La Isla De Las Muñecas (Island of the Dolls)

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Imagine traveling in a boat and then slowly approaching an island where the landscape is littered with mutilated dolls, decapitated doll heads, and doll limbs, hanging from trees like Christmas ornaments or dangling from a dead man’s noose.  Would you be brave enough to explore and stay overnight on the Island of the Dolls?

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La Isla De Las Muñecas is located on what was once Lake Xochimilco, south of Mexico City. Before the Spanish colonization the area was part of the Aztec Empire.  The Aztecs created artificial islands known as chinampas that provided a variety of crops that became a primary source of food for the people of the Empire.  These man-made islands were connected through a labyrinth of canals that established a network with other nearby lakes.

Folklore

The legend of The Island of the Dolls starts in the 1950’s.  A man, either by the name of Don Julian Santana or Julian Santana Barrera, took residence and became the caretaker of the island.  One day while Julian was walking he stumbled upon the body of a dead girl on the shore of his island.  One source states that a group of girls were playing near a canal and one of the girls ended up drowning and washed up on Julian’s island.  Some sources claim that Julian also found an abandoned doll next to the girl and out of respect he hanged the doll on a limb of a nearby tree to keep the spirit of the girl at peace.  From time to time Julian would find dolls floating in the canals nearby the island.  He would hang them from trees or tie them to trunks or posts.  It is even stated that he would venture off his island and look for discarded dolls through other people’s garbage.

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My sources vary when it comes to the reasoning for Julian’s obsession of collecting abandoned or lost dolls/doll parts and hanging them to trees.  One source claims that after discovering the girl’s body, the spirit of the girl was tormenting him and he was protecting himself from the wrath of the spirit by giving her dolls to keep the vengeful spirit happy.  His family stated that the ghost of the girl was just a figment of his imagination.  Another source stated that the girl reminded him of his daughter whom he abandoned when he decided to become a hermit and was collecting dolls for the spirit of the girl out of kindness.  However, all the variations have a common and mysterious ending.  In 2001, the dead body of Julian was found on the same exact spot where the girl was found in the 1950’s.

Tourists Beware…

The family of Julian Santana have made the La Isla De Las Muñecas a tourist site.  Tours of the Island are given during the daytime.  However,  locals claim that at night the island becomes alive.  The dolls will move their remaining limbs or heads.  It has been reported that the dolls will whisper to each other and sometimes child laughter will echo through the eerie landscape of the Island of the Dolls.

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References

Hoeller, S. (2015). There’s a terrifying island in Mexico that’s full of hundreds of mutilated dolls. Retrieved August 21, 2016, from http://www.businessinsider.com/la-isla-de-las-muecas-doll-island-in-mexico-2015-10

Swancer, B. (2014, July 01). The Mysterious and Creepy Island of Dolls | Mysterious Universe. Retrieved August 21, 2016, from http://mysteriousuniverse.org/2014/07/the-mysterious-and-creepy-island-of-dolls/

The Island of the Dolls in Mexico | Oddity Central – Collecting Oddities. (2009). Retrieved August 21, 2016, from http://www.odditycentral.com/pics/mexicos-island-of-the-dolls-is-beyond-creepy.html

La Isla de la Munecas – Island of the Dolls. (2012). Retrieved August 21, 2016, from http://unusualplaces.org/la-isla-de-la-munecas-island-of-the-dolls/

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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

 

The Mothman

John A. Keel, a paranormal researcher and author, was visiting Point Pleasant, West Virginia in 1975 to investigate and write an article for Playboy magazine about UFO sightings in the area. He interviewed people of the area about weird events such as mysterious lights moving across the sky, people’s pets and cattle being found slaughtered and mutilated , and sightings of a mysterious part-man part-moth like creature.  His findings led to his book, The Mothman Prophecies, which inspired the movie in 2002 starring Richard Gere.

