Bob Curran, Ph.D. (Researcher, Folklore Expert)
3.14 – Aliens & the Undead (10.26.11)
6.15 – Faces of the Gods (7.11.14)
Dr. Bob Curran was born and raised in a remote mountain area of County Down in Northern Ireland. Leaving school at 14, he worked in a number of jobs including lorry driver, professional musician, journalist, and even as a scripter of comics. He travelled extensively in many countries before returning home to settle down and work in the Civil Service. Later, he went to University where he obtained degrees in education, history and educational psychology, whereupon graduating as a teacher.
Although he still teaches, much of his work is now regarding community development within Northern Ireland, in this capacity, he acts as a consultant to a number of cultural bodies within the province. He he deals with cross-border matters with the Irish Republic, working for the Office of the First and Deputy First Minister of Northern Ireland.
Sitting on a number of cultural communities, Curran has also worked directly as a governmental advisor and as a consultant to several bodies which have been set up by other governments. He also acts as a consultant to a number of tourism companies, giving lectures and conducting tours on many topics of local and national Irish history.
As a writer, Curran has been extremely prolific and has approximately 38 books to his name mainly on the subjects of history and culture. In addition, he has a number of works published in other languages including Japanese, Italian, French, Portuguese (Brazil), Spanish (Spain and Mexico), German, Urdu and Latvian. He has also served as a contributor and and consultant to various radio and television programs both for private companies and national networks.
Married and with a young family, Curran continues to live in Northern Ireland on picturesque North Derry coast, not far from the celebrated Giant’s Causeway. 
Werewolves are more popular than ever–thanks largely to recent film hits–and this highly entertaining new title tells readers everything they’ve ever wanted to know about those terrifying preternatural members of the canis lupus family. Newcomers to werewolf lore will be surprised to learn that there are many different werewolf varieties. Alphas are the leaders, and Betas are unwilling but deadly members of a werewolf pack. But there are also Benandanti, holy men who change into wolves in order to do battle with witches . . . and Loup-garoux, werewolves who can change from man to wolf even during daylight hours. The more ordinary werewolves achieve their terrible transformations from man to beast only by the light of the Moon. Author Robert Curran also notes that Christopher, the mysterious saint venerated in the Roman Catholic Church, has many werewolf characteristics. In addition, this book tells readers where werewolves live, describes their telltale traits, such as hairy palms, advises on how to avoid becoming a werewolf, and gives tips on what werewolf victims should do when they are attacked. More than 100 moody and atmospheric color illustrations accompany this intensely readable text.
What lurks out there in the fog?
What was that eerie sound in the dead of night?
What flitted by at the end of the street, just beyond the farthest street lamp?
From earliest times, tales of the restless dead and their fellow travelers have terrified mankind. Whether around a remote campfire or in the middle of a bustling city, the unquiet spirits and attendant creatures that have tormented humanity since the prehistoric darkness haven’t gone away – they still have the power to strike fear in our hearts.
Encyclopedia of the Undead traces those shadowy entities – vampires, werewolves, ghouls and monsters – that lurk just outside the range of human vision and inhabit our most frightening tales. Drawing on a wide range of beliefs and literature, it traces these horrors from their earliest recorded inceptions and charts their impact upon the human psyche. In this book, history and terror mix to create the things that lurk in the darkest corners of our minds.
You’ll find detailed descriptions of terrors from all over the world – from the mist-shrouded mountains of Eastern Europe to the sweltering jungles of the Caribbean islands, from the dark, stone-lined tombs of the uncoffined dead beneath the remote New England hills to the dark magics that lurk beneath the thriving, colorful surface of a city like New Orleans. In addition to the more conventional creatures, Encyclopedia of the Undead also details some of the more obscure Things that gnaw at the edges of men’s minds – Incubi and Succubi, the Mara, and the dark legends that have influenced writers from Sheridan Le Fanu to H.P. Lovecraft.
This is a book for all those who are interested in the darker side of the human mind – the side that examines and even embraces those beliefs and imaginings that form the basis of our most archetypical fears. This is the book for those brave enough to plumb the depths of our worst nightmares!
