Longpig – The other kind of pork, the pork that speaks

connoisseurs say the meat tastes like pork and others say veal.  

While many say it is morally wrong and it’s against the law.

Others treat it as a another meal.

clan of cannibals

The eating of one’s own species is very common and acceptable amongst many other organisms in nature.  Humans however, are still hung up on the idea of eating your fellow human as morally wrong and it is considered a cultural taboo in many societies.  Regardless of it being illegal or immoral, people do resort to cannibalism out of survival or for ritual practices. Longpig; by the way, is a Polynesian term from the Māori, the indigenous people of New Zealand, describing what humans would look like when cooked.  The word has become slang for cooked human flesh which is featured on many cannibal-fetish sites on the dark web.

The weak is meat, the strong do eat

Donner Party Memorial

Donner Party Memorial

The Donner party

May 1846, a group of families; the Donners and Reeds, along with employees, set off on a wagon train bound from Independence, Missouri to California.  With many mishaps and a few attacks by the local indigenous tribes, these pioneers thought the worst of their troubles were over, until they became trapped in the Sierra Nevadas due to a series of early winter storms.  Due to the severity of the weather, the first rescue party arrived in February 1847. Of the beginning 87 member party only 48 survived and made it to California. Out of survival instincts, some of the remaining of the party stayed alive by resorting to cannibalism.

JEAN LOUIS THÉODORE GÉRICAULT - La Balsa de la Medusa (Museo del Louvre, 1818-19)

JEAN LOUIS THÉODORE GÉRICAULT – La Balsa de la Medusa (Museo del Louvre, 1818-19)

Raft of the Medusa

A painting by Théodore Géricault depicts an event that occurred early in the summer of 1816.  The frigate Medusa was taking civilians and French officials to claim control of Senegal after the fall of Napoleon.  Due to negligence of the Captain the ship grounded. The lifeboats couldn’t accommodate the 400 passengers on board. A large crude raft was created for the less fortunate people and was towed by the lifeboats.  With no food or water rations onboard the raft, people were getting hungry and dehydrated. Tensions grew between the passengers on the lifeboats and on the raft that lead to the people onboard the lifeboats cutting the tow line of the raft.  The abandoned passengers on the raft had to resort to cannibalism to survive. A rescue party arrived 13 days later on July 17. Only 15 castaways were left on the raft, five died shortly after the rescue.

Survivors of Uruguayan Air Force flight 571

Survivors of Uruguayan flight 571

Uruguayan Flight 571

On October 12th, 1972, chartered flight 571 was en route from Montevideo, Uruguay to Santiago, Chile.  There were 3 crew members and 45 passengers on board. A Uruguayan rugby team, their family members, and supporters were on their way to a match in Chile.  While crossing the Andes, the inexperienced co-pilot made an error and the plane struck the mountain. Of the 45 passenger it was reported that 28 survived the initial crash and all of the crew died.  After the 10th day of the crash, the survivors heard a broadcast over a transistor radio that the search for them was called off. With no results of the search, it was presumed that nobody survived the crash.  Rather than facing starvation the survivors resorted to eating the dead. Three of the survivors, without any gear or experience, decided to climb a glacier blocking their path and hiked for 10 days. They eventually came in contact with a Chilean arriero (muleteer) and after over two months of being stranded; on December 23rd, the 16 remaining survivors on the Andes were rescued.

Ritual Cannibalism

The practice of ritual cannibalism has been apart of human behavior from around the world long before recorded history and is still practiced today.  Anthropologists found human bones that showed signs of de-fleshing by other humans in cave dwellings of Homo antecessor; a archaic human species of the Lower Paleolithic that existed between  1.2 million and 0.8 million years ago in Western Europe. Human remains found in Gough’s Cave in England dating roughly 15,000 B.C. showed evidence of cannibalism. It appeared that many of the skulls were used as drinking vessels, indicating that cannibalism was a sacred practice in this location.

220px-Unas-Pyramide_(Sakkara)_08

Pyramid of Unas

Ritual texts were found while excavating tombs in Egypt.  Amongst these Egyptian texts, the Cannibal Hymn was found in the tomb of Pharaoh Unas.

The Pharaoh is he

Who lives on the being of every god,

Who eats their entrails…

Pharaoh is he who eats men

And lives on gods

During the first century, the Greek writer Diodorus Siculus recorded an ancient story in which Osiris forbade Egyptian people to eat one another.

Aghoree,_Hindoo_mendicant,_Benares

An Aghori, c. 1875

The Aghori

A sect of Hindu ascetics in India, believe that all things in the universe are equally sacred including human remains.  The Aghori believe that holding, caressing, and eating the human dead will help them transcend all dichotomies and attain nirvana by becoming one with ultimate reality.  This practice is considered a taboo amongst followers of mainstream Hinduism.

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A Korowai man

The Korowai

The people of the Korowai tribe, mainly in the western area of Papua New Guinea, practice the act of cannibalism out of revenge.  It is believed that when a family member is falling ill and or dies it was from the hands of a Khakhua (witch). When someone is accused of being a witch, the tribe would kill them and eat their remains to avenge their loved ones.

dried human placenta

Dried human placenta as medicine

Placentophagy

To prevent postpartum depression (PPD) and other perceived health benefits, some women consume the placenta after giving birth.  The first documented accounts of placentophagy were in North America in the 1970’s. Due to health advocates and the media, the ritual has seen a huge rise in popularity.  Despite the claims of the health benefits that still haven’t been confirmed, there are health risks of partaking in this ritual. The one function of the placenta is to protect the fetus from harmful substances.  Elements of selenium, cadmium, mercury, lead, as well as bacteria have been identified in the post-term placental tissue.

What are the Pros and Cons of Cannibalism?

