Hausgeister!: Household Spirits of German Folklore

Hausgeister!: Household Spirits of German Folklore
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Release Date
July 25, 2023
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"Hausgeister! is as creepy as it is beautiful. Informative and fascinating, I thoroughly enjoyed this little gem."  - BROM   

Enter the world of ancient Germany where household spirits once held sway and linger within the tales that we know and love today.  

The household spirits of German folklore inhabit the pages of this book just as they settled the homesteads of ancient Germany. Belief in these creatures was ubiquitous and shaped daily life for the German people for centuries. The legends of these creatures, first shared orally and later written down and compiled, most famously by the Brothers Grimm, has shifted and changed through the tides of time. Now, in the 21st century, a team of three German creators have set themselves the mission of bringing these creatures back from oblivious references and foggy recollections to the international public. Domestic dragons and wild women, Kobolds and Wichtel are portrayed through the lens of narrative and mythological research showing their regional peculiarities within German folktales. Each creature is brought to life as a detailed sculpture in its original size, based on historical descriptions and beautifully photographed in Germany, in the landscape that these creatures might once have walked. A new, spectacular approach that combines both art and cultural studies in an innovative way.

Hausgiester!: Household Spirits of German Folklore is now available as part of Eye of Newt’s specialty series, Wool of Bat, which is focused on the preservation and promotion of folklore and oral history from around the world. Freshly translated into English this book presents an authentic compilation of the knowledge and nature of the mysterious creatures that one (and perhaps still do) roam houses, castles, and farms in German-speaking countries. Original quotes from regional legends and guest contributions from various academic researchers complement this extraordinary compilation, which will delight both lovers of fairy tales and those interested in mythology and cultural history. 

Editor review

1 review
Historical Origins of German Folklore
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Writing Style
Illustrations/Photos (if applicable)
Learning Value
HAUSGEISTER! HOUSEHOLD SPIRITS OF GERMAN FOLKLORE by Florian Schäfer, Janin Pisarek, and Hannah Gritsch, translation by Joanna Scudamore-Trezek, is a non-fiction, historical look at the relationship Germans have had with the supernatural, particularly the unique creatures said to help with chores and tasks in and around the home. HAUSGEISTER introduces the audience to the Kobold, the Wichtel, the Drak, the Holzfräulein, and the Geldmännlein, and explores how belief in them has changed and shifted over the years, indicating both anthropological and political cues about each period.

This book is a thoroughly researched, academic look at mythical beings and legends from the area of Germany, dating back to medieval times. While the style of writing is more scholarly than fantastical, it is interesting to analyze where the foundations of many modern fairy tales have come from, and more importantly, why this thinking may have existed. Going through this book, I constantly found myself imagining how nice it would be to have helpful spirits in the house who cleaned my stove, baked my bread, and brought me money— all for a small exchange of some food and leaving them alone. To be honest, it sounds amazing, and I can relate to wanting it to be true. I also found a lot of parallels in how people in power may have used the threat of angering one of these creatures as a way to keep people “behaving properly,” and the tactics those in power today use in an attempt to control people. From that perspective, HAUSGEISTER is quite fascinating.

Aside from the written text, the visual presentation of this book is absolutely gorgeous. Each spirit has a corresponding sculpture created to showcase what they could have looked like. Once created, these sculptures got photographed, and then those photos got arranged for the book’s pages in a stunning, full-color layout, giving the audience more fuel for our imaginations. The physical book is made with fantastic quality, and it’s therefore, a great gift for someone who may be interested in this subject matter.

Overall, HAUSGEISTER is a great read for anyone who enjoys history, is pursuing or is interested in pursuing similar career paths as the authors, or storytellers who are looking for help in depicting an accurate portrayal of a bygone time.
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