Category Archives: mythology

Cave of the Cats (Rathcrogan/Roscommon, Ireland)

Oweynagat Cave – Cave of the Cats – Gateway to the Underworld and the Morrigan’s Palace.

Oweynagat Cave – Cave of the Cats
– Gateway to the Underworld and the Morrigan’s Palace. Rathcrohan / Rosscommon, Ireland
GPS: 53.79677, -8.31038
Article/Research by Thomas Baurley/Leaf McGowan/Technogypsie Productions, 10 October 2017

One of my most favorite sites in Ireland is the “Cave of the Cats” underneath the realm of “Rathcrohan“. It is officially called “Oweynagat” and pronounced “Owen-ne-gatt”.
The Cave is also labelled “Uaimh na gCat”, Irish translating to “Cave of the Cats”. When I first visited this site we had a tremendously hard time finding it. We found where it was supposed to be, but it lay behind fencing on a farmer’s field. We knocked on the farmer’s door, and there was no answer. A neighbor saw us, asked what we were doing and who we were, and he showed us the entrance, giving us permission to enter. It was a small hole under some Fairy thorn trees. The Site is actually a natural narrow limestone cave that hosts a man-made souterrain at its entrance. This is seen by all as the official entrance to the Otherworld and home to the Morrigan or Medh. In the Medieval Period of Ireland, it was labeled “Ireland’s Gate to Hell”. It is a particular sacred site for the Pagan holiday and festival of “Samhain” or Halloween.

It is said that during the Feast of Samhain, the dead, their God/desses, and Spirits, would rise from their graves and walk the Earth. This cave is one of the main places where Spirits and the dead associated with the Fae and/or the Morrigan, would re-surface including creatures, monsters, and the un-dead. There exists an Irish legend based off the “Adventures of Nera” where a warrior is challenged to tie a twig around the ankle of a condemned man on Samhain eve, after agreeing to get him some water would discover strange houses and wouldn’t find water until the third house. Upon returning him back to captivity would witness Rathcroghan’s royal buildings destroyed by the spirits. After this he must follow the fairy host to the Sidhe where he meets a woman who tells him the vision he saw will happen a year from now unless his mortal comrades are warned. He leaves the Sidhe and informs Ailill of his vision who destroys the Sidhe in response.

Some believe the “síd” or the Sidhe of this tale is either the Mound of Rathcroghan or Oweynagat, the Cave of the Cats. It makes the most sense that the Cave of the Cats is where the destructive creatures and fae emerged. There was a triple-headed monster called the Ellen Trechen that went on a rampage across the country before being killed by Amergin, father of Conal Cernach. There have been tales of small red birds emerging from the cave withering every plant they breathed on before being hunted to their death by the Red Branch. There is also legends of herds of pigs with similar powers of decay emerging from the cave until hunted and killed by Ailill and Medb.

The name itself, “Oweynagat” is believed to refer to the Magical wild cats featured in the tale of “Bricriu’s Feast” that emerge from this cave to attack the three Ulster warriors before being tamed by Cúchulainn. Some also claim that the cave was named after Irusan, the King of the Cats, who is featured in Irish fairy tales and hailed from a cave near Clonmacnoise (her home). Another tale from the 18th century CE tells of a woman trying to catch a runaway cow that fell into this cave (nevermind the entrance being too small) and followed it into this cave. It is said the cow and woman emerged miles away in County Sligo, near Keshcorran. There is also a legend of a woman that was told to have killed a monster cat in this cave, turning the woman into a great warrior, and this is why its called “Oweynagat”, Cave of the Cats.

The Birthplace of Medb

It is also believed that this cave is the actual physical birthplace for Queen Medb. The legend states that the Fairy Queen/Goddess Étain who was fleeing her human husband with her fairy lover Midir came here. Midir wanted to visit a relative named Sinech (the large breasted one) who lived in the cave. Within the cave was said to be a great otherworldly palace where a maid servant named Crochan Crogderg (“Blood Red Cup”) lived, and she had granted Midir and Etain entrance. It was here that Crochan was believed to have given birth to a daughter named “Medb“.