If there is no food and it is out of survival, that would be a pro.  Chowing down on your former travel companion or neighbor will give you plenty of calories that will buy you a few more days.  Consuming cooked human flesh is no more hazardous to your health than eating the cooked flesh of other animals.

1280px-Zombies_NightoftheLivingDead

Zombies from George A. Romero’s Night of the Living Dead

Despite what the zombies say, don’t eat the brain!  Eating the brain will more than likely cause Prion disease, which is similar to Mad Cow disease and you will die from that.  Cooking your meat is very important. Not only will you get parasites and e coli, you will also get blood borne pathogens from your meal as well.  If for whatever reason you have to resort to cannibalism make sure you eat your vegetables. Like eating any other meat, if you don’t eat your side salad, digesting your fellow human will be very complicated and will lead to constipation.

After developing your reputation for being a cannibal you might be arrested, exceptions might be made if it was for survival reasons and the person was already dead.  Seek legal counsel on that one. Whether it is legal or not, you will be looked at, in a very judgemental way, probably for the rest of your life.

Final Thoughts…

From the words of a philosopher, writer, and composer Jean-Jacques Rousseau : “When the people shall have nothing more to eat, they will eat the rich”.  To build off of that, if the filthy rich are going to act like greedy pigs then logically they must taste like pork.  Hmmm… bacon, I like bacon. How about you?

1024px-Bacon_in_a_pan

Just plain uncooked bacon, or is it?

For related articles

The Legend of Sawney Beane

Vampires

For Further Reading

Sleeping with Cannibals

The Chilling Case of “Fat Longpig,” the Cannibal With a Child Dungeon

References

Long pig definition and meaning | Collins English Dictionary. (n.d.). Retrieved May 17, 2019, from https://www.collinsdictionary.com/us/dictionary/english/long-pig

Nuwer, R. (2014, February 03). Human Flesh Looks Like Beef, But the Taste Is More Elusive. Retrieved from https://www.smithsonianmag.com/smart-news/human-flesh-looks-beef-taste-more-elusive-180949562/

Akpan, N. (2017, April 06). If you had to eat a human, which body part should you pick first? Retrieved May 17, 2019, from https://www.pbs.org/newshour/science/served-archaeologist-considers-nutritional-value-humans

Flint, K. (2017, December 15). Being a Cannibal – Is it Really Bad to Eat People? Retrieved May 17, 2019, from https://particle.scitech.org.au/food/is-it-really-bad-to-eat-people/

Newman, T. (2018, January 19). Cannibalism: A health warning. Retrieved May 17, 2019, from https://www.medicalnewstoday.com/articles/311277.php

Robbins, M. (2010, September 08). What does human meat taste like? | Martin Robbins. Retrieved May 17, 2019, from https://www.theguardian.com/science/the-lay-scientist/2010/sep/05/human-meat-taste-cannibal

Editors, H. (2010, March 05). Donner Party. Retrieved May 17, 2019, from https://www.history.com/topics/westward-expansion/donner-party

Donner Party. (2019, May 14). Retrieved May 17, 2019, from https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Donner_Party

Britannica, T. E. (2019, February 01). Théodore Géricault. Retrieved May 17, 2019, from https://www.britannica.com/biography/Theodore-Gericault

Peregrine, A. (2016, July 12). Raft of the Medusa: A grisly tale of incompetence and cannibalism. Retrieved May 17, 2019, from https://www.telegraph.co.uk/travel/destinations/europe/france/articles/raft-of-the-medusa-louvre-explained/

Uruguayan Air Force Flight 571. (2019, April 11). Retrieved May 17, 2019, from https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Uruguayan_Air_Force_Flight_571

Santiago, A. P. (2012, October 14). Andes plane crash survivors mark 40th anniversary with rugby game. Retrieved May 17, 2019, from https://www.theguardian.com/world/2012/oct/14/andes-plane-crash-survivors-rugby

Coffey, J. R. (2017, November 22). Ritual Cannibalism: Past and Present. Retrieved May 17, 2019, from https://spirituality.knoji.com/ritual-cannibalism-past-and-present/

Thomas, B. (2017, April 25). Eating People Is Wrong-But It’s Also Widespread and Sacred. Retrieved May 17, 2019, from https://www.sapiens.org/body/cannibalism-ritualized-sacred/

Should I Eat My Placenta? Placentophagy and Placenta Pills. (n.d.). Retrieved May 17, 2019, from https://www.webmd.com/baby/should-i-eat-my-placenta#1

Coyle, C. W., Hulse, K. E., Wisner, K. L., Driscoll, K. E., & Clark, C. T. (2015, October). Placentophagy: Therapeutic miracle or myth? Retrieved May 17, 2019, from https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4580132/

(n.d.). Retrieved May 17, 2019, from http://www.sofiatopia.org/maat/cannibal.htm

 

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What is so Weird & Odd about January?

 

The month of January is recognized globally as the beginning of the new year.  On December 31st people will congregate in large to small groups from within the biggest cities to small villages worldwide to celebrate the beginning of what is to come.  Traditions such as singing “Auld Lang Syne”, shooting off fireworks, shooting guns in the air, coming up with a new year’s resolution, and kissing after the stroke of midnight are all common to this day.  What are the meanings and origins of these customs? What other traditions do people partake in to welcome in the new year?

220px-janus1

Janus

The month of January was named after the Roman god Janus in 46 B.C. by emperor Julius Caesar.  Janus was the protector of gates and doorways. He was portrayed as having two faces, one face looking into the past and the other looking into the future.  Janus was the god of beginnings, gates, transitions, duality, doorways, passages, and endings. He presided over the beginning and end of conflicts, such as war and peace.  The gates of a building in Rome that were named after Janus were opened in times of war and closed to signify the arrival of peace. It is safe to assume that these gates were open for business often because the Romans were constantly at war.

