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Why does Nigromancy redirect here? Nigromancy, although related, is distinctly different; my understanding is that it is a specific type of Medieval and Renaissance divination in Europe. — Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 23:04, 22 April 2012 (UTC)

Agreed. Nigromancy means "black magic" and has nothing or little to do with necromancy. Kortoso (talk) 22:09, 30 October 2013 (UTC)


Necromancy does NOT fall under Hermeticism, as it is not only acknowledged by "slave religions"(in fact it is forbidden and deemed to be for heathens by Muslim-, Christian- and Judeo-culture alike) and is NOT based on Qabalah like most rituals in all monotheistic religions.

Tho it is used and even promoted(Vision Quests, Rites of Passages and such) by almost all polytheistic religions such as Nordic Shamanism, Indo-Asian Shamanism (like Mongol or Altaic) and ancient Greek, Egyptian and Roman religions. It became a "dark" art with the rise of slave-religions (that you are "born into sin and must slave your way to salvation"). —Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 07:46, 21 April 2011 (UTC)

Possible areas of improvement[edit]

There are a lot of areas where this article could be improved without needing the approval of both a group of scholars and wiccans. First and foremost, would anyone happen to be an expert on Chinese Folk Religion? I seem to recall many references to gleaning information from the dead in that area. Also, the Hindi have a group that focuses much of their energy on the life/death cycle and I'm sure they have something in this area. I'm developing some research into the Bean Sidhe of Celtic mythos, but more importantly some of the old Roman spins on Nigrimancy and Necromancy further. Is anyone interested in possibly doing more focused research of this in different directions? Email me if you are. —Preceding unsigned comment added by Solificus (talkcontribs) 05:27, 14 March 2008 (UTC)


He is a good source, but the idea of getting all of the data on Medieval Necromancy from him doesn't strike me as a solid one. —Preceding unsigned comment added by Solificus (talkcontribs) 15:56, 30 March 2008 (UTC)

Gramarye redirects here?[edit]

"Gramarye" redirects here, but I see no mention of it in the article. If this redirect is justified, then someone ought to write some mention of it in the article. SpectrumDT (talk) 00:24, 8 February 2009 (UTC)

Why I changed a few links[edit]

Vodou isn't all about zombies, it is a practiced religion of which zombies are a small and minor part of rural haiti. Also, its just bokors that "raises" zombies (really its just drugging someone who has brought up in a culture believe that bokors can raise zombies). Hougans and Mambos sometimes attempt communication with spirits (which sometimes includes ancestor spirits), but they don't do zombies. Ian.thomson (talk) 00:28, 3 June 2009 (UTC)

Protection time?[edit]

I don't believe we need to lock down the article just yet, but is there something that can be done to just block any edit incorporating this website? Ian.thomson (talk) 17:07, 18 December 2009 (UTC)


The pseudoscientists Rosemary Ellen Guiley is cited as the origin of several lofty claims about necromantic rituals. (talk) 02:45, 24 June 2011 (UTC)

Does it claim to be science? Please furnish cite. Kortoso (talk) 22:10, 30 October 2013 (UTC)

Necromancy and the LDS[edit]

Even though it might have borne the imprimatur of a reference citation, mention of Mormon Elder Wilford Woodruff's vision of the Founding Fathers does not belong in this article. Aside from being fundamentally unreliable, the source in question – containing a brief account of a particular vision beheld by a specific individual on a single occasion – fails to support the general claim "The LDS Church believes that the dead can contact the living". Insofar as that is concerned, it must also be pointed out that the website "is not owned, controlled, or affiliated" with the LDS Church, therefore its content "should not be interpreted as official statements of LDS doctrine, belief or practice". Moreover, the incident itself does not conform to the most basic definition of necromancy as set out in this article: i.e., an occult ritual in which the dead are raised or summoned for purposes of divination. Consequently, as this material holds no relevance to the article, it does not merit inclusion therein. To maintain otherwise amounts to declaring that Woodruff was a necromancer and the LDS Church both endorses and engages in the practice of necromancy, which can easily be read as defamation, as I am quite certain they do neither. – Apo-kalypso (talk) 06:31, 10 October 2011 (UTC)

