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St. Werburgh and the Goose

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The Legend of St. Werburgh

A Mercian princess who converted over at an early age to become a Benedictine nun, through her life became the Patroness of Chester, Abbess of Weedon, Trentham, Hanbury, Minster in Sheppey, and Ely. Even though she was born a princess with royal blood, she cared not for the easy life that came with royalty, otherwise dedicating her life to only do good and make others happy, growing good and wise herself. Although her life fluctuated in various positions and titles in her religious orders, she never changed her humility that had always characterized her and in her devotion to all those in her care that she was more servant to the people than mistress. All felt God had rewarded her for her childlike trust by many miracles making her one of the best known and loved of the Saxon Saints.

Villagers and animals alike were said to have come to St. Werburgh to be healed or given advice. She was rumored to have a magical connection with all animals as well, being able to communicate with them just as she could with humans. St. Werburgh became quite taken by a flock of geese that frequented the convent meadows and swam in the pond. There was one goose that became her favorite that she had named Gray king, he had a black ring around his neck and was quite fat, seemingly the happiest within the flock. Unfortunately, Gray King and his flock would often get into the cornfields, infuriating Hugh, the convent steward. Hugh asked Werburgh to handle this trouble. Werburgh called forth the geese and told Gray King how bad it was to steal the corn and spoil the harvest and left them with simply a scolding, a shake, and a light whipping. She ended the scolding with kissing Gray King before imprisoning them in a pen overnight with intent to gift them convent porridge the next morn before their release. This infuriated Hugh and he felt she didn’t do what he expected to punish them harshly is what they deserved. He hated birds except to feast on. Werburgh told Hugh to serve the geese porridge in the morning before releasing them. He was shocked of this task. A plump goose as his reward, Hugh ate Gray King as a meal to make up for the lost corn. Werburgh was furious when she learned of this and commanded Hugh to bring her the bones. She punished Hugh to dedicate his life’s study to animals and how to care for them, and forbid him to ever eat of bird or beast again, confining him for two nights in the pen where the geese were imprisoned. She took the bones of Gray king and ordered him to rise back to life. She then commanded the flock of geese to leave Weedon, never to return, to which day it is believed that a goose has never entered the village since.

Because of her miracles, her corpse was coveted by many. St. Werburgh instructed that her remains stay in Hanbury, but the nuns of Trentham refused to release them until those of Hanbury took her body to the tomb there – and in 708 C.E. her remains were exhumed when she was declared a Saint, in the presence of King Coelred of Mercia and his council. Her second miracle, was that her body was found to be incorrupt and in the exact state it was when she was laid to rest. 875 C.E. she was moved to the Church of St. Peter and St. Paul in Chester, which was renamed and rededicated to her, into a shrine of her honor, where she rests reconstructed today (after being destroyed by Henry VIII). During Henry VIII most of the Cathedrals were ransacked and relics scattered, although St. Werburgh’s were eventually returned. Most of the figures in the Cathedral were mutilated. The female heads were accidentally placed on male shoulders, and vice versa by the workmen attempting to reconstruct them, and only 30 original figures remain. Today there is a statue of Saint Werburgh with a goose by her side at the Our Lady and St. Werburgh’s Church.

    References:
  • Bridgett, Ronald W. 1985 The Life of St. Werburgh: Princess of Mercia.
  • Brown, Abbie Farwell 2004 The Book of Saints and Friendly Beasts.
  • Our Lady and St. Werburgh 2003 The Legend of St. Werburgh. Websited referenced 12/23/15 at http://www.ourladyandstwerburgh.co.uk/the-legend-of-st-werburgh.html
  • Robert Appleton Co. 1912 The Catholic Encylopaedia, Vol. XV.
  • Seomraranga.com n.d. “Holy Wells of Ireland”. Website referenced 12/25/15 at http://www.holywell.seomraranga.com/holywellsireland.htm
  • Wikipedia n.d. “St. Werburgh”. Website referenced 12/26/15 at https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Werburgh.
  • Youtube n.d. “St. Werburgh’s Well, Swords, Dublin”. Website refrenced 12/25/15 at https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Gdqude7t14M.

