It is often hard to distinguish between a mythological story that is written knowing it is just a make believe tale and actual sightings. Actual sightings have gotten rarer as time has gone on since the tale of the mermaid began. However, at the turn of the century it was reported that Alexander Gunn saw a mermaid a few feet away waiting for the tide to come in. Gunn went on to describe her to look “both frightened and angry.” [Marc Potts The mythology of the mermaid and her kin 173] Another reported sighting was in 1939 a Scottish woman out fishing boat depicted seeing a mermaid with “a beautiful face, golden hair, blue eyes and a delicate complexion.” Later, in 1947 yet another fisherman said he saw a mermaid on the Isle of muck. He went on to describe her as combing her hair about twenty yards off of the shore but disappeared into the water when she found she was being watched (173). Ten years later a mermaid came aboard the raft Tahiti-Nui, constructed by Eric de Bisschop. One sailor who was on night watch thought at first she was a dolphin, then he saw her jump onto the raft and stand on her tail, he confronted it and it knocked him down. He described her as “smelly” and having scraggly seaweed covered hair (173). In Queensland, Australia a security guard reported in 1991 off the coast. Why has it been so long between sightings? Some believe the answer to this question is the increasing in shipping and the pollution that comes a long with it. There have been no reports of dead mermaids, but if they dwell under the water there seems to be no need to wash ashore.
Saturday, May 14, 2011
Our entire class had an opportunity to visit and tour the Center for Pacific Northwest Studies this week and it was very interesting. I didn’t find anything specific for my monster research, but did receive one solid lead and have another resource to consider when conducting research. Of course the highlight of the tour had to be the mug shot book… Found a great deal of humor and interest reading some of the charges and penalties. Think the most interesting thing about the mug book was the hair-do’s… There was one lead that I was able to obtain during our tour, the Bellingham International Maritime Museum. Hasn’t had much of an opportunity to conduct much research on this website and more importantly haven’t had a chance to create an account. I am hopeful that there will be some insight into my monster and provide me with some much needed content.
I have been have struggles with the Monstropedia.com entry. Since signing up for the site, I have still not been able to actually make edits to the thunderbird page. It's not even that I'm having my edits reverted, it's that I don't even have the option to make any edits. I'm trying to learn more about the page-protection policy, but so far it has been confusing and frustrating. I'll try to keep working on and hopefully figure things out.
I did make a great discovery on YouTube earlier today. Someone posted the entire MonsterQuest episode on thunderbirds (titles "Birdzilla"). It's long and full of interesting information on sightings and scientific interpretation. It even has footage of supposed thunderbird sightings. I'm really glad I was able to find this, and I think it will really come in handy for my presentation.
After discussing copyrights and web sites in class, I realized that a lot of the sites and information I have been finding is similar. Almost all of the web-sites that I have visited have the same picture of the Spring-Heeled Jack, the same accounts, and the same stories. I am curious now as to how many sites have copy and pasted their information, and where the original information came from.
I am also searching for newspaper articles on my cryptid. According to the Wikipedia site, the Spring-Heeled Jack has made it into numerous papers. Because they were written so long ago, I think it will difficult to find them; however, I am searching for recent stories too. In this search, I have found article titles and brief descriptions, yet I am having trouble finding the whole article or even the majority of the article. I may be able to work on the microform readers in the library and see if I can find any old stories in The Times. This may be helpful.
Friday, May 13, 2011
The last interesting website I found was the Museum of UnNatural Mystery. This website is devoted to all though un-natural phenomena’s like: UFO’s and Cryptozoology. This was an interesting site to stumble upon because it does not look like it would be credible or even factual, but from what I read on their Nessie page they provide good information. Nessie’s entry on this website is a medium length piece detailing her history, hoaxes, photographs, sonar sightings, and other explanations that Nessie could be. This website gives both sides of the argument, which helps make this seem like a great site because they are not one-sided nor do they try to push their views onto the reader. The author, Lee Krystek, does a great job of explaining the details about Nessie and describing the more modern craze that Nessie has attracted. He especially details the new, Water Horse movie, which created lots of hype within the Nessie community, as well as giving Nessie more believers. By having the website set up in a chronological and themed way, creates a more cohesive article on Nessie. My favorite section of this website is when Krystek explains that some people believe Nessie is an oversized river otter. I had never heard about this belief before and was very intrigued to know more about the river otter belief. I think that this is the best website of the three because while shorter than the others it does a great job of providing all the information in a cohesive way and does not take a side or force a choice onto the reader.
Tuesday, May 10, 2011
As Zora Neale Hurston describes in Tell My Horse, zombification will induce a state of ‘toiling ceaselessly’, referring to the individuals inability to access his/her freedoms and privilege, and not his/her productive output. (190) The enslavement of those who were zombified brings upon not only economic benefit, but a social severance that cannot be undone. In Benedict Stork’s thesis titled (Un)Natural Servitude: Zombies at the Crossroads of Race Labor, he brings to our attention the racial implications of zombification and consequential enslavement of that being. He states, “Indeed, it is the zombie master who is rendered as the true monster and the zombie only as the resulting monstrosity.” (9) The concept of zombiism begins in West Africa and makes in way to Haiti, within the Voodoo culture, the identified race of these populations has a resonating effect on today’s popular zombie culture.
