Tuesday, August 23, 2016

The Shaman's Sickness and Alien Abductions

Article by Ty Hulse

It's was little after Midnight when I began typing this, and I'm feeling a bit creeped out by the stories of alien abductions and dark spirit journeys that I'm reading to brush recall everything necessary for this article. The emotions of folk beief, the culture behind them have always been what's drawn be to these stories. I believe that it's important not to seperate yourself from these emotions, much as I may want to this late at night. This is because these stories are very real to the people who experianced them. So one can't understand the stories of a person's encounters with aliens, fairies, or the spirit world without understanding their emotions. 

Perhaps what's most striking to me is how our society has turned what people once thought of as spiritual experiances into "parascintific" encounters. The spirits and creatures known as bigfoot became evolutionary missing links, fairies became ghosts, and shaman's journeys turned into Alien Abductions. 
Anyone who has read about the "shaman's sickness" and Alien Abduction symptoms will likely see how similar thise stories are. Many people experiance and think about many of the encounters and moments related to shamanism, even if they interpret them differently based on their culture.

The Shaman's Sickness
The shaman's sickness refers to the time when the shaman's first come to the attention of the spirit world. During this time the spirits will possess and sometimes attack the shaman. Under the spirits influence the shaman's behavior begins to change, and sometimes they gain actual symptoms of a sickness. One shaman nearly died from small pox during which he met the spirit of small pox and went on a journey into the other world. Many people who experianced the events of the shaman's sickness were deeply disterbed and upset by their experiances (just as those who suffer alien abductions are) until an older shaman came to them and explained how to deal with the spirits or the person had a near death experiance which allowed them to more fully enter the spirit world. Once either of these events occured the gained the ability to control their experiance in the spirit world a little better, and had deeper, more meaningful journeys.

I would argue that shaman techniques and ideas helped people deal with the hard experiances they were suffering through. After all if a person thinks about abduction experiances as them being reborn as part of a larger spirit/fairy world which gives them special abilities to help humanity, the person will feel better than if they think of these things as a violation by some alien creatures. This is the challenge of changing our belief system, people still suffer through many of the same experiances, but they have no way of dealing with or understanding them. 

It's also important to keep in mind that shaman's have only fragmented memories of their experiances with the spirit world, and sometimes don't recall it at all. This is of course similar to alien abducties. 

Shaman's Encounters that are similar to Alien Abducties

1 - Memories of flight
Obviously many people are carried into the air by the fairies and or spirits. Bright lights are a common part of this experiance, as the spirit world or heaven is typically filled with bright lights. This is in many way similar to near death experiances as well. 

2- Being devoured by animals and or being dismembered. 
What does being eaten by a wolf have to do with aliens? Being devoured by animals is one of the reported memories from alien abductions These memories seem strange for anyone abducted by aliens to have. his makes far more sense in the context of shamanism. Being cut open and or apart, makes more sense in terms of an alien abduction but it was common for spirits and fairies to do this in addition to or in place of devouring the shaman. The reason for this was so that the shaman could be reborn as a spiritual being. Essentually someone had to have their regular body die so that they could become something greater, a more spiritual being. There is a story about the greatest Fairy Doctor (shaman / good witch) in Ireland being brought through a village by the fairies in a coffin, only to rise from the "dead" in order to help humanity. Yupik Shaman's were commonly eaten by bears and regergitated as powerful shamans, and some people were tortured and cut on by strange spirits for years before being released, as if no time had passed at all.

3 - A sense of a mission
Aliens, fairies, and spirits frequently instill human's with a mission, and a greater awarness of the environment, which seems odd in the context of aliens, if anyone has any thoughts on this I'd be interested in hearing them? This makes more sense in conjunction with the idea of spiritual beings, anciestral spirits, deities, fairies, etc. Shamans were most often made shamans by the spirits in order to help their fellow humans. 

4-A sense of being special and of having psychic abilities.
Gaining a sense of importance, of uniqueness and psychic abilities is of course part and partial of the whole shaman experiance.

5-Believing that they have had intercourse during the night.
Intercourse with strange visitors is a common experiance for alien abducties. While intercourse with spirits was a common part of the shaman's experaince, for often their relationship with the spirit world was partially sexual. One woman from the Amur River region had sex with a tiger spirit and so gave birth to her spirit helpers (two tigers who left her after being born but came back to her when they had grown up and flew her into the spirit world). Another man from Northern Siberia had sex with a strange being who gave birth to his spirit helper. Even Loki had sex with a magical being and so gave birth to a spirit helper, though he gave this helper spirit (an eight legged horse) to Odin.

6-Pregnancies that end without explination or discharge
It was common for shamans to give birth to spiritual beings, and typically pregnancies which involved such beings took less time so it often seemed like they ended early.

7 - Compulsion to become an Vegitarian
Though not all shamans or abducties become vegitarian it is a compusion that many of them share. A Cunning man from Britain was known to eat no meat, as were many other witches and shamans.

8 - Memories of a spiritual place, often some place a person has been (from childhood for example)... Of course, this is where the spirit resides. Many of the spirits that helped shmanas were the spirit owners of specific places. 

9 - Fear of talking about aliens / spirits / fairies
The reason it's difficult to learn about shamans is that they believe it to be taboo to talk too much about their own experiances. For some talking about thier shaman's experiance was a method of sucide, for they knew that in doing so they would eventually be killed by the spirits. 

10- Feeling of passing through solid objects was how witches left thier homes. When the goddes/fairy queen Perchta, of Alpine tradition, sounded her drums people' would fly out from their beds, going up chimneys or through windows, doors, or walls to join her in battling evil spirits in the sky. These people weren't supposed to speak too much of their experiance so it's difficult to say how much or what they recalled from it. The notion that a shaman sends their soul out of their body and so passes through solid objects is a common one, however. 

11- Running off to strange places is a common theme of alien abduction and shamanizing. The spirit would take control of (possess) the shaman and cause them to run off into the wilderness. Many times this was done while the person was asleep or unaware and so they would wake up in the forest, tangled in a tree with no idea how they'd gotten there. 

12 - Marks, cuts, etc. 
Not always mentioned in shaman beliefs, however, witch hunters would examine witches, for such marks which indicates that this was part of the shaman tradition in Europe.

13 - Anxiety, libile mood, disorientation, and similar mood changes were common parts of the shaman's experiance. As was wild and often reckless behavior wjem they first came to the attention of the spirits.

The one think I haven't found in cases of alien abductions which are common in to early shaman experiances is oversleeping, and constant sleepiness, so if anyone knows of cases of alien adbucties becoming overly tired and sleeping constnatly I'd be be interested in hearing it. 

There are records of similar shaman's experiances that are thousands of years old, and in most cases these shaman's, like many people who experiance alien abductions, gained a desire and a power to help humanity. Only tradition and understanding of their culture helped the shaman's to refine and build upon their newfound skills and spiritual awareness. 