It seems your main concern is the unreliable source. Fixed. ---Canstusdis (talk) 17:40, 16 October 2011 (UTC)
Unfortunately, you seem to be missing the point altogether. It does not matter how many sources you cite if the sources themselves are not reliable (e.g., "America's Founding Fathers are Mormons", "Joseph Smith Academy InspiraWiki"), they fail to support the primary contention (a contemporary organization-wide belief simply cannot be generalized from a single experience had by an individual member 134 years ago), and, most importantly, the material for which they are being cited does not belong in the article in the first place (Woodruff did not, on his own initiative, with specific intent, cast an arcane spell or perform an esoteric ritual in order to secure an audience with the Founding Fathers; they allegedly came to him in a vision. That is not necromancy as it has been defined through the millennia, let alone in this article). Bible-based religious traditions – of which Mormonism is one – unequivocally repudiate the practice of necromancy. As I have already stated, by including mention of Woodruff and the LDS Church in an article about necromancy, you are essentially saying that he was a necromancer and the LDS Church upholds a tradition of necromancy. This is the third time I have removed this particular content from the article (I have offered what I believe to be a coherent and consistent rationale in each instance) and the second time I have done it by reverting one of your edits. I sincerely want to avoid turning this into an edit war, so I invite you – and any other interested parties – to discuss the matter so that we can achieve consensus before proceeding. Thank you. — Apo-kalypso (talk) 23:11, 16 October 2011 (UTC)
I don't have anything new to add, but in case a third opinion was needed, I've been watching this and I agree with Apo-kalypso. The main issue for me is that being contacted by the dead is not (always/necessarily) the same as necromancy, so the attempted edit is not really relevant to this article. Otherwise every movement/religion that believes in spirits should be mentioned here too. — Jean Calleo (talk) 00:59, 17 October 2011 (UTC)
No other main stream "Bible-based religious tradition" has it's most senior members taking direction from dead spirits. This belief is unique to the LDS Church, and can be considered necromancy by other non-LDS religious traditions ([1]). ---Canstusdis (talk) 01:39, 17 October 2011 (UTC)
Surely you must be able to recognize and understand that persons belonging to other faith traditions who refer to this particular phenomenon as "necromancy" do so in order to defame and delegitimize the LDS Church? I did not even have to visit the second page of the Google search you linked above to see that much. If you confronted members of the LDS upper echelon and asked them whether or not they routinely practice necromancy and are, by extension, necromancers (because one who practices necromancy on a routine basis is unequivocally a necromancer), just how long do you think they would hesitate before they ejected you from their presence? As Jean Calleo said below, if the sources you have cited – not to mention Woodruff and the LDS Church themselves – do not explicitly describe this sort of thing as necromancy, then it really has no place in the article. — Apo-kalypso (talk) 08:15, 17 October 2011 (UTC)
You seem to be accusing me of acting in bad faith. Do you really believe that everyone holding views similar to mine are just trying to 'defame and delegitimize the LDS Church'? ---Canstusdis (talk) 02:21, 22 October 2011 (UTC)
First and foremost, I strive to maintain the assumption that other editors on Wikipedia act in good faith, therefore I have assumed from the outset that you are doing so in this particular situation. However, that will not keep me from engaging you in a critical discussion about this issue, and there comes a point when you can no longer use the claim of acting in good faith as a shield to defend yourself from being challenged or questioned – or ultimately acknowledging the validity of those questions. Second, I would like to direct your attention again to the Google search linked above. Most of the hits that actually relate to the search terms (excepting those about founder Joseph Smith facing charges of being a "practicing necromancer") involve non-Mormons alleging that Mormons engage in necromancy (they obviously do not intend this as a compliment to the LDS Church) and Mormons either directly defending themselves from these allegations or explicitly denouncing necromancy and related occult practices as a means of undermining them. The best example I found of this is a March 1974 article authored by Robert J. Matthews, a scriptural scholar at Brigham Young University, from Ensign, an official periodical of the LDS Church, which appears to clarify their stance on the subject quite thoroughly (I am compelled to mention that this is also a good example of a reliable source). Using the aforementioned Google search, I have not come across one single, solitary website wherein members or representatives of the LDS Church, past or present, employ the term "necromancy" or any variant thereof to describe or refer to the rites or tenets of their own faith. Insofar as your "views" are concerned, it is has become evident over the course of this discussion that they are based on a misunderstanding or misinterpretation of necromancy as it is defined in both traditional practice and this article, which has resulted in a misapplication of the term regarding the phenomenon of "senior members [of the LDS Church] taking direction from dead spirits". I believe (and have believed all along) that you were not trying to "defame and delegitimize the LDS Church" by including this in the article; it was an error made in good faith, but now that the error has been revealed for what it is, there is no reason to persist in its defense. — Apo-kalypso (talk) 07:35, 22 October 2011 (UTC)
Just finished reading the March 1974 article authored by Robert J. Matthews. I didn't come across one single, solitary reference to Elder Woodruff, or the Founding Fathers, or spirits of the dead talking to LDS "upper echelon" members, or anything that we've been discussing. ---Canstusdis (talk) 21:28, 24 October 2011 (UTC)
Are you claiming that all the sources I cited were unreliable? I beg to differ. It's absolutely provable by the references I cited that LDS Elder Wilford Woodruff claims to have spoken to spirits of the dead. How he came to speak to them is not known, nor do I claim such knowledge. LDS sources don't give the details as to exactly how or why the spirits were conjured or appeared. Nevertheless, according to the reliable sources I referenced the LDS Church claims that such an interaction took place. It certainly falls into the common understanding of the definition of necromancy IMO, if not yours. ---Canstusdis (talk) 01:21, 17 October 2011 (UTC)
Necromancy is a claimed form of magic in which the practitioner seeks to summon the spirit of a deceased person, either as an apparition or ghost, or to raise them bodily, for the purpose of divination.
It's not our personal opinion that necromancy is basically a form of (black) magic. An important part of it is that the necromancer puts in deliberate effort to conjure the spirits; as far as I understand the sources say the spirits appeared to Woodruff without him practicing magic to summon them.
Faiths where people worship/talk to (dead) ancestors' spirits aren't mentioned here for the same reason — it's not necromancy.
I think what would be sufficient was if the sources specifically used the word "necromancy" or otherwise alluded to the occult, in regards to this situation. But they don't, so I don't see how this is relevant to this article. — Jean Calleo (talk) 02:21, 17 October 2011 (UTC)
For the most part, Canstusdis, that is exactly what I am saying. Neither LDS Church Temples, Mormon Chronicle, InspiraWiki, nor LDS Living are officially connected with the LDS Church. The first was created and is currently maintained by a layperson whose primary interest appears to be photographic documentation of LDS temples; the second features analysis of current events and related topics "from a uniquely Mormon perspective", to say nothing of a very specific and narrow sociopolitical standpoint; the third is an open wiki run by an organization that seeks to advance "materials which are strictly in harmony with the teachings of latter-day revelation"; and the fourth is a lifestyle magazine. From what I can tell, the only thing any of these sources, including LDS Church News, can be used to substantiate is that Wilford Woodruff claimed to have had a vision of the Founding Fathers in 1877; not one among them supports the general contention "The LDS Church believes that the dead can contact the living." — Apo-kalypso (talk) 08:15, 17 October 2011 (UTC)
Your playing games now
I regret that you think so, yet I cannot quite see how taking a critical look at the sources you cited in order to evaluate their reliability constitutes "game playing" on my part. You asked me a question and I answered it, offering a straightforward explanation; no part of it is a distortion or misrepresentation of the facts, which were themselves plainly visible or easily uncovered. If indeed there is anything more to discuss here, let us please keep it civil. — Apo-kalypso (talk) 07:35, 22 October 2011 (UTC)
Please, let's try to build consensus instead of distorting or misrepresenting the facts.
Fact #1. Elder Woodruff claims to have been visited by dead spirits.
Fact #2. The LDS Church officially endorses Elder Woodruff's experience, even memorializing it with a painting.
Fact #3. This information can be easily substantiated using the LDS's official church news website,, which I cited as a reference.
It seems the main issue we have is with the definition of necromancy. I believe the definition as described in this wikipedia article is too narrow. I'd be willing to change that definition to one that more closely resembles most dictionary definitions, including Wiktionary:
1. Divination involving the dead or death
You'll notice that this definition does not require the use of magic, or a deliberate effort to conjure the spirits, or the specific use of the word "necromancy". I believe that Elder Woodruff's alleged encounter can best be described by this broader, more mainstream definition. ---Canstusdis (talk) 16:30, 23 October 2011 (UTC)

