Thursday, February 27, 2014

Envisioning Fairyland From NASA Concept Art

Article by Ty Hulse

Sometimes the best source of inspiration is simply looking at the world in a new way. 

Fairyland in folklore is very confusing, because it can be strange and normal at the same time, people often end up in fairyland without even realizing it, until something very, very strange happens. Other times, fairyland looks bizarre from the beginning, and while there are many tales about what fairyland looks like, and where it's located, in some of these it's in the sky and underground at the same time. One boy who enters fairyland in a cave can see the stars beneath his feet. Others describe the underworld as having dim star and moon light shining from the cavern roofs. Yet at the same time light defuses everything.

These are NASA' awesome concepts of massive space stations which are both inside and in the sky, and perhaps you can use them to inspire the creation of your own fairy land.

These are beautiful places where you can walk from land, up the horizon and on to the stars the way shamans were said to do in Northern Europe. Shamans would enter the world in the sky buy walking up the sky (or the world's tree, or sometimes by flying)

Although the world looks tilted, down is always strait below your feet... Except for things like the Glass Hill, or the Iron Hill, which are obstacles people have to overcome to find love, wealth, wisdom, or power in fairyland.

See cities rising up into the sky.

Raven's Shire is dedicated to helping writers and artists learn about the strange world of fairy tales, so if you have any questions or need any help understanding the fairy realm, please contact us.

Wednesday, February 26, 2014

Ten Dark Fairies

Enter Sandman by zumart 
Article by Ty Hulse

During "Once Upon a Time" evil fairies and their ilk stalked the nightmares of humanity. A wicked fairy could haunt people's barns, their bathrooms, and more. Every illness, every misfortune, was blamed on the fairies, and there was a lot of blame to dish out. Hence there are a lot of evil fairy mythology, and these are ten of the darkest, creepiest types of evil fairies there are.

1-Anguana (Italy)
Although the Anguana could be kind, even helpful most of the time they were also some of the most twisted and cruel beings of fairy land and as you'll see some of the most evil fairies in folklore.

Appearing as beautiful women, the Anguana, like so many other fairies had started to warp as the world changed, so that they now appear with a gooses, chicken, or goats foot, or a reptile back, or some other flaw. This flaw, mixed with their jealous nature has made them extremely dangerous at times. In one tale they descended on a town by the light of the full moon and killed all the girls and women, everyone who was or could become beautiful. They scattered their blood and guts about the place as a warning to any who would be happy with their beauty, then they burnt the town to the ground. 

2-Abaasy or Abaahy (Yakuts)
The spirits of the long forgotten dead, those who no longer have any connection with the human world, who dwell in the Kingdom of Darkness and serve Arson Doulai, the a wicked ruler of the dead who seeks to devour souls. He sends the Abassy out into the world to steal people and animals souls for this purpose.. They could take many forms, at times appearing as young boys, though most often as one legged, one eyed, and one armed monsters. In order to travel about they would often ride on two legged, two tailed, two headed dragons.

The Witch and the Infant by MyNameIsSwann

3-Aswang (Philippines)

Werewolf like monsters who appear human in the day but turn into various animals from pigs to bats or dogs at night. They than hunt travelers or pull sleeping people form their beds with their long tentical like tongue which they can reach through a window. 
More than anything else, however, they like the taste of human fetus, and so will do anything they can to kill and tear apart pregnant women. 

4-Hobyah (England)
Wicked fairies who creep into houses to brutally murder families. The Hobyah, will at times carry off
some of the children in bags in order to have fun torturing and tormenting them.

5-Burber (Mari-El)
The vampire of the Mari-El, the burner can take many forms, though they often appear as shooting stars, birds, women with long hair or men with long beards. 
Burber delight in destroying life, they kiss their victims in order to drain the blood out of their mouths, worse still they can cause someone to fall so in love with them they will pine and die when the burber leaves them. They crawl inside the wombs of people and animals to take the place of the fetus, to appear to be born as a person or animals devious little child. Finally, they devour people's eyes when they think it would be funny to leave someone blind. Perhaps the worst thing they do, however, is possess people so that they become psychotic serial killers, thereby ruining many people's lives all at once. 

