Sunday, 11 November 2012

Universal Vampire Book Project

Here's a description of the project from the editors:

The Universal Vampire Series, 2 Vols. 

Vol. 1 – The Universal Vampire: Origins and Evolution of a Legend 

Vol. 2 – The Hip and the Atavistic: Images of the Modern Vampire

Barbara Brodman, Nova Southeastern University 
James E. Doan, Nova Southeastern University

Project Overview 
For almost 200 years, since the publication of John Polidori’s The Vampyre (1819), the vampire has been a mainstay of Western culture, appearing consistently in literature, art, music (notably opera), film, television, graphic novels and popular culture in general. Even before its entrance into the realm of arts and letters in the early 19th century, the vampire was a feared creature of Eastern European folklore and legend, rising from the grave at night to consume its living loved ones and neighbors, often converting them at the same time into fellow vampires. A major question exists within vampire scholarship: to what extent is this creature a product of European cultural forms, or is the vampire indeed a universal, perhaps even archetypal figure? 

In Volume I, Part 1 of the collection, “Origins of a Legend: Early Mythic Images of the Vampire,” we hope to shed light on this question. By tracing the development of the early Norse draugr figure into later European lore, we may see the underpinnings of Dracula who, of course, first appears as a vampire in Anglo-Irish Bram Stoker’s novel, Dracula, published in 1897. The Romantic vampire, upon which we focus in Part 2 of this volume of the collection, first coalesced around the figure of Lord Byron and his associates in the early 1800s; but what were its earlier sources? Could these have included the legendary Spanish “lady-killer,” Don Juan? And did they constitute resistance to the dominant culture of the time? As several of the essays in this collection deal with these literary connections, others will move outside Europe to explore vampire figures in Native American and Mesoamerican myth and ritual and the existence of similar or identical vampiric traditions in Asian and other non-European settings. 

Volume I, Part II, “A Tradition Takes Form: The Imprint of the Romantic Vampire,” will focus on various aspects of the classic Dracula of Bram Stoker, including the author’s use of colonized language and colonial discourse and manifestations of the Stoker image in film, literature and lore around the world. This set of essays will also examine from various perspectives the relations between other hallmark works of 19th-century vampire literature, such as J. Sheridan Le Fanu’s Carmilla, and modern films, including Interview with the Vampire and Let the Right One In. 

Volume II of the Universal Vampire Series, The Hip and the Atavistic: Images of the Modern Vampire, will be an eclectic mélange of essays, including a discussion of evolution and atavism in the vampire film, The Wisdom of Crocodiles (1998); critical pieces that examine the modern Asian vampire, on stage, in graphic novels and in film; images of the Vampire in contemporary Japan (where, according to its author, vampires should be “beautiful”); an analysis of the vampire in popular Russian culture; and the obligatory studies of vampires in The Twilight Saga and the True Blood series. Each volume in the collection will contain 15 original, thought-provoking essays, chosen to both augment and challenge the classical vampire corpus and examine the evolutionary path the legend has taken in modern arts and letters. 

The book is intended for an informed popular audience interested in the vampire legend and its manifestations in literature, film, visual arts and popular culture. Given the popularity of the vampire and the almost insane pace at which authors, artists and film makers strive to present newer and more innovative takes on the legend, we anticipate that the book will appeal to a broad readership throughout the English-speaking world. With the growing number of academic conferences that focus on the theme of the vampire, and the proliferation of courses dealing with the vampire legend in colleges and universities, we are confident that a large academic audience exists as well.
Source: h-net

Universal Vampire Update

Just heard from the editors that the forthcoming multi-volume blockbuster The Universal Vampire is scheduled for publication in April 2012. The publishers were 'very impressed with the quality of the essays in the collection'. A brief description of my chapter can be found here

Wednesday, 3 October 2012

CFP: Esotericism and Health


Call for Papers ESSWE 4: Western Esotericism and Health

Datum: June 26, 2013 -to- June 29, 2013
Call for Papers: ESSWE4 - The Fourth International Conference of the European Society for the Study of Western Esotericism

Western Esotericism and Health

26-29 June 2013, University of Gothenburg, Sweden

Issues relating to health (understood in a broad sense) can be seen as an intrinsic part of the field of esotericism, but surprisingly little attention has been given to how health is understood and construed in esoteric discourses. The conference is thus as an attempt to fill an important lacuna in the study of Western esotericism. Suggested topics include (but are not limited to), esoteric notions and discourses on health, sexuality and well-being, "occult" causes for disease, "occult medicine", notions of therapeutic benefits of magic and meditation, alchemical approaches to health, alternative forms of medicine, etc.

