The History and Folklore of Vampires

  • by Charles River Editors
  • Narrated by Jack Chekijian
  • 1 hrs and 21 mins
  • Unabridged Audiobook

Publisher's Summary

People have always been afraid of the dead. Since the dawn of humanity, people have both cared for those who are deceased yet also tried to keep them away. There are a myriad of legends and beliefs about the dead coming back, and one of the more persistent ones is of the vampire.
Everyone has heard of vampires, but few people are truly familiar with the history and folklore that have made the mythical beings so popular. Indeed, there are so many legends from so many cultures that it is difficult to come up with a hard definition. And folklore is by its very nature unscientific, but most people in the Western world think of vampires as those who come back from the grave to suck the blood or life essence from the living.
This common understanding of vampires actually obscures many European and most non-European traditions of bloodsucking monsters. For example, in China, Japan, and the Middle East, there are spirits that will drain the life force of an unwary person, but these magical beings were never mortal humans. In African and Native American traditions, there are monsters that do the same, but while they are supposed to be of this Earth, they, too, are not human beings.
Furthermore, folklore changes over time, so the vampires people are familiar with today (and the ones some people claim to actually meet) bear little resemblance to the vampires of early modern Europe. Stories change, fiction turns to fact and vice versa, and beliefs are constantly reinvented. Ideas are adopted, adapted, and presented as true. All the while the legend of the vampire remains.
The History and Folklore of Vampires chronicles how vampires became so popular.


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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful

Vampire Folklore for Dummies

Would you listen to The History and Folklore of Vampires again? Why?

I would. I learned a few things I didnt know, but like any good book reading/listening to it again you always pick things up that you missed the first time.

Have you listened to any of Jack Chekijian’s other performances before? How does this one compare?

Ive listened to a few of Jack's books. He does well in all of the books.

Was there a moment in the book that particularly moved you?

Moved? No, but there were a few things items that I didn't know and a few things that set the record straight.

Any additional comments?

This audiobook was provided by the author, narrator, or publisher at no cost in exchange for an unbiased review.

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- Kenna

Informative and fun!

In this informational book, Charles River Editors looks at the history of vampiric folklore world wide, with a strong focus on Europe. The vampires of modern literature and cinema are not the vampires of the ancient past. Indeed, those beings that have been called ‘vampire’ often bear little resemblance to Bran Stoker’s version. This book explores the folklore, the history to the modern version of vampires, historic figures, and a biological explanation of why some corpses may be accused of being vampires.

Charles River Editors has given us another informative book. I have listened to several of these short histories and each one has been quite impressive in the depth of information that can be imparted in just over an hour. I have read a little on vampiric folklore and history and yet, there was more for me to learn from this book. I especially like that there is an emphasis on the original meaning of the vampire and the powers of vampires in ancient folklore. In many tales the vampire would be the spirit of a dead person who was determined to feed on the life force of a living being. There are a variety of world folklore shared in this book, including those about the chupacabra. Many of these tales have evolved over time, especially since the popularity of Bram Stoker’s Dracula hit Europe.

A chapter is devoted to historic figures that became wrapped up in the vampire folklore. Of course, this included Vlad ‘The Impaler’ Dracula. Vampire hunters are also discussed. Indeed, plenty of detail is provided about historic events where people dug up bodies, believing them to be vampires slumbering away the day, and the various ways the vampires were dispatched. This was a fascinating topic and I can only imagine that contagion was sometimes spread by those hell-bent on destroying vampires. Everyone today knows it is unsanitary to play with corpses.

I think this would be useful to those wanting a primer on vampire folklore as it definitely gives you a list of places, events, and people to research further, should you be inclined. I found it fascinating because it demonstrates how human behavior and beliefs have kept this myth alive for centuries.

I received a copy of this audiobook at no charge via the narrator in exchange for an honest review.

The Narration: Jack Chekijian has given another worthy performance. There were several hard to pronounce proper nouns in this book, mostly places, and Chekijian did a great job not stumbling over them. I am sure there are a few myths (goat sucker?!?) that must have made the narrator giggle a little the first time he read them. However, none of that came through in the final product. He treated each myth with seriousness.
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- DabOfDarkness

Book Details

  • Release Date: 04-01-2015
  • Publisher: Charles River Editors