[page 7] Editor’s Note and Introduction
As our two special issues published during 2015 showed, “the supernatural” is both a broad field and a field generating tremendous scholarly interest, and this issue will, we hope, show the directions in which studies of the supernatural can be taken. Beginning with a foray into nineteenth century folklore and ending up riding shotgun in a ’67 Impala, the seven articles that make up this issue pursue exciting inquiries into the fields of literature, media, religion, and gender studies.
Simon Young’s article on a nearly-forgotten nineteenth century poet argues convincingly that Thomas Shaw’s work in Shantooe Jest is a rich, as-yet untapped resource for Northern English folkloricists. Erica McCrystal and Osmond Chien-ming Chang examine the particular Gothic affects produced by two seminal Gothic novels, Matthew Lewis’s The Monk and Daphne DuMaurier’s Rebecca respectively. In the first of three television articles, Heather Ostman considers the Oxford police force’s Sergeant Hathaway and his conflicted relationships to religion and police work. The final three articles do some very exciting work with critical theory. James Keller introduces an exciting new arena of performance studies, that of Sasquatch impersonation, in a piece that considers both Jack Link’s jerky commercials and Judith Butler. Anastassiya Andrianova’s article reads the small-screen version of Teen Wolf through the lens of animal studies to reach conclusions about lycanthropy and liminality, and to close out the articles, Victoria Farmer looks at the impact that fans of the television show Supernatural have had on the development of a female character and the disturbing significance of this from the perspective of gender studies.
The reviews that close out this issue will be our final batch of print reviews (we will be moving reviews to our website in an effort to make them timely and available to a wider range of readers), but what a way to say good-bye! The section opens with a review-essay of the Paranormal Activity franchise and found-footage phenomenon, and the reviews that follow reflect Supernatural Studies’ commitment to traditional, “high-brow” academia, popular culture, and every possible intersection of the two. The editorial board is delighted to present this issue of our journal, and look forward to the new age of the supernatural!
Leah Richards, Ph.D.