The most evil books known to nerdkind
The dastardly, absolutely not good "Book of Pure Evil," from "Todd and the Book of Pure Evil."
April 2nd, 2012
04:21 PM ET

The most evil books known to nerdkind

Editor's note: Aaron Sagers is a New York-based entertainment writer and nationally syndicated pop-culture columnist. He has specialty knowledge in "paranormal pop culture," has lectured at conventions nationwide on the topic and is a media pundit on supernatural entertainment. He covers pop culture daily at and can be found on Twitter @aaronsagers.

Print isn’t dead, but it can be deadly.

Within popular culture, there exist guides with the express purpose of wreaking havoc and unleashing hell on humanity. While the Kindle, iPad and Nook might have a killer effect on the book industry, these are books that are very industrious at killing.

For instance, in the supernatural comedy series “Todd and the Book of Pure Evil” - now in its second season on cable horror network Fearnet - a group of teens at the Satanist-controlled Crowley High battle the forces of a mysterious tome that grants wishes with sinister twists.

After witnessing the dark powers of the book and the control it holds over the weak and needy, metal head Todd (Alex House), Jimmy the Janitor (Jason Mewes of “Jay and Silent Bob Strike Back”) and a gang of high schoolers become determined to end the "Pure Evil" plague. The result is a series that has the charm and wit of "Buffy the Vampire Slayer," but with more of a raunchy, at-times awkward humor that appeals to die-hard horror nerds.

But  "Book of Pure Evil" is far from the only that sits in the devil’s stacks. Therefore, what follows is a list of the most harmful books of verisimilitude within pop culture that contain information not to be checked out. After all, while reading is fundamental, it can also be fundamentally dangerous.

A creation of horror writer H.P. Lovecraft, the "Necronomicon" is a book of spells that first appeared in the 1924 short story, “The Hound.” Purportedly written by the "Mad Arab" Abdul Alhazred, it appears in various forms in Lovecraft’s work, but is typically leather-bound with clasps. (Descriptions of it as being bound in human skin are likely confused with a separate portfolio described in the same short story.) An unabridged version exists at the fictional Miskatonic University.

Lovecraft’s "Necronomicon" is perhaps the most famously evil book that inspires entertainment. Many “real” versions of it have been published, including the controversial “Simon” version in 1977 that was accused of inspiring a cult murder.

"The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy"
Although this electronic repository for all knowledge and wisdom suggests any reader to “Don’t Panic” in “large, friendly letters,” there is indeed a good deal of reasons to panic if you consult it.

Introduced in author Douglas Adams’ sci-fi comedy series of the same name in 1978, “The Guide” is riddled with devastating typos, errors and gross understatements. To rely on it is to ensure destruction since most of the editing staff remain on permanent lunch break – even though its advice on towels has proved helpful. Published by Megadodo Publications, "The Guide" itself has a sarcastic tone and looks like a small, thin, flexible laptop computer within a sturdy plastic cover.

"Naturan Demanto/ Book of the Dead"
A cabin in the Tennessee woods is not normally where you may expect to find an ancient Sumerian text with resurrection spells, but so it goes in the 1981 horror “The Evil Dead,” starring Bruce Campbell and directed by Sam Raimi. When Campbell’s crew of twenty-something friends vacation at the cabin, discover the book and accidentally play an audiotape incantation, demons spring forth to cause trouble and kill them off.

While the sequel “Evil Dead II” and “Army of Darkness” were comedy-tinged sequels that referred to the book as the fictional "Necronomicon Ex-Mortis," the "Book of the Dead" was a real Egyptian collection of funereal rites to facilitate a person’s journey into the afterlife and popped up as a magical text in other films, such as 1999’s “The Mummy”. There is also a Tibetan "Book of the Dead."