The Entrance

Nestled under a fairy tree in a farmer’s field (private property) is a small opening that really only looks large enough for a house cat to fit through. But if a human gets down on their hands and knees, can shimmy into this small hole, they will be presented with a small chamber that connects to a passageway that continually increases to a massive tunnel wider and higher than one could fathom. At the inner lintel of this entrance is an Ogham inscription that bears the words “VRAICCI…MAQI MEDVVI” translating to “FRAECH” and “SON OF MEDB”. Some also translate this to mean “The Pillar of Fraech son of Madb”. This is also seen as the birthplace of Medb. A second ogham inscription, barely visible, reads “QR G SMU” but has not been translated. This beginning chamber is actually a man-made souterrain at the entrance to a natural narrow limestone cave. The souterrain was originally contained within an earthen mound that was later damaged by a road construction project in the 1930’s. The souterrain is made of drystone walling, orthostats, lintels, and stones that measure approximately 10.5 meters from the entrance to the natural cave’s opening.

Oweynagat Cave – Cave of the Cats – entrance chamber

The Tunnel

After crawling on one’s hands and feet, the passage increases in width and height, eventually one can stand up, and eventually the tunnel becomes wide and tall enough that a small Giant could move through it. This is the passage of the Fae, and leads to the Morrigan’s Lair. As one continues down, they’ll find a caved in shamble that is behind a muddy pool of water. If one successfully climbs up and over it, the passage continues to another area that is caved in. Apparently workers on the surface planted a utility pole that collapsed this section of the tunnel. Beyond this is believed to be the Entrance to the Otherworld, and the Morrigan’s Lair. This is actually a natural limestone cave that has been mapped approximately 37 meters deep.

The Morrigan

The Queen of the Dark Fae, the Goddess of the Underworld, of Darkness, and Battle, rules the world of the Fae from this place. It is believed that every Samhain, she is pulled on a chariot out of the Cave of the Cats by a one-legged chestnut horse alongside various creatures such as those mentioned above. Some also say on occasion she leaves the cave with a cow, guided by a giant with a forked staff, to give to the Bull of Cúailgne. She is also known to take the bull of a woman named Odras who follows her into the cave before falling under an enchanted sleep upon awakening to see the Morrigan who repeatedly whispers a spell over her, turning her into a river, the same river that feeds the muddy pool at the shamble. Apparently the cave is seen as a portal through which the Morrigan would pass in order to work with Medb as Goddess of Battle. She drove her otherworldly cattle into the cave every sunset. The Morrigan was blamed to have stolen a herd of cattle who belonged to a woman named Odras, and upon following to Morrigan to retrieve them, was turned into a lake by the Goddess. As is the story of Nera, a servant of Medb who met a Fairy woman here in this cave. He married her, and she warned him of Medb’s palace being burnt to the ground next Samhain by the creatures of the otherworld. Upon hearing this, Medb stationed her forces in the cave each Samhain to protect Cruachan from destruction.

Rathcrohan is the legendary burial grounds of the Kings of Coannaught. The region covers approximately 518 hectares hosting more than 20 ring forts, burial mounds, megalithic tombs such as the Relig na Ri (burial ground of the Kings), Rath na dTarbh (For the Bulls), and the Rathbeg. The archaeological site is massive, with earthworks spread over the region with the Grave of King Dathi (Last Pagan King of Ireland) as a 2 meter high standing stone being one of the few physical landmarks left that can be seen. This is also the site of the mythical battle of the “Tain Bo Cuailgne” that remains in the hearts, minds, and folklore of the people of Tulsk and Rathcroghan recorded in the Ancient Irish Epic of the Tain Bo Cuiailgne, the “Cattle Raid of Cooley”. The Tain Bo tells the story of Queen Maeve of Connaught and her armies that pursued the Grat Brown Bull of Cooley, the mighty warrior Cuchulain who does battle with the armies here, and his foster brother Erdia as he defends the Brown Bull, and the province of Ulster. There is a “Tain Trail Cycling and Touring Route” that re-traces the journey that Queen Maeve and her armies traveled from her Royal Palace at Rathcroghan across Ireland to the Cooley Peninsula in County Louth, the home of the Brown Bull. Rathcrohan hosts over 60 National Monuments here.