There are of course many other encounters with fairies which are similar to encounters with aliens, in many cases spirits would simply attack or temperarily kidnap someone for reasons other than to turn them into a shaman. But such encounters are best explored in another article. 

So what are your thoughts? Are these signs of an alien abduction, spirits and fairies, or mental hallucinations?


Monday, August 22, 2016

The Animistic Vampire in New England

Article by Ty Hulse

The following article by George R. Stetson is from the Journal "American Anthropologist" and was published in 1896 about the vampire beliefs in New England.

The belief in the vampire and the whole family of demons has its origin in the animism, spiritism, or personification of the barbarian, who, unable to distinguish the objective from the subjective, ascribes good and evil influences and all natural phenomena to good and evil spirits.

Mr Conway remarks of this vampire belief that " it is, perhaps, the most formidable survival of demonic superstition now existing in the world."

Under the names of vampire, were-wolf, man-wolf, night mare, night-demon — in the Illyrian tongue oupires, or leeches ;
in modern Greek broucolaques, and in our common tongue ghosts,
each country having its own peculiar designation — the super-
stitious of the ancient and modern world, of Chaldea and Baby-
lonia, Persia, Egypt, and Syria, of Illyriaj Poland, Turkey,
Servia, Germany, England, Central Africa, New England, and
the islands of the Malay and Polynesian archipelagoes, desig-
nate the spirits which leave the tomb, generally in the night, to
torment the living.

The character, purpose, and manner of the vampire mani-
festations depend, like its designation, upon environment and
the plane of culture.

All primitive peoples have believed in the existence of good
and evil spirits holding a middle place between men and gods.
Calmet lays down in most explicit terms, as he was bound to
do by the canons of his church, the doctrine of angels and
demons as a matter of dogmatic theology.

The early Christians were possessed, or obsessed, by demons,
and the so-oalled demoniacal possession of idiots, lunatics, and
hysterical persons is still common in Japan, China, India, and
Africa, and instances are noted in western Europe, all yielding
to the methods of Christian and pagan exorcists as practiced in
New Testament times.

The Hebrew synonym of demon was serpent; the Greek,
diabolus, a calumniator, or impure spirit. The Rabbins were
divided in opinion, some believing they were entirely spiritual,
others that they were corporeal, capable of generation and sub-
ject to death.

As before suggested, it was the general belief that the vampire
is a spirit which leaves its dead body in the grave to visit and
torment the living.

The modern Greeks are persuaded that the bodies of the ex-
communicated do not putrefy in their tombs, but appear in the
night as in the day, and that to encounter them is dangerous.

Instances are cited by Calmet, in Christian antiquity, of ex-
communicated persons visibly arising from their tombs and
leaving the churches when the deacon commanded the excom-
municated and those who did not partake of the communion to
retire. The same writer states that " it was an opinion widely
circulated in Germany that certain dead ate in their tombs and
devoured all they could find about them, incltfdiiig their own
flesh, accompanied by a certain piercing shriek and a sound of
munching and groaning."

A German author has thought it worth while to write a work
entitled "De Masticatione mortuorum in tumulis." In many parts
of England a person who is ill is said to be " wisht '.' or " over-
looked." The superstition of the "evil eye" originated and
exists in the same degree of culture ; the evil'eye " which kills
snakes, scares wolves, hatches ostrich eggs, and breeds leprosy."
The Polynesians believed that the vampires were the departed
souls, which quitted the grave, and grave idols, to creep by night
into the houses and devour the heart and entrails of the sleepers,
who afterward died.*

The Kareins tell of the Kephu, which devours the souls of men
who die. The Mintira of the Malay peninsula have their water
demon, who sucks blood from men's toes and thumbs.

* Foster^s Observntions During a Voyage Around the World.

" The first theory of the vampire superstitions," remarks Ty-
lor * " is that the soul of the living man, often a sorcerer, leaves
its proper body asleep and goes forth, perhaps in the visible form
of a straw or fluff of down, slips through the keyhole, and at-
tacks a living victim. Some say these Mauri come by night to
men, sit upon their breasts, and suck their blood, while others'
think children are alone attacked, while to men they are night-

" The second theory is that the soul of a dead man goes out
from its buried body and sucks the blood of living men ; the
victim becomes thin, languid, bloodless, and, falling into a rapid
decline, dies."

The belief in the Obi of Jamaica and the Vaudoux or Vodun
of the west African coast, Jamaica, and Haiti is essentially the
same as that of the vampire, and its worship and superstitions,
which in Africa include child - murder, still survive in those
parts, as well as in several districts among the negro population
of our southern states. The negro laid under the ban of the
Obi or who is vaudouxed or, in the vernacular, " hoodooed "
slowly pines to death.

In New England the vampire superstition is unknown by its
proper name. It is there believed that consumption is not a
physical but a spiritual disease, obsession, or visitation ; that as
long as the body of a dead consumptive relative has blood in its
heart it is proof that an occult influence steals from it for death
and is at work draining the blood of the living into the heart of
the dead and causing his rapid decline.

It is a common belief in primitive races of low culture that
disease is caused by the revengeful spirits of man or other ani-
mals — notably among some tribes of North American Indians
as well as of African negroes.

Russian superstition supposes nine sisters who plague man-
kind with fever. They lie chained up in caverns, and when let
loose pounce upon men without pity.f

As in the financial and political, the psychologic world has
its periods of exaltation and depression, of ebb and flow, of con-
fidence and alarm. In the eighteenth century a vampire panic
beginning in Servia and Hungary spread thence into northern

and western Europe, acquiring its new life and impetus from the
horrors attending the prevalence of the plague and other dis-
tressing epidemics in an age of great public moral depravity
and illiteracy. Calmet, a learned Benedictine monk and abb6
of Senones, seized this opportunity to write a popular treatise
on the vampire, which in a short time passed through many
editions. It was my good fortune not long since to find in
the Boston Athenaeum library an original copy of his work.
Its title-page reads as follows : " Traits sur les apparitions des
esprits et sur les vampires ou les revenans de Hongrie, de Mo-
ravie, etc. Par le R. P. Dom Augustine Calmet, abbe de S6nones.
Nouvelle edition, revisee, corregie, et augmentie par I'auteur, avec
une lettre de Mons le Marquis MafFei, sur la magie. A Paris :
Ghez debure I'aine quay des Augustins £l I'image S. Paul.
MDCCLI. Avec approb et priv du roi."

Calmet was born in Lorraine, near Commercy, in 1672, and
his chief works were a commentary and history of the Bible. He
died as the abbe of Senones, in the department of the Vosges.