800px-john_masey_wright_-_john_rogers_-_robert_burns_-_auld_lang_syne_crop

John Masey Wright and John Rogers illustration of the poem, c. 1841

Auld Lang Syne

A Scottish poet by the name of Robert Burns wrote 6 volumes totaling 160 Scottish folk songs in “The Scots Musical Museum” that was published between the years of 1787-1803.  “Auld Lang Syne” appears in volume 5. Robert Burns noted that he didn’t write the song itself, he stated that it was an ancient Scottish folk song, but he was the first to put it down on paper.  For those who are not familiar with this tune I have provided a link below.

Auld Lang Syne

1024px-2013_fireworks_on_eiffel_tower_49

Ring out the Old and Ring in the New

Making a lot of noise seems to be a very common tradition throughout the world when it comes to celebrating the new year.  In ancient Thailand firing guns in the air was believed to frighten off demons. In China shooting off fireworks was also done for similar purposes.  In North America today the sounds of sirens and party horns would ring through the air to bid the old year farewell. The Japanese will ring large temple bells at the stroke of midnight.

Speaking of shooting guns in the air, GRAVITY WORKS!  When someone shoots their gun in the air the bullet will come down and could possibly kill someone.  At least use blanks if you’re going to participate in this particular activity. That is what a responsible gun owner would do.

postcards2cardsnewyearsresolution1915

New Year’s Resolutions

The tradition of coming up with a New Year’s Resolution can be traced back to the Babylonians.  They would reportedly make promises to the gods in hopes of gaining favor in the coming year. It is still to this day a common practice at New Year’s Eve parties to come up with a New Year’s resolution, but unfortunately it is also common that they are rarely ever kept.  According to a professor of psychology at DePaul University in Chicago; Joe Ferrari, to improve the chances of a resolution to be kept one should share their resolution with others to help hold them accountable.

romeo_and_juliet_(detail)_by_frank_dicksee

Pass the Binaca spray

Kissing someone is a very old tradition to celebrate the new year.  During the celebration of Saturnalia, a Roman festival that occurred during the winter solstice, orgies would take place that also involved a lot of kissing.  For more information on Saturnalia.  Saturnalia is also part of why we today kiss under the mistletoe.

In Ancient Greece, to celebrate the festival, people would also kiss underneath the mistletoe because the plant represented fertility.  During the Renaissance era in Europe, people would remove the masks at the masquerade balls and kiss to purify each other from evil. It was also a way of starting off the new year with a clean slate.  In English and German folklore it was believed that a kiss at midnight would strengthen a romance, and those who avoid a kiss would be doomed to be loveless throughout the rest of the year.

For those who are single and can’t find a date for the New Year’s Eve parties, no need to feel left out.  With a little bit of money you can travel to Scotland. The Scottish celebrate Hogmanay, the Scottish new year celebration.  At the stroke of midnight everyone in the room receives a kiss. The tradition connects friends and strangers. It is also to make the single people feel included.  God bless the Scottish!

1024px-the_earth_seen_from_apollo_17

Other traditions from around the world

  • In Spain, it is customary to eat 12 grapes, one each at the stroke of the clock at midnight.  Each grape represents good luck for each month of the new year.
  • In Columbia, in hopes of a good travel-filled year, people will carry empty suitcases around the block.
  • The people of Denmark will throw plates and glasses against the doors of family and friends to banish bad spirits.  They also like to stand on chairs and jump off at midnight to leap into January for good luck.
  • In Finland, people will try to predict the  coming year by casting molten tin into a container of water, then interpret the shape the metal takes form of after hardening.  A heart or ring is a sign of a wedding, a ship predicts a journey, and a pig signifies that there will be plenty of food.
  • To ward off evil spirits, burning of effigies (muñecos) of well known people, fictional characters, or political figures in Panama.
  • Round shapes are very commonly seen in the  Philippines during the new year. The shape represents coins to symbolize prosperity.  Many people will wear clothes with polka dots for luck.
  • In Brazil as well as other Central and South American countries it is believed that if you wear a certain color of underwear on New Year’s Eve good luck will follow.  Red underwear is thought to bring love and yellow is believed to bring money.
  • An onion is traditionally hung on the front door of homes on New Year’s Eve in Greece as a symbol of rebirth.  On New Year’s day, parents will wake up their children by tapping them on the head with the onion.

What to do after the party ends…

After the hangover wears off there are still plenty of things to do in this month.  January has been recognized as the National clean up your computer month. For those who were thinking about  breaking out the water and bleach solution, DO NOT! For more information on how to clean your computer check out How to clean your computer.

The National Tea Council of the USA has also claimed January as National Hot Tea Month.  On January 12th it is National Hot Tea Day. The Tea council of the United States was founded in 1950 as a nonprofit organization that facilitates a partnership among tea importers, tea packers and other related industries in the United States along with other tea producers from other countries.

From The Weird and The Odd,

Have a happy new year!

References

New Year. (n.d.). Retrieved January 19, 2019, from https://www.japan-guide.com/e/e2064.html

Dove, L. L. (2012, December 17). Why do people make New Year’s resolutions? Retrieved January 19, 2019, from https://people.howstuffworks.com/culture-traditions/holidays-other/why-make-new-years-resolutions1.htm

Dodgson, L. (2017, December 31). This is why we kiss each other at midnight on New Year’s Eve – and it dates back thousands of years. Retrieved January 19, 2019, from https://www.businessinsider.com/why-we-kiss-each-other-on-new-years-eve-2017-12

Robert Burns Country: The official Robert Burns site. (n.d.). Retrieved January 19, 2019, from http://www.robertburns.org/

The History and Words of Auld Lang Syne | Scotland is Now. (n.d.). Retrieved January 19, 2019, from https://www.scotland.org/features/the-history-and-words-of-auld-lang-syne

9 New Year’s Traditions From Cultures Around The World. (2017, October 09). Retrieved January 19, 2019, from https://worldstrides.com/blog/2016/12/9-new-years-traditions-cultures-around-world/

Old Farmer’s Almanac. (n.d.). New Year’s Traditions From Around the World. Retrieved January 19, 2019, from https://www.almanac.com/content/new-years-traditions-around-world

Old Farmer’s Almanac. (n.d.). Daily Calendar for December 31st, 2017. Retrieved January 19, 2019, from https://www.almanac.com/calendar/date/2017-12-31

National Hot Tea Month Highlights the Love of Tea. (2018, September 25). Retrieved January 19, 2019, from https://worldteanews.com/tea-industry-news-and-features/national-hot-tea-month-highlights-love-tea

Getting a lump of coal for Christmas?