St Werburth's Well (Swords/Dublin, Ireland) http://www.technogypsie.com/reviews/?p=24191. 4 January 2014. Clongriffin to Swords. Chronicles 3: Walking with the Ancestors -  http://www.technogypsie.com/chronicles/?p=15579. Winter 2013/2014: Chronicles of Sir Thomas Leaf, Lady Etain, and Cian - the Prince of Endurance.  Photography (c) 2014, 2015: Thomas Baurley, Eadaoin Bineid, Leaf McGowan, Technogypsie Productions. www.technogypsie.com/photography/.  To follow the stories and tales visit http://www.technogypsie.com/reviews/ and http://www.technogypsie.com/chronicles/. Swords: http://www.technogypsie.com/reviews/?p=24171. Dublin: http://www.technogypsie.com/reviews/?p=2754. Malahide: http://www.technogypsie.com/reviews/?p=24123. Clongriffin: http://www.technogypsie.com/reviews/?p=24119.

St Werburth’s Well (Swords/Dublin, Ireland)
http://www.technogypsie.com/reviews/?p=24191. 4 January 2014. Clongriffin to Swords. Chronicles 3: Walking with the Ancestors – http://www.technogypsie.com/chronicles/?p=15579. Winter 2013/2014: Chronicles of Sir Thomas Leaf, Lady Etain, and Cian – the Prince of Endurance. Photography (c) 2014, 2015: Thomas Baurley, Eadaoin Bineid, Leaf McGowan, Technogypsie Productions. www.technogypsie.com/photography/. To follow the stories and tales visit http://www.technogypsie.com/reviews/ and http://www.technogypsie.com/chronicles/. Swords: http://www.technogypsie.com/reviews/?p=24171. Dublin: http://www.technogypsie.com/reviews/?p=2754. Malahide: http://www.technogypsie.com/reviews/?p=24123. Clongriffin: http://www.technogypsie.com/reviews/?p=24119.

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Griffin

Griffin
http://www.technogypsie.com/faerie/?p=2479
by Leaf McGowan

A mystical beast of legends and mythology, especially within the Greek, Roman, and Celtic worldviews – the Griffin (aka griffon, gryphon, grypon, gryps, and gryphus) is a fantastical creature with the body, tail, and back legs of a lion; the head, front leg talons, and wings of an eagle. Sometimes it is represented without wings (later called an alce or keythong in other mythologies). It was always representing royalty and leadership, with power and majestic authority as king of all beasts and birds. It many legends, the Griffin ruled over all creatures, protecting richly treasures, and gold. There is a proposition by folklorist Adrienne Mayor that the griffin was a misconception derived from the fossilized remains of the Protoceratops found in the gold mines of the Altai Mountains of Scythia, present day Kazakhstan.

amongst the earliest representations of a griffin were found in Ancient Persian and Egyptian art dating around 3,000 B.C.E. The Egyptian palette from Hierakonpolis called the “Two Dog Palette” dating to 3300-3100 B.C.E. possibly depicts a griffin. Cylinder seals from Susa, Persia dating from 3000 B.C.E. depicts griffins. They can also be found in ancient art from the Levant, Syria, and Anatolia dating from the Middle Bronze Age (1950-1550 B.C.E.) Ancient Greek art from the 15th century B.C.E. frescoes show griffins in the Throne Room of the Palace of Knossos. From 5th-4th century B.C.E in Central Asia, the griffin appears in iconography representing the Achaemenid Persian Empire who considered the beast a protector from evil, witchcraft, and secret slander.

There are other mythical beasts carrying resemblance to the griffin including the Lamassu (Assyrian protection deity hosting a bull or lion’s body, eagle wings, and a human head); Anzu (demon creature from Sumerian and Akkadian mythos – half man and half bird); the Jewish Ziz (resembles Anzu); the ancient Greek Phoenix; Minoan Genius; and the Hindu Garuda (large bird-like creature).

Griffins were believed to have mated for life, and if its partner passed, the other would continue the rest of its life alone never searching another. Because of this the Church used it as an emblem to represent its opposition to remarriage. A Griffin’s claw was believed to possess medicinal properties and its feathers could restore sight to the blind. When represented in a herald or crest, the griffin represents courage, strength, power, boldness, leadership, and military courage. In British iconography, the male griffin is shown without wings, body covered in tufts of formidable spikes, and a short tusk protruding from his forehead. The female griffin is depicted with wings.

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smile.dog

Urban Legend: Smile.dog

The tale of an author attempting to get his first book published went to see his mentor surprised that no one answered the door. He left and returned the next day again to find the mentor gone. He opened the mail slot at the bottom of the door only to hear strange noises and screams. This lead him to believe his mentor was in trouble so he called the police. The police found his mentor barricaded in a room screaming about ghosts and demons that were surrounding and threatening her. This made her go mad and she had torn off her own ears, cut her tongue, gouged out her eyes, and died shortly after.

