Whether it’s an Anne Rice book or the novels and movies in the Twilight series, vampires are enjoying a surge of interest. Despite the sensational cover, Laycock takes an academic approach to studying the idea of living on blood. It turns out there are communities of people around the globe who self-identify as vampires.
From 1733, when the first scholarly research on human vampires was done in Germany, the author moves through history identifying the many places their presence has popped up. Are they crazy? Do they actually believe they are a differently evolved species? As one description of the book puts it, “Is it a religion? A fantasy? A medical condition? Or a little bit of each?”
Laycock attempts to put the phenomenon into an historical and sociological perspective, uncovering a host of people and communities that give a glimpse into a world outside normal experiences and int the process writing a very readable book. Perhaps the most intriguing sentence of the book’s preface comes when the author says he has driven around Cleveland with members of the Atlanta Vampire Alliance “looking for a good Irish pub.”