Gateway to Evil or Just a Game

ouija-board

The belief and/or desire to communicate with ghosts of loved ones, historical, famous, or infamous, is a common human behavior and has always been a part of human culture.  Examples of communing with the dead can be found in the Bible, mythology, classic literature, and on the shelves of your nearby children’s toy store.  Does the Ouija Board really work or is it just a game for entertainment purposes only?  

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Spiritualism in America

During the year of 1848, the obsession of spiritualism, already popular in Europe, spread like a wildfire in the U.S. when Kate and Margaret Fox; two sisters who lived in Hydesville, NY, became instant celebrities by claiming they contacted the spirit of a dead peddler.  The word “medium” is used as a label that identifies the talented or “gifted” person who has the ability of communicating with the dead by using various methods such as table turning (tilting or taping).  The medium along with the attendees would sit around a table and place their fingers lightly on the edge of the table top.  The medium would ask questions and then call out letters or numbers and if the table taps the floor on the letter or number the answer is presumed to be the spirit communicating back.    Another method was developed by placing a pencil sticking through the center of a small basket and the spirit would write out the answer of the questions  asked by the medium.  Later this tool developed into what is now known as the planchette, French for small plank.

hisc  Interesting historical tidbit…

Mary Todd Lincoln conducted a séance in the White House after their 11 year old son died from illness in 1862.

Other methods and tools were also used and developed to commune with the spirits but failed in the market.  The planchette tool became the most popular method of communing with the other side, due to the cost of manufacturing, this device was cheaper than its competitors such as the various types of dial plate instruments which were sometimes referred to as psychographs.  

In 1886 certain variations of talking boards where becoming the latest craze in the spiritual culture.  Business partners Charles Kennard, Elijah Bond, and a few other investors created their first version of their talking board.  They managed to convince a patent worker that it worked and the first patent talking board gave credit to Kennard and Bond in 1890.  The Ouija board got its name supposedly from a séance that took place with Kennard, Bond, and Helen Peters, Bond’s sister-in-law, who had a reputation of being a strong medium.  When Miss Peters asked the board “what would you like to be named?”  The board responded by spelling out Ouija.  Miss Peters asked, “What is the meaning of the word Ouija?”  The board answered back, “Good Luck”.

william-fuld

William fuld

Starting as a varnisher for the Kennard Novelty Company, Fuld managed to climb the company’s ladder and became a major stockholder and eventually ended up running the company.  Fuld never claimed and is not the creator of the Ouija board, but somehow the New York Times  reported  this mis-information by declaring him the inventor.  In 1927, Fuld died from falling off the roof of his new factory.  Ironically, supposedly the Ouija board told Fuld to build the factory in the first place.

Does the board work?

If you have ever used an Ouija board at a party there are always those who will try to get a scare or a quick laugh, but it is also common when people are using the board to claim that they  are not the ones moving the planchette and accuse the other person and of course the other person denies it and says the same thing.  The ideomotor effect is the culprit behind this phenomenon.  Ideomotor actions are unconscious movements that occur when we focus on not trying to move.  The movement of the planchette on the board can occur naturally for the same reason dowsing is believed to be a good way to find water.

Is the Ouija Board evil?

Spiritualism was a very popular trend during the Civil War era.  During and after wars it is very common for people to try to contact lost loved ones.  In 1967, a year after Parker Brothers bought the rights from Fuld’s company, the Ouija board sold 2 million boards which outsold Monopoly that year.  The year 1967 was also the same year where more American troops were sent into Vietnam and also the year of  “Summer of Love” in San Francisco.  The evil reputation of the Ouija board didn’t really start developing until the movie The Exorcist was released in American theaters in 1973.  Then more horror movies used the Ouija board and helped create the evil reputation of the Ouija board that is now known today.

