Werewolf Wednesday: The Dark Side of Halloween by Pastor David L. Brown (1998)

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For some time now, this series has been focusing on early modern attitudes to lycanthropy, going back to a time when scholars had serious-minded theological debates over whether or not it was possible for humans to become wolves. I thought it might be interesting to take a look at present-day Christian fundamentalist circles, where demonic powers are taken as objective fact and old disputes about lycanthropy are still sometimes reignited.

A case in point is The Dark Side of Halloween by Pastor David L. Brown of Logos Christian Consortium. According to the Logos site, Brown published an early version of this text in booklet form as Halloween: Behind the Mask back in 1984; somewhere down the line, he also seems to have expanded it into a full book. My post is based on the online version of the text, which consists of a few articles.

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Werewolf History, Latest Updates


Time for another updated round-up of all the posts in my Werewolf Wednesday series. From fifth-century theology to 1970s exploitation cinema, it’s all here for your reading pleasure…


Scholarship, folklore and purportedly true stories:


Werewolf Wednesday: More from Johann Weyer (1564)

I’ve already done some posts here and here about chapters in Johann Weyer’s De praestigiis daemonum dealing with lycanthropy; for the sake of completion, I’m also looking at chapter 18, which has a few more comments on the topic.

Weyer begins the chapter by citing a report by Guilielmus Brabantinus (I believe that this is William of Moerbeke). This author claimed to have been visited by a man who believed himself to have become a wolf, wandering through the wilderness and pursuing children in the woods. Weyer then brings up a few symptoms of lycanthropy (including excessive thirst).

Next come the obligatory classical sources. Weyer recaps the myth of Lycaon, before citing Avicenna’s assertion that an excess of black bile can lead people to believe themselves to have transformed into animals. He then mentions that Pliny and somebody named Edouardus (I’m unable to identify the latter author) wrote of a substance that, when eaten, can cause a person to believe that they have transformed into a bear; apparently, this fate befell a Spanish nobleman who ended up travelling through deserts and mountains in such a state.

The chapter concludes with a different sort of transformation, as Weyer cites anecdotes from Pliny the Elder concerning people inexplicably changing from female to male.

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Werewolf Wednesday: Augustine of Hippo’s The City of God (Fifth Century)

In last week’s post I talked about Johann Weyer’s sixteenth-century writing on werewolves. Weyer drew upon a text published more than a thousand years beforehand: Augustine of Hippo’s fifth-century work De civitate Dei contra paganos (On the City of God Against the Pagans). I decided to take a closer look at the volume in question — specifically, book 18 of the Marcus Dods translation, which contains the relevant passages about lycanthropy and other human-animal transformations.

The book offers a version of history that mixes together elements of the Old Testament and classical mythology. In the latter case, the members of the Grecio-Roman pantheon are either secularised altogether or brought in line with Christian theology. For example, Augustine portrays Atlas a great astrologer whose knowledge of the heavens was mythologised as an ability to hold up the heavens. Meanwhile, he appears to have believed that Neptune may well have some power over the waves — albeit by summoning demons.

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Werewolf Wednesday: Johann Weyer on Werewolves and Illusions (1564)

In an earlier post I wrote about the 1564 edition of Johann Weyer’s De praestigiis daemonum, which devotes its thirteenth chapter to the topic of werewolves. What I hadn’t found out at the time was that the subject comes up again in the book’s seventeenth and eighteenth chapters. In this post I’ll look at chapter seventeen; the next chapter can be saved for another week.

Weyer shows his classical scholarship for this chapter.  He provides a quotation from Boethius’ Consolation of Philosophy in which a character describes himself turning into a wolf with the aid of herbs, and discusses such incidents in ancient Greek literature as Circe turning men into pigs and Lucius becoming a donkey.

Drawing upon De spiritu et anima, a medieval treatise often misattributed to  Augustine of Hippo, Weyer argues that while demonic powers can sometimes give make it appear as though men are turning into animals, this is merely illusion. Weyer also brings up incidents described by Augustine of Hippo (the actual Augustine of Hippo this time) in his volume The City of God, in which a man named Praestantius claimed that his father dreamt of becoming a horse and other beasts of burden. Augustine concluded that such events were brought about by illusion, not physical transformation, and Weyer concurs.

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2022 Splatterpunk Awards: Wrapping Up the Reviews


It took me longer than I’d hoped, but I’ve finally completed reviewing each and every one of the 2022 Splatterpunk Award finalists. Phew! Congratulations to each of them, plus Clive Barker (who won the 2022 J.F. Gonzalez Lifetime Achievement Award).

Here are the reviews — all 29,000 words’ worth of them. Perhaps take a look while I’m getting started on the 2023 finalists…

Best Novel

The Night Stockers by Kristopher Triana & Ryan Harding (winner)
Don’t Go To Wheelchair Camp by David Irons
Trench Mouth by Christine Morgan
The Maddening by Carver Pike
The Devoured and the Dead by Kristopher Rufty
Left to You by Daniel J. Volpe

Best Novella

Things Have Gotten Worse Since We Last Spoke by Eric LaRocca (winner)
Midnight in the City of the Carrion Kid by James G. Carlson
Only The Stains Remain by Ross Jeffery
A Roll of the Dice by Matt Shaw
Sacrament by Steve Stred
Talia by Daniel J. Volpe

Best Short Story

“Next Best Baker” by Jeff Strand (winner)
“The Martini Club” by Aron Beauregard
“Fireflies and Apple Pies” by Thomas R. Clark
“Sun Poison” by Stephen Kozeniewski
“Start Today” by Justin Lutz
“Abigail” by Daemon Manx

Best Collection

Beyond Reform by Jon Athan, Aron Beauregard & Jasper Bark (winner)
Black Tongue and Other Anomalies, Richard Beauchamp
Sinister Mix by Brian Bowyer
Twisted: Tainted Tales by Janine Pipe
May Cause Ocular Bleeding by Nikolas P. Robinson

Best Anthology

Body Shocks, ed. Ellen Datlow (joint winner)
Baker’s Dozen, ed. Candace Nola (joint winner)
Between a Spider’s Eyes, ed. River Dixon
Bludgeon Tools, ed. K. Trap Jones
Gorefest, ed. K. Trap Jones
Battered, Broken Bodies, ed. Matt Shaw

The Night Stockers by Kristopher Triana and Ryan Harding (2022 Splatterpunk Awards)


The year is 1992, and two grocery stores are locked in a rivalry for customers’ wallets. In one corner is Freshway; this is a perfectly normal shop, albeit one with considerable intrigue going on between the staff. Kyle is dating co-worker Mila, but as the latter is a chaste Christian, he is also holding an affair with “teen slut cashier” Stephanie. Elderly Ruby also has her eyes on Stephanie, but for different reasons: she wants to act as a mother figure to the young girl. Running the scene is store manager Todd Brown, who has a Napoleon complex and enjoys pushing around his employees, particularly the douchy janitor Fenton; he contrasts with Booker, the easy-going assistant manager.

Even at their most colourful, however, the staff of Freshway can hardly compare to their rivals at Devil’s Food. Here, we are introduced to a staff that includes Gore, collector of real death videos; deli cutter Eve, who models herself ipon Elizabeth Bathory; Marcel, a meat-cutter with a vampire aesthetic; and Laila, a giggling girl with a fondness for entrails. Calling the shots are metalhead store manager Desmond Payne and the gaunt regional manager, Alaric:

Alaric looked like most anyone in a regional managerial position–palllid skin, withering expression, appropriately soulless eyes. The black cowl might be uncharacteristic, but appropriate attire for him, and strangely formal with the nametag pinned to his breast.

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