Friday, 31 December 2010

Happy New Year!

With only a few hours left of 2010, it is quite obvious that I have not been very active on this blog during the past year. I must confess that other activities have taken up most of my attention, and there is no reason to expect that this will change in 2011. This blog suffers from it, not only because of lack of time on my part, but also because my everyday activities leave me little time and energy for reading and absorbing myself in the subject of this blog. That is also why I have been so slow at reviewing some of the recent books, not least those by Florian Kührer and Nicolaus Equiamicus.

Looking back on 2010, however, there is no doubt that the most important new book is Vampire: Von damals bis(s) heute by Euqiamicus because of its accessible and comprehensive history of vampire cases from the famous ones of the early 18th century and into the 21st century. I will shortly be writing more on the book, but this is really the one single recent book to get hold of, if you are interested in vampire history.

Other noteworthy books from 2010 are Kührer's that I did get to write about, and Erik Butler's Metamorphoses of the Vampire in Literature and Film.

For me personally, the 'vampire' highlight of 2010 was travelling to Bucharest to see the exhibition on Dracula and vampires at the National Museum of Art of Romania.

Apropos of Romania, I also got to watch the movie Strigoi at a one off screening here in Denmark. It is very unusual and quite entertaining, so worth seeking out. It will be available on DVD here shortly.

No plans are yet set for 2011, but no doubt something will come up.

I wish everyone a happy new year!

Sunday, 12 December 2010

Vampires: Myths of the Past and the Future

With thanks to Jordi Ardanuy, I am able to mention this forthcoming conference at the University of London:

Vampires: Myths of the Past and the Future
An interdisciplinary conference organised by Simon Bacon, The London Consortium in collaboration with the Centre for the Study of Cultural Memory, Institute of Germanic & Romance Studies, University of London

Deadline for submissions: 30 April 2011
Conference dates: 2nd – 4th November 2011
Venue: Institute of Germanic & Romance Studies, School of Advanced Study, University of London

Myths of vampires and the undead are as old as civilisation itself, wherever humans gather these ‘dark reflections’ are sure to follow. Whether as hungry spirits, avenging furies or as the disgruntled dearly departed, they have been used to signify the monstrous other and the consequences of social transgression. Embodying the result of a life lived beyond patriarchal protective proscription that quickly changes from dream to nightmare and from fairy tale to ghost story.

However their manifold and multifarious manifestation also provides a point of opposition and resistance, one that subverts majority narrative and gives agency to the disenfranchised and oppressed within society. This is seen most clearly in the late twentieth century where, in a plethora of filmic and literary texts, amidst a growing ‘sympathy for the devil’ the vampire is constructed as a site of personal and social transition. Here alternative narratives (e.g. feminist, ethnic, post-colonial discourses etc) find expression and ways in which to configure their own identity within, or in opposition to, the dominant cultural parameters revealing hybridity as the catalyst for future myth making.

In the course of the past century the vampire has undergone many transformations which now see them as a separate evolutionary species, both genetically and cybernetically, signifying all that late capitalist society admires and desires thus completing its change from an abhorational figure to an aspirational one; the vampire is no longer the myth of a murky superstitious past but that of a bright new future and one that will last forever.

This interdisciplinary conference will look at the various ways the vampire has been used in the past and present to construct narratives of possible futures, both positive and negative, that facilitate both individual and collective, either in the face of hegemonic discourse or in the continuance of its ideological meta-narratives.

Keynote speakers include:

Stacey Abbott
Catherine Spooner
Milly Williamson

We invite papers from a wide variety of disciplines and approaches such as: anthropology, art history, cultural studies, film studies, history, literary studies, philosophy, psychology, theology, etc.

Possible themes include but are not limited to:

• Myths, fairy tales and urban legends
• Cross cultural colonisation; vampiric appropriation and reappropriation
• Cinema, Manga/ Anime and gaming
• Fandom, lifestyle, ‘real’ vampires and identity configuration
• Minority discourse and the transcultural vampire
• Genetics, cybernetics and the post human
• Blood memory, vampiric memory and the immortal archive
• Dracula vs. Nosferatu; Urban vs. Rural
• Globalisation, corporations and ‘Dark’ societies
• Immortality, transcendence and cyberspace
• Old World/ New World and vampiric migration
• From stakes to crosses to sunlight
• Blood Relations and the vampiric family
• Abjection, psychoanalysis and transitional objects

Papers will also be considered on any related themes. Abstracts of 300 words should be submitted to Simon Bacon at no later than April 30th 2011.

Sunday, 14 November 2010

The source of Oder

Here is a short review of one Karl Ferdinand von Schertz' books from the Leipzig journal Acta eruditorum from September 1715. Apparently, von Schertz traces the sources of the river Oder, Odra, to the mountain Sauberg, Svini hora, currently in the Czech Republic: 'In ejus montis apice & fere meditullio inter obumbrantes sagos prosilit Odera, ex humo uvida, non lapide, proveniens, primo exiguus, post ad rivi magnitudiunem perveniens, & sic porro magis ac magis excrescens.'

Saturday, 13 November 2010

A History of Horror

Perhaps slightly off topic, but I think this recent BBC documentary on horror cinema is excellent and worth watching, not least because it provides some rare insights into a number of classic vampire and Dracula movies. Hopefully it will be available on DVD some time in the future, but as someone has put it up on youtube, here is a chance to view (most of) all three episodes.

Sunday, 7 November 2010

Books and reviews

My apologies to all for first posting a review of Florian Kührer's book at this point. I have a couple of other books that I will post reviews of shortly. First of which is Vampire: Von damals bis(s) heute by Nicolaus Equiamicus (Ubooks).

Apropos of books, the forthcoming book on Calmet that I mentioned here, has been postponed until February 2011.

Vampire: Monster, Mythos, Medienstar

Florian Kührer’s Vampire: Monster, Mythos, Medienstar (Butzon & Bercker) is a pleasant, interesting and in every respect very much up to date survey of vampires in folklore, history, the arts and popular culture in general. In Kührer’s own words, his book is ‘die Geschichte vom Aufstieg eines Dorfmonsters zum Popstar der Moderne’, the story of the rise of a village monster to pop star of the present.

Although relatively brief compared to the vastness of the subject, it is evident that Kührer has studied the topic thoroughly and has a good understanding of the various aspects of the subjects. Clearly, Kührer is familiar with the latest literature on the subject like the contributions to the 2009 vampirism conference in Vienna as well as well as the most prominent works of the current vampire trend of Twilight etc.