References

Waxman, O. B. (n.d.). ‘Ouija: Origin of Evil’ and the True History of the Ouija Board. Retrieved November 24, 2016, from http://time.com/4529861/ouija-board-history-origin-of-evil/

Jackson, J. (n.d.). The ideomotor effect. Retrieved November 24, 2016, from http://www.critical-thinking.org.uk/psychology/the-ideomotor-effect.php

Museum of Talking Boards: History of the Talking Board. (n.d.). Retrieved November 24, 2016, from http://www.museumoftalkingboards.com/history.html

Museum of Talking Boards – Board Gallery Page One. (n.d.). Retrieved November 24, 2016, from http://www.museumoftalkingboards.com/gal1.html

McRobbie, L. R. (2013, October 27). The Strange and Mysterious History of the Ouija Board. Retrieved November 24, 2016, from http://www.smithsonianmag.com/history/the-strange-and-mysterious-history-of-the-ouija-board-5860627/

 

 

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Halloween

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The origins of Halloween can be traced  all the way back to the Celts (800-450 BC).  Samhain (pronounced Sow-in or Sah- win) means “Summer’s end” and to the Celts, November the 1st  was considered to be the New Year.  What’s amazing is that a few of the customs that our pagan ancestors celebrated during Samhain have been maintained and have transcended through time to what is currently now known as Halloween.  There have been a lot of adaptations added from other cultures all throughout the time span that has molded this unique day that pays homage to the dead.

Samhain…

A fire festival, that was used by the Celts to encourage the sun to stay up as long as possible, that would start to take place on what is now known as October 31st and considered to be the last day of the year.  It was believed that on this day the veil between the living and the dead vanishes and the spirits of the dead become visible to the eyes of the living.  It was a common believe of this time period that the spirits would roam the earth looking for a body to posses, so the Celts would dress in costumes, mainly wearing animal heads and skins, and dance around bonfires to entertain the spirits and hopefully dupe them to prevent possessions of their bodies from malevolent spirits.  They would leave their front doors open to their lost loved ones.  The original Jack-ó-lanterns, made out of large turnips, beets, or potatoes, were placed on window ledges to scare off evil spirits.  November 1st, was the day that represented the end of summer, end of harvest, and the beginning of the dark cold winter.  Which is typically the time that is associated with death in many other cultures as well.

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Feralia and Pomona

Around 43 AD, the Romans were able to expand the territory that claim the majority of Celtic land and for 400 years influenced the former Celtic people with two Roman festivals known as Feralia; a day to honor the passing of the dead, and a day to honor Pomona, the goddess of fruits and trees.  The “bobbing for apples” game that is frequently played at Halloween kid parties is suspected to have have originated from the Romans because the apple served as a symbol for Pomona.

pomona

Roman Catholic Church

In 601 AD, Pope Gregory issued an order to his missionaries regarding concerns of converting the Celts.  The Roman Catholic church learned from experience that when dealing with pagans, instead of condemning them for their ideologies you used their beliefs and redirected them to be about Christ and allow them to continue their customs.  Pope Gregory IV had planned on turning Samhain into All Saints day in 835, but All Souls Day was established in 998 in a French monastery and spread quickly throughout Europe.  The celtic pagan rituals and beliefs were converted into worshiping martyrs and saints.

los Días de los Muertos

The Aztecs festival of the dead was originally a two-month celebration that also fell into the Fall season and was tied into celebrating the harvest season.  The festival was to pay homage to Mictecacíhuatl, the Goddess of the Dead and the Underworld also known as Mictlán.  Mictlán was not considered  to be a dark or scary place, it was actually viewed to be a peaceful realm where souls resided and waited for the days of visiting the living.  After the European invasion of the Americas, the Catholic monasteries employed the same tactic used with the Celts.  All Souls day was instituted into the daily lives of the natives and All Souls day and the native Aztec beliefs merged and formed what is now considered los Días de los Muertos (The Days of the Dead) which is celebrated on November 1st and 2nd.

dia-de-los-muertos

Halloween in the United States

Various Halloween traditions that are celebrated in the U.S. were influenced by European immigrants, mainly during the second half of the19th century.  By combining Irish and English traditions, the trick-or-treat tradition began in the U.S.  In the 1950’s, community leaders decided to make the holiday more directed towards the youth to minimize vandalism.  

References

History.com Staff. (2009). History of the Jack O’ Lantern. Retrieved November 03, 2016, from http://www.history.com/topics/halloween/jack-olantern-history

History.com Staff. (2009). History of Halloween. Retrieved November 03, 2016, from http://www.history.com/topics/halloween/history-of-halloween

Pon, D. (n.d.). The Origins of Halloween. Retrieved November 03, 2016, from http://www.albany.edu/~dp1252/isp523/halloween.html

Origins of Halloween and the Day of the Dead | EDSITEment. (n.d.). Retrieved November 03, 2016, from https://edsitement.neh.gov/feature/origins-halloween-and-day-dead

Santino, J. (n.d.). Halloween. Retrieved November 03, 2016, from http://www.loc.gov/folklife/halloween.html

The origin of Halloween is found in Celtic Ireland. (n.d.). Retrieved November 03, 2016, from http://www.irish-genealogy-toolkit.com/origin-of-Halloween.html

Warning! Potential Water Hazards

Half human and half fish or half human and half bird folklore lives and breathes in religious texts, literature, film, and big fish tales shooting from the mouths of drunken sailors spreading their over embellished stories of their voyages of the seas.  Folklore involving merfolk is embedded in cultures throughout the world, landlocked to coastal regions.