If the kids  are whining about the lump of coal they received for misbehaving on Christmas, just remind them, it could be worse.  They could receive a beating, have their internal organs ripped from their bellies, or be tortured and eaten alive in hell.

Krampus and saint nicholas visit a Viennese home in 1896

Krampus

From the Germanic word krampen, meaning “claws”, Krampus is a demonic character with long horns and a goat-like beard that closely resembles the image of Satan.  Throughout the year Santa Claus works on his list of children who are being naughty and nice. He rewards the children who behave with candy and presents. Krampus is the henchman who will tag along with Old St. Nick to take care of the naughty ones by stuffing them in his bag and taking them to hell to be tortured and then eaten or let them off lightly by beating them with a tree branch.

Mikuláš_a_Krampus_1900s

Origins

The folklore behind Krampus has no known origins.  Some folklorists are suggesting that it has Pre-Christian origins.  St. Nicholas became popular in the German culture around the eleventh century.  The celebrations consisting of adults wearing devilish masks parading in the streets during the winter holidays have been taking place in Germany since the 16th century.  The Krampus tradition is practiced in several regions including Austria, Bavaria, Croatia, Czech Republic, Northern Italy, Slovakia, and Slovenia. Folklorists are postulating that Krampus was assimilated from pagan roots into Christian customs of traditional winter ceremonies.  A very similar entity was being worshiped by pagans in the areas that reside in the region of the Alps. The name of this deity goes by the name of Perchta.

Peruehty_Perchten 1910

Perchta

From the folklore of Bavaria and Austria, Perchta was believed to roam around the countryside of the Alps accompanied by evil spirits of winter.  Sometime around midwinter, Perchta would enter homes during the night when everyone was asleep and reward well behaved children with a small silver coin in their shoe or pail.  The naughty ones would have their bellies slit open and have their internal organs ripped out. Their empty bellies would then be stuffed with straw and pebbles. Perchta was believed to be a god-like creature half-man and half-woman, usually portrayed as a woman, that would protect the people of the Alps from the evil spirits that traveled with her.

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A person dressed as Krampus at Morzger Pass, Salzburg (Austria) 2008.

Perchta  vs. Krampus Celebrations

Perchta and Krampus celebrations still occur to this day.  Even though It has been difficult for people to tell the difference between the two, there are some differences.  The Krampus celebrations still occur in the regions of the Alps in Europe and have managed to cross the Atlantic into American culture.  Adults dress up in Krampus outfits with masks resembling the devil with a tongue sticking out. They would carry chains and bells jingling them while on their processions.  They would also carry and whip tree branches at onlookers of the parade and chase the spectators down the streets in terror. Krampus is the yang to the yin of Santa Claus and only serves the purpose of punishing the wicked.

The celebrations of Perchta are traditionally still performed in small towns and villages in Austria.  The Adults would wear similar fur covered outfits, like Krampus, but the masks that resemble the devil do not have their tongues sticking out.  Perchta is a figure that protects the people from evil and is also a giver of wealth to the good and holds the naughty ones accountable.

Final Thoughts…

Due to social progress throughout the years, Krampus is now known for gifting bundles of sticks or giving a lump of coal to the naughty children.  Who would have thought that beating your children with a stick, condemning them to hell, or threatening to have their innards replaced with hay and pebbles while they were asleep could leave a permanent emotional scar?  How is that lump of coal sounding now?

From the Weird and the Odd,

Happy Holidays!

A 1900's greeting card

References

Billock, J. (2015, December 04). The Origin of Krampus, Europe’s Evil Twist on Santa. Retrieved November 3, 2018, from https://www.smithsonianmag.com/travel/krampus-could-come-you-holiday-season-180957438/

Fear the Austrian Perchten: Pagan Traditions in the Alps, Part I. (n.d.). Retrieved November 3, 2018, from http://www.tourmycountry.com/austria/perchtenpagancustom1.htm

Perchta. (2018, August 31). Retrieved November 3, 2018, from https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Perchta

Lut, K. (2018, October 19). Krampus – another folk tradition being exploited? Retrieved November 3, 2018, from https://thinkglobalheritage.wordpress.com/2018/10/19/krampus-another-folk-tradition-being-exploited/

Zimmerman, J. (2017, December 07). 9 Facts About Krampus, St. Nick’s Demonic Companion. Retrieved November 3, 2018, from http://mentalfloss.com/article/71999/9-facts-about-krampus-st-nicks-demonic-companion

Krampus. (2018, October 12). Retrieved November 3, 2018, from https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Krampus

Lights Over St. Louis

ghost-train-of-st-louis canadian stamp

A collection of Will-o’-the Wisp ghost stories revolving around an abandoned rail bed near St. Louis, Saskatchewan, Canada.  A phenomenon that has inspired ghost stories, helped two high school students earn a gold medal in a Science Fair, and even earned its mark on a Canadian stamp.

The St. Louis Light

An unidentifiable light phenomenon is visible along a rail bed north of St. Louis where the tracks have long been removed.   The light is said to begin as a glow starting on one side of the rail bed that increases in brightness as it moves to the center of the rail bed.  A common description by eyewitnesses of the level of intensity of brightness has been compared to the brightness of a star. The length of time of the phantom light lasting varies from a few seconds to roughly an hour.  In some accounts the phantom light is followed by a deep red light.

