ICSM Lure of the Mysterious, Strange, and Deeply Weird


IC Library Print & Media Resources

Selected Subject Searches

Note:  The following Subject searchs are comprehensive, but by no means exhaustive. Whatever your particular topic, you should find a foothold here.  But there may be other Subject Headings available for your specific topic.

Supernatural in literature
Occultism in literature

Ghosts in literature
Ghosts in motion pictures
Spirit possession
Evil eye

Witchcraft in literature
Witchcraft--New England
Wizards in literature

Satanism in literature
Demoniac possession
Angels in art
Angels in literature
Vampires in literature
Vampire films--History and criticism
Werewolves in literature
Werewolves on television
Loch Ness monster
Animals, Mythical
Magic, Ancient
Magic in literature

Alchemy in literature

Women shamans
Vision quests
Spiritual healing
Healing--Religious aspects

Dreams in literature
Dreams--Psychological aspects
Hallucinations and illusions
Hallucinogenic drugs and religious experience

Androgyny (Psychology)
Mental healing

Death--Cross-cultural studies
Death in art
Death in literature
Death--Psychological aspects
Near-death experiences
Death, Apparent

Dead [corpses, cadavers]
Body snatching--Great Britain
Grave Robbing--England
Burial, Premature (nothing in IC collection but might work in a database)
Tombs (by country)

Black death
Extinction (Biology)
End of the world
End of the universe

Future life
Immortality (Philosophy)


Horror in literature
Horror tales--History and criticism
Horror tales, American--History and criticism
Horror tales, English--History and criticism
Horror tales, English--History and criticism--Theory, etc
Horror films--History and criticism
Horror television programs--History and criticism
Horror in art
Gothic revival (Art)  
Gothic revival (Literature)  (literary movement that began in late 18th/early 19th century)
Gothic revival (Literature)--Great Britain
Gothic revival (Literature)--United States  (includes "southern gothic")
Ghost stories, American--History and criticism
Ghost stories, English--History and criticism

Detective and mystery stories, American--History and criticism
Detective and mystery stories, English--History and criticism
Detective and mystery stories--History and criticism
Detective and mystery films--History and criticism
Detective and mystery films--United States--History and criticism
Detective and mystery television programs--United States--History and criticism
Crime on television

Science fiction--History and criticism Grotesque
Grotesque in literature
Surrealism (Literature)
Surrealism in motion pictures
Sublime, The

Note: For indivdual artists--in any medium--you will often find the most useful information by running a Subject search on the name, last name first, followed by the subheading "criticism and interpretation."  Also note that motion pictures, directors, and television shows may work as Subject headings.  If there is no Subject heading for a person or film or television show, try a Keyword search on the name or title, putting it in quotation marks.

Bosch, Hieronymus, d. 1516--Criticism and interpretation
Shelley, Mary Wollstonecraft, 1797-1851--Criticism and interpretation
Shelley, Mary Wollstonecraft, 1797-1851. Frankenstein
Poe, Edgar Allan, 1809-1849--Criticism and interpretation
Psycho (Motion picture)
Hitchcock, Alfred, 1899-1980--Criticism and interpretation
Twilight zone (Television program : 1959-1964)
Serling, Rod, 1924-1975

IC Library Databases (Articles)

Recommended Databases

General OneFile :
     The most user-friendly of our comprehensive databases, covering almost any topic from a wide range of disciplinary angles and offering lots of full text.  Use the default Subject search to find the best subject heading for your topic (and when you find a good one be sure to look at the "Related Subjects" to see if there's something even better).  Subject headings include Ghosts, Serial Murders, Vampires, Science Fiction, Horror Movies, Science Fiction Television Programs, and Zombies.
     If there is a good subject heading for your topic here, open the "Subdivisions" link below it.  Most General OneFile subject searches produce very large retrievals and the "subdivisions" help you narrow your search to a particular aspect: "Economic aspects," "Ethical aspects," "Forecasts and Trends," "History," "Media Coverage," "Psychological aspects," and "Social aspects," to name only a few.
     Criticism of particular movies and  tv shows is best retrieved using the “Advanced Search” option. For movies and tv shows, enter the medium first as a Subject search in the first slot: “Movies,” “Television programs.”  In the next slot enter the particular title—in quotation marks—as a Keyword search. After looking at these results go back and change the Keyword search to an “Entire Document” search. This will increase your retrieval set, although the new articles may not discuss the particular film, show, or game at length.      
     User Advisory: When first viewing your retrievals in General OneFile, note that you are seeing onlythe "Magazines" (popular articles) and must click on  "Academic Journals" (scholarly articles) or "News" (newspaper articles) at the left.