One could keep a burber from entering their home by hanging a horseshoe over the door. More importantly, one could kill a burber by shoving it's body in an ash tree, putting a stone from a rooster in its mouth (so that its soul can't escape in the form of a butterfly), then lighting the ash tree on fire.

6-Catkən (Mari-El)
When a person dies alone in the forest their soul can only leave it by killing another person to take their place. To do this they have cloaks which make them invisible, and which cause any nearby humans to become confused so that they'll wander away from their friends in a daze. 

7-Futakuchionna (Japan)
The spirits of wicked stepmothers who let their step children starve to death, and so were possessed by the spirits of those children. The child's ghost manifests as a mouth on the back of the woman's head, which constantly demands to be fed, and if it is not it uses the woman's hair as tentacles to snatch up her food.
In some tales they seem to form communities in the mountains from which they come down to seek relationships with men in order to feed the incredibly hungry spirit which has possessed them. Other times, they are so hungry that they even devour people.

8-Glaistig (Scotland)
The fairies with a werewolf like a curse...

Glaistig were kind and loving fairies, who took care of children, helped shepherds, etc. during the day. At night, however, they turned into vampires, which trained people's blood using their long claws.  In order to get the blood they craved they often used their beauty to lure men to dance with them, covering their goat legs with long flowing dresses. Than after dancing and enjoying the party for a while they would kill the person dancing with them and drink their blood.

9-Housoubaba (Japan)
A ten foot tall, red faced hag who caused small pox because she enjoyed eating the bodies of those who'd died. She almost impossible to catch, because she can fly so fast the wind knocks down anyone near her.

10-Jec Kanta Ot (Khanty)
Spirits of the forest who could appear as skeletons, but which more often remained invisible. The steal people's souls to take to the underground world of the dead. 
If a man felt morning sickness, aching bones, and similar pains it was a sign that this spirit was trying to take their soul. However the Jec Kanta Ot had to flee when the dawn came so it couldn't always finish it's work.

Raven's Shire is dedicated to helping writers and artists learn about the strange world of fairy tales, so if you have any questions or need any help understanding the fairy realm, please contact us.

Tuesday, February 25, 2014

Visions of the Artists Behind the Movie "Gravity"

Article by Ty Hulse

These are a few of the awe inspiring artists whose vision made the film "Gravity Possible, as well as a bit of the behind the scenes of the Special Effects for the film.


Raven's Shire is dedicated to helping writers and artists learn about the strange world of fairy tales, so if you have any questions or need any help understanding the fairy realm, please contact us.

Animated Fantasy Shorts

Article by Ty Hulse

These are some of my favorite Animated Shorts

Find more at:

Funniest Animated Shorts  
Makes me Smile  
Strange and Beautiful 

What happens when;
Life and Death are children who accidentally meet each other,
A mischievous fox who torments some hunters,
A Viking sets out on a quest to enter the afterlife,
A boy finds himself in the spirit world under the ice.
Only animations can ever truly answer these important questions, and thankfully four wonderful teams of animators have created stories to do just that.

While getting water from a well a girl encounters something magical... A very cute short.

A Fox Tale is a hilarious animated short about a mischievous fox who tricks two hunters into battling each other.
The film is by – Thomas Bozovic, Alexandre Cazals, Julien Legay, Chao Ma 

Turnout is the tale of a boy's journey into the spirit world

The Saga of Biorn
The hilarious tale of a Viking looking to make it into the afterlife.

"Premier Automne"
A beautiful animation, about what happens when death and life are children looking for someone to play with. The Film is by

Monday, February 24, 2014

5 Vampire Fairy Tales

Article by Ty Hulse's guide to Vampires in fairy tales. Some of these fairy tales are translated into English here for the first time.