What is this phantom light?

 

Story #1

Way back when the rails ran past St. Louis, a railroad worker was on a routine rail inspection.  While on his daily work routine consisting of inspecting the rails, moving from one stretch of rail to the next on his iron coal fed work horse, and of course not to mention his routine visits of his ol’ pocket companion the flask, the inebriated worker stopped at a stretch of rail just north of St. Louis.  When getting out of his overworked iron horse he inadvertently neglected to make sure the brake was applied. The worker was on the ground behind the engine checking the rail with his head aligned parallel to the rail facing away from his oncoming death. While lining up his sights on the rail, the engine slowly started to roll in reverse and unhurriedly severed his head.

campfire

To this day…

Some say, the phantom light is the rail worker holding out his stretched arm clinching to his lantern in front of him looking for his lost head. “Oooo…”

 

Story #2

A long time ago, some time between World War I and World War II, a train passing by St. Louis had to come to a complete stop just north of St. Louis due to snow covering the tracks.  Two men decided to exploit the situation and rob the train. At some point during the heist the thieves killed the hapless conductor and over a dispute over the loot one of the thieves killed his partner.  Both bodies were buried under the snow and were not discovered until later in the spring when the snow melted away.

campfire

To this day…

Some say, the phantom light is the spirits of the conductor and the thief wandering the rail bed, lost for eternity. “Oooo…”

Another Story

Back in the days when it was common to see the sights of trains permeating the skies with their black bellowed smoke clouds grinding and chugging away down the rails a passenger train derailed just north of St. Louis.  The passenger cars were illuminated with oil lanterns. When the train derailed, the lit lanterns fell and immediately endoused the wooden passenger cars into flames. All passengers died in a fiery hell.

campfire

To this day…

Some say, the phantom light is the front of the train and the tailing red light is coming from the rear of the caboose transporting the lost souls to a destination that they will never arrive to.  “Oooo..”

The Scientific Explanation

Two 12th graders in Saskatchewan Canada conducted an experiment for a science fair project on the St. Louis Phantom Lights starting in the fall of 2001 and ending in winter 2002.  After doing several experiments to figure out this unknown light source and trying to recreate the phantom light they succeeded. The conclusion to their theory of the explanation behind the ghostly lights suggests that it is an optical phenomenon called diffraction.  Diffraction is the process by which a small beam of light from a distance is spread out through a narrow passage, such as gaps between trees, and create the appearance that the light source is closer to the observer. Their project received the gold medal.

diffraction

Another Tidbit

In 2004, Canada Post debuted their “spooky tales” stamp collection.  1 of the 5 featured stamps was dedicated to the St. Louis Ghost Train.

 

References

Byrd, D. (2016, October 29). Ghost lights: Believe if you dare. Retrieved October 12, 2018, from http://earthsky.org/human-world/ghost-lights-believe-in-them-if-you-dare

‘Ghost train’ of St. Louis, Sask., gets its own stamp | CBC News. (2014, June 13). Retrieved October 12, 2018, from https://www.cbc.ca/news/canada/saskatchewan/ghost-train-of-st-louis-sask-gets-its-own-stamp-1.2674498

Riemer, T. (2014, October 31). Ghost train story haunts small Saskatchewan community. Retrieved October 12, 2016, from https://www.producer.com/2014/10/ghost-train-story-haunts-small-saskatchewan-community/

Northatlanticblog. (2017, September 05). Ghost Train: The St. Louis Light. Retrieved October 12, 2018, from https://northatlanticblog.wordpress.com/2017/09/05/ghost-train-the-st-louis-light/

Yanko, D. (n.d.). The St. Louis Ghost Train. Retrieved October 12, 2018, from http://www.virtualsk.com/current_issue/ghost_train.html

St. Louis Light. (2018, May 07). Retrieved October 12, 2018, from https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/St._Louis_Light

“There’s a Ring Around Your Rosy Dude”

Ring-a-ring-a-roses

Are the Children actually singing and playing a game about pestilence and death,or is it folklore evolving about folklore?

The Game

The singing play game involves a group of children holding hands to form a circle, dancing around singing, “Ring Around the Rosies”.  The lyrics have many variations and have also developed over time.

This is the version that I remember as a child:

Ring around the rosies

Pocket full of posies

Ashes…Ashes…

We all fall down

When the children finish singing the last line, “we all fall down”, the children fall to the ground. The last child to hit the ground ends up in the center of the circle and the game continues with another round of the lyrics.

Another variation of Ring Around the  Rosy

children playing ring around the rosey

Hidden Meanings

The most notorious hidden meaning in the nursery singing game is about the Black Plague also known as the bubonic plague originating from Central Asia and spreading throughout Europe in the late Middle Ages starting around 1340 and lasting ‘til 1400.

  • Ring around the rosies:  represents the red sores that are a common symptom
  • Pocket full of posies:  the posy flower was used to help relieve the pain of the sores
  • Ashes…Ashes… :  It was common practice  to cremate the infected bodies and homes
  • We all fall down :  A third of the Western European population died from the bubonic plague
Plague_-buboes

Plague Buboes

Another Common Version

Ring a ring a roses

A pocket full of posies

A-tishoo! A-tishoo!

We all fall down

This version of the song is supposedly referencing the plague that occurred in London 1665.  A-tishoo! A-tishoo!, is claimed to be representing the sound one makes when sneezing, that or… London depleted their tissue supply in 1665 and the people were demanding more tissue. “A-tissue! A-tissue!”.  That last statement about tissue was completely 100% made-up and it seemed funny at the time so I’m standing by it.