The lady apparently received a floppy disk that had an image called “smile.jpg” which was “smile.dog” file. Many claim that viewing this image incites insanity and that no copy of the exact image exists on the web, albeit likenesses of it do exist. Everyone who views this file ends up dead, according to the urban legend. The original legend began with an image of the devil. The only way to escape death is to spread the word and pass on the smile.dog file to all they know.

5. Smile.jpg/ Smile.dog

One of the original tellings of the legend:


    I first met in person with Mary E. in the summer of 2007. I had arranged with her husband of fifteen years, Terence, to see her for an interview. Mary had initially agreed, since I was not a newsman but rather an amateur writer gathering information for a few early college assignments and, if all went according to plan, some pieces of fiction. We scheduled the interview for a particular weekend when I was in Chicago on unrelated business, but at the last moment Mary changed her mind and locked herself in the couple’s bedroom, refusing to meet with me. For half an hour I sat with Terence as we camped outside the bedroom door, I listening and taking notes while he attempted fruitlessly to calm his wife.

    The things Mary said made little sense but fit with the pattern I was expecting: though I could not see her, I could tell from her voice that she was crying, and more often than not her objections to speaking with me centered around an incoherent diatribe on her dreams — her nightmares. Terence apologized profusely when we ceased the exercise, and I did my best to take it in stride; recall that I wasn’t a reporter in search of a story, but merely a curious young man in search of information. Besides, I thought at the time, I could perhaps find another, similar case if I put my mind and resources to it.

    Mary E. was the sysop for a small Chicago-based Bulletin Board System in 1992 when she first encountered smile.jpg and her life changed forever. She and Terence had been married for only five months. Mary was one of an estimated 400 people who saw the image when it was posted as a hyperlink on the BBS, though she is the only one who has spoken openly about the experience. The rest have remained anonymous, or are perhaps dead.”


This full account is here with comments from those having seen it: http://creepypasta.wikia.com/wiki/Smile_Dog

Those who have claimed to have seen the picture (and lived) says the photo is of a dog-like creature similar to a Siberian husky illuminated by the flash of the camera sitting in a dim room and the faint image of a empty human hand extending from the darkness near the left side of the frame many think is “beckoning” the dog. The muzzle of the dog apparently appears to have a wide grin revealing two rows of very white, straight sharp human-looking teeth.

References:

  • Creepy Pasta 2015 “Smile Dog” at Creepy Pasta Wiki – website referenced 10/10/15 at http://creepypasta.wikia.com/wiki/Smile_Dog
  • Morgan, Nate 2015 “5 Malevolent Entities you could summon but shouldn’t” I love Halloween theme website. Website referenced 10/10/15 at http://ilovehalloween.bandzoogle.com/most-popular-posts/blog/5-malevolent-entities-you-could-summon-but-probably-shouldn-t.
  • Urban dictionary 2015 “smile dog” website referenced 10/10/15 at http://www.urbandictionary.com/define.php?term=smile+dog.
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Feral Children: Victor (The Wild Boy of Aveyron), France, 1797

Cross-posted from http://www.boredpanda.com/feral-children-wild-animals-photos-julia-fullerton-batten for reference and research.

Victor (The Wild Boy of Aveyron), France, 1797

This is a historical but surprisingly well-documented case of a feral child, as he was very much researched at the time to attempt to find the derivation of language. Victor was seen at the end of the 18th century in the woods of Saint Sernin sur Rance, in the south of France and captured but somehow escaped. In January 8, 1800 he was caught again. He was about 12 years old, his body covered in scars and unable to speak a word. Once the news of his capture spread, many came forward wanting to examine him.Little is known about the background of his time as a feral child, but it is believed that he spent 7 years in the wild. A biology professor examined Victor’s resistance to cold by sending him naked outside in the snow. Victor showed no effect of the cold temperature on him whatsoever.Others tried to teach him to speak and behave ‘normally’, but made no progress. He was probably able to talk and hear earlier in his life, but he was never able to do so after returning from the wild. Eventually he was taken to an institution in Paris and died at the age of 40.

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Feral Children: John Ssebunya (The Monkey Boy), Uganda, 1991

Cross-posted from http://www.boredpanda.com/feral-children-wild-animals-photos-julia-fullerton-batten for reference and research.

