Tuesday, February 14, 2012

Supernatural Heroes

Supernatural beings have fascinated humans since before the written word. One of the earliest known is from the Assyrians, approximately 4,000 years ago, later adopted by the Babylonians. The Ekimmu is the ghost of an unburied person - and in some cases a spirit who does not receive enough offerings - who dwells underground and emerges at night to feed off the living.

Then there were the Strix, which were chronicled in the Saxon capitulary of Charlemagne in 781. The Strix was a night demon, who happened to be very fond of internal organs. Ovid described them in Fasti.

In the time of Shakespeare (1564-1616) there was a strong belief in the supernatural. Two of his plays, Hamlet and MacBeth, feature the supernatural as an integral part of the plot. One of my favorite lines from Hamlet is, “There are more things in heaven and earth, Horatio, than are dreamt of in your philosophy.”

Croatia was the site of one of the first vampire epidemics of the modern age. In 1672 Giure Grando, from the village of Kringa on the Istrian peninsula, is said to have returned from the grave to terrorize the villagers. He is the first documented classical vampire.

And I would be remiss if I didn’t mention Count Dracula. In 1897 Bram Stoker wrote Dracula, to wide acclaim. Set in Transylvania, the book immortalized the vampire myth. Even the church declared it as one of the best ever romantic novels.

Ooh… a supernatural being and romance. Now we’re talking! Demons, vampires, ghosts, werewolves, wizards, demigods, superheroes – all have been used as heroes by fantasy and paranormal romance authors. Why? Supernatural heroes are strong, dark, tortured, dangerous, suspenseful, and flawed.

A hero that possesses supernatural abilities adds another layer to the odds that lovers must overcome to be together. Plus, as an author it is a heck of a lot of fun to imagine what I would do if I could fly; be immortal; become invisible; or put mere mortals under my spell (which my husband is very glad I can’t do).

So. Seeing that today is Valentine’s Day, what sexy supernatural hero would be your perfect Valentine?