"Light cannot banish the darkness, it can only hold it at bay, 
while making it impossible for our eyes to adjust to the night, 
to the darkness beyond the little circle of light..."

Vampire tales, tend to be short encounters with the dark world, only a very few of them are long and descriptive. This is good, because these tales can act as quick writing prompts to help inspire your own horror stories.

The Vampire and St Micheal

A young man who everyone makes fun of as a fool is traveling through a kingdom where the Princess becomes a vampire. In sorrow the king orders that every traveler reads prayers over her body in hopes that she can be cured. One by one the travelers are sent to her, and one by one their bones are cleaned up in the morning, until at last it's the boys turn.

Keep in mind:

There was very little difference between religion and magic in Europe. Indeed the Roman's thought of magic as simply being religious formulas turned to self serving ends. So the boy in this story very closely resembles the idea of what a wizard would be.

 Being a fool was a sign that he existed outside societies system and rules. Very much like a modern day nerd. This existing outside societies rules gave people magical powers, allowing them to become witches, shamans, etc.

St. Micheal in this story fits the idea of familiar spirits, such as witch's cats, or cunnings fairies.

Boyfriend Vampire

Once upon a boy and a girl, who loved each other, but the young man died and became a vampire, though the girl didn't know this. So that night, when she was alone in the house, the vampire came. But while vampires can enter unclean homes, the girls home was clean, so the vampire dared not enter.
So he called up to the girl's window in his familiar and loving voice, and so lured her out into the night. Although she was still undressed, he convinced her that it was urgent that she come with him, and so he took her hand and led her to his tomb.
"Come in," ordered a vampire.
"No, one heart, I'm afraid," she said.
Then he went in first, and called,  "Come on hurry!"
"Wait," the girl said, "I lost beads. It must be around here have fallen. "Then she began to run, and ran until he came to the house, the windows of which light was on. The girl on the bench came in and saw the dead man named Abram. Closing the door on the latch, she hid on the stove. A deceived vampire ran after her, and when he came to the house he banged on the window and shouted, "Abram, open the door!"
The corpse rose up to open the door.
The girl desperately looked around for some means of escape, and at last saw cock.
"Please crow, dear cock," the girl begged.
"It's still early to crow," the cock told her.
"Please, crow," the girl pleaded.
"Very well, because you are clean and of pure soul, I'll crow early for you," the cock agreed. So the cock crowed and Abram fell to the ground, unable to move at the sound.
So the girl was able to escape because she had always been good.

A Party With Vampires

In a poor village, the young boys and girls would gather for parties in abandoned houses. Here they would should so loudly and have so much fun you could hear them clear on the other side of the village. They danced about, and the boys did tricks to impress the girls and soon they were all shaking with laughter.
Late one night when they were partying, three unknown young men came into the party.
"Good evening," they greeted each other and joined to the general merriment. While others Balagura, one of the girls dropped spindle. It rolled under the feet of the guests, and when she bent to pick it up she noticed that the boys had hooves instead of feet (according to another version, she saw their tails).
What to do?
The girl whispered girlfriends, warning them that the boys were actually vampires. One by one the people began to slip away from the party to flee, but they forgot one girl who was napping behind the stove.
When they realized that she was missing the next day the girls and boys went to the empty home. As they approached, they saw her smiling face in the window and so breathed a sigh of relief.
The girl's sister ran forward, happy to see that her sister was alright, but when she got into the house she started screaming. Her sister's face had been sliced into a permanent smile, her head placed on a stake by the window. Her guts were hung about the room on nails.
The Girl Who Marries a Vampire