Era or Oannes

oannes

Babylonian deity Era aka Oannes is the Fish-god that is represented on seals and sculptures that date back to 5,000 BCE.  This fish god was usually depicted to have a bearded head with a crown and a half upper half man with a scaly fish tale instead of legs. This is the first known depiction of a merman.

Atargatis

oriental-mermaid-goddess-atargatis

Atargatis is a Syrian origin goddess whose influence spread to Greece, Rome, and beyond. Atargatis is the first depiction of a  mermaid.  Over the hundreds of years of being worshiped she was referred to be the goddess of fertility, goddess of the earth and water, and the goddess of love.  She is believed to be the direct inspiration to the Greek love goddess Aphrodite.

Folklore

The lore of merfolk can be greatly diverse from culture to culture.  Some folklore portray the mermaids/mermen as benevolent beings who are responsible for prosperous harvests. The morning dew on plants was believed to be the results of mermaids or water sprites dancing on land under the moon lit nights.  Other cultures perceive these merfolk to be malevolent beings that lure unsuspecting travelers with false promises of romance or luck that lead the victims to their watery deaths.

Rusalka…

rusalka

a slavic myth of a ghost, water spirit, succubus or mermaid like demon that dwells at the bottom of the rivers, lakes, or wells.  Rusalki (plural) are spirits of young women who died a tragic death anywhere near a body of water.   In some versions, unbaptized babies who were drowned by their mothers were believed to be the creations of Rusalki.  Rusalki were cursed to live in the form of a mermaid and reside in the waters to where they originally met their fate.  They would sing enchanting melodies to entrap men, women, or children to their watery deaths.  Rusalki can live on water or land and are commonly described to be pale or to have translucent skin, and to have no visible pupils.  Some stories state that they have green fiery eyes with green or golden hair which is always wet.  This variation with the wet hair description states that if the hair of the Rusalka drys, she will die.  In some versions, the Rusalki had a positive effect on crops.

Sirens…

viktor-mikhailovich-vasnetsov-the-birds-of-joy-and-sorrow

a Greek mythological creature described to be a half bird and half woman who lure sailors to their deaths with their beautiful melodic voices.  Homer, the ancient Greek poet, mostly known for The Iliad and The Odyssey, claimed to have seen two sirens on an island in the western sea between Aeaea and the rocks of Scylla.  In The Odyssey, the Greek Hero Odysseus wanted to hear the beautiful sounds of these creatures.  Under advisement from a sorceress named Circe, the crew stuffed wax into their ears to silence out the temptresses.  Odysseus had himself tied to the mast of the ship to prevent the temptation of the beautiful sounds that would lead to impending death.

A little History tidbit..

In 1492, Christopher Columbus sailed out from Spain to find a western trade route to Asia. Taken from his journal entries, On January 9, 1493, near the Dominican Republic, Columbus noted that he spotted three mermaids.  Later, the conclusion was drawn that Columbus could have mistaken manatees for the creatures that he described in his journal entry.

References

Sullivan, K. (n.d.). Rusalka: The Mythical Slavic Mermaid. Retrieved October 06, 2016, from http://www.ancient-origins.net/myths-legends/rusalka-mythical-slavic-mermaid-006738

Columbus mistakes manatees for mermaids. (n.d.). Retrieved October 06, 2016, from http://www.history.com/this-day-in-history/columbus-mistakes-manatees-for-mermaids

Took, T. (n.d.). Atargatis, the Phoenician Great Goddess. Retrieved October 06, 2016, from http://www.thaliatook.com/OGOD/atargatis.php

The Beautiful Monster: Mermaids. (n.d.). Retrieved October 06, 2016, from http://blog.biodiversitylibrary.org/2014/10/the-beautiful-monster-mermaids.html