This curious treatise has evidently proved a mine of wealth
to all modern encyclopedists and demonologists. It impresses
one as the work of a man whose mental convictions do not en-
tirely conform to the traditions and dogmas of his church, and
his style at times appears somewhat apologetic. Calmet declares
his belief to be that the vampires of Europe and the brucolaques
of Greece are the excommunicated which the grave rejects. They
are the dead of a longer or shorter time who leave their tombs
to torment the living, sucking their blood and announcing their
appearance by rattling of doors and windows. The name vam-
pire, or d'oupires, signifies in the Slavonic tongue a bloodsucker.
He formulates the three theories then existing as to the cause of
these appearances :

First : That the persons were buried alive and naturally leave
their tombs.

Second : That they are dead, but that by God's permission or
particular command they return to their bodies for a time, as
when they are exhumed their bodies are found entire, the blood
red and fluid, and their members soft and pliable.

Third : That it is the devil who makes these apparitions ap-
pear and by their means causes all the evil done to men and

In some places the specter appears as in the flesh, walks, talks,
infests villages, ill uses both men and beasts, sucks the blood of
their near relations, makes them ill, and finally causes their

The late Monsieur de Vassimont, counselor of the chamber of
the courts of Bar, was informed by public report in Monravia that
it was common enough in that country to see men who had died
some time before " present themselves in a party and sit down
to table with persons of their acquaintance without saying a word
and nodding to one of the party, the one indicated would in-
fallibly die some days after."*

About 1735 on the frontier of Hungary a dead person appeared
after ten years' burial and caused the death of his father. In
1730 in Turkish Servia it was believed that those who had been
passive vampires during life became active after death; in
Russia, that the vampire does not stop his unwelcome visits at
a single member of a family, but extends his visits to the last
member, which is the Rhode Island belief

The captain of grenadiers in the regiment of Monsieur le Baron
Trenck, cited by Calmet, declares " that it is only in their family
and among their own relations that the vampires delight in
destroying their species."

The inhabitante of the island of Chio do not answer unless
called twice, being persuaded that the brucolaques do not call
but once, and when so called the vampire disappears, and the
person called dies in a few days. The classic writers from
Sophocles to Shakespeare and from Shakespeare to our own
time have recognized the superstition.

Mr Conway quotes from the legend of Ishtar descending to
Hades to seek some beloved one. She threatens if the door be
not opened —

" I will raise the dead to be devourers of the living ;
Upon the living shall the dead prey."t

Singularly, in his discourse on modern superstitions De
Quincey, to whom crude superstitions clung and who had faith
in dreams as portents, does not allude to the vampire ; but his
contemporary, Lord Byron, in his lines on the opening of the
royal tomb at Windsor, recognizes this belief in the transforma-
tion of the dead :

" Justice and death have mixed their dust in vain,
Each royal vampire vi^akes to life again."

William of Malmsbury says that *' in England they believed
that the wicked came baclc after death by the will of the devil;"
and it was not an unusual belief that those whose death had
been caused in this manner, at their death pursued the same evil
calling. Naturally under such an uncomfortable and inconven-
ient infliction some avenue of escape must, if possible, be found.
It was first necessary to locate the vampire. If on opening the
grave of a " suspect " the body was found to be of a rose color, the
beard, hair, and nails renewed, and the veins filled, the evidence
of its being the abode of a vampire was conclusive. A voyager
in the Levant in the seventeenth century is quoted as relating
that an excommunicated person was exhumed and the body
found full, healthy, and well disposed and the veins filled with
the blood the vampire had taken from the living. In a certain
Turkish village, of forty persons exhumed seventeen »ave evi-
dence of vampirism. In Hungary, one deaa thirty years was
found in a natural state. In ITST/ the bodies of five religieuse
were discovered in a tomb near the hospital of Quebec, that had
been buried twenty years, covered with flesh and suffused with

The methods of relief from or disposition of the vampire's
dwelling place are not numerous, but extremely sanguinary and

In Servia a relief is found in eating of the earth of his grave
and rubbing the person with his blood. This prescription was,
however, valueless if after forty days the body was exhumed
and all the evidences of an archivampire were not found. A more
common and almost universal method of relief, especially in the
Turkish provinces and in the Greek islands, was to burn the
body and scatter the ashes to the winds. Some old writers are
of the opinion that the souls of the dead cannot be quiet until
the entire body has been consumed. Exceptions are noted in the
Levant, where the body is cut in pieces and boiled in wine, and
where, according to Voltaire, the heart is torn out and burned.

In Hungary and Servia, to destroy the demon it was consid-
ered necessary to exhume the body, insert in the heart and other
parts of the defunct, or pierce it through witli a sharp instru-
ment, as in the case of suicides, upon which it utters a dreadful
cry, as if alive ; it is then decapitated and the body burned. In
New England the body is exhumed, the heart burned, and the
ashes scattered. The discovery of the vampire's resting-place
was itself an art.

In Hungary and in Russia they choose a boy young enough
to be certain that he is innocent of any impurity, put him on
the back of a horse which has never stumbled and is absolutely
black, and make him ride over all the graves in the cemetery.
The grave over which the horse refuses to pass is reputed to be
that of a vampire."

Gilbert Stuart, the distinguished American painter, when asked
by a London friend where he was born, replied : " Six miles
from Pottawoone, ten miles from Poppasquash, four miles from
Conanicut, and not far from the spot where the famous battle
with the warlike Pequots was fought." In plainer language,
Stuart was born in the old snuff mill belonging to his father and
Dr Moffat, at the head of Petaquamscott pond, six miles from
Newport, across the bay, and about the same distance from Narra-
gansett Pier, in the state of Rhode Island.

By some mysterious survival, occult transmission, or remark-
able atavism, this region, including within its radius the towns
of Exeter, Foster, Kingstown, East Greenwich, and others, with
their scattered hamlets and more pretentious villages, is distin-
guished by the prevalence of this remarkable superstition — a sur-
vival of the days of Sardanapalus, of Nebuchadnezzar, and of New
Testament history in the closing years of what we are pleased to
call the enlightened nineteenth century. It is an extraordinary
instance of a barbaric superstition outcropping in and coexisting
with a high general culture, of which Max Miiller and others
have spoken, and which is not so uncommon, if rarely so ex-
tremely aggravated, crude, and painful.

The region referred to, where agriculture is in a depressed con-
dition and abandoned farms are numerous, is the tramping-
ground of the book agent, the chromo peddler, the patent-medi-
cine man and the home of the erotic and neurotic modern novel.
The social isolation away from the larger villages is as complete
as a century and a half ago, when the boy Gilbert Stuart tramped
the woods, fished the streams, and was developing and absorb-
ing his artistic inspirations, while the agricultural and economic
conditions are very much worse.*

Farm-houses deserted and ruinous are frequent, and the once
productive lands, neglected and overgrown with scrubby oak,
speak forcefully and mournfully of the migration of the youth-
ful farmers from country to town. In short, the region furnishes
an object-lesson in the decline of wealth consequent upon the
prevalence of a too common heresy in the district that land will
take care of itself, or that it can be robbed from generation to
genen.tion without injury, and suggests the almost criminal
neglect of the conservators of public education to give instruction
to our farming youth in a more scientific and more practical agri-
culture. It has been well said by a banker of well known name
in an agricultural district in the midlands of England that " the
depression of agriculture is a depression of brains." Naturally,
in such isolated conditions the superstitions of a much lower
culture have maintained their place and are likely to keep it and
perpetuate it, despite the church, the public school, and the
weekly newspaper. Here Cotton Mather, Justice Sewall, and
the host of medical, clerical, and lay believers in the uncanny
superstitions of bygone centuries could still hold high carnival.