The Mothman Prophecies book cover

The Mothman Prophecies

The legend of the Mothman started on November 15, 1966.  When two couples, Steve and Mary Mallette and Roger and Linda Scarberry, reported to police, that while driving through the McClintic Wildlife Management Area, 6 miles north of Point Pleasant, West Virginia; a creature flew over their car.  The group got out of the car to investigate and saw a six or seven foot man with a ten foot wingspan and it had red glowing eyes.  The creature started to walk on what appeared to have two sturdy legs with a shuffling gait towards the group.   The scared couples quickly got into their car and drove away from the mysterious man-like bird.  However, while driving away this  creature took off of the ground and started following them while flying in the air without flapping it’s wings and was making high pitched squeaking noises.  After filing a report with the local authorities, the local media picked  up on the story and gave the creature the name, Mothman.  One of the witness’, Mrs. Scarberry stated that the creatures eyes didn’t start glowing red until their lights hit the creature’s face.  Three days later,  two Point Pleasant firemen visited the same area of the first sightings of the Mothman, near the TNT compound within the wildlife refuge.  They also reported seeing the huge creature but stated that it was just a bird.

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In 1967, during the holiday season, the Silver Bridge collapsed killing 46 people who were commuting over the Ohio River.  The bridge was built in 1928 and connected Point Pleasant, West Virginia and Gallipolis, Ohio.  Days before this tragic event, sightings of the Mothman were reported near the top of the bridge.  Some of the locals believe that the Mothman was to blame, while others interpreted the appearance of this mysterious creature as a warning sign of impending doom.

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Wildlife experts and other skeptics claim that the description of the Mothman fit the description of a few types of birds that are common in the area of where the sightings have been reported.  A barn owl, a horned owl, or the sandhill crane were suggested to be the culprits of the many sightings of the Mothman.  All three species of birds have eyes that will glow red when light is directed to them.  However, the locals of Point Pleasant celebrate the Mothman every September by holding a Mothman festival.  A Mothman statue was erected in the middle of the town in front of the Mothman museum.

Point Pleasant welcome sign

References

Mothman Revisited:
 Investigating on Site – CSI. (n.d.). Retrieved July 08, 2016, from http://www.csicop.org/sb/show/mothman_revisitedinvestigating_on_site
Mothman Prophecies True Story – John Keel, Silver Bridge, Indrid Cold. (n.d.). Retrieved July 08, 2016, from http://www.chasingthefrog.com/reelfaces/mothmanprophecies.php
Mckendry, D. I. (2015). The REAL Story of THE MOTHMAN PROPHECIES: Part One. Retrieved July 08, 2016, from http://www.blumhouse.com/2015/12/01/the-real-story-of-the-mothman-prophecies-part-one/
Who Is The Mothman? (n.d.). Retrieved July 08, 2016, from http://www.gods-and-monsters.com/mothman-legend3.html

 

Vampires

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Through countless folklore, novels, or films from around the world, vampires have been a part of our culture since the dawn of civilization.  The glamorous imagery of these blood sucking human creatures romancing our youth that drive them into gothic subcultures are entirely fictional characters that were created for pure entertainment.  However, there are real people from the past and present who have been portrayed or claim to be real vampires that have been documented by historians, journalist, and scientists.  Before I continue any further with this blog post, It is not my intention to convince you that immortal vampires that are portrayed in pop-culture exist.  The intention is to shed light on the subject of Vampirism itself by separating the facts from the myths.

Vampirism: [vam-pahyuh r-iz-uh m, -puh-riz-]

  1. Belief in the existence of vampires.
  2. The acts or practices of vampires.
  3. The act of preying upon or exploiting others

http://www.dictionary.com/browse/vampirism

Folklore

Vampires have been found in unearthed documents dating all the way back to the first known human civilization in Mesopotamia (modern day Iraq) known as the Sumerians roughly around 4000 B.C.E.  There hasn’t been any documented evidence found stating that they encountered vampires, but the belief in vampires was very real in their religious texts.  The Sumerians believed in two types of vampires, the immortal blood drinking vampires and psychic vampires.  The psychic vampires were referred to as the ekimmu which were described as an evil dust of wind that would find a human victim and torment them until a priest or priestess arrived and banished the evil presence away.  The Sumerians believed that this evil entity was created from a violent death or the body was not buried properly forcing the spirit to roam around earth looking for easy prey.  The other race of vampires, the immortal blood drinking variety, that the Sumerians also feared were the Seven Demons.  These creatures were known not only for drinking the blood from the veins of their victims but were also known to be afraid of the images of the gods of Sumer which were typically found in the Sumerian temples.  Coincidentally, looking at the western modern day vampire folklore, you can see the similarities of modern day vampires not being able to enter a church or having the fear of a crucifix.