In the first part of the book Kührer presents a synthesis of the themes of the folkloric vampire: the various types of living corpses or revenants, their names and characteristics, mostly from parts of Europe, but also providing examples from other parts of the world as well as from different periods. Here Kührer also touches on the archaeological finds that are some times interpreted as evidence of vampire or revenant beliefs, and comments sensibly on the recent find of a ‘vampire skeleton’ in Venice:

’Ein klassischer Beispiel für ein Vampirgrab? Ja und nein. Wer immer dieser Frau den Stein in die Mundhöhle gesteckt hat, er dachte dabei kaum an einen Vampir, denn dieser Begriff war in diesem Raum im 16. Jahrhundert mit allerhöchster Wahrscheinlichkeit unbekannt. Wenn wir also am Begriff ”Vampir” hängen, handelt es sich gewiss um keinen “Vampirismus”.’ (p. 40)

Kührer also provides some interesting comments on the construction of a superstitious backwards, not only in the vampire reports of the 18th century, but also in recent news stories from e.g. Romania, where the distinction is not only between a civilised West and a superstitious, backwards East, but also between the enlightened Romanian cities and the superstitious villages. As in the case of the Marotinu de Sus incident:

‘Und wie schon drei Jahrhunderte zuvor stürzten sich die westlichen Medien gierig auf diese Geschichte. Alle großen europäischen Zeitungen berichteten über den Fall Toma, under Discovery Channel drehte gar eine Dokumentation, in der auch Dorfbewohner zu Wort kommen und ihre Versionen der Geschichte erzählen durften. Niemals wird in diesen Berichten vergessen, auf den Beitrittsantrag Rumäniens zur Europäischen Union hinzuweisen. Da waren sie wieder, die Bilder und Geschichten über eine rückständige und geheimnisvolle Gegend, die sich so sehr vom aufgeklärten Westen unterscheidet. Die Grenzen zwischen Zivilisation und Rückständigkeit folgen jedoch nicht ausschließlich dem Ost-West-Schema. Die Bruchlinien verlaufen mitten durch die Gesellschaft: Der westliche Lebensstil durchcringt sukzessive die urbanen Räume Osteuropas, und Vernunft und Aufgeklärtheit halten im Gefolge von Flatscreens und Multimediahandys Einzug. Auf dem Land hingegen scheint die Zeit stillzustehen, Mensch und Tier muss sich offenbar noch immer den Lebensraum mit Hexen, Gespenstern und Wiedergängern teilen. Denn aktuelle Vampirgeschichten aus dem Osten Europas – Mythen vom Rande der zivilisierten Welt – sind bestens dazy geeignet, dem Westen seinen zivilisatorischen Vorsprung zu bestätigen.’ (p. 57)

The second part of the book follows the vampire theme from Rohr’s Masticatione Mortuorum in the late 17th century over the vampire reports and debates of the the 18th century onto the transition of the vampire into a fictional creature of poetry, novels and movies. Kührer describes how the vampire provided the infotainment that suited the 18th century magazines and shortly characterizes the vampire ‘research’ of the period. Kührer, however, also attempts to view the vampire from the point of view of the villagers themselves, and tries to explain why the field surgeons and the learned people were unable to grasp the everyday vampire concept of the villagers:

‘Für die Dorfbewohner war der Vampir der monströse Alltag, der die Gemeinschaft bedrohte und eine tödliche Wirkung entfaltete, die für einen Betrachter von außen kaum zu verstehen war. Dewegen konnten die damaligen Erklärungsversuche den Vampir niemals völlig fassen. Denn die innere Logik der Ereignisse musste dem selektiven Blick des Militärarztes, des Verwaltungsbeamten und des aufgeklärten Philosophen verborgen bleiben. Vielleicht ist es diese Ohnmacht, die den Fremden aus dem Westen veranlasst, auf den Osten Europas oft herabzublicken und ihn sich als einen Ort der Rückständigkeit und des Aberglaubens vorzustellen.

Für die Leser der Zeitungsberichte muss der Eindruck entstanden sein, dass ohne das österreichische Militär ein völliges Chaos in den wiedereroberten Gebieten herrschen würde. Unter diesen Voraussetzungen ist es kein Wunder, dass der recht spezielle Begriff des Vampirs bald auf eine ganze Reihe von magischen Erscheinungen ausgeweitet wurde, die eine Sache gemeinsam haben: ihr Erscheinen in Grenz- und Übergangszonen, wo politische und kulturelle Einflussbereiche ineinander übergehen. Denn der Vampir ist der jeweils Andere, ein Fremder, für die Dorfbewohner ein Außenseiter des Kollektivs, der wie Arnand Paole erst später zur Gemeinschaft dazugestoßen ist oder sich anderwertig durch seinen abnormen Lebenswandel verdächtig machte. Und für den Westen ist er ein Monster aus einer fremden Welt, die gleichzeitig mit der Beschreibung ihrer Phänomene in der Phantasie des Westens neu erschaffen wird.’
(p. 84-5)

Kührer nicely describes how the vampire became part of gothic fiction, the creation of Stoker’s Dracula and the rise of the cinematic vampire. His exposition is clearly quite up to date, as he avoids the fallacies of most writers on the subject in e.g. describing the genesis of Dracula. I particularly enjoyed his account of the attempt at creating a Dracula theme park in Romania, ‘Projekt Draculapark’. Here as well, he interestingly traces the creation of Transylvania as the land of vampires.

The last part of the book traces a number of themes, including blood, gender, vampires as metaphor, anti-Semitism, mass murderers, and the construction of ‘real’ vampires. This part includes interesting, and again: up to date, passages on both Montague Summers and Elizabeth Bathory.

Kührer finishes with a summary that points out the distinction between the modern, popular concept of the vampire and the folkloric vampire, before pointing out why the vampire has developed into one of the most powerful and ever transforming myths of our time:

‘Der Vampir, dieses Geschöpf der Moderne, ist berühmt geworden, weil er dem Westen sein von der Aufklärung um die metaphysischen Dimensionen beraubtes Weltbild mit neuen übersinnlichen Facetten versehen konnte. Er ist mehr al seine einfache Legende oder ein Märchen. Die verschiedenen Entwicklungsstränge – vom serbischen Volksvampir bis zum Produktnamen für Haushaltgeräte – verbinden sich zu einem der mächtigsten Mythen der Moderne. Die Gestalt des Vampirs, zu Beginn noch Thema, hat sich zu einem Motiv entwickelt, zu einem auf wenige Elemente verkürzten Code, der auf der ganzen Welt verstanden wird.’ (p. 273)

It is fair to say that Kührer's book is not a detailed account of any particular aspect of the subject, but an overall history of the vampire, as well as an attempt as answering the obvious question: Why does the vampire remain so popular? It is well written and researched, and it is delightful to read a book that is in all aspects in accordance with a modern view of the subject, free of the myths and errors that you find in most other books. For that reason alone, this book is worth reading for the casual reader as well as for those of you who have a special interest in vampires.

