Wednesday, March 6, 2013

Books about Mermaids

During our trip to Special Collections, there was a pop up book called Dr. Ernest Drake's Monsterology : The Complete book of Monstrous Beasts that had a general description of a mermaids and “The Siren Song” which was a little spell.  What caught my attention about this book (aside from it being a pop up book) was the mermaid catcher’s guide in the back. Legend has it that the use of the following items will guarantee you the capture of a mermaid.
-A sample of white Yeti fur- presented by the Monks of Dragon Mountain.
- Spell- casting parchment paper
-Hippogriff feathers- invisible and insubstantially light.
-A prehistoric phoenix parasite trapped in amber.
-A handy ogham translator
-A piece of shed fin scales 
Although these books are entertaining, most of them are fiction and written for enjoyment. I had a hard time finding books that were scholarly and could really be used as evidence that mermaids exist due to the fact that Mermaids are very popular in young adult literature.

Articles? What Articles.

In my search for the thunderbird, the sources that I have struggled with finding the most were journals and magazines.  Thunderbirds as actual birds, apparently, are not common in these types of materials.  Thunderbird searches for magazines and journals resulted in probably about 95% cars.  Being very specific in my searches lead to more promising results, however not always what I was looking for.  Most articles about the actual bird pertained to pieces of art – which thunderbirds are fairly common in– and not so much information about the bird itself.

I read about one account of a magazine article in 1848, although the actual magazine was not cited (Unexplained America).  Beyond that however, specific articles and journals were nearly impossible to find.  I found an article that looked very promising; it’s title being “Thunderbirds, Thunder-beings, Thunder-voices: The Application of Tradition Knowledge and Children’s Rights in Support of Aboriginal Children’s Education”.  I assumed that this would lead to some sort of valuable information pertaining to thunderbird history incorporated into the education of children.  Alas, past the title, there was no mention of the thunderbird.  This happened in most of the seemingly encourages articles.

Another article reported a sighting of a thunderbird in September of 2001 where four people sitting in a yard heard a great noise and supposedly saw a bird with a wingspan of over 20 feet fly past them.  The article explains the noises of the bird as it flew past, and the estimated height of the bird (Salem-News).  I Googled the news source, Salem-News, only to find that the only information about the site I could find was what was provided on the site itself.  There is a newspaper titled The Salem News, which is located in Massachusetts.  With this information, I am left unsure as to how credible this source is.
There was one article that did serve some importance; it was an article about World War II and a totem pole that resided on a ship.  While the story of war had no special significance to my search, the article did contain valuable background information to the thunderbird itself.  Granted the main information was knowledge that I found on every other source on thunderbirds, however this article made a connection between the bird and the war that was quite interesting, and also provided a small tale about the thunderbird.

There are so many different products, companies, and concepts with the name 'Thunderbird' that finding that actual bird has proved to be very difficult, especially when looking at articles and journals.

Sunday, March 3, 2013


After searching older newspapers, in Washington as well as nationwide, with the key words “wildman”, “wild man”, “hairy”, “large”, “creature”, and “sighting”, I did not have much success. Wildman is an extremely common last name and returned hundreds of results, which was a quick disappointment. In order to avoid all the results for the surname Wildman, I added a space between the two with the hopes of finding reported sightings of the creature we know today as Bigfoot or Sasquatch. By combining “wild man” with other descriptions such as “hairy” or “large” I was confident the results would yield articles detailing Bigfoot sightings, but despite the article titles, “wild man”, in one newspaper, was the name of a criminal running the streets of Tacoma, WA ("Is wild man," 1916). Another article that caught my eye with the following opening sentence: “A strange, wild, hairy, creature, bearing some semblance of a man and some semblance of a wild creature…” ("Wild man of," 1917). I thought for sure I had found something good at this point, but sadly as I read on the description went on to depict the “creature” as a small man with a cane, curved back, and who posed no threat at all. A similar article from the Washington Times began with another misleading description: “Strange, hairy creature gives quartet of fisherman scare of lives” (“Lair of wild,” 1919). This article, along with a few others, turned out to just be mentally ill individuals who escaped their institutions and found refuge in wooded areas or caves.

I found the most success using Newspaper Source Plus to search more recent newspapers for the common terms “Bigfoot” and “Sasquatch”. I was able to find a few interesting articles that discussed sightings and motives or lack there of for hoaxing.

move film- Griffin

So in doing this blog post I found a video on my creature actually it is called the "Attack of the Gryphon" it was a television film that came out in 2007 so this is a fairly new and recent movie on my creature. The film is about two princes that fight over their father's throne and one of the princes kills the other and since that day the kingdom has been divided into two rivalry areas. The prologue is before the kind passed away he gave blood that activated a stone statue of a gryphon to come to life and to attack whoever the person who activated it desires. The loyalty aspect of the gryphon and fighting is known in the film according to wikipedia. This film fully demonstrates what a gryphon does and looks like.

The griffin is used also in tv shows and other movies. The Chronicle of Narnia is a great example of how it is used and then you have family guy which has nothing to do with the gryphon legend in which I am researching it has made looking for the griffin if you use "griffin" spelling  challenging.

Popular Culture

In my searches for the illustrious Thunderbird, I have encountered a few issues.  There are so many things in society now with the name ‘thunderbird’, that finding the actual BIRD has been made very difficult for me. There is the well-known car, the school of “global management”, the alcohol, the Air force team, mascots (including my own high school mascot), and even the new email program recently released by Mozilla.

All these things are what show up on my searches in thunderbirds on Google. Only one link was the actual cryptid, and it was the Wikipedia page.  I was not even fully aware of the fact that thunderbirds are considered a cryptid until rather recently.  I always just saw it as my high school mascot, and a made up version of an eagle.
Granted, the genuine things that I do find on the actual thunderbird are good, though it is rare to find good information without really having to dig it up.

It is not so much the fact that there is a lot of popular coverage of thunderbirds, it’s more of the fact that the name itself and the concept of the bird is interesting enough to people for them to adapt it to their idea that makes searching for the original thunderbird so difficult to track down.