Saturday, May 21, 2011

Nearing the end

The Encyclopedia Britannica states that a mermaid is a, “fabled marine creature with the head and upper body of a human being and the tail of a fish.” It also goes on to say that they loved music, lived long lives, were mortal and had no souls. create THESIS The story of the mermaid goes much deeper then what pop culture would lead us to believe. The legend of the mermaid is a universally told tale that is especially prominent in countries bordering the sea. The story containing romance and danger enchants people centuries ago and lives on today. Even though many stories are only myths that were passed down through oral traditions, there are select people that choose to believe the mermaid is real. Skeptics claim that sightings of mermaids are only jokes or illusions but who really knows the truth? This paper will describe the character and appearance, mythology, sightings, explaining my research methods.

I also found this great more recent article of a mermaid sighting!

Is a mermaid living under the sea in northern Israel?. 8 Dec. 2008. Haaretz Service.

2 May 2011. <>.

Thursday, May 19, 2011

Urban Dictionary

As I was doing a little more research, I decided to put Spring-Heeled Jack into the Urban Dictionary (Just for fun). Here is what it said:

"A demon of English folklore who was first reported in the UK in the year 1837.
According to legend Spring Heeled Jack only appears at night abducting people, though he abducts women most of the time.
He is a feared demon who causes the disapearance of many; It's unknown what happens to his victims.
Spring Heeled Jack is said to look like a mustached gentleman wearing a suit, shoes, tie, gloves, top hat, and a monicle.
Spring Heeled Jack is said to jump very high and that he can leap through great distaces which gives him the appearance of flight.
(hence the name Spring Heeled Jack)
It is believed that he has super jumping abilities, others claim that his shoes have springs.
It is also belived that salt is his weakness, it is said that salt can turn him into stone.
In the legend, water can restore Jack from being a stone statue.
I saw Spring Heeled Jack Jumping over the entire neighborhood."

After reading this, I realized how incorrect much of the information was (there were also many spelling mistakes). Granted, this is the 'Urban dictionary', but it was interesting to read about their version of this historical figure. The mention of abduction was interesting. In all of the sources I have looked at, none of them ever mentioned abductions. In fact none of the victims were ever killed during an 'actual' attack (ones that died, often did days later due to shock). It was also fun to hear that salt can turn him into stone. I am really curious as to where this information came from!

If anyone is interested, Urban Dictionary has a variety of Spring Heeled Jack merchandise with their lovely definition printed on t-shirts, mugs, magnets, and stickers!

Tuesday, May 17, 2011

Old Newspaper Articles on Sasquatch

In searching newspapers, I was pleased to discover an abundance of articles pertaining to the Sasquatch, or wild men, of North America. Articles reporting on supposed encounters and footprint discoveries have been showing up for over 100 years, and I came across some of the oldest ones, which were very interesting to read. I found a number of articles printed in the 1880s and 90s all describe similar occurrences with a “wild man” in Illinois. An article printed in 1885 titled “A Wild Man”, from the Decatur Illinois Saturday Herald, read in its entirety: “A wild man haunts the woods near Locust Grove.” A similar article was printed two years later in the Decantur Daily Review , which read “An alleged wild man of the woods is making life miserable for rustics of Logan county.” Then in 1891, an article from the Decantur Daily Republican titled “The Wild Man Hunt” tells of how a “systematic hunt for the wild man” of the area was to take place. The creature was supposedly stealing poultry and pigs from local farmers, so they organized “a circle of searchers four miles in circumference” to catch the wild man. I did not find a follow-up article on the outcome of the search-party, but I did find another article, printed in the Davenport Daily Leader three years later, that tells of “organized search parties for a wild man” who was “surreptitiously slaughtering calves, pigs and lambs belonging to farmers.” Coincidentally, these search parties took place in the same county of Illinois as the last article I mentioned. This pattern of events leads me to believe there was definitely some sort of wild man in living in Illinois at this time. Another article, printed in 1902 in the Dubuque Telegraph-Herald, told of a group of young ice skaters who observed an “eight foot hair covered human monster” who was, “flourishing a large club and uttering a series of yells.” Tracks were found, measuring 22 inches long and seven inches wide.

My last books!

The next book that I found was called The Loch Ness Monster by San Souci and this book is part of the Great Mysteries-Opposing viewpoints Series. This book is a smaller book that is for kids and adults to learn about the basics of Nessie. The point of the book is to explore all of the evidence for and against Nessie and decide if Nessie is real. In the end this book does decide that the evidence is inconclusive, so it is up in the air for readers to make their own decisions (pg.92). This book is a good starting point for a researcher to get the basics of what Nessie is, her habitat, the history and so on. From that point the book provides a further exploration section if the reader wants to know more. I really liked this fact because it is promoting the continuation of research into the Nessie myth. This book is complete with pictures and all the physical evidence that has been accumulated over time about Nessie, which gives the reader a broad understanding of Nessie. This book, as stated, is a really good starting point for research and gives a very well defined picture of Nessie. The only issue I have is that since I have done so much research on Nessie I feel like I am getting the same information over and over again. This book personifies that feeling but in the end it is a good book to read if you want to know the basic facts.

