Saturday, April 30, 2011

Mermaids-start of a paper!

Intro-describe mermaids

The stories of the mermaid have been passed down through numerous generations in nearly every continent. Writers and artists alike have been memorized with the image of the mermaid and the symbolism she brings of beauty and mystery to the sea. The lure of forbidden love between species or even possible death peaks the interest of almost every human that falls upon her story. Mankind have been fascinated with the tale of this magical and mythical creature back to ancient times. Pliny the Elder, a Roman naturalist wrote, “ And as for Meremaids called Nereids, it is no fabulous tale that goeth of them: for looke how painters draw them, so they are indeed.

Author Thomas Kneightly writes in his book The World Guide to Gnomes, Fairies, Elves, and other little people, that the mermaid in Sweden otherwise known as “Havfrue” truly is beautiful in her appearance. The fishermen either see her in the summer’s sun combing her blonde hair on the rocks. The mermaid is compared to Elve-women who approach on shore the fishermen at their fires to their love. A supposed talent of these mystical women is their abilities at fortunetelling. In fact, it was a mermaid that is said to have prophesied the birth of Denmark’s monarch Christian IV. One prophesy says, “A mermaid from the water rose, and spaed Sir Sinclar ill.” Though it would seem that the men would welcome this presence they see her appearance as a storm that produces no success in their fishing.

When people drown and their bodies are not found it is believed that they are taken to the mermaid’s dwelling. It is not only the fishermen that the Havfrue call too. One time a girl fell into a mermaid’s power and went fifteen years without ever coming afloat. Her brother then ventured down in search of her and succeeded in bringing her back to solid ground. The mermaid waited seven years for her return and when she did not come back she struck the water with her rod and cried, “Had I but known thee so false to be,Thy thieving neck I'd have cracked for thee.”

Catching up

So doing some research in order to be prepared to edit on wikipedia-considering it would be beneficial for my fellow zombie researchers....requested 2 articles from illiad-Journal of ethnopharmacology: The ethnobiology of the Haitian zombi. and (Un)natural servitude : zombies at the crossroads of race and labor....these both sound pretty solid and one was referenced many times in wikipedia....I also ordered The Greenwood encyclopedia of African American folklore, which will probably give me some info on the orgin of zombies.
More to come, going to post the wikipeida edit soon.

The first real compendeum of thunderbird stories I've found

Last week, I was able to obtain a copy of Loren Coleman’s book “Curious encounters: Phantom trains, spooky spots and other mysterious wonders,” through Summit. The book came from the library at Eastern Oregon University. It records stories bizarre creature sightings and experiences from around the world and is divided into chapters by the general location that stories take place (The sea, the sky, the city, etc.). The author, Loren Coleman, is a well-known bigfoot researcher who has written a number of books on bigfoot, cryptozoology and other strange things.

Coleman devotes an entire chapter in this book to thunderbird sightings. H
e focuses closely on clusters of reported sightings in Illinois during two periods of time, one in the mid-to-late 1940s and the other in the late 1970s. The chapter goes through report after report, in some instances giving full names of those who spoke about their experiences.

The reports themselves are some of the most detailed I have come across. A number of them list specific locations, dates and the names of the individuals involved. Many of the reports Coleman writes about appear to come from newspaper accounts in local papers. One unfortunate omission is good, clear original-source documentation. The book contains no references in the form of footnotes or endnotes. A lot of the stories sound very interesting, and while it would be great to look them up myself, that may prove difficult (particularly the ones from the 1940s) since in some cases Coleman leaves out information about where he found particular sightings.

You definitely need to take into account the purpose of this book, and Coleman’s work in general. I get the sense that these books are written for a certain type of audience, likely folks that are interesting in cryptozoology and the paranormal. Maybe in the sprit of making his book a good read, Coleman chose not to bog it down with lots of sourcing, footnotes and the like. He does devote a significant portion of the chapter to looking at potential explanations put forth for this historical body of thunderbird sightings.

In terms of good, comprehensive reporting on stories and sightings, this book provides a lot of good material. I’ll probably use it to help with my Wikipedia and Monsterpedia entries. However, assessing the actual validity of what Coleman writes is difficult—so much so that it makes me a little weary of putting full faith in these stories.

Week 5

At this point, I've found quite a few books about mermaids, but I haven't been able to find a lot of newspaper or journal articles. I do have one article called "The Call of the Mermaid," from the journal the Natural Enquirer. This article tells of some of the history of mermaids, from the earliest myths to more recent history. It also has a few "eyewitness accounts." However, it goes on to say that unlike many other monsters, there are few people that would actually argue for the existence of merpeople. It says that we like the idea and potential of creatures such as merpeople and we want to believe in them ,so we buy into all the stories.

