Biblos Melas

by Shawn J. Higgins

In the summer of 1976, an acquaintance of mine named Roger West called me in London from his home in New Orleans, and asked me if I had ever heard of a book referred to as Biblos Melas. I told him I had, but that I was quite unfamiliar with it. He explained to me in detail that the book was centuries old and that there were scarcely half a dozen copies of it still known to be in existence. Upon my inquiry regarding any possible bearing that this would have upon me or my work, he asked me if I would consider financing a project to translate a volume which he had in his possession into English. I was, to say the least, stunned by the question.

Biblos Melas has long been a subject of debate by professors of Arabic, Greek, Hebrew, Egyptian, Demotic, and Mesopotamian language and history. This so-called “Sorcerer's Handbook”—a massive collection of sketchings, doodles, and hundreds of pages of invocations for spirits from many different religions and myths—was reputedly the work of a crazed Egyptian warlock who called himself  “The Sorcerer of Darkness.” The anonymous “sorcerer” claimed to have spoken with the so-called RaZahn—an ancient race of invisible, evil beings who ruled the earth even before Sumerians had built their civilization along the banks of the Tigris and Euphrates, around 4,000 to 6,000 years B.C.

All of the information he was giving me, however, was irrelevant to my work. Having been busy on my own volume, and a devout agnostic not the slightest bit interested in the occult—or, for that matter, religion of any kind—I scoffed at his suggestion and told him that I had much better and more important ways to spend my time. I considered the subject ended, and continued research on my art book.

During the next several days, however, it occurred to me that—whether I believed in the myths or not—translating the book into English could be a major step in the literary world. I began to look at it as a human-interest project; perhaps a possible history book on the origins of ancient religion, as well as on Mesopotamian culture and art. I telephoned West that night and told him that I would consider his proposal as long as I made it clear in the book's introduction that I held no belief in its contents, and that the translation was merely for education and not for any metaphysical purpose. West agreed, and brought me the ancient pages sealed in an airproof container. He and I spent over two months simply sorting them out, deciding which pages would be translated and included, and which would be excluded from the volume.

All of this sounds perfectly rational to your ears, I would assume, but you may find some difficulty believing what you read from this point on. I cannot prove any of my claims, but I can assure you that none of what you are about to read is in any way fabricated.

I was at the time, and remain to this day, astounded by what we saw inside. There were quite literally thousands of bits and pieces of some of the oldest material written on paper that I have ever seen. At my inquiry where he had obtained such a remarkable find, West would only allow that “an acquaintance” of his had participated in heists of a number of ancient documents from several of the world's most ancient libraries—including those in Alexandria, Egypt; Pergamum in Turkey, and even some materials from the sacred library of the Vatican. A great deal of the drawings and ciphers were dark red in colour, and the pages had a very unpleasant odour. West and I both became convinced that what we beheld was, in fact, not red ink. Laboratory testing confirmed much of what we had been reading was written in blood; although further testing revealed it to be animal blood and not human.

During the course of the translation, I began to suffer severe headaches, followed by insomnia, nausea, and a chronic loss of appetite. Fearing that I many have fallen victim to a brain tumor or similar malady; I made arrangements for a medical scan and other tests. After undergoing numerous examinations—and having them verified by several respected neurologists—it was suggested that I had simply been working too hard. When I ceased working on the tome and took a vacation in Hawaii, the above-mentioned illnesses no longer affected me. Feeling in much higher spirits, I recommenced working with West on financing the translation.

This time I paced myself more carefully so as to preclude any further ailments. However, despite a carefully-planned work and rest agenda, I discovered to my horror that not only had the same physical maladies returned, but they were quickly followed by vivid nightmares, convulsions, and hallucinations so horrifying that I find it difficult to bring them back to my mind long enough to chronicle them here. It seemed as though every time I came within working area of my project, the sufferings increased, and when I distanced myself from it, they retreated.

Most disturbing for me was a particular hallucination I experienced not only during the daytime at unexpected hours, but also in my slumber, during nightmares so severe that my behaviour frequently became panicked and even somewhat deranged. My first encounter with this apparition began while I was alone in the study, working on a page that was also written in blood. The word on top of the page read אדון האש “Master of the Fire.”

I heard a loud snapping sound and saw a brilliant flash of light, and was quite convinced that an electrical storm was brewing. After ensuring that all windows in my house were secured and all electricity disabled, I decided to make an early night of it. I crawled into bed and thought I had fallen into a somewhat troubled slumber.