“Vampire!” The very word conjures up visions of ruined castles, of enigmatic, pale-skinned noblemen shrouded in dark cloaks, of slumbering beauties being bloodily ravished by supernatural, nocturnal creatures. But just how accurate is that picture? How much do we really know about these mysterious entities? Surprisingly, perhaps, almost every culture can boast of its own vampire beings, few of which correspond to the stock Hollywood image-some are not even human in form, some do not drink blood, some appear in daylight.
Are you ready for such horrors as the Penangal, the screaming blood-soaked lead that drifts through the Malayan jungle seeking victims; the Jaracacca, the Brazilian stalker that hides in the clothes of its victims to drink their blood or bodily fluids; or the Aswang, the scaly demon of the Philippines, who lies among the leafy roofs of huts and drinks through its tongue? And how do we dispose of vampires? Is the simple stake through the heart–much beloved of Hollywood directors–really enough, or is there something more? And does the sight of the crucifix repel all vampires–what if the vampire is Jewish (a dibbyuk)? Vampires is a unique, lavishly illustrated work that explores the rich diversity of vampire belief and lore, ranging from countries as diverse as Japan, Sweden and Ireland, looking at their historical origins, and setting them in their cultural context.
We all know about fairies–they’re usually helpful, ethereal creatures in children’s stories and Walt Disney films, flitting about doing good, right?
In ancient times, the concept of fairies was rather different. They were the often-dangerous embodiment of the land, dark and unpredictable spirits that watched Humanity with a jaundiced and hostile eye. And, according to conventional folk wisdom, they were to be feared rather than trusted. Indeed, in their original form, many of our “fairy tales” read more like late-night horror stories.
Dr. Bob Curran investigates the folkloric roots of the fairy kind, tracing their origins from the sprites and maenads of Classical times to the sanitized versions of the English Victorians. Among other aspects, he examines the connections in the Christian mind between the fairy kind and demons; the links between fairies and ancient, pagan gods; and the often-strained relations between fairies and humans across the ages.
This is not a book for those who believe that fairies are friendly, kindly creatures. With the growing and anticipated interest in fairies–particularly given the forthcoming Disney film Wings, starring Miley Cyrus–Dark Fairies is a timely and valuable new title.
There are places that turn up in literature or in film–mystical and legendary places whose names may be familiar but about which we know little. We nod knowingly at the reference, but are often left wondering about places such as Atlantis, the lost land overwhelmed by the sea, or El Dorado, the fabulous city that vanished somewhere in the South American jungles. Other names are more evocative–Mount Olympus, the Garden of Eden, the mystic Isle of Avalon, and Davy Jones’ Locker.
But did such places actually exist and if so, where were they, and what really happened? What are the traditions and legends associated with them? In the fascinating new book, Lost Lands, Forgotten Realms, historian Dr. Bob Curran sets out to find the answers by journeying to the far-flung corners of the world and to the outer reaches of human imagination.
Long before Harry Potter became a household name, real-life wizards were making their mark in history. It’s widely believed that many are still performing their magic today. Robert Curran’s intriguing new book summarizes the known facts about wizards, sorcerers, and the various practitioners of the magic arts, while also describing the arcane societies devoted to sorcery. Among the most famous of all magicians was Merlin, advisor to England’s legendary King Arthur. Others described in this absorbing volume include Nicholas Flamel, a fifteenth-century alchemist who discovered the “philosopher’s stone,” the Templars, founded in the twelfth century by knights of the First Crusade, and the Illuminati of Bavaria, an eighteenth-century occult society dedicated to taking control of the world by combining science with magic. Readers who are interested in experimenting with magic as well as all who are fascinated by the history of sorcerers and wizardry will find hours of entertaining and infor
Fans of classic horror films and gothic tales will want to add The Zombie Handbook to their personal library. Combining dramatic narrative with spooky color illustrations, author Robert Curran explains the difference between the zombies of Caribbean folklore and the sinister walking dead mummies from ancient Egypt who are said to rise from their tombs and seek revenge when their burial sites are plundered. Zombies also appear in ancient Celtic folklore, and this book tells of a magical cauldron forged from the helmet of a fallen Welsh god. In ancient Britain it was said that a dead body placed in that cauldron would rise again as a living person. For readers who believe that zombies really do walk the earth at night, here are tips on ways to identify a zombie and survive his attack. Here too are reports that claim to tell of true-life encounters between living men and zombies. This entertaining book combines thrills and chills with touches of macabre humor to offer hours of reading.
