Even in our modern, technologically advanced, supposedly enlightened world, centuries-old folkloric creatures like vampires, werewolves and zombies still scare us. Perhaps the reason is because maybe, just maybe, we don’t know our world as well as we think do and, in some form, such creatures do exist. That’s the question posed by The World of Lore: Monstrous Creatures, the first in a new book series spin-off of the popular Lore podcast which attempts to explore “the dark side of history.”
What writer Aaron Mahnke endeavours to do in this volume is uncover the real stories, plucked from medieval times all the way to this very decade, behind these myths that would make even the most ardent cynic think twice. To Mahnke’s credit, he doesn’t just stop at the famous ones like Vlad the Impaler inspiring Dracula and digs deeper to uncover the truth – in this case, the little-remembered tale of a supposed vampire in the US that evidence suggests author Bram Stoker knew about.
As anyone who has listened to Mahnke’s podcast will know – Lore has nearly six million regular listeners, so that’s a lot of you – the writer’s informative, conversational style perfectly evokes the feeling of being told scary stories while gathered around a campfire. This technique crosses over to the book, too, which makes it a moreish, gripping read. Though you may want to stagger it to give yourself a good freak-out each night before bedtime.
As all the best horror stories understand, most of the time monsters are just representations of our darker impulses and that’s something World of Lore examines too. As Mahnke analyses the folk stories and urban legends, he often finds a psychological reasoning behind the myth – basically, Mahnke is half-psychiatrist, half-Scooby Doo. Because it’s important to remember that the real monsters in this world are our own fears, hatreds or unsavoury desires.
Engrossing and intelligent, Monstrous Creatures is an eerie wander down the dark path (through the creepy dead forest at midnight) of our nightmares and where they come from. With Lore’s increasingly cross-media brand next becoming a chilling TV series on Amazon Prime, now is the time to immerse yourself in the fantastical, but also factual, world of lore.
THE WORLD OF LORE – MONSTROUS CREATURES / AUTHOR: AARON MAHNKE / PUBLISHER: WILDFIRE / RELEASE DATE: OUT NOW