In celebration of the approaching All Hallows’ Eve, here are a few titles from the Library’s collections that merit special mention:
An interesting exploration of the history of Halloween, from the rites of the ancient Celts to the beginnings of Christianity in Europe and “All Saints Day.” The author reviews ancient cultural and religious traditions from Ireland, Scotland, England, Wales, and France, while also discussing the celebration of Halloween during the late 19th and early 20th centuries in Europe and America. Includes ancient and modern Halloween poetry and prose.
Ruth Edna Kelley (1893–1982) was an American author and librarian.
The Book of Hallowe’en by Ruth Edna Kelley (1919)
A definitive work for werewolf aficionados which analyses the history of the werewolf using a theological and philosophical approach. Summers discusses the practice of shape-shifting and differing opinions regarding how humans are transformed into creatures. A wide range of historical documentation and folklore are included, making for a fascinating read for anyone who is curious about lycanthropy and other types of real or imaginary assumption by man of wolfish traits. Includes a discussion of the werewolf in literature. This title was also published as The Werewolf in Lore and Legend (2003).
Montague Summers (1880–1948) was an English author, clergyman, and teacher who was elected to the Royal Society of Literature in 1916. He also wrote works on vampires and witchcraft.
The Werewolf by Montague Summers (1933)
Between pages 148 and 149
An intriguing history that examines the ideas surrounding witchcraft and the individuals who were persecuted as witches in colonial Virginia. The beliefs held by Virginia’s early inhabitants, key legal statutes, and statements by noted authorities of the time lay the foundations for the final chapter which describes the trials of the accused. Includes court records and a brief chronology of witchcraft in England and Scotland.
Carson Hudson is an historian, author, and Emmy Award-winning screenwriter. He lectures regularly at museums and colleges on a wide variety of subjects, but his particular interests are the Civil War and colonial witchcraft.
Witchcraft in Colonial Virginia by Carson O. Hudson, Jr. (2019)
An in-depth analysis of the origins of vampire rituals and folklore which explains the cultural and religious roots from which they originated. The author tracks the evolution of these activities and ideas to the present day, examining them as symbols of evil in film, literature, and popular culture, while also exploring the unsettling nature of the vampire slayer. May be of particular interest to Buffy fans.
Bruce A. McClelland is an author, translator, and vampirologist. He received his Ph.D. in Slavic Studies from the University of Virginia.
Slayers and Their Vampires: a Cultural History of Killing the Dead by Bruce A. McClelland (2006)