Bibliography/References:

  • Druid School: Oweynagat Cave of the Cats. Website referenced January 2012.
  • Fenwick, J. et al 1977 “Oweynagat”. Irish Speleology 16, 11-14.
  • Hannon, Ed 2012 “Visions of the Past: Oweynagat Cave”. Website referenced 10/10/17 at https://visionsofthepastblog.com/2012/10/01/oweynagat-cave-souterrain-co-roscommon/.
  • Mulranney, R. n.d “Caves of Ireland: Oweynagat Cave of the Cats”. Website referenced 10/10/17 at https://cavesofireland.wordpress.com/home/caves/oweynagat-cave-of-the-cats-co-roscommon/.
  • Waddell, J. 1983 “Rathcroghan – A Royal Site”. Journal of Irish Archaeology 1.
  • Wikipedia n.d. “Rathcroghan”. Website referenced 10/10/17 at https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Rathcroghan.

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Hotel California – Urban Legend?

Hotel California, Around San Francisco, California.

The Hotel California, Fact myth or legend?
~

Review by Leaf McGowan/Thomas Baurley, Technogypsie Productions ~

“The Hotel California” ~
A fictional place, but full of urban myths and legends.

The “California Hotel” photo above, is NOT of course the place of the legend from the Song, nor was it the headquarters for Anton LaVey’s Church of Satan. I’m actually not sure of the history of the actual hotel in this photo, but it called to mind my memories about this urban legend. (The photo above MIGHT be the California Hotel of historic landmarks, https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/California_Hotel as it was in Oakland. The California Hotel historic is a important cultural center for the African-American community of San Francisco’s East ay during the 40’s-60’s, it experienced severe economic difficulties and turned into subsidized housing in the 80s)

I first came across the urban legend in 1990 at the Starwood festival when I was hanging out with a Satanist from the Church of Satan who first told me the tale … “one of the members of the Eagles was at this bar and got drunk with Anton LaVey’s daughter, she brought him home that night to her hotel room (at the Hotel California where supposedly the headquarters of the Church of Satan resided), they became lovers. Apparently he was so tied up in the affair with her that he disregarded showing up to band practice or responsibilities, and in a sense “never could leave” the hotel. When He snapped out of it, he apparently wrote the song about the experience hanging with the Church of Satan. A similar tale was told to me by my mentor Isaac Bonewits, founder of ADF (Ar nDraoicht Fein – A Druid Fellowship) who briefly joined the Church in his youth, but was so rambunctious and a trouble maker, the Church of Satan actually kicked him out of their group. (I do know that to be true as I’ve seen historic film reels of him in their ranks. Apparently he was recruited after creating a parodic devil’s throne upon which he proselytized on at UoC Berkeley to harass the local bible thumper on campus. They ran across him, were impressed, and asked him to join. )

I digress, back to the original legend. Some claim that Larry Salter, the Eagle’s manage admitted in the Waco Tribune-Herald (Feb. 28, 1982) that the Eagles were involved with the Church of Satan. Oddly the Church of Satan was first legally registered as “Hotel California” (legal entity name). But the Eagles claim far and wide, they were not associated with the Church and it was a leap that people jumped to. (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Hotel_California)

The Eagles claim that the “Hotel California” is an allegory about hedonism and greed in Southern California in the 1970s. As they first experienced California at that time, they were impressioned that California was about money, drugs, women, and fame – true hedonism, and they were disquieted by it all pushing that un-ease into their lyrics to warn others about the dark underside of such adulation – “a loss of innocence”, corruption of the artist in California imprisoned in a gilded prison that the artist freely enters that he cannot leave. It is not actually a place, but a metaphor of the west’s music industry and its effect on musicians ensnared by it. (http://www.snopes.com/music/songs/hotel.asp)

To make matters worse, many conspiracy theorists have marked that “Anton LaVey” (leader of the Church of Satan, San Francisco) can be seen in the balcony window as depicted on the album cover for the record “Hotel California”.

    Mirrors on the ceiling,
    The pink champagne on ice
    And she said ‘We are all just prisoners here, of our own device’
    And in the master’s chambers,
    They gathered for the feast
    They stab it with their steely knives,
    But they just can’t kill the beast

    Last thing I remember, I was
    Running for the door
    I had to find the passage back
    To the place I was before
    ‘Relax,’ said the night man,
    ‘We are programmed to receive.
    You can check-out any time you like,
    But you can never leave!’