Mesopotamia vampires

1,500 miles away and a few centuries later the Indus tribes of Northern India not only believed in vampires but were the first to believe in the concept of vampire gods.  These vampire gods were ruthless demonic beings that were appeased by the people out of fear.  Paintings and carvings were found in the Indus valley, that date back to this time period, of demonic looking creatures with green skin and fangs.  As of now there hasn’t been any literature found from the same time period that describes these beliefs, however in the surrounding areas these beliefs developed and these vampiric gods were eventually given names.  The Nepalese Lord of Death was the first known vampire god.  This god had fangs and was depicted by holding a skull used as a cup filled with blood while standing over a pile of human skeletons.  The Lord of Death was also a god believed by the Tibetans.  Their version of the god was depicted as being a green demon with fangs and it lived off of the blood of humans.

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A more modern vampire-like deity known as Kali was worshiped by the Thugee cult until wiped out by the British Empire in early 1800s.  Kali battled a demon known as Raktavija.  Every time Raktavija’s blood spilled onto the ground, more demons would appear.  Kali, so the tale goes, drank Raktavija’s  blood to defeat him.  The Thugee cult were responsible for killing tens of thousands of people, draining their blood, and roasting the remains on spits to appease the goddess Kali.  Kali is often depicted being covered in blood, having fangs, and sticking her tongue out presumably to lick up the blood sacrifices.  Sometimes pictures of Kali would have her standing over human skeletons like her predecessors.

Kali

The ancient Egyptians are suspected of being the culprits of bringing the vampire creatures to this realm by summoning a demon from another realm.  In Asia, they refer to vampires as Jiangshi, which are evil spirits that attack people and drain their life energy.  The Tibetan Book of the Dead mentioned 58 deities that were described as wraith-like entities that roamed the land of the dead.  It is believed that these spirits would posses a corpse, rise from the grave, and attack the living.  An old Romanian legend claims that to find a vampire’s grave one needs a white horse and a 7-year- old boy.  The boy needs to be wearing all white, placed on the horse and let the team go in midday in a graveyard.  When the horse stops, the closest grave to the horse is the resting spot of a vampire.

A common theme in the undead vampire folklore, is the fear of the dead rising from the grave.  Most folklore states that the best way of dispatching a vampire is to stake the vampire in the chest to pin the creature to the earth so it never comes back.  According to other folklore many supernatural beings such as djinn (genies) and vampires fear iron.  Some folklore state that the head needs to be chopped off of the creature.  Placing garlic or a brick in the mouth of the suspected vampires to prevent them from biting was another way of dealing with vampires.

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In time periods before modern knowledge of science, superstitions ran rampant in cultures and societies.  Tragic events were usually blamed on some supernatural creature/entity and sometimes vampires were the chosen culprit.  This belief was even brought over to the Americas when European immigrants stepped off the boats onto the land of their new home.  Graves were found by children playing near a gravel mine in Griswold, Connecticut, in 1990.  At first the police suspected that these graves were unknown victims of a local serial killer, Michael Ross, but later Nick Bellantoni, a Connecticut state archaeologist, confirmed that the unknown graves were colonial-era farm cemetery that was typical of the 1700s.  The dead, many of them being children, were laid resting in the similar Yankee style, simple wood coffins with their arms resting by their sides or crossed over their chest except Burial Number 4.  It was one of only two stone crypts in the cemetery.  While archaeologists uncovered the large rock forming the roof of the crypt, they found remnants of a smashed coffin and a pile of a skeleton bones with the skull sitting on the top of the pile.  After analyzing the remains of the skeleton, it was reported that the decapitation of the head, rib fractures, and the arrangement of the bones occurred  5 years after the individual was laid to rest.  Other graves have been found in the United States and Europe with similar characteristics like a brick found in a skull’s mouth or a sickle wedged between the head and the spinal cord.