John Ssebunya (The Monkey Boy), Uganda, 1991

John ran away from home in 1988 when he was three years old after seeing his father murder his mother. He fled into the jungle where he lived with monkeys. He was captured in 1991, now about six years old, and placed in an orphanage.When he was cleaned up it was found that his entire body was covered in hair. His diet had consisted mainly of roots, nuts, sweet potatoes and cassava and he had developed a severe case of intestinal worms, found to be over half a metre long. He had calluses on his knees from walking like a monkey.John has learned to speak and human ways. He was found to have a fine singing voice and is famous for singing and touring in the UK with the 20-strong Pearl of Africa children’s choir.

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Feral Children: Marie Angelique Memmie Le Blanc (The Wild Girl of Champagne), France, 1731

Cross-posted from http://www.boredpanda.com/feral-children-wild-animals-photos-julia-fullerton-batten for reference and research.

Marie Angelique Memmie Le Blanc (The Wild Girl of Champagne), France, 1731

Apart from her childhood, Memmie’s story from the 18th century is surprisingly well-documented. For ten years, she walked thousands of miles alone through the forests of France. She ate birds, frogs and fish, leaves, branches and roots. Armed with a club, she fought off wild animals, especially wolves. She was captured, aged 19, black-skinned, hairy and with claws. When Memmie knelt down to drink water she made repeated sideways glances, the result of being in a state of constant alertness. She couldn’t speak and communicated only with shrieks and squeaks. She skinned rabbits and birds and ate them raw. For years she did not eat cooked food. Her thumbs were malformed as she used them to dig out roots and swing from tree to tree like a monkey. In 1737, the Queen of Poland, mother to the French queen, and on a journey to France, took Memmie hunting with her, where she still ran fast enough to catch and kill rabbits. Memmie’s recovery from her decade long experiences in the wild were remarkable. She had a series of rich patrons, learned to read, write and speak French fluently. In 1747 she became a nun for a while, but was hit by a falling window and her patron died soon thereafter. She became ill and destitute but again found a rich patron. In 1755 a Madam Hecquet published her biography. Memmie died financially well-off rich in Paris in 1775, aged 63.

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Feral Children: Ivan Mishukov, Russia, 1998

Cross-posted from http://www.boredpanda.com/feral-children-wild-animals-photos-julia-fullerton-batten for reference and research.

Ivan Mishukov, Russia, 1998

Ivan was abused by his family and ran away when only 4 years old. He lived on the streets begging. He developed a relationship with a pack of wild dogs, and shared the food he begged with the dogs. The dogs grew to trust him and eventually he became something of a pack leader. He lived for two years in this way, but he was finally caught and placed in a children’s home. Ivan benefited from his existing language skills that he maintained through begging. This and the fact that he was feral for only a short time aided his recovery. He now lives a normal life.

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Feral Children: Kamala and Amala, India, 1920

Cross-posted from http://www.boredpanda.com/feral-children-wild-animals-photos-julia-fullerton-batten for reference and research.

Kamala and Amala, India, 1920

Kamala, 8 years old, and Amala, 12, were found in 1920 in a wolves’ den. It is one of the most famous cases of feral children. Pre-advised, they were found by a Reverend, Joseph Singh, who hid in a tree above the cave where they had been seen. When the wolves left the cave he saw two figures look out of the cave. The girls were hideous looking, ran on all fours and didn’t look human. He soon captured the girls. When first caught, the girls slept curled up together, growled, tore off their clothing, ate nothing but raw meat, and howled. Physically deformed, their tendons and the joints in their arms and legs were shortened. They had no interest in interacting with humans. But, their hearing, sight and sense of smell was exceptional. Amala died the following year after their capture. Kamala eventually learned to walk upright and say a few words, but died in 1929 of kidney failure, 17 years old.

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Feral Children: Sujit Kumar Chicken Boy, Fiji, 1978

Cross-posted from http://www.boredpanda.com/feral-children-wild-animals-photos-julia-fullerton-batten for reference and research.

Sujit Kumar Chicken Boy, Fiji, 1978

Sujit exhibited dysfunctional behaviour as a child. His parents locked him in a chicken coop. His mother committed suicide and his father was murdered. His grandfather took responsibility for him but still kept him confined in the chicken coop. He was eight years old when he was found in the middle of a road, clucking and flapping. He pecked at his food, crouched on a chair as if roosting, and would make rapid clicking noises with his tongue. His fingers were turned inward. He was taken to an old people’s home by care workers, but there, because he was so aggressive, he was tied with bed sheets to his bed for over 20 years. Now he is over 30 years old and is cared for by Elizabeth Clayton, who rescued him from the home.

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