Siren. (n.d.). Retrieved October 06, 2016, from https://www.britannica.com/topic/Siren-Greek-mythology

SEIRENES. (n.d.). Retrieved October 06, 2016, from http://www.theoi.com/Pontios/Seirenes.html

Sirens. (n.d.). Retrieved October 06, 2016, from http://www.greekmythology.com/Myths/Creatures/Sirens/sirens.html

Mermaids & Mermen: Facts & Legends. (n.d.). Retrieved October 06, 2016, from http://www.livescience.com/39882-mermaid.html

 

Kuchisake Onna (the Slit-Mouthed Woman)

Kuchisake Onna

The legend of Kuchisake-Onna, a.k.a. The Slit-Mouth Woman, is a Japanese tale about the consequences of vanity and infidelity that can be dated back to the Heian Era (794-1185).  Many variations of the tale have been adapted to fit modern times, but the underlying life lessons still remain.

Folklore

A very beautiful wife of a Samurai was obsessed with pulling males complimentary attention to her radiant glow of her promiscuous presence that reached a point where suspicion of infidelity started to creep into the thoughts of her husband.  Eventually the Samurai couldn’t bare the shame and  humiliation of his wife having an affair and out of rage the husband started to beat his wife and took a knife to her mouth that gave her a permanent smile from ear to ear while yelling, “who will think you’re beautiful now?”  The woman died shortly after her domestic assault and then arose as the vengeful spirit known as Kuchisake Onna.

According to the earliest version of this story that I have found, the first appearance of Kuchisake Onna was described to be wearing a Kimono and would hide her face with one of the large sleeves while haunting the streets looking for her next victim.  She would approach lone male travelers while hiding her hideous deformity with her sleeve and ask them, “Do you think I’m pretty?”  If the unsuspecting prey says yes, she will reveal her face and and ask “Do you think I’m pretty now?”.  If the victim lies and says “yes” Kuchisake Onna will give the liar a permanent smile just like hers or If he says no she will slit his throat.

Kuchisake-Onna-Legend-Wife-Of-Samurai

A more modern version of the tale states that Kuchisake Onna was a victim of a botched plastic surgery operation and haunts the streets wearing a trenchcoat and a surgical mask to cover her mouth.  Instead of using a knife as a weapon, she would use a pair of dull rusty scissors to bring a smile to her victims.

Kuchisake Onna 2

The surgical mask adaptation is the scariest version, in my opinion, due the fact that it is very common to see people commuting around the bigger cities of Japan.  Due to huge populations in cities such as Tokyo, Yokohama, Osaka, etc.  the fear of spreading germs is a norm in the culture of the populace and surgical masks have become the standard accessory that people wear while commuting in these cities.

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True Events

In 1979, the legend of Kuchisake Onna blew up into mass hysteria among the children of Japan.  A woman with a Glasgow Grin was witnessed chasing children around.  The news spread rapidly like a forest fire through the rest of Japan, South Korea, and even China.  Parents, teachers, and local law enforcement of Japan got swept up into the scare by closing schools earlier in the day to allow teachers to escort the children home before it got dark.   Parks, once filled with children playing, became ghost towns.  Police increased their patrols in the neighborhoods.

carved poster

Survival guide to avoid or escape the Slit-Mouthed Woman

It was a common belief that Kuchisake Onna comes from shadows, so children would avoid streets that had shadows present in the area.  Many other tactics were developed to avoid or to ward her off.  When she asks if she is pretty, answering her question with the question, “do you think you’re pretty?” or reply “So-So” is believed to confuse her and buy you sometime to escape your deadly date with this vengeful spirit.  The smell of Pomade (a certain type of hair gel) offends her and will prevent her from coming near you.  It is believed, according to the modern plastic surgery version, that the surgeon was wearing Pomade while performing his operation on the soon-to-be Kuchisake Onna and the smell of it caused her to move her head which led to her deformity and death.

