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TRUE ENCOUNTERS IN MODERN AMERICA Author Linda S. Godfrey is considered by most


in the cryptozoo/paranormal realm as the au- thority on the phenomenon of “real-life were- wolves,” and rightly so. She has penned five books on the subject, including the classic The Beast of Bray Road (2003). Her latest, Real Wolf- men, is the ultimate examination of the phe- nomenon, offering a well-documented, thought-provoking and altogether eerie trip through the bizarre accounts of werewolf-like creatures that have been reported all over the US. There is, of course, no tangible proof that

these hybrid man-beasts actually exist, but re- gardless, Real Wolfmen does show that a strange trend is indeed taking place. Over the years, hundreds of reports have surfaced in which common folks claim to have come face- to-muzzle with some kind of hair-covered, wolf/dog creature that has the ability to walk upright on two legs. Often seen lurking along deserted roads at night, gathering by wooded waterways or frequenting paranormal “hot spots” such as cemeteries, sacred grounds or military zones, these extraordinary canids are seemingly cor- poreal entities that defy rational expla- nation. As Godfrey points out, some could be attributed to hoaxes, misidenti- fied animals, or – depending on one’s beliefs – the super- natural, but consid- ering the vast number of credible reports with strikingly similar details, it does beg the question: are these monsters real? For those unfamiliar with Godfrey’s other

works – or the man-wolf phenomenon in gen- eral – Real Wolfmen is the perfect induction into the pack. It offers the most comprehensive study of the phenomenon, from the frightening possibilities, to the wild theories, to the other- worldly explanations. And, of course, there are plenty of terrifying anecdotes from actual wit-

RM 84 T H E N I N T H C I R C L E

ness reports, many of which God- frey has personally investigated. It’s evident throughout the book

that the author is not only pas- sionate, but level-headed about the subject. She is well balanced when it comes to belief versus scepticism and never comes across as trying to “sell” the idea. In keeping with her professional journalism background, Godfrey merely presents the facts and theories, allowing the reader to ultimately decide what might lie behind the creepy encounters. You may not come away convinced that real wolfmen exist, but it’s certainly an entertaining notion to think that they might.


INTERNATIONAL RECEPTION, 1800-2000 Remember Edgar Allan Poe’s famous line as-


serting that terror “is not of Germany, but of the soul”? There was a time in the English-speaking world when the phrase “a German tale” was synonymous with what is now called Gothic literature. Popular Revenants is the first English-language book dedicated to the German Gothic and its influence on Anglo-American horror in over 30 years. What’s more, the anthology covers two full centuries and is therefore not comparable with any other publication in English. Mostly made up of papers given at a con- ference on German Gothic in Dublin, its contributors are all leading experts in Eng- lish and German literature. That said, the writing, while definitely scholarly, is easily understandable for any reader who passed

high-school English. Barry Murnane’s introductory essay defines

the book’s subject: novels about chivalry, ban- ditry and “shuddering,” which emerged in the 1780s from the poetical models based on sen- timentalism and focused on outsiders and ex- ceptional states. Just as with English Gothic, the German version also had its roots in the re- newed interest in the art, architecture and liter- ature of the Middle Ages. This essay helps

provide the cultural context for the specific themes of German Gothic, such as necromancy and especially secret societies, which were not so common in the English variants. Other notable essays deal

with the granddaddy of German Gothic, Friedrich Schiller’s The Ghost-Seer, which concerns man’s limitations of body, mind and emotions; Anglo-German cultural transfer in the transla- tions of fiction by 18th-century

author Benedikte Naubert; Sir Walter Scott’s “benignly censorious embrace” of the supernat- ural, especially in E. T. A. Hoffmann’s works; hypnotists, automatons and Doppelgängers in German expressionist cinema (which formed the alphabet of horror’s cinematic language); the Pied Piper theme in its several literary versions; and an essay on golems and ghosts in Prague, as a site of Gothic modernism. A few essays deal with topics only marginally

relevant for Gothic, and readers might want to learn more about 20th-century genre production in Germany, including some barely mentioned classics (such as the literary output of H.H. Ewers), but overall this remains an indispensa- ble, highly relevant guide that clearly shows the strong influence of the Germanic strain of horror on the genre we know today.



RAISING HELL: Given that these days nearly every movie is

just a click away, the elusiveness of Ken Rus- sell’s The Devils makes it an ongoing curiosity for horror fans. Toronto-based critic and culture writer Richard Crouse (disclosure: we are pro- fessional acquaintances) was especially enam- oured of the film’s mystery, which he has greatly elucidated with the publication of Raising Hell: Ken Russell and the Unmaking of The Devils. A brief précis of The Devils controversy: re-

leased in 1971 and set in 17th-century France, it tells the historically accurate story of Father Grandier (Oliver Reed), a charismatic priest blamed for the apparent possession of an order

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