They sleep in coffins. They cast no shadows and show no reflection in mirrors. They drink blood–and as every reader will certainly recognize by now, they are Vampires! Horror movie fans and dedicated lovers of gothic tales will want a copy of this spine-chilling volume. An opening section presents a general description of vampires, offers tips to readers on how to spot them–and most important, tells how to avoid them. But to become a true vampire expert, readers must go on to the book’s second section, which defines eight different vampire types. For instance, there is the Sampiro Vampire of Albania, who wears a corpse’s shroud and totters around on high heels. And from Scandinavia we encounter Draugr Vampires, who guard stockpiles of gold in their stinking nests until nightfall, when they roam the earth in search of human prey. The book’s lengthy final section is a compilation of spooky vampire tales collected from around the world. The terror-inducing text is complemented with more than 100 creepy illustrations in full color–though mostly, in appropriately dark and shadowy hues.
These stories of the amazing variety of hauntings throughout Ireland range from wraith-like ghosts to the full-bodied type, the dangerous and damaging, and the merely frightening. Notorious buildings are described, such as Leap Castle, where psychics have been overwhelmed. There are also spirits who warn of impending death or try to avenge long-forgotten wrongdoing.
Almost since the dawn of time, the image of the Green Man–the carven enigmatic head surrounded by leaves and foliage–has both intrigued and mystified viewers and folklorists alike. Appearing in churches, taverns, and even on stately buildings, the carving seems shrouded in supernatural obscurity. Is it merely a fertility symbol, or is it something much deeper, which calls for a response from us all? Though it seems a predominantly Celtic icon, does the concept of the Green Man also appear in other places and in other cultures? What is its relevance for the world today? In an absorbing new book, Dr. Bob Curran traces the many strands that make up this enigmatic image. Tracing its origins from prehistoric times, he explores its significance in the medieval world and discusses its development in the modern world. He also investigates the image’s psychological appeal, which has allowed it to continue down through the ages, and, pulling from a variety of sources, its impact upon other cultures in various parts of the world. From heroic archetypes such as Robin Hood to Demigods such as Herne the Hunter; from the King of the Woods to the Jack in the Green, Walking With the Green Man examines the interconnection of man and Nature throughout history. Whether as a man amongst the trees, a man of the trees, or a symbol of Nature used to express secrets and solidarity, the Green Man’s visage is traced throughout lands and cultures. Walking With the Green Man will appeal to all those who are interested in the image of the Green Man as an example of symbolic art, as well as to those who are interested in folklore and the interplay between folklore and culture. It is a fascinating study, which not only examines the history of the icon but also its development within human perception.
In the myths, legends, and folklore of many peoples, the returning, physical dead play a significant role, whether they are the zombies of Haiti or the draugr of Scandinavia. But what are the origins of an actual bodily return from the grave? Does it come from something deep within our psyche, or is there some truth to it?
In Zombies, Bob Curran explores how some of these beliefs may have arisen and the truths that lay behind them, examining myths from all around the world and from ancient times including Sumerian, Babylonian, Egyptian, and Celtic. Curran traces the evolution of belief in the walking cadaver from its early inception in religious ideology to the “Resurrections” and cataleptics of 18th century Europe, from prehistoric tale to Arthurian romance. Zombies even examines the notion of the “living dead” in the world today–entities such as the “living mummies” of Japan.
Zombies is a unique book, the only one to systematically trace the development of a cultural idea of physical resurrection and explore the myths that have grown around it, including the miracles of Old Testament prophets. It will interest those enticed by the return of the corporeal dead and also those curious as to how such an idea sits within the historical context.