“To Serve Man” Kanamit cookbook
The danger of “To Serve Man”– from the 1962 “The Twilight Zone” episode of the same name - lies in shoddy, incomplete translation. When the alien race of the Kanamits land on Earth, they do the human race a solid by transforming deserts into oases, ending world hunger, providing cheap energy and eliminating nuclear weapons.

But when one of the Kanamit race leaves behind his plain black, space-leather bound book behind at the United Nations, a group of U.S. cryptographers working to decipher the alien language (and apparently the only ones in the world doing so) give up after decoding the title of the alien book: To Serve Man.

It is only after much of the human race is zipping off to the Kanamit homeworld “paradise” that one lone decoder figures out the book is actually a cookbook that reduces humans into “an ingredient in someone's soup.”

"The Grimoire"
Appearing in the 1998-2006 supernatural soap “Charmed” on The WB, "The Grimoire" is a compendium of evil magic and information. "The Grimoire,"  which is actually a name applied to textbooks of magic, provides a counterbalance to "The Book of Shadows" used by good witch heroines, the Halliwell sisters. A brown book emblazoned with a skull and upside down pentagram, the Grimoire is a destructive force that can reject the powers of white magic. Even though The CW, the network that replaced The WB, featured grimoires on its current soaps “The Vampire Diaries” and “The Secret Circle,” neither have quite developed the same punch as "The Grimoire" or "The Book of Shadows."

"Book of Vishanti / Eternity Book"
Within the comic book world, the "Book of Vishanti" and "Eternity Book" essentially both operate as the same source of magic. Within the Marvel Comics universe, the "Book of Vishanti" is a golden collection of white magical source currently owned by Doctor Strange that appeared in 1964 in “Strange Tales”. It was dictated to human magicians by the magical collective of the Vishanti and has been possessed by Atlanteans and Babylonian gods. The good spells can backfire with dangerous, even evil, results.

Meanwhile, the "Eternity Book" exists within the DC Comic universe and contains the secrets of existence.

Seen first in “The Demon” in 1972, it is depicted as red with gold clasps and a red seal, and is the personal spell book that once belonged to Merlin. To use it is to know the history of the universe and to gain immense magical powers.

"Grays Sports Almanac"
Seemingly innocuous while on sale at the Blast from the Past antique store in 2015, the "Grays Sports Almanac: Complete Sports Statistics 1950-2000" was used to upset the balance of the entire space-time continuum. Introduced in the 1989 film “Back to the Future Part II,” the softcover, red almanac contained 50 years’ worth of results from football, baseball, boxing, horse racing and more. Used by a time traveler motivated by greed, the almanac can be the key to fame and immense fortune, but also creates a dark alternate timeline. Grays had been publishing sports almanacs since 1923, the 1950-2000 volume was the first to alter reality.

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soundoff (75 Responses)
  1. gordonblueztoday

    Good article,must learn something new everyday.

    July 24, 2012 at 3:51 pm |
  2. ZedWrecker

    Technically, Noteran Demanto and Necronomicon ex Mortis are the same book. It was Noteran in Evil Dead 1, then changed to Necronomicon Ex Mortis by Evil Dead 2, then just the Necronomicon by Army of Darkness. Just saying.

    April 22, 2012 at 5:37 pm |
  3. Sabastan

    What about the Never Ending Story.... The Nothing was pure evil... er nevermind it was just nothing

    April 14, 2012 at 12:53 pm |
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  11. Quid Malmborg

    ""The Guide" itself has a sarcastic tone and looks like a small, thin, flexible laptop computer within a sturdy plastic cover."

    So Douglas Adams invented the Kindle back in 1978.

    April 4, 2012 at 11:26 am |
  12. J.Crobuzon

    THE KING IN YELLOW by Robert W. Chambers (1895) was the book that began this meme. You may find and read it to this very day, but beware, as it will shred your soul. Actually Chambers was alluding to a book by Goethe called SORROWS OF YOUNG WERTHER that was so sad a lot of young Germans killed themselves after reading it, so there was a real source to this idea of killer books.

