by Leah Richards and John R. Ziegler
[page 7] Welcome to our slightly delayed Spring/Summer issue of Supernatural Studies! This year has demonstrated that the supernatural has nothing on real life and maybe—just maybe—humans are the real monsters! We are getting back on schedule as we settle into the new normal at the Supernatural Studies office in New York, which is now a subtropical climate zone. We’ll be putting together our fall issue while sipping umbrella drinks in October and repeating to ourselves that everything is perfectly normal.
We have a great issue here, one that we hope you will agree was worth the wait. The issue opens with Jericho Williams’s analysis of the haunting presence of childhood memories of hunting as well as the supernatural abilities granted to the animals involved in Faulkner’s The Bear and Rawls’s Where the Red Fern Grows. This article led your editors to remember fondly our own childhoods, and how brutal our media was, a reflection that Mark Fryers’s consideration of 1970s British children’s horror and fantasy television drives home. American readers, have you seen their PSAs? They make “this is your brain on drugs” look like Paw Patrol. Hell, they make The Omen look like Paw Patrol.
This is followed by Alexander Hay’s discussion of the ways in which hauntings are covered by tabloids, regional periodicals, and other news media outlets in the UK; the connections that Hay makes between these recent narra-tives and current socioeconomic conditions is intriguing and reminds us that, no matter what Joe Bob Briggs has to say, horror is political, even when it’s real life. The final article in the issue extends this tension between the real and the imagined to fiction: Dennis Wilson Wise interrogates the ambiguity that surrounds “the rats in the walls” in H.P. Lovecraft’s short story of the same name to complicate the question of madness vs. monstrosity. [page 8]
This is a year of ambiguous reality, and this issue features the 2020 Supernatural Studies Conference Not-Proceedings, prepared in collaboration with the online indie horror zine What Sleeps Beneath to fill the void left by our canceled spring conference. It would have been a great conference, and we are delighted to present a representative sampling of the conference presentations, many of them part of a larger project or sustained inquiry, in the form of abstracts and full papers. Visit What Sleeps Beneath to read interviews with some of the presenters. The issue closes out with a selection of reviews of recently published books of interest to our readers.
Because we keep telling ourselves that there will be a future, we have a special issue as well as another exciting collaboration on the horizon. Our Spring 2021 issue will be on the topic of disease, as metaphor, as monster, and as everything in between; check our website and our brand new Twitter account, @Superna81210483, for the call for papers, other upcoming special topics, and generally creepy content.
Finally, in June of 2021, the guest editors of issues 5.2 (Twin Peaks) and 2.1 (Television and the Supernatural), Franck Boulègue and Marisa Hayes, will be hosting an online conference on Twin Peaks: The Return, and Supernatural Studies is delighted to join Boulègue, Hayes, their partner institutions, and scholars and members of the Twin Peaks community for what promises to be a fantastic look into the strangest, most magical 18-hour movie in recent memory.
As always, stay spooky, friends, and keep your masks on!
Leah Richards, Ph.D.
John R. Ziegler, Ph.D.
MLA citation (print):
Richards, Leah, and John R. Ziegler. "Editors' Note." Supernatural Studies: An Interdisciplinary Journal of Art, Media, and Culture, vol. 6, no. 2, 2020, pp. 7-8.