Tuesday, April 3, 2012

Werewolves: The Occult Truth by Konstantinos

Published September 8, 2010.

How does one become—or kill—a werewolf? Where do our modern shapeshifting stories come from? Are werewolves real? The truth is much stranger than fiction.

Werewolves investigates the centuries-old myths and compelling evidence surrounding these enigmatic beasts of literary fame. Explore four types of werewolves—involuntary, voluntary, other-dimensional beings, and astral—plus Native American beliefs, ancient legends from cultures worldwide, true stories of sightings, and scientific theories. From shamanistic practices and curses to drug-induced hallucinations and serial-killer werewolves, this book will tantalize readers. Also includes authentic rituals for werewolf transformation! (goodreads.com)

I reviewed another of Konstaninos's books, VAMPIRES: THE OCCULT TRUTH, a couple years ago and I just re-read it to see what I felt of that title against what I feel about WEREWOLVES.

The tone is the same, which I really liked. Konstantinos approaches the subject as a skeptic and isn't ashamed about it. He brushes aside the more frivolous, Hollywood aspects of werewolf lore and delves pretty deeply the hardcore legends from a bunch of different cultures, including European, Native American and some Asian cultures. It was interesting reading about werewolf aspects that I didn't know much, if anything at all, about before. He has a definite sway as to which werewolf mythos he believes in which is fine. In reality it's the one that makes the most sense but it's a point that he brings home, however subtly, from the beginning.

Konstantinos's voice didn't have any of that dryness I mentioned in the VAMPIRES book, another good thing. I think WEREWOLVES was more succinct and to the point than its predecessor and didn't spend as much time dwelling on the technical. That might also be because there wasn't too much technical to delve into since werewolves are even more mythical than vampires.

As with VAMPIRES, WEREWOLVES does contain letters from his readers detailing their "experiences" either with or as werewolves but they're pretty much as clear as footage of Bigfoot or an acid trip. They really only lent further credit to Konstantinos's theory that werewolf experiences are more psychological than anything.

What really bothered me about WEREWOLVES, though, and it doesn't appear that I had this issue with VAMPIRES, was Konstantinos's constant name-dropping of his own books. That got really grating. It felt like it was at least once a chapter he was mentioning another of his titles, VAMPIRES especially. It just seemed . . . tacky. And a cheap way to advertise and try to hook people into his other books. I've only read the one and I did like it but I was put off by WEREWOLVES by his advertising.

Overall another good reference book for people on the more serious track of werewolf myths and legends. There's nothing TWILIGHT-ish about this one; it's just a journey into myth history. But it's enlightening all the same. As someone that really isn't into werewolves all that much, it was interesting reading about all the different types and their histories. It all goes so far beyond what Hollywood has taken upon itself to show us that it's barely recognizable. But just beware of his name-dropping. It happened enough that it really started to grate on me.

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