I’ve always enjoyed vampires as fictional creatures. Bram Stoker’s Dracula is one of my favorite Victorian novels, and I have more than a few anthologies of vampire stories. I even enjoy some of the nonfiction aimed at looking behind the myth of the vampire. I read and much like Raymond T. McNally and Radu Florescu’s In Search of Dracula (1972), even though it turned out that the authors vastly overstated Stoker’s knowledge of Vlad III “The Impaler.” So, it is not without a little affection that I hoped for the best when watching British TV personality Jamie Theakson and his team of fringe history’s C-list of talking heads go in search of “real” vampires.
I read a sad story today about a 16-year-old who shot and killed his father and brother two years ago and is currently on trial for the killings. According to media accounts, the teen’s father, who was addicted to pain medication, had become convinced that the zombie apocalypse was about to occur and had been training his son in the most effective ways to kill the undead, specifically with headshots and decapitation. The entire family, who lived in Idaho, had joined in the father’s madness and were making plans to escape to a rural and isolated area to ride out the coming rise of the dead, according to accused killer Eldon Samuel III’s mother, Tina Samuel.
Micah Hanks weighed in on a new scientific study of horror movies, and as usual he had nothing to say but used that absence of insight to make money off of it anyway. Hanks used his characteristically tangled prose to baldly and badly rewrite a Guardian article about the supposed impact of horror movies on blood clotting, all while adding nothing to the original and actually making it more difficult to understand by somewhat misrepresenting the authors’ claims. Meanwhile, Mysterious Universe used the rewritten article to deliver paid advertising to its misinformed readers, thus making money off of rewriting the work of other people without original addition or insight.
A decade ago, I published The Cult of Alien Gods and began to explore the strange interplay between science, pseudoscience, and horror fiction by examining the origins of pseudoscientific archaeological claims, a theme I explored from the fictional side in my 2008 book Knowing Fear. In a series of recent (and often poorly written) articles on Mysterious Universe, it seems that our old friend Micah Hanks decided to go exploring in the same waters but doesn’t have much of anything to say about topics ranging from H. P. Lovecraft to cannibalism. I tend to wonder what purpose articles serve when they lack substance, but I imagine that in the brave new world of online media, simply clicking on an article justifies its existence. I know this sounds very negative toward Hanks, but my negativity come not from any particular animus at Hanks but disappointment that so many writers fail to put into their work a fraction of the research and analysis I try to put into each of mine.
Before we begin, I’d be remiss if I did not note that Australian Fortean researcher Louis Proud, author of a book on alien and occult influences from the moon, announced that he recently read Dracula for the first time, and he determined that Bram Stoker’s horror masterpiece was awful: “I found it overly long, in parts boring, and frequently tedious. By the end of it, I felt as though I myself had been attacked by a vampire, such was the extent of my exhaustion.” Don’t let him near Don Quixote or The Count of Monte Cristo. I can’t help but question the literary taste of anyone who finds Dracula to be “tedious.” Contemporary reviews called it “the most exciting old-fashioned story of horrors we have read in a long time” and “a web of horrors I do not remember the mate to” and worried readers would have wracked nerves from reading it. Proud revealed his views in service of a book review of Jim Steinmeyer’s Who Was Dracula? (2013), in which Proud’s ignorance of Dracula and a century of work on the subject leads him to imagine that Steinmeyer was among the first to look for an origin for the vampire count beyond Vlad Tepes.
By the way, Steinmeyer’s previous book, 2011’s Last Greatest Magician in the World, has a very familial look to it thanks to public domain art collections from the Library of Congress:
There is an adage on the internet that if something exists, there is a porn version of it. Given that we live in a world where dinosaur porn is a viable subgenre, it shouldn’t surprise me that there are also Nephilim-themed “romance” novels like D. M. Pratt’s The Tempting: Seducing the Nephilim (2015), a book that begins with a description of a woman whose most intense orgasm leads to a concussion when she hits her head while writhing in ecstasy. I found it humorous to read Dennis Moore’s review of the book in which he described himself as being conflicted, torn between finding it sexy and sacrilegious in equal measure, at least until he realized that the Nephilim were found in Genesis 6:4 and therefore give Biblical license to supernatural romance!
This post has been updated with additional information.
On Friday night, Ancient Aliens asserted that due to a head wound suffered in the Civil War the journalist, critic, and author Ambrose Bierce (1842-c. 1913-1914) experienced psychic connections to “otherworldly beings” and used his fiction to promote a supernatural worldview devoted to exploring the reality of interdimensional travel. Worse, they also claimed that Bierce disappeared from Mexico due to his involvement with crystal skulls that allowed him to pass into another dimension. Such claims, if made while Bierce were still alive, would have been close to libelous for a man who was dead set against the supernatural and once tried to evangelize atheism among his coworkers. Worse, Ancient Aliens seems to have concocted the claims by recycling parts of an Indiana Jones movie.
As someone who produces a blog post every day, I can sympathize with the difficulty of finding new material to write about. But it seems that fringe science writer Nick Redfern’s writer’s block is getting the better of him. His recent articles at Mysterious Universe have become increasingly pointless exercises in rehashing and recycling. But yesterday’s article on horror movies and Bigfoot has to be one of Redfern’s most ridiculous pieces yet. And to top it off, it made me feel old not long before my upcoming birthday. The Descent (2005), a film about a group of young women attacked by humanoid creatures while spelunking, is now an old movie from another time? Where do the decades go?
I’m pleased to announce that my newest book, Foundations of Atlantis, Ancient Astronauts, and Other Alternative Pasts, an anthology of ancient texts used to support fringe history theories, has now been published! I did not know that the book was ready to be published, and I was surprised to discover that McFarland released the title yesterday, especially since the last corrections to the proofs were just finalized on Friday. I must confess that I am a bit disappointed to see that the price is set at $49.95 for a paperback or eBook, especially since the publisher had assured me that they had anticipated wider demand for this book. (Amazon is offering a $1.10 discount!) However, I hope you’ll find that the book is a useful research tool.
Merry Christmas, everyone! For hundreds of years it has been the tradition to tell ghost stories at Christmastime, a tradition exemplified in Charles Dickens’s A Christmas Carol and memorialized when Andy Williams sang in “It’s the Most Wonderful Time of the Year” that “There’ll be scary ghost stories / And tales of the glories / Of Christmases long, long ago.” In keeping with that tradition, I present three (very) short horror films from the vast library that is the internet for this year’s Christmas scare.
I'm an author and editor who has published on a range of topics, including archaeology, science, and horror fiction. There's more about me in the About Jason tab.
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