Medieval Halloween! Great books for Ghosts, Goblins, Witches & Ghouls!



 
 

Medieval Halloween! Great books for Ghosts, Goblins, Witches & Ghouls!

Medieval Ghost Stories: An Anthology of Miracles, Marvels and Prodigies

Author: Andrew Joynes

Publisher: Boydell Press

Summary

Stories of restless spirits returning from the afterlife are as old as storytelling. In medieval Europe ghosts, nightstalkers and unearthly visitors from parallel worlds had been in circulation since before the coming of Christianity. Here is a collection of ghostly encounters from medieval romances, monastic chronicles, sagas and heroic poetry. These tales bore a peculiar freight of spooks and spirituality which can still make the hair stand on end. Look at the story of Richard Rowntree’s stillborn child, glimpsed by his father tangled in swaddling clothes on the road to Santiago, or the sly habits of water sprites resting as golden rings on the surface of the river, just out of reach. The writer and broadcaster Andrew Joynes brings together a vivid selection of these tales, with a thoughtful commentary that puts them in context and lays bare the layers of meaning in them.

Ghosts in the Middle Ages: The Living and the Dead in Medieval Society

Author: Jean-Claude Schmitt

Publisher: University Of Chicago Press

Summary

Through this vivid study, Jean-Claude Schmitt examines medieval religious culture and the significance of the widespread belief in ghosts, revealing the ways in which the dead and the living related to each other during the middle ages. Schmitt also discusses Augustine’s influence on medieval authors; the link between dreams and autobiographical narratives; and monastic visions and folklore. Including numerous color reproductions of ghosts and ghostly trappings, this book presents a unique and intriguing look at medieval culture.

Vlad the Impaler (Dudley & Beanz)

Author: Gavin Baddeley and Paul Woods

Publisher: Ian Allan Publishing

Summary

Vlad the Impaler: Son of the Devil, Hero of the People not only brings to life one of history’s most compelling and brutal characters, but traces his bizarre afterlife. A hero to his countrymen, Vlad Dracula became a byword for dread. Not just for generations of Western fans of Gothic fiction and film, but also for his fifteenth-century contemporaries, whose appalled fascination made accounts of Dracula’s atrocities into the world’s first horror bestsellers. Combining historical research and dramatic reconstruction, with groundbreaking contemporary reference, Vlad the Impaler includes his dramatic career, from pampered captive of the Ottoman Sultans, to exterminating angel of Christian vengeance. See the Impaler as fascist idol and communist icon—was he the model ruler of an embattled realm or the embodiment of unbridled cruelty?

The Place of the Dead: Death and Remembrance in Late Medieval and Early Modern Europe

Author: Bruce Gordon

Publisher: Cambridge University Press

Summary

Although much has been published on the social history of death, this is the first book to give a comprehensive account of attitudes toward the dead–above all the “placing” of the dead, in physical, spiritual and social terms–in order to reveal the social and religious outlook of past societies. The contributions range widely geographically, from Scotland to Transylvania, and address a spectrum of themes: attitudes toward the corpse, patterns of burial, forms of commemoration, the treatment of dead infants, the nature of the afterlife, and ghosts.

Witches, Werewolves, and Fairies: Shapeshifters and Astral Doubles in the Middle Ages

Author: Claude Lecouteux

Publisher: Inner Traditions

Summary

This title reveals the nature of medieval belief in the double of the soul and demonstrates the survival of a pagan belief that each individual owns three souls, including a double that can journey outside of the body. It explains the nature of death and Other Worlds hidden beneath the monsters and superstitions in stories from the Middle Ages.

Monsters werewolves witches and fairies remain a strong presence in our stories and dreams. But as Claude Lecouteux shows their roots go far deeper than their appearance in medieval folklore; they are survivors of a much older belief system that predates Christianity and was widespread over Western Europe. Through his extensive analysis of Germano-Scandinavian legends as well as those from other areas of Europe Lecouteux has uncovered an almost forgotten religious concept – that every individual owns three souls and that one of these souls the Double can – in animal or human form – leave the physical body while in sleep or a trance journey where it chooses then re-enter its physical body. While there were many who experienced this phenomenon involuntarily there were others – those who attracted the unwelcome persecution of the Church – who were able to provoke it at will: witches. In a thorough excavation of the medieval soul Claude Lecouteux reveals the origin and significance of this belief in the Double and follows its transforming features through the ages. He shows that far from being fantasy or vague superstition fairies witches and werewolves all testify to a consistent ancient vision of our world and the world beyond.