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The Weiser Field Guide to Vampires: Legends, Practices, and Encounters Old and New Paperback – October 1, 2009
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About the Author
Born and raised in the mountains of North Georgia with a southern babtist influence, Dixon sought answers to the constant oddities pervading his youth from both science and metaphysics. To this day, he longs to harmonize the two in a new understanding of the natural world.
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That being said, I had feared that this book was going to be more of the same. It would be a book full of "Vampires are sexy" and "Vampires drink blood because it's primal to our sexual energies". I was pleasantly surprised to find that the author and publisher did not fall into this trap.
The trap they did fall into was as bad if not worse. Their failure can best be described as Unverified Personal Gnosis, sensationalism or shoddy scholarship. Within the first dozen pages, I spotted many mistakes in vampire lore. The biggest (and the one that nearly made me put the book into the round file in disgust) is the author's claim that the Sidhe were a sub group of the Formorians and not the Tuatha de Dannan, and that the Sidhe were really vampires in disguise.
Those of you with knowledge of Celtic lore can already see why I wanted to chuck this book across a pond. For the record, according to the Celtic lore, the Sidhe (elves) are what the Tuatha de Dannan (Children of Dana) became called once humans settled Ireland. The Formorians were not a race of warriors that the Sidhe were part of, the Formorians were giants that the Tuatha de Dannan fought and beat in the Second Battle of Moy Tura.
I always like to give a fair review so I continued to read.
The author spends a lot of time sharing lore on "psychic vampires", those who feed on the energy of others. There is a LOT of information in there about energy feeding and the whys and wherefores of this process. The author emphasizes this information since he doesn't include much information on Sanguinarian Vampires, the blood-sucking type. I surmise that the reason for the lack of information on blood-drinkers is either the author's desire to focus on the energy-eating version or that there is more than enough information already available.
Included in this book are the standard chapters on "how to tell if you are a vampire" and "how to protect yourself from a vampire" and so on. To give the author credit he doesn't reference fictional works about Vampires as factual sources, but there is a lot of mythology and supposition that is cited as fact.
Now, since I've said this book is close to useless, let me share what's good. This book gives a very good break down of "eating" energy from others. I don't feel this can be described as vampirism at all times. Still, it does talk extensively about how those of who can remove energies from others accomplish this feat.
Unfortunately, it does so through the lens of a vampire, meaning that all the sanguinarian lore about being sensitive to the sun and so on is mixed into the actual processes of energy draining.
The author also never goes into how to prevent unconscious draining of energies by others, or how to protect yourself from the same.
To be honest, I would have preferred to see a book dealing with the lore and mythology about vampires, the breakdown of types, what they are reported to be able to do, rather than this.
It might have been better if it had been named the "Weiser Field Guide to Energy Drainers". The title would have been more accurate.
I'm going to give this book 2.5 out of 5 stars. It's okay, it is not about vampires per-se, but it's not a useless book. Take it for what it is worth.
However I quickly found out that this book was NOT what I'd expected. First we're immediately dropped into the implication that vampires are everywhere and in charge of/leading the world around. Okay, I roll my eyes but it's still possible that it'll improve as we get into the encyclopedia segement, right?
Wrong. So we're to get some information on pre-Stoker vampire mythologies... but instead of pulling off the real legends, we get a hodge podge of Hollywoodian mythos - the worst being the implication that 'Sidhe=Vampires'. This is followed by constant references to vampires being tall, cool, beautiful, etc etc etc.
I winced my way through it, then skipped to the modern mythologies segment. To my shock it got worse. I have friends who are members of the vampire community, both blood drinkers and 'energy/psy' based. This is NOTHING like the reality, this is as if someone was trying to make the vampires of Blade what is 'real'. I showed it to three of said friends and they reacted with far more volume than I had.
Sadly I can NOT recommend this book at all. It contains false data, poorly researched data and Hollywood mythos presented as 'old myth realities'.
Overall, I think this is not intended for or to be used as factual information.