the dead), and they performed rituals called nekyia (journey to the underworld), where they visited tombs or caves to summon the spirits of the dead. One famous example of nekyia is found in Homer's Odyssey, where Odysseus travels to the land of the dead to consult the ghost of Tiresias, a blind prophet. Another example is found in Euripides' Alcestis, where Heracles rescues Alcestis from death by wrestling with Thanatos, the god of death.
In ancient Rome, necromancers were called necromantici (those who practice necromancy), and they used various methods to contact the dead, such as blood sacrifices, incantations, spells, talismans, mirrors, skulls, bones, candles, herbs, or animals. One famous example of necromantic ritual is found in the Munich Manual of Demonic Magic, a 15th-century Latin grimoire that contains instructions for various forms of magic, including necromancy, image magic, and theurgy. The manual advises the necromancer to use a consecrated circle, a wand, a sword, a skull, a black cloak, and other items to summon and control the spirits of the dead.
Necromancy was condemned by the church as a form of heresy and witchcraft, and many necromancers were persecuted and executed during the witch-hunts of the late medieval and early modern periods. Some famous cases of accused necromancers include Pope Sylvester II, who was rumored to have a brazen head that could answer any question; Gilles de Rais, who was convicted of murdering hundreds of children in his attempts to summon demons; and Dr. John Dee, who claimed to communicate with angels through a crystal ball and a scryer named Edward Kelley.
Necromancy in fiction and popular culture
Necromancy has been a popular theme in fiction and popular culture, especially in the genres of fantasy, horror, and dark comedy. Necromancers are often portrayed as villains or anti-heroes who use their dark powers for evil or selfish purposes, but sometimes they are also depicted as sympathetic or humorous characters who struggle with their moral dilemmas or face comedic situations.
Necromancy in literature and mythology
Necromancy has been featured in many works of literature and mythology from different cultures and periods. Some examples are:
The Epic of Gilgamesh: Gilgamesh tries to revive his friend Enkidu by calling upon the gods of the underworld, but fails.
The Arabian Nights: Aladdin uses a magic ring to summon a jinni who can raise the dead.
Macbeth: Macbeth consults three witches who show him apparitions of his past, present, and future.
Frankenstein: Victor Frankenstein creates a living creature from dead body parts, but abandons it.
Dracula: Count Dracula is an undead vampire who can control other vampires, wolves, bats, and rats.
The Monkey's Paw: A family receives a cursed monkey's paw that can grant three wishes, but with terrible consequences.
Pet Sematary: A family discovers an ancient burial ground that can resurrect the dead, but with horrific changes.
Necromancy in movies and TV shows
Necromancy has also been featured in many movies and TV shows from different genres and styles. Some examples are:
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The Mummy: Imhotep is an ancient Egyptian priest who is resurrected by a cursed scroll and seeks to revive his lover Anck-su-namun.
The Sixth Sense: Cole Sear is a young boy who can see and talk to the dead, and is helped by a psychologist who has a secret of his own.
Harry Potter: Lord Voldemort is a dark wizard who can create horcruxes, objects that contain fragments of his soul and allow him to cheat death.
The Walking Dead: Rick Grimes is a sheriff who leads a group of survivors in a post-apocalyptic world overrun by zombies.
Game of Thrones: Jon Snow is a nobleman who is killed by his own men, but is brought back to life by a red priestess.
Stranger Things: Eleven is a young girl with psychic powers who can access a parallel dimension called the Upside Down, where she encounters a monstrous creature that can resurrect the dead.
Necromancy in games and comics
Necromancy has also been featured in many games and comics from different media and platforms. Some examples are:
Dungeons & Dragons: Necromancy is one of the schools of magic that allows the caster to manipulate life force, create undead, or inflict harm.
Diablo: Necromancers are one of the playable classes that can summon skeletons, golems, or other undead creatures, as well as use curses, poisons, or bone spells.
World of Warcraft: Necromancers are one of the types of enemies that can raise the dead, control minions, or cast shadow or frost magic.
Sandman: Death is one of the Endless, a family of anthropomorphic personifications of universal concepts, who can take any form she likes, and is usually friendly and compassionate.
Hellboy: Hellboy is a half-demon who works for a paranormal investigation agency, and often faces necromantic foes such as Rasputin, Baba Yaga, or the Ogdru Jahad.
The Walking Dead: The Walking Dead is also a comic series that follows the same premise as the TV show, but with some differences in characters and plot.
Necromancy in the modern world
Necromancy may seem like an ancient or fictional practice, but it still has some relevance and influence in the modern world. Necromancy can be seen as a form of spiritualism and occultism, as a metaphor and a critique, or as a fantasy and a fascination.
Necromancy as a form of spiritualism and occultism
Some people still believe in necromancy as a way to communicate with the dead or to access supernatural powers.