There once was a woman who fell in love with a young man who seemed perfect in every way. At last the two of them were married and the women went to the young man to his house. He led her into the kitchen, where he had a girl hanging from meat hooks, for the young man was really a vampire.
"Cook this girl for our supper," the vampire told his new bride.
The girl began to weep, and she refused to do as the vampire asked, so the vampire hung her up on meat hooks and well.
The vampire feasted for many days, but eventually his food ran out, so he went back to his now deceased brides home, and told the bride's little sister that his wife was sick and wanted to see her. So he led the sister back to his house, where he hung her up as well and feasted for a number of days. Eventually he was hungry again so he went back to his brides house and there he told the youngest sister that both sisters had become sick and wanted to see her.
Thu youngest sister, however, was suspicious of him, so when he led her to his house, she pretended to need to use the privy before he showed her the kitchen, and peeked about the house, where on she discovered the human bones. Scared she climbed out a window and fled straight away to the village to tell the people what she'd seen.
Soon the village came in a mob and found the vampire, and burned him and his house down.

The Deceived Vampire

An Armenian folk tale about a vampire who offers to help a young man rescue his sister from a king who has kidnapped her.

What you should know

Vampires in Armenian lore were typically children who died without becoming part of the community, thus they were liminal beings, with both male and female parts. They tended to be twisted monstrosities, that loved to haunt and rape both men and women in their sleep. Though like all vampires, they drained people's blood from them as well.

These vampires had a magical jacket which allowed them to turn invisible, and if this jacket was burned they would die.

Sorcerers often used the unclean dead or nature spirits to help them win fights.

There was once an impoverished brother and sister whose parents died. So the brother told his sister, "Let us go out into the world, for there is nothing for us here"
So they left home and wandered the world for some time. Eventually they came to a forest where they built a small house. Here the young man hunted for their food, while his sister made clothing, and performed other household chores.
So time passed, with one day waning into another, and before they knew it three years had passed.
Then one day the young man told his sister,  "I'm going to go into town to sell the many skins I've hunted over the years so that we can at last have money."
As he journeyed to town he strew ashes on the ground behind him so he could find his way home again. Eventually he came in a royal city, where he very soon sold the skins of animals, so that he could buy more hunting supplies, clothes, and many good things.When he was done he returned home to his sister.
A few days later he returned to the city, once more laden with furs. So wonderful were his furs that it wasn't long before people began to talk to him, and they soon learned of his beautiful sister in the woods. When the servants of the king followed him to learn more they saw that the young mans sister was indeed beautiful, so they went and reported what they had seen to their lord.
Now the king, the was still unmarried, so when the young man returned to town he went into the woods asked the man's sister to come and live with him as his concubine.
Indignant at the suggestion of becoming a concubine the sister rejected the king. She tried to flee, but the Kings servants had horses and soon caught her and drug her by force to the king's castle.
When the boy returned, he was unable to find out what had happened to his sister, though he looked for a long time. So he was left to live alone and sad in the forest.
 The beautiful maiden was no less sad day, for she was the kings prisoner,  and he pressed her every day to agree to be his wife, but she refused all his requests steadfast. Though all the time he wooed, her the king tried to keep the girl a secret, but vampires go nearly everywhere and learn nearly everything.
One of these vampires went to the young man in the woods.
"Hello," the vampire greeted the young man. "I've just come from the royal castle, where I wait every night watching your beautiful sister. Ha, ha, but she is so beautiful that we vampires wait at her bedside all night, but we can do nothing for she always is careful to wear a crucifix around her neck. So I've decided to tell you that she was taken to the palace against her will by the King, but I will help you free her if you promise to let me spend a night with her."
Stunned at the news that his sister was still alive, and unable to think of a way to free her by himself he agreed to these terms.
"Go to the castle and challenge the king to a duel," the vampire told the young man. "Although he has never lost a fight, I will stand invisible beside you during your duel and aid you so you will win."
The young man went to the royal palace, and there he insulted the king and challenged him to a duel.
The smiling king replied, "Do you know who I am?" I'm the greatest warrior in the world. I have never lost a battle, so who are you to challenge me?
The young man, however, would not be put off, so he challenged the king again.
The king, not wanting to kill the girl's brother just yet, agreed only to wrestle the young man. When the two of them got into the right to fight, the king tried to throw the boy, but he could not budge the boy, no matter how hard he tried. Then all at once the king found himself lifted up into the air, before being tossed down with so much force he sank down into the hard ground. A second time the king was lifted into the air, and a second time he was thrown so hard that he had to climb up out of the crater created by his fall. The young man knocked the king down again, and held, him fast. He then told the servants that if they valued the kings life they would go and fetch his sister.
When his sister was brought back to him, the young man asked her what he should do with the king, and she told him to forgive the man, for while he was wicked love was often blind. Hearing that his sister forgave the king the young man did as well. When they were leaving, however, the king threw himself at the girls feet, begging her to be his wife. He promised that if she agreed, she and her brother would be happy forever after. Feeling bad for him she consented, and so a date for the wedding was set.