I have taken steps to initiate a dispute resolution process regarding this issue on the Wikipedia dispute resolution noticeboard. Please continue the discussion there. — Apo-kalypso (talk) 05:44, 24 October 2011 (UTC)

I'm sorry you felt the need to do so. WP:THIRD is how I would have proceeded because we hadn't reached an impasse yet IMO. Obviously this is a very important issue for you. ---Canstusdis (talk) 17:42, 24 October 2011 (UTC)

It is the determination of mediators TransporterMan and ItsZippy at the dispute resolution noticeboard, in concurrence with Apo-kalypso and Jean Calleo, that the vision described by Elder Wilford Woodruff on 16 September 1877 conforms neither to the definition of necromancy nor divination and consequently fails to support the general claim advanced by Canstusdis that "The LDS Church believes that the dead can contact the living", implicit in which is the assertion that the LDS Church endorses and engages in the practice of necromancy. Accordingly, the disputed content is not appropriate for inclusion in the article. This discussion is hereby closed. — Apo-kalypso (talk) 22:37, 28 October 2011 (UTC)

How about that? And with a quick edit, Apo-kalypso makes himself "king of the wikipagez" and declares the discussion closed. Too bad he failed to read all the remarks thoroughly. If he had done so he would have noticed that TransporterMan suggested that I am free to build a consensus on this page if I so choose. Once again, making up facts as you go along. ---Canstusdis (talk) 00:23, 1 November 2011 (UTC)
This isn't the only time it has happened on Wikipedia that there's a dispute and one of the participants isn't satisfied with the outcome. Do you think all these conversations should carry on indefinitely? The discussion as it is closed. You or somebody else should have something new to add in order to continue this, but in your last responses you've just been acting offended and haven't furthered your arguments. You can't build a consensus alone. Make some good points to try to convince other editors that you're right; stop being such an antagonizer, it's not helping you. — Jean Calleo (talk) 08:43, 1 November 2011 (UTC)

Eligibility, suitability, and "popular media"[edit]

Over recent months, several users have attempted to add various items to the "Necromancy in popular media" section – presumably in good faith – only to have them removed shortly thereafter because they lacked notability or were the products of original research. In the interest of sparing prospective contributors the frustration and discouragement which might result from having their contributions reverted, not to mention the effort involved in making – and, conversely, unmaking – these contributions, I have undertaken to establish some clear and comprehensive guidelines that will address two principal concerns: first and foremost [A], whether or not a particular phenomenon in popular media qualifies as necromancy; and second [B], whether or not that phenomenon rates a mention in this article. (N.B.: All external links appearing below are to the online Merriam Webster Collegiate Dictionary.)

A. The primary concern can be formulated as a set of criteria that should be applied from the outset in all cases where you encounter a phenomenon that might be eligible for inclusion in the article:

  1. The phenomenon is explicitly described, named, or referred to using the term "necromancy" – and, by extension, those who engage in or practice the phenomenon are explicitly described, named, or referred to using the term "necromancer" – preferably within the original work itself, otherwise in a reliable, independent secondary source.
  2. The phenomenon conforms to the definition of "necromancy" as outlined in this article, which follows in expanded form:
a) The deliberate, intentional, and methodical use of esoteric, magic(k)al, mystical, or occult means (e.g., an incantation, ritual, or spell)
b) To charm, conjure, enchant, evoke, invoke, raise, reanimate, resurrect, or summon
c) For the purpose of binding, commanding, communicating with, controlling, or manipulating either:
d) As an end in itself, irrespective of any object or outcome towards which it might be directed.
e) Certain other elements – although they are not exclusive to necromancy – may also be present such as:
  • Places of burial or interment (e.g., cemetery, crypt, graveyard, mausoleum, sepulchre, tomb) and their associated accoutrements – Necromancers are routinely depicted incorporating these into their practices, whether as staging grounds for rituals or as components used in spells.
  • Physiological processes related to death or dying (e.g., decay, decomposition, putrefaction, rot, wasting, withering) – Necromancers are commonly attributed some degree of influence over these, often manifesting as the ability to inflict them upon the living by way of curses.
  • The undead (e.g., ghoul, lich, mummy, revenant, vampire, zombie) – Necromancers are sometimes shown to engage or create certain types of the undead for use as servants and may even transform themselves into an undead being in order to achieve greater power and longer "life".
When trying to determine whether a phenomenon occurring in a given work is or is not necromancy, you cannot go wrong by simply deferring to the judgment of its creator. It is quite reasonable to assume that they possessed some degree of familiarity with the subject but decided, for whatever reason, not to mention or represent it in their work. Should you happen across something in a given work that seems to fit the definition of necromancy [A2], but its creator does not explicitly use the term "necromancy" to describe, name, or refer to it (and it is similarly not described, named, or referred to as such in any applicable secondary source) [A1], then you have no cause to second-guess their intentions and advance the claim that it is necromancy. Asserting that a phenomenon qualifies as necromancy based solely on your own personal inference or interpretation without it satisfying both of the aforementioned criteria constitutes original research and will likely result in your contribution being removed from the article.