The first visit in this farming community of native-born New
Englanders was made to , a small seashore village pos-
sessing a summer hotel and a few cottages of summer residents
not far from Newport — that Mecca of wealth, fashion, and nine-
teenth-century culture. The family is among its well-
to-do and most intelligent inhabitants. One member of this
family had some years since lost children by consumption, and
by common report claimed to have saved those surviving by
exhumation and cremation of the dead.

* Rhode Island has the largest population to the square mile of any State in the Union 
The town of Exeter, before mentioned, incorporated in 1742-'43, had but 17 persons to, 
the square mile in 1890, and in 1893 had M abandoned farms, or one-fifth of the whole 
number within its limits. Foster, incorporated in 1781 and talcen from Scituate (which 
was settled by Massachusetts emigrants in 1710), had in 1890 a population of 1,2.52, and 
in IS93 had eight abandoned farms, Scituate having forty-five. North Kinqsion had 76 
persons to the square mile in 1890. Mr Arnold, in his history of the State, says that 
" South Kingston was in 1780 by far the wealthiest town in the State." It had a special 
provision made for the " maintenance of religion and education." 

In the same village resides Mr , an intelligent man, by
trade a mason, who is a living witness of the superstition and of
the efficacy of the treatment of the dead which it prescribes.
He informed me that he had lost two brothers by consumption.
Upon the attack of the second brother his father was advised
by Mr , the head of the family before mentioned, to take

up the first body and burn its heart, but the brother attacked
objected to the sacrilege and in consequence subsequently died.
When he was attacked by the disease in his turn, 's ad-
vice prevailed, and the body of the brother last dead was accord-
ingly exhumed, and, " living " blood being found in the heart
and in circulation, it was cremated, and the sufferer began im-
mediately to mend and stood before me a hale, hearty, and
vigorous man of fifty years. When questioned as to his under-
standing of the miraculous influence, he could suggest nothing
and did not recognize the superstition even by name. He re-
membered that the doctors did not believe in its efficacy, but he
and many others did. His father saw the brother's body and
the arterial blood. The attitude of several other persons in
regard to the practice was agnostic, either from fear of public
opinion or other reasons, and their replies to my inquiries were
in the same temper of mind as that of the blind man in the
Gospel of Saint John (9 : 25), who did not dare to express his
belief, but " answered and said. Whether he be a sinner or no,
I know not ; one thing I know, that whereas I was blind, now
I see."

At , a small isolated village of scattered houses in a

farming population, distant fifteen or twenty miles from New-
port and eight or ten from Stuart's birthplace, there have been
made within fifty years a half dozen or more exhumations. The

most recent was made within two years, in the family of .

The mother and four children had already succumbed to con-
sumption, and the child most recently deceased (within six
months) was, in obedience to the superstition, exhumed and the

heart burned. Dr , who made the autopsy, stated that he

found the body in the usual condition after an interment of that
length of time. I learned that others of the family have since
died, and one is now very low with the dreaded disease. The doc-
tor remarked that he had consented to the autopsy only after the
pressing solicitation of the surviving children, who were patients
of his, the father at first objecting, but finally, under continued
pressure, yielding. Dr declares the superstition to be

prevalent in all the isolated districts of southern Rhode Island,
and that many instances of its survival can be found in the large
centers of population. In the village now being considered
known exhumations have been made in five families, in the vil-
lage previousl}"^ named in three families, and in two adjoining
villages in two families. In 1875 an instance was reported in
Chicago, and in a New York journal of recent date I read the
following : "At Peukuhl, a small village in Prussia, a farmer died
last March. Since then one of his sons has been sickly, and
believing that the dead man would not rest until he had drawn
to himself the nine surviving members of the family, the sickly
son, armed with a spade, exhumed his father and cut off his
head." It does not by any means absolutely follow that this
barbarous superstition has a stronger hold in Rhode Island than
in any other part of the country. Peculiar conditions have
caused its manifestation and survival there, and similar ones are
likely to produce it elsewhere. The singular feature is that it
should appear and flourish in a native population which from
its infancy has had the ordinary New England educational ad-
vantages ; in a State having a larger population to the square
mile than any in the Union, and in an environment of remark-
able literacy and culture when compared with some other sec-
tions of the country. It is perhaps fortunate that the isolation
of which this is probably the product, an isolation common in
sparsely settled regions, where thought stagnates and insanity
and superstition are prevalent, has produced nothing worse.

In neighboring Connecticut, within a few miles of its university
town of New Haven, there are rural farming populations, fairly
prosperous, of average intelligence, and furnished with churches
and schools, which have made themselves notorious by murder,
suicides, and numerous cases of melancholia and insanity.

Other abundant evidence is at hand pointing to the conclu-
sion that the vampire superstition still retains its hold in its
original habitat — an illustration of the remarkable tenacity and
continuity of a superstition through centuries of intellectual
progress from a lower to a higher culture, and of the impotency
of the latter to entirely eradicate from itself the traditional be-
liefs, customs, habits, observances, and impressions of the former.

It is apparent that our increased and increasing culture, our
appreciation of the principles of natural, mental, and moral
philosophy and knowledge of natural laws has no complete cor-
relation in the decline of primitive and crude superstitions or
increased control of the emotions or the imagination, and that
to force a higher culture upon a lower, or to metamorphose or to
perfectly control its emotional nature through education of the
intellect, is equally impossible. The two cultures may, however,
coexist, intermingling and in a limited degree absorbing from
and retroacting favorably or unfavorably upon each other — tri-
fling aberrations in the inexorable law which binds each to its
own place.

The most enlightened and philosophic have, either apparent
or secreted in their inmost consciousness, superstitious weak-
nesses — negative, involuntary, more or less barbaric, and under
greater or lesser control in correspondence with their education,
their present environment, and the degree of their development —
in the control of the imagination and emotions. These in
various degrees predominate over the understanding where rea-
son is silent or its authority weakens.

