Hurwood, Bernhardt J.
Hurwood, Bernhardt J. (1926–1987)(pop culture)
Bernhardt J. Hurwood is a popular author of books on vampires and the supernatural. Born in New York City, he graduated from Northwestern University in 1949, his education having been interrupted by his service in the U.S. Merchant Marine from 1945 to 1947. He held a variety of jobs through the 1950s but emerged in 1962 as a fulltime writer. Hurwood’s first book, Terror by Night, was published in 1963.
While his literary career covered many subjects, two topics dominated his writing—sex and the supernatural. In 1965 he published his first collection of supernatural stories, Monsters Galore, which was followed by Monsters and Nightmares (1967), Vampires, Werewolves and Ghouls (1968), Ghosts, Ghouls and Other Horrors (1971), Haunted Houses (1972), Vampires, Werewolves, and Other Demons (1972), Chilling Ghost Stories (1973), and Eerie Tales of Terror and Dread (1973). Most of these are juvenile volumes, and some, such as Vampires, Werewolves and Other Demons, featured true stories to introduce the younger audience to classic reports of vampirism and lycanthropy. Along the way, he wrote Passport to the Supernatural, a popular book for adults on supernatural themes (i.e., ghosts, vampires, and werewolves) as they have been experienced around the world.
With all of his attention on the supernatural, which included significant emphasis on vampires, Hurwood also wrote four books primarily on vampires. The first, Dracutwig (1969), was a novel written under the pen name Mallory T. Knight. The book concerned the problem of a young girl, who happened to be Dracula’s daughter, with a very thin body similar to then-popular model Twiggy, trying to make it in a high-profile modeling world. Terror by Night (1976), reissued as The Vampire Papers and The Monstrous Undead, written under Hurwood’s real name, dealt with the sexual and psychopathic aspects of both vampirism and lycanthropy. Chapters treated such topics as necrophilia, cannibalism, blood rituals, and premature burial. Published three years later, By Blood Alone (1979) was Hurwood’s best vampire novel. The story concerned conversations between psychiatrist Edgar A. Wallman and his vampire patient Zachary Lucius Sexton. The elderly Sexton was suffering from boredom (the perennial problem of the immortals). He asked Wallman why he could not commit suicide. Wallman approached Sexton as a man suffering from a delusion and thus attempted to cure him of his dysfunctional fantasy rather than dealing with the reality of the situation. The volume was noteworthy for using the sessions between his two characters as a vehicle to convey all the information he had gleaned from his readings about vampires. Finally, in 1981 Hurwood authored Vampires, a light survey of vampire lore covering the origins of vampires, Vlad the Impaler, vampire folklore, and the modern literary and cinema vampire. Hurwood continued to write until shortly before his death from cancer in 1987.