Why do we invent monsters?

Help

Why are there so many stories about monsters? From dragons to vampires and aliens, we have always told stories about scary mythical creatures. A new book out today investigates the science behind monsters, and how, and why, we believe them.

It's called Medusa's Gaze and Vampire's Bite - the science of monsters and its author Matt Kaplan is a science journalist who believes that we invent creatures like fire breathing dragons for a reason.

The Today programme's Sarah Montague spoke to him and to Dr Jacqueline Simpson, President of the Folklore Society, and began by asking Matt whether monsters serve a valuable purpose.

First broadcast on BBC Radio 4's Today programme on Thursday 21 March 2013.

BBC © 2014 The BBC is not responsible for the content of external sites. Read more.

This page is best viewed in an up-to-date web browser with style sheets (CSS) enabled. While you will be able to view the content of this page in your current browser, you will not be able to get the full visual experience. Please consider upgrading your browser software or enabling style sheets (CSS) if you are able to do so.