    April 4, 2012 at 8:37 am |
    • OfficerBookman

      That's a GREAT book to recommend. Wow, hadn't though of it in forever. But I will add that the point of the article is to talk about fictional books that appear in pop culture, not books of fiction

      April 4, 2012 at 10:00 am |
      • J.Crobuzon

        Chambers' book is about people who have read, or narrowly escaped reading, the actual forbidden book THE KING IN YELLOW. They throw it into the fire, then drag it back out and read the burning pages. Then they go insane; Lovecraft mentions it several times in letters. Even better, it contains the names Hastur and Carcosa from Ambrose Bierce's short stories.
        Along the shore the cloud waves break,
        The twin suns sink behind the lake,
        The shadows lengthen

        In Carcosa.

        Strange is the night where black stars rise,
        And strange moons circle through the skies,
        But stranger still is

        Lost Carcosa.

        Songs that the Hyades shall sing,
        Where flap the tatters of the King,
        Must die unheard in

        Dim Carcosa.

        Song of my soul, my voice is dead,
        Die thou, unsung, as tears unshed
        Shall dry and die in

        Lost Carcosa.

        April 4, 2012 at 10:16 am |
  13. cpc65

    Any IRS tax publication.

    April 3, 2012 at 9:02 pm |
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    April 3, 2012 at 8:27 pm |
  15. Dave in P-town

    Yo yo. They call me rappin Dave and this is why.....
    Hey! My name is Dave and I like dem cooons! I dropped da chicks and gave up chasin the pooon! Now I'm lookin for da jig-abooos...I find them and take em in da loos! There we whip it out and schlobb da knob...I keep it clean cuz I'm no slob! Dem bros got big ol disco sticks...I pale in comparison to my tiny prik! Now I gotta go cuz its time to pump, my buddy is ready to take it in da rump!

    April 3, 2012 at 5:59 pm |
  16. Egon Spengler

    Tobin's Spirit Guide from Ghostbusters

    April 3, 2012 at 5:55 pm |
  17. Kel

    I wouldn't mind a look at the book John Winchester passed to Dean and Sam in "Supernatural."

    April 3, 2012 at 5:37 pm |
  18. SJ

    Can't believe someone forgot the Orange Catholic Bible from "Dune."

    April 3, 2012 at 3:56 pm |
    • rocklobster

      How is the Orange Catholic Bible evil or dangerous? The teaching are anti-tech but doesn't really fit with this story.

      April 3, 2012 at 4:25 pm |
  19. Jymbeau

    They forgot the Tora, the Bible, and the Koran.

    April 3, 2012 at 3:21 pm |
    • MashaSobaka

      Don't forget the Book of Mormon.

      April 4, 2012 at 1:34 am |
    • Tiberius

      Don't want to leave out On The Origin of Species

      April 13, 2012 at 8:10 pm |
  20. Rich

    Book of Vile Darkness, AD&D

    April 3, 2012 at 2:21 pm |
  21. Mr. Sinister!

    No "The Nine Gates of the Kingdom of Shadows," from the film "The 9th gate," makes this list largely bogus.

    It should have been no less than the 2nd book named.

    April 3, 2012 at 1:26 pm |
    • CanoodlinCanuck

      Maybe they didn't include The Ninth Gate because the movie sucked so bad and a notable film

      April 3, 2012 at 4:09 pm |
  22. Pliny

    "In My Time" by Dick Cheney

    April 3, 2012 at 1:05 pm |
  23. RG

    "To Serve Man" was actually originally a short story by Damon Knight that was later adapted into a Twilight Zone episode.

    April 3, 2012 at 12:57 pm |
    • Tabitha

      Ha, we were probably both writing that at the same time. :p

      April 3, 2012 at 5:52 pm |
  24. Tabitha

    "To Serve Man" was originally a short story written by Damon Knight in 1950. I came across it in a compilation of short Sci-Fi stories a while back. I liked the Twillight Zone episode, but the story was chilling even knowing the ending ahead of time...