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Historical Vampires

Vlad the Impaler ( Vlad Tepes 1431-1476) the most famous known vampire due to Bram Stoker’s Dracula set the standard image of the modern day interpretation of a vampire.  Vlad earned his nickname Vlad the Impaler by striking fear and intimidation to his enemies by impaling captured enemy soldiers while alive.  While enemy troops approached the scene of battle they would hear their captured comrades moaning in agony while dying a slow death.  It was also claimed that Vlad was seen sitting at a table with a cup of the blood of the dying soldiers and dipping bread into the blood and eating it while smiling at his enemies approaching.

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Elizabeth Bathory (1560-1614) also known as the Bloody Countess was born into Protestant nobility in Hungary.  Her family controlled Transylvania and an uncle was the king of Poland.  In 1609, after her husband’s death, the Hungarian countess developed a reputation for being cruel and violent with her servants.  Young women started to disappear from nearby villages and towns.  Eventually it was discovered that Elizabeth developed a craving to bathe in young women’s blood believing that it was keeping her skin looking younger.  Elizabeth’s servants were accused of aiding her blood thirst hobby and three of them were executed.  And go figure, the wealthy countess was sentenced to house arrest, more like sent to her room, at the Castle Cachtice where she died.

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Real Vampires

Not your typical goth teenagers romanticizing about being the sexy undead creatures of the night, yes I am talking about people who claim to be real mortal vampires.  They believe that feeding off of other’s blood or other’s psychic energy keeps them healthy and strong.  These are ordinary people who have ordinary jobs who prefer to be anonymous for the fear of prejudices from other human beings.  This is understandable, people hating others because of the color of their skin, sexual identity/preference, or religious differences is a common social issue throughout the world.  There are also other organisms that have vampire characteristics such as the vampire bat, mosquitoes, leeches, and spiders.

Now that I covered real life examples of the first two definitions of vampirism let’s look at the third definition,  the act of preying upon or exploiting others.  Crooked politicians, con artists, sex offenders, and TV evangelists come to my mind first when I think of vampirism.

                      

 References

K.(1996). Vampires: The occult truth. St. Paul, MN: Llewellyn Publications.

Browning, J. E. (2015). Real-Life Vampires Exist, and Researchers Are Studying Them. Retrieved June 19, 2016, from http://blogs.discovermagazine.com/crux/2015/03/26/real-life-vampires-exist/

Pallardy, R. (n.d.). Elizabeth Bathory. Retrieved June 19, 2016, from http://www.britannica.com/biography/Elizabeth-Bathory

The Great New England Vampire Panic. (n.d.). Retrieved June 19, 2016, from http://www.smithsonianmag.com/history/the-great-new-england-vampire-panic-36482878/?no-ist

Vampires: Fact, Fiction and Folklore. (n.d.). Retrieved June 19, 2016, from http://www.livescience.com/24374-vampires-real-history.html

The Hull House

Hull House

In 1856, a real estate tycoon Charles J. Hull built a home in the near westside of Chicago, which in that time period was considered to be the upper class area of the city.  Mr. Hull’s wife died in the second floor bedroom and shortly after a few months of her death it was reported that her ghost haunted the room.  After the rest of the Hull family vacated the house  the Little Sisters of the Poor and a used furniture store occupied the building and also claimed to have experienced the presence of Mrs. Hull.

After the Chicago Fire of 1871, burning down most of the westside, the wealthy moved to other parts of the city and the near westside became inhabited by Italian, Greek and Jewish immigrants.  The area’s landscape went from luxurious homes with green lawns and hedges to tenement houses and factories.