The urban myth has odd facts and twisted thoughts behind it, and whether or not those with the inside knowledge are telling the truth and the Eagles are covering it up to save their reputation, or it is quite a bit of hog-wash and conjecture, we’ll never know. Frey and Henley claim that as much as people want to know what the song was about, they really don’t know themselves. It was an attempt at a “twilight zone” influence and many beliefs are abound. (http://www.bbc.com/news/entertainment-arts-35347075)

Of course the fundamentalist Christian organizations still claim it is a Satanic song, the band was gifted their success by dealing with the Devil (dueling banjos) at the crossroads giving their lives for their success. They won’t let go of this urban legend regardless. (https://ministryofrock.wordpress.com/2015/10/10/is-hotel-california-satanic/, http://www.jesus-is-savior.com/False%20Religions/Wicca%20&%20Witchcraft/anton_lavey2.htm, https://www.quora.com/What-is-the-song-meaning-of-Hotel-California, https://stewartstaffordblog.wordpress.com/2016/01/19/does-satan-reside-at-the-hotel-california/)

And Cracked hosts a good explanation of it all here: http://www.cracked.com/article_19454_5-famous-hidden-song-meanings-that-are-total-b.s..html

If you would like to contact the author about this review, need a re-review, would like to advertise on this page, or have information to add, please contact us at technogypsie@gmail.com.

Hotel California, Around San Francisco, California. (http://www.technogypsie.com/reviews/?p=33601) ~ Pacific Coast Highway 101 – Driving North to Oregon through California – Great Pacific Northwest Move 2013. Photos from Thursday, 26 September 2013. (c) 2013 – photo by Leaf McGowan, Thomas Baurley, Technogypsie Productions (www.technogypsie.com/photography/). Purchase rights and/or permissions to use can be obtained at site listed here. To follow the adventure, visit http://www.technogypsie.com/chronicles/. To read reviews visit http://www.technogypsie.com/reviews/.

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Cairns and stacked rocks


Cairns and stacked rocks

Potential power quest cairns (http://www.technogypsie.com/science/?p=3289)

Potential power quest cairns (http://www.technogypsie.com/science/?p=3289)

Cairns and Stacked Rocks
By Thomas Baurley

The stacking of stones is a widespread cultural practice all around the world. You know it is a remnant of modern, historical, or prehistoric cultural manufacture because they were not placed there by nature. Most likely a ‘human’ moved one stone atop another. They vary in size from one or two rocks or more stacked on top of each other in simplicity to complexity of mounds, cairns, pyramids, tombs, and massive megalithic complexes.

The meaning behind the practice varies between cultures and time periods throughout history. Archaeologists however, are only interested in those that are at least 50 years old (historical archaeology in America), 100 years old (Europe and other parts of the world), or prehistoric (hundreds to thousands of years in age). They can be field clearing piles, fence piles, burial mounds, markers, signifiers, monuments, spiritual tools, graves, food stores, game drives, rock alignments, power quest markers, altars, shrines, prayer seats, hearths, circles, and/or memorials. Their uses can vary from remnants of field clearing for plowing, stabilizing fences, make walls, clearing or road construction, markers of a road trail or path, survey markers, memorial, burial, vision quest marker, or part of something bigger like a structure, burial, tomb, underground chamber, prayer seat, tipi ring, or offering to Gods, spirits, entities.

These commonly can be found along streams, creeks, lakes, springs, rivers, waterways, sea cliffs, beaches, in the desert, tundra, in uplands, on mountaintops, ridges, peaks, and hill tops. In underpopulated areas they can represent emergency location points. North American trail markers are often called ‘ducks’ or ‘duckies’ because they have a ‘beak’ that points in the direction of the route. Coastal cairns or ‘sea markers’ are common in the northern latitudes can indicate navigation marking and sometimes are notated on navigation charts. Sometimes these are painted and are visible from off shore. This is a common practice in Iceland, Greenland, Canada, and Scandinavia.

Cairns / stacked rocks (http://www.technogypsie.com/science/?p=3289).

Cairns / stacked rocks (http://www.technogypsie.com/science/?p=3289).

ROCK STACKS

Often the practice of stacking rocks is used to mark a trail, path, or road. Many say without these markings, it is often hard to follow a laid out trail, especially in areas that receive deep snowfall. When modern cairn builders place their ‘art’ or message of ego along a trail they can be causing harm, hiding the true trail markers and if placed in a wrong place can lead a hiker astray or get them lost. Original use is often as a route marker and it’s important to preserve that integrity. Modern application of this practice can not only lead people astray but disrupt cultural studies, archaeology, geology, and the environment. Moving stones can upset plant life, insect habitats, as well as homes of lizards, rats, mice, and other creatures.

