Saturday, March 28, 2009

Matthew Beresford's "From Demons to Dracula"

Matthew Beresford is a freelance writer based in Chesterfield, Derbyshire in the UK.

He applied the “Page 99 Test” to his book From Demons to Dracula: The Creation of the Modern Vampire Myth, and reported the following:
Page 99 in my book is the first page of a chapter dedicated to the vampire within Eastern European folklore. Is it reflective of the book as a whole? In some ways, yes. It describes how travellers and returning soldiers brought back strange and macabre tales of the superstitious act of exhuming dead bodies that occurred throughout much of the later 17th and most of the 18th centuries. This act was a preventative method of vampirism: the reanimation of a dead corpse. Once exhumed, hearts were removed and heads were cut off suspected vampires before the remains were re-buried.

These tales and reports were the foundation for the later Gothic literature of Victorian England, culminating in Bram Stoker’s Dracula (1897) and subsequently the later stage and cinema productions of that mystical being, the vampire. But my book argues for a much deeper history for the modern vampire myth, and goes back some 6000 years in time to the spirits and demons of the Ancient World of Rome, Greece and Egypt, on through early funerary rites in the Prehistoric period and incorporates the Saxon and Viking Poems and Sagas and the plagues, superstitions and witch trials of the Middle Ages.

I investigate the truth behind the Historical Dracula, Vlad the Impaler and look at ‘vampire hotspots’ such as Whitby and Highgate Cemetery in England, before finally examining the modern image within cinema, vampire crime, the Goth culture and vampire interest groups in an attempt to track how the modern vampire myth was created.
Learn more about the book and author at Mathew Beresford's website.

--Marshal Zeringue