S&nya Koval6vsky (1850-1890), one of the most brilliant
mathematicians of the century, who obtained the Prix-Bordin
from the French academy, " the greatest scientific honor ever
gained by a woman," " whose love for mathematical and psycho-
logical problems amounted to a passion," and whose intellect
would accept no proposition incapable of a mathematical demon-
stration, all her life maintained a firm belief in apparitions and
in dreams as portents. She was so influenced bj'^ disagreeable
dreams and the apparition of a demon as to be for some time
thereafter obviously depressed and low-spirited.

A well known and highly cultured American mathematician
recently said to me that his servant had seven years ago nailed
a horseshoe over a house door, and that he had never had the
courage to remove it.

There is in the Chemnitzer-Rocken Philosophic, cited by
Grimm, a register of eleven or twelve hundred crude supersti-
tions surviving in highly educated Germany. Buckle declared
that " superstition was the curse of Scotland," and in this regard
neither Germany nor Scotland are singular.

Of the origin of this superstition in Rhode Island or in other
parts of the United States we are ignorant ; it is in all proba-
bility an exotic like ourselves, originating in the mythographic
period of the Aryan and Semitic peoples, although legends and
superstitions of a somewhat similar character may be found
among the American Indians.

The Ojibwas have, it is said, a legend of the ghostly man-eater.
Mr Mooney, in a personal note, says that he has not met with
any close parallel of the vampire myth among the tribes with
which he is familiar. The Cherokees have, however, something
analogous. There are in that tribe quite a number of old witches
and wizards who thrive and fatten upon the livers of murdered
victims. When some one is dangerously sick these witches
gather invisibly about his bedside and torment him, even lifting
him up and dashing him down again upon the ground until life
is extinct. After he is buried they dig up the body and take
out the liver to feast upon. They thus lengthen their own lives
by as many days as they have taken from his. In this way
they get to be very aged, which renders them objects of suspicion.
It is not, therefore, well to grow old among the Cherokees. If
discovered aud recognized during the feast, when they are again
visible, they die within seven days.

I have personal experience of a case in which a reputed medi-
cine-man was left to die alone because his friends were afraid
to come into the house on account of the presence of invisible

Jacob Grimm * defines superstition as a persistence of indi-
vidual men in views which the common sense or culture of the
majority has caused them to abandon, a definition which, while
within its limits sufficiently accurate, does not recognize or take
account of the subtile, universal, ineradicable fear of or rever-
ence for the supernatural, the mysterious, and unknown.

De Quinceyhas more comprehensively remarked that ''super-
stition or sympathy with the invisible is the great test of man's
nature as an earthly combining with a celestial. In supersti-
tion is the possibility of religion, and though superstition is often
injurious, degrading, and demoralizing, it is so, not as a form of
corruption or degradation, but as a form of non-development."

In reviewing these cases of psychologic pre-Raphaelitism they
seem, from an economic point of view, to form one of the strongest
as well as weirdest aguments in favor of a general cremation of
the dead that it is possible to present. They also remind us of
the boutade of the Saturday Review, " that to be really mediaeval,
one should have no body ; to be really modern, one should have
no soul ; " and it will be well to remember that if we do not
quite accept these demonic apparitions we shall subject our-
selves to the criticism of that modern mystic, Dr Carl du Prel,
who thus speaks of those who deny the miraculousness of stig-
matization : " For these gentlemen the bounds of possibility
coincide with the limits of their niggardly horizon ; that which
they cannot grasp either does not exist or is only the work of
illusion and deception."

The Fairies (Zwerg) of "Snow White"

Article by Ty Hulse

Snow white never encountered dwarves. Dwarf is a British word for magical fairy like creatures, that we have used to translate the German fairy zwerg, which leads to confusion. Zwerg, were perhaps the most common fairy in German Lore. Claude Lecouteux, one of the premier experts on fairy mythology stated that Zwerc “subsumed a variety of very different creatures, which is the reason for the difficulty affecting all studies of this subject.”

In other words the zwerg aren't just the dwarfs of Germanic mythology, they are also likely the fairies of the Celtic peoples who lived in parts of Germany before the Germanic migration, and the many other fairies that existed in the Alpine regions throughout Central Europe.

As shown in the following fairy tales many of the zwerg were beautiful, and their lifestyle was often believed to be freer, happier than that of humans.

Woman Marries a Zwerg
A young woman in Braderup had a very hard job like most women on the Frisian Islands. She felt unhappy and envied the zwerg who were always happy and had to do very little work. Once she went with her neighbor over the hill to where the ├ľnnerersken were dancing. “Oh,” She cried. “I would love to marry one of them, wouldn’t you?”
Her friend replied that she would.
A zwerg heard this and came and courted the women the next day and soon the two of them were married. She lives with him in his mountain where they have several children.


Yet at the same time, zwerg didn't always have the best relationship with humans. In another story a poor girl is wondering through the freezing snow when she discovers a zwerg home. The zwerg demand that she sleep with one of them in return for shelter. After she complies a woman from the human village bursts into the zwerg's home, rude as can be. While she wished to trade with the zwerg she thinks of them as garbage and is furious to discover a human woman with them. Later she brings back the villagers to murder all the zwerg in the hut.

This is a very different story from the above where a human girl marries a zwerg, or a number of short memories of human women being married to zwerg and living happily with them. In one of these stories a woman and a zwerg are happily married as they discuss what to give as a wedding gift to a human couple they know who is getting married.

People's memories of zwerg are interesting because they paint a picture of people living next door to the fairies. For example:

"In Westerberge the zwerg would enter a house at the far end of a village and bake their bread, using their invisibility caps to remain unseen. Every time they did this they always left some bread to thank the owners of the oven."

"In Launenberg there was a farmer named Koch. He had several horses that were always sick and many of them tied. The farmer didn’t understand what was wrong, but at last he discovered that the zwerg resented him. For his stable had been built above the zwerg’s home, and the horses urine flowed down through the ground into the zwerg’s home. Realizing this the man moved his stable and the zwerg were so grateful they gave him some flax string that never ended"

"The zwerg near the village of Dorste were cruel and dangerous. They loved to frighten and hurt people, they kidnapped young ladies and children. But most particularly they would destroy the farmers’ fields. One farmer discovered that they’d been destroying his pea fields and grew furious and went into town to get some advice. Here he learned that if the zwerg lost their hats they would become visible, so he hired a bunch of men to wait in is fields with long rods. Then when he heard the sound of the zwerg rushing about he had the men beat the rods about until one of them struck the zwerg’s hat off its head. Now visible the zwerg begged for mercy and promised to pay for the damage he’d done, so the farmer let him go. Later he went up to the hill to retrieve the promised payment where the zwerg offered him a dead horse. Furiously he cut a few chunks off it thinking it would be good food for his dogs but nothing else. When he got home he was delighted to discover that the meat had turned to gold."

