The Encyclopedia of the Undead

Posted on October 18, 2010

A Field Guide to the Creatures that Cannot Rest in Peace

Recently I have been reading a really cool book written by Dr. Bob Curran and titled Encyclopedia of the Undead. This book is 312 pages with all sorts of information about “things” like Vampires, Werewolves, Zombies, Voodoo, Ghouls, Golems and other nightmarish creatures and entities.

One thing I really like about the Encyclopedia of the Undead is the index. A good reference book must have a thorough index and this one does.

Whether you are doing research on a particular culture’s myths, legends and stories about creatures like this or you just want to read a good book this one fits the bill. I don’t get as much time to read as I would like to and I usually have bookmarks stuck in several different books at once but the Encyclopedia of the Undead was one I could hardly put down. I read it from cover to cover and I am sure I will refer to it many times again when researching.

I have always been fascinated by the origins of “things” from the paranormal world and this book has a lot of that. I have read many books and articles on the subject but I am still always learning something new. The Encyclopedia of the Undead doesn’t just rehash all the stuff already out there, the author tells it all in an interesting way and makes connections with various cultures both ancient and modern and the beliefs and traditions held about the “Creatures that Cannot Rest in Peace”.

Encyclopedia of the Undead A Field Guide to the Creatures that Cannot Rest in Peace

Encyclopedia of the Undead

From the back cover:

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!

Encyclopedia of the Undead: A Field Guide to the Creatures that Cannot Rest in Peace is available from New Page Books or wherever books are sold.

Dr. Bob Curran

Dr. Bob Curran

About the author:

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).




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Tags: Books, Ghouls, Golems, Vampires, Voodoo, Werewolves, Zombies


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Comments

5 Responses to “The Encyclopedia of the Undead”
  1. Gemma says:

    As long as this book doesn’t summon up anything ungodly into my house, I would love to buy it. :)

  2. trolldoll says:

    sounds like a great book to investigate!

  3. Bob Curran says:

    It has taken me over a month to comment on this review as I’ve been incredibly busy with a number of projects but it’s always nice to take time and thank the reviewer for a good review. I notice that there is a reference to the fascination with “things” and I suppose one of the questions that I’m most asked in interviews – and I’ve done a lot recently – is “do you think these creatures exist?” That for me is not the question – they may or may not exist, I don’t know – the question is “Why would people want them to exist?” or rather “What need does such a belief fulfill?” and “What does this belief tell us about ourselves?” And I suppose that has been behind most of the books that I write – a sort of attempt to understand and explore why and how the belief came about. If people want to share that exploration then that’s fine with me. I think that our fascination with such things springs from a set of very deep and fundamental questions and interpretations. None of us likes the Universe to be a chaotic and disordered place and so we can sometimes interpret it in terms of the supernatural – that after all is the basis of most religions. So we have fairies, spirits, demons etc who frame up the world for us . Then we have some questions such as “Waht would it be like to live forever and never to age?” “Where does the man stop and the beast in us begin?” and “Is it possible to come back from the dead in some form?” And I think this perspective more than anything else has guided my writing. But thank you for your comments and if people wish to ask me questions I’d be more than happy to answer.

  4. cowgirl;) says:

    im obsessed with hrror and things relating to that im going to have to try this book:)

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