The coffin was observed carefully on all sides, and they found it as undamaged as they themselves had made it. We opened the coffin, and, to be sure, with most of the dead, one saw that a foaming, evil-smelling, brown-black ichor welled out of their mouths and noses, with the one more, with the other less.

And what kind of joy did this cause among the people? They all cried, “Those are vampires, those are vampires!” . . .

. . . But with those [deceased] that had died of lengthy diseases, and had lain buried for a while, the epidermis lifted away, but the thick skin underneath was not red but yellow-white. When one pushed on their chests, blood flowed out of the mouth, but by far not so much as the others [in the previous paragraph]. They had not all decomposed. I asked the bystanders if these were not also vampires, but they declined to answer.

—Eighteenth century account from Wallachia

From Vampires, Burial and Death: Folklore and Reality by Paul Barber


The Bloody Countess: The Crimes of Erzsébet Báthory

Valentine Penrose

The authentic case history of the bloody crimes of Erzsébet Báthory, the 17th-century Hungarian countess whose chronicle of atrocities suggests a female counterpart to Gilles de Rais. A descendent of one of the most ancient, aristocratic families of Europe (as well as the offspring of centuries of intermarriage), Báthory appears to have been consumed by sadistic fantasies from as early as adolescence. By middle age these desires had escalated to witchcraft, torture, blood-drinking, cannibalism and, inevitably, wholesale slaughter. Taking the folkloric tradition of pure blood as remedy for disease to its psychopathic limits, the countess instigated a cycle of mutilation and butchering of virgin girls—all of whom were processed for the ultimate, youth-giving ritual: the bath of blood—which led to some 650 murders, the bloodless corpses carelessly buried throughout the Carpathian lowlands. Condemned to life imprisonment in a cell in her own castle, the unrepentant Báthory died on August 21, 1614, “without crucifix and without light.” Deftly translated by Alexander Trocchi (of Cain’s Book and Merlin magazine fame) and replete with an appendix containing extracts from her trial, The Bloody Countess is an intriguingly repulsive account of unchecked decadence and irredeemable transgression. MDG

Publisher: Creation
Paperback: 160 pages

The Dracula Cookbook of Blood

Ardin C. Price and Trishna Leszczyc

As the title suggests, this is indeed a collection of recipes that necessitate the use of blood. These are real recipes from Finland to Samoa, China to Africa—the reader can probably find one of Great-Great Grandma’s recipes in here. Some are short and succinct, such as the Blood Breakfast Cakes from Scotland, “Thicken cow’s blood with fine oatmeal and season to taste. Shape into patties and fry.“ Or a slight variation from Indonesia, Pudding Cakes, “Mix blood and cooked rice, season to taste. Form into patties and bake.” Others, especially those from France, are much more involved. Over 60 authentic recipes are interspersed with folklore and a short history of blood consumption. The only problem might be finding the blood to cook with! TR

Publisher: Mugwort Soup
Paperback: 149 pages

Dracula: Prince of Many Faces

Radu Florescu

“In 1972, in a book called In Search of Dracula, professors Florescu and McNally revealed the existence of a historical prince born in Transylvania named Dracula. It has taken them over 15 additional years of research and travel to some of the most desolate spots in the world to unearth the complete history of this multifaceted prince, the inspiration for Bram Stoker’s classic novel Dracula. Known as Vlad Dracula the Impaler, this prince was legendary even in his own time for committing crimes that were excessive in both nature and number. He created a bloodcurdling ‘forest of the impaled’ to dissuade an invading army from attacking his capital… Whether hero or monster, Vlad Dracula finally can be understood only in the context of his times… any fictional creation pales by comparison to this true tale.”

