The Terror That Comes in the Night: An Experience-centered Study of Supernatural Assault Traditions

The Terror That Comes in the Night: An Experience-centered Study of Supernatural Assault Traditions

The Terror That Comes in the Night: An Experience-centered Study of Supernatural Assault Traditions

The Terror That Comes in the Night: An Experience-centered Study of Supernatural Assault Traditions

Synopsis

A bold step forward in our understanding of parapsychological phenomena, this is the first scholarly investigation of the "incubus" experience.

Excerpt

The Canadian province of Newfoundland is an island in the North Atlantic off the east coast of Canada. Its 42,734 square miles provide a home for a population of only a little more than 570,000 -- about the same area as Pennsylvania but roughly one-twentieth the population. This sparse population, predominantly of Irish and English extraction, is concentrated on the Avalon Peninsula at the eastern end of the island, where the capital city of St. John's is located. St. John's is the only large city in Newfoundland, with a population of over 100,000. Most of the remaining people live in small villages scattered along the coast. A British colony until 1948, Newfoundland has been isolated from both the Old World and the New by a combination of historical factors, geography, and weather. In recent years that isolation has begun to yield, but culturally the island is still distinct and fascinating.

From 1971 to 1974 I lived and worked in St. John's as a faculty member in the Folklore Department of Memorial University of Newfoundland. This Folklore Department and the associated Folklore and Language Archive are ideally located because the conservative influences of isolation have left intact in Newfoundland elements of traditional culture no longer functioning in most of the English-speaking world. My work at the university included archival duties, and I was pleased to find that the rich and extensive collections included great quantities of folk belief material, my main interest. Through the archive and field work I found that beliefs and accounts of . . .

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