Other times these rock stacks have spiritual or religious purpose. These are sometimes offerings to the little people, fairies, faeries, nature spirits, Saints, entities, or God/desses. Sometimes these are arranged for a vision quest, other times as a prayer seat, or part of a stone circle. Many times if found around rivers, streams, creeks, or springs ‘ they are offerings to the nature spirits, water spirits, nymphs, naiads, and/or dryads. Sometimes these are markers for portals, vortexes, gateways between worlds, lei lines, or places of spiritual importance. They honor spirits, Deities, Ancestors, or the Dead.

Sometimes these stacked rocks are considered ‘art’, a meditative exercise, or something someone does out of boredom.

Prince Cian making Cairns (http://www.technogypsie.com/science/?p=3289).

Prince Cian making Cairns

In spiritual ‘new age’ hotspots, modern creations of these ‘cairns’ or ‘rock stacks’ are actually quite problematic because they have become invasive upon the landscape, blocking access or movement. In addition, modern creations of them destroy, hide, or change importance of historical or prehistoric ones that existed before. This is a similar impact between modern graffiti and rock art. This has become a major problem in places like Sedona Arizona; Telluride, Colorado; Arches National Park, Utah.

Prehistoric use

Aborigines, Natives, Tribes, and Original Peoples have utilized cairns and rock stacks all over the world. Mostly the intent was as a ‘marker’. In the Americas, various tribes such as the Paiutes as well as early Pioneers left them to mark important trails or historic roads. The Inuksuk practice used by the Inuit, Inupiat, Kalaallit, Yupik, and other Arctic aborigines in North America ranging from Alaska to Greenland to Iceland are markers for ‘way finding’ and to locate caches of food, supplies, and other goods.

Cairns and rock stacks have been used prehistorically for hunting, defense, burials, ceremonial structures, astronomical structures or markers.

Modern Stacking

Some say the practice began as a New Age spiritual movement with the Harmonic Convergence in 1987 within a global synchronized meditation event for peace, love, and spiritual unity. This fell on places of well known vortexes, spiritual hotspots, or sacred landscapes such as Sedona, Arizona. These have become ‘prayer stone stacks’. Even fundamental Christian religions and cults practice this to ‘claim ordinary moments of life for God and invite those who pass by to notice the holy ground on which they already stand’.

CAIRNS

Cairns are actually technically different than rock stacks. The term actually derives from Scots Gaelic c’rn / Middle Gaelic for ‘mounds of stones built as a memorial or landmark.’ In this application, many of these rock piles are actually burials, tombs, and/or graves. Sometimes they are just memorials and do not contain human remains.

EUROPE

Early in Eurasian history has been the construction of cairns. These ranged in size from small piles to massive hills or mountains made of neatly placed stones. This was very common in the Bronze Age with constructions of standing stones, dolmens, kistvaens, or tombs that often contained human remains. Larger structures sometimes made up earthworks, tumuli, kurgans, megaliths, and underground complexes. Those that were monuments would be added to by people honoring the deceased, common place in Gaelic culture Cuiridh mi clach air do ch’rn, “I’ll put a stone on your cairn”.

In Ancient Greece, Cairns were associated with Hermes, God of overland travel. The legend of which states that Hera placed Hermes on trial for slaying her favorite servant Argus. As the other Gods acted as jury to declare their vote would place pebbles and stones to throw at Hermes or Hera to whom they felt was right. Hermes was said to have been buried under a pile of stones and this was the world’s first cairn.

In Celtic belief, some of the stones represent spirits or faeries. Spirits of the night were often these stones.
Some popular large stone monuments and earthworks in Ireland are the Giant’s Grave or Binne’s Cairn in Curraghbinny Woods, Cork, Ireland ( http://www.technogypsie.com/science/?p=1823); Loughcrew Passage Tomb in County Meath Ireland ( http://www.technogypsie.com/science/?p=1601); Slieve Gullion in Northern Ireland ( http://www.technogypsie.com/science/?p=851); Poulnabrone Portal Tomb in County Clare Ireland ( http://www.technogypsie.com/science/?p=101); Knocknashee in Sligo Ireland ( http://www.technogypsie.com/science/?p=99); Newgrange Ireland ( http://www.technogypsie.com/science/?p=91); and the 9 Maidens Stone Circle in Cornwall, England ( http://www.technogypsie.com/science/?p=71) are homes to European styled cairns.

