Vampires: A Field Guide to the Creatures That Stalk the NightBob Curran
Illustrated by Ian Daniels.
"Vampire!" The very word conjures up visions of ruined castles, of enigmatic, paleskinned 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 beast 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, lavishly illustrated 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.
Bob Curran is the author of A Field Guide to Irish Fairies, An Encyclopedia of Celtic Mythology, The Creatures of Irish Myth, and Banshees, Beasts, and Brides from the Sea: Irish Tales of the Supernatural. He lives in Northern Ireland.