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The President's Vampire: Strange-but-True Tales of the United States of America Paperback – November 1, 2005

4.3 out of 5 stars 22 customer reviews

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Editorial Reviews

From the Publisher

Bob Ricakard of "Fortean Times" probably knows the work of Robert Schneck better than anyone else. And what does he say about Schneck's work? "Robert Schneck is one of the best of a new breed of investigators into the relatively unknown byways of our cultural history. Because he is thoroughly familiar with his subject, writes with deceptive ease and a clarity that both amuses and educates, and because he never forgets that at the heart of even the strangest or most frightening of mysteries there are real human beings with a story to tell, I recommend him as a trusted guide."

About the Author

Robert Damon Schneck is a freelance writer and contributor to "Fortean Times," "Fate," and other magazines. Friends describe him as a "loveable, nocturnal, monomaniac."
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Product Details

  • Paperback: 232 pages
  • Publisher: Anomalist Books (November 1, 2005)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1933665009
  • ISBN-13: 978-1933665009
  • Product Dimensions: 5.5 x 0.5 x 8.5 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 11.2 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.3 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (22 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #1,245,919 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

By Linda S. Godfrey on December 8, 2005
Format: Paperback
The President's Vampire is unusual in that it succeeds in lining up many strange, seemingly unrelated happenings and making them all seem like part of some unguessed cosmic stage play. Marauding phantoms of every size and shade, a 19th Century vampire, an electric "God machine," these and more parade through Robert Schneck's colorful verbiage as vividly as images from an antique stereoscope. By the final chapter, which is guaranteed to make anyone think twice about Ouija Boards, readers will be convinced there is more this U.S. of A. than could ever be imagined in the mind of mortal man. Schneck does not force his own conclusions on these mysteries but provides something much more valuable...thorough investigations garnered from many different angles and sources. A must-read for those brave enough to stand at the corner of Reason and Enigma and see what may tiptoe down the crosswalk. - Linda S. Godfrey, author "The Beast of Bray Road, Tailing Wisconsin's Werewolf," co-author "Weird Wisconsin, Your Travel Guide to Wisconsin's Local Legends and Best Kept Secrets."
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Format: Paperback
The President's Vampire is one of the sort of outstanding Fortean collections that only comes out every quarter century or so: original, penetrating, and I dare say, standard- setting. For while Schneck in his introduction describes his guilty affection for the "gee-whiz"/ "Strange but true" tomes penned by such as Frank Edwards, that is not at all what this book is about. Instead, the author takes on 8 chapter length treatments of obscure American tales and curiosities, lavishing each with miles of rigorous research, commentary and comparison, leaving no stone unturned to bring together an almost flawlessly complete series of case studies, each of which is put into as much context as the sheer uncertainty and intermediateness of the world will allow.

All of this is maintained and carried throughout by a clean, insightful and witty narrative voice, and prose so smooth and engaging that each page seems to draw you in deeper, not only into the book, but into the bizarre world of Fortean phenomena itself, finally leaving you excited, entertained, occasionally frightened, and perhaps even wondering about more aspects of history and reality than you were before.

I heartily recommend this tome to everyone, from the seasoned historical researcher, the paranormal buff, or simply anyone who likes a good scary story.
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Format: Paperback
I am not a fast reader, so I was really suprised that I finished reading President's Vampire within 12 hours! It is not that I read so fast, but PV is simply one of those books you can't put down once you start reading. The writer seems to have done a real thorough research of every story in the book. The one thing I particularly like about this author is the way he tells a simple but fascinating story without letting his ego getting in the way. There aren't many writers like him nowdays. I would highly recommend this book to anyone who wants a thrilling reading experience. Two thumbs up!
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With the current proliferation of books about weird events, "The President's Vampire" is a diamond among briquettes. Robert Damon Schneck has done forteans and fans of the fantastic a tremendous service by picking little-known subjects and applying a scholar's research skills and a highly developed storyteller's art. The choice of stories in this collection, the degree of historical documentation, and a magnificent sense of wonder make this book a true original - possibly a classic. I'm eager to see more by Mr. Schneck. --Joseph A. Citro, author of Passing Strange.
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Format: Paperback
In past readings, I have often found that many books and anthologies on unexplained phenomena and bizarre events are either sensationalized accounts with vague descriptions and no concrete details, or dry and inspirational regurgitation of other source materials with more footnotes than original material. So it was with great pleasure that I discovered Robert Damon Schneck's book The President's Vampire.

Schneck's approach is far from exploitational. His attention to detail and devotion to searching out the truth behind the sensational and unverified leaves no doubt to the author's curiosity or credibility. Exhaustive and well-documented historical research is devoted to every subject, even when possibly debunking an even more remarkable aspect to a story. But neither is his writing boring or overly-clinical. Schneck's academic yet personal approach to his subject matter does not hide an almost uncontainable passion for the unusual and unexplained phenomena he writes about, and more importantly, it does not detract from how fun and compelling his writing is.

Most chilling and disturbing is the final chapter, Bridge to Body Island, an examination of a friend's recollected close call with a supernatural bogeyman. Many authors would present the tale on its own with perhaps a few embellishments for dramatic effect. Schneck, however, tells the story (which is genuinely creepy and unsettling) and then proceeds to examine the possible explanations for the events that took place, including research into possible real-world connections. His historical and scholarly comparisons and explanations are as captivating as the story itself, and do nothing to prevent readers who have used a Ouija board in the past from losing sleep.
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