Life exists all around us, in forms that we can readily and easily identify. But what if there were, lurking in the shadows, other forms of life that are not so familiar, creatures created not by Nature, but by Man? We know their names–Frankenstein, the Golem, the homunculi of the ancient alchemists; they exist in our stories and myths.
But just what are these mysterious creatures, and do they actually have some basis in reality?
In his fascinating and wide-ranging new book, Dr Bob Curran explores man-made monsters and the truth behind the myths.
You’ll learn fascinating details about:
- The 19th century scientist who tried to bring the dead back to life – the model for Mary Shelley’s Frankenstein
- The Man of Clay who lumbered through the streets of medieval Prague at the command of early rabbis
- Tales of robots that may have existed in the ancient world and threatened Greek and Roman warriors.
- Cloning and the artificial creation of life, and what strange and mysterious areas they may be heading into.
Man-Made Monsters is essential reading for anyone who wants to explore artificial beings and peer into the dark recesses of the human mind…where they may indeed be hiding.
This book includes tales of the heroes and gods from the Great Myth Cycles as well as tales of witches, ghosts, and fairies. It is an examination and celebration of the tradition of storytelling. This is the first anthology to seek out and record the traditions from many parts of the Western Celtic world–Ireland, Cornwall, Scotland, Wales, and Brittany–from as early as the 17th century.
Arguably no American writer has had more of an impact on the modern horror scene than Howard Phillips Lovecraft, the man who created the Cthulhu Mythos, with its strange gods, eerie places, and forbidden books. But what sort of a man was Lovecraft, how did he create such a terrible universe, and where did his inspiration come from? Was it, as some have argued, based on esoteric knowledge forgotten or even denied to all sane people?
In A Haunted Mind, Dr. Bob Curran explores what motivated Lovecraft–his personal life is just as strange as some of his creations–and drove him to create his terrible cosmos. Using both folklore and history, Dr Curran investigates a wide variety of Lovecraftian mysteries.
A word of warning: you may never look at Lovecraft–or the world–in exactly the same way again!
Vampires are much more complex creatures than Buffy The Vampire Slayer, Twilight, True Blood, or scores of other movies and television shows would have you believe. Even in America.
American vampire lore has its roots in the beliefs and fears of the diverse peoples and nationalities that make up our country, and reflects the rich tapestry of their varied perspectives. The vampires that lurk in the American darkness come in a variety of shapes and sizes and can produce some surprising results. Vampires in North Carolina are vastly different from those in South Carolina, and even more different from those in New York State. Moreover, not all of them are human in form, and they can’t necessarily be warded off by the sight of a crucifix or a bulb of garlic.
Dr. Bob Curran visits the Louisiana bayous, the back streets of New York City, the hills of Tennessee, the Sierras of California, the deserts of Arizona, and many more locations in a bid to track down the vampire creatures that lurk there. Join him if you dare! This is not Hollywood’s version of the vampire–these entities are real!
Gives a unique insight into the fascinating overlap between witch belief and the vast range of fairy lore that held sway for many centuries throughout Ireland; chronicling extraordinary lives and court trials.
There are some places in the world where humans quite simply should not go. Not just haunted places, but sites where ancient forces still hold sway. We can recognize such locations by the responses they evoke within us–that feeling we call “the creeps.”
But just where are these places, and why do they terrify us?
In The World’s Creepiest Places, Dr. Curran visits some of these sites, looking at their history and traditions and exploring the creepy feeling they evoke in people who have been there. His travels range widely–from his native Ireland and through the empty deserts of the Middle East, to the misty hills of Tibet and back through Europe to America. He’s not only looking for ghosts, but also for sinister people, vampires, the living dead, doorways to other worlds–even venturing close to the Gates of Hell itself!
This is not just a ghostly travel book. It’s for those who want to explore the weird, out-of-the-way locations of our planet and test the boundaries of the reality many of us take for granted.
We dare you to take the journey with us!