References

Matsuura, Thersa. “Frightful Japan: The Torn-Mouth Woman (Kuchisake Onna) – HNN | Horrornews.net – Official News Site.” HNN Horrornewsnet Official News Site. N.p., 06 Feb. 2011. Web. 08 Aug. 2016.  Retrieved from http://horrornews.net/30080/frightful-japan-the-torn-mouth-woman-kuchisake-onna/

Kuchisake-Onna. (n.d.). Retrieved August 08, 2016, from http://creepypasta.wikia.com/wiki/Kuchisake-Onna

Wirawan, Anita. “Legend Of The Slit-Mouthed Woman: Kuchisake Onna – Anita’s Notebook.” Anita’s Notebook. N.p., 04 Feb. 2013. Web. 08 Aug. 2016.  Retrieved from http://anitasnotebook.com/2013/02/legend-of-the-slit-mouthed-woman-kuchisake-onna.html

Schwarz, Rob. “Kuchisake-Onna, the Slit-Mouthed Woman.” Stranger Dimensions. N.p., 01 July 2013. Web. 08 Aug. 2016.  Retrieved from http://www.strangerdimensions.com/2013/07/01/kuchisake-onna-the-slit-mouthed-woman/

La Llorona (The Weeping Woman)

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While growing up in Albuquerque, NM; the fear of La Llorona (pronounced “LAH yoh RoH nah”), also known as The Weeping Woman, was a fear instilled into me to the point where you would never see my happy little monkey butt playing by rivers or arroyos (ditches) at night as a child.

There is no established date of when the legend of La Llorona took place.  However the origins of the story came from Mexico and has spread all over the southwestern parts of the United States with many variations to the Legend.

Folklore

The retelling that I still remember from my childhood of the La Llorona starts in a small village in Mexico.  In this village lived a very attractive woman named Maria with vanity over surpassing her beauty.  All gentlemen suitors were rejected when trying to court Maria, until one day a very handsome man, son of a very wealthy ranchero, rode into town on his horse.  When this man first laid his eyes on the very beautiful Maria, he was convinced that this was the woman that he wanted to marry.  For awhile at first, Maria played hard to get by ignoring this handsome wealthy gentleman.  She would refuse to speak to him by not giving him the time of the day.  She also rejected all of his elaborate gifts that were presented to her to win her affection.

Long story short, they were married and had two children together.  They were perceived to be the happiest family in the area.  Then after a few years after the children were born, the ranchero started to leave home more and more to suit his embedded wild frontier lifestyle.  When returning  on occasions the man started to ignore Maria and would only spend time with his children.  On the last visit home the wealthy ranchero came back with another woman in his carriage.  The man told Maria that he was leaving her for this woman who was from a wealthier class.  As the newlyweds rode off Maria became furious and grabbed her children and took them for a walk to a nearby river.  While they were walking down the bank of the river, Maria’s anger was festering from within and boiled over.  Out of rage she grabbed her children by the arms and threw them into the river.  Maria stood by the river watching the strong currents pulling her children away to their watery deaths.  After realizing what she had just done, Maria started running down the river bank crying out to her children.  Maria ran as fast as she could but could not keep up with the speed of the currents.  While running and trying to shorten the gap to her children, she tripped and fell face first hitting her head on a rock and died.

la-llorona-arrepentida-evangelina-portillo

To this day, if children dare to play near any form of rivers they might hear the sounds of a crying woman in white yelling out for her children.  And if these foolish young souls stay long enough, she will take them as her own.

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Other variations of the La Llorona portray her children to be spoiled little brats and after her husband left her the little monsters misbehaving is supposedly what triggered Maria’s rage that caused her to kill her children.  Another version of the La Llorona tale states that she married a conquistador and when she was dumped for another woman of higher status her Aztec blood threw her into madness and she killed her children.  After killing her children she went on a mission to rid all European colonists by killing men, women, and children as an act of vengeance against the intruders of her land from overseas.  She was portrayed to be wearing black clothing, a blank expression on her face, and having long fingernails.  She would carry out her conquests of eliminating European colonists at night.

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Like any other ghost story, the La Llorona legend is used as a scare tactic to keep children from danger.  Whether it is to keep them from playing around bodies of water or to get them to come home before it gets dark.  The story is also used to get a child to behave.  If a child acts like a brat, La Llorona would be the threat used to redirect the child’s behavior.

