Zombieland, Pennsylvania

Zombieland

Hillsville, Pennsylvania

Along the border of Ohio and Pennsylvania, in Lawrence County, just north of the small Italian immigrant populated village of Hillsville is a unsettling quiet and eerie region locals call “Zombie Land”. Mainly “urban legend” than actual historic folklore are tales of the macabre, mystical beasts, deaths, and grisly murder. There is definitely a feeling of “odd” and “something not right” when entering this several mile strip of heavily wooded spots meeting farming, transportation, and industrial works along Lawler Ford Road a.k.a. “Zombie Road” or Route 224.

The Virgin Mary:

It begins around the old St. Lawrence Catholic Church which has long been converted to a private residence and its accompanying graveyard along route 224. There is a alcove with a statue of the Virgin Mary who has a creepy air about herself. Legend has it, she will greet visitors with open arms when it is safe to enter Zombie Land, and have praying hands when it is not. In the 1990’s it was reportedly vandalized and a plexiglass (or glass) window was installed to protect the statue.

St. Lawrence Church and Graveyard:

Some say the gravestones behind this church glow at night. Others say it is at the Presbyterian graveyard down the road. We’ve been to both, and outside of solar-powered grave lights, there is no glow. Others say it is a historic stone in the older part of the graveyard behind the old Church (St. Lawrence) that has a particular shine that reflects off the full moon or light from the house (old church). We unfortunately during our night visit did not see that section, although we did explore the two graveyards – seeing no glow, but experiencing the eerie ambiance.

The Hilltown Bridge:

Just down the road from the St. Lawrence Graveyard north is the Hilltown Bridge. The original Bridge in March 1913 was swept away and has since been replaced by a new concrete monster. It was torn down again in 2007 and replaced with a modern concrete span. It is from this bridge that reports of unexplained lights moving around it and underneath, like the Will o’ Wisp has been reported. Also some say one can hear screams and gun shots from the bridge at night. It has also been reported to be a “crying bridge” with sounds of a crying baby underneath, with the urban lore that a mother tossed her child over the edge. It has reports of suicides being conducted from its rails.

The Killing Fields or “Murder Swamp”:

Just north of the Hilltown Bridge are the “Killing Fields” where at night many report hearing screams and gunshots. In the woods bordering the railway some say there are “ghost whistles” to be heard late at night. If one parks near the rails, strange things will happen to the car. It is also reputedly where a serial killer dumped more than a dozen bodies with decapitated heads in Zombie Land. From 1921-1942, between Mahoningtown and New Castle, over 15 bodies were found in the swamp and may have been the same serial killer who conducted decapitations in Cleveland around the same time. There are many stories of the Italian Immigrants who settled in the area also killing many farmers, authorities, and residents leaving them in the Killing Fields to decay. It was in 1907 when several Italian men in Hillsville, believed to be associated with the Italian mafia/mob who proclaimed that “No person in the Hillsville district, either Italian or American, will give the slightest assistence to any officer desiring the prosecution of Italian offenders.” and it was then that a Hillsville farmer allowed an officer named Sealy Houk to use his phone to effect an arrest of an Italian found to have killed his cow. It is believed that the officer was killed and dumped in the “Killing fields” of the region, discovered by a train passing by. Three days after Houk’s body was discovered, three Italian mob men went into the fields killing and pouching animals, aggrivating and attacking (murdering at least one – William Duff) farmers who tried to stand in their way.

The Mines:

There are said to be various mines in the area used by the mafia from Youngstown to dispose of bodies. While travelling through area, we only saw signs for “Limestone” mines.

Skyhill Road Bridge:
(aka Frankenstein Bridge, Hookman’s Bridge, Ghost Bridge, Graffiti Bridge)
A few more miles down into Zombie land on Skyhill Road is a small bridge that was built in 1917 crossing off the Coffee Run River. It also has been replaced in 2013 changing the eerie attraction. It became to be believed to be haunted by the “Bridge People” and the “Hook Man”. Apparently they were mutated zombie-like people who lived nearby that were bothered by people hanging around the bridge so would hunt them down to maim or kill them. It is believed that if one writes someone’s name on the bridge, the “Bridge People” or “The Hookman” would go murder them. The bridge is covered with peoples names and symbols. The Original bridge had wood railings where the graffiti would be, but now a metal railing, the graffiti is on the asphault itself. Oddly, underneath the bridge are lover’s dedications and love notes scrawled on the walls. The Hate is above, the Love below. We also saw the corpse of a dead deer lying halfway on the ground and in the water, half-wrapped in a garbage bag like an offering to the Bridge people. Someone else writing about the Bridge also stated there was a dead deer but that was back in 2016, so a different dead deer. It is said a young boy leaped from the bridge killing himself as a suicide.

The Zombie Torch:

Right around the corner from the bridge west is the Eternal Flame dedicated to the Zombies that haunt the woods. The mutant colored metal pipe protruding from the ground is just a stone’s torch from the road – it is a iron pipe venting fumes from the natural gas field below. If one lights the torch it will anger the Bridge People and the Hook Man, summoning them to cause death unto the one who lit it.

