Way back when science was beginning to beat out illogical superstition there was still a man that was well known for his occult knowledge. Montague Summers (1880-1947) was a semi-famous English cleric, Gothic scholar and at the time, the leading figure on the occult.
Even though he spent nearly his whole life studying the supernatural, nowadays he is more respected for his literary accomplishments. He is actually the author of two of the most famous vampire novels ever written: The Vampire, His Kith and Kin (1928) and The Vampire in Europe (1929). These books take a deep look into vampires from a very Catholic point of view. Summers full heartedly believed in vampires and other supernatural beings, but he didn’t love them. He believed them to be evil and wanted them destroyed – he was one of those people that felt that all witches should be burned to death.
There is actually very little known about his early life. We do know that he was ordained a deacon in the Church of England in 1908 and that a year later he began studying for the Roman Catholic priesthood but was never ordained. It is thought that he wasn’t ordained because in his early years he dabbled is necromancy and sorcery. It is possible though that he was ordained in Italy by an obscure sect, but either way he was never recognized by the Church, even though he wore elaborate clerical dress.
Montague Summers didn’t focus on vampires only; he also studied werewolves and witches. Some of his other published works were A History of Witchcraft (1926), which was an introduction to the reissue of The Discovery of Witches by infamous Witchfinder General Matthew Hopkins. In 1934 he published a study on werewolves, but that’s not all, he wrote others as well, all written with a strict Catholic mindset, so much so that they received approval from the Church.
While Summers despised the supernatural, his books do make for interesting reads. He most definitely put a lot of research into each one, some of his books containing extensive footnotes, excerpts and quotes in Greek, Latin, French and German. But the thing that is most interesting is his point of view, reading books written by somebody that believed 100% in evil supernatural creatures is certainly different.