Saturday, May 28, 2011

Ending Mermaids

Having to stand up and talk for a ten minute presentation was very nerve racking. I have not had very much experience in making speeches and have not presented anything in about a year. Standing in front of people and having a lot of focus on me is not my idea of a good time. Dr. Lorenzen made the situation very comfortable and I was able to meet the ten minute requirement and even pass it! I feel like it went really well and had a lot of good information to share. This week I will continue to finish up some writing and start majorly editing and fixing my in paper citations. It's been a good quarter of research!

Friday, May 27, 2011

Digital Flotsam and Jetsam (kind of)

Honestly, I haven't much more to say about the beast, so I suppose the next few posts will just be tidying up. Most recently, I've just been scouting the internet; here's a summary of the first five sites that come when I searched 'beast of gevaudan' in google:

The first site up is Wikipedia, of course. I'm not sure I need to reiterate myself (or the whole rest of the class), so I'll leave it alone.

Next is The Cryptid Zoo, a page I never actually looked into. With good reason, perhaps--the link is broken. Helpful of google to give me a site that doesn't even work properly. Lovely.

The third site that appears in the google search is Occultopedia. Not a bad site, actually. Decently informative and, unlike Monstropedia, the writing doesn't make me twitch. It's just too bad that the article has no citations (apparently it's scheduled to be reviewed soon), because there were a few tidbits that were interesting, but unverified.

Google, of course, pulled up numerous sites, but the last I'll review is called, simply Unknown Creatures. They have probably the most…illuminating description of the beast's size I've yet to read, describing it as "as large as a calf or young cow." (Those are essentially the same thing…right?). Once again, no citations, but the layout is esthetically pleasing, simply because the information isn't too dense, the paragraphs thick, but not ponderous, each headed by a large and bold title.

Thursday, May 26, 2011

Finishing up

This week I have been working on my presentation and editing my paper. I have also really been enjoying the presentations. I am learning a lot about all of your cryptids!! I didn't realize there were so many legends and creatures that have such strong roots in particular cultures.

All of the presentations so far have also given me tips and insight into different ways of researching. I was really shocked when I learned that one of your blogs was plagiarized and used in several different posts. After I heard this, I checked online to see if mine were stolen too. It turns out that my posts were left alone. In hearing about how easy it was for two separate people to steal a blog and re post it as there own, I now feel very skeptical about the internet and a lot of online resources. I know there are very credible sources and stories out there, but i may think twice before I believe or give credit to an author.

Conclusions about Research

My research was very rewarding because I learned so much about Nessie than I ever thought possible. I really felt like I was gaining a part of my Scottish heritage because to understand any heritage you need to know their beliefs and phenomena. This study of Nessie brought me closer to Scotland and for that I will be forever grateful. I was expecting my research to be really easy since Nessie is such a popular monster, but I was completely wrong. It is hard finding reliable sources on Nessie because everyone wants to have a say about the myth. I found it very easy to find articles and books that were credible and I could learn a lot of information from. However, newspaper articles and websites were definitely a struggle to find sources and credible ones at that. I could find relatively little in newspapers and it was only when I searched through our library databases did I find two articles. With websites I had to sift through many hoax websites out there to try to find the credible ones among the pack. Once I did find some credible sources, they provided a plethora of new information on Nessie. Another thing I found with my research was that a lot of the sources were written towards children. While they provided good information on Nessie, I was hoping to find more information that was geared towards adults. One of my favorite parts of the research was to make an edit to Wikipedia. I really enjoyed trying to figure out how to accomplish this and to see if my edits would be kept on the page. It was a fun assignment and really got me into the spirit of the research. Altogether, my research went well and I really enjoyed researching monsters, especially Nessie. She will always have a soft spot in my heart.