One of the books I got from Summit is the Fantasy Encyclopedia. It's a really cool book that has a short description of almost any mythical or fantasy creature that you can think of; from elves and dragons to vampires and wizards. It's a really neat book to look for and it has some incredible artwork, but it's not very helpful as far as the section on mermaids goes. There's just a short description of what a mermaid is, or is said to be. There is also a short section on "seal women," which are female seals that are said to shed their skin every so often and become women. It's basically an old folk tale. There's also a little box that gives examples of mermaids in books and movies.

Friday, April 29, 2011

This is the famed photo from the "Surgeon's Photograph" that was discovered to be a hoax.

The magazine that I found the most articles from is the Junior Skeptic. It is directed towards children and teens to learn about myths and science from experts. One of the articles I found from them was “Top Ten Busted Myths.” This article was interesting and a little one-sided because they were specifically trying to debunk Nessie’s existence. Nessie was number five on the list of ten myths and the authors really did not want to believe that Nessie was real. That is the biggest issue I have found with articles about Nessie, they are all one-sided, either for or against her. There really is never an article where they are not trying to persuade you to believe on thing over another. Daniel Loxton, the author, states that he wanted to believe Nessie existed, but it is not possible and nor will it ever be. This article is only a page long and he only refutes the evidence in one or two lines, which does not seem credible because he does not offer up a lot of information as to why. He basically refutes the idea of plesiosaurs as a myth because they can live in the cold water and they went extinct millions of years ago. He says others try to say it is different kind of monster, but he could refute those too and then never gives any information on why he could. This article is a nice one to read though because it gives me a perspective of the really staunch non-believers. However, it is not a good article because he does not have a lot of information to back-up his claims. The Junior Skeptic seems to be a magazine that is semi-credible, but interesting to read.

Since I was mostly finding articles written for children, especially young boys, it was refreshing to find another good article from the Science New. I mostly chose this article for the title, “Will the Real Nessie Please Stand Up?” because it really made me interested in what the article had to say. I did not know if it was supposed to be a comedic or if it was a serious article, so I was intrigued. This article was a mixture of both comedy and actual information that provided for a great source about Nessie. Marcia Bartusiak, the author, starts off by saying “Poor Nessie. By now, she must be having an identity crisis” (pg. 122). Bartusiak discusses the many different identities that Nessie has accumulated over the years. She tries to explain all the personas that Nessie has had and how they could be true or they might not be. She does state as one of the main thoughts of the article, that if Nessie does not show herself soon there will never be an end to the rumors (pg.122). Overall this was an article that I would recommend to anyone trying to learn about all the things that Nessie could be. With this article they can form their own opinions about Nessie. That is what I think makes a good article, if they do not force an opinion on you but gives you enough facts to make your own.

Thursday, April 28, 2011

navigating crackpots and deceivers

When using Google to search for Ebu Gogo, one of the early hits is a site titled '' authored by this man, --> Erik John Bertel. He apparently holds a degree in biology and "has training" in physical anthropology. He worked in "several Fortune 1000" companies and trained under the art critic, Lawrence Alloway, who apparently coined the term "Pop Art." A regular jack-of-all-trades...

While Bertel questionably displays more information than is typically found about the Ebu Gogo, one quickly discerns that this site serves as an advertising ploy and launchpad for his "adventure novel" about two scientists who encounter an ancient tribe of Ebu Gogo ( while researching on the island of Flores. Furthermore, the link to the associated blog page entices the reader by stating:
"More importantly and more provocatively can the Ebu Gogo or Homo floresiensis stil be alive in a remote corner of Indonesia? Stay tuned for more or go to the flores girl blog for new insights!"
If one follows the link, one finds the continuous commentary of Bertel's own personal politics, not information regarding potential sightings of this historically fabled creature.

Bertel seems to, at once, promote and diminish the validity of the Ebu Gogo as a living or recently extinguished branch of our evolutionary tree. I find this disappointing and detracting from the importance and enormity of the implications of the folk tales of the ebu gogo and the recent discoveries of the Homo floresiensis remains. Besides, he did a terrible job creating this cg representation:

A Psychoanalytic Search for the Origin of Yeti and Sasquatch Tales

While looking for journals pertaining to Sasquatch, I stumbled upon Fabula, a "Journal of Folklore Studies" printed in Germany. In it was an essay titled Abominable Snowman or Bigfoot: A Psychoanalytic Search for the Origin of Yeti and Sasquatch Tales, written by Manfred F.R. Kets de Vries. In this article he tries to prove that "sightings are most likely of a delusionary, illusionary and hallucinatory nature" caused by "people living in isolated environments under conditions of severe stress". I find this hard to agree with. I have read hundreds of recorded sightings (most of them on, and in books like The Sasquatch and Other Unknown Hominoids, by Grover Krantz) and I can't even recall one where the eye-witness was under "conditions of severe stress." The large majority of recent sightings I have read involve the eye-witness driving on a highway and seeing one of these creatures cross the road.
Manfred also tries to claim that we can look at "the dream process as the model for the origin of the belief in giants and cannibalistic hairy monsters." In other words, the "myth" of Sasquatch stems from "an interplay of traces of fantasy and reality to make sense of the ever threatening outside world." This makes me ask myself, why would so many people imagine the same exact creature, and why wouldn't they be able to notice that they are fantasizing? What is causing this sudden lapse into dreamworld, and why is it that the only thing they imagine is a giant hairy man? It seems he had attempted to answer these questions by stating that there are "great similarities in the process among children and primitive man" in that they more easily ignore "boundaries between fantasy and reality." By primitive man he is referring to the native societies of America and Asia who acknowledge the existence of Sasquatch. He then goes on to explain that in the similar images of Sasquatch are most likely caused by phobias (and he uses the example of a child's feelings of aggression towards the father in the Oedipal stage) that create the illusion of a man combined with an ape or bear. He suggests the animal in many cases is a mental symbol of a father, while the ape or bear is mixed in because the are "many rituals and tales dealing with apes and bears." So with that he covered why Natives and children may believe they see Sasquatch, but as for those "modern" adult men and women have seen the creatures, he merely contends that "conditions of severe stress mobilized defenses and subsequently more primitive psychological processes became operational."
While Manfred's ideas of the human mind reacting in this way are not impossible, I find it very hard to believe that these circumstances account for every single one of the thousands of supposed encounters with Sasquatch. As with physical evidence, his explanation of the large number sighted and casted footprints of these creatures was that "some individuals, in an attempt to master their fears of such strange creatures, are engaged in a total identification process. Imitation and impersonation becomes a consequence." I personally cannot imagine such a large group of people who have this mental problem, and how exactly does this issue enable the person to grow large feet? Although this article was very interesting to read, I find the hypotheses presented very hard to believe.

I found a great encyclopedia in the reference section of the Haggard library. It only had a breif discription of Gnomes, but it referred me to other similar creatures. Apparently gnomes fit under a category of beings called Elementals, which were first described by a Swiss physician named Paracelsus. Gnomes are earth Elementals. They are human like beings endowed with special abilities including the power of invisibility.

Rose,Carol. Spirits, Fairies, Gnomes, Goblins: An Encyclopedia of Little People. Santa Barbara:ABC-CLIO,1996.


"The Mermaid of Point Grey"

While conducting some research into my elusive monster, the mermaid I have encountered on multiple sites, occasions and discussions the Mermaid of Point Grey. Turning to my number one research partner (Google) I discovered a plethora of websites offering explanation and the history of this famous mermaid. The websites which I have cited below were very informative and clever, but ultimately all had a not so hidden agenda. The first website I visited and referenced below couldn’t be considered a serious site for empirical evidence in regards to the actual existence of mermaids and as I quickly discovered was an advertisement for Kids Adventure Playland with some very other interesting aspects of promoting exploitation of families and their money. In regards to the actual mermaid of Grey Point though they do provide an interesting definition and have a humorous theory of where mermaids come from and other potential first sightings. The funniest quote I have seen to date has to be from this website, “Christopher Columbus possibly spotted one of these two ocean dwellers when he logged in his journal that he had seen mermaids on his journey to the new world, but was disappointed they were not better looking” ( I had to share that segment from the site, just thought it was funny!!! The sight does also provide some more historical data concerning mermaids, but can’t be considered credible for obvious reasons.


The search continues!

“The British Columbia Folklore Society” website ( was full of interesting folklore stories, including some fascinating tales of mermaids. The purpose of this particular website is to create some excitement about tourism, specifically tourism into British Columbia. The website appears to be simply for promotion of travel in this area without any real evidence of actual mermaid or other mystical creature sightings. Although, there is a blurb regarding an actual mermaid sighting by some ferry passengers and some claimed photos from a passing airplane that supports the eye witnesses accounts of the sighting. Unfortunately the link that the site provided to see these photos is no longer available (big surprise, not!). There is also a short blurb regarding a mermaid sighting back in the 1880’s, which I have surmounted to be just more folklore in an eager attempt to elicit the tourism industry of the region. The last update to this website was June 11, 2009 so the domain may become available if anyone is interested in turning this website into a porno site.