AMERICAS

Cairns were often used as ‘game drives’ to create lanes in which to guide the prey along a ridge, shelf, or over a cliff. This was popular in the use of buffalo jumps dating as early as 12000 years ago. Others were markers and directional guides. Some are shaped as petro forms shaping out animals, turtles, or other creatures. Some were shrines or offerings to other beings, spirits, or God/desses.

NORTHERN OREGON

Along the Columbia River near Mosier, Oregon exists a 30 acre complex of rock walls, pits, and cairns patterned in a talus and debris field at the foot of a 30 meter Columbia Gorge escarpment commonly called ‘Mosier Mounds’. These are associated with vision quests, burials, and game drives. Along this region, many of the talus and slide debris fields are used regularly for burials, food storage, vision quests, and youth training. These are remnants of Columbia Plateau traditions in forms of walls, troughs, cairns, pits, and trails.

SOUTHEASTERN OREGON

When Euro-Americans came in through the Klamath Basin, they noted the numerous cairns constructed by the indigenous (Henry L. Abbot 1855, William J. Clark 1885). Prior to contact, these cairns had several religious functions from power quests, vision quests, mortuary markers, or graves.

Many of the Cairns or rock stacks found in Southeastern Oregon is being studied by the Far Western Anthropological Research Group (FWARG) in Davis, California. Because of the surviving Klamath tribes have shared information about their use of cairns and rock stacks, much has been learned about their practices and implementation. Many of the cairns in SE Oregon range from small stacks to large cairns, some creating circular structures that are very conspicuous. Because of this, various Governmental agencies such as the BLM and US Forest Service have been making efforts to protect them from damage when making roads, logging, ranching, or other impacts made upon government lands. Some of the smaller rock stacks are not very noticeable, they may simply be only one or two stones stacked upon a boulder or bedrock. Some of these points towards spiritually significant locations such as Mount Shasta and others seem not to have any significance at all. During construction of the Ruby pipeline, a 42 inch natural gas pipeline beginning in Wyoming and running to Malin, Oregon brought to discussion between BLM, the Tribes, and personnel an agreement to develop better methods to identify, understand, protect, and preserve these stacks, mostly after the implementation of the Pipeline. This study was conducted by Far Western.

The Klamath and Modoc Tribes was known to have constructed numerous rock stacks to form petro forms ‘ the moving of rocks into a new formation to create man-made patterns or shapes on the ground by lining down or piling up stones, boulders, and large rocks. Some of these were cairns for vision quests and others formed semi-circular prayer seats. Interviews conducted with the tribes determined that these features contribute to the Klamath and Modoc worldviews and beginnings being an important part of their sacred landscape. Most of their important rocks stacks are found in higher elevations. There are two general forms: the stacked rock column constructed by placing one rock atop another in sequence to varying heights; and the conical cairn that possessing variable number of rocks forming the base built upon to create a conical or mound-like shape. Sometimes linear ‘S’ shaped or wall like rock features are commonplace as well. Prayer Seats are defined as a semi-circular, elliptical, or horseshoe shaped area built with stone and/or timber and arranged to a sufficient height to provide wind break. Many of these were natural features enhanced with rock stacking or lumber. Klamath tribes prohibit touching or photographing cairns, prayer seats, or any other sacred cultural site. Tribal governments permit sketches or illustrations many of the Klamath and/or Modoc are uncomfortable with such illustrations. Numerous studies conducted in 1997 provided recordings of dozens of rock cairns on Pelican Butte ‘ mountain overlooking Klamath Lake, and Bryant Mountain by Matt Goodwin (1997). There are numerous rock cairns in Lava Beds National Monument which is believed to be Modoc territory. The Modoc and Klamath tribes define themselves as residing in a junction of four cultural areas known as the (1) Plateau, (2) California, (3) Northwest Coast, and (4) the Great Basin. Within the Plateau, the tribes would hold the Plateau Vision Quest where they piled stones atop one another in order to obtain visions. This was also common within the Middle Columbia area and the Great Basin. Far View Butte has recorded over 245 rock cairns.