The Blood House, Bridge People, Hook Man:

Deep in the woods near the bridge and torch is the purported home of the Bridge People and/or Hook Man. It is said also to have been the home of a wicked witch named “Mary Black” who snatched and murdered children of the area, buring them in the fields. It has long been burnt down and demolished by authorities and no longer exists. Others state that the Blood House is located off of Erskin Quarry Road and had a small graveyard attached to it. Some say the Witch was a woman who went crazy and hung her children. Others say it all happened when some mental patients escaped and settled in the area. Others say the “Bridge People” were mutant-like residents of the woods who suffered from “hydrocephalus” or “water on the brain” that settled in the area along the Mahoning River to avoid being harassed for their deformities. They were also nicknamed the “Light Bulb Heads”. A escaped mental patient nicknamed “Zombie” who was a serial killer supposedly lived in the woods along this road. Some claim that his bloodied hospital gown was once found on the road and murdered local kids. Other paranormal investigators call the “Bridge People” as the infamous legendary “Shadow People” of lore. There is some belief that the “Hook Man” came from the Killing of Seely Houk written about above.

The Railroad Bridge:

Along Coffee Run, at Robinson’s Crossing, just north of the Manoning River, within Zombie Land, not too far from all the haunted locations is a Railway Bridge still in use by CSX trains was the scene of a grisley rape and murder of a 12 year old girl named Shannon Leigh Kos. Her boyfriend and two other 20 year old boys brought her there, raped her, and stabbed her to death. They attempted to burn her body, but her remains were found by the bridge three days later. The sick criminals – William George Monday (21), David Christopher Garvey (20), and Perry Sam Ricciardi II (20) were arrested and convicted. There are purported rumors that Robinson’s Crossing was once a popular “lover’s lane” but police reported many arguments and spats, domestic violence calls, etc. were popular there as well as abandoned dates they had to come to escort home. Rumors of suicides at this spot as well as the other bridges are also common.

The Glowing Green Man:
There are legends of a green man who had been burned in an industrial accident that lived in the area. Others say he was a local handyman who was electricuted and had a light green glow to his skin. According to Jim Mosley, the Green Man not only existed but was someone whom he had met on occasion through his wanderings in Zombie Land and spent many evenings drinking with him at the local pub. His real name was Raymond Robinson.

A zombie land facebook fan page exists here: https://www.facebook.com/ZombieLandHillsvillePA/ and t-shirts are sold at a local beverage shop.

Recommended Reading/Bibliography:

  • Associated Press 2000 “Accused told police of Killing”. The Associated Press. Website referenced on 11/12/18 at http://www2.sharonherald.com/localnews/recentnews/0011/ln111600f.html
  • Lawrence County Memoirs n.d. “Zombie Land – Hillsville PA” website referenced 11/12/18 at http://www.lawrencecountymemoirs.com/lcmpages/1073/zombieland-hillsville-pa
  • Reddit 2016 “Gruesome Murder of a Girl I Knew NSFW” by u/nebbles1069. Website referenced 11/12/18 at https://www.reddit.com/r/nosleep/comments/462b6r/gruesome_murder_of_a_girl_i_knew_nsfw/
  • Penn Live e2016 “From Hell’s Hollow to Zombie Land: 13 western PA places with haunting legends. Website referenced 11/12/18 at https://www.pennlive.com/entertainment/index.ssf/2016/10/haunted_western_pennsylvania.html
  • Summers, Ken 2011 “The STrange History Behind America’s Creepiest Zombie Road Legends … and How You Can find them”. Website referenced 11/12/18 at http://weekinweird.com/2011/09/26/home-zombie-roads/
  • Tinsley, M. Ferguson 2000 “This time, Zombie Land tale is true”. Post-Gazette Staff. Website referenced 11/12/18 at http://old.post-gazette.com/regionstate/20001031zombie1.asp
  • Torisk, Emmalee C. 2013 “Urban legends haunt Zombieland” : Vindy.com. Website referenced 11/12/18 at http://www.vindy.com/news/2013/oct/29/urban-legends-haunt-zombieland/
  • Warren, Louis S. unknown “The Hunters Game: Poachers and Conservationists in Twentieth Century America”. Website referenced 11/12/18 at https://books.google.com/books?id=OfeB1wAdQHwC&pg=PA30&lpg=PA30&dq=killing+fields+hillsville&source=bl&ots=GdJ2Dgjuqh&sig=A0EsgLm8cPefd44V8l6owSsq0IQ&hl=en&sa=X&ved=2ahUKEwiZocuBqtDeAhUp11kKHYObBIsQ6AEwFXoECAsQAQ#v=onepage&q=killing%20fields%20hillsville&f=false

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Lú, The Gougan Barra Dragon

owl

Alot of legends surround Gougane Barra and its lake. It was here in the lake that Saint Finbarr
chased off Lú, Gougan Barra Dragon. A dragon or a sea monster like Nessie, the legends vary in their descriptions. The creature’s expulsion is believed to be the source of the large channel that is now the River Lee flowing west to the sea at Cork City. A little sea monster is memorialized in the hedge along the isle’s road. Saint Finbarr was also believed to have been led by an angel from the source of the river Lee at his monastic site to its marshy mouth where he built a monastery “out of which grew the Sea and the City of Cork”.