It becomes clear from the dizzying array of stories about zwerg, that there are indeed a lot of regional fairy traditions about them. So, the fairies in "Snow White" are likely made up of multiple traditions, and may also be fairly unique. In general the zwerg seem to be similar to me a mix of Celtic/Western European fairy ideads. They are generally small, though not always, they love to dance and sing on hills, live in courts, replace human children with changelings, and seem to be refugees from the human invasion. At the same time they are very often clearly Germanic,as they often live in mines and are amazing blacksmiths.

To begin to understand the fairy traditions surrounding these fairies let's examine their introduction in the story: Rather than repeat the whole story here I will, however, simply provide what I believe are the most important quotes about the fairies and their home within.

"Everything in the cottage was small, but neater and cleaner than can be told."

"When it was quite dark the owners of the cottage came back. They were seven dwarfs who dug and delved in the mountains for ore."

"The dwarfs said, if you will take care of our house, cook, make the beds, wash, sew and knit, and if you will keep everything neat and clean you can stay with us and you shall want for nothing."

What should be clear form this is that the zwerg are small, neat, miners, who live in the woods rather than underground, and while they were kind they demanded hard work.

Their mining profession does tie these zwerg to Germanic traditions about dwarfs, but most dwarfs from sagas and eddas lived underground rather than deep in the forest. Indeed, very few fairies lived in cottages in the woods. The idea of a cottage in the forest makes them seem more like "lords of the land," "kings of the forest" rather than dwarfs or Western European fairies. Such lords of the forest often wanted human servants and or slaves to do work for them. Working for them for a set number of years was often a condition of their granting a person some wish. Yet the small size, and the neatness of the zwerg makes them seem to be similar to the Celtic and possibly other fairies of pre-Germanic Germany. These fairies were generally obessed with hard work and would give coins to those who worked hard, often leaving these in a persons boot, while punishing those who didn't. The problem is that many of these are also features that the Romantacist Grimm Brother's may have added or at least focused on. Even so it was common for the zwerg and other fairies to obsess over cleaneliness, kindness, and hardwork so it is likely that these were part of the original fairy tale.

Given the nature of the zwerg as miners, who live in a cottage, and seem to act a bit like Western European small fairies, I would say that there may be three traditions mixed into this story. Either that or the fairies in this story represent a unique local tradition that was intermixed with the Germanic idea of dwarfs.

Article by Ty Hulse

Tuesday, August 16, 2016

What Happened to America's Vampires and Fairies

Panic washed over the countryside like a wave as the vampires came in the night, draining person after person of their blood. Soon vampire hunters and mobs were out in force, digging up graves to burn the hearts of corpses suspected of attacking the living. This wasn't Transylvania, or Russia, or some other place famous for its vampires, however, this was Rhode Island just a 150 years ago.

In the 19th Century the small towns of Exeter, Foster, Kingstown, East Greenwich, experianced a mass vampire scare. During this time dozens of corpses had their hearts burned as the fear of vampires spread, subsided, and returned again.

But it wasn't just Road Island. Other incidents of vampire panic hit America as well.

"A well known and highly cultured American mathematician recently said to me that his servant had seven yenm ago nailed a horseshoe over a house door, and that he had never had the courage to remove it." American Anthropologist 

Now, with our obsession over good luck and bad luck we forget that horseshoes were originally meant to protect a house against vampiric fairies and other dark spirits. A lot of our superstitions have their roots in fairy belief, we just don’t realize it.


If you are interested in American Folklore or vampires you should really read the article I've cited (It's free!). While it's filled with the culturally biased language of the era the information on incidents of American vampire scares and hunting is wonderful. 

So it's clear that vampires made the crossing into America, so too did the knockers who miners in California continued to leave cakes for in return for luck. Often miners would refuse to enter a new mine unless they were assured the knockers were there. In Nevada people continued to believe in Tommyknockers well into the 20th Century. 

The Headless Horseman tale for which Sleepy Hollow is famous is based on common stories from Germany and England. 

Perhaps most interesting of all is Newfoundland, where fairies came from France, Ireland, Scotland, and Southwest England. Newfoundland has hundreds, if not thousands of memorates and stories about fairies, many of which come from 20th Century. Though it's interesting to note that Newfoundland has less stories of friendly fairies than do most European countries. 

"The majority of fairies are not good fairies," says Barbara Rieti, who did a PhD thesis in folklore, on the subject of fairies, at Memorial University of Newfoundland in St. John's, N.L., and later authored the book Strange Terrain: The Fairy World in Newfoundland (ISER Books, Memorial University, 1991). "They play tricks and lead you over the edge or a cliff. They'll change people. Or you'll get a fairy blast when they hit you, and then nasty stuff comes out of the wound, like sticks, balls of wool and fish bones."

Even when they made it to America, fairies seem to only kept their darkest aspects.

Still, it is obvious that stories about fairies and the undead did cross over to America. Yet, while Germany, Ireland, France, and the like are filled with encounter stories, gossip, and fairy tales about fairies, the U.S. seems to have a dearth of these stories about fairies. What we are usually left with are ideas, which only exist in a few places and very often vanished quickly. 


There are likely a number of reasons.

First of all, most stories about fairies are sort of a form of gossip; i.e., did you hear, a woman over in such and such village got married to a zwerg. Or a Woman on Dartmoor captured a pixie for a few moments, or a man found a trolls treasure. Gossip such as this, which revolved around bragging, dreams, and fears was perhaps the primary reason that fairy ideas remained. In places where people found something more interesting than fairies to gossip about, or where gossiping about encountering fairies might be embarrassing, people's beliefs in fairies vanished quickly. These places include much of England and the Low Lands of Germany. Places where gossip about people, about businesses, about politics took the fore. Isolated places seem to have gossiped more frequently about fairies, and while the U.S. was filled with isolated places, the East Coast has very few actual mountains. The Appalachian Mountains are a clear exception to this, and there are indeed a number of fairy stories within these. 

It's also important to note that many immigrants came from places that didn't gossip about fairies, and so they were likely to influence their neighbors, making everyone gossip less about fairies. Even scholars of cultural lore like Staton (who wrote the article on Vampires in America) seemed to hold a negative view of such beliefs. Contrast this to scholars like Jacob Grimm and Yeats who celebrated their countries fairy lore as the heart of their nation and one can start to understand how such beliefs vanished fairly quickly. As Peggy M. Baker (Director & Librarian Pilgrim Society & Pilgrim Hall Museum) points out.

"Fantasy writing was slower to win acceptance in America. Because of the strong Puritan hostility to what was seen as "dishonesty," the fairy tales that became so popular on continental Europe during the late 17th century - including such classic stories as Cinderella, Sleeping Beauty, Rapunzel, Puss in Boots and Little Red Riding Hood - did not flourish in England or in the English colonies in America."

