Saturday, June 15, 2019

John B. Kachuba's "Shapeshifters: A History"

John B. Kachuba is an award-winning author and creative writing instructor at Ohio University. He has investigated over one-hundred haunted locations around the world and his books include Ghosthunters and Dark Entry.

Kachuba applied the “Page 99 Test” to his new book, Shapeshifters: A History, and reported the following:
Page 99 of Shapeshifters: A History [inset left; click to enlarge] is a gruesome account of some horrific murders committed in France by men who believed they had become werewolves. As bizarre as this phenomenon may seem. medical literature contains numerous reports of lycanthropy—people believing they had become werewolves—from many countries over the ages.

Such terrifying accounts, as interesting as they are, do not fully describe what Shapeshifters is all about. The shapeshifter character has existed in cultures all around the world from prehistoric times, right up to the present. The character is not only recorded in myth and oral traditions but has also made its way into popular culture—books, movies, TV programs, cartoons, even toys.

Shapeshifters examines the character in all its varied representations around the world and seeks out similarities. The book explores what shapeshifters mean to each of these cultures and delves into the psychological reasons that support the idea of shapeshifters. The book questions what it says about us that we feel the need to become something other than who and what we are, even if only vicariously through movies, books, costumes, cosplay and masquerades. It further questions the appeal of the shapeshifter character, a figure that is unbounded by any moral or legal codes, a figure that revels in descending into its “dark side.”

Page 99 might be an enticing entry to Shapeshifters but it does not fully portray the complexity of the ideas expressed in the book.
Visit John B. Kachuba's website.

--Marshal Zeringue