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Influential master of horror fiction H.P. Lovecraft wrote that the oldest emotion of humankind is fear and the strongest of those is fear of the unknown. Chronicled here are our collective nightmares, as mirrored in multicultural and multigenerational stories in print, on television, and in pop culture. More than just the fodder of B movies, they are a glimpse into our psyche. Horror genre scholar Joshi here focuses on the icons themselves, 24 in total, as opposed to supernatural literature, an angle that makes this set unique. Witches, ghouls, sea creatures, and aliens are dissected and addressed as both historical and pop figures. Each icon definition focuses on central features of the myth, such as the requirement that zombies must lack free will. The set covers traditional horror symbols like vampires and mummies but also tackles more amorphous terrors like "urban horror" and "the curse." Authoritative entries are accompanied by bibliographies and further readings and interspersed with relevant chronologies and black-and-white illustrations.