Stork, Benedict (2005). “(Un)Natural Servitude at the Crossroads of Race and Labor” San Francisco State University ISBN 30750020448779
Monday, May 9, 2011
About a week after comparing Wikipedia and Monsterpedia, I decided to return to Wikipedia, to see if I had any information to contribute to the discussion. Much of the entry discusses the beast as either a singular or dual entity (a solo wolf, or a wolf and its mate) . I decided to add M. Smith's opinion of the beast. The Wikipedia entry can be found here, and my addition here. In case it's been altered already (quite likely!), my addition was this: Jay M. Smith, in his book "Monsters of the Gévaudan," suggests that the deaths attributed to the beast were more likely the work of a number of wolves or packs of wolves.
A few weeks ago, I mentioned a French film (Brotherhood of the Wolf), which I ended up watching in part (in other words, I got fed up with it and stopped watching with an hour still to go) . I'll leave my opinion at this: if you enjoy cultural appropriation and fortune-telling prostitutes who like to make morbid and nonsensical remarks, you'll enjoy the movie*. Otherwise.. . (*Disclaimer: I may be exaggerating the nature of this film) In all seriousness, it was drawn-out, poorly plotted and populated by weak characters. Apparently, it's quite popular in French cinema (I'm still trying to figure that one out), but perhaps this is simply because of the prevalence of the beast in French culture.
The book I requested through ILLiad has thus far been my most comprehensive resource on the beast of Gévaudan. It, of course, begins with a discussion about the beast that includes a physical description, narrative accounts and a general overview of France at time of the attacks.
Death-by-wolf was not an extremely uncommon way to perish in eighteenth century France--one rural historian (Jean-Marc Moricceau) was "inclined to put the true number of human fatalities in the early modern period closer to a staggering 9,000." (Smith 12) Smith explores many aspects of the beast , one of which is the social exacerbation surrounding the killings, just why--if wolf killings weren't all that rare at the time--the killings in the Gévaudan were so focused upon with such vigor. He suggests a variety of answers: media-exploitation, superstition, "a contemporary appetite for exotica," and religion, among many other instigators. (Smith 14)
Quite soon after the book begins (at the end of the introduction)--Smith discusses just what the true nature of the beast may have been, declaring that "the actual killings likely resulted from the work of a number of wolves, or even a succession of packs of wolves that moved through the region over a period of year " (Smith 6). Most of the other sources I found usually just list a variety of possibilities and shy from settling on a single one--so it was nice to read something more definitive, whether or not it's true.
I imagine that this willingness to state an authoritative opinion stems--partially, at least--from the academic nature of this book. Though Monsters of the Gévaudan certainly isn't unbiased, it seems to be built on a more solid foundation of knowledge than any of the other resource I've explored. Because of this breadth, it can, no doubt, form opinions more reliably (though a wider range of research certainly doesn't guarantee it perfection and penultimate truth). The book's breadth is likely a direct result of the respectability of the author, Jay M Smith, who is "is John Van Seters Distinguished Term Professor at the University of North Carolina" (Monsters 2011), thusly, a respectable academic.
I'll conclude on a rather light-hearted and corny note: a black metal band named after the beast itself (well, its place of origin). So, without further ado, the Canadian band Gévaudan (and some of the most processed black metal I've ever heard…granted, it's melodic black metal…kind of catchy though, despite the video's ah…really awesome! cgi): THE ANTI-ART. Don't ask me why they aren't wearing corpse paint...
"The Beast of Gévaudan." Wikipedia. MediaWiki. Web. 4 May 2011. <http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Beast_of_G%C3%A9vaudan>.
Gévaudan. "MOVING PICTURES - PROMO THE ANTI-ART." Gévaudan. 2007-2008. Web. 09 May 2011. <http://www.gevaudanmetal.com/moving_promo.html>.
Le Pacte Des Loup. Dir. Christophe Gans. Perf. Samuel Le Bihan, Vincent Cassel, Émilie Dequenne. Universal Pictures, 2001. DVD.
"Monsters of the Gévaudan - Jay M. Smith." Harvard University Press. 2011. Web. 09 May 2011. <http://www.hup.harvard.edu/catalog.php?recid=31127>.
This week we ventured down to the Pacific Northwest Archives building. While inside we learned about the building and all of the resources it contains. One interesting fact that I didn’t know about is that the center has to archive e-mails for a set amount of time depending on its importance, and all public officials e-mails are saved for review. The do this so if the politician or public official does any backroom dealings there will be a way to trace it.
There were a few articles on Bigfoot that were more of the same. One was of an old indian woman who hadn’t personally seen the creature, but a friend of hers did. Another articles was about the legislative process of making Bigfoot a protected species, meaning that people cannot hunt Bigfoot in Whatcom county. I find this one to be interesting because the county is saying bigfoot exists by passing hunting laws on him.
A few years ago I found an amazing book called "Gnomes". I is a beautifully illustrated and cleverly written field journal of gnome-culture. The tongue-in-cheek tone of the writing has convinced more than one of my friends that this is an authentic account of human/gnome interaction. The gnome information that it covers includes: anatomy, courtship rituals, basket weaving techniques, language, and other behavior.
The book was first published in Dutch in 1976. It was translated to English in 1977. It is the first in a series of gnome books written by Wil Huygen, a Dutch physician and author.It was so popular that it spawned several animated TV shows and films.
Though fictional, The book follows traditional beliefs on how gnomes appear, behave, and interact with the environment.