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Halloween: Home

Goblins, Ghosts, and Ghouls. Oh my! Explore the scary side of McGovern Library.

Books that go Bump in the Night

Frightening Films

Researching Halloween

Dracula is a "gothic novel by Bram Stoker, published in 1897, that was the most popular literary work derived from vampire legends and became the basis for an entire genre of literature and film" (Lohnes, 2018). 

A vampire is a "corpse that supposedly returns to life at night to suck people's blood. Stories of similar creatures come from many parts of the world. But most vampire tales originated in Eastern European and Balkan countries, such as Hungary, Romania, Greece, and Albania" (Vampire, 2018). 

References
Lohnes, K. (2018). Dracula. Retrieved October 15, 2020, from https://www.britannica.com/topic/Dracula-novel
Vampire. (2018). Funk & Wagnalls New World Encyclopedia.


Keywords & Subjects

  • Dracula (Stoker, Bram)
  • Dracula, Count (Fictitious character)
  • Gothic fiction
  • Horror tales
  • Stoker, Bram, 1847-1912
  • Vampires
  • Vlad III, Prince of Wallachia

 


Film & Videos

Origins of the Vampire

Producer: A&E; 1993
Description: Dark mysterious creatures, tales of vampires are told in many different cultures around the world. This revealing documentary explores the fear and intrigue that these undead beings stir. Origins of the Vampire also presents the surprising truth about real-life cases through history. From Vlad the Impaler’s 16th-century Transylvania to Bram Stoker’s stories of the 19th century to today’s movies and books, the lore of the vampire always thrills. 

From Dawn til Dracula: The True History of the Vampire

Producer: MVD Entertainment Group; 2019
Description: The story of the emergence of vampirism, from its religious beginnings to its personification under various names—none of them as renowned as that of Dracula. In the course of investigating this power from beyond the grave, we look at an event that captures the headlines in the 1990's, where vampire hunters invaded London's most famous graveyard in an endeavor to lay the undead to rest.

Frankenstein and the Vampyre: A Dark and Stormy Night

Producer: BBC Worldwide Learning; 2015
Description: On 16 June 1816, trapped inside a villa by insatiable thunderstorms erupting across Lake Geneva in Switzerland, Lord Byron challenged his party of young bohemians to a ghost story competition. That night, Byron’s challenge gave birth to Mary Shelley’s Frankenstein, and Polidori’s The Vampyre, the first great vampire novel. Combining drama and a stellar cast of popular writers, including Neil Gaiman and Margaret Atwood, this documentary explores of one of the most significant moments in gothic history and its lasting effect on modern literature.

"A seminal work of Victorian literature, Frankenstein; or, The Modern Prometheus (1818) is considered one of the most influential and popular novels in the English language. Equal parts Gothic romance, science-fiction adventure, and horror story, Frankenstein has spawned numerous stage and screen adaptations, emerging as an icon of modern popular culture" (Lanza, 2020). 

References
Lanza, J. (2020, October 7). Frankenstein. Retrieved October 15, 2020, from https://www.encyclopedia.com/literature-and-arts/performing-arts/film-and-television/frankenstein


Keywords & Subjects

  • Frankenstein, Victor (Fictitious character)
  • Frankenstein's Monster (Fictitious character)
  • Horror
  • Horror fiction
  • Monsters
  • Science fiction
  • Scientists
  • Shelley, Mary Wollstonecraft, 1797-1851

 


Film & Videos

Frankenstein and the Vampyre: A Dark and Stormy Night

Producer: BBC Worldwide Learning; 2015
Description: On 16 June 1816, trapped inside a villa by insatiable thunderstorms erupting across Lake Geneva in Switzerland, Lord Byron challenged his party of young bohemians to a ghost story competition. That night, Byron’s challenge gave birth to Mary Shelley’s Frankenstein, and Polidori’s The Vampyre, the first great vampire novel. Combining drama and a stellar cast of popular writers, including Neil Gaiman and Margaret Atwood, this documentary explores of one of the most significant moments in gothic history and its lasting effect on modern literature.