Academic Search Premier &  SocINDEX with Full Text :
     Note the "Subject Terms" index linked from above the search slots.  If you search on "Occultism," for example, you'll find that it's available here for a Subject search, and if you double click this or any Subject term it will provide a list of related Subjects: Alchemy, Spiritualism, Satanism, Witchcraft, Haunted Places, Crystal Skulls, etc.

ProQuest Research Library
     Another comprehensive database with substantial full text.  Use the "Thesaurus" (above the search slots) to preview what Subject Headings are available.  Subect searching can be a more efficient way to search than with only Keywords, since it guarantees that the articles retrieved actually be about the Subject--not just use a particular word. Among the Subjects available here are Monsters, Supernatural, Paranormal Phenomena, etc.
     For articles on a work of fiction, try a Keyword search on the title--in quotation marks--alone or in combination with the author's name.  Criticism of particular movies and tv shows is best retrieved by entering the appropriate medium as a Subject search--“Motion pictures” or “Television programs”--and then adding the title of the film, program, or game in the “Citation and abstract” field (if the title is more than one word put it in quotation marks).  
     If you're not getting enough hits, try changing the search field of the title to “Document text.” In both cases, look at the articles in “Scholarly Journals” (under "Source Type" on the right of results lists) for the most substantial criticism.
     User Advisory: ProQuest is fussy about entering Subject searches in the designated search slot. If your subject is a person, enter the name--last name first--in the "Person" slot; if a named group of any kind--Microsoft, the Catholic Church, Radiohead, the New York Mets--enter it in "Co/Org"; if a place enter it in "Location." 
     You'll find a great deal of information on folklore and anthropology, as well as literary criticism and a fair amount of film and television criticism in this 100% full-text database of scholarly literature.  JSTOR offers only Keyword search of its full text, so put full names and Keyword phrases in quotation marks. And be sure to check the "Article" limit below the search slots to weed out book reviews.
     User Advisory: most JSTOR full text begins at least 2-3 years before the present--so don't look for articles on the "latest" book, movie, or  tv show.  On the other hand, JSTOR's archives extend back into the 19th century, so you can find book and film criticism from the first half of the twentieth century.

Project Muse ,
     Although a smaller database, Project Muse complements JSTOR.  LIke JSTOR it provides 100% full text of mostly scholarly journals, but its coverage is entirely current--mainly spanning the last 10-15 years.  Muse offers a basic keyword search (be sure to put the titles of literary works in quotation marks).  Once you've retrieved a set of articles you can sort them into broad categories using the Research Area options on the left.  
    Note: Checking the "Articles" box under Content Type before you run a search will eliminate reviews of books about your topic and leave you with just the articles on your topic.

MLA International Bibliography
      MLAIB provides the most complete and fully indexed coverage of articles and books on modern literatures, linguistics, folklore, rhetoric, and composition from 1925 to the present. There is ample full text provided by ProQuest, as well as links to full-text articles in JSTOR and Project Muse. Full text from other IC databases is also readily available via the "GetIt" links below article citations.
     Because books, book chapters/essays, and dissertations will usually not be available full text, you may wish to limit your search to "Journal article" under "Source type."
     "Author's Work" and "Author as Subject" will be especially helpful search fields at finding literary criticism. And for additional search field options either click on "Show more fields," or, for the complete list, open the drop-down menus to the right of the "Anywhere" default for the top three rows of search slots. This list includes both "Literary Influence"--who influenced a particular author you have entered--and "Literary Source"--who was influenced by that particular author.
     If you set up a free "My Research" account with Proquest (top right), you can save all the articles you check, all the searches you want to remember, and set up e-mail or RSS notification for any new articles that match your search terms.

PsycINFO :  
     The American Psychological Association use their own Subject vocabulary (called "Descriptors"), so a visit to the "Thesaurus" below the search slots is a good idea. If you find an article on exactly what you want, be sure to check the assigned "Descriptors" on the right of the citation for more ideas about useful search terms.  Note: "Parapyschology" works well here.
     PsycINFO deals only with scholarly literature, much of it assuming a graduate-level understanding of the discipline.  But among these you may find interesting, accessible articles on your topic.  
     User Advisory: If what you're searching for are "journal articles" in "English," it's a good idea to check those boxes below the search slots ("journal articles" is a menu choice under "Document Type"). 