The last book in my continuing search through the Summit system was Loch Ness Monster by Tim Dinsdale. I really felt that this book was the ultimate research book that I could find about Nessie because of the amount of research that Dinsdale has done into the Nessie myth. This book is the newest edition from 1976, so it includes even more information from Dinsdale. He starts of by explaining how it got interested in searching for Nessie. His “spark” was on 1959 when he happened upon a picture and article about the Loch Ness Monster in his favorite newspaper (pg.1). From that point on he was intrigued to find out the “truth” about Nessie and when this book was printed he had spent fifteen years searching for Nessie. The rest of the book is dedicated to his research very detailed and laid out for the reader to understand what Nessie could be. He leaves the reader the option of deciding based upon his evidence if Nessie exists, but he does provide very compelling evidence. He does come out and make the statement that, “there could be little doubt the Monster was still alive and kicking; a creature of flesh and blood living in the present” (pg.58). Dinsdale truly believes that there is monster out there and he will believe that for the rest of his life. This book is a very detailed account of Nessie as a monster and also of the searches that go into looking for Nessie. This book, to me at least, is the compendium of Nessie research books because Dinsdale does such a good job of laying all the facts out for the reader. This book is a very enjoyable read for anyone looking into the Nessie myth.



One of the many benefits to being enrolled in this particular class, besides of course having the world’s greatest professor (Professor Michael Lorenzen) is learning about all the varying avenues students can conduct research. Many of the research techniques that have been taught to date have been reminders or refreshing in nature, but there have been some new concepts and resources that are original in nature for at least me. The new research tool that I found extremely interesting and for obvious reasons very informative and helpful was our latest guest speaker who taught this past Monday (May 16), this particular Professor taught correct and proper citations. My initial reaction to the topic for the day was, Yuk! After just a few moments in the classroom though I found the manner in which she delivered the material to be reflective and enlightening. I learned quite a bit from this specific lesson topic and have future plans to utilize some of the resources the professor supplied or recommended. The fact that she also supplied us with examples of correct citations and websites to ensure our papers are compliant was a great help…

Monday, May 16, 2011

More on the beast...

I began this weeks research browsing the governmental resources provided to the class by librarian Rob Lopresti. First, I did a search through, which brought me to a few educational sites (one, a high school senior's poorly spelled final research paper (Benson), many results from a researcher with the last name of Gévaudan and a website of cryptids called 'The Unmuseum,' a rather sketchy page that probably shouldn't show up in a government search engine. (Krystek 2003) All in all, no useful information whatsoever.

I conducted a similar search (using, simply, the term Gévaudan ) in Google's 'U.S. Government Search.' Again, many articles related to the pharmacologist (at least, I think that's what they are) MJ Gévaudan, but also came across a few other sites, slightly more related to the beast. The first was a brief listing in The Library of Congress, another led me to an archive of multilingual articles. Unfortunately, though a search therein returned many articles concerning Le bete du Gévaudan, none were in English. After this, I searched a number of the other databases recommended by the library guide, but all my searches were fruitless.


A quick search in Google News turned a rather interesting article that (though briefly) mentioned the beast. It was a fashion piece published in The New York Timesabout ten years back, called 'When Fashion Decreed Stripes a Capital Crime.' It discusses the 'diabolical' esthetic of stripes, even mentioning that the French academic Michel Pastoureau once said that the "'beast' of Gévaudan could not not be striped" because it was so vile. (Eakin 2001 )

I did another search through Google News using the same term, but focusing on the years 1760 up until 1900, and found a few articles (also through the New York Times) published in the mid-eighteen hundreds that mentioned Gévaudan's torturer --unfortunately, none the correlating PDFs would open. There was one PDF, however, that I was able to open directly from Google News. It was just a three-sentence blip found in the February 13, 1959 edition of The Spokesman Review; the piece described a hundred-strong "monster hunt….in southern France," and in doing so mentioned that the "huge footprints in the snow and (the) nocturnal wailings created fear that the legendary 200-year-old "monster of the Gévaudan " had returned." (Spokesman 39)

Benson, Alan. "Paper and Reflections." Wolves. Web. 16 May 2011. <>.

Eakin, Emily. "When Fashion Decreed Stripes A Capital Crime - New York Times." The New York Times - Breaking News, World News & Multimedia. 9 June 2001. Web. 16 May 2011.

Krystek, Lee. "The UnMuseum - Werewolf!" The Museum of UnNatural Mystery. 2003. Web. 16 May 2011. <>.

The Spokesman-Review. "Monster Hunt Hunts Monster." The Spokesman-Review [Spokane, Wa] 13 Feb. 1959: 39. Google News. Web. 16 May 2011. <,3801485&dq=g%C3%A9vaudan&hl=en>.