Jane Adams

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Jane Adams was a social reformer who was the first American woman to receive the Nobel Peace prize.  In 1889, Jane Adams along with her partner Ellen Starr Gates started their social equality efforts in Chicago by opening up the Hull House as a peaceful haven for the immigrants living in the area.  They provided shelter, education, and job training to improve the quality of life of the residents who resided in an area that became plagued with crime and crooked cops and was known as the “Dark Corner of Chicago”.  The Hull House was purchased by the University of Illinois and still stands today as a museum of social reform efforts made by Jane Adams, Ellen Gates, and the staff of Hull House.

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The Devil Baby

The Hull House became a footnote in the realm of urban legend folklore by becoming known as the House of the Devil Baby of Chicago.  The story goes that a catholic woman married an atheist man.  The woman tried to put a picture of the Virgin Mary on a wall of their house and the man ripped the picture down and tore it to shreds.  The man yelled out, “I would rather have the Devil himself in this house than that picture.”  Shortly after the woman gave birth to a child that had scales and a tail.  Some variations of the story claim that the child had horns and a hooves for feet.  The baby was taken to and abandoned at the Hull House.  Supposedly, Jane Adams took the baby in and while trying to baptize the baby, the infant stood up, walked around, and was mocking the priest.  Rumors ran rampant about the “Hull House Devil Baby” and people would visit the House and ask to see the infamous baby, some even tried to offer money for a peak of the demonic creature.  

Jane Adams and the staff of Hull House denied the stories.  Jane Adams even wrote in her autobiography dispelling the rumors and claims of the Devil Baby.  People to this day claim to see at night a demonic face of a child appearing out the attic window of the Hull House.  Whether the story has some truths or not, there are now known birth defects that could have happened that could logically explain on how this once started as a rumor then turned to the legend of the Devil Baby.

References

About Jane Addams. (n.d.). Retrieved June 05, 2016, from http://www.hullhousemuseum.org/about-jane-addams/

 

Visit The Museum. (n.d.). Retrieved June 05, 2016, from http://www.hullhousemuseum.org/overview/

Jane Addams and Hull House. (n.d.). Retrieved June 05, 2016, from http://www.hauntdetective.com/hauntings-legends-folklore/chicago/westside/85-jane-addams-and-hull-house

The Devil Baby of Hull House. (2011, October 3). Retrieved June 05, 2016, from http://www.chicagonow.com/chicago-quirk/2011/10/the-devil-baby-of-hull-house/

JANE ADDAM’S HULL HOUSE. (n.d.). Retrieved June 05, 2016, from http://www.prairieghosts.com/hull.html

The Bunny Man

The bunny man bridge

While searching for my great white whale of a tale, I came across an urban legend with a title that alone gave me a smirk on my face and sparked my curiosity.  As I’m reading the legend of the Bunny Man I couldn’t help but notice the similarities between the true events of the Bunny man and another piece of folklore that I picked up when I was a kid going to summer camp.  I’m not  going to give it away, but if you see it or possibly hear it in your head while reading this blog,  please give me some form of validation that I’m not the only one who thinks this is funny.

The legend takes place in FairFax County, Virginia.  On Halloween at the stroke of midnight while you are hanging out under the Colchester overpass, which is also nicknamed the Bunny Man Bridge, a flash of light will appear.  Anyone under the bridge will have their throats slashed and will be hanged from the bridge.

overpass

There are some variations of the story that created the origins of this urban legend; however, the main part of the story starts in the early 1900s.  An insane asylum was built deep in the wilderness of a nearby town called Clifton.  After the Civil War, the population started  to grow in FairFax County.  As the population increased the fears of living near an insane asylum arose and eventually a petition was signed by the populus of the county to have the inmates transferred to another facility known as the Lorton Prison.  One of the transports crashed and the guards and some of the inmates died.  Ten inmates escaped into the woods and after several exhausting months of manhunts eight of the inmates were apprehended.  Two of the inmates, Marcus Wallster and Douglas Griffin, vanished into the woods.  The inmates managed to evade the authorities long enough to cause the manhunts to be called off.  The police figured if they’re not dead by now they would be soon.