Anyways…

The first printed version of “Ring around the Rosy” was published in 1881 in Kate Greenaway’s Mother Goose Old Nursery Rhymes.

mother goose

I have a question

If there were groups of children gathering in the streets of Europe holding hands dancing and singing about pestilence and death for roughly over 500 years why didn’t anyone report it or at least document it?

 

MetaFolklore

Folklife Today, has classified folklore that is about folklore as metafolklore.  It is typically untrue but some might have some small truths to them.  The metafolklore about the game in question is untrue. The lyrics of any version of “ring around the rosy”  have no real meaning or known origin. As for the origins of the game involving the nursery rhyme, Folklorist Philip Hiscock suggested:

“The more likely explanation is to be found in the religious ban on dancing among many Protestants in the nineteenth century, in Britain as well as here in North America. Adolescents found a way around the dancing ban with what was called in the United States the “play-party.” Play-parties consisted of ring games which differed from square dances only in their name and their lack of musical accompaniment. They were hugely popular, and younger children got into the act, too.” (Snopes)

Final Thoughts…

Ring around the rosy is a children’s game with many variations from around the world and modern versions have developed and are currently still being played as a sing play game by our little ones today.  It is very human of us in wanting to believe in hidden meanings behind the games, stories, movies, or other forms of entertainment. The older the secret of the hidden meanings the better, whether it’s true or not, doesn’t matter.  It creates an added entertainment value to the old original piece of folklore. As long as the beliefs in these hidden secret meanings are maintained the value of the entertainment will hold its value.

Some other interesting hidden meanings…

According to Urban Dictionary, a ring around the rosy is a service that one will provide with their tongue after doing some butt stuff with a partner.  As for those gentleman who have experienced having intercourse with a lady who was having her menstrual cycle, if you discovered that you had a red ring around your penis after taking off the condom, that… is a ring around your rosy dude.

References

FACT CHECK: Ring Around the Rosie. (2000, November 17). Retrieved September 16, 2018, from https://www.snopes.com/fact-check/ring-around-rosie/

Bubonic plague. (2018, August 27). Retrieved September 16, 2018, from https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Bubonic_plague

McDaniel, S. A. (2017, May 03). “Ring-around-the-Rosie” Is Not about the Black Death, Nor Has It Ever Been. Retrieved September 16, 2018, from http://talesoftimesforgotten.com/2017/05/03/ring-around-the-rosie-is-not-about-the-black-death-nor-has-it-ever-been/

Winick, S. (2014, July 24). Ring Around the Rosie: Metafolklore, Rhyme and Reason. Retrieved September 16, 2018, from https://blogs.loc.gov/folklife/2014/07/ring-around-the-rosie-metafolklore-rhyme-and-reason/

Rapist Thwarted by a Flying Vagina

A Hawaiian folk legend about sexism, chauvinism, and a goddess with a flying yoni.

 

The_goddess_pele_by_arthur_johnsen

Pele

Pelehonuamea

According to ancient Hawaiian legend Pelehonuamea, commonly referred as Pele, was 1 of 6 daughters and 7 sons of Haumea (the Earth goddess) and Kane Milohai (the creator of the sky, earth, and the heavens.  Pele is the goddess of fire and volcanoes. She came to the Hawaiian islands after being exiled from Tahiti because of her hot flaming temper. It is believed that she made Halema’uma’u Volcano her home. Pele is referred to as  “She who shapes the sacred land”.

Stories over time have developed of Pele traveling throughout the islands appearing as a beautiful young or old woman sometimes accompanied by a white dog.  When humans encounter her she will make small requests. If the person refuses to accommodate her needs they will face her wrath. Pele was reported by tourists of photo bombing her face in their vacation pictures of lava lakes.

Halemaumau_Crater,_March_2013

Halema’uma’u Valcano, March 2013

 

Tourist beware, when visiting the Hawaiian Islands it is forbidden to remove a lava rock from the islands.  Lava is a sacred piece of the fire goddess. If you remove a piece bad luck will fall upon you. Also when visiting Halema’uma’u, around the edges of the caldera, grow ohelo berries.  It is considered offensive to eat these berries before offering them or at least asking for permission from the goddess. Remember, a fire goddess is not someone you want to offend, they tend to have a reputation of having explosive tempers.

Kapo

Kapo

Kapo is a Hawaiian goddess of fertility, sorcery, and dark powers.  She is believed to take on any shape that she pleases and has the ability of detaching her vagina from her body.  It is also believed female mediums serving as a host to Kapo must cover their genitalia with a ti leaf. If they fail to do this, the mediums would be victims of having their vaginas ripped off.

 

Kamapua'a

Kamapua’a

Kamapua’a – The Pig God

Kamapua’a translates to pig child.  Born on the island of Oahu through human parents he was known to be an adventurous and a mischievous character.  Kamapua’a has the powers of turning his human form into a hog. Kamapua’a was a demigod that was only worshiped by commoners.  In human form, Kamapua’a was described to be a very strong, attractive, and charismatic man. He had a reputation with the females in villages that he traveled through on his journeys.

There are many different variations to this story.  According to one source, Kamapua’a falls in love with Pele but was quickly rejected by her calling him a “child of a pig”.  With time, they fell in love but their short lived romance ended in a heated feud.

 

Feminism vs. Male Chauvinism

One Hawaiian legend tells of a situation where Kamapua’a was stalking Pele.  After several rejections from Pele, Kamapua’a tried to force himself on her like a lusting animal.  Somehow feeling something was wrong, Pele’s sister came to her aid. When Kapo arrived and saw Kamapua’a trying to rape Pele, Kapo pulled up her hula skirt, grabbed and ripped her own vagina off.  She threw her heavily scented womanhood across Kamapua’a face enticing his lust away from Pele redirecting him like a dog fetching a flying stick hurling across the horizon. His pig instincts on overdrive caused Kamapua’a to run off of a cliff and land on his face.  Some variations of the legend are saying that this magical vagina sprouted wings and flew about 200 km to the south-eastern point of O’ahu. The Kohe lele, another word for vagina, made an imprint on the ground after landing. The Hawaiian volcano crater is referred to as kohelepelepe, Hawaiian for fringed vagina.