As with England, ideas from Parapsychology began to dominate, subsuming ideas about fairies. Even stories about Native fairy creatures such as Bigfoot were turned into pseudoscience creatures rather than retaining their mythological nature. If something couldn't fit into people’s notions of science in this country people ignored it. This is why we are left with cryptozoological creatures rather than magical creatures,  UFOs instead of fairies, and only ghosts. Though witch beliefs do remain, and to some extent counter the point I’m just making, but no point in folklore is perfect, everything is a bit murky.

Less collection
Many of the fairy tales collected, were collected because people thought that fairy tales and folk religion would help scholars understand the peasants and therefore the true heart of a country. In America, where everyone was an immigrant, collecting the gossip of random peasants wasn't likely to teach anyone about America's past. Rather it would teach people about the past of many other places, and so the gossip of immigrants just wasn't as interesting to American scholars as the gossip of isolated peasants was to European ones. There were exceptions of course, and the article mentioned at the beginning of this post is one of these. 

Many of the Hmong believe that less Dab (spirits) live in the United States. The Hmong lament that they don't know the local spirits that do live hear and so find it difficult to live in the United States. (Encyclopedia of Asian American Folklore and Folklife)

Owen Davis in his book stated that "In Western Europe the fairies were rooted in local geographies and popular interpretations of the ancient landscape." He goes on to argue that in America people didn't have as many fairy traditions because they could no longer see the raths and trees where these stories took place. While an interesting idea, I would again point to the fact that fairy traditions remained strong in Newfoundland, and Iceland after people migrated to these places. 

Davis’s point is interesting, but I think that there is a lot of evidence that many of these stories did come over, and that what happened was that they faded quickly just as they did in the Lowlands of Europe. Once this happened these beliefs came to be frowned upon and so new migrants rarely talked about them, or were ignored when they did. 

That said, there are a number of tales and memorates which clearly indicate that fairies did in fact come to America.

For example, there are the Fairy Stones of Virginia.

Many hundreds of years before Chief Powhatan’s reign, fairies were dancing around a spring of water, playing with naiads and wood nymphs, when an elfin messenger arrived from a city far away. He brought news of the death of Christ. When these creatures of the forest heard the story of the crucifixion, they wept. As their tears fell upon the earth, they crystallized to form beautiful crosses.

The book "Folk Beliefs from Arkansas" edited by Mary Parler has a number of short snippits of fairy lore, including;

“If a crowded room becomes deathly quiet at 20 til or 20 after the hour, it means the angels are passing through the room.”

“When I was about eight or nine my mother would have me look for rings of mushrooms (clusters). This ring was supposedly left by a fairy and it was a good luck sign. You stand near the ring, close your eyes, make your wish, then turn away. I always looked for these when playing or visiting my grandparents in the country.”

“If logs in a fire burn with blue flame, good fairies are watching you.”

“After dark you never throw out water, sweepings, and etc. for you might accidently hit one of the ‘little people’ and make them angry. My mother told me this; she said she could remember her grandmother saying and practicing this. She came from Ireland.”

"I’ve also heard stories of healers who got their “gift” from the Fair Folk."

There are many such little snippets from around the country, though as previously stated, most of these are form the most isolated areas, places which schollars ignored for a long time, and where people often wouldn't talk about their beliefs with outsiders. One collector of tales in the Ozark Mountains states; "mention witches and they all shut up like clams. If they say anything at all on the subject, it will be that they do not believe any such foolishness. Some of them will even deny that they ever heard of witches or witch masters."

Even so, these witches were once a part of the gossip of the area:

"A witch can assume the form of any bird or animal, but cats and wolves seem to be her favorite disguises. In many a back- woods village you may hear some gossip about a woman who visits her lover in the guise of a house cat. Once inside his cabin, she resumes her natural form and spends the night with him. Shortly before daybreak she becomes a cat again, returns to her home, and is transformed into a woman at her husband's bedside."
"Ozark Superstitions" by Vance Randolph

Or "Another well-known tale is concerned with a witch who assumed the form of a swamp rabbit and lived on milk. A farmer saw this big rabbit sucking his cow and fired at it with a load of turkey shot"

This second story is of interest because sucking milk from a cow in the form of a rabbit is one of the most common activities of fairies and witches in Celtic Europe. So it seems that many of the activities ascribed to fairies in Europe became the activities of witches and ghosts alone. 

This may lead back to the idea of gossip, to what people were willing to talk about. After all it was often forbidden in folklore to mention when the fairies did something good for you. So, over time, stories about the good things they did would disappear, as they did with the water fairies in England.

Regardless, European and Asian fairies and spirits did come to America, we just gloss over, or forget this heritage. Of the Pilgrims Fraser McAlpine, from BBC America Wrote

“They believed in fairies
The Pilgrims belonged to a religious order that came out of the newly-established Church of England and was created during a period in which science was often indistinguishable from magic and therefore hokum. Coming from England, their cultural identities were hugely informed by folklore and ancient tradition. So while they had strong religious beliefs that informed their every decision, they also believed in the supernatural (including fairies), as every beneficiary of that cultural tradition did at the time.”

So, if you want to write about Early European settlers in America, perhaps it’s time to start including the fairies. 

Wednesday, April 20, 2016

Misty Forests: Discover the Secret World of Europe's Oldest Fairyrealm

Article by Ty Hulse

Mari-El, a land of vast and isolated forests, a land of Europe's oldest Fairy Faiths.

Here in this land it's difficult to tell if you are in the fairy realm in the sky, the underworld, or still in the Middle Realm of Humans and strange spirits. For a person can find themselves in fairyland simply by stepping off the path, or walking out their door at the wrong time.

Mari-el has a dizzying array of spirits, everything and anything you can think of has a spirit. Clean water ways are ruled over the But Aba, the colic of horses is ruled over by a spirit known as Asera. Forests themselves have dozens, if not hundreds of spirits which rule over and divide up the land. For example; there are the Targeldes, which are the spirits of either those who died in the forest (especially murder victims) or still born babies. Appearing as massive headed, giant Cyclopes, they rove the forest near where they were murdered but will occasionally be seen wandering through fields, meadows, and even into town. Mischievous with a cruel streak they are known to shift their form to that of animals, logs, haystacks, they shriek to frighten cattle and laugh at the chaos which results. Similarly they frighten mushroom gatherers, berry pickers, and anyone else who might find themselves in the forest. Worse they also chase people down or lure them into the forest in order to tickle them to death.

From WikiCommons

The forest itself seems to be a Topsy-turvy place in general, for here the obda will appear with their feet on backwards. When they steal a horse to ride about the horse even runs backwards, and typically they face backwards as well. They ride about on a single ski in the winter, or sit in the forest laughing wildly and clapping madly. When they are seen Obda appear as naked, hairy people, with the females having such long breasts that they need to throw them over their shoulders when they run. Like other forest spirits they love to capture and tickle people to death, though they also enjoy using their control over people to make them dance themselves to death. Still most of the time they are more prankish than this and they love to pop out of random places to scream and startle people. In order to escape one can't simply fight them as every drop of their blood which falls to the ground will become another obda. The only real way to defeat them is to keep them away with dogs, which they fear, or to reach inside the holes which are under their armpits for doing so causes the obda to loose it's power. Further it seems that the obda can't run back on its own tracks, so as long as a person runs away from the obda over it's tracks it will be unable to follow them.