Keynote lecturers include:

Catherine L. Albense (University of California)
Peter Forshaw (University of Amsterdam)
James R. Lewis (Tromsø University)
Mark Sedgwick (Aarhus University)
Andrew Weeks (Illinois State University)
Alison Winter (University of Chicago)

Papers are invited in English. Proposals for 20 minutes’ papers (title and short abstract of approximately 250 words) should be sent to Henrik Bogdan (, with your name and academic affiliation, by January 15, 2013.

Conference Chairman: Henrik Bogdan, University of Gothenburg

Conference Committee: Egil Asprem, Henrik Bogdan, Olav Hammer, Kennet Granholm, Asbjørn Dyrendal and Jesper Aa. Petersen

Sunday, 30 September 2012

Spiritualism Anthology Details Released

Just arrived in my inbox are the full(er) details of the forthcoming anthology on spiritualism:

the anthology is to be published as:

Christopher M. Moreman (Ed.), The Spiritualist Movement: Speaking with
the Dead in American and around the World (ABC-CLIO, 2013). It is
scheduled for release in the summer.

Sub-titles (and authors for each) are:
Vol. 1: American Origins and Global Proliferation (Paper; D. Wilson; Biondi; Sommer; Kragh; Dempsey; Hamilton; Straughan; Crockford; Charet; Moore; Biscop; Cosgrove; Rocha)
Vol. 2: Belief, Practice, and Evidence for Life After Death (Betty; Gutierrez; Singleton; Roxburgh & Roe; Leonard; Kavan; Alvarado; P. Wilson; Schwartz; Roe & Roxburgh; Hageman & Krippner; Meyer zu Erpen; Delgado; Stasulane; Hamilton).
Vol. 3: Social and Cultural Responses (Lynch; Knowles; Ricci; Williams-Hogan; Butler; Ruickbie; Lowry; Manson; Guillory; Troy; McDonald; Kee; Hoeger; Natale)

Friday, 6 July 2012

Magonia Review of The Supernatural

 Magonia Review of Books, review of Leo Ruickbie, A Brief Guide to the Supernatural: Ghosts, Vampires and the Paranormal (Constable and Robinson, 2012), dated 29 March 2012:

The book is well referenced in the form of footnotes and makes a good general introduction.

See the full review at

Monday, 11 June 2012

Wanted: Old Gods

Preternature Volume 3:2. Old Gods and Ancient Ones [Call for Papers]

Call them pagan or ancient, earth-based or demonic, or by names like Hekate, Isis, Poseidon, Ereshkigal, Loki, and Anath, the Old Gods have been topics of energetic scholarly discussion, literary recreation, and artistic depiction for decades. As supplanted as they might seem to historians, the Old Gods live on and capture our imagination. Contextualized in archaeological study, sensationalized by filmmakers, and rendered in new costumes and flesh by artists, Old Gods continue, components of the flexible mythologies that make up shared cultural references. They are used across literature, graphic novels, television series, cinema, and MMORPGs to tell and enact narratives. As they had in ancient landscapes, the Old Gods now make up part of a dynamic belief systems and figure in new forms of ritual invocations.

This issue of Preternature especially welcomes scholars whose work focuses on the new uses of ancient Asian, Babylonian, Canaanite, Egyptian, Greek, Mesoamerican, Norse, and Slavic Gods. It also welcomes contributions, from any discipline, that highlight the cultural, literary, dramatic, religious, magical, or historical significance of any of the ancient gods in their own contexts, as a part of "paganisms," and as a part of contemporary popular cultures. We welcome synthetic overviews of Sarapis veneration in Ephesus or the cult of Mithras as much as feminist critiques of representations of goddesses in graphic novels. Analyses of new ritualizations of Old Gods in specific neopaganism groups are welcome as well. Ultimately, we are interested in how the ancient gods are maintained, in various media and in scholarly discussion, in this modern era.

