Saturday, January 26, 2013

Chupacabra in Pop culture

After Michael loaned me his book, Scientific Paranormal Investigation: How to Solve Unexplained Mysteries, I was finally introduced to a credible source regarding the Chupacabra. the author Benjamin Radford is an expert on paranormal activity and solving the mysteries of their exsistance. His investigation of the beast led me to understand the pop culture phenomena the Chupacabra had become after it was "sighted", and that the Chupacabra in Puerto Rico and those sighted in Texas, which more resembled dogs, were two different things.

In the case of the Chupacabra he set out as a skeptic and used current events during the sighting to determine that the eye-witness description of the Chupacabra, that became the world-wide excepted appearance of the beast, was in fact based on a character from the 1990's science fiction movie Species named Sil. He confirmed the eye witness had seen this movie before the account and that it is what started the folklore regarding the beast.

This is a great source because Radford uses the Occam's Razor logic tool with all his investigations, a technique that affirms the hypothesis with the fewest assumptions is the logical answer. This in my eyes makes him very credible and the book very useful.

This book does not just cover Chupacabra but Nessie, Bigfoot, Ogopogo, and much more. It is available in the WWU library and I would highly recommend it to anyone who is researching one of those monsters.

More Werewolf Sites

Found a couple more werewolf websites that were pretty interesting. I am finding a lot of the same information and a lot of information that would seem to be made up. It is enjoyable looking at all the different websites and books that have information on werewolves. Comparing and contrasting with sightings and beliefs.

has a recollection of a few werewolf sightings throughout the US

seems like a decent enough website. I have noticed most of these websites have a lot of advertisement on it ( i would assume to keep them running) but to me they seem to be more unreliable sources because of it.

Friday, January 25, 2013

The creature of the Pine Barrens

On the Library of Congress Database, I found a pamphlet for a lecture on folklore with the following description of the Jersey Devil, from the October 1790 diary entry of a woodsman named Vance Larner:

It was neither beast nor man nor spirit, but a hellish brew of all three. It was beside a pond when I came upon it. I stopped and did not move. Nay, I could not move. It was dashing its tail to and fro in the pond and rubbing its horns against a tree trunk. It was as large as a moose with leather wings. It had cloven hooves as big around as an oak’s trunk. After it was through with the tree, it yielded an awful scream as if it were a pained man, and then flew across the pond until I could see it no more.

The lecture was delivered by Stephen Winick, who curated a museum exhibit called "Tales of the Jersey Devil." Unfortunately, I have not been able to find a transcript of his lecture. Winick was the former curator of the Camden Folklore Archives in New Jersey, and has had access to unpublished oral accounts of the Jersey Devil taken down by student researchers and professional folklorists. The pamphlet included another oral account of the Jersey Devil, from 2004, though it's language was much less colorful.  

In the Library of Congress's newspaper archive, there are accounts of the Jersey Devil dating back to 1899. Most of these consist of reports of sightings of the monster.

I also got a book from the Western Washington library by the author John McPhee. The book is about the geography and culture of the New Jersey Pine Barrens, and there are a few pages on the legend of the Jersey Devil. However, there is not much new to be found in this book, as it is a simple recounting of the supposed origins of the Devil, the thirteenth child of Mother Leeds, and a physical description that matches the most commonly accepted one.

I ordered a book from Abebooks that was unavailable in our library or through Summit. It is titled The Jersey Devil, and I am hoping it will contain first-hand accounts of encounters with the creature, but it has not yet arrived. More on this to come.

It's all in the papers...

The newspapers, that is. Although I mentioned in my last post that the Loch Ness Monster has been referenced as far back as the seventh century, the monster wasn't referred to as the "Loch Ness Monster" in the press until 1934, when the famous "Surgeon's Photograph" was taken by a London gynecologist. Although this was revealed to be a hoax in 1975 (referenced in this book review), proponents at the Loch Ness Phenomena Investigation Bureau and the Natural History Museum did not give it much importance. This NYT article from 1994 is an explanation of the hoax, written just after the last of the principal hoaxers had died. However, at the end of this article, David Martin (with the Loch Ness and Morar Project) comments that "It just means this photo is a hoax, along with the line that the monster is a plesiosaur...There are thousands of eyewitness accounts, and they cannot be taken away."

So although certain aspects of the legend are disproven, believers take them to heart as dismissal of a certain aspect, not the cryptid in its entirety. 

I also found a really interesting-sounding article from a journal I can't actually read (abstract here) because it's in Italian (I will be skeptically running it through google translate, though. The full text  is here) that posits that the legends of the Loch Ness Monster, especially the 7th-century version, are based on the loch itself shaking, and that the Great Glen Fault, over which the loch is positioned, is the source of that shaking. The study also draws connections between major seismic activity and other monster legends, especially in Greece. I thought this was really intriguing, because I had no idea Loch Ness sat on a fault line. This is one debunking theory I didn't expect. 