B. When the first concern has been successfully resolved, a second set of criteria must be implemented to assess whether the phenomenon merits inclusion in the article (it should be pointed out that meeting the initial criteria does not imply that the phenomenon is suitable for inclusion; if it fails to meet those criteria, however, then it is obviously not suitable):

1.  The phenomenon occurs within a notable work of popular media, as indicated by both of the following:
a) The work is the subject of multiple, non-trivial published works whose sources are reliable and independent of each other and the work itself; and
b) The work meets one or more additional criteria:
  • Considered to be a groundbreaking, definitive, classic, or iconic example of its particular genre or form.
  • Considered to be a unique achievement, breakthrough, or milestone in the development of its genre or form.
  • Considered to have had a significant impact or made a significant contribution within a broader cultural or historical context.
  • Regarded or cited as important and influential by academics, critics, peers, or professionals.
  • Won a major award or honor, or nominated for one several times; or inducted into a "Hall of Fame" or equivalent.
  • Earned a high rank on a media industry standard chart or list.
  • Given wide release or distribution, which may involve being adapted or translated into multiple formats and languages.
  • Gained a substantial fan base or significant cult following.
  • Created by an individual who is so culturally or historically significant that any of their works may be considered notable.
  • Features extensive involvement by a notable person in a high-profile capacity and is a major part of their body of work.
2.  The phenomenon is a significant component of the work in which it occurs, as indicated by any the following:
a) Theme – The phenomenon appears as a recurring, meaningful element or central subject of the work.
b) Plot – The phenomenon has a profound, enduring impact on the course of events detailed in the work.
c) Setting – The phenomenon plays a dominant role in shaping the cultural, historical, geographical, or temporal landscape presented in the work.
d) Mood – The phenomenon pervades the underlying sensory or emotional atmosphere conveyed by the work.
d) Characterization – The phenomenon is practiced, utilized, or wielded by a character depicted in the work, with these further qualifications:
  • The phenomenon serves as the primary function, occupation, or trait by which the character is identified, both by himself and by other characters; in other words, the phenomenon is essential to an understanding of the character.
  • The phenomenon informs how the character relates to and interacts with other characters and how they relate to and interact with him.
  • The character occupies a prominent or leading role in the work (such characters usually have distinct, complex, and well-developed personalities, backgrounds, objectives, and motivations; and are present for, involved in, and able to affect and be affected by the events of the principal storyline).
No contributor may declare that a work is notable [B1] or that a phenomenon is a significant component of that work [B2] based solely on their own acquaintance with and knowledge of the work in question. Their claim must instead be verified with reliable, non-trivial, independent secondary sources – as per Wikipedia guidelines – otherwise it will likely be challenged and subsequently removed from the article.

The following are examples of content that does not belong in the "Necromancy in popular media" section (all listed works meet criteria for notability):

I have only included this one here to demonstrate that mere spirit visitation does not count as necromancy.
Necromancy cannot be practiced by a horse, of course, no matter what its name might be.
  • In Frankenstein (1818), a scientist devises a way to reanimate dead tissue and creates a monster assembled from the parts of various corpses.
Although the details are never specified, Frankenstein nonetheless employs scientific – not supernatural – means to build and give life to his artificial man.
  • The cleric character class in the Dungeons & Dragons role-playing game (1974–present) is invested with the power to repel or control undead creatures.
Aside from the fact that it is not identified as necromancy (and, furthermore, usually not categorized as "magic"), this particular ability is just one of many unrelated others that can be selected and used by clerics – it alone does not define their function or purpose in the game – and is accordingly not given a greater share of focus or emphasis.
Aragorn did not so much summon the Shadow Host to appear before him as he sought them out in the place where they were most likely to be found, nor did he constrain them to fulfill the oath they pledged to his ancestor since it was ultimately their own choice to serve him.
Of all the items here, this one would seem to be the most worthy of receiving mention in the article; however, nowhere in the five books that comprise this series are the words "necromancy" or "necromancer" used to describe either the creation of the Cauldron-Born or their creator.