Soon after, skinned rabbits were being found and sometimes hanging on the Colchester overpass.  Eventually the body of Marcus Wallster was found hanging from the overpass.  The police suspected Douglas Griffin for the crime and he became known as the Bunny Man.  Douglas Griffin was convicted of murdering his family on Easter Sunday which is what landed him in the asylum in the first place.

Some versions of the story state that the authorities caught up with Mr. Griffin and while pursuing him he was  hit by a train.  Another variation stated that the authorities found Mr. Griffin’s dead body lying on the train tracks that run over the Colchester overpass.

Now there have been many tales of teenagers hanging out under the Bunny Man Bridge on Halloween night and found the next day hanging from the bridge.  Here is where I’m starting to smell the presence of good old fashioned parenting.  Scare your kids by telling them ghost stories to prevent them from doing stupid things, which inevitably causes them to do those stupid things when they become teenagers.

According to my sources there are  no documents whatsoever to validate the origins of this legend.  There are also no police reports confirming that there have been people found hanging dead on this notorious bridge.  However it is pretty common to find abandoned buildings or remains of buildings in the backwoods of Virginia.  It is possible that one of those remains could have been the abandoned asylum that was shut down.  And it is possible that documents could disappear.  If you don’t believe me ask a lawyer or a unscrupulous business person.

paper shredder

Anyways…

This is where it gets a little silly and weird.  In 1970, a series of the Bunny Man sightings started to pop up.  Police reports were made and even some of the local newspapers started chiming in on these mysterious encounters.  The first report was made by an Air Force Academy cadet Robert Bennett who was on leave in Virginia  and was visiting his uncle.  Towards the end of his leave he spent the evening with his fiance.  They were sitting in a car in the 5000 block of Guinea Road when a man dressed in a bunny suit came out of the bushes wielding an axe shouting out, “You’re on private property and I have your tag number”.  The man tossed the axe through the right passenger front window of the car and then skipped off back into the dark woods.  Another report was made less than two weeks later by Paul Phillips who was a private security guard for a construction site.  Phillips reported to police seeing a young male appearing to be in his 20s dressed in a bunny suit carrying an axe.  As Phillips approached this bunny man the man struck a wooden support with his axe on a new house being built and shouted out, “All you people trespass around here.  If you don’t get out of here, I’m going to bust you on the head”.  There were over 50 reports of sightings of the Bunny Man in the 70’s.  Even to this day there are sightings of a man in a bunny suit near the overpass or somewhere along Guinea Road.

While reading about these true encounters the Little Bunny Foo Foo song started to play in my head.  If you have never experienced or heard of this song I have provided a link below.  Warning this song is very catchy so I give you my apologies in advance.

http://bussongs.com/songs/little-bunny-foo-foo.php

I extended my research for this blog just to see if there are any correlations between the folklore of the “Bunnyman” and “Little Bunny Foo Foo” and there are none.  However it did inspire a “Little Bunny Foo Foo” parody of mine.

Little Bunny Foo Foo hopping through the forest…Slicing people’s throats and hangin’ em on the bridge…

I’m not going to continue on with it.  I will leave the rest of it up to your imagination.

References

The Bunny Man Unmasked – Page 4. (n.d.). Retrieved May 30, 2016, from http://www.fairfaxcounty.gov/library/branches/vr/bunny/bunny4.htm

A.K. (2014). The Strange True Story Behind the Legend of the Bunnyman Bridge. Retrieved May 30, 2016, from http://www.oddlyhistorical.com/2014/04/25/strange-true-story-legend-bunnyman-bridge/

B.S. (2015, May 18). Beware of the Bunny Man! | Mysterious Universe. Retrieved May 30, 2016, from http://mysteriousuniverse.org/2015/05/beware-of-the-bunny-man/

Mckendry, D. I. (2015, December 22). Virginia Haunted by Killer Dressed as Giant Rabbit: The Legend of Bunny Man Bridge. Retrieved May 30, 2016, from http://www.blumhouse.com/2015/12/22/virginia-haunted-by-killer-dressed-as-giant-rabbit-the-legend-of-bunny-man-bridge/