Highly recommended.

Sunday, 31 October 2010

Another Halloween

I find that I rarely get around to writing blog posts because other activities tend to take up a lot of my time. But I just received an e-mail from someone who had found this blog because of a search inspired by Halloween, so I thought I would just post of a photo of the pumpkin head I made from this year's harvest in my own garden.

I have a few blog posts that I have left unfinished, e.g. one regarding the new digital books, like Calmet's Phantom World which is easily available for Kindle on a smartphone as seen in the photo above.

In the photo below are three pretty rare vampire books that took me some time to get hold of: Otto Steiner's Vampirleichen: Vampirprozesse in Preussen (1959), Aribert Schroeder's Vampirismus (1973), and Tony Faivre's Les Vampires (1962). Who knows, with the advent of e-books, they will perhaps be accessible for next to nothing on a phone, Kindle or iPad?

Sunday, 17 October 2010

'Vlad the Prick'

I noticed a critical commentary on the Dracula Voivod or Vampire exhibition in Bucharest:

'In the last fifty years the local culture has merged the Dracula myth with that of 15th Century Wallachian prince Vlad ‘Tepes’ Dracul– which is translated as Vlad the Impaler or, more amusingly for the English, Vlad the Prick. But there is little linking the two figures other than a shared surname. (...)

But the real victim here is Romania, which is at the mercy of two independent myths – mostly constructed by foreigners. (...)

Then the exhibition jumps into the 18th Century and enters Moravia, where it elaborates accounts of vampires. Peasants blame mysterious deaths in villages on the dead who walk at night, so they dig up graveyards and disinter bodies. When they find a corpse that has not fully decayed, the villagers chop off its head and burn the body. Villagers recount how people become hungry for human blood if they eat the flesh of an animal which a vampire has consumed or if they are buried in the same cemetery as a vampire. These accounts fuel vampire and zombie myths – but how does this relate to Vlad Tepes?

This exhibition at the National Museum of Arts makes the same mistake – it combines historical artefacts from Romania’s 15th and 16th century with the vampire legend - an 18th century construct from central Europe. Even the title confuses the casual visitor – ‘Dracula: Voievod (prince) and Vampire’, above an image of Vlad Tepes.'

I think that the exhibition could perhaps have stressed more clearly the theme of the struggle between the Habsburgs and the Ottoman Empire in South Eastern Europe as the common backdrop of both Vlad Tepes and the vampire cases of the 1730's. The exhibition follows this struggle from the days of Vlad Tepes and until the 18th century, and I think this is an interesting historical way of linking the otherwise disparate subjects of a Valachian Voivod and the 'undead' corpses that caught the attention of many people in the 18th century.

Bram Stoker wanted to place his novel in the region, but moved it from Austria to Transilvania, and most probably by chance made a link that is now part of Romanian tourism. Romania today seems to have integrated so many elements of popular Western culture that you can easily find translations of various vampire novels in their bookstores, including a Romanian translation of Dacre Stoker and Ian Holt's 'sequel' to Stoker's Dracula: Dracula, mortul viu!

Tuesday, 28 September 2010

Dracula is dead and well and living in Romania...

Left Copenhagen on September 23 at 11:15 AM and arrived at Henry Conanda (Otopeni) Airport, Romania, around 2:40 PM.

Like Jonathan Harker I went beyond the forests but I was travelling above them, as he or any of his modern colleagues would have done today, watching the Carpathians and the Transylvanian Alps from way up. My short visit to Bucharest, lasting just a little more than fifty hours, had one aim: to see the exhibition on Dracula and vampires at the Muzeul national de arta al Romaniei.

I visited the exhibition twice, but I can only show you a photo of the exterior, as photography was stricly prohibited inside. So if you want to know what the exhibition looks like, you have to go to the web site I linked to recently. I think that the exhibition was smaller than the original one at Schloss Ambras, but it was of course exciting to find on the same location famous paintings of Vlad Tepes and one of Elizabeth Bathory, as well as books and manuscripts on the subject of vampires, including Flückinger's Visum et Repertum.

I suppose that this may well have been the first and last time that I get to see some of these items, as they are usually to be found at a number of different locations in Europe. Looking at the opening page of the Visum et Repertum, it was obvious that the spelling is Arnout Pavle and not all the other ways it has been spelled in books since that time.

I am unable to say what other people thought about these items - although I noticed a number of enthusiastic writings in the guest book - but to me it was sensational to finally see the genuine article on display to the public: the occurrences in Serbia and the following debate. Of course, the exhibition only gave a superficial impression of these things, as it follows the story from Vlad Tepes over the wars between Christian Europe and the Ottomans, the vampire cases and debate of the 18th century, ending up with Bram Stoker and the cinematic vampire. Personally, I would have liked to see some these things elaborated on in more detail, but I am more than happy to have had the opportunity to see these paintings, manuscripts, books and other items. Well worth travelling 2600 km to attend, I would say.

But this was not the only exhibition on Vlad Tepes, because at the very hotel that I stayed at I found an exhibition of stamps, letters, postcards and other items tracing the history of Vlad Tepes.

Apparently funded by Fundatia Snagov, a lot of time and effort must have gone into compiling all this material. And what a coincidence that I should find it at the very hotel I was staying at! A pleasant one as well, the Golden Tulip situated on Calea victoriei, not far from the national art museum. If you are going to Bucharest, I would recommend hotels on or near this street, as you are in a convenient part of town close to the city centre.

Curiously, many of the hotels and restaurants seem to think that beer from my own country is 'probably the best beer in town', so I had to go to a supermarket to taste one of their local beers. In the photo below you can also see an issue of a Romanian historical magazine, Historia with a theme on Vlad Tepes that I noticed in one of the numerous small shops selling books and magazines around town.

I was actually surprised to find how omnipresent Vlad Tepes/Dracula is in Bucharest. Even Bram Stoker seems to be a household name! Most of the souvenirs are pretty kitschy, but I had a pretty pleasant time at the Count Dracula Club, a theme restaurant where you can get vampiric cocktails and menus based on Dracula. So I had a 'vampire coffin' cocktail, paprika chicken and tasted their Tuica. All pretty nice and it ended with the count himself turning up, quoting Stoker and biting 'Mina' on the neck. Good fun, and not expensive.

