Monday, December 11, 2017

The World of Lore: Monstrous Creatures

I heard about a TV show called Lore, so I did a little research and found out there's a book called The World of Lore: Monstrous Creatures by Aaron Mahnke and podcast too, and all are based around the same thing...folklore of unsolved mysteries. I think I'm the only person left anywhere that doesn't listen to podcasts, I swear I don't have time for them. I drive 5 minutes to work where I listen to rockabilly music, and when I'm at home I'm reading or watching a movie or trying to finish Supernatural because ~ I'm not afraid of commitment ~ and I'm in the home stretch in the middle of season 10. (You can read all about my Supernatural thoughts here, herehere and here.)


Being a book nerd I ordered the book The World of Lore: Monstrous Creatures from the library. It touches on all the historical monster narratives from vampires, witch hunts, zombies, pygmies, ghosts, to things we still hear about today ~ the Warren's Annabelle doll and curses, Shirley Jackson's haunted house writings and poltergeists. Historical vampires and witch folklore are my forte, so I was already prepared to like this book. Vamps have a special place in my heart along with witches and it started for me in junior year of high school where I wrote a 25 page paper comparing Bram Stoker's Dracula book to the movie. (Side note: No comparison. The movie is very pretty with bad acting, the book is better although a little boring as it's written like a diary.) The witch curiosity started even earlier, sophomore year when I wrote about Cotton Mather's Salem Witchcraft Trials and their attack on women. Now I'm not going to claim I know about everything in the book. I did learn about Spring-Heeled Jack in England and lots more specifics on creature origin stories. It even includes the origins of words and why certain things are called what they are. You can see a lot of time and effort went into this book and I'm always excited to expand on my creepy knowledge especially if I don't have to do all the research. (Haha.)

Enough about me, Lore, the book, covers a lot of (burial) ground! It references 1980s pop culture movies and icons, i.e. The Serpent and the Rainbow, Teen Wolf, and even MacGyver. It includes horror anecdotes too which really hold my interest, but it goes deeper and explores folklore itself. There's always been a fear of the unknown everywhere. And how do you explain the unexplainable? With folklore! Perfecto example: A woman in Salem, MA back in the 1690s didn't conform to societal norms because she didn't attend church. The town decided to call her a witch and put her through the witch trials. (That way they can get rid of her since she's different.) Another example: A family claims to see a deceased family member, they dig up the body and find that it hasn't decomposed and there's blood by it's mouth. Well, obviously it's a vampire. These stories get told over and over, expanded on and spread throughout history creating the monster lore we know today.

One of the really fun things I enjoyed about the book is that the chapters don't end with conclusive evidence but often plot twists, suggestions of what happened, and speculations that make you come up with your own conclusions. It really makes you think. Could there be logical reasons people saw and documented what they did? Hmmm.

The Edward Gorey-esque pen and ink illustrations in the book are something you don't get from a podcast. The artist M.S.Corley is a freelance illustrator and graphic designer that draws for a variety of books. The artwork in Lore is very Edward Gorey compared to his other pieces. Gotta love a book with pictures!





Many of the creatures written about can be found in the TV show Supernatural (I'm not joking) ~ trickster, jinn, wendigo, changling, elves ~ and here I thought the writers were just making them all up! So I guess you can say Supernatural was my introduction to a wide array on monster folklore and it's a good preface. After reading this book though, I feel like anything is possible and real. Truth can be scarier than fiction. Yikes.

Look for Aaron Mahnke's next book, The World of Lore: Wicked Mortals coming out in May 2018.






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