Contributions should be roughly 8,000 - 12,000 words, including all documentation and critical apparatus, and adhere to the Chicago Manual of Style, 15th edition (style 1, employing endnotes). Contributions must be submitted through the Preternature CMS. Final submissions are due March 31, 2013.

Queries about journal scope and submissions can be made to the Editor, Dr. Kirsten C. Uszkalo. Queries concerning books to be reviewed can be made to the Book Reviews Editor, Dr. Richard Raiswell.

Preternature is a bi-annual publication, published through Penn State Press, and available in print or electronically through JSTOR, Project Muse, and as a Kindle e-book.


Friday, 8 June 2012

'Vampire' Corpses Found In Bulgaria

Ancient 'Vampire' Bodies Found In Bulgaria

Bulgarian archaeologists have unearthed centuries-old skeletons with iron rods through their chests - believed to have been victims of an old anti-vampire ritual.
According to Bozhidar Dimitrov, head of the National History Museum in the Bulgarian capital Sofia, two skeletons from the Middle Ages have been discovered near the Black Sea town of Sozopol.
"These two skeletons stabbed with rods illustrate a practice which was common in some Bulgarian villages up until the first decade of the 20th century," said Mr Dimitrov.

Widespread superstition led to iron rods being hammered through the chest bones and hearts of those who did evil during their lifetimes for fear they would return after death to feast on the blood of the living.

Vampire burial to be displayed in National Museum of History in Sofia

Sozopol. The vampire burial unearthed in the seaside city of Sozopol will be displayed in the National Museum of History in Sofia due to the keen interest in Bulgaria and abroad, museum director Bozhidar Dimitrov told FOCUS News Agency.

The vampire will be displayed in about ten days when the special glass case in which it will be laid is ready.

'Vampire' graves may bring hordes to Bulgaria

The discovery of the graves of suspected vampires in Bulgaria may turn into a tourism gold mine, according to local news reports. [...] Headlines of the latest find have piqued interest in the U.S., Europe and Asia, the report said, and tour operators are fielding inquiries about what it called "vampire vacations."

Already, people were lining up at the excavation site at the monastery of St. Nicolas the Wonderworker, the Sofia News Agency reported.


Thursday, 7 June 2012

Goth Tech Conference CFP

CFP: International Gothic Association Biennial Conference 2013

Gothic Technologies/Gothic Techniques Biennial Conference of the International Gothic Association
August 5 – 8, 2013
University of Surrey, United Kingdom

Confirmed Keynote Speakers: Professor Roger Luckhurst (Birkbeck College, University of London), Professor Fred Botting (Kingston University), other Keynotes TBA

Recent Gothic studies have foregrounded a plethora of technologies associated with Gothic literary and cultural production. Its presence is witnessed in how techno-science has contributed to the proliferation of the Gothic: the publishing and print culture disseminating Gothic texts, eighteenth-century architectural innovations, the on-line gaming and virtual Goth communities, the special effects of Gothic-horror cinema. One question raised by these new developments concerns the extent to which they generate new Gothic techniques. How does technology generate a new Gothic aesthetic? We are particularly interested in addressing how Gothic technologies have, in a general sense, produced and perpetuated ideologies and influenced the politics of cultural practice. However, we also want to reconsider the whole idea of what we mean by a Gothic ‘technique’ which arguably underpins these new formations of the Gothic. To that end we invite papers that question not only what we might constitute a Gothic aesthetic from the eighteenth century to the present day, but how that is witnessed in various forms such as the Female Gothic, models of the sublime, sensation fiction, cyberpunk as well as the various non-text based media that the Gothic has infiltrated. We also invite proposals which address how various critical theories help us to evaluate either these new technological trends or critically transform our understanding of the intellectual space occupied by earlier Gothic forms. Papers which explore the place of science, writing, and the subject are thus very welcome. We thus seek to explore how Gothic technologies/Gothic techniques textualize identities and construct communities within a complex network of power relations in local, national, transnational and global contexts. Papers exploring any aspect of Gothic technologies/Gothic techniques in writing, film and other media are welcome. Topics could include, but are not limited to, the following:

