Today I am excited to share an exclusive excerpt with you from Banshees, Werewolves, Vampires, and Other Creatures of the Night: Facts, Fictions, and First-Hand Accounts by Varla Ventura. Grab a cup of cocoa, and settle in to read this short tale. Be sure an enter to win a signed copy.
Banshees, Werewolves, Vampires, and Other Creatures of the Night
by Varla Ventura
Published by Weiser Books
Publication date: October 1, 2013
The lusty vampire, the sympathetic werewolf, the tragic banshee are just a few of the dark and frightening creatures you’ll discover in “Banshees, Werewolves, Vampires, and Other Creatures of the Night.” “Huffington Post Weird News” columnist and author Varla Ventura takes readers on a wild ride through the shadowy hills of rural Ireland, the dark German forests, and along abandoned farms and country roads across the world to discover some of the most frightening and freak-tacular tales, tidbits, and encounters with all those beasties that go bump in the night. Along with classic pieces from Bram Stoker, Elliot O’Donnell, Sabine Baring-Gould, William Butler Yeats and many others, Ventura includes: Famous vampires you may not know The identity of the author of the first English vampire novel (and his relationship to Mary Shelley’s “Frankenstein”)Excerpts from the first psychic vampire novel ever written Stories of 19th century werewolf hunters Why banshees are the most feared of supernatural creatures.
I don’t know about you, but this sounds like a perfect read for fall. I also think this would make a fabulous gift for any paranormal, supernatural lover on your holiday list. Sit back and enjoy the excerpt.
A Midnight Ride
If you are usually a fearful person, who likes to barricade your door and hunker beneath the bedclothes each night, worried about what might rattle the locks or slip through the cracks, you should not undertake to read on. You may think the things that bump most loudly in the night seem to be of a different era, without the niceties of today, in a time when most homes did not have electricity, where candlelight failed to chase away all the night shadows, horses were the main mode of transport, and the fairies and goblins of olde still roamed the earth in large numbers. But my dearest friend, you would be wrong.
Aye, we know there are many predators out there in the great, vast world. If we aren’t worried about the Zombie Apocalypse we are clutching our purses in fear of getting mugged. And thanks to medication, many of us who might stay up all night wrought with anxiety can get some sleep. I can’t tell you that what you are about to read is going to help ease any of those fears. In fact, it may add to them. If you haven’t already, you can now add the Pooka to your list of things-you’d-like-not-to-encounter-in-the-night.
Also known as the Puca, the Irish word for goblin, you can find as many variations of spelling as different forms of the pooka itself: Pook, Puki, Puka, Phouka, Pwca, Pwwka, Pwwka, Púka, Pwca, and even Puk or Puck (it certainly bears some relation to the infamous Puck in its trickery and Pan-like behavior.) The Pooka can take nearly any form, including invisibility, though it is most frequently sighted in the form of a horse—a black horse with eyes of fire and breath of blue flame. This horse takes the terrified mortal who is most unfortunate to have encountered it on a midnight ride that turns hair white, but no real harm actually comes to the person, usually. The shapeshifter can also appear as a goat, goblin, dog, and even a rabbit. Remember that big invisible rabbit that James Stewart spent a good deal of time conversing and sometimes even arguing with in the 1950 film Harvey? Harvey, the 6 foot 3.5” tall white rabbit was a Pooka.
Stewart’s character Elwood P. Dowd was a drunk. This is another reoccurring theme in encounters with a Pooka. The victim is usually drunk and stumbling home in the dead of night when they see it. This generally works perfectly with the Pooka’s plan to torment its victim—no one believes the drunk. And though the Pooka today is generally more trickster, loving nothing more than a good scare to their victim, they do possess the ability to be more vicious. Once thought to be responsible, along with other malevolent spirits, for such ill luck as blighted corn, sour milk, and sick children, the Pooka seems to mostly cause those who are evil of heart to take their own lives—leaping from cliffs to rocks below, guns to the chest, and the like.
You might find yourself confused, and if you are the Pooka will be more inclined to prey on you, laughing at your ignorance. And if you are confused to the point of incoherence, the Pooka is not above a swift kick to your side to bring you back to your senses, to insure that you are wide awake while they turn your night of revelry into one of mayhem and terror
Today’s world, with its beeps and boops and ever-present Wi-Fi networks, is still rampant with ghouls, goblins, bogeys, banshees, brownies, changelings, ghosts, and all manner of beasties. They lurk in the shadows, waiting for you at last to fall asleep with your tablet clutched to your chest. And no amount of drinking will make them go away.
~adapted from Varla Ventura’s Banshees, Werewolves, Vampires, and Other Creatures of the Night: Facts, Fictions, and First-Hand Accounts.
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The author is giving one lucky US winner a signed copy of Banshees, Werewolves, Vampires, and Other Creatures of the Night along with some swag.
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