For more information, please refer to the following Wikipedia project pages:

Thank you for taking the time to read this. I hope it is helpful. — Apo-kalypso (talk) 03:05, 1 March 2012 (UTC)

"Failed verification" tag for "negro"[edit]

A reference was provided here, but was deleted. To avoid an edit war, I haven't re-inserted it yet. Apologies for the delay between the tagging and the explanation. --Old Moonraker (talk) 08:08, 2 March 2012 (UTC)

I believe that I may have resolved your concerns. I do not even know why Cthulhu Rising deleted the reference in the first place, but everything is more or less back to the way it was, with one additional citation, "necromancy" from the OED, which the article had previously been lacking. [For the sake of creating a "paper trail", here is a link to the post on your talk page that initiated this discussion.] — Apo-kalypso (talk) 10:26, 2 March 2012 (UTC)

I've eliminated the factually inaccurate etymology again - if that is genuinely what is in the OED then their scholarship has gone seriously downhill fast. As I may have put elsewhere this is a classic case of folk etymology. Gk νεκρος is derived from the well-attested Indo-European root *nek- "to perish, die" also giving Gk nectar, Lat necō nex, Skt naśyati etc; whereas Lat niger "black" is of no certain etymology and is highly unlikely to be Indo-European and is most probably from a substratum. Normal sound changes convert Lat masc/nt acc sig nigrum into Proto-Western-Romance negro- which was then confused with Romanized Greek necro- in Mediaeval times. Seriously does the OED really say that negro- is Greek for black? They need to check their etymologies for melanin and melanoma in that case Cthulhu Rising (talk) 20:51, 3 April 2012 (UTC)

Your thorough explanation is very much appreciated. Might you be able to work a condensed version of what you have outlined above into the lede and include a source for verification? — Apo-kalypso (talk) 02:25, 4 April 2012 (UTC)
Thanks for that. I'll try and work something up over the weekend. I haven't a lot of experience adding sources so I may need some help with the references (haven't done many large edits); but the source for *nek- is Mallory's Oxford Introduction to Proto-European - the nearest thing we've got to a current dictionary of PIE roots, and I've supplemented it with work from Sihler's Comparative Grammar of Greek and Latin Cthulhu Rising (talk) 20:35, 5 April 2012 (UTC)
No developments? Nothing to explain why the OED is wrong and should be deleted in favour of an unsupported assertion that this noted work is "factually inaccurate"? Reinstated, with a request on the editor's talk page to read WP:EW and related policies. If an alternative theory, for example from Mallory, exists it could be include as an alternative, but not a replacement, to the authoritative OED account. I have to say that the mediaeval (fifteenth century) scholars who coined the word would have been more familiar with simple Greek than Proto-European—Mallory didn't propound his theory until the twentieth century—and the Greek origin seems more likely, but that's an opinion and not allowed in the article—the whole point, really! --Old Moonraker (talk) 07:08, 23 April 2012 (UTC)
I'm not on Wikipedia that often, so I have only just received your rather sharp comment. In reply I will quote from the Concise Oxford Dictionary of English Etymology page 310 bottom of column 1 and start of column 2 " necromancy XIII Earliest forms in nigro- nigra- negro- OF nigromancie - Rom (MedL) nigromantia, alt., by assoc. with niger, nigr- black of late L necromantia - Gr nekromanteia f nekros + manteia see prec -MANCY; refash XVI as in F after L and Gr. " I have bolded the important part which shows that the alternate form is an alteration by folk etymology as I have been stating over the last few months.
Now I don't have a private copy of the OED (who does) but if OUP's own publications contradict their dictionary might I suggest that said dictionary may not be the most reliable of sources. I don't actually think they do - I think there has been a miscopying by whomsoever wrote the original nonsense in the intro. I say this as the Classical Greek world for black is μελας (see any dicitionary of classical Greek) hence my somewhat tongue in cheek comments about the etymology of melanin and melanoma, not nigro- as per the article you have reverted (I get riled by really basic errors of this sort) and I quoted Mallory as he is the current standard reference for PIE roots. Comments? Otherwise I will rewrite the article again in due course.Cthulhu Rising (talk) 00:52, 26 April 2012 (UTC)
Thanks for not deleting this straight away and, yes, my comments are becoming a bit sharp. If there are alternative etymologies these, for completeness, should be included as alternatives, but not to substitute, to the WP:RS OED information—after all, as the link tells us: "all majority and significant minority views that have appeared in those sources are [must be] covered" (original emphasis). Meanwhile, to circumvent WP:SOURCEACCESS, I'm thinking about adding a quote to the reference; would that be any help? --Old Moonraker (talk) 07:48, 26 April 2012 (UTC)
Sadly, another contributor has deleted this, so it's back to WP:SOURCEACCESS again. Taken to WP:RSN. --Old Moonraker (talk) 06:19, 27 April 2012 (UTC)
My take on this situation is that Cthulhu Rising was contesting the etymology of nigromancy – "(adapted from Late Latin nigromantia; nigro being counterpart to the Greek negro, "black", which comes from necro, "death")" – specifically the nigronegronecro chain of association, for which the OED was cited as the source, not the source itself. I checked it out and confirmed for myself that it most certainly did not come from the OED, so Cthulhu Rising appears to have been justified in making his original correction as an attempt to reconcile the error, though it would have been advisable for him to furnish a replacement reference at the time instead of simply removing the one that was already there. I am not trying to find fault or lay blame because I firmly believe that there were no bad intentions on either side, but it is clear to me that this whole misunderstanding comes from Cthulhu Rising inadvertently throwing out the proverbial baby with the bathwater, followed by Old Moonraker thinking that he meant to throw out the baby. The "factual inaccuracy" in this case was not the OED, Old Moonraker, but rather the faulty content (or the faulty portion of the content) that cited the OED. — Apo-kalypso (talk) 08:22, 27 April 2012 (UTC)

────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────Just to make sure (and because I don't understand "for which the OED was cited as the source, not the source itself" [original emphasis]) I went back and checked it again. It is as I stated. It's to avoid this argument that I added the quote to the article. Reproducing it here, in case of the possibility (by no means unknown) that I'm missing something, in which case please point it out:

…alteration, by association with classical Latin nigr-, niger black (…compare BLACK ART n. … = necromancy n. 1a.) of classical Latin necromantia NECROMANCY n.": Oxford English Dictionary (2003 : nigromance, n.)

