Vampire! The very word conjures up visions of ruined castles, of enigmatic, pale-skinned noblemen shrouded in dark cloaks, of slumbering beauties being bloodily ravished by supernatural, nocturnal creatures. But just how accurate is that picture? How much do we really know about these mysterious entities? Surprisingly, perhaps, almost every culture can boast of its own vampire beings, few of which correspond to the stock Hollywood image - some are not even human in form; some do not drink blood; some appear in daylight. Are you ready for such horrors as the Penangal, the screaming blood-soaked lead that drifts through the Malayan jungle seeking victims; the Jaracacca, the Brazilian stalker that hides in the clothes of its victims to drink their blood or bodily fluids; or the Aswang, the scaly demon of the Philippines, who lies among the leafy roofs of huts and drinks through its tongue?
And how do we dispose of vampires? Is the simple stake through the heart - much beloved of Hollywood directors - really enough, or is there something more? And does the sight of the crucifix repel all vampires? What if the vampire is Jewish (a dibbyuk)? Vampires is a unique work that explores the rich diversity of vampire belief and lore, ranging from countries as diverse as Japan, Sweden, and Ireland, looking at their historical origins, and setting them in their cultural context.
Dr. Bob Curran is a native of Northern Ireland, born and raised in the Mourne Mountains area of County Down, a region steeped in folklore and legend. Throughout a varied life, he has worked in many fields - as a gravedigger, professional musician, journalist, and civil servant. He is now a history teacher and well known throughout Ireland and beyond as a writer and broadcaster. He has written extensively, in English and several other languages, on various aspects of history and folklore and acted as advisor to the Cultural Committee of the Northern Ireland Legislative Assembly. Bob has authored numerous titles including: Bloody Irish: Great Irish Vampire Stories and Banshees, Beasts and Brides from the Sea.
©2005 New Page Books (P)2012 New Page Books
The information portrayed in the book is quite interesting to those who find an interest in folklore, and the narrator really makes the subject matter enjoyable. He is very candid, which could honestly be due to the low production quality of the book that is unfortunately noticeable, but to me it added a charm to the book. If you prefer a more clean and professional approach to the narration, his odd pacing and random chuckles might kill the experience for you, but I found it very endearing.
Perfect Halloween reading
Bob Curran knows his audience, and delivers his scholarship on the different vampire legends with a wink... and a shiver.
My favorite section was probably the one on the Irish vampire-like creatures. I did not know anything about them previously.
So many vampires...
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