Apart from the exhibition, the other highlight of my trip was a visit to the church on an island in the lake Snagov, Lacul Snagov, where the remains of Vlad Tepes were buried according to legend.

I hired a 'limousine' to there, which also allowed me to get some more information on the town and on Romania in general from the driver. Just €65 to go there and back, which is pretty reasonable for a 3 hour ride.

In any case, it was like entering another world when we drove off the high way and entered the forest. The road was awful, but the driver knew his way around, so everything went fine. We encountered a few horse carts and people collecting logs, everything more or less like pictures I had seen of rural Romania.

A bridge is being constructed to the island where the Snagov monastery is located, but I think it will take some time before it is finished. In the meantime you still have to go by boat to the island, and this means sailing in an old fashioned rowing boat across the lake as shown in the photo below, and no one seems to be thinking about life vests! Anyway, everything went fine, and I and my driver got to the island. I was actually the only tourist around, and I may even have been the only one that day!

The monastery or church is pretty small like so many of the Romanian Orthodox churches. It costs 15 lei to enter and 5 lei to be rowed back and forth, which is around €2.50. Photography, unfortunately, is very expensive, €20 I think. The main attraction is the 'grave' of Vlad Tepes, which is easy to find.

So I and my driver went around the small island, while he retold some of the stories about Vlad Tepes. Not quite historically correct, but who cares as all the circumstances surrounding this visit to a place I have read about since I was a teenager made it a highlight of a trip.

I hope to return some time in a not too distant future to 'go to the mountains', as I was recommended at the hotel, and see some of the other places I have read about, as well as the Carpathians and the Romanian countryside. But I should not wait too long, because in ten years or so Snagov and other locations may have turned into tourist traps as we know them from other countries: crowded and expensive.

The only disappointment I had was a 'standard tour' of the Parliament. The building or palace itself and the boulevard leading to it looks like the remnants of a megalomaniac vision, but I had expected more from the tour of the interiors. Anyway, this has nothing to do with vampires per se, and it did not spoil the highlights of the Dracula exhibition and Snagov!

Sunday, 19 September 2010


Another book on vampires arrived the other day, and I know I still need to post a review of the recent book by Florian Kührer. I hope to post more on both books soon (and I have been told even one more book on vampires should arrive shortly)...

Tuesday, 7 September 2010

Dracula – voievod şi vampir

Later this month I intend to enter the doorway shown above in a photo I have taken the liberty to 'borrow' from an interesting Romanian piece on the current exhibition on Dracula and vampires in Bucharest that I mentioned some time ago.

It will only be a brief visit to Bucharest, so I am not sure if there will be time to go to Snagov or any of the other places that the 'Dracula tourist' would go, but I am looking forward to the exhibition - more so after seeing the photos accompanying the above mentioned web site.

Tuesday, 24 August 2010

The Land Beyond the Forest

'More decidedly evil, however, is the vampire, or nosferatu, in whom every Romanian peasant believes as firmly as he does in heaven or hell.'

Thus according to author Emily Gerard in an article on Transylvanian Superstitions in The Nineteenth Century in 1885. Her later book on her travels in Transylvania, The Land Beyond the Forest: Facts, Figures, and Fancies from Transylvania will be republished in two volumes by Cambridge Library Collection this November:

'Novelist Emily Gerard (1849–1905) went with her husband, an officer in the Austrian army, to Transylvania for two years in 1883. Then part of the Austro-Hungarian Empire, today a region of Western Romania, Transylvania was little known to readers back in England. Fascinated by the country, Gerard still found it an isolated and alienating place. In the years following, she wrote this full-length account (first published in 1888) as well as several articles on the region, which Bram Stoker used when researching the setting for Dracula. With humour and compassion she describes her encounters with the different nationalities that made up the Transylvanian people: Romanians, Saxons and gypsies. Full of startling anecdotes and written in a novelistic style, her work combines her personal recollections with a detailed account of the landscape, people, superstitions and customs.'

Anthony Hogg, by the way, has recently written a bit about the word nosferatu on his blog.

Friday, 6 August 2010


It has been a long time since I last mentioned the Yugoslavian (that was what it was back then) movie Leptirica. But now I would like to refer to an in-depth review of it that another blogger has written recently. As it has yet to see release on DVD in one of the major languages, I can only agree that it is 'an important film begging for a full re-mastered international release'.

Les Mystères de Paris

Spending some time in Paris this summer, I of course tried to take a look at some things that might be of relevance to this blog.

At Versailles there was a small outdoor exhibition of the suits of some professions, including the astrologer's as shown above, and, of course, the busts and statues of some people who have played a role in vampire history. Not least Voltaire (below) who actually visited Senones, but later on attacked Calmet in his oft-quoted:

'Quoi ! C’est dans notre xviiie siècle qu’il y a eu des vampires ! C’est après le règne des Locke, des Shaftesbury, des Trenchard, des Collins ; c’est sous le règne des d’Alembert, des Diderot, des Saint-Lambert, des Duclos qu’on a cru aux vampires, et que le RPD Augustin Calmet, prêtre, bénédictin de la congrégation de Saint-Vannes et de Saint-Hidulphe, abbé de Sénone, abbaye de cent mille livres de rente, voisine de deux autres abbayes du même revenu, a imprimé et réimprimé l’Histoire des Vampires, avec l’approbation de la Sorbonne, signée Marcilli !'

The naturalist Buffon, who was the first to use the word vampire for a bat, can be found in various places (like the statue below) in the Jardin des plantes, even depicted like some kind of Dr. Doolittle who almost can talk to the animals. There is also a plane tree (platanus orientalis) that he planted in that garden in 1785.

The statue of Buffon is facing the Grande Galerie d'evolution, which actually carries the name of the botanist Joseph Pitton de Tournefort, who before Buffon had been involved in developing the garden. In vampire history, Tournefort is of course known for observing and describing Greek revenant belief in his Relation d'un voyage du Levant.

A curious honouring of the dead can be seen at the Père Lachaise cemetery, cf. the tombs of Jim Morrison and Victor Noir. Currently there is an exhibition of photos of cemeteries from around the world, including one from Highgate Cemetery in London.

The mysterious, but fake tomb below can be found in a private vampire museum run by author Jacques Sirgent. Situated on the border of old Paris, it is easy and fast to go to Le Musée des Vampires by Metro, but entrance is only possible on request. Well, I couldn't go to Paris without trying to see a vampire museum, so I and my wife visited the place and had a pleasant time with Sirgent who talked about his books and his views on vampires, the possible location of Vlad Tepes's corpse etc.