The Yahooskin Paiute also erected cairns for ritual purposes as did the Northern Paiute. Paiute shamans were known to have constructed cairns in the presence of rock art as another extension of their vision quests. The Shasta young boys and young men also stacked rocks reportedly when they sought out luck. Rock stacks and prayer seats are also recorded throughout Northwestern California including Yurok, Tolowa, and Karok territories. Within these territories are distinguished six different configurations commonly used in stacking rocks together forming a rock feature complex located in the high country of northwestern California. These being rock cairns, rock stacks, prayer seats, rock alignments, rock circles, and rock hearth rings. There are also several cairn sites in the Northwest coast culture area such as Gold Beach, Pistol River area, upper drainage of the Rogue River at the juncture of the Northwest coast, California, and Plateau culture areas. At the Ridgeland Meadows Site (35JA301) there are over 50 cairns constructed in conical fashion.

Rock cairns associated with petro glyphs are well known connectors to vision quests and power spots with various tribes, especially the Klamath and Modoc. The ‘house of the rising sun’ cave and pictoglyph site of the Klamath at an undisclosed location in Northern California is notably associated with a power quest that scholars studying the site have concluded corresponds with the ethnographically described house of the Klamath/Modoc culture hero ‘Gmok’am’c’ who is associated with the sun in myths recorded by Jeremiah Curtin and Don Hann (1998) concluding that the site’s association with the mythos makes it a portal to the supernatural section of the Modoc cosmos and therefore being a strong supernatural location for power quests.
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Spirits and Entities, spirituality of Alcohol

Spirits and Entities of Alcohol
by Thomas Baurley, Leaf McGowan, Technogypsie Productions

It always amazes me how the world really doesn’t understand the “root” of all things, nor pay attention to the “history” of various items or substances that they use occasionally or daily in life. I strongly believe it is very important to know the “root” and “makeup” of anything one puts in their bodies. Regardless of whether one is religious, spiritual, or scientific – the role of religion and spirituality in all aspects of life has some intriguing elements that should not be ignored. The proverb “You are what you eat”; has a lot of elements of truth in that saying because what you put in your body affects it chemically, physically, mentally, emotionally, and yes, spiritually. I won’t debate between science and religion in this article and for those readers that are atheist and don’t believe in spirituality – while reading this – simply ignore the spiritual overtones of this article and focus on the chemical aspect of what is being put in your body and understanding the elements you allow into your temple. For those readers that are avid drinkers – think about the drink you are putting in your body and go for higher quality substances as one really should consider changing to “organic” and “triple distilled” spirits instead, and for the spiritual user – know the entity or “spirit” you are inviting into your being.

This is not a negative article on drugs, substances, or alcohol, but rather a spiritual understanding of why we use them, the benefits and the dangers associated with them. Alcohol use needs to be practiced responsibly, for abusing it can lead to serious consequences. There really is more to “being under the influence” than you can rationally understand. Historically and spiritually, in all world cultures and religions, in folklore and mythology, every substance, every herb, every mineral, and every plant has a “spirit” or “entity” or “deity” assigned or associated with it. Drugs – Alcohol, barbiturates, hallucinogens, chemicals, or what-not are made of compositions of plants, herbs, minerals, and living matter. Drugs are medicines as well as poisons, with positive and negative effects on a living host that ingest them. Side effects from these drugs create various moods, effects on the body, mind, spirit, and persona. Many of these effects are utilized for spiritual visions, trances, omens, oracles, prophecies, messages, or communication with the beyond in the realms of religion. When abused, they often consume the body and the soul and will create a degradation of a being. Regardless of the substance : alcohol, marijuana, psilocybin, LSD, mDMA, barbiturates, etc. – Each substance has its own entity or spirit that culture attributes certain persona and effects to. It is pretty important to understand what entities you are dealing with, and how to gain advantage from a temporary relationship with them, and how to avoid them taking advantage of you.

For this article, I’m focusing on “spirits” or “alcohol”, as it is the most common grouping of entities that the mass population deals with. Why is “Alcohol” given the name “spirits” in the annals of history? The words “alembic” and “alcohol” are metaphors for “aqua vitae” (Life Water) and “Spirit”, often refer to a distilled liquid that came from magical explorations in Middle Eastern alchemy. “Alcohol” comes from the Arabic “al-kuhl” or “al-ku??l”, which means “Body Eating Spirit”, and gives the root origin to the English term for “ghoul”. In Middle Eastern Folklore, a “ghoul” is a “evil demon thought to eat human bodies”, either as stolen corpses or as children.