Saint Patrick was also reputed of slaying a dragon in Irish Mythology albeit depicted as a giant serpent. Serpents and dragons are often co-mingled together as the same beast in Irish myth. It was of his slaying that the red blood from the death of the sea serpent spewed into the waters of Lough Derg colored the waters as such. he supposedly killed the last remaining serpent on Saint’s Island. This was supposedly the mother of all the Irish serpents, and thereby being the mother to Lú in Gougan Barra Lake. Some claim that Saint Finbarr drowned the serpent instead of chasing him off. Others claim the serpent was slaughtered. The serpent is not always depicted as a snake, lake monster, or dragon but usually as a winged creature like the one depicted in the St. Patrick’s slaying of the beast. There is a 3000 BCE copper relief of a giant lion-headed bird named “Imdugud” found at the Temple of the Goddess Nenbursag at Tell-al-Ubaid that is more in likeness that historians believe was imagined as the dragon that Saint Finbarr and Saint Patrick slayed. Other scholars think the so-called serpent was not a several hundred to thousands pounds of dragon as both Saint Finbarr and Saint Patrick were not warriors, but rather monks armed with a staff. Perhaps it was a 20-30 pound beast some scholars say, such as Gerald Maloney, such as an ancient species of ground burrowing Owls such as “Ornimegalonyx Otero” or the fantastical Banshee, that flew in from a hole in the earth and frightened the monks and over-exaggerated to be a dragon.

One legend says that when Saint Finbarr arrived he found a serpent living in the lake. He caught the monster and threw it to one side, it landed miles away, leaving an impression of its body in the earth that filled with water and later was called Lough Allua.

Bibliography /Recommended Reading / References:

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The Leech Place

Hiwassee River

Hiwassee River, Murphy, North Carolina

The Leech Place
Murphy, North Carolina

A small little town in Murphy, North Carolina sits atop an old Cherokee Indian mythology site known as “The Leech Place”. This spot was a place where the waters of the Hiwassee river would cross and notoriously swept hapless people to the bottom of the river. The river was controlled by a giant house-sized leech who made the waters drag people under so it could consume them. Its original name was “Tlanusi-yi” or “The Leech Place”. The story is told as “just above the junction where Murphy now sits is a deep hole in the river valley above which is a rock ledge running across the stream that early people’s once used as a foot bridge. On the south side of this trail was an ascension where one could look down into the river. One day, some men crossing the bridge saw a large red object as big as a house lying on the rock ledge in the middle of the stream below them. As they wondered what it was they saw it unroll and very alive, stretching itself out in full length like a giant leech with red and white stripes along its body. It rolled into a ball and stretched again at full length, crawling down the rock, into the deep waters. When it hit the waters, the water boiled and foamed causing a column of white spray billowing into the air like a waterspout drenching the area the men had been standing, which would have swept them away into the river had they not spotted it. Legend has it more than one person was carried down into that water hole by this method with their friends finding their bodies afterwards with their ears and nose eaten off. People feared crossing this bridge afterwards. One man fearless and laughing at the legend wanted to prove the townsfolk, painted his face, put on his bucksin, headed to the river, leading the townspeople down to watch. He went onto the ledge, sang to the high spirits: Tlanu’si gäe’ga digi’gäge, Dakwa’nitlaste’stï. I’ll tie red leech skins, On my legs for garters.” As he crossed, the waters boiled into white foam creating a great wave that rose and swept over the rock carrying him down to never to be seen again.” Legend also tells that 60 years ago before the great Removal, two women went to fish from that ledge, ignoring warning from their friends, and laid her child down on the rock to prepare her fishing line when the water rose and swept over the ledge, almost carrying off the child, with the mother barely saving it. People believe the great leech is still there as they can see something moving down below. Others say what is seen moving is the underground waterway across to Nottely river not far above the mouth where the river bends over towards Murphy and sometimes the leech goes there to make the waters boil as it used to at the rock ledge, calling this place on Nottely the Leech place as well. More about the Hiwassee River can be found at http://www.technogypsie.com/reviews/?p=5395. More information about the Leech place can be found at http://www.sacred-texts.com/nam/cher/motc/motc077.htm.

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The Lizard Man of South Carolina