Jacques Sirgent is the author of a number of books, including Le livre des vampires and Erzsebeth Báthory: Le sang des innocentes. One of his books is available in English: Drakula's Tomb.

Wednesday, 28 July 2010

The influence of Calmet

Apparently Gilles Banderier, known for his edition of Ildefonse Cathelinot's comments on Calmet's Traité, spoke on De saint Benoît à Dom Calmet : permanences de la culture bénédictine last Saturday July 24 at Senones, and was accompanied by Aurélie Gérard who spoke on Les bibliothèques - Senones milieu littéraire au XVIIIe siècle. It was a part of the Festival des Abbayes en Lorraine.

Gerard is the author of a forthcoming book on Calmet and his influence on his contemporaries: Dom Augustin Calmet et l'abbaye de Senones (Vosges): Un milieu littéraire. It is published in October, and more information can be found here:

'Les milieux littéraires fleurissent au siècle des Lumières sous la forme de cafés, de clubs, de salons, ou de façon plus institutionnalisée avec les académies et les sociétés savantes dont le nombre ne cesse de croître, tandis que les célèbres Congrégations de Saint-Vanne et de Saint-Maur exhortent leurs religieux à poursuivre l’oeuvre des illustres académies monastiques mises en place au siècle précédent. Cette dernière mission tient tout particulièrement à coeur à Dom Augustin Calmet, bénédictin lorrain connu dans toute l’Europe pour son oeuvre littéraire monumentale qui aborde à la fois l’exégèse, l’histoire et les curiosités, et pour les dignités qu’il a occupées au sein de la Congrégation de Saint-Vanne.

Son élection à l’abbatiat de la riche et influente abbaye de Senones, dans les Vosges, le 9 juillet 1728, lui permet de concrétiser toutes ses ambitions. Le monastère, déjà ouvert sur le monde des Lettres par ses prédécesseurs, notamment Dom Mathieu Petitdidier, accueille l’érudit qui va développer dans ce foyer de spiritualité toutes les activités propres à un milieu littéraire : écriture, copie de textes, échange et commerce de livres, gestion de la bibliothèque, critique littéraire, liens avec l’édition. Qui mieux est, ces activités littéraires participent à l’ouverture de l’abbaye sur le monde qui l’entoure déjà favorisée par sa situation géographique et politique. Les correspondances de Dom Calmet et de son neveu et coadjuteur, Dom Fangé, témoignent du rayonnement de l’abbé de Senones auprès de ses contemporains religieux ou laïques, en Lorraine, en France et en Europe, et de ses relations avec les Grands et avec les académies. L’influence de Dom Calmet sur les philosophes des Lumières, notamment Voltaire, et son intérêt porté aux principales controverses de son siècle sur la Bible, le surnaturel et l’histoire, transforment ce milieu « littéraire » en un milieu éclairé digne de son temps.'

Tuesday, 27 July 2010

Enchanted Europe

This recently published study looks like an interesting book: Enchanted Europe. Superstition, Reason, and Religion, 1250-1750 by Euan Cameron, member of the departments of Religion and History at Columbia University and author of The European Reformation. According to the publisher, Oxford University Press, this new book 'charts the rise and fall of superstition in European history - from magical healing, spells, and divination, to the widespread belief in fairies and demons', 'explores the debate over folklore from medieval times, through to the Renaissance, Reformation, and the Enlightenment', and 'sets shifting nature of 'superstition' in historical context - from threat to 'true religion' to 'harmless' ethnic heritage':

'Since the dawn of history people have used charms and spells to try to control their environment, and forms of divination to try to foresee the otherwise unpredictable chances of life. Many of these techniques were called "superstitious" by educated elites.

For centuries religious believers used "superstition" as a term of abuse to denounce another religion that they thought inferior, or to criticize their fellow-believers for practising their faith "wrongly." From the Middle Ages to the Enlightenment, scholars argued over what 'superstition' was, how to identify it, and how to persuade people to avoid it. Learned believers in demons and witchcraft, in their treatises and sermons, tried to make 'rational' sense of popular superstitions by blaming them on the deceptive tricks of seductive demons.

Every major movement in Christian thought, from rival schools of medieval theology through to the Renaissance, the Reformation, and the Enlightenment, added new twists to the debates over superstition. Protestants saw Catholics as superstitious, and vice versa. Enlightened philosophers mocked traditional cults as superstitions. Eventually, the learned lost their worry about popular belief, and turned instead to chronicling and preserving 'superstitious' customs as folklore and ethnic heritage.

Enchanted Europe offers the first comprehensive, integrated account of western Europe's long, complex dialogue with its own folklore and popular beliefs. Drawing on many little-known and rarely used texts, Euan Cameron constructs a compelling narrative of the rise, diversification, and decline of popular 'superstition' in the European mind.'

I found a review of the book which sums up her reading of it this way:

'The picture that emerges from his analysis is not as simple as one might believe. Although many think of the journey towards Enlightenment as one of, literally, ‘disenchantment’ – a slow erosion of faith in magic in favour of scientific rationalism - Cameron shows how clerics and religious thinkers on both sides of the Catholic/Protestant divide long maintained a belief in the supernatural. However, whereas clerics of all denominations were determined to divide the universe into sharply polarised realms of good or evil according to their own particular dogma, the lay population inhabited a far more morally ambivalent world based upon more practical needs. As Cameron explains, ‘ordinary poor people [...] feared the loss of health or property and sought whatever remedies might work’ – whether approved by ecclesiastical authority or derived from forbidden folk remedies and rituals.

Although this is hardly an anecdotal work, some interesting stories emerge along the way. In the earliest days of Christianity, St Augustine mounted a vigorous offensive against the fading Roman pantheon by literally ‘demonising’ the gods. The original meaning of the Greek word daimon (daemon), in terms of a tutelary spirit, was gradually overlaid with negative connotations, reaching its zenith in medieval hysteria relating to demonic possession. (Interestingly, the original definition of the word was only to be widely rediscovered and rehabilitated in our own age via the novels of Philip Pullman).