--Old Moonraker (talk) 09:03, 27 April 2012 (UTC)

Afterthought: some readers may have access to the online, subscription-only version of the source, so here's the URL for the entry. --Old Moonraker (talk) 09:30, 27 April 2012 (UTC)
I came here from RSN. I'm puzzled by the above discussion because I can't see anything wrong with the OED statement. "alteration, by association with" is another way of saying "folk etymology". Possibly, when this bit of the OED was drafted around 1900, the term "folk etymology" had not become widely used. But the link with the word element "nigro-" is folk etymology, that element is originally Latin, meanwhile the original word source (a Latin word borrowed from Greek) remains visible, and the OED is correctly saying all this.
Citing paysites (like the OED online) is OK, but not nearly as helpful to the majority of Wikipedia readers as quoting the text would be. I must admit, though, that the etymologies in the OED (and some other English etymological dictionaries) are written in a kind of shorthand, to be read by an in-group; so even a full quotation wouldn't result in perfect clarity. I guess (forgive me if I'm wrong, I haven't fully explored the history) that this might be the origin of the current dispute? Maybe some earlier edit aimed to explain what the OED says, and confused the issue slightly? Andrew Dalby 09:49, 27 April 2012 (UTC)
OK, yes, now I re-read Apo-kalypso's explanation just above; Apo-kalypso has revealed the truth. The deleted words "nigro being counterpart to the Greek negro, "black", which comes from necro, "death"" are erroneous and don't represent anything that the OED says. Andrew Dalby 10:07, 27 April 2012 (UTC)
No, that can't be it—that bit had already gone: see "Tweak the text closer to quote". --Old Moonraker (talk) 10:50, 27 April 2012 (UTC)
Oh. Then I can't see what the problem would be with quoting the OED verbatim or with paraphrasing what it says. Of course we don't have to explain or mention older forms of words at all -- this isn't a dictionary -- but in this case the article says (or said), I think, that the implied (folk-etymological) meaning of "nigromancy" contributed to the classification of this practice as black magic. Which makes the older name and its etymology part of the story. Is there agreement on that? If so, who actually does object to quoting or paraphrasing the OED here? Andrew Dalby 20:41, 27 April 2012 (UTC)
In regards to Cthulhu Rising's 20:53 (UTC), 1 March 2012 edit which he summarized as "correction of etymology of necromancy/nigromancy - the OED is wrong here", I believe what he meant – although I myself did not understand it at the time because the edit summary is a bit on the vague side – is not that the OED etymology of nigromancy is "wrong", but that it was "wrong" to cite the OED for the etymology of nigromancy as it appeared in the article because the "nigro being counterpart to the Greek negro, 'black', which comes from necro, 'death'" component of that etymology does not derive from the OED. In retrospect, the simplest solution would have been to correct the article etymology to bring it in line with the OED, but Cthulhu Rising instead removed the OED citation and rewrote the article etymology in order to explain the connection between nigro and necro; unfortunately, he did not supply a corresponding reference for verification at the time. The nigronegronecro relationship is NOT an alternative etymology; it is plainly spurious and should not have made it into the article in the first place. I am certain that this is what Cthulhu Rising was really trying to address.
Old Moonraker shortly thereafter added a "failed verification" tag to the altered etymology in his 06:03, 2 March 2012 edit, though he placed it at the end of the sentence rather than immediately following the unsourced content, so it was somewhat difficult to determine what was being tagged. I sought clarification by leaving a comment on his user talk page, whereupon he initiated the present discussion thread. To prevent further complication and confusion – my own, first and foremost – I decided to revert everything back to its original state in my 10:25, 2 March 2012 edit. Calling it a "factual inaccuracy" (which he thankfully supplemented with the detailed explanation above), Cthulhu Rising removed the etymology and citation again, this time without replacing it, in his 20:30, 3 April 2012 edit. As before, he did not assert that the OED etymology of nigromancy was wrong, he questioned whether the article etymology of nigromancy was accurately transcribed from the OED, as would be implied by the accompanying citation. Old Moonraker has been mistaken in thinking that Cthulhu Rising is challenging the reliability of the OED – a misapprehension that he carried over to the reliable sources noticeboard – and has regrettably mischaracterized his actions as an "edit war".
Concerning my 23:55, 26 April 2012 edit, I deleted both the article etymology and the OED quote added by Old Moonraker in his 08:43, 26 April 2012 edit because this whole situation prompted me to ask why it was even necessary to provide an etymology for nigromancy, and whether doing so "places undue focus and significance on a single word". I concluded that a basic reference citation linked to the online OED would be sufficient to explain the etymological relationship of nigromancy and necromancy; anything more, I felt, would be redundant and diversionary. However, as a compromise measure, if there is consensus with regards to the merits of including an etymology for nigromancy (on the basis which Andrew Dalby mentioned above), then I would accept such content, but only paraphrased in the article itself and not paired with a direct quote from the OED in the reference citation; the citation itself, in its current form, is quite adequate for that purpose. — Apo-kalypso (talk) 01:09, 28 April 2012 (UTC)
I will be very pleased if my understanding of User:Cthulhu Rising's characterisation of the source ("the OED is wrong here", "their scholarship has gone seriously downhill fast" and "factual inaccuracy") turns out to be my misapprehension. This all started as a defence of WP:V, not allowing it to be overridden by WP:NOR; if that fundamental point is accepted, the sourced material can be accurately represented in the article and we can all get back to doing something more productive.
As well as User:Apo-kalypso's detailed and well-meaning explanation, above, is there a possibility of further contribution to the discussion from Cthulhu Rising him/herself? It would be nice to wrap this up quickly; we're wasting a lot of time (and not forgetting at this point the careful reviews offered by User:Andrew Dalby—thanks) on this very minor issue.
--Old Moonraker (talk) 06:52, 28 April 2012 (UTC)
Following Apo-kalypso's suggestion, if I were paraphrasing the OED etymology for human readers, I would say this. "English 'necromancy' is a loanword from late Latin necromantia, itself a borrowing of the earlier Greek compound word nekromanteia (nekros = corpse; manteia = prophecy). In medieval Latin and English texts a variant form 'nigromantia, nigromancy' is found. This arose because medieval writers re-interpreted the unfamiliar word element necro-, replacing it with the better-known Latin word element nigro- (= black). (This process of linguistic re-interpretation is known as folk etymology.)" All of this, except the final parenthesis, is a direct paraphrase of the OED (I have it on CD-ROM and I just checked it!) Instead of the parenthesis, we could just pipe-link [[folk etymology|re-interpreted]]. Would it be useful to insert something like that in the article text? Andrew Dalby 09:00, 28 April 2012 (UTC)
Yes, definitely. AFAICS Andrew's OED paraphrase could go in as it stands, which means that he needs to be the one to do it. (And, in a totally off-topic aside, congratulations on having a working copy of the work on CD ROM: mine failed on the very next OS upgrade after purchase, and was thereafter "no longer supported".)--Old Moonraker (talk) 09:55, 28 April 2012 (UTC)
The etymology of "necromancy" is already detailed in the article, of course, so we can dispense with the first sentence of Andrew Dalby's proposed addition: it is only necessary to focus on "nigromancy" here. In any case, I do appreciate him for advancing a proposal. — Apo-kalypso (talk) 10:45, 28 April 2012 (UTC)
Fine, thanks to you both. I'll pause briefly in case Cthulhu Rising comments, and then try inserting the necessary text.
Yes, this is my last fling with the OED CD-ROM: it won't work on our laptop. Andrew Dalby 11:16, 28 April 2012 (UTC)
OK, I've had a go. I added in the bit of my text relating to "nigromancy". I also edited the existing etymology of "necromancy", because an etymologist wouldn't say (I think) that the English word is "derived from" an Ancient Greek word. To be precise, it isn't a matter of derivation at all. The English is borrowed from the Latin, which is borrowed from the Greek. Anyway, see how it looks. Andrew Dalby 09:53, 29 April 2012 (UTC)
Many thanks for participating in this discussion, Andrew Dalby, as well as for taking the time and effort to compose new material for the article. I made a couple minor revisions, but otherwise it looks great and will hopefully settle the issue. — Apo-kalypso (talk) 00:50, 30 April 2012 (UTC)