This brings me back to a crazed David Icke conspiracy theorist named Purple Crow in Vancouver BC when I think of lizard men, or the famous telvision show “V”. The Lizard Man of Scape Ore Swamp or the Sumter Lizard Man, the Lizard Man of Lee County, or the South Carolina Lizard Man are all titles of a mythological modern-day creature haunting the backwoods and swamps of South Carolina. Native American legend with oral lore from 1972 in the area is claimed that the Inzignanin near Chicora by the South/North Carolina border told of fishy humanoids covered in scales, 5 feet tall, with fairly inflexible tales 18 inches long, and webbed hands. He was first reported being seen on June 29, 1988 and ever since has been popping up in urban folklore. He has been described as a reptilian humanoid cryptid living either in the South Carolina swamps or within abandoned subways or sewers in towns near the swamps. He is described as standing over 7 feet tall, bipedal, muscular, covered in scaly lizard-like skin with dark hair (similar to big foot). He has been said to have only three toes on each foot and three fingers on each hand and maybe flaunting a tail. In June of 1988, a 17 year old boy named Christopher Davis claimed to have been attacked by the creature on his way home from work when he was changing a flat. He claimed the creature tried to grab at his car and climbed onto his roof as he sped off to escape the attack. He claimed the creature damaged his side mirror and scratched his roof. He claimed it was lizard like with red glowing eyes, three big fingers, long black nails, and green rough skin – all green and angry, grunting, and chasing him. That month there were several more reports by others of being attacked, with unusual scratches and bite marks found on cars parked close to the swamp, all within three mile radius of the swamps of Bishopville, South Carolina. Police at the time were perplexed, trying to balance between disbelief and humor to concern and intrigue, thinking it was actually a bear not a lizard man. Two weeks later, the sheriff’s department made several plaster casts of what appeared to be three-toed footprints, measuring 14 inches in length, that were later labelled unclassifiable. They were cited as not belonging or matching any other footprints of any other recorded animal on record. Tourists and cryptid hunters began plaguing South Carolina in search of the beast, with even radio stations such as WCOS offering a million dollar reward to anyone who could capture it alive. On August 5th, an airman from Shaw Air Force base named Kenneth Orr, filed a report with the police claiming to have encountered the creature on Highway 15 and having shot/wounded it. He gave to evidence several scales and some blood. He later confessed to inventing the sighting after being cited for unlawfully carrying a gun and a misdemeanor offense for filing a false police report. 2004 reports of a creature trying to snatch and drag a young girl into the river was blamed on the Lizard Man, but later theorized to have been an alligator. In 2005, the South Carolina Lottery used the creature in their television advertisements, and later that year a woman from Newberry claimed to have seen two Lizard man creatures outside her home. In 2008, Bob and Dixie Rawson, a couple in Bishopville South Carolina reported being attacked and damage to their car with traces of blood and claims that these creatures killed their cats. Police claim it was a wolf or coyote. After investigating the claim, E.J. Melvin, the Lee County Sheriff discovered a dead cow and coyote in a field next to the Rawson homestead. History Channel’s “MonsterQuest” investigated the legend, showing that it was not possible for a canine to have caused such damage on the Rawson’s car, it would have taken over 300 lbs of torgue to cause that kind of damage. By 2010, the show “Destination Truth” investigated the legend claiming the footprints were a hoax and the creature fabricated as a means of tourism, extensive local merchandising, and fandom. Lee County Chamber of Commerce hosts a 5 km Lizard Man run, sells Lizard Man shirts, and a Lizard patrol shirt. Another report in 2011 by a couple claiming to have had their car mauled by something tall with similar damage as the others. Reptilian humanoid creatures have been reported through history – the Greek God of the cold north wind, Boreas was described as a winged man with serpents instead of legs; Crecrops I was a half-man, half-snake mythical king of Athens; Chinese Mythology has reptilian humaoid dragon kings as well as a serpentine figure named Fu Xi; There is the snake God named Glycon who has a human head; The Lord of the Tree of Life from the Epic of Gilgamesh links Ningizzida with the water serpent constellation Hydra; the Chinese Dragon thunder God Shenlong is depicted with a human head and dragon’s body; the Ancient Egyptian God Sobek has a crocodile head; the Aztec God Tlaloc has snake fangs; the Greek “Father of all monsters” Typhon was a man from the waist up with a mass of seething vipers from the waist down; the Zoroastrian God Zahhak grows a serpent on either of his shoulders; The wife of Typhon is a half-woman half-snake Goddess named Echidna; in Portugese and galician folklore there is a snake goddess named Moura with long blond hair and a snake body; and of course MEdusa and the Gorgons in Greek mythology; the Lamia – a Greek female demon as half-woman, half snake; Islamic mythology depicts some djinn as half human and half-serpentine; Indian Naga were reptilian beings living underground and interacting with humans atop; the Genesis creation of the Serpent identified with Satan was known to be either male/female in mythology.

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Legend of the Third Eye Man (Columbia, SC)