Perhaps the overall lesson of Cameron’s book is that any attempt to impose a rigid external order on human culture and imagination will have only limited success. As he points out in the final chapter, by the 18th century, Europe’s intellectuals had ‘lost their fear’ of witchcraft, demons and superstitions and therefore expended much less energy in keeping them at bay. In the centuries that followed, post-Enlightenment thinkers actually began to embrace what they had previously sought to explain away and acknowledged the power of superstitious belief as part of a rich cultural tapestry of ethnic heritage. He suggests that the Romantic era, renewed Victorian interest in spiritualism and occultism and more recent New Age thinking have much in common in this regard, aided and abetted by nation states’ lack of interest in enforcing religious discipline on their subjects, at least in the West.'

Monday, 26 July 2010

Debunking the Dracula myth

I noticed this AFP news story on the exhibition in Bucharest:

'An exhibition opened Friday in Bucharest that aims to debunk the myths surrounding Walachian prince Vlad Tepes (the Impaler), who inspired Bram Stoker's bloodsucking character Dracula.

"The exhibition is based on historical studies showing that the legends related to Vlad Dracula were aimed at presenting eastern Europe as a primitive land and a source of evil," Austrian curator Margot Rauch told AFP.

Entitled "Dracula - Voivode and Vampire", the exhibit for the first time puts on display in Romania portraits of Vlad Tepes (who reigned twice, between 1456-1462 and then in 1476) borrowed from the Kunsthistoriches Museum in Vienna and the Schloss Ambras museum in Innsbruck.

Manuscripts and engravings depicting him as a "blood-thirsty tyrant" are also on display.

"Vlad Dracula was doubtlessly cruel, but not more so than other princes of his time," Rauch said.

"In fact he was a victim of bad propaganda" from his western European peers.

One of the engravings, dating back to 1500, shows Tepes having a meal under the eyes of a dozen empaled men, while others have their limbs chopped and their heads boiled in cauldrons.

A large part of the exhibition is devoted to vampirism, several alleged cases of which were reported in the early 18th century, especially in southeastern Europe.

Several treaties on this "phenomenon" as well as essays on whether "vampires are active during daytime" are also exhibited, such as an edict issued in 1755 by empress Maria Theresa "banning superstitions".

Rauch however stressed that Vlad Tepes owes his reputation as a vampire to Bram Stoker's novel "Dracula", published in 1897.

The character has since been a source of inspiration for many movies, but Rauch said: "It's time to see Vlad Dracula in another light than that given by Hollywood."'

Sunday, 25 July 2010

Dracula in Bucharest!

Surfing the internet for some information, I was surprised to find a news story on this Spanish vampire web site on a Dracula exhibition at The National Museum of Art of Romania in Bucharest!

As far as I gather, also from the information available in Romanian, this should be the Austrian exhibition that I wrote about in an earlier post which makes it very interesting news - and tempting to go on a trip to Bucharest!

The exhibition is on until October 10, so there is still a chance to see it if you are able to go there.

Thursday, 22 July 2010

Are the dead happier than the living?

I have recently added a list of noteworthy texts on the right hand side of the blog. Most are books from the 17th and 18th centuries and most are in German, French or Latin. The majority are digitally scanned editions from various libraries and other providers, as these are most reliable (although the scans supplied by Google Books unfortunately often vary in quality from readable to unreadable). Also, most of the titles have been mentioned on this blog over the years, but I would like to draw attention to one exception: De miraculis mortuorum by Heinrich Kornmann published in 1610.

Beginning with the blood of Abel and other stories from the Old Testament, Kornmann collects a great number of tales and examples from the Bible and other literature on death, as well as beliefs and customs surrounding death. He also poses a few questions like e.g. 'Mortui an viventes feliciores?' in part 8, chapter 52): whether the dead are happier than the living?

Christian Friedrich Garmann who in 1670 published a book with the same title, accused Kornmann of indulging in nonsense ('quod varia admiscet exotica & incongrua, in recensendis fabulis & miraculis ab otiosis & nugacibus monachis excogitatis luxuriat nimiopere'). Still Garmann himself refers to Kornmann in his own writings on the masticating dead, as Kornmann e.g. writes about a woman who in death ate herself (De muliere mortua seipsam devorante, part 7, chapter 64).

Although Garmann was more sceptical than Kornmann, the verdict on Garmann himself was hard. Here according to Philippe Ariès in The Hour of Our Death:

(Garmann's ambigious approach to the question of the sensibility of the dead body) 'explains why Garmann was dismissed by the authors of medical biographies of the late eighteenth century - men almost modern in their thinking - as a credulous writer who believed the most absurd stories. It is true that he hesitates, not daring to make up his mind. Belief in the sensibility of the cadaver has the support of the people, and what we would call folklore, but scientists distrust the popular penchant for superstition. Garmann notes that there are a great many reliable observations in favor of this opinion, but he is cautious. When he tells an extraordinary story, he immediately adds a skeptical and rational commentary, but his reservations do not prevent him from giving all the details. This kind of prudence was a standard device for advancing controversial ideas while taking a minimum of risks.' (p. 356)

Back to Kornmann: He was, apparently, fascinated by miracula, so he also wrote a book about the wonders of the living: De miraculis vivorum, published in 1614 in Frankfurt. This book is fortunately also available online, if anyone should be interested. Here are lycanthropes, giants and various mythical beasts as well as many other wonders from the Bible and various other books.

Having Kornmann's collection of miracles of the dead at hand makes it easier to follow the thread to Garmann, Rohr, Ranft and so forth.

Monday, 19 July 2010

Anything is possible

There is nothing new about introducing vampires and other monsters into a historical or a fictional setting, but there has been an interesting trend over the last couple of years with, I think, Pride and Prejudice and Zombies as the most popular one. It will probably not surprise you that I have read none of these books, but I have enjoyed some of the book trailers, like the one with sea monsters and the vampire hunting Lincoln. I only recently noticed that the latter book also has been promoted by this documentary, which is another example that in the realm of fictional vampires anything is possible:

Sunday, 18 July 2010

Rohr and De Virunculis Metallicis

Apropos of the copy of Philipp Rohr's De masticatione mortuorum - apparently from the collection of Montague Summers himself - that is on sale, here is what Summers had to say about Rohr in The Vampire in Europe (p. 178) when introducing his translation of the 1679 book:

'Philip Rohr in his day stood in fair repute for his scholarship and he was also known as an occult investigator. His work on the Kobolts who haunt mines is held in esteem. It may be remarked, however, that the subject had previously been treated by Georg Landmann, the famous metallurgist, in his De Animantibus subterraneis, which with other of his treatises was published at Bale, folio, 1657.'