 • Gothic Architecture and Technology • Printing, Publishing and Gothic Disseminations • Terror, Terrorism, Technology • The techniques of philosophy – the sublime • Colonizing Technology and Postcolonial Gothics • Technology of Monsters • Gothic Art • Enlightenment Gothic and Science • War, Violence, Technology • (Neo)Victorian Gothic • Gothic poetry • Gothic Bodies: Modifications, Mutations, Transformations • Weird Science, Mad Scientists • Staging the Gothic • B-movies, Laughter and Comic Gothic • Demonic Technologies / Demonizing Technology • Theorising the Gothic • Gothic Geography – mapping the Gothic • Cloning, Duplicating, Doubling • Hybrids, Cyborgs and Transgression • Digital Gothics and Uncanny Media

Abstracts (350 words max.) for 20 minute papers may be submitted to . The submission deadline is February 1, 2013. We also welcome submissions for panels (consisting of three papers) that address specific topics.

See: International Gothic Association

Wednesday, 6 June 2012

The International Gothic Association

Yes, there is an International Gothic Association! It's an academic society for the study of everything Gothic with a peer-reviewed journal Gothic Studies. According to their website:

The International Gothic Association unites teachers, scholars, students, artists, writers and performers from around the world who are interested in any aspect of gothic culture: fiction, drama, poetry, art, film, music, architecture, popular culture and technology. It promotes the study and dissemination of information on gothic culture from the mid eighteenth century to the contemporary moment. The only association of its kind, the IGA is the academic centre for people interested in an analysis of the gothic.

Sunday, 3 June 2012

Hekatean Curse Tablets

Black Magic Revealed in Two Ancient Curses

Date: 22 May 2012
At a time when black magic was relatively common, two curses involving snakes were cast, one targeting a senator and the other an animal doctor, says a Spanish researcher who has just deciphered the 1,600-year-old curses. Both curses feature a depiction of a deity, possibly the Greek goddess Hekate, with serpents coming out of her hair, possibly meant to strike at the victims. Both curses contain Greek invocations similar to examples known to call upon Hekate.
Read the story at

Friday, 1 June 2012

Vampire Autopsies

What happens when you cut open a vampire? Read this analysis of the 18th century vampire epidemic and the medical experts who examined the undead corpses in the Fortean Times, issue 288 (Special, 2012). Visit: Fortean Times

For back issues of Fortean Times call +44 (0)844 844 0049

Thursday, 5 January 2012

Obama Will Lose, Says Mexico's Chief Witch

The Brujo Mayor - Supreme Sorcerer, Witch-in-Chief, or Grand Wizard as the BBC likes to call him - of Catemac in southern Mexico has made public his New Year predictions. Top of the list: Obama will lose the 2012 elections.

Speaking at a press conference in Mexico City, Brujo Mayor Antonio Vazquez revealled that Obama was finished. Vazquez was quoted as saying, "I feel Obama will lose. They will attack him a lot. The Republicans have all the money in the United States and so they are putting a lot of pressure on him to make mistakes". An unnamed source added, "Barack bin Obamaladen is going to fall on his Kentucky Fried ass when the Republicans start throwing down the banana skins. I've seen it in the tea leaves."

Using Tarot cards and astrology, Vazquez has been making annual predictions for the last 25 years with some surprising successes. Claiming an 80 per cent success rate, Valequez correctly predicted the Euro crisis. But upset music fans when the predicted death of tween squeaker Britney Spears failed to occur.

Also coming up for 2012: Syria will be invaded; and two more South American leaders will succumb to witchcraft-induced cancer.

"I see more problems with Syria than Iraq and Korea," said the Mighty Magician, "Syria is against the Islamic world and against Europe and the United States. There could be an invasion there or more deaths and deaths and deaths."

Lots of deaths, then, but the good news is that he has not mentioned the end of the world yet.

Source: 'Mexico's grand warlock predicts Obama will lose,' BBC News, 4 January 2012,

Coming up next: do-it-yourself Grand Wizardry. Let's pull out the pack of Arcana and start dealing the future.