Now that we’re residents of Columbia, South Carolina … its time to look into the legends and lore of these intriguing lands. The Legend of the Third Eye Man was the first to find, whether it be an urban legend or a true creature or spirit, time will tell. Apparently there is a massive network of catacombs and steam tunnels underneath the University of South Carolina. Haunting these halls is supposedly a phantom cyclops. He was first spotted on November 12th, 1949 on the campus of USC. Records state he is a strange looking man dressed in bright silver who was spotted opening a man-hole cover on the corner of Green street and Sumter street, opposite the haunted historic Long street Theater. He became known as “the sewer man” at that point. Six months later on April 7th, 1950 he re-surfaced and was sighted again by a university police office on patrol who discovered two mutilated chickens behind the theater. He reported chicken parts to be strewn all over the loading dock. When he returned to his car to report the scene, thinking it was a fraternity prank, he returned to the scene to find a silver man huddled over the chicken parts. He shined his flashlight on him to find a very disturbing face, grotesque in color and shape, and a third eye in the middle of his forehead like that of a cyclops, staring back at him. He retreated from the scene, called backup, and was laughed at when nothing was found on the docks but a few feathers and chicken bones. By the 1960’s students started hunting down and invading the tunnels. When a fraternity had three pledges down in the tunnels for a challenge, from the basement of Gambrell, they ran into a crippled looking man dressed in all silver and reported the sighting to the police. He charged at the students with a lead pipe, knocking student Matthew Tabor to the ground, suffering minor cuts and shock. The first official man-hunt for this attacker took place coming up with nothing, but that started the tedious task of sealing off many of the entrances to the catacombs and making them off limits. The catacombs do exist, as photos of them are rampant online. Whether or not this mysterious hominid exists is a whole different story. Legend tells that these tunnels link various venues of the government to the USC campus allowing undetected and protected transportation between them, some say even to Fort Jackson. Some say they go back to the days of the confederate war. Many say the Three Eyed Man is also the ghoul that haunts the Longstreet Theatre, and instead of living in the tunnels, he lives in the theater late at night. He has played the terror and villian in many a fraternity initiation through the years.

More info:

http://www.mostlyghosts.com/index.php/the-third-eye-man-of-usc/
http://www.waymarking.com/waymarks/WM6JAB_The_Legend_of_the_Third_Eye_Man_Columbia_South_Carolina

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Cabin in the Woods

Cabin in the Woods (R: 2012)

Cabin in the Woods ~ (Rated R: 2012)
http://www.imdb.com/title/tt1259521/ * Director: Drew Goddard. * Written by Joss Whedon and Drew Goddard. * Starring: Kristen Connolly as Dana; Chris Hemsworth as Curt; Anna Hutchison as Jules; Fran Kranz as Marty; Jesse Williams as Holden; Richard Jenkins as Sitterson; Bradley Whitford as Hadley; Brian White as Truman and many others.

Within the last several years Hollywood and the film industry has been evolving and expanding the classical monster tale, as we watched through the ages meandering from Frankenstein, the Mummy, the Werewolf, and Count Dracula towards a whole different species of Werewolves, vampires, and zombies. Then came the serial killers obsessed with pain, torture, maiming, and realistic grotesque murder sprees self styled after Ted Bundy, Fred West, or Jeffrey Dalmer only to exaggerate to supernatural tales of Halloween, Friday the 13th, and the Texas Chainsaw Massacre. Now a new sense of horror, going back to supernatural beliefs on Witches, Druids, Spirits, and creatures from the races of Darker Faeries come crawling out from their sidhe with vicious mermaids and mer-men, leprechauns, gremlins, goblins, orcs, giants, and titans. The Old God/desses are being brought back to life. What one would imagine would be a typical hack n’ slash film by the title of “Cabin in the Woods” turned to a conspiracy theorie, Dark ancient Deities tale of human sacrifice at a high corporate level ploy to satiate the “ancient ones”. None other than a tale weaved by Buffy’s Joss Whedon to give that twisted plot some fantastical depth. These five friends go on vacation to a remote cabin in the woods, only to find them trapped and manipulated in a pseudo-realm where they are lined up to voluntarily sacrifice themselves to the dark spirits.

The five college-aged kids head off to a friend’s cabin in the woods and lose all communication with the outside world. During “party time” and unwinding, the cellar door mysteriously flips open, only to involved a truth or “dare” to investigate the darkness. Within is a treasure trove of artifacts, each with a secret and a beast to unleash. Meanwhile they are monitored by a high tech secret lab where the white coats bet on which creature they will face – Pinhead, the Mer-man, flesh eating zombies, a ghoul, or a prehistoric monster of dinosaur proportions. Dana reads from the diary of an imbred hillybilly family thereby awakening the now family of deadly murderous zombies. But this is not the only laboratory experiment of what supernatural creatures will be unleashed, as the lab coats are monitoring similar setups from around the world, hopeful of a successful stint with the cabin. As each of the college kids get knocked off, the ploy backfires as the “virgin” saved for the last, teamed up with the brainy pot-head discover the conspiracy and find their way down into depths uncovering an ancient temple lair holding back the ancient Titans from destroying the Earth – satiated by an annual sacrifice that was planned. None of the scenarios work out for the guardians and literally “all hell breaks loose” as magical and supernatural beings, creatures, and monsters look at the lab coats and armed forces as a smorgasboard brunch. The Director of the agency, played by Sigourney Weaver, tells them the truth that the ritual involving sacrifice of the Whore (Jules), the Athlete (Curt), the Scholar (Holden), the Fool (Marty), and the Virgin (Dana) was to appease the “Ancient Ones” who lived beneath the facility. They had to die in archetypical order until the virgin remained. Werewolves, mer-creatures, unicorns, ghouls, zombies, and a giant serpent take their wraith. The Ancient ones rise to destroy the facility and the cabin. While an element of “kitch” and whacky elements loomed over the film, the special effects and deep mythical supernatural plot humored and entertained me. [Rating:4] Rating of four stars out of five. ~ Reviewed by Leaf McGowan.

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The Loch Ness Monster, Zombies, and the Law

cross-posted from http://blogs.loc.gov/law/2012/04/the-loch-ness-monster-zombies-and-the-law/ .

