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Encyclopedia of the Undead
Encyclopedia of the Undead: A Field Guide to Creatures That Cannot Rest in Peace is a novel written by Bob Curran.
- Title: Encyclopedia of the Undead: A Field Guide to Creatures That Cannot Rest in Peace
- Author: Bob Curran
- Format: Paperback
- Publisher: New Page Books
- Pages: 311
- Language: English
- ISBN-10: 1564148416
- ISBN-13: 978-1564148414
- Release Date: January 20, 2006
What lurks out there in the fog?
What was that eerie sound in the dead of night?
What flitted by at the end of the street, just beyond the farthest street lamp?
From earliest times, tales of the restless dead and their fellow travelers have terrified mankind. Whether around a remote campfire or in the middle of a bustling city, the unquiet spirits and attendant creatures that have tormented humanity since the prehistoric darkness haven’t gone away – they still have the power to strike fear in our hearts.
Encyclopedia of the Undead traces those shadowy entities – vampires, werewolves, ghouls and monsters – that lurk just outside the range of human vision and inhabit our most frightening tales. Drawing on a wide range of beliefs and literature, it traces these horrors from their earliest recorded inceptions and charts their impact upon the human psyche. In this book, history and terror mix to create the things that lurk in the darkest corners of our minds.
You’ll find detailed descriptions of terrors from all over the world – from the mist-shrouded mountains of Eastern Europe to the sweltering jungles of the Caribbean islands, from the dark, stone-lined tombs of the uncoffined dead beneath the remote New England hills to the dark magics that lurk beneath the thriving, colorful surface of a city like New Orleans. In addition to the more conventional creatures, Encyclopedia of the Undead also details some of the more obscure Things that gnaw at the edges of men’s minds – Incubi and Succubi, the Mara, and the dark legends that have influenced writers from Sheridan Le Fanu to H.P. Lovecraft.
This is a book for all those who are interested in the darker side of the human mind – the side that examines and even embraces those beliefs and imaginings that form the basis of our most archetypical fears. This is the book for those brave enough to plumb the depths of our worst nightmares!
Dr. Bob Curran lives and works in the North of Ireland, a place that is haunted by myth, legend and folktales. Over the years, he has studied the dark and sinister, both in his own land and in places beyond. A psychologist and a historian, he has written and lectured extensively on the arcane and the mysterious. He is the author of Vampires and Celtic Lore & Legend (both from New Page Books).
The following reviews are from the Amazon.com listing in the External Links below:
- 3 out of 5 stars
- Unfortunatly not what I expected
- Reviewed On: December 1, 2007
- Reviewed By: Glenn Martin
I was looking for a book that would go into a lot of the mythology around Vampires and Werewolves and when I saw a book with "A Field Guide to Creatures That Cannot Rest in Peace" in the title I thought I was on a winner, not so. Don't get me wrong, it IS an interesting read and Bob Curran gives a lot of examples in history of Vampire-like or Werewolf-like behaviour, but what this book didn't have was how to deal with said beasties.
I would have thought a "field guide" would have spoken to silver bullets, garlic, crosses, etc but it barely touches on these things. Bob does state very early on in the book that a lot of the myth that we are more familiar with is thanks to Hollywood and the Hammer horror films of the 1920s and onwards, but still it would have been interesting to read how to battle against such creatures.
A good example about the lack of field guide feeling of this book is the chapter on Voodoo and Zombies. It's about 50 pages with roughly 48 of them are on voodoo (dealing with actual famous practitioners through history) and the last page and a bit on actual Zombies themselves. Too much back-story, not enough meat.
So if you are looking for a book that really gets into what would best be described as contemporary mythology regarding vampires and the like - detailing their strengths and weaknesses - then you better look elsewhere. If you want a history on the aforementioned topics and how the mythology may have come about over time then you may find this an interesting read.
- 5 out of 5 stars
- A treasure trove of myth and legend
- Reviewed On: September 14, 2006
- Reviewed By: Tim Janson
Vampires, werewolves, and other things that go bump in the night are the subject of Dr. Bob Curran's "Encyclopedia of the Undead". In this riveting book of myth, folklore, and fact, Curran looks at the history and mystery of these creatures from their earliest mentions in ancient texts right up through modern day. It's fresh and fascinating, a monster lover's dream!
The book begins with the ultimate creatures of the night...vampires! Legends of vampires and vampirism have been around since men first wrote on papyrus thousands of years ago. Ancient Greek mythology abounds with vampiric creatures such as the Lamia, Succubi while Sumeria wrought its tales of Lilith, supposedly the first wife of Adam who spawned many demons called the Lilm. Even if you think you know a lot about vampires, Curran will surprise you with the many tales of vampires throughout history who have plagued mankind. But the tales are not all legend. There are many modern accounts from the past couple of centuries about reputed vampires, or medical afflictions, which were deemed to be vampiric by the peoples of the times. No account of vampires would be complete without a look at two of the most notorious figures from Eastern Europe, Vlad Tepes and Elizabeth Bathory, and Curran covers both figures in detail.
Next up are similar chapters on Werewolves, Voodoo and Zombies, and Ghouls and the Golem. Most of the section on Zombies and Voodoo focuses on those grisly legends of Africa, the Caribbean, and New Orleans. The reader will get up close and personal with several notorious voodoo priests and voodoo queens. You've perhaps heard of one of the most famous of New Orleans' voodoo queens, Marie Laveau, but did you know there actually three Marie Laveaus? You'll get to meet all three...and maybe wish you hadn't!
The last chapter of the book deals with the terrors of H.P. Lovecraft and while I am a Lovecraft fan, the inclusion of his works is slightly curious. While Lovecraft did have his tales of the undead, many of his creations were decidedly NOT dead. Still, it's the inclusion of the Lovecraft chapter makes for a great primer for those who may be unfamiliar with his life and work. Curran provides a biographical overview of Lovecraft's troubled life before delving into his mind-ripping creations such as the Cthulhu Mythos with its tales of Old Ones and Elder Gods, ancient civilizations, and books of forbidden lore that could drive men to madness if they read them. In fact, the Lovecraft chapter ends up being the longest in the book although Lovecraft fanatics will certainly be familiar with most of what's covered.
The Encyclopedia of the Undead is one of those books you just love to pick up and flip through in no particular order. It has broad appeal to those who are interested in myth and folklore, monster films, role-playing games, and horror fiction. Curran does a great job pulling it all together!