    April 3, 2012 at 12:50 pm |
    • Chelo

      I liked seeing Liesel's ppcieertsve because everything I read about this subject before was from a Jewish person or American soldier's ppcieertsve. It is interesting to see how kids grow up to form opinions and how people can only keep them to themselves so much. Sometimes it is too painful not to be kind! If you like this book, you should read The Red Scarf Girl too. It deals with similar issues for a girl coming of age in communist China who is torn between the values of her family and the values she is learning in school and society. This book also reminded me of Skellig in a way because I kept thinking that Max was like the weird, magical man who the kids found in the shed. If they do make it a movie, I hope that Jean-Pierre Jeunet directs it and it looks something like City of the Lost Children !

      September 12, 2012 at 12:31 pm |
  25. nepetacataria

    iPad + Wikipedia = Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy

    April 3, 2012 at 12:41 pm |
  26. Dave in Portland

    Whoever the slimy little loser is that's posting all of the disgusting comments really needs to go play in traffic. I've seen some sad people in my days, but I have to say that if I were you, I'd drink some bleach. rarely have I ever seen that level of immaturity. You obviously have mommy or daddy issues and need to call attention to yourself to somehow make you feel like your pathetic little existence actually means something.

    April 3, 2012 at 11:56 am |
    • Dave in P-town

      Hey Dave. Go back to pumpin your buddy in da keister! We don't want to hear any more of your whining. Just cuz you are a flamin ho-mo, doesn't mean you need to share it with the rest of us. Guessing you been trollin for young gayboyz on these blogs for years....

      April 3, 2012 at 2:19 pm |
      • god

        Troll callin out a troll

        April 12, 2012 at 3:40 pm |
  27. Disappointed

    I was hoping for real books that geeks know are "evil". Instead, we got books from TV shows. Too bad. There are some really, really cool old books that actually exist that might be described as evil.

    April 3, 2012 at 11:41 am |
    • Artanis

      Any particular books in mind?

      April 13, 2012 at 8:07 pm |
  28. RZ70

    The guide? Evil? This author is certainly no cool frood. Maybe he needs more anti-depressants in his towel?

    April 3, 2012 at 9:52 am |
    • god

      The Greater Key comes to mind

      April 12, 2012 at 3:41 pm |
  29. blackheartbilly


    Spreads evil, misery and boredom where ever it goes!

    April 3, 2012 at 8:05 am |
  30. Melin

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    April 3, 2012 at 6:53 am |
    • Jebus

      The only beautiful image of Iran is one with lots of mushroom clouds and charred corpses.

      April 3, 2012 at 10:06 am |
      • Shannon synan

        CNN, where are the controls for hiding troll comments like this!

        April 3, 2012 at 1:30 pm |
  31. bezerkur

    And you wonder why kids who have been shunned by the popular crowd because they dont fit into their perfect pseudo world flip out and go on shooting rampages at schools. To some kids this kind of entertainment is a escape because usually they have had some deep traumas or problems at home. A depressed person especially a teen seeks out more misery then what they are going through. Many eventually out grow it and have normal lives. The people that inflict hurtful rhetoric generally never outgrow their social flaws and make childish comments on blogs such as this.

    April 3, 2012 at 5:13 am |
    • bezerkur

      I gonna go bezerkur on your poop chute!! Its time to pump the plump rump of sum chump.

      April 3, 2012 at 8:57 am |
  32. R. Anthony

    none of you are funny... // interesting article.

    April 3, 2012 at 3:39 am |
  33. trollin

    Rollin rollin rollin! Trollin trollim trollin!! Let's get it on you ubernerds!! Bring it.