References

La Llorona – A Mexican Ghost Story | donQuijote. (n.d.). Retrieved July 24, 2016, from http://www.donquijote.org/culture/mexico/society/customs/la-llorona

Challenging and Redefining the Myth of La Llorona. (n.d.). Retrieved July 24, 2016, from http://www.csusm.edu/news/topstories/articles/2012/10/tsLaLlorona.html

Fuller, A. (n.d.). The evolving legend of La Llorona. Retrieved July 24, 2016, from http://www.historytoday.com/amy-fuller/evolving-legend-la-llorona

LA LLORONA. (n.d.). Retrieved July 24, 2016, from https://tshaonline.org/handbook/online/articles/lxl01

Weiser, K. (n.d.). La Llorona – Weeping Ghost of the Southwest. Retrieved July 24, 2016, from http://www.legendsofamerica.com/gh-lallorona.html

Hayes, J. (n.d.). LA LLORONA – A HISPANIC LEGEND. Retrieved July 24, 2016, from http://www.literacynet.org/lp/hperspectives/llorona.html

 

Bloody Mary: True Stories Behind the Legend

bloody mary 1

As many of us have probably experienced as kids going to slumber parties, summer camps, afterschool programs, or having older siblings trying to scare you; have more than likely have heard and maybe even brave enough to play Bloody Mary.  I can recall playing the game in the 1st grade while attending an afterschool program a.k.a. daycare.  Some older kids told us about the story of Bloody Mary and then dared us to play the game in the bathroom.  You had to turn the water faucets on and chant “Bloody Mary” three times in the dark.  Nothing happened really, except one of the older boys thought it would be funny to put a pack of red Kool Aid in his mouth.  When the light switch was flicked back on it looked like he had blood flowing out of his mouth and his arms were flailing in the air like he was possessed.  But enough with one of my early childhood traumas,  There are many true stories behind the legend of Bloody Mary.

Mary I, Queen of England a.k.a Mary Tudor

bloody mary

The English Catholic Queen reigned from 1553 until her death in 1558.  During her reign, she ordered the execution of hundreds of Protestants and had them burned at the stake for committing heresy.  Her religious campaign towards making England a Catholic nation is what earned Mary I the nickname Bloody Mary.  Mary was afraid that if she didn’t produce a male heir to the throne of England that her religious efforts would have been undone.  Mary experienced several false pregnancies and eventually died in London, on November 17, 1558.  The variation to the Bloody Mary ritual involving a part of the chant saying “I got your baby” is suspected to be mocking Mary Tudor and her failure of giving birth to a successor.

There are many other true stories that have been linked to this legend, but I decided to start with the earliest story because it makes sense how Mary Tudor could have been the first inspiration to the creation of the Bloody Mary legend.  There are many other stories that were credited to the legend.  Some of them make sense and have some aspects to them that has some to little correlation to the rituals that partake in the game.

Mary Worth

Mary Worth was assumed to be a witch who lived in Chicago during the Civil War.  She supposedly captured runaway slaves and locked them up in her barn to use them for her rituals.  Once the locals of the area caught wind of Mary’s dirty little secret, they took the law into their own hands and burned Ms. Worth at the stake.

Mary Worthington

Sometime in the 1960s, Mary Worthington was a beautiful girl who spent countless hours looking at herself in the mirror.  One day Mary was involved in a car accident and her face was horribly disfigured.  No one could stand to look at her.  Then one day she caught a glimpse of herself in the mirror and she committed suicide.

There have been other stories that have been tied to this notorious legend.  There are also other variations to the Bloody Mary legend throughout the world.

Sweden: Svarta Madam (Black Madame)

Russia: Dama Pika  (Queen of Spades)

Spain: Veronica

Japan: Kuchisake-onna (The Slit-Mouth Woman)

In 1978, Janet Langlois’ study found that the Bloody Mary ritual/game served the purposes of providing thrill of excitement to children and was considered to be a form of entertainment.  However, many scholars have stated that the elements of the rituals can be traced back to earlier superstitions and myths.

public domain mirror

Mirrors:  considered to be a “looking glass” into the spirit world.  The story of Snow White, written by the Brothers Grimm in 1857, was based off of a ritual throughout the British Isles in the 1700s.  Young Girls would stand in front of a mirror with a candle while combing their hair and then eat an apple.  The young woman would see in the mirror her future spouse appearing behind herself.   Through the 1800s there was a superstition that claimed that if one is to admire themselves for too long before a mirror it would cause the devil to appear.  Another belief that is present to this day, is if one dies in a room with mirrors,  the mirrors should be covered with clothes to prevent the spirit from  being trapped in the house.

Magic Rituals:     The rituals vary when playing Bloody Mary.  The most common rituals either involve turning in circles, the use of candles, and repeating incantations, or all of the above, are typical magic rituals that can be found in many cultures.