────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────I don't want to waste any more of editors' time here (and particularly that of Andrew Dalby, who has done his best to fix this), but to me the instruction "us[e] a fully-filled out citation template, like {{cite book}}…use the quote= parameter within those citation templates to provide some context for the reference" in Wikipedia:Offline sources is still being ignored. The bare link to the online source is accessible only on subscription and this won't be sufficient if the material is, once again, challenged. --Old Moonraker (talk) 07:17, 30 April 2012 (UTC)

And on what basis would it be challenged? I am sure you noticed that WP:OFFLINE is not Wikipedia policy. Even so, it states "Complete information ... increases the source's credibility among the Wikipedia editing community (who may otherwise be skeptical of its reliability)." I hardly think any Wikipedia editor is skeptical of the OED's reliability, and quoting it in this instance would not do much, if anything, towards increasing its credibility among Wikipedia editors, as that credibility has already been well established (I cannot help but wonder if you might still be holding to the notion that Cthulhu Rising was questioning the reliability of the OED, which I argued against earlier in this discussion). The essay goes on to state "... use the quote= parameter within those citation templates ... to support a fact that might be controversial or is likely to be challenged." As I said before, Cthulhu Rising did not challenge the etymology of "nigromancy" as it appears in the OED, he noticed that the etymology as it appeared in the article contained an error and he sought to correct that error; in other words, the source of "controversy", if such a term can be even used in this case, was the spurious portion of the etymology. That he did not go about his task in the most adroit manner and likewise was not perfectly clear in explaining his rationale, at least in his initial edit, should not obscure this basic fact. So, now that the issue has been thoroughly examined and properly addressed, with the correct etymology in place (confirmed unequivocally by all of us here), I think we can just relax and move ahead with confidence to other endeavors. No further action is necessary. — Apo-kalypso (talk) 10:00, 30 April 2012 (UTC)
On no basis, as far as I can see, but User:Cthulhu Rising has suggested "that said dictionary may not be the most reliable of sources". However, let's hope that you are right and no more challenges to its authority appear. --Old Moonraker (talk) 11:26, 30 April 2012 (UTC)
What you quoted is part of a conditional statement that cannot rightly be understood without the preceding clause: "...if OUP's own publications contradict their dictionary..." That is to say, IF the etymology of "nigromancy" in the OED, published by OUP, contradicts the etymology of "nigromancy" in the ODoE, also published by OUP, THEN their reliability is in doubt, to which he added, "I don't actually think they do [contradict each other] - I think there has been a miscopying..."
I would also like to point out that the current link to the online OED in the citation is not a "bare link", as well as highlight a portion of actual Wikipedia policy that you mentioned earlier, from WP:SOURCEACCESS: "Verifiability in this context means that other people should be able to check that material in a Wikipedia article has been published by a reliable source. The principle of verifiability implies nothing about ease of access to sources... [emphasis mine]". Although most people do not have direct and immediate access to the OED, they technically "should be able" to access it by some means – whether purchasing CD-ROMs, subscribing to the website, or visiting their local public library to view a physical copy (I myself can access the website using my library card number; I am fortunate that my library has a subscription) – consequently enabling them to verify the material in question if they want either to challenge it or defend it from being challenged.
For whatever it may be worth, I want to thank you for taking part in this (unexpectedly lengthy) discussion, Old Moonraker, and let you know that I very much respect and appreciate your desire to be a conscientious contributor to Wikipedia. — Apo-kalypso (talk) 12:15, 30 April 2012 (UTC)
Gosh, I really seem to have set the cat among the pigeons here! As someone who has been studying historical linguistics as a hobby for 20 years and took Latin and Classical Greek at O-level I thought I was just correcting a blatantly erroneous statement wrt the Gk word for black. I'm happy with the current edit though. As I mentioned above I'm still pretty new at this and I probably need to add quotes from reference books more frequently to justify my assertions. Cthulhu Rising (talk) 15:55, 1 May 2012 (UTC)


