Posts Tagged ‘folklore’

An Amber Alert from 1284 CE

“Amber alert” defined for readers outside the USA. In five days it will be the 733rd anniversary of the most famous missing children case in Western Europe. What happened to the children of Hamelin, a town (current population about 57,000) in what is today the German state of Lower Saxony (Niedersachsen)? A June 2010 article […]

Folktales and Human Migration

An interesting article from Scientific American, in which the author breaks several folktales, like the origin of the contellation Ursa Major—the “Cosmic Hunt”—into memes and then treats them in a sort of genetic way, to see if they match up with ancient human migrations, to the extent that we understand those. Carl Jung, the founding […]

Massive 2015 Year-End Link Dump! Something for Everyone!

Some of the links that I saved that never turned into blog posts . . . • The Internet loves quizes, so “What Kind of Witch Would You Be?” (answer: hearth witch). I always suspect that the answer is based on just one question, while the others are there just for fluff and decoration. • […]

No, “Ring around the Rosie” is not about the Black Death

For one thing, there are multiple versions recorded by folklorists and they do not “all fall down.” From the Library of Congress blog: The claim that the rhyme is related to pestilence is even younger; the folklorists who diligently recorded the rhyme itself in the nineteenth and early twentieth centuries never mention the plague interpretation, […]

Sampling the Pagan Blogosphere

¶ Andy Letcher goes to Helston in Cornwall for Flora Day, with flowers, pageantry, and the Furry Dance: Then there is the Furry Dance itself. According to Ronald Hutton, the first mention of any Mayish activities in Helston is in 1600, but the dance is the last surviving Cornish Processional Dance (of which there were […]

Investigating a “Grandmother Story”

Robert Mathiesen and Theitic, The Rede of the Wiccae: Adriana Porter, Gwen Thompson and the Birth of a Tradition of Witchcraft (Providence, R.I.: Olympic Press, 2005), 167 pp., $17.95 (paper). • • • Gwen Thompson (Craft name of Phyllis Healy), 1928–1986, founded the New England Coven of Traditional Witches in the late 1960s. It went […]

‘Weird Tales,’ Hex Signs, and Folklore

¶ Joe Laycock examined the mythologies behind True Detective. (I have not seen it, being much the same situation as Jason Pitzl-Waters.) Religion scholar Philip Jenkins has suggested these two sources—contemporary Satanic Panic and the “weird tales” of pulp horror—are connected. He suggests that it was the weird tales authors of the 1920s, notably Lovecraft and […]

Tree Beings, New Age Bodies, and Censored Folklore

Here is the table of contents of the latest Journal of Ethnology and Folkloristics ( vol. 7, no. 1 ), published in Finland, “a multidisciplinary forum for scholars. Addressed to an international scholarly audience, JEF is open to contributions from researchers all over the world. JEF publishes articles in the research areas of ethnology, folkloristics, […]

On the Science of How Plants Talk to Each Other

Imagine this, a kernal (heh) of truth: Sound is so fundamental to life that some scientists now think there’s a kernel of truth to folklore that holds humans can commune with plants. And plants may use sound to communicate with one another. Do beetles eavesdrop on drought-stressed pine trees? Maybe so.

Apotropaic Magic, Size 9

I don’t know if the custom of hiding used shoes and clothing in a house under construction to ward off evil influences ever crossed the pond to North America from Britain. If you know of instances—or of people still doing it—let me know in the comments. I first learned of this custom at an archaeology […]