Masks of Nyarlathotep
Scrolls marked in
strike out text were stolen by cultists in London.
Six Arabic Scrolls
A—A fine linen scroll in Arabic, about five inches across, tied with a faded red silk ribbon. It can be dated to the 15th century, most likely originating in Egypt or possibly Tunis. The Arabic text is stylized and illuminated, and the scroll is in excellent condition. Read by Helen Coulson: This scroll consists of a series of prayers to a being called the Black Lion, described in the text as a towering sphinx-like monstrosity with the body of a titanic black lion and the head of a man, but with its face a void opening into the depths of space. The prayer enjoins the being to destroy unnamed invaders of the lands once held by the children of the Iteru (the Nile River).
B—A cracked, partially fire-damaged, piece of parchment, about 15 inches across, mounted on a wax tablet (a method used to preserve particularly fragile texts). The text is in a very shaky hand and can be dated to the 9th century, most likely from Moorish Andalusia. Not read.
C—A vellum scroll in Arabic, about 8 inches across, tied with a faded red silk ribbon. Unsure of date, would need expert analysis. Read by Tex and Helen Coulson: The text of this scroll is a lengthy prayer to “The Black Pharaoh” (also called Nephren-Ka), “Master of All Egypt,” “Lord of the Shining Crystal,” and “Voice of Black Fire and Death.”
D—A papyrus scroll in Arabic, about 8 inches across, untied. It dates from the 8th century, though the writing style is somewhat antique (stylistically similar to the style of the previous century), suggesting the possibility that the author or scribe was from a provincial region, probably in the Arabian Peninsula. Not read.
E—A vellum scroll in Arabic, about 8 inches across, tied with a faded red silk ribbon. The script and material suggests the work is of Egyptian origin, probably mid 15th century. Read by Helen Coulson: The contents of this scroll are a series of instructions to a pupil on the preparation and casting of a spell that allows the caster to influence the dreams of his subject. The spell requires a bowl made from “sky copper,” specific herbs, and blood from the caster and that the victim must be no more than perhaps two dozen miles distant. One strange reference mentions that the author enjoys tormenting his victims with visions of a demonic cat.
F—A badly decayed papyrus scroll, probably from the middle of the early Fatimid Caliphate (10th century). Not read.
Four Latin Scrolls
A—Fragments of a papyrus scroll, written in Latin, pressed between thin glass plates and mounted in a booklet. The language suggests it was Roman though Dr. Kelly was unsure of what period. Read by Dr. Kelly, these fragments contain a prayer to a figure described as “the Black Caesar,” described as the “Lord of All Lands” and “Servant of the Chaos before the Titans.”
B—A worn vellum scroll in Latin, about 12 inches across, tied with a linen cord. The script suggests it was written in the 12th century; a note at the beginning is in period ecclesiastical Latin while the bulk of the text is in late Imperial vernacular (probably 4th century). Fragments of a leaden seal bearing the image of a lion are preserved. Read by Dr. Kelly, this scroll contains two parts. The first is a short introduction discussing the origins of the longer passage; taken from the library of an unnamed Apulian monastery and copied for a potential heresy trial against the monastery’s Abbot as the original was too fragile. The main text is a prayer to Black Pharaoh similar in content to scroll A, with a few lacuna.
C—A parchment scrap with Latin writing, uneven but between 7 and 8 inches across though it tapers at one end due to tearing or breaking. The language and the script used suggest an early medieval author, possibly in the late 8th century, most likely from the Carolingian court. Translated by a scholar at the American University in Cairo: On this scroll is a lengthy but incomplete prayer to a being described as the “Dark Master with Smoking Wings,” a monstrous bat-like being with a huge tripartite eye, said to dwell in “the Blackness Beyond Night.” The prayer is cut off during the description of a great gem, sacred to the being.
D—Linen paper scroll in Latin, about 11 inches across, untied. The language is very late Medieval Latin, and is heavy with Italian vernacular. Details could not be ascertained by Dr. Kelly. Not read.
Two Egyptian Hieroglyphic Scrolls
A—A papyrus scroll in Hieratic Egyptian, about 10 inches across, mounted on a wax board. It probably dates from the 19th Dynasty (about 1200 B.C.). Translated by Helen Coulson: This scroll relates a prayer to call upon “the Bird of Yellow Aztura,” a winged humanoid messenger. Much of the text discusses the astrological necessities of the rite mostly involving certain stars and the creation of a bone flute, said to attract the creature.
B—A papyrus scroll in Hieratic Egyptian, about 10 inches across, tied with a faded red silk ribbon. It dates from the Tanite (21st) Dynasty (about 1000 B.C.). Not read.
Two Medieval French Scrolls
A—A brittle vellum scroll in Langues d’Oïl (Old French), about 10 inches across, untied, dating to the later 11th century. Not read.
B—A fine parchment scroll in Middle French, about 15 inches across; illuminated, illustrated, and tied with a black silk ribbon laced with threads of silver. It dates to the mid 16th century, probably from the court of Francis I. Not read.
One Old English Scroll
A brittle vellum scroll, about nine inches across, tied with a strip of hide. Language is Old English. Not dated. This scroll is a prayer to the “Horned One,” “Lord of All Beasts,” or “The Black Huntsman.”