The Loch Ness Monster, Zombies and the Law

April 19th, 2012 by Clare Feikert-Ahalt

In a post last year, I looked at some of the United Kingdom’s weird laws.  I started to research a “part two” to that post, but ended up finding so much interesting (and yes, shockingly legal) information relating to the Loch Ness monster (commonly and affectionately referred to as “Nessie”) that I decided to dedicate an entire post to her instead.  (I will do another weird laws post soon, I promise.)

The first sighting of Nessie was allegedly in the sixth century.  This sighting was subsequently reported in the seventh century, when a writer stated that Saint Columbahad driven a water monster away from the Loch through prayer.  As the Scottish government notes, this prayer apparently wasn’t as successful as first thought, as there have been continued sightings of Nessie throughout the years.

Oliver Herford, “A horrible monster glared at them” (Illustration in “Mr. Rabbit at Home: A Sequel to Little Mr. Thimblefinger and His Queer Country” by Joel Chandler Harris, 1895) (Library of Congress Prints and Photographs Division, Reproduction Number LC-USZ62-94648)

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Ireland’s First Mythical Inhabitants: The Fomorians

4500 B.C.E. to ca. 500 B.C.E.

The Mythological Cycle:

The understanding of the folktales, folklore, myths, and legends of “Otherworldly” creatures who landed in Ireland in prehistoric times is known as “The Mythological Cycle.” A notable work exists called the Lebor Gabála Érenn (The Book of the Taking of Ireland) or otherwise known as the “Book of Invasions” which is a Middle Irish title of a loose collection of poems and prose narratives recounting the history, mythology, and origins of the Irish race from the creation of the world down to the Middle Ages.

The Fomorians:

According to the myths and legends of early Ireland, the very first human-like inhabitants of the Green Island of Eire were the Fomorians. The Fomorians are believed to be beings who preceded the Gods, similar to the Greek Titans representing Gods of Chaos and wild nature. They were also depicted as the supernatural undead and magical beings of the Underworld or Otherworld.  They were seen as a giant demonic race of beings who lived in boats off the coast of Ireland, often coming ashore to plunder and pillage all that existed on this grand Green Isle.  According to medieval scholars, the name “Fomorians”, “Fomhoire”, “Formorian”, “Fomoraig”, and “Faoi-Mhuir” came from “Fomoire” a word combination of “fomó”  meaning “giant” or “pirate”, the Gaelic “Faoi-mhuir” meaning “beneath the sea”, with the elements ‘muire’ or ‘sea’  or “mor” as “spirit” or “phantom” giving them the reputation as ‘sea pirates or under-sea phantoms.’  Some legends suggest that the Fomorians originally came from Asia or Northern Africa having been birthed by Noah’s son Ham after he was cursed by Noah. Some believe the Fomorians were the descendants of GogmaGog. They left Africa as seafarers who were often depicted as having black skin, black haired with the body of a man and the head of a goat according to the Eleventh century text called the “Book of the Dun Cow” or the Lebor na hUidre. In some manners, they have similarities to the descriptions of Ancient Egyptian and Nubian Gods, Goddesses, and half-human/half-animal creatures.  Some of them have also been described as having one eye, one arm, and one leg; while others were fancied as elegant beauties as with “Elatha” the father of “Bres”. They were also notorious for their powers over the forces of nature, such as being able to bring forth fog, storms, diseases, blights, and plagues with their so-accused “evil” magic.  Through history, they claimed several famous royalties, especially in guise as “kings” by various names, the most remembered as King Conaing, King Morc, King Indech, King Tethra, King Balor, King Elatha, the Warrior Cichol, the Smith Dolb, the Steward Liagh, the Poet Oghma, and Queen Ceithlenn. Throughout the lands of present day Ireland and the United Kingdom, are their mythical tromping grounds of Conaing’s Tower, Tory Island, The Hebrides, Rathlin, Islay, Lochlann (Norway), and Dun Aengus. By the period of history when they participated in the Second Battle of Magh Tuiredh, the rumor was that their fleet stretched far and wide from the Northeastern coast of Ireland all the way to Norway.