    April 3, 2012 at 12:30 am |
  34. margaret


    April 3, 2012 at 12:04 am |
    • margaret

      I would like a big ol jiga-boo jumanji in my cooochie!! Dem cooons got da biggest sausages around!! Hey bros, drop me your digits and I will drop my panties!!

      April 3, 2012 at 12:28 am |
      • agentxyz

        "Margaret" - You are obviously a gay man, but which one? If you had to be one of the Village People, are you the cowboy, indian, sailor, cop, or the biker?

        April 3, 2012 at 12:44 am |
      • @ agent

        You called me out! U iz correct. I am a flamin fruit with a tiny package. Because of that, I would probably be the biker! They make up for tiny dongs with big bikes!

        April 3, 2012 at 1:01 am |
    • Squeezebox

      I agree that Jumanji is – in its' universe – an evil book. I'm trying to remember the name of another book that sucks people in. I think it had enchanted ink in it or something?

      April 3, 2012 at 1:05 pm |
    • Roswell

      Sorry, but Jumanji doesn't belong anywhere near this list. Jumanji was a board game with fantastical powers, not a book.

      April 20, 2012 at 9:33 am |
  35. chris

    where's the handbook for the recently deceased???????!!!!!!!!!!!!!

    April 2, 2012 at 11:49 pm |
    • chris

      Where's the handbook for the flamin fairies like me? You know..da rump rangers....da pillow biters....da knob slobbers!!

      April 2, 2012 at 11:59 pm |

    The Internal Revenue Service Grimoire of Tax Codes. Most evil and horrifying book in the history of the world.

    April 2, 2012 at 11:33 pm |
  37. Comicgeek1789

    Forgot the Darkhold from Marvel Comics.

    April 2, 2012 at 11:00 pm |
    • paul

      unfortunately so has Marvel. =( loved that short-lived series.

      April 18, 2012 at 7:44 pm |
    • Antonio

      Words are so important, so perfwoul. I liked the fact that the Leisl's parents were communists, another perspective of the sufferings done at the hands of Nazi Germany. Her foster parents seem to be average people, yet are sympathizers with Jews, Communists, et. al. Gives us hope for humanity. I left #316 in Cabo San Lucas, Mexico. Let's see who this book will impact next. Bravo Zusack!

      September 14, 2012 at 11:02 pm |
  38. Sokman

    Those all pale in comparison to this scary book of magic, demons, & spells I found once. Believe it was called The Bible or something like that. Glad it was just a story.

    April 2, 2012 at 10:46 pm |
    • Sokman

      My other favorite book is one that shows you how to pack fudge! I be lookin for sum gayboyz to party with....any nutbars wanna pound my pooop chute?

      April 3, 2012 at 12:03 am |
  39. Jamie


    April 2, 2012 at 10:31 pm |
    • Michelle

      This here is my BOOM STICK!!!!!

      April 2, 2012 at 10:50 pm |
      • hey Michelle

        I am gonna give u my MEAT STICK right up your poooper! Meet my friend Ben....Ben Dover

        April 3, 2012 at 12:06 am |
  40. Klaark

    Let's get real, here, the Necronomicon is the only book you need to worry about.

    April 2, 2012 at 10:01 pm |
  41. WobblyOne

    The Necronomicon was also featured in the film, "Army Of Darkness," one of my favorite scifi/fantasy films.

    April 2, 2012 at 8:35 pm |
  42. Lore0007

    Also, Death Note.

    April 2, 2012 at 8:13 pm |
  43. jj

    The books of spells the kids on Secret Circle have.

    April 2, 2012 at 6:18 pm |
    • jj

      I used to go by bj, but my buds were makin fun of me cuz I was known for schlobin da know, kneel and bob....slurpin dat big ol corn cob!!

      April 3, 2012 at 12:33 am |
    • jj

      I used to go by bj, but my buds were makin fun of me cuz I was known for schlobin da know, kneel and bob....slurpin dat big ol corn cob!!

      April 3, 2012 at 12:33 am |