Yes, but what of the vampire!

The young man had made a deal with the monster, a deal he had never intended to keep. That night the vampire came to the youth; "remember your promise," the vampire whispered.
"I remember," the young man assured the vampire. "Come into my sisters room."
The vampire entered into the room, but arrangements had already been made. The sister had been covered in holy water so that the vampire was stunned the moment he touched her, and garlic was scattered about so that he lost his invisibility. Unable to move, the vampires jacket was burned and his soul was sped to the after life, as is the soul of every Christian man after death.
The wedding was held with great splendor now, and the royal couple lived a long time in happiness and peace. 

Thursday, February 20, 2014

Be Inspired by Loki

The Liminal Trickster

Loki lays screaming in agony as she pushes again, her muscles burning from exhaustion, her womb opening up. Her breath comes short and shallow, in painful bursts.

After hours of struggle, hours of labor, Loki gives birth to an eight legged horse, the horse that will become Odin's mount, who will carry Odin both when he and Loki are brothers, and later when they are enemies, and will ultimately help to kill Loki who is her mother.

Loki could be male or female, and in both forms she/he had many strange children, massive wolves, deadly snakes, and eight legged horses.

Loki is a confusing being, one who like many trickster figures is both good and bad, creator and destroy.

To understand Loki we must understand both European Shamanism, and the neighboring Ugric people's, from whom the Norse may have borrowed many of their ideas about Loki and Odin. In fact among the Nganasan we find another mention of another Liminal being which give birth to eight legged reindeer (you can find some useful information on Nganasan spirits here). This being, like Loki gives this eight legged animal to a powerful shaman. Like Loki these liminal beings sought to help humanity.

Yet something happens between the moment that Loki gives birth to Odin's most important companion and when is captured and tortured by the other gods for a number of crimes, which eventually leads him/her to lead an army that will bring about the apocalypse. As a writer, you have a number of options here that you can choose to follow.

Ancient gods are duelsitic, that is they are their own opposites. In Greece the Virgin Goddess is the Goddess of Childbirth, in Japan the Kami of Education is also a Kami of Disasters, so it would make sense that in Scandinavian lore the god/dess of birth and fertility is also the bringer of the apocalypse. In this case, Loki would have multiple souls and a serious case of multi-personality disorder, but then again so would every god and spirit.

2-Loki is Good
In Greek Lore Zeus punished Prometheus for being kind to and helping humanity. Equally as important, the Greeks and Romans seem to have believed at times that when the Titan Kronos ruled the world life was better for humanity. In other words, Zeus didn't make humans, he lied about that after he took over. By the same token, perhaps since Loki comes from outside the systems of gods she/he is in fact, trying to defend humanity against the fickleness of the other deities, who control the narrative that humans hear.

3-Loki is bitter
Odin, Thor, and the rest of them did, many cruel and mean things, which may have made Loki bitter and dangerous.

4-Loki really is a greedy, conniving villain.
I put this last because it's been done, a lot. Perhaps, however, Loki really is a cruel deity who only cares for his own greedy ambitions.

Ravens Shire is dedicated to helping writers and artists learn about the strange world of fairy tales, so if you have any questions or need any help understanding the fairy realm, please contact us.