The first Fomorian King to have settled in Ireland was “Conaing” taking root on all the Northern Islands along the coasts of Ireland, Scotland, and Norway. In some respects, they had a “under the seas” glamour about them having lived “beneath the waves” giving some affiliation with “mer-folk”, “selchies,”  and “mermen or mermaids”. They were then reputed to have split themselves up into different tribes, residing in the Underworld, which was later ruled by “Tethra” the Fomorian Faerie King.  Often described to have the color and composure that is common-place for a Nubian with the darkest of black skin and hair, oddly though “Elatha” the father of “Bres” was depicted as having the most “golden hair” and the handsomest man in sight.  He seemed the fairest of the leaders, not being so blood-thirsty as the other Fomorian leaders, and very interested in justice. In later years, he refused to go to war with his son “Bres” against the later faerie invaders known as the “Tuatha de Danann” as he felt such actions was “unjust”.  By right of the myths and legends, the Fomorians were unique in their DNA, racial, and family lineage with their own customs and language dialects than the other invading inhabitants of Ireland.  Whereas the Nemedians, the Fir-Bolg, and the Tuatha de Danann were believed to have shared the same DNA, family lines, languages, and were considered to be of the same races. At a later point in history, they were known to have intermarried with the Tuatha De Danann according to faerie tales and legends.  Popular stories relating to the Fomorians were the “Bres Mac Elatha and the Tuatha De Danann”, “The Second Battle of Magh Tuiredh”, “How Balor was Defeated”, “The Courting of Emer”, “The Fate of the Children of Turenn”, “the Fir Bolg”, “The Story of the Tuatha De Danann”, “The Death Tales of the Tuatha De Danann”, “Credhe’s Lament”, “the Hard Servant”, and “Partholon” myths.  They came to be defeated by the first invaders of Ireland from Greece known as the “Partholon” by 2680 or 2061 B.C.E. (dates differ to scholar’s theories).  Shortly after defeat by the Partholon, they took back the land by instilling a plague that killed off the Partholon, laying them waste in the fields. They battled again with the Nemeds and then finally defeated and vanquished by the Tuatha de Danann. Ever since, any settled pirates or sea-based raiders were labeled “Fomorians”.

By Thomas Baurley

 

Bibliography:

  • Anomymous scholar:

    11th c. C.E. Lebor Gabála Érenn (The Book of the Taking of Ireland)

 

  • Encyclopedia Mythica:

    2012 The Fomorians. Website referenced March 2012.

    http://www.pantheon.org/articles/f/fomorians.html.

  • Magic & Mythology:

    2012 The Fomorians. Website referenced March 2012.

    http://www.shee-eire.com/Magic&Mythology/Races/Formorians/Page1.htm

  • Slavin, Michael:

    2010 “The Book of Tara”. Wolfhound Press: Dublin, Ireland.

  • Walsh, Brian:

    2006 “The Riddle of the Hobbit”: August 28, 2006: Time Magazine Online:

    http://www.time.com/time/magazine/article/0,9171,1399614,00.html.

  • Wikipedia: The Free Online Encyclopedia.

    2012 “The Fomorians”. Website reerenced February 2012.

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Fomorians

  • W.Y. Evans-Wentz:

    1966 “The Fairy Faith in Celtic Countries”. Citadel Press: New York.

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Mega Hogs or Giant Pigs; and The Pig Man


   

Throughout the world there are many wild boars or pigs found in the bush. Naturally they were indigenous to the Mediterranean, Central and Northern Europe, and most of Asia. Brought into the Americas, Australia, and other parts of the world primarily for hunting – they interbred with escaped domesticated pigs and mutated species run amuck. Most of these are the average size of a domestic pig. Hunted to extinction in most parts of Europe from the 13th-19th centuries, escaped new breeds found their populations increasing through time. In some areas, such as the southeastern U.S. they are shot on sight as a menace. Generally nocturnal, these basic species eat just about anything they encounter though mostly just nuts, grasses, berries, birds, eggs, roots, tubers, insects, and small reptiles. Larger boars, such as the legendary razorbacks in Australia can take down small deers and lambs. They are predated upon by tigers, cougars, mountain lions, crocodiles, alligators, birds of prey, hyena, bears, pythons, and humans. When cornered, they can be violent and defensive, especially around their young. They are harvested by humans for their hair and meat but have through history been held in high esteem for the hunt and embedded in mythology.
 

Boar meat is considered an aphrodisiac by the Chinese and Laos, as well as other parts of the world. According to Celtic myth, the boar was sacred to the Goddess Arduinna. Boar hunting is rampant in Irish and Celtic myths. To “hunt a boar” was a prestigious form of quarry as a “beast of venery”, and was first harboured or found by a leashed bloodhound called a “limer”, then set upon by a pack of hounds to be cornered for the hunter to take down. Such a grandiose hunt was featured in a medieval poem about “Sir Gawain and the Green Knight”. The Scotts gave the name “Swinton” to the ancient Lowland Scottish Clan for their bravery and having cleared the area of all wild boar implanting the image into the chief’s coat of arms on the clan crest. The village “Swinewood” in county Berwick was granted to the clan in the 11th century. The Irish tell many tales of Fionn mac Cumhaill (“Finn Mc Cool”) especially when he lured his rival Diarmuid Ua Duibhne to be gored to death by a boar. The Norse have a mythical wild boar named “Gullinbursti” (“Gold Mane” or “Golden Bristles”) featured in their myths. In India, Lord Vishnu’s third Avatar was “Varaha”, a boar featured in Hindu mythology. The Romans featured the wild boar in three of their famous Legions in their emblems, causing fear amongst their foes, such as in “Legio I Italica”, “Legio XX Valeria Victrix”, and “Legio X Fretensis”. A wild boar is the symbol of the city of Milan, Italy. Throughout Europe, Australia, and the Americas, legends of “giant boars” or “Mega Hogs” are rampant across the countryside. The “Beast of Dean” is a popular legend in the Forest of Dean in England about a giant boar that terrorized villagers in the early 19th century. Similiar tales are known in the Australian Outback by both Australian aborigine, as well as white European settlers who introduced the razorback. ” “Mega Hogs” have been purportedly reported in the American southeast. The most famous was “Hogzilla” that was shot in June 2004 in Georgia of the United States of America. This story was investigated by both the National Geographic Explorer and History Channel’s “Monster Quest” which determined the beast was a hybrid of wild boar and domestic swine by means of a autopsy and DNA testing. Monster Quest, a online video documentary by the History Channel designed to dispel and investigate myths of “monsters” living amongst us today, explores the legends and folklore of “Mega Hogs” in the Southeastern U.S. Exploring the tales and sightings, they set a team to hunt out the hogs to record if they do exist or not. These hogs sighted in the Southeastern U.S. are reputed to be of gigantic sizes of prehistoric eras. In 1984, a horror movie called “Razorback” was released about a gigantic wild boar terrorizing the Australian Outback. Legends of Half-human, half-pig or boar abound in urban legends which may or may not have historical roots. These are often called the Hog Man, Pig Man, or Man Bear Pig.