Tuesday, April 26, 2011

The Late Great Grover Krantz

Grover Krantz was an anthropologists who taught at Washington State University from 1968 to 1998. His specialized in all aspects human evolution, but he is mostly remembered for his Sasquatch research. He began his research in 1963, and continued until his death in 2002. I checked out a couple books by him, Bigfoot Sasquatch Evidence and The Sasquatch and Other Unknown Hominoids. I find them to be incredibly informational and from a very scientific standpoint, that is he makes logical hypotheses based on undeniable and unbiased facts.
The bulk of Krantz's research on Sasquatch was in his plaster cast collection, which in 1992 (when Bigfoot Sasquatch evidence was published) consisted of 81 footprints, and few handprints. Most of them he obtained through his own fieldwork, and many of them were copied from previous researches like John Green and Bob Titmus. He stated that his collection represented 22 individual Sasquatches. Of those twenty-two, only two were not found in the Pacific Northwest, and many in very remote places. John Green's and Bob Titmus' collection is thought to represent 20 additional individual Sasquatches. By closely analyzing these prints, Krantz was able to completely rule out the possibility that these giant footprints could be fake.
One of the most convincing pieces of evidence for authenticity is found in a large majority of his collection. In these casts you can see a pressure ridge formed near the middle of the print, behind the ball of the foot, where dirt/mud/sand was pushed back after the Sasquatch lifted its back heal and pushed forward with the front of its foot. These is clear evidence that the foot that made the print was flexible, ruling out the possibility of someone strapping on giant 18 inch wood-carved feet and waking around, which is the most common form of hoaxing. Other proof includes dramatically different toe positions within the same track of footprints. For example, in a line of tracks Krantz discovered in a muddy area, one print shows how the front toes splayed out to stop the individual from sliding when walking down a hill. Also, on ten of his casts you can clearly make out skin detail, which was pressed into the ground when the Sasquatch made the track. For hoaxers to pull off these prints, a very elaborate fake foot would be needed, and lots of them. Another thing to take into consideration is the amount of weight needed to make these large prints is well over 400 pounds, and the stride length in most cases is far beyond human normalcy.
Krantz also does a great deal of analysis on the Patterson-Gimlin film, but I can go into that in greater detail in another post.

Monday, April 25, 2011

Week 4 Post

This weeks I received several books from Summit. I've only had a chance to look at a couple of them though. One of the books is called Monsters of the Sea. This book First gives an introduction to Sea Monsters, then has sections about the loch ness monster, sea serpents, mermaids, the kraken, etc.

The section on mermaids first talks about this history of mermaids, and the very first stories and myths about them. It also tells about famous hoaxes concerning mermaids, or man maid mermaids. There are a lot of different pictures from different times in history of what a mermaid was thought to look like, or what people thought they saw and considered a mermaid. Many of the pictures look like horrible monsters rather than beautiful sea creatures. Half of the mermaid section is about manatees or dugongs. From the descriptions people have given, many think that "mermaid" sightings could have just been manatees.

I think this book will be helpful because it give a lot of history and background about mermaids and mermaid sightings. It also references a lot of other books that were written about mermaids or have sections about mermaids in them. I can use this book as a reference to find other books pertaining to my subject.

Best Source Yet!

Thanks to the great being that is Iliad, I received an article about the "Black Dogs of England" and it's the best source that I've found so far! It was very interesting to read, easy to understand, and provided a reference page with plenty of sources that I plan on checking out soon. Here is some of the information that I found from the article:

Quite an interesting fact that I've learned while reading this article, is that there are different types of the Black Dog. There is Type A, which is found in certain areas and changes its shape; Type B, which is always a black dog and found in the same spots, always; and Type C, which appears in a certain spot on a particular date. I also read that when a Black Dog is seen, it may not always be completely there. Sometimes when Black Dogs show themselves to humans, they are missing certain body parts. The most famous sighting of the Black Dog occurred in 1577. This is obviously a long long time ago, and while I wish there was something earlier, this just lays the foundation for all other Black Dog sightings. The article went on to give accounts of other visions of the black dog, and the most recent one that it addressed was in 2005.

Sunday, April 24, 2011

altering the ebu gogo wiki

I added "Professor of Anthropology at the University of Alberta, Canada" to the description of Gregory Forth on the Ebu Gogo wiki. I would have liked to add a hyperlink to his academic website, but I wasn't sure how to do that.

I had written a citation for his book, but after I posted it I saw that the citation was already down in the 'references' section so I removed it. I saw a hyperlink for doing preliminary edits in "the sandbox" but didn't try doing that. Perhaps I should have!

Epic Fail

So once again this week I have been scouring the news to find stuff on vampires. I think the words epic fail are a bit of an understatement. My plan for my continued research is to begin reviewing and analyzing the material I have already found since I have a great deal of it and it is all more reliable than many newspaper articles would be anyways.