In keeping with the spooky season, the Beauregard Parish Library presents for your consideration...

History of Horror

This feature is limited to the month of October with each Thursday's article containing information about the evolution of horror and items that you may be interested in checking out to learn more.

The roots of what is now known as horror can be traced to numerous ancient cultures and their cautionary tales regarding respect for the dead, protection from darkness, weariness of strangers, etc... horror literature, though, can be traced directly back to the 15th century, the time of the Inquisition.

During the Inquisition, the Malleus Maleficarum (Hammer of Witches) was the predominant text used to designate whether someone was a witch and how he/she should be treated. The book was filled with terrible tortures and descriptions of the possible works of witches. It heightened the frenzy of fear and created a climate of suspicion that led to numerous deaths over the course of several hundred years. It also fed the imaginations of horror storytellers and authors; in fact, it continues to do so to this day.

In the late 17th and early 18th century, a group of poets known as the Graveyard Poets emerged with morose works of prose that explored death, tragedy, and other morbid topics. Their works spurred the creation of a particular style known as Gothic.

At the same time, there were reports throughout Eastern Europe of creatures attacking people in the darkest hours of the night. These creatures were supposed to drink blood from their victims, leaving them weak or dead. One of the most popular of these stories was told by Arnold Paole. He was a farmer who lived in a small Austrian village; he claimed to have been bitten by what came to be called a vampire. After his accidental death several months later, several townsfolk died mysterious deaths, leading the other villagers to believe that he was a vampire. In a panic, they exhumed and burned his body along with all others who died in order to prevent future incidents. This was an integral event for the evolution of horror as it spurred the modern fascination with vampires.

You can check out short story collections, e-books, and watch movies related to vampire lore by utilizing your library card. Some recommendations are , Vampires in the Lemon Grove: Storiesby Karen Russell, Draculaby Bram Stoker, The Vampire Book : the Encyclopedia of the Undeadby J. Gordon Melton.

We know that not every horror pick will appeal to every patron, but not to worry! If you need help selecting something, we have online tools like Book Browse and our Online Catalog, or you can ask one of our friendly staff members to help search for you.

Be sure to watch our website next Thursday to learn all about the next period of horror fiction AND the creation of a new genre ***HINT***It's still alllliiiiivvvvveeee!