Despite Summers's numerous footnotes, it is hard to see if the characterization of Rohr is based in fact or in the fantasy of Summers. In any case, thanks to the Bayerisches Staatsbibliothek and the Münchener DigitalisieringsZentrum you can now take a look at an online copy of the Dissertatio pneumatica de Spiritibus in fodinis apparentibus, sive, de virunculis metallicis presented by Johann Heinrich Rumpel on April 24 1672 with Rohr as respondent. So the dissertation according to the title is about the spirits and dwarves (literally: small men) appearing in mines: Berg-Männlein and Wichtelein as mentioned in some quotes in German.

The reference to De Animantibus subterraneis is to George Agricola, and it was published approximately one hundred years before the date mentioned by Summers. Looking at the list near the end of Agricola's book, you will see that, although he mentions: 'Demon subeterraneus truculentus: bergteufel mitis: bergmennel/kobel/guttel', Agricola is actually concerned with animals: Serpents, birds etc.

De Masticatione Mortuorum for sale!

You can now get hold of a very special copy of a very special and rare book - but it will cost you $21.375!

Zubal Books is selling a copy of Philipp Rohr's 1679 De Masticatione Mortuorum, and you should check it out on their web site to see the images of the book. You can also find it on Abebooks:

'first edition; leaves slightly shorter than 20 cm., [24] unnumbered pages beginning with title, A1; later paper covered boards darkened and rubbed at leather spine and tips, general age toning but entirely readable and not at all fragile, C3 has five block letters penciled in margins, overall a very good copy for this very infrequently seen item; Montague Summers' copy with his book plate by Eric Gill, "Alphoinvs Montagve Svmmers Liber svvs ." with a wood engraving featuring Saint Jerome and lion; usually translated as ?On the Chewing Dead? Rohr's work explores the strange and terrible legends of the dead reanimated through demonic possession devouring their own shrouds and moving on to gnaw on nearby corpses in a sort of unholy manduction, this of course has a relevance to the vampire mythos that certainly would have been appreciated by Summers; rare '

Calmet anno 1976

In 1976, Merlin Verlag published an edition of Calmet's Dissertation, Des Hochwürdigen Herrn Augustini Calmet gelehrte Verhandlung von denen sogenannten Vampiren oder zurückkommenden Verstorbenen as the fourth volume in the series Merlin's Bibliothek der geheimen Wissenschaften und magischen Künste (Merlin's library of the secret sciences and magical arts). In fact, it was only of a modernization of the original German translation of volume II of Calmet's second edition from 1751, i.e. the part that deals with vampires.

Apart from a number of illustrations, the book contains an essay by Dipl.-Psych. Wolfgang Bauer on the early literature on vampires and revenants: Von denen Traktaten. Die historischen Vampirschriften und ihre Verfasser. The essay relies on Ranft, Harenberg and Summers in particular, and seems pretty dated now, not least because Bauer's psychological background clearly leads him to psychoanalyze the vampire, of course quoting from Freud's Totem und Tabu: 'Denn deutet man eine Reihe von abergläubischen Vorstellungen um den Vampir in Zusammenhang näher aus, so ergibt sich, daß diese im Gesamtkonzept eine ausgepr]agte Mutterleibsphantasie konstitueren.' And so forth.

Nowadays, we have the 'ungekürzte Ausgabe' edited by Abraham & Irina Silberschmidt which was published in 2006 by Edition Roter Drache.

More information on Merlin's Bibliothek der geheimen Wissenschaften und magischen Künste can be found in this part of the history of the publisher, Merlin Verlag, and here.

Monday, 12 July 2010

Death In Legend & Tradition

Even vampires are invited to contribute to this conference:

'Death In Legend & Tradition

This two-day conference at Brompton Cemetery, London SW10, will be held on Saturday 4th and Sunday 5th September 2010 as the fifth Legendary Weekend of the Folklore Society. We'd like to hear from anyone who can attend and present a paper – folklorists, undertakers, storytellers, clergy, singers, mediums, anthropologists, vampires and historians. In the silent city of the dead we will be celebrating the fascination, fantasies and fears that surround the one experience we must all share. Cultural responses to the Grim Reaper take a thousand forms, from the dignity of funerary monuments to the carnival Day of the Dead, from the shame of gibbeting to the glories of wonder-working relics. Our maps go beyond this world to Brig o’ Dread, Mount Purgatory and the Summerlands. Banshees and sin-eaters, omens and tombstones, grave humour and near-death experiences are all part of the lore with which we face those sightless eyes, weaving our maidens’ garlands and forging our mourning rings. Death may kill us off as individuals, but through the endless transmission of song and story we make death live.

Presentations, which should be 20 minutes long, can take the form of talks, performances, or DVD. The main event will take place on Saturday with additional material including a cemetery tour on Sunday.

If you would like to attend or to present a paper or performance, please contact:
Jeremy Harte
Bourne Hall
Spring Street
Surrey KT17 1UF
020 8394 1734'

An old-fashioned sense for vampires

Here you can listen to President of the Folklore Society, Jacqueline Simpson, being asked about the modern kind of vampire and answering:

'I'm rather old-fashioned in the kind of vampire I go for. I like the early medieval sort, the really gruesome undead corpse that is all stinky and nasty, and spreading plague wherever it goes.'

Sunday, 11 July 2010

Arnold Paul on TV

'Arnold Paul' turns up in this recent British documentary, Vampires: Why They Bite, which was broadcast in February on BBC Three, and hosted by historian Lisa Hilton. Unfortunately, it is not accurate, neither concerning 'Arnold Paul' nor a few other subjects, and as usual the focus tends to be on the sexual aspects. Still, I think this is the only documentary in English that actually traces the vampire back to Serbia.

There are a couple of reviews of it online, like the one from Times Higher Education, which not uncorrectly describes it as 'music video masquerading as documentary'.

Vampire: Von damals bis(s) heute

While looking at magazines at the main railway station in Copenhagen the other day, I happened to notice the words: 'Die widerkehrenden Toten: DAS VAMPIR-SPECIAL' on the cover a magazine called Dark Spy which I think is aimed at people interesting in Goth styles. The 'vampire special' is actually just a three page article on vampires, but as it is accompanied by reproductions of the covers of the 1734 edition of Ranft's Tractat von dem Kauen und Schmatzen and the Curieuse und sehr wunderbare Relation, von denen sich neuer Dingen in Servien erzeigenden Blut-Saugern oder Vampyrs by W.S.G.E., I took at closer look, and found that it is written by Nicolaus Equiamicus, known from his books and blog.