Publisher: Little, Brown
Paperback: 261 pages

Spiritual Vampires: The Use and Misuse of Spiritual Power

Marty Raphael

Welcome to Marty’s World, a super-duper-easy-to-read look at some terrible things that happened to a very nice girl. After years of abuse from her father, Marty lost the use of her voice and suffered from adrenaline addiction, learning disabilities, depression, chronic back pain, eating disorders and a spiritual addiction. Her father was a spiritual vampire. “Vampirism is a progressive disease that begins with parasitic activity, devolves to predatorial activity and finally erupts into some type of serious perpetration,” she writes. And perpetrate, he did.
After spending over $100,000 on pop religions to get over the effects of her father’s abuse, she is now faced with overcoming the abuse of pop religions. Several exposés are served up. Some are pretty quirky, such as the one about one group where the female leader initiated a 13-year-old boy into manhood during an Ecstasy-fueled sex ritual. Another cool story she tells is about a cult called The Work, where you have to run 60 miles, three times a month; thus the adrenaline addiction.
It’s hard to disagree with the simple, sound advice Raphael gives about scoping out your guru. She should know. She gives point by point details on how to select good workshops, evaluate teachers and how to recognize spiritual vampires. GE

Publisher: Message
Paperback: 256 pages

The Vampire Encyclopedia

Matthew Bunson

“In more than 2,000 entries from Hecate to Hematomania, Lycanthropy to Lugosi, Mirrors to Montenegro, The Vampire Encyclopedia covers in detail such subjects as the history of the vampire legend; methods of finding, identifying, and destroying vampires; the origin and meaning of the accepted ways of resisting vampires; the manners in which in which one can become a vampire; the importance of blood in vampiric lore; the role of the vampire bat; and the psychological-medical views on vampirism.”

Publisher: Crown
Paperback: 303 pages

The Vampire Film: From Nosferatu to Bram Stoker’s Dracula

Alain Silver and James Ursini

A fairly standard film-history book, this is a taxonomy of the various historical incarnations of the vampire legend—a lengthy list. Bram Stoker’s 1897 novel Dracula has inspired more movies than any other book, including the Bible. Not only does the reader meet historic personages such as Vlad the Impaler and Erzsébet Báthory, there are also profiles of such notable movie vampires as Bela Lugosi and Christopher Lee. However, the book doesn’t stop here. All of the genre vampire films are painstakingly examined, including Mexican vampires, lesbian vampires, blaxploitation vampires, extraterrestrial vampires, Asian vampires, and various sons, daughters and diverse in-laws of the Count. The book concludes with a thorough filmography including such rare and hard-to-find inclusions as Sheridan Le Fanu’s lesser-known and non-lesbian vampire story The Inn of The Flying Dragon and Santo en la Venganza de las Mujeres Vampiro. MM/ES

Publisher: Limelight
Paperback: 272 pages

Vampire: The Complete Guide to the World of the Undead

Manuela Dunn Mascetti

“Drawing upon dark myths and legends culled from a variety of cultures and gathered over thousands of years, Vampire is a fascinating compendium of cautionary tales and hearsay, of written chronicles and firsthand encounters with the black angels that stalk the Earth in the dead of night. Mascetti reveals the secret rituals, spells and habits of these fiends; records their physical attributes, including the gruesome transformation from human to supernatural being; and catalogs the obsessions and desires that possess them. In addition, she takes the reader on a spine-chilling journey to the heart of Transylvania in search of Count Dracula himself.” Also known as Vlad the Impaler, he created a “forest of the impaled,” which lined the roads to welcome invading troops and all visitors. “Women, children, young and old men were staked, sharp poles thrust between their buttocks, the body being pulled downwards until the sharp point appeared through the throat or top of head; the wooden pole was then planted in the monstrous forest.” This was also to prevent crime in the area, and it did. DW

Publisher: Viking
Hardback: 200 pages

Vampires, Burial, and Death: Folklore and Reality

Paul Barber

Impales, garlics, beheads and buries the Dracula myth. “Surveys centuries of folklore about vampires and offers the first scientific explanation for the vampire legends. From the shoemaker from Breslau whose ghost terrorized everyone in the city, to the testimony of a doctor who presided over the exhumation and dissection of a graveyard full of Serbian vampires.” Chapters include: “How Revenants Come Into Existence,” “The Appearance of the Vampire,” “Search and Destroy,” “Some Theories of the Vampire,” and “The Body After Death.” GR

Publisher: Yale University
Paperback: 236 pages