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Nietzsche said, “Beware that when you fight monsters, you do not become a monster yourself.” Professor David D. Gilmore keeps this in mind (it is one of his favorite aphorisms, after all) in his own personal quest each night to slay the monsters, evil spirits and hidden devils that may be lurking under his bed (although he has never actually found any – yet). With such classic monster favorites as Dracula, Frankenstein, the Alien from the Ridley Scott movies and the American Indian cannibal ogre Windigo , it is no wonder that he may be wary of things that go bump in the night. Then again, we all have our own personal “monsters,” don’t we?

The Audio Interview

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Prof. Gilmore’s obsession with monsters, demons and other supernatural apparitions and “atrocious entities” began in his childhood and eventually led to a long term research project on the subject. Published in 2003 under the titles Monsters: Evil Beings, Mythical Beasts and All Manner of Imaginary Terrors (University of Pennsylvania Press), this project has lessened his so-called “infantile anxieties” about spooky things lurking, waiting, ready to pounce. However, his scientific interest in the occult and other things that go bump in the night do still hold his interest. He also holds close his love for scary movies and monster literature.

The Midwest Book Review had this to say of Gilmore’s pursuit, Monsters: Evil Beings, Mythical Beasts, And All Manner Of Imaginary Terrors by David D. Gilmore (Professor of Anthropology, State University of New York, Stony Brook), is a thoughtful, in-depth, scholarly study of the fantastic and hideous creatures abounding in myth, legend, and folklore around the world.”

Born in New York City in 1943, David D. Gilmore has a long and impressive list of professional accomplishments. He has resided in New York for most of his life, but has periodically taken up residence in Spain and other places where he pursued his anthropological fieldwork. He received his bachelor’s in English Literature in 1965 from Colombia College in New York and completed his doctorate in Anthropology in 1975 from the University of Pennsylvania. Since then he has been the Professor of Cultural Anthropology at Stony Brook University on Long Island in New York State.

Professor Gilmore’s academic career has held a variety of pursuits, an expert on the social organization of rural Andalusia (southern Spain) and published a great many books and articles on subjects that include social class, politics and class conflict. These mind-numbing studies eventually gave way to more stimulating research on matters like folk culture and male-female relations, most notably the powerful version of machismo found in Andalusia (which led to his best selling book, “Manhood in the Making” (1990, Yale University Press).

Professor Gilmore’s professional service includes such positions as a member at large with the Society for the Anthropology of Europe, Founding Member and Treasurer for the Society for the Anthropology of Europe (SAE), a unit of the American Anthropological Association and has held various editorial positions. Additionally, he has conducted various research and fieldwork projects.

We all have our monsters and what scares one person may not scare another. David D. Gilmore explores those monsters, reminds other would-be monster slayers to take care through the words of Nietzsche and still enjoys a good scare. The monsters are out there, lurking, waiting, so don’t forget to check under the bed before you retire for the night.

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