Oct 25, 2010

J Maberry and Janice Gable Bashman - Wanted Undead or Alive

Please welcome Jonathan Maberry and Janice Gable Bashman who are here at PVN to tell readers about their new book an "indispensible guide that identifies and describes mankind's enemies - supernatural beasts, ghosts, vampires, serial killers, etc. - and unearths effective time-proven responses to each horrific threat." Halloween is the perfect time for the valuable information in this book. You never know who or what will come knocking at your door.


by Jonathan Maberry and Janice Gable Bashman, authors of WANTED UNDEAD OR ALIVE: Vampire Hunters and Other Kick-Ass Enemies of Evil, Citadel (September 1, 2010)

There are a lot of misconceptions floating around about vampires. The ideas came about because most people get their vampire lore through books and movies, through the fictionalized versions that modern storytellers have created.

So what’s the real scoop? We’ll tell you.

1. How about driving a stake through the heart to kill a vampire?
Sure a stake was used in folklore but it didn’t provide the instant kill we see in most modern day vampire movies and books. To kill a vampire, a stake was driven through the body of a resting vampire. This prevented the vampire from rising and the creature could be destroyed through the Ritual of Exorcism, which generally included decapitation, stuffing the mouth with garlic (and sometimes turning it backward in the coffin), immobilizing the body with steel pins or a tightly-sewn shroud, and other equally nasty measures. The only vampire species believed to die from a stake through the heart is the Kozlak of Dalmatia.

2. What about sunlight? Do vampires really fear it?
Most vampires in folklore don’t fear sunlight—that’s a modern twist on the vampire lore we’ve created to ante up the stakes (no pun intended) in movies and books. For example, the Upierczi of Poland hunts during the day; and numerous vampires, including the Bruja of Spain and the Loogaroo of Hariti, live normal lives during the day and turn into vampires at night.  Even Dracula walked around in daylight in Stoker’s novel. The origin of the ‘fatal sunlight’ concept comes from the production of the silent movie, Nosferatu: the filmmakers were over-budget and over-time for the film, so they needed a quick and inexpensive method of destroying the vampire. The lighting designer suggested using sunlight, and the director, F.W. Murnau thought it was brilliant. They shot the ending that way and from then on sunlight has been connected to vampires.

3. Not all vampires are dead.
Some are and others are shape-shifters capable of turning into dogs and cats and dragons and all kinds of creatures. Then there’s the humans who transform into vampire-like creatures, living vampires, and vampire gods. Living vampire species include the Pryccolitch of Romania, the Strix of ancient Rome, the Talamaur from the Bank Islands off the coast of Australia, and many others.

4. A bite to the neck is the only way to transform a human into a vampire. Wrong. That started with Dracula and it was part of the story because Bram Stoker was an Irish Catholic and he loaded the novel with plenty of Catholic elements.  The bite, and the swapping of blood, was his way of showing a demonic perversion of communion (which symbolizes drinking the blood of Christ). Every culture has its own opinions on this belief. Some think a vampire is created when a cat or dog jumps over a grave; others believe a person born with a caul or teeth will become a vampire; and in some cultures you are destined to become a vampire if you die without repenting for your sins. Being born with a deformity, or with red hair, or certain kinds of birthmarks will also do it, according to various world cultures.

5. You can tell if someone is a vampire by having them look into a mirror.
If there’s no reflection then they’re definitely a vampire. However, that’s not necessarily true. Again, this belief is something the movies cooked up, although the notion is popular in ancient beliefs where it was thought the soul could be seen on reflective surfaces and that breaking that surface would damage one’s soul.

So there you have it. Five things you didn’t know about vampires.

For more about vampires and other monsters, check out WANTED UNDEAD OR ALIVE: Vampire Hunters and Other Kick-Ass Enemies of Evil. The book deals with the struggle of good vs evil in film, comics, pop culture, world myth, literature, and the real world. Everything from ghosts to vampire slayers to paranormal investigators to FBI serial-killer profilers.

It includes interviews with folks like Stan Lee, Mike Mignola, Jason Aaron, Fred Van Lente, Peter Straub, Charlaine Harris and many more; and the book is fully illustrated by top horror, comics and fantasy artists. In stores everywhere.

Janice Gable Bashman has written for THE BIG THRILL, NOVEL and SHORT STORY WRITER'S MARKET, THE WRITER, WILD RIVER REVIEW, and many others. Her website is www.janicegablebashman.com .

Jonathan Maberry is a NY Times bestseller, multiple Bram Stoker Award-winner and a writer for Marvel Comics. His works include ROT and RUIN, THE DRAGON FACTORY, CAPTAIN AMERICA: HAIL HYDRA and THE WOLFMAN. His website is www.jonathanmaberry.com.


jthomasross said...

Fascinating information! These variations and exceptions from the 'standard' limitations on vampires offer a lot of new story possibilities.
(Also, great picture of you two!)

Janice Gable Bashman said...

Thanks - we had a lot of fun writing the book - there are so many variations on standard vampires and other creatures if you look beyond modern pop culture and into the folklore. We cover both in WANTED UNDEAD OR ALIVE.