Monday, May 23, 2011

Mermaids, Mummies, and Mastodons

I really am thankful for Western Washington University Library and their incredibly helpful staff. I recently found a book on Summit and wanted to give a BIG shout out to all the WWU librarians for being those unsung heroes that do all the little, dirty jobs that no one sees but everyone appreciates…

The book I discovered (with a little help from a really helpful librarian) was found through Summit and provided me with a glimmer of hope that I was going to find some empirical research documentation on “Real Mermaids”. I can really only say one thing after previewing the book, the search continues. The book cover appears to be some sort of British slave camp and really reflects the early American history of colonization. The big hint that I must have missed was the italicized text directly under the title that should have clued me into the potential content and saved me some time and effort. Although there is only a small portion of information regarding mermaids in this particular text, there is at least something. I am often reminded by my mentor that its not the final destination that is important, but rather the journey that led you to your final destination. The missed clue read; The Emergence of the American Museum, which actually discovering this piece of information would have served a purpose of allowing me to spend my limited available time on researching other options, but this is really a treasurer of information.

The book is about the coming of age of American museums and how they came about. There is actually a fairly extensive calendar of historic events and dates outlined in the book that speak about preserving our history and heritage. The small piece of information regarding my well hidden monster is new information and actually fairly interesting. The photo is of a nineteenth century Japanese mermaid. Formerly exhibited in the P.T. Barnum’s circus, this artifact now resides in the Peabody Museum of Archaeology and Ethnology Harvard University. The book overall was interesting, but didn’t have a lot of useful information regarding my mermaid search.

Beneath the Volcano: Religion, cosmology and spirit classification among the Nage of eastern Indonesia

It's in!!! This time summit has supplied me with the original published work of Gregory Forth published by The Royal Institute of Linguistics and Anthropology in the Netherlands. This book was loaned by the library at Reed College in Oregon.

Unlike other sites and readings that claim ebu gogo means "grandmother who eats anything", Forth stated on pp. 104 that "Ebu means 'grandparent, ancestor' while the relevant sense of gogo in this contxt may be 'greedy, gluttonous'.

I won't have much time to review this, but I'm excited to get my hands on it... anthro-geeky, I know. What can I say?

A little behind

So I actually finished my research before this post was due so I totally spaced. After I turned in my draft, however, I found some good websites that might work so I'm debating whether or not to add them since they are good but at this point unnecessary. While looking at sources I read over the wikipedia site but found that everything was pretty much covered and didn't feel like anything really needed to be changed. So that's what I've done this week. Not too much but we'll see what I need to change once I get my draft back.

Sunday, May 22, 2011

at the bitter end - NOVA and the original ethnography by Forth

Although it is arriving at the bitter end, I was able to uncover the original text published by Gregory Forth titled, "Beneath the volcano: religion, cosmology and spirit classification among the Nage of eastern Indonesia" that details his first contact with the story of the ebu gogo in the mid to late 1990s. It has been ordered through Summit and will arrive soon.

I also dug up a NOVA presentation from 2008 that shows on youtube as a 5 part series, but once again, it focuses on Homo floresiensis/The Hobbit. It is a decent docu, however and allows one to see all the players involved in the intrigue of this puzzling find and explains the difficulty in determining what exactly these remains are and what that might mean to our understanding of human origins.

Gnome Sighting in Argentina

There are many videos of alleged gnome sightings on YouTube. Most are clearly hoaxes, but some are difficult to explain. The best example of a sighting that I could find was filmed in Argentina in 2008. It shows a group of young men talking when the camera pans to show a small, gnome shaped figure in the distance moving toward them in a strange hopping motion. The men scream and run away in fear. The poor quality of the video makes it difficult to tell if it is actually capturing a gnome sighting. The video was first picked up by a British tabloid newspaper called, The Sun. This video is among the most viewed gnome encounter on YouTube. I went to snopes.come and found out that it was actually a hoax.


Of course I leave Wikipedia for last, because it's just too simple to start off with. I actually googled "Black Dog of England" and one of the first pages that came up was for Wikipedia under "Black dog (ghost)". I clicked on it to take a look at the sources they had as references to see if I could find anything that would add to my studies. Surprisingly enough they had a lot of references (books for the most part). Unfortunately, there weren't many articles listed, which is a shame since that is what is more readily accessible to me through the internet. There were also only about 5 or 6 external links listed, but one of the ones that caught my eye was an article about Phantom Black Dogs on the site It gave a lot of information about phantom black dogs and other phenomena.