Hanauma Bay, koko Crater, and hawaii Kai

Kohelepelepe aka Koko Head

 

Final Thoughts…

The story of Kapo and her flying vagina has many deeper meanings depending on how one perceives the telling of this story.  Some people say that Kapo was an ancient feminist fighting against a male dominated culture. Kamapua’a, the pig god, coincidentally or intentionally played the role of a modern day reference to a “male chauvinist pig”.  While reading about this legend, I’ll be honest, it lured me in the moment I saw the words magical flying vagina.
References

Oliver, M. (2017, April 09). Top 10 Truly Bizarre Folktales And Legends From Around The World. Retrieved July 25, 2018, from https://listverse.com/2017/04/09/top-10-truly-bizarre-folktales-and-legends-from-around-the-world/

HAWAIIAN GODDESS OF THE DAY: KAPO. (2014, July 04). Retrieved July 25, 2018, from https://glitternight.com/2011/04/01/hawaiian-goddess-of-the-day-kapo/

Yamanaka, K. Y. (n.d.). Pele, Hawaiian Goddess of Fire and Volcanoes. Retrieved July 25, 2018, from https://www.hawaii.com/discover/culture/pele/

Kamapua’a – The Pig God. (2015, July 26). Retrieved July 25, 2018, from http://www.privatetourshawaii.com/blog/kamapuaa-the-pig-god

Camphausen, R. C. (n.d.). The Flying Yoni of the Goddess Kapo. Retrieved July 25, 2018, from http://yoniversum.nl/yoni/kohelele.html

Traditions of Maunalua: Ko’olaupoko: Stories of an Ancient Island: Asia-Pacific Digital Library. (n.d.). Retrieved July 25, 2018, from http://apdl.kcc.hawaii.edu/oahu/stories/koolaupoko/makapuu.htm

WikiVisually.com. (n.d.). Retrieved July 25, 2018, from https://wikivisually.com/wiki/Kapo_(mythology)

 

Lost In Alaska

Welcome to alaska

Could it be Bigfoot, evil spirits, aliens, serial killers, freaky acts of phenomenon, or the cruel side of Mother Nature herself.   Let’s take a trip through the Alaskan Triangle!

 

If 33,000 miles of wilderness including 70 active volcanoes, 3 million lakes, 3,000 rivers, and an estimated 100,000 glaciers, blanketed with year round snow inhabited by untamed man eating beasts that could literally eat your face right off, is not enough for you outdoor adventure/survivalists types, then possibly an encounter with Bigfoot, evil spirits, aliens, or a run in with a local serial killer burying evidence in the woods might satisfy your adventure thrills to take a trip through the Alaskan Triangle.

Land of the Missing

In 2007, Alaska state troopers added 2,833 missing person notices just in that year alone.  With over a population of 670,000 residents that 2007 statistic averages out to four in every 1,000 people who go missing.  Many of these missing persons reports have been closed, however, Alaska also has the highest open missing persons alerts than any other state within the United States.  The 2016 FBI Violent Crime Report stated that Alaska also has the highest violent crime rate per capita in the United States.   Alaska also has become known to be the number one state, proportional to its population, that has had the most serial killings in the United States with a 15.65 serial killings per one million inhabitants.

alaskan-bermuda-triangle-1a

Many that are still missing have disappeared  within the boundaries of what is being referred to as the Alaskan Triangle.  The Cities of Anchorage, Juneau, and up to the north coast of Barrow, form this mysterious vortex that is also a hotbed for paranormal and UFO phenomenon that some people are claiming are the culprits of those who are still lost in Alaska.

220px-Hale_Boggs

Thomas Hale Boggs Sr.

Hale Boggs

One of the most high profile missing persons that has vanished within the Alaskan Triangle in 1972 would be the House Majority Leader Thomas Hale Boggs Sr.  He and his colleagues were on a flight, a twin engine Cessna 310, en route to a campaign fundraiser. On October 16, the plane disappeared somewhere between Anchorage and Juneau.  After a 39 day search for the plane and passengers, with the aid of the US Coast Guard, Navy, Army, Air Force, and Civil Air Patrol, neither the wreckage of the plane nor the remains of those who were onboard were ever found.  With Boggs involvement in the Warren Commission many conspiracy theories were born.

Vile_Vortices_Map
Vile Vortices

Vile vortices are geographical areas around the world that exhibit extreme electromagnetic anomalies and energy vortices, which are also called ley lines.  The term vile vortices was coined by researcher and cryptozoologist Ivan T. Sanderson. The most famous of these Vile vortices is the Bermuda Triangle. They also exist in the Algerian Megaliths to the south of Timbuktu, the Indus Valley in Pakistan,  Hamakulia Volcano in Hawaii, the Devil’s Sea near Japan, and both the North and South poles. Stonehenge, The Moai monuments of Easter Island, and the Pyramids in Egypt, sit on vortexes and it is currently believed that these structures were intentionally built in these places for that specific reason.

These electromagnetic vortices create all sorts of weird phenomena.  They are believed to affect humans in a wide variety of ways physically, mentally, and emotionally, causing auditory and visual hallucinations, giving people miraculous powers of healing, causing spurts of creativity and epiphanies.  These vortices can also cause disorientation, confusion, and wreak havoc with electrical instrumentation.

Microburstnasa

Microbursts

On 26th of April 2016, the Science Channel broadcasted an episode of “What on Earth?”.  Part of the segment claimed that the mystery behind the disappearances of ships and planes in the Bermuda Triangle were due to natural meteorological phenomenon known as microbursts.  Hexagonal clouds that can create up to 170 mph downward winds. These microbursts can be strong enough to force airplanes down from the air and flip ships over.

