What Big Eyes You Have: Werewolves, Magical Creatures Part One

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For those of you who love a good scare and those of you who can’t quite shake that feeling that those creatures of myth and folklore are simply imaginary, I offer you my Magical Creatures series. Currently available exclusively as e-books, these are found volumes of forgotten lore (many a quaint and curious tale!) and cover the realm of such creepy and cool beings as goblins, werewolves, vampires, banshees, mermaids, and phookas, to name but a few.

If the response is positive on these little e-beasts, I’ll be expanding them into book form. And so let me begin my series of Magical Creature posts with one of my super-faves. The werewolf!

It seems that unlike the mindless zombie or the ancient mummy, or event the licentious vampire, we don’t fear the werewolf so much as feel sorry for the werewolf. It is a wild beast caught in a trap. We worry for him, we wish it could be another way. We don’t want to become werewolves the way we want super powers or immortality. We want the werewolf to be free of the curse that binds him. Free to be either beast or man, not tragically stuck being both.

Here are a few interesting facts about werewolves you may not know:

  • Werewolves are not always mean: In medieval romances, such as Guillaume de Palerme, the werewolf is not the terrifying creature of more modern tales, but rather benign, appearing more like a victim and less like the enemy. (True also of Harold in Eugene Field’s story).
  • Werewolves are not always male: The 1588 story from the mountains of Auvergne tells the tale of a she-wolf whose paw was cut off by a hunter. When he opened the bag where he had placed his prized paw he discovered instead a woman’s hand. It didn’t take long to figure out who was missing the hand (a nobleman’s wife) and she was burnt at the stake. That’s one way to end a marriage…
  • Werewolves are not always wolves: Were-creatures can be in the form of many beasts. In variations of lore from around the world we find examples of were-cats, were-sharks, were-bears, and even a were-dolphin.
  • Werewolves are not always fictional: There is a rare but very real disease now called clinical lycanthropy. Those diagnosed believe themselves to able to transform into a non-human animal, specifically a wolf.

For those of you who aren’t such fans of the werewolf you will want to avoid the darkest of woods at night, especially any woods that looks much like the one described above—full of ravens, vampires, and serpents—and you should never, ever go out on a full moon. You may fare well, as the heroine of our story does, but to hedge your bets you might want to keep a little satchel with you full of silver bullets (you’ll need a gun to fire them) on hand, or a silver dagger if you can’t get a gun. If you are a dead-mark a bow and arrow might do, but it is very risky. Oh, and make sure to stock up on wolfsbane. It will ward off wolves but it can also be an antidote to wolf bite, if taken within a few hours of contact.

Want more? Check out these e-books in my series on Werewolves:

The Werewolf by Varla Ventura and Eugene Field  (Amazon) (B&N)

Natural Causes of Lycanthropy by Varla Ventura and Sabine-Baring Gould (Amazon) (B&N)

The Werewolf of the North by Varla Ventura and Sabine Baring-Gould (Amazon) (B&N)

Another Feast for the Freaks

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As we all roll out of bed on this post-Thanksgiving Monday morning, possibly still clutching our guts in regret of the pie-we-ate-that-lasted-too-long, we can have a nice snack from an entirely different table. Dive into the juicy tidbits on this wonderful site The Magical Buffet. Lots of fun things, but of course you know I am shamelessly linking directly to my interview with the founder Rebecca Elson.

http://themagicalbuffet.com/blog1/2011/11/27/10-questions-with-varla-ventura/

Varla

Magical Creatures

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Today marks the launching of a new venture, so get out those lady luck candles and send your good vibes to Varla! Weiser Books has created a series of electronic books and yours truly is the official curator of the Magical Creatures and the Paranormal Parlor series. I’ve been combing dusty stacks and virtual archives to find lost and forgotten freakery for you lovers of the creepy, the curious, and the so old-its-new modern era of digital books. Each story or book features an intro by me. Not only are the stories interesting but the “back-stories” and author’s bios lend an element of appeal that can’t be planned! Think Lord Byron’s physician and a children’s author does horror, for starters…

Magical Creatures includes fairies, goblins, pookas, mermaids, mummies, vampires, werewolves, ghosts, devils, elves, and more! Basically all of the creatures you might find if you were to open up the cobwebby closet of my mind. I am completely and utterly thrilled and honored to be working on such an exciting project. It truly is a Brave New World!!

These books are available today on Kindle and will be available this week on other digital readers. I’ll send links when those go live!

Mummies R Us

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I was reading in the paper today about the climber from Maine who went missing in Canada twenty-one years ago.William Holland had been hiking on Snow Dome Mountain in the Canadian Rockies when he slipped and fell. His body was found this month by a pair of hikers. The body had been preserved in glacial ice and had a mummy like appearance when found.

This got me to thinking about Mummies and this amazing town in Mexico called Guanajuato. This city is famous for many things, among them a cemetery where every one in one hundred bodies become naturally mummified! This was proven thanks to a  late 1800’s law that required grave taxes be paid. Poor families that could not make the payments had to suffer their loved ones to be unearthed. It was discovered that many of them were mummified, and they are on display today in a museum there. Mummy souvenirs including little candied mummies are available for purchase. (MMMM! Sugar mummies!!!) Ray Bradbury wrote a book called Mummies of Guanajuato, and included the town and other villages in Mexico in several of his fictional short stories.