References

“Mary Tudor.” Bio.com. A&E Networks Television, n.d. Web. 22 May 2016. <http://www.biography.com/people/mary-tudor-9401296>.

“Bloody Mary Legend.” Scary Website. N.p., n.d. Web. 22 May 2016. <http://www.scaryforkids.com/bloody-mary-legend/>.

“The Mythical and Paranormal Realm.” Mary Worth and the Origin of Bloody Mary. N.p., n.d. Web. 22 May 2016. <http://mythical-and-paranormal-blog.blogspot.com/2012/05/mary-worth-and-origin-of-bloody-mary.html>.

Bloody Mary Legend. (n.d.). Retrieved May 22, 2016, from http://paranormal.lovetoknow.com/Bloody_Mary_Legend

 

The Legend of Sawney Beane

sawney bean depiction greater size

The legend of Sawney Beane and his clan of cannibals is a story that has gone through over 600 years of the telephone game. The clan of 38-48 was responsible for killing and eating more than a thousand people in a span of 25 years. The earliest printed story (The Newgate Calendar which was republished as Chapbooks in 1775) stated that the clan consisted of Beane, his wife, eight sons, six daughters, eight grandsons, and fourteen granddaughters; which to my calculations comes out to 38. Most of the variations stated the clan consisted of 48, but there are also many other conflicting or added embellishments to this story. The legend occurred either in the 15th or 16th century Scotland. Alexander Sawney Beane ran away from his ditch-digger father with a female companion. Some variations of the story claim that his girlfriend was a witch.

The couple made a home in a cave off of the coast near Girvan, Scotland. The high tides kept the entrance of the cave and the couple’s brood of cannibals concealed for 25 years.

google maps Girvan

The growing clan from incest would attack travelers outside of villages and towns. They would hack their victims up into pieces and carry all evidence back to their cave. One common element from the variations of the story is how the authorities apprehended the family. The Beane clan attacked a couple leaving a fair. The man managed to escape the fate of his wife’s demise and alerted the authorities of the crime. The story gets tangled with variations of what happened next.

One version states that the head of the family along with the children and grandchildren were apprehended. They were seen as subhuman and unfit to stand trial. The adult men were tortured and slowly executed in front of the women. Then the women were burned at the stake and the children were quickly put to death. Another variation claimed that dynamite was placed at the entrance of their cave sealing in the clan causing them to face the dreaded fate of suffocation.

clan of cannibals

The Newgate Calender was a publication that originated from the Newgate Prison in London that told the tales of notorious criminals. Scottish historian Dr. Louise Yeoman stated that the name Sawney is a derogatory name used by the English towards the Scottish. Yeoman also suspects that the English writer created the story to dehumanize the Scots by portraying them as barbaric savages.

Many people have searched for legal documents trying to authenticate this legend. No records have been found to validate any facts. Despite that the story took place either a hundred or two hundred years before it was documented and that the possibility of the story was made up to paint the image of the Scots as savages, the story has not only transcended time, but it has sparked an interest across the globe and even inspired the imaginations of directors such as Wes Craven and his film “The Hills Have Eyes”. In fact, the imagery of psychotic rednecks terrorizing travelers has developed it’s own Horror Genre. Movies such as “Wrong Turn”, “The Devil’s Rejects”, “Texas Chainsaw Massacre”, have created the fear of taking the backroads or “lets take a short cut” a legitimate fear

References

Scottish myths, folklore and legends. (n.d.). Retrieved May 10, 2016, from http://www.scotland.org/features/scottish-myths-folklore-and-legends/

Brocklehurst, S. (2013, February 22). Who was Sawney Beane? Retrieved May 10, 2016, from http://www.bbc.com/news/uk-scotland-21506077

Sawney Beane’s Cave. (n.d.). Retrieved May 10, 2016, from http://www.atlasobscura.com/places/sawney-Beane-s-cave

Sawney Beane. (n.d.). Retrieved May 10, 2016, from http://userhome.brooklyn.cuny.edu/anthro/jbeatty/Scotia/issue23/issue23a.html

Louise Yeoman. (n.d.). Retrieved May 10, 2016, from http://www.shca.ed.ac.uk/Research/witches/lyeoman.html

Summon 2.0. (n.d.). Retrieved May 11, 2016, from http://nls.summon.serialssolutions.com/search?cx=004988112283334510717:lqhse3e39qi