From ancient customs to famous cases of beasts and vampires and their reflections in popular culture, six hundred entries provide definitions, explanations, and lists of suggested further reading on the macabre.
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In this thorough compendium, Guiley presents tales and beliefs from all over the world and from times ranging from far in the past to the present day. The author of numerous similar reference works (The Complete Vampire Companion, etc.) and an honorary life member of the Ghost Club of London, Guiley is an expert in this field and, from this book, it seems that no appearance of the supernatural, however brief, in folklore or pop culture has escaped her notice. Vampire books, films and TV series (such as Anne Rice’s Vampire Chronicles, the original 1931 Dracula and the gothic soap opera Dark Shadows) receive extensive entries, and even the writers and actors are discussed at length. One can read about the "vegetable vampires" of gypsy lore (pumpkins and watermelons that go bad and begin "shaking and noisily disturbing people and animals") and about the huli jing, a Chinese fairy that "seduces victims and sucks off the victims’ life force during orgasm." Vampires dominate, but legends like that of the Slavic vlokolak, or werewolf, and the Shetland wulver, another type of dog-man, also appear. Guiley is deadly serious about her subject, treating legends and modern parodies of vampire movies, such as Blacula and Count Yorga, with the same academic intensity that permeates university courses on Buffy the Vampire Slayer. Short citations for further reading follow many entries, and the volume is extensively cross-referenced. Members of the Vampire Empire club, founded by Jeanne Keyes Youngson, who provided the foreword for this book, or anyone else obsessed with the literally bloodthirsty will find this a fascinating reference. 102 b&w photos and illustrations.
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More than 600 fascinating and sometimes macabre entries, arranged alphabetically and varying in length from a paragraph to several pages, provide definitions, explanations, and lists of references for Dogmen, mullos, skinwalkwers, and other scary creatures of the night. Author Guiley has researched and written numerous books on angels, saints, tarot, and the occult. This study has a balanced perspective, and sample entries include the familiar, like Dark Shadows (mistakenly described in the text as running from 1996 to 1971), Evil eye, Christopher Lee, and Ann Rice, as well as the more obscure, for example Kitsune, Spaulding family vampires, and wamphyri. Cross-references aid navigation, and many entries have short lists of further reading suggestions. More than 100 pictures and illustrations highlight and add interest to the entries. A short bibliography and an index conclude the work.
From ancient customs to famous cases of beasts and vampires in popular culture, this interesting reference focuses on folklore, historical cases, cross-cultural mythology, and the presence of these creatures in the arts and entertainment fields. Covering Japanese, Mexican, Gypsy, and Bosnian variations, among others, the diversity of cultures represented is eye-opening, and similarities are amazing. General reference collections, especially those getting popular-culture questions, will want to add this volume. Susan Awe
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