Tuesday, 28 February 2012

A bibliographical haunting

Readers sometimes point me to articles or web sites, but unfortunately it often takes me some time to write about it here. So, Roberto Labanti recently mentioned a bibliography of books and papers on vampirism that is now available online. The bibliography, Wissenschaftliche Vampir-Literatur: Eine bibliographische Heimsuchung by Gerd H. Hövelmann, was originally published in a journal called Anomalistik in 2007, so obviously it is not up to date, still it is relatively comprenhensive, so I am sure that most will find something useful.

I find the bibliograhpy of articles and papers the most interesting and useful, although some entries in my opinion are placed under a wrong category. Consequently, even if you are not particularly interested in one or more of the categories, I would suggest that you take a look anyway.

There are, as one might expect, a number of curiosities, like e.g. a paper on a Norwegian medical experiment, Does garlic protect against vampires? An experimental study with this abstract:

'Vampires are feared everywhere, but the Balkan region has been especially haunted. Garlic has been regarded as an effective prophylactic against vampires. We wanted to explore this alleged effect experimentally. Owing to the lack of vampires, we used leeches instead. In strictly standardized research surroundings, the leeches were to attach themselves to either a hand smeared with garlic or to a clean hand. The garlic-smeared hand was preferred in two out of three cases (95% confidence interval 50.4% to 80.4%). When they preferred the garlic the leeches used only 14.9 seconds to attach themselves, compared with 44.9 seconds when going to the non-garlic hand (p < 0.05). The traditional belief that garlic has prophylactic properties is probably wrong. The reverse may in fact be true. This study indicates that garlic possibly attracts vampires. Therefore to avoid a Balkan-like development in Norway, restrictions on the use of garlic should be considered.'

As for Anomalistik, according to the web site, 'the Gesellschaft für Anomalistik (Society for Anomalistics) is recognised as a charitable organisation for the advancement of science by the German state. Its roughly 130 members, with professional backgrounds in the natural and social sciences as well as in the humanities, advocate a critical but open-minded approach to controversial scientific claims and exceptional human experiences.

Based on multidisciplinary empirical, conceptual and historical research, the Society seeks to promote and cultivate an informed and respectful dialogue between proponents and opponents of controversial scientific claims and seemingly incompatible epistemic positions. The Society's only corporate view is a careful scepticism – meaning 'investigation' rather than 'dogmatic denial' in the original Greek – regarding unconventional claims and scientific orthodoxy alike.'


Anthony Hogg said...

A great article, indeed, except for a coupla 'errors' I pointed out to Mr. Hövelmann a while ago: Cryptozoology Research (pp. 234-5) is a fictional publication. They were derived from here: http://www.vampyreverse.com/facts/pathology.shtml

Anthony Hogg said...

Oh, and Annals of Haematological Diseases (p. 232), too. Same source as above.

Niels K. Petersen said...

Obviously, you have studied the bibliography more carefully than I did, Anthony. Well, Hövelmann isn't the first compiler to include material he hasn't seen or verified the existence of :-)

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