Frankenstein 

Producer: DCD Rights Limited; 2015
Description: Seeking to better understand Mary Shelley's Frankenstein, author and anatomist Professor Alice Roberts returns to the original manuscript and traces the story of Mary's life. She finds someone concerned with the very act of creation itself, discovers clues of another writer's influence, sees a critique of the Romantic ideal of the solitary creative genius, and examines the influence of Mary's parents. Professor Roberts shows that the ideas informing Frankenstein make the novel much more than a simple horror story. Mary Shelley's account does deal in death, but ultimately it provokes us to ask questions about how we live.

 

Edgar Allan Poe (1809-1849)

"Edgar Allan Poe was an American writer, poet, critic and editor best known for evocative short stories and poems that captured the imagination and interest of readers around the world. His imaginative storytelling and tales of mystery and horror gave birth to the modern detective story" (Edgar Allan Poe, 2014).

References
Edgar Allan Poe. (2014). Retrieved October 16, 2020, from https://www.biography.com/writer/edgar-allan-poe


Notable Works

  • The Raven
  • The Tell-Tale Heart
  • The Cask of Amontillado
  • The Masque of the Read Death
  • The Fall of the House of Usher
  • The Gold Bug

 

Witchcraft is the "exercise or invocation of alleged supernatural powers to control people or events, practices typically involving sorcery or magic. Although defined differently in disparate historical and cultural contexts, witchcraft has often been seen, especially in the West, as the work of crones who meet secretly at night, indulge in cannibalism and orgiastic rites with the Devil, or Satan, and perform black magic. Witchcraft thus defined exists more in the imagination of contemporaries than in any objective reality" (Russell, n.d.). 

 

References
Russell, J. (n.d.). Witchcraft. Retrieved October 16, 2020, from https://www.britannica.com/topic/witchcraft


Keywords & Subjects

  • Magic
  • Occultism
  • Witchcraft
  • Witchcraft history
  • Witchcraft Salem (Mass.) History
  • Witches

 


Witches: Tony Robinson's Gods and Monsters

Producer: Digital Rights Group Limited; 2011
Description: Tony Robinson recreates the evil spells and dark rituals of medieval witchcraft. He learns how to identify, arrest and torture a witch in his quest to discover why, in the 16th and 17th centuries, our ancestors were so terrified of black magic that they executed more than 40,000 supposed witches.

Witch Hunt in Salem

Producer: Albatross World Sales; 2017
Description: In New England in 1692, religious hysteria overcomes the people of the small town of Salem and brings about a ruthless manhunt. At a time when Europe has largely overcome the witch craze, dozens of people are accused of sorcery and executed. To this day, the case of Salem fascinates scholars and artists alike, since the cause of this collective mania remains a mystery. Competing theories name a combination of religious hysteria, aggressively suppressed sexuality, the fear of the “devilish Indians,” common avarice, and the dual worldview of the Puritans. The episode is a watershed for the young colony and one of the darkest chapters in the history of the United States.

Halloween Episodes of Podcasts

Halloween Trivia

  • The first Jack-o-Lanterns were made from turnips.
  • Samhainophobia is the fear of Halloween.
  • The owl is a popular Halloween image. In Medieval Europe, owls were thought to be witches, and to hear an owl's call meant someone was about to die. 
  • Trick-or-Treating evolved from the ancient Celtic tradition of putting out treats and food to placate spirits who roamed the streets at Samhain, a sacred festival that marked the end of the Celtic calendar year. 
  • The blockbuster movie Halloween was filmed in just 21 days. 
  • Irish immigrants helped to popularize the holiday when they fled Ireland in the 1840s during the potato famine. 
  • Halloween is the second largest commercial holiday in the United States (coming in after Christmas). 
  • 2020 will be the first Halloween in 19 years to have a full moon.  The last full moons were in 2001 and 1955.  The next will occur in 2039.
  • "Monster Mash" by Bobby 'Boris' Pickett reached #1 on the Hot 100 Billboard Chart in 1962.

Halloween Activities

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