“Predator of Souls: Journey in the Realm of the Vampires” by Alessandro Norsa

"Predator of Souls: Journey in the Realm of the Vampires" by Alessandro Norsa

"Alessandro Norsa, psychologist and anthropologist, makes a journey to Transylvania, to discover the myths and legends of this mysterious land from which Bram Stoker took a cue for his celebrated novel Dracula. As well as a European panorama of the mythological figures similar to vampires, the anthropologist reports on interviews with some farm workers and local historians who he recorded directly in this land. It certainly seems extraordinary the presence, still completely preserved in the population, of ancient exorcist practices to drive out the demonic figures from the villages and communities.

Who of us has not heard talk about Dracula and vampires? These names are so well-known that they have become common cultural heritage. For three hundred years, in fact, at least once every century the world is completely prey to a vampire fashion: in the first half of the 18th century it was the time of the so-called “vampire plague”, towards the end of the 19th century and the start of the twentieth century Bram Stoker’s novel Dracula interest was re-awakened and still today (between the festival of Halloween and the television saga Twilight) there is a new wave of interest. Books already written in this regard follow roughly the same script with very few variations.

Notwithstanding that initial mention is made of it, the sense of this book, as already fully explored by other authors, is not that of dwelling on the famous Stoker book nor to go deeply into the horror film-making. We seek instead to understand the origin of the story between the lines of the ancient myths, above all those that come from Romania and the Balkans because it is from there that the image of the vampire that we all have in mind has been reinforced. To enter further into the argument, we have started the research with reading old Romanian texts on ethnography and mythology, to then go directly to Transylvania among the villages and the people in search of evidence on the traces of Dracula. It was therefore all a voyage into the past to understand both where the appearance and characteristics of the vampire which we know about were born and to experience the place of its origin."