A fascinating, beautifully illustrated guide to the monsters that are part of our collective psyche, from the host of the hit podcast Lore
They live in shadows – deep in the forest, late in the night, in the dark recesses of our mind. They’re spoken of in stories and superstitions, relics of an unenlightened age, old wives’ tales, passed down through generations. And yet, no matter how wary and jaded we have become, as individuals or as a society, a part of us remains vulnerable to them. Werewolves and wendigos, poltergeists and vampires, angry elves and vengeful spirits.
In this beautifully illustrated volume, the host of the hit podcast Lore serves as a guide on a fascinating journey through the history of these terrifying creatures, and explores not only the legends but what they tell us about ourselves. Aaron Mahnke invites us to the desolate Pine Barrens of New Jersey, where the notorious winged, red-eyed Jersey Devil dwells. Mahnke delves into harrowing accounts of cannibalism-some officially documented, others the stuff of speculation . . . perhaps. He visits the dimly lit rooms where séances take place, the European villages where gremlins make mischief, and Key West, Florida, home of a
haunted doll named Robert.
The monsters of folklore have become not only a part of our language but a part of our collective psyche. Whether these beasts and bogeymen are real or just a reflection of our primal fears, we know, on some level, that not every mystery has been explained, and that the unknown still holds the power to strike fear deep in our hearts and souls.
As Aaron Mahnke reminds us, sometimes the truth is even scarier than the lore…
I’ve always been fascinated by folklore, which is easy for anyone who’s ever seen my bookcases to guess. I love the way that cultures that didn’t have any way of contacting each other in the past still managed come up with similar myths and legends to explain the unexplainable. That kind of coincidence makes you wonder if either we all think exactly the same way or if maybe there’s some truth behind the stories.
This book covers a wide range of myths and tell them in an oddly dad-jokey way, which toes the line between entertaining and falling flat. Thankfully it never crossed the line entirely so it was a fun read. It has some beautiful illustrations that are kind of lost on the Kindle Paperwhite – I’d recommend either a print or colour e-book version so you can get the full impact of the artwork.
The different chapters of this book are dedicated to different areas in folklore, like sea monsters and ‘small people’, but beyond that the structure is pretty free and easy. There are tons of anecdotes and references which have been reassuringly well researched but told in such a way that you can decide for yourself whether or not you believe there’s any supernatural influence.
This is a brilliant coffee table book (which is my code for ‘keep it by the loo’ – fun fact: my best trivia/comics are kept by the toilet and guests always end up in the bathroom for a suspiciously long time), it’s great to read in chapters but not necessarily all in one go.
**Thank you to Netgalley for a complimentary copy in exchange for an honest review**