Visiting his blog for the first time in a while, I notice that he has announced the publication of the book on vampires that he has been working on for some time, and it will be out later this year:

'Auf das Erscheinen meines nächsten Buches "Vampire - von damals bis(s) heute" (voraussichtlich im November 2010) freue ich mich schon sehr, steckt doch sprichwörtlich viel "Herzblut" in dieser Essenz meiner jahrelangen Beschäftigung mit der hoch interessanten Vampirthematik. Ich hoffe, dass ich mein Ziel, einen umfassenden lehrreichen, aber auch unterhaltsame Überblick über den Vampir in Geschichte und Gegenwart zu verfassen, erreicht habe. Auf Wunsch des Verlages habe ich nachträglich auch noch einige Kapitel zur Entwicklung der Vampirliteratur und des Vampirfilms hinzugefügt, die hoffentlich eine Bereicherung und Abrundung darstellen :-)'

Saturday, 10 July 2010

A vampire in the mail

I am not used to receiving letters or parcels addressed to 'Magia posthuma', but it happened the other day when I received a copy of Florian Kührer's new book Vampire: Monster - Mythos - Medienstar published by Butzon & Bercker (paperback, 297 pages, €17.90). I thank the author for the copy which I intend to read in the near future.

Kührer kindly mentions this blog in the bibliography under 'Textsammlungen':

'Der wahrscheinlich umfassendste und aktuellste Blog zum Thema, der laufend vom Betreiber, einem versierten Laien, aktualisiert wird. An diesem Blog geht kaum eine einschlägige Publikation aus dem deutschen, englischen und französischen Sprachraum vorbei. Die einführenden Kommentare sind kompetent und in gut lesbarem Englisch verfasst.'

In the introduction, the author says that he aims at critically following the development of the vampire from village monster to pop star:

'Das Thema Vampir, sein Wesen, sein Motiv, ist alles andere als trivial. Seine fast unbegrenzte Kapazität als Projektionsfläche macht ihn selbst zum Spiegel unserer Ängste und Wünsche. Er ist Teenie-Schwarm und Werbeträger, Antisemit und Massenmörder - "allen ist er alles geworden". Läuft der Vampir Gefahr, sich durch seine ausufernde Präsenz selbst zu trivialisieren? Dieses Buch entwirrt mit kritischem Blick die Motivstränge des Vampir-Mythos und erzählt dabei die Geschichte vom Aufstieg eines Dorfmonsters zum Popstar der Moderne.'

The book contains three parts: An initial part on the vampire in folk beliefs ('ein Monster aus der Mitte der Gemeinschaft'), followed by one that the traces the vampire from the Middle Ages over the 18th century vampires to Dracula and modern vampire fiction. The final part, titled 'Globaler Code und blutige Realität - ein Mythos zwischen den Extremen', seems to deal with a number of themes, including e.g. the modern extension of the vampire term to serial killers and other actual, living people.

Well, I am looking forward to reading it.

Sunday, 23 May 2010


Vampire: Monster - Mythos - Medienstar by Florian Kührer, Mag. Phil. at the University of Vienna with a background in Romanian history, is published by Butzon U. Bercker this June:

'Die Vampire sind zurück! Ob als blutgierige Monster, aristokratische Einzelgänger, sensible Feingeister oder als Ziel erotischer Schwärmereien - die Grenzgänger zwischen Leben und Tod haben nichts von ihrer Jahrhunderte langen Faszination verloren. Als Geschöpfe menschlicher Phantasie sind sie Spiegel unserer Ängste und Wünsche und zugleich Fenster zu einer anderen Welt. Was ist ihr Geheimnis? Und wo liegt die Grenze zwischen Mythos und Realität? Dieses Buch entwirrt mit kritischem Blick die Motivstränge des Vampir-Mythos und erzählt dabei die Geschichte vom Aufstieg eines Dorfmonsters zu einem der größten Popstars der Moderne.'

Der Vampir sind wir: Die Erfolgsgeschichte eines unsterblichen Mythos by Rainer M. Köpl is published by Residenz Verlag on September 15. Köpl is professor at the Institut für Theater-, Film- und Medienwissenschaft at the University of Vienna and is probably best known for his contribution to the Vampir Prinzessin documentary which he hosted. The book is advertised this way:

'Sie sind zwischen dem Diesseits und dem Jenseits unterwegs, geistern durch die Nacht und beißen schöne Frauen in den Hals. Wunschvorstellungen und Ängste offenbaren sich in der Figur des Vampirs, der als Roman- und Filmstoff Weltruhm erlangte, aber auch in Werbespots, politischen Kampagnen und in der Psychoanalyse zum Einsatz kommt.

Der Wiener Vampirologe Rainer M. Köppl erzählt von der angstvollen Hysterie zwischen Aberglaube und Aufklärung. Er zeigt, wie die Vampire in die romantisch verklärte Literatur flüchteten, im 20. Jahrhundert im Film wiederauferstanden und zu Beginn des 21. Jahrhunderts erfolgreicher denn je agieren. An eindrücklichen Beispielen macht er die Vollkommenheit von Form und Funktion des Vampirs deutlich: als Spiegelbild unserer Phantasien über Sex, Gewalt, Angst, Blut, Tod, ewige Liebe und ewiges Leben.

Eine faszinierende Zeitreise durch die Geschichte eines unsterblichen Mythos.'

Another book that is out in September is Dracula-Mythen und Wahrheiten: Ein Handbuch der Vampire by Christine Klell and Reinhard Deutsch. Published by Styria Im Styria Pichler, this one should be some kind of encyclopaedic handbook:

'Menschen brauchen Mythen: Vampire sind ein ewig junger Stoff, antike und neueste Trivialthemen, Sehnsüchte und Ängste verknüpfen sich in dieser Figur. Schon seit den früh esten Stummfilmen kamen die ersten Vampire, nun haben sie Hollywood endgültig erobert, lassen Jung und Alt in die Kinosäle und Buchhandlungen strömen. Von Erotik bis zu handfesten Machtkämpfen, von Film- und Bühnengeschichten bis zu Bildender Kunst, Comic, Musik, Religion und Literatur reicht das Betätigungsfeld der Blutsauger. Doch wer die Vampire wirklich sind und warum sie keinen kalt lassen – das erzählt dieses enzyklopädische Lese- und Stöberbuch, in dem sogar solche Leser fündig werden, die Bücher sonst scheuen wie der Vampir das Tageslicht ...'

Finally, also in September another reprint of Sturm and Völker's classic anthology Von denen Vampiren oder Menschensaugern is published by Unionsverlag. This is definitely one of the most reprinted books on vampires ever, and deservedly so, although it is somewhat dated now.

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