I don't think that Spiritism fits with necromancy, since there is no intent of "reveal(ing) future events or secret information" through the spirits. Spiritualism has to do with it, though. — Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 02:55, 10 May 2012 (UTC)

It's a question I have as well, although I understood the distinction differently: Necromancy as trying to communicate with actual dead bodies, spiritism as attempting to communicate with disembodied spirits. Many modern Christian faiths had their start in the 19th and 20th century with spiritism and spiritualism, and it would be unfair to accuse these of necromancy.

Kortoso (talk) 22:22, 30 October 2013 (UTC)

Example in opera[edit]

Please add the opera The Medium by Menotti. (talk) 07:01, 1 May 2013 (UTC)

Mediumship is not necromancy as it is defined in the article; consequently, The Medium does not satisfy the first set of criteria for inclusion outlined above in the section "Eligibility, suitability, and 'popular media'". Thank you, however, for making the suggestion. — Apo-kalypso (talk) 07:29, 1 May 2013 (UTC)

in popular media image[edit]

Rather than using a non free image couldn't we use something from battle of wesnoth like File:Wesnothlich.png or one of the images here.Geni (talk) 12:42, 29 September 2013 (UTC)

Pov interpretation in norse culture[edit]

The concept of necromancy is totally non-existent in the Norse culture, no reliable sources. The text is very original and purpose-built = POV (fantasy) the text:

"Norse mythology contains examples of necromancy" What? reliable sources of concept of necromancy in Norse culture? (POV)

",such as the scene in the Prophecy of the Völva (Völuspá) in which Odin summons a völva, or shamanic seeress, from the dead to tell him of the future. In The Spell of Gróa (Grógaldr), the first part of The Lay of Svipdagr (Svipdagsmál), the hero Svipdag summons his dead mother, Gróa, to cast spells for him. In the Saga of King Hrolf kraki (Hrólfs saga kraka), the half-elven princess Skuld had great skill in witchcraft (seiðr) to the point that she was almost invincible in battle: when her warriors fell, she made them rise again to continue fighting. In Hávamál Odin tells of a runic charm that allows him to resurrect the dead. Snorri Sturluson writes that Draugadróttinn (lord of the draugr) is a name of Odin." but the concept of necromancy?

"A further connection between Odin, necromancy and the undead was the belief that the dead where said to return from their graves during Yule. "Jólfaðr" (Yule father) and "Jólnir" (the Yule one) are also names of Odin. It would make sense in Odin's "necromantic" context to associate him with a season of the returning dead."

What? interpretation? very original but not encyclopedic, this is not a blog.-- (talk) 00:30, 4 June 2015 (UTC)

I agree with 151. The entire text smacks of original research. --NeilN talk to me 00:33, 4 June 2015 (UTC)

Video Game That References Necromancy[edit]

In the MMORPG Runescape there is a character named Zemouregal who is very notorious for his practice of necromancy. He raises undead all throughout the game, and if one were to check to Runescape wikia, the very first sentence says "Zemouregal is a powerful Zamorakian Mahjarrat who assisted Zamorak in his rebellion against Zaros and is a powerful necromancer.". I believe he should be referenced to in the section of the page that comments on games where necromancy is referenced to. Here is the page for the character [1] which states his necromancy abilities numerous times. — Preceding unsigned comment added by 2602:306:BD34:2D60:A1B5:EFBA:1239:E95E (talk) 03:30, 19 December 2015 (UTC)

Popular culture[edit]

I am new to this entry (just a patroller passing by) - but erasing ALL fiction/TV/film/games examples is too drastic I believe. To be able to see some shining examples from existing literature would be nice, give the article some juice. Can anyone look into this matter and save some examples from oblivion? PS Reverted the erasing edit in the meantime, discussion pending. Thanks. Super48paul (talk) 07:08, 27 December 2015 (UTC)

Ghost Whisperer[edit]

"Ghost Whisperer's title character, Melinda Gordon (played by Jennifer Love Hewitt) could be considered a necromancer." ??? As I recall, the ghosts generally sought her out, not the other way around. Mannanan51 (talk) 19:16, 25 July 2016 (UTC)

Modern Era? Incorrect usage.[edit]

Just popping in here to quickly note (to editors following/interested in this entry)that Modern Era is apparently misused in this entry--otherwise early-Modern, Modern, and post-Modern) periods are entirely overlooked... and therefore, there would be a huge hole in the info offered here. "Modern", in the academic sense of the term (pardon: this might be needless to say for some participants here) does not mean "contemporary". For example, the early-Modern period roughly tends to be identified as having started around the time of the invention of the printing press (or shortly thereafter). That is all.

Michael Reed 1975 (talk) 00:47, 26 July 2016 (UTC)

  1. ^