In more modern urban legend, there are tales of a “Pig Man” that is half-human, half-pig. Much of this has been sensationalized by the new series “The American Horror Story”. This was probably influenced by a short horror film called “The Pigman” that claimed to explore the local urban legend of a butcher who was tied to various grisly murders and hauntings along a old lakeshore road in Western New York. More of a “ghost” or “spirit” than an actual “monster”, he was accused of having placed the heads of butchered pigs on stakes to warn off tresspassers, and was believed to stalk “Old Pigman Road” looking for his next victim. Some say his real name was William Derricks, born in 1913, with a severe cleft lip and split nose giving him an appearance of a pig. Many advocational paranormal seekers head to Holland Road, a.k.a. Pigman Road, off NY Route 5 between Angola and Evangola State Park to search for a sighting of the pigman, ghosts, or a apparition of a train crash. This comes from the tale known as the “Angola Horror” when 50 people lost their lives in the deadliest railroad accident in Erie County history on December 18, 1867. The train de-railed taking the life of one passenger and harming 40 others. After the passengers lay wounded, two massive coal stoves were loosened during the derailment sending fiery contents down into the gulley where they lie helpless, killing over 50 of them. Three were reputed to have survived, scarred for life, physically and emotionally with burns all over their bodies. Between the ghosts of the passengers and the ghost of the Pigman, the road is considered to be the most haunted of the area. Then there is the urban legend of the Pigman of Devil’s Washbowl which was first told in 1971 in Northfield Vermont around the area called the “Devil’s Washbowl”. Locals described seeing a man with a pig face walking around in their woods. He was believed to have been the child of a backwoods swine herder who had a taste for bestiality. A Hawaiian island myth of a vicious chief called Kamapuaa exists describing him as either having a hog’s body with a human head and limbs, or a human body with a hog’s head, or a shapeshifting combination. He was legendarily born at Kaluanui, son of Olopana and Hina or Kahikiula and Hina.


    It is rumored in the southeastern United States that there exists monstrous giant wild boars running wild terrorizing communities. A 1100 pound hog was killed in Georgia. Are they wild or mutant pigs from farms that have escaped? MonsterQuest explores and investigates the victims, the evidence, and tracks them.

Bibliography/Recommended Readings:

  • ABC News: March 2005 – “The Mystery of Hogzilla Solved”.
  • Angola Pigman: “Pigman Angola’s Legend”. website referenced January 2012. angolapigman.weebly.com/the-legend.html.
  • Britishwildboar.org.uk: Department for Environment, Food, and Rural Affairs. “Feral Wild Boar in England: An Action Plan”. Website referenced 2011. britishwildboar.org.uk.

  • Leaper, R.; Massei, G.; Gorman, M. L.; Aspinall, R.
    1999 – “The feasibility of reintroducing Wild Boar (Sus scrofa) to Scotland”. Mammal Review 29 (4): 239.
  • Maremma Guide: “Wild Boar Facts: Maremma Wild Boar Information”. Website referenced 2011. www.maremmaguide.com.
  • Missouri Department of Conservation: “Shoot them on sight”
  • Monbiot, George
    2011 – The Guardian: “How the UK’s zoophobic legacy turned on wild boar”. Referenced in 2011.
  • Monster Quest: Season 2, episode 1 – “Mega Hogs”. Video Documentary, viewed 1/29/2012.
  • Reuters: 2008 – “Numbers of wild boars surge – Oddly Enough”.
  • Sacred Texts: “Kamapuaa Legends”. Website referenced January 2012. http://www.sacred-texts.com/pac/hloh/hloh29.htm.
  • Wikipedia: The Free Encyclopedia ~ . Website referenced November 2011. en.wikipedia.org.

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Real life dragon discovered : SciencePunk

Real life dragon discovered

Posted on: February 16, 2010 5:45 AM, by SciencePunk

Neatorama reports the discovery of a real life (albeit tiny) dragon!

dragon.jpg

While participating in a herpetology study we stumbled across this female laying eggs in a nest. She was found in the Lambusango Forest reserve and was immediately released after this photograph was taken.

Neatorama notes it could be related to Draco volans. No word yet on whether it breathes fire, hoards gold, or kidnaps fair maidens.

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