Targeldes and Obda also shares the forest with Codra Kugua and Codra Kuba (the old man and old woman of the forest) who are the owners of all the animals in the forest. Any hunter who wishes to have luck in hunting must offer these spirits porridge or else they won't be able to catch game. Worse these spirits might grow angry, causing the forest to shake with their fury. When they demand that the hunter share his food or leave another offering, they'll begin knocking (while invisible) on a nearby tree. Often bored they love games of chance and so are known to gamble with each other, using their animals as the stakes, with the winner getting more animals in their forest, and the looser having less.

As if the woodland weren't crowded enough there are also Keremets (the spirits of people who died badly or heroes that can act as deities and disease bringers) L'esak which are giant forest spirits with a bristly hair like a hay stack and big eyes and a giant head. Which loves to drink liqueur, and howls like a dog or makes sounds like a raven. A weird trickster they will often make dung appear to be bread, or do other similar sorts of things. They are also fore-tellers of tragic events, for those who hear them know that someone they love will soon die (given the nature of the l'esak it may be that they think it’s funny to let someone know something bad is coming so they can watch the person panic and try to prevent it).

From WikiCommons

As human civilization began to grow, it seems that many of these wilderness spirits began to move into human lands. Araptes, a spirit which appears as beautiful three foot tall girls, haunt abandoned bathhouses, though Araptes can also be the spirit of a murderer who haunts a region, or the spirit of a forest which can also be dangerous.

Similarly the Suksendal are feral spirits which lived in the mountains where they would hide under stones. Now, however, they have started to hide under stones in the homestead or in the bathhouse. They appear as short blond men or girls, cause people to have nightmares or rape people in their sleep. They are also known to kidnap babies and commit murder, though one could use sharp iron knifes to keep them away. Further it seems that as they began to live among humans for longer periods of time some of them came to care for the people around them as there are more recent stories about a few of them acting helpfully. One even took a soldier to be an invisible guest at his brothers far away wedding.

Most of the spirits within the household, even the ones that likely came from the wild have similarly become, or always were helpful. Kude Bodez, for example is a deity which lives in the holy corner of the house, where the family continually places fresh twigs for him. Generally friendly the kude will occasionally appear in human form to the family members and bring them good luck and happiness. Still the Kude is a bit like a sensitive child and will become destructive and dangerous if offended, or especially if the people in the house begin to fight with each other. When this happens the kude will begin to act like a poltergeist or bring sickness to the offending family member so that it needs to be calmed with offerings. These offerings are usually of honey, cake, bread, and sacrificed animals (black sheep, duck, hen or hare). After these sacrifices are made the family is expected to share in the kude's feast, eating a family meal of the various offerings, while the head of the household begs the kude for forgiveness and puts a piece of the sacrificed animals organ on the kuda's sacred shelf.

Spirits of Cold and Frost
Poksem Kuguza and Poksem Kuba are the male and female spirits of the cold who live as close knit and mischievous family groups, with their grandfather being the most destructive of them (perhaps because being really really old he's suffering from a bit of Peter Pan syndrome and wants to be childlike again). People sacrifice animals to them, so that they have something to eat, rather than needing to destroy crops.

Justa Kuguza and and Justa Kuba ar ethe male and female spirits of the frost who are much more mischievous and obnoxious than their cold counterparts. They beat on fences, walls and trees while people are trying to sleep. They call for children to come out to play, pinches people's feet and noses, hits people over the head with a mallet so that they become confused from the cold, and will sew the door closed with frost to make it hard for people to get out. They especially love to harass drunk people and will push them about and occasionally go overboard killing people. Occasionally they also climb up into people's rafters, (especially their children Justa Ega and Justa Ebeza (son and daughter respectively)


The vampires of the Mari People they travel about as a shooting star, as a woman with long hair, or a man with a long beard with sparks trailing from their hair as they fly through the air. They can also appear as a bird which pecks at trees killing them.

They fly out of the their grave through small holes to suck the milk out of cows (causing the remaining milk to have blood or dirt in it) or the blood out of people’s mouths by kissing them. Other dangerous activities include eating people and animal’s eyes, or entering women to eat their fetuses and the stomachs of people. They also become especially beautiful people to become a human’s lover so that they can toy with their emotions and drive them insane. Finally they would possess people, causing them to do evil while in a dream like trance.

In order to deal with them people would dig up the body of the person whose spirit they were and beat it with mountain ash branches and burn it. Though sometimes before they could kill it it would escape from the corpse’s mouth in the form of a butterfly and become a buber bird. To prevent this people would put a stone from the craw of a chicken in the corpse’s mouth. Other times it could be reborn from the ashes after it was burned, so killing it was really hard. The only real way to deal with it then was to put a horseshoe at the threshold of a house so that it couldn't enter.

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Souls of the Mari-El

Everyone had three souls known as Sules, Con and Ort. Should the Sules or Con leave the body the person would die almost instantly. The Con would move about within a person’s body, and if the place where it was located was struck the person would also die.

Unlike the other souls the ort regularly leaves  person’ s body when they dream, or when a shaman sends it out in a form of astral projection. Though if it remains outside of the body too long illness and even death will eventually result. As a free flowing soul ort is also able to remain behind when a person dies, sometimes flying about as a butterfly or a bird, or wandering invisible (or visible) through the village. After forty days people would have a feast to say goodbye to this spirit as if it enter the land of the dead at this point it was likely to grow malicious.


Pancakes are an important food in Mari-El Tales. One man who discovers a wishing tree is gathering wood so that he can have pancakes. Indeed they are perhaps the most commonly mentioned food in Fairy Tales.

The Pancakes include those made with Barley Flour, with Rye, With crushed Onions in the batter, Oats, or Various Berries.


Various Grains boiled with Pork, Mutton, and Beef
For example:

2 Cups Oats, 1 Cup Lard, 1/2 Cup Pork, Clove of Garlic, Water, Salt
Boil until the Pork is well cooked.


Dice Apple's and Turnips, Add a little Sugar, Serve with Sour Cream

Chicken Liver
Fry Liver in Butter with Chopped Onion.
When brown add a little hot water, and a tomato. Simmer with Rice until water is evaporated.
Bake the resulting rice in the oven for a while.

Mushroom Dumplings
Mushrooms, onion, pepper, salt for the dumpling mixture.
Serve with butter or sour cream.

Fish Noodles
Boil a large cleaned fish in water salted to taste.
Remove the Fish
Boil Potatoes and Onions in the Broth, remove.
Cook the Noodles in this broth.