Shortly after the episode aired, the two scientists that were on the show talking about these microbursts stated that what they were talking about on the program was taken out of context. They stated that microbursts happen everywhere on the globe not just in the Bermuda Triangle. https://www.snopes.com/fact-check/scientists-solve-bermuda-triangle/

Myths and Legends

Within many cultures around the globe, legends and myths have lived and flourished through time and serve many purposes in our lives.  The Alaskan folklore is rich with terrifying creatures and share common characteristics with other horror pop culture beasts that roam within the dark forests of many people’s minds.

Qalupalik

A creature from Inuit legend that is described as being a human-like female with green skin, long hair, and very long fingernails.  According to legend, she resides in the sea humming to entice children to come closer to the waters. If the unsuspecting child gets too close to the shore line, the Qalupalik snatches them from the waters and claims them to be her own for eternity, never to be seen again.  Children are reminded by their parents and elders that if they are disobedient and wander too close to the shore that the Qalupalik will get them.

bigfoot

Tornits, aka The Alaska Bushman

Since the human migration crossing over the Bering Land Bridge, the story of the Tornits were created and are still being told today.  The story begins with the Inuit tribe and the Tornits living peacefully in villages near each other and shared common hunting grounds. The Inuit people were well skilled at building kayaks that were very useful for fishing, hunting, and transportation.  The Tornits were also great hunters themselves but lack the skills to master building kayaks like their friendly neighbors. One of the stories tells of a young Tornit that borrowed a Inuit’s kayak without permission and damaged the bottom of the boat. The young Inuit became very angry and stabbed the Tornit in the neck while the Tornit was asleep.  Fear in the Tornit’s villages quickly ran rampant, causing the Tornits to quickly disappear into the Alaskan bush and rarely were ever seen again. Inuit hunters eventually started to disappear while on hunting expeditions. Later they would be found dead, their bodies mutilated and limbs torn off. Sightings of Alaskan Bushmen also referred to as Bigfoot, Sasquatch, and Yeti  have been reported from all over the world and share similar characteristic with each other. If you are ever wandering in the woods and you see trees that have been uprooted and flipped upside down, just remember, trees don’t do that by themselves. It is a sign that you are in Bigfoot country.

werewolf

Adlet

Adlet is commonly described and compared to the likes of the pop culture horror creatures known as werewolves.  According to Inuit legend, Adlets originated from the offspring of a human female and a male dog. The woman gave birth to 10 children, half of them were dogs and the other half were Adlets.

Tizheruk

A snake-like sea creature that is believed to roam the Alaskan waters.  They are commonly described as having a 7 foot-long head with a flipper tail and are typically 12 to 15 feet from head to flipper.  It is believed that they snatch and eat people from docks and piers.

Mount_Hayes

Mount Hayes and UFOs

If you saw the movie “Men Who Stare at Goats”, you might possibly be blown away if I were to tell you that the movie was loosely based off of a real CIA project that occured in the early 1970’s

Project Stargate was a CIA project with the support of the University of Stanford.  Individuals with the ability of remote viewing were recruited and assigned the task of discovering foreign countries secret military facilities.  While these sessions were being held, not only were key locations of other countries bases revealed but the remote viewers were also able to locate four additional bases that were being operated by extraterrestrials.  The four locations named were Monte Perdido in the Spanish Pyrenees, Mount Nyangani in Zimbabwe, Mount Zeil in Australia, and Mount Hayes in Alaska.

References

Toombs, T. (2012, June 12). Alaska folklore: Five mythical creatures of the Last Frontier. Retrieved July 14, 2018, from https://www.adn.com/features/article/alaska-folklore-five-mythical-creatures-last-frontier/2012/06/13/

Urban Legends of Alaska. (n.d.). Retrieved July 14, 2018, from https://www.history.co.uk/shows/missing-in-alaska/articles/urban-legends-of-alaska

Hale Boggs. (n.d.). Retrieved July 14, 2018, from https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Hale_Boggs

Conger, C. (2008, April 15). Why has part of the Alaskan wilderness been called the Bermuda Triangle? Retrieved July 14, 2018, from https://adventure.howstuffworks.com/alaska-bermuda-triangle.htm

FALSE: Scientists Finally Solve the Mystery of the Bermuda Triangle. (2016, October 25). Retrieved July 14, 2018, from https://www.snopes.com/fact-check/scientists-solve-bermuda-triangle/

Seaburn, P., & Swancer, B. (2015, April 07). The Mystery of the Alaska Triangle. Retrieved July 14, 2018, from https://mysteriousuniverse.org/2015/04/the-mystery-of-the-alaska-triangle/

Medred, C. (2010, September 8). Alaska: The land of disappearance. Retrieved July 14, 2018, from https://www.adn.com/uncategorized/article/alaska-land-disappearance/2010/09/09/

Project Stargate: Remote Viewers Discover UFO Bases. (2017, January 31). Retrieved July 14, 2018, from http://www.historydisclosure.com/project-stargate-remote-viewers-discover-ufo-bases/

Facts About Alaska. (n.d.). Retrieved July 14, 2018, from http://alaska.gov/kids/learn/facts.htm
Additional Sources

Table 3. (2017, September 07). Retrieved July 14, 2018, from https://ucr.fbi.gov/crime-in-the-u.s/2016/crime-in-the-u.s.-2016/tables/table-3

(n.d.). Retrieved July 14, 2018, from https://www.cia.gov/library/readingroom/document/cia-rdp96-00788r001100210002-6

(n.d.). Retrieved July 14, 2018, from https://www.cia.gov/library/readingroom/search/site/projectstargate

(n.d.). Retrieved July 14, 2018, from http://www.nuforc.org/webreports/ndxlak.html