Life as a God
White leather over wood, crown quarto, 7½” x 5”, unnumbered but about 160 pages; a holographic (i.e., handwritten by the author) account by one Montgomery Crompton bearing the title “Life as a God” within a poorly rendered frontispiece of faux-Egyptian styling. The text is sloppy and erratic in brown, and sometimes fading, black ink. The book was amateurishly bound and the spine is separating in places.
This work purports to be the diary (though it functions more as an autobiography) of
Montgomery Crompton, a British soldier and artist. Its first few pages recount his life as member of the landed gentry in Northern England up until he is dispatched in 1801 to Egypt under General Sir Ralph Abercrombie. Seriously wounded in battle, he recovered after several weeks of a high fever and a series of what he claims were occult visions. Remaining in Egypt to recuperate, he was inducted into a secretive cult. Claiming to have survived from ancient times, the cult worshiped a mythical figure known as the “Black Pharaoh”, a forgotten ruler of ancient Egypt said to have possessed magical, possibly divine, powers. As a cult member, Crompton witnessed and participated in acts of torture, murder, and rape, as well as weird magical ceremonies all in praise of this Black Pharaoh (sometimes called “Nivrin Ka”). In 1805 he returned to Great Britain where, settling near Liverpool, he and a group of other British converts attempted to replicate the cult and its depraved rites before being thwarted by unnamed, but mockingly condemned, local authorities. Crompton apparently composed this work whilst incarcerated in an asylum. Even from a quick skim, it is obvious that the author was a murderously sadistic lunatic prone to megalomaniacal delusions, foremost of which is that he would achieve god-hood through his occult practices.
Albert Roger Willis