The fictitious black-magic grimoire, the idea of which was created by the American occult and horror-fiction writer, H.P. Lovecraft (1890-1937). Lovecraft wrote about the book in his fiction and acquired a cult followers who believed that it actually exists and that is based, at least in part, on fact.
The Necronomicon was born of Lovecraft's fertile imagination in his 1936 essay, "A History of The Necronomicon."
The fantasy captured the imagination of some of Lovecraft's fans, and for years a belief persisted that a real grimoire titled The Necronomicon existed. Book-sellers received requests for it. As the late 1980's, at least two versions of the "real" Necronomicon had been published.
The \encyclopedia Of Witches and Witchcraft by Rosemary Ellen Guiley
Necromancy - divination by raising the spirits of the dead, one of the claimed Black Arts practiced by witches and magicians. The classic case of necromancy is the Witch of Endor, described in the Bible (1 Samuel 28), who summoned the spirit of Samuel in the presence of Saul. The Biblical episode was widely accepted as irrefutable evidence of the existence if Witchcraft. The idea behind necromancy was that the dead could see the future and could be conjured into describing it.
It is unlike other forms of divination in that it tools are not part of the world around us, like clouds or rods or animals. It goes back to legends of descent of the Underworld and visits from the dead, such as recorded in Shakespeare's play Hamlet, but in its trappings and rituals it is more a branch of Black Magic than of regular divination, which relies on the person of the diviner being in tune with the phenomena he or she is assessing. Nine days of morbid and grisly preparation are required in which the magician dresses in the burial clothes of corpses and recites the funeral service over to himself and his assistants. At midnight or dawn, the grave is opened and the corpse conjured to come out alive. In accounts of such events, the corpse is often made to speak through the mouth of one of the assistants.
Dictionary of the Occult - Publisher Geddes & Grisset reprinted 2002.
Saul was afraid of an impending attack by a mighty army of Philistines, who had joined by his rival, David. He gathered the Israelites and camped at Mount Gilboa. He sought advice from prophets and divination by sacred lot and from the Lord, but he received no answer as to his fate or the action he should take. Saul instructed his servants, "Seek me a woman that hath a familiar spirit, that I may go to her, and enquire to her." His servants directed him to the pythoness at Endor, whose name is never given.
Saul disguised went to the witch the same night. At first, she was frightened that he had come to expose her as a witch: "Behold, thou knowest what Saul has done, how he hath cut off those that have familiar spirits, and the wizards, out of the land: wherefore then layest thou a snare for my life, to cause me to die?"
Saul assured the woman he meant no harm and instructed her to conjure Samuel from the dead. She did as she was asked. She preformed her ritual. She told Saul that God was displeased with him for his disobedience and had torn his kingdom from his hands and given to David. The next day he would loose his sons and Israel would be given to the Philistines. When what she said came true, Saul took his sword and fell upon it.
Reginal Scot, the 16th century English writer attempted to debunk witchcraft said, the witch played out her incanttions, lied about seeing gods or angels and about seeing the spirit of old Samuel. He believed the witch was a ventriloquist, speaking in a counterfeit hollow voice.
Just who it may have been who thought the word "witch" in connection with the story of King Saul and the woman of Endor, is not known, but whoever it may have been, evidently he did not like psychics.
Extremely unfavorable overtones and undertones attached themselves to the the word "witch." It does not appear in the Bible account of event. The woman Saul consulted is merely described as a "woman," and she was a trance medium.
The word "witch" appears only once in the entire King James Version of the Bible, in a chapter far removed from the Saul story; and in this one case other versions use other terms. One gives it as "sorceress" and one even alters the sex and refers to it as "wizard."
Nowadays many prominent and highly respected persons of both sexes are reconized as psychic sensitives, such as mediums, clairvoyants, psychometrists, ect.
The correct description when speaking of King Saul's dilemma is "the medium of Endor.
Dictionary of Astrology authur-Dal Lee (c)1968Warner Books, Inc.
The Encyclopedia of Witches and Witchcraft-Author, Rosemary Ellen Guiley