Another bright flash of light caught my attention, but this time I saw that the flash of light was distinctively red in colour—something that could not be attributed to a bolt of lightning. Outside my window, I detected a gigantic black shadow with fiery orange eyes and what I was quite certain was a mouthful of yellowed teeth grinning at me. Another sudden flash of red light and a deafening crash! sound made me quite certain that I was not dreaming. It was then that I saw the window in my bedroom come shattering inward; shards of broken glass were flying in my direction, some of them landing on my bed. The icy cold wind from outside came blowing through the gaping hole in the wall; but just as instantly, I could feel a strangely dry heat—more like the heat of a coal furnace than of the sun or a fire. Accompanying this was a distinctive, sharp odour of sulfur.

Outside the broken window in my room, my hallucination took on the immense proportions of a monstrosity with no discernible features other than the afore-mentioned outline of a maniacal, smiling face—an evil grin of sadistic glee. At that moment, I felt the scorching heat and saw the pale orange glow of fire all around me. I could not understand how my entire surroundings could possibly have ignited instantaneously, and yet that was exactly what I saw happening.

I followed every precaution, but could not escape the flames that were engulfing me no matter where I turned. I did not notice at the time that the fire was not consuming anything; it was burning, but nothing was being burned. I was so overwhelmed by the reality of this delusion that all I felt was pain and a fierce desire to escape from its effects. I managed to flee outdoors where there were no flames and no heat, but the apparition—the “Master of the Fire,” I would assume—still followed me with a vicious intent upon what passed for its face. Eventually I gathered enough attention from outsiders that my mind was subsequently forced to vacate the delusion of the fiery beast in pursuit of me.

Running out into public areas and screaming for help seemed to be the only way I could force the hallucinations to dissipate into reality. As I've already mentioned, that was only the first of a number of similar delusions so realistic it affected my mental and psychological well-being, as well as my social interactions. As you can imagine, my friends and colleagues were alarmed at my recent behaviour, and the university where I had been a member of the board of directors for over ten years was threatening to replace me if there was no indication of a change in my focus and a return to my previously serious attention to my duties there. My life had clearly taken a change for the worst.

This—and other even more fierce monstrosities—pursued me in my dreams and even during waking and working hours. I would be diligently overseeing a recent translation by West or one of his associates, and suddenly I would find myself stranded in an arctic region, evading the pursuit of yet another psychological terror, this one nearly invisible, and whose touch left me feeling alienated from others for days at a time. Another, far more terrifying one called the Mayim assailed me while dreaming. Once again, I had been reviewing one of West's texts—this one pertaining to a spirit that ruled over the waters of the sea—when I caught an enticing glimpse of something that, to my deceived eyes, resembled a living chain of organisms representing every stage of Darwin's theory of evolution; from single-celled organisms to fishes to amphibians to reptiles to birds and mammals to man. At the pinnacle of this evolutionary macrocosm—which seemed to be involved in a kind of united, rhythmic, biological dance—I saw a glowing being, radiating its own natural light source, a visually-appealing reflection of human life evolved exponentially. As my eyes lingered upon this image, I felt a thrilling enticement once again: abandon this existence and become one with the fantastic future awaiting all of humankind.

Although this was a most exciting vision, what followed was the most terrifying moment of my life. I had become something loathsome. An atrocious odour of brine mingled with innumerable teeming, rotted things; a feeling  that  parasitic sea creatures had attached themselves to me and were feeding off of me as if I was their host. There was no actual physical pain involved in this fearful delusion, but some kind of malicious power current was running through me. I had the energy of a black hole in outer space, and if I so desired I could, in turn, feed off humanity itself, not to consume them as food, but to make them my slaves and pawns to do my every bidding. This was not a feeling of joy in power and authority, but of being manipulative, consuming, controlling, and demanding. It was the most terrifying moment of my life.

From that point forward, I made the decision that my association with the so-called “Black Book” was ended. No more sleepless nights or day-mares for me; I was through. I sent off what West had finished to the publisher, and within six months, the “Black Book” was available in book form.

The consequences to people who had purchased those few original copies were catastrophic. I have harboured tremendous guilt as a result of my involvement with placing this fearsome text into the hands of such amateur experimenters with the supernatural.

I write these things not to frighten you or in any attempt to generate controversy, but because I want you to understand its severity. If I had any idea what these studies would have produced, I would have refused any involvement with the matter whatsoever. I have since that time renounced any association with it or its contents, and most particularly with that black side of the spiritual realm that had caused me so much misery during those awful days.

I hasten to add that I am no longer an agnostic, and I do most strongly encourage you not to experiment with the invocations used within its pages. This volume is intended to be for educational and literary purposes only, and not for occult experimentation or necromancy. The results, as I have warned you in advance, can be disastrous.


God Bless,

Ellis Whitmore

London, England.