I also went to Western's library and checked out basically all the available loch ness monster books, and one film, Incident at Loch Ness, a 2004 mockumentary. 

The Griffin sighted

This website is one that I stumbled across when Google searching for sightings of the griffin. The reason for doing this is to see what kind of sightings or potential viewings have been out there of my monster. This website was not the best for quality, because of the advertisements being very distracting towards reading the actual article itself. After reading the article and it saying that in the UK the griffin was sighted in 1984. The British people claim that there has been this animal around them for a while.

What is not reliable about this web page is that yes the people claim that they saw the griffin bird, but that they turned to a psychic to do a full investigation on the area in 1985. The problem of this webpage is that it compares the griffin animal to the dragon. This is not what my research focuses on so I came to find this page not useful, but useful to know what to look for and use if I wanted to for my paper. They leave the mystery of the griffin bird sighting to be unknown. The web page also uses how the psychic Adam Collins connects griffins to the area in which the mascots for teams are griffins.

This web page leaves me with certainty that this is not what I want in doing research. The one great thing about this URL is that is has a date in which it was published and placed on the internet.

Thursday, January 24, 2013

Hate or Love of ABCs

When searching through the journal databases, I found this article that points out that the "Alien Big Cat phenomenon" is recent in terms of history; it did not become popular - or perhaps a better word would be "fashionable", since sightings have occurred for many hundreds of years - to report seeing mysterious cats in the countryside until the 1960s, when the number of sightings exploded.

That article makes a very good point: that the human brain is a bad judge of size at long distances; which means that eyewitness accounts are unreliable. But I found it very striking that many of the eyewitnesses were absolutely convinced of what they saw, as noted hereherehere, and most notably here. Either people are entirely skeptical of the existence of ABCs, or entirely convinced; there's no middle ground. I realize this is probably a universal phenomenon in relation to cryptids, but it just really struck me when looking at these articles.
I have discovered through a couple of sources, internet sites and books, some of the various names employed for hellhounds, such as Phantom Black Dogs.  Most of these seem to be concentrated in Britain, so I think I might narrow my research to the Black Dogs of England.  Anyway, in my quest for information, I searched phantom black dogs, which led me to a website that had a video posted about them.  The video was created by a program called Animal X, which is the Australian version of Animal Planet.  Animal X also has a unit called Animal X Natural Mystery Unit, which has segments on other famous cryptids.  Here is the link to the video on Black Dogs.

Wednesday, January 23, 2013

Were-creature facts and folklore

Looking around the internet I found a website that seems at least someone credible in the fact that it is speculative and is honest about being speculative. It has information on were-creatures in general and on the folklore of shapeshifters (these being the basis of my research into the Beast of Bray Road). I feel that researching the topics that this website has included—modern sightings/information, folklore, medieval history, and things that are largely believed to be true and not true about modern and historical werewolves will be beneficial and largely informative as I continue to gather information and compile my research into a paper and presentation. I think finding this website has given me a better frame of understanding to work with.

New Discoveries

Upon further research I discovered that there are actually two different Loch Ness Monsters. The most famous of which is located in Lake Loch Ness, Scotland. This was news to me. The Loch Ness Monster is believed to be a plesiosaur, which is a type of carnivorous aquatic reptile.The first recorded sighting of this Loch Ness Monster (known as Nessy) was in 565 AD by St Columba. It can be hard to weed through all the information I am finding on Nessy. However, a shortage of information will not be a problem.

Monday, January 21, 2013

My first Werewolf findings

This is a little late for last week, he blog post due by the 18th. I suppose better late than never though. Forgot and had some problems remembering which email I accepted the invite in. Anyways i found quite a few books and websites about werewolves last week and I think I found a few good and bad ones! Which is pretty awesome.

The Michigan Dogman: by Linda Godfrey, looks like a good book to read about Werewolves. It has stories of sightings throughout the US which would be good to look at the people who claimed to have seen a werewolf and tell whether or not they are good sources or not.

I found other books online like Witchcraft and Masculinities in early modern Europe  by Alison Rowlands and Werewolves, witches and wandering spirits  traditional belief and folklore in early modern Europe  by Kathryn Edwards. These two books will have some insight of sightings and stories of werewolves in Europe  Which might differ and compare to stories and sightings here in the US.

I also found a couple of websites. Seems pretty bad at best. Will have fun tearing this site apart. Doesnt seem to have much going for it and would be a terrible source for werewolves.
Has a lot of information about werewolves but not so much going for it in terms of a reputable source.

I also, kind of off topic for research, made a gif about werewolves and am going to love showing it during my presentation. Hopefully everyone will like it