ScienceDirect :
     Because it’s a large database with a great deal of full text, the absence of Subject searching means that your Keyword searches will often retrieve large sets of articles, many of which mention but don’t discuss your search term(s). One way around this is to limit your initial search to the “Abstract Title Keyword” field. Once you have found an article that sounds on-target, click the “Related Articles” link beneath the citation. This will open a range of articles on the same topic.  Note: "Paranormal" works well here.
     Note: Because this is Keyword searching, you will sometimes need to use truncation.  The truncation symbol here is the exclamation point: !  So, for example, "time travel!" will retrieve time travel, time traveling, and time travelers.
     Also note: The default date range is 10 years, but you can choose any date range you wish.
     Also also note: it's a good idea to uncheck the "All books" box below the search slots, if you are in fact looking for articles.

Where's the Full Text for this Article??

     Few databases offer 100% full text.  Most retrieve a mix of full text articles and article "citations"--article title, author(s), publication info, and usually an "abstract" or one-prargraph summary of the content.  When a citation makes you want the full text, look below it for this icon: 
     Clicking "GETIT" checks (almost all) the IC Library's other databases to see if any offers the full text of the article--or if the Library has a print subscription to the journal in which the article appeared. 
  • "GETIT" will usually find the full text in another database and open it in a new window.  
  • If none of our databases can access the full text but we have a print subsciption to the journal, "GETIT" will retrieve the Library catalog record for the journal so that you can see if the date of the article falls within the date range we have on hand.
  • If full text is not available from any database or from a print subsciption, "GETIT" will provide a link to the IC Library's Interlibrary Loan.  Log in (same as your IC e-mail)--and set up your account if you've never used it before.  "GETIT" will have populated the article request form with all the necessary information and you simply submit the request elecrtonically.  Most articles are supplied as digital files and will be sent to you via e-mail when they arrive.

Contact Us

picture of Dr. Brian Saunders

Dr. Brian Saunders

Humanities Librarian
(607) 274-1198

Search Argos

Web Resources

Web Directories

   Web Directories differ from search engines like Google in that all the online resources have been selected and annotated by editors, thereby promising a much higher degree of quality control.  One of the best is

Open Directory Project:

Selected Web Sites

Note: The Web is full of fan sites and blogs devoted to gothic, horror, fantasy, and science fiction.  Most have little research relevance.  Below are a few gateway sites that seem more substantive than the norm.
  • The Literary Gothic: This was a gateway to Web resources on the gothic literary tradition from the 18th century to the present, organized by Author and Title.It now only exists as an archive--but many of the component links still work.
  • The Sickly Taper: A Bibliogrpahy of Gothic Scholarship: Strictly a bibliography--a list of books and articles--with no access to full text, but the topic categories under "Bibliographies" are helpful, and to check for full text access to any likely articles just do a journal title search under "Journals" at the top left of the Library home page.
  • The Fantastique: One of the better fan sites. Browse the topic categories down the left side.
  • Center for the Study of Science Fiction: Based at the university of Kansas, this is an excellent gateway to Web resources.  In particular, scroll down to "SF Teaching and Scholarly Resources."
  • Science Fiction and Fantasy Research Database from Texas A&M and Internet Speculative Fiction Database are both excellent tools to identify articles on a Title, Author, or Topic. You can then check for full-text access from the IC Library's databases. ( The best approach for tracking down newspaper, magazine and journal articles: run a Journal Title search by clicking on "Journals" above the search slot on the Library home page. This will tell you if we have full text access to the journal, where, and for what dates).
  • Science Fiction, Fantasy, & Horror Literature and Media: from the Library at the Long Beach California State University, this is a sprawling gateway, but well worth a little patience in ferreting out interesting SF resources.
  • SF Concatenation: A hodgepodge of content and links best navigated with the index links along the left.
  • Ultimate Science Fiction Web Guide: They claim 6,000 links--though some sections of this haven't been updated for 10 years.  Use those small red boxes to navigate--and note in particular "Timeline."

Citation Help

MLA Citation

MLA is the citation style used by most disciplines in the Humanities. Here is my guide to the latest (2016) update of the MLA style.

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