I absolutely love writing about all things pertaining to vampires, but my favorite posts to write are the ones on vampire folklore and history, which means I have written A LOT of folklore articles. One question I get asked on a regular basis is “What are your sources?!” That question comes from either the curious history geeks like me or from folks that assume I’m making stories up, so I decided that instead of answering all of you one by one, I’d reveal my sources in one big post. Hurray!
Here’s a look at most of the books I use to do my research. I rarely use the internet for historical posts, I simply don’t trust the web as much as I trust a book. A book written by someone with a PhD trumps a wiki page written by some random person. Yeah, I’m picky. Haha.
(Click the titles to view on Amazon)
The Vampire Encyclopedia by Matthew Bunson
This is hands down my all time favorite vampire encyclopedia. It has a little bit of everything and has a LOT of information that I have yet to find in any other vampire book. It’s glorious! I also love that it has lists and charts on an assortment of things (lists of vampire poems, movies, ways to become a vampire… etc.). Most of the info I put in the Leech Lover posts come from this book, since no other book contains random tiny bits of vampire facts.
The Vampire Book: The Encyclopedia of the Undead by J. Gordon Melton
This is the most popular vampire encyclopedia out there, you can find it in nearly every bookstore. However, I rarely use. I have used it for research, but not as often as other books since it covers more pop culture than anything else. It does have a lot of info on folklore, but it simply doesn’t cover topics in depth. I’ll look up a particular vampire species and find a small paragraph on it, even though other books have entire chapters on it. So while this is a pretty good collection of vampire info, it doesn’t have enough of what I need, so I don’t use it too often.
Vampires: A Field Guide To The Creatures That Stalk The Night by Bob Curran
This is the only book I have that covers history and folklore only. I love it! It is so meticulously well researched that it’s a must have for any history geek. The great thing about it covering only folklore is that the author can go in depth with every topic, so there’s a lot of information in this book. My only issues with it is that it’s a little unorganized and the author occasionally goes of topic, but other than that it’s a fantastic book on vampire history throughout the world. I highly recommend it to anyone who loves vampire history.
The Complete Idiot’s Guide to Vampires by Jay Stevenson
Another book I rarely use for history articles. It’s full of amazing facts on vampires, which is wonderful, but little of the info is in depth (the folklore info that is). I have used it a few times as inspiration, but that’s about it. It’ll mention something awesome, but doesn’t go into great detail, so I have to use one of my other books to get the rest of the facts in order to write about it. So in combination with other books, this one can be useful. I will say that this is a great book for beginners. It mostly covers the basics, but it also covers a wide variety of fascinating topics that many other books don’t touch on. I really enjoyed this one, but I don’t use it often for writing.
Vampires by Joules Taylor
A beautiful book full of pretty colored pictures! Haha. It has more than just that, it also contains a wide variety of information. Like the book above, it doesn’t go in depth into certain topics, so I have to turn to my other books to get the full story. Now, that’s not the whole book – some pages cover a particular topic in depth, while other pages just mention something in one paragraph. It’s a mixed bag, but a mixed bag of awesomeness. I really love this book and have used it many times. About half of it is on history and the other half is on movies and such. It’s not a complete guide to vampires, but it does contain some great info.
So those are most of the books I use for my research. Bob Curran’s book and Matthew Bunson’s book are the two I use the most because they are the most complete. Most of the others just cover the cooler facts, but these two touch on it all, making them the best for folklore junkies.