Since the root of the name “alcohol” is related to the concept of “body eating spirit”, this is also one of the early roots to traditional taboos on imbibing alcohol in the beginnings of Islam and similar prohibition faiths. In Islam, consumption of any alcohol is punishable with 80 lashes. To many “Pagan” or “Heathen” faiths, the imbibing of spirits and the temporary relationship with these entities gives definition to the “aqua vita” beliefs or “life water” or “connection / communication with spirits” that can be quite beneficial. In fact, faiths that had its roots in Paganism, such as Christianity and Islam, have carried over beneficial beliefs about the consumption or imbibation of alcohol.


As Middle Eastern alchemists ingested alcohol they reported that their senses deadened and this is why they saw the elixirs produced as possessing “body taking” qualities. This is where the Europeans are believed to have derived the use of “spirits” for “alcohol”. What is ingested affects a living body spiritually, mentally, emotionally, and physically. Some believe it will affect the soul as well and that it is all about relationships. Some faiths and cultures have credible valid positive reasons to abstain from drugs and alcohol, while others have equal reasons to promote them. Many cultures see drugs and alcohol as negative, but if one looks into the history of these elementals, there exists many positive elements in their usage, especially when balanced with spirituality and religion. Many cultures and faiths traditionally ingest something in order to commune with the Divine, God/desses, and/or spirits. Whether the wine and bread of Catholic Mass, or the trance induction of peyote with South American Shamans, the use of these substances have a honored tradition throughout history. Shamanic use of trance-inducing drugs are not considered destructive, but rather gifts of the Gods that allow the body and spirit to commune with higher planes of existence. Peyote, ayahuasca, salvia divinorum, absinthe, psilocybin, and other substances are assigned to induce spirit communication, clairvoyance, and the ability to heal. Most forms of Christianity consume alcohol as part of everyday life and nearly always use “wine” (fermented grape juice) in their central rite with the Eucharist or “Lord’s Supper”. The beliefs surrounding this practice state that Christian Tradition and/or the Bible teaches that “alcohol” is a “gift from God that makes life more joyous, but that overindulgence leading to drunkenness is a sin”. The key of Christianity is “moderation”. 19th century Protestants attempted to move from this earlier position of thought and pursuing “abstention” or “prohibition” of alcohol believing its use to be a “sin” even to the extreme of a sip (i.e. Mormonism). The Bible repeatedly refers to alcohol in use and poetic expression, and while mainly ambivalent to it, still states them to be both a “blessing from God that brings merriment” and a “potential danger that can be unwisely and sinfully abused”. “Wine” is often portrayed in daily life as a symbol of abundance and physical blessing, and negatively as a “mocker” with beer being a “brawler”, and drinking a cup of strong wine to the dregs and getting drunk can be presented as a symbol of God’s judgement and wrath. As puritans often spoke in their sermons that “Drink is in itself a good creature of God, and to be received with thankfulness, but the abuse of drink is from Satan; the wine is from God, but the drunkard is from the Devil”. Bible warns that alcohol can hinder moral discretion, and that alcohol can be corrupting of the body and a substance that will impair judgement and distract one from God’s will of life.

While the Ancient Egyptians promoted beer and wine, they did warn of taverns and excessive drinking. However the Greek Dionysus cult promoted intoxication as a means to get closer to their Deity. Macedonians viewed intemperance as a sign for masculinity and were well known for their drunkenness. Alexander the Great was a proponent to the Cult of Dionysus and known for his inebriation. Ancient and Modern Roman celebrations on March 15th of Anna Parenna celebrates the Goddess of the Returning Year by crossing the Tiber River and “go abroad” into Etruria and picnic in flimsy huts made of branches, drink as much alcohol as they could, as it was thought that one would live for as many years as cups of alcohol one could drink on this date. Once finished they would return to their homes in Rome. Most Pagan religions encourage alcohol use and some pursue intoxication promoted as a means of fostering fertility. To Pagan faiths it is believed to increase sexual desire and to make it easier to approach another person for sex. Norse paganism considered alcohol to be the sap of Yggdrasil and drunkenness as an important fertility rite in this religion. Alcohol was also used for medicinal purposes in biblical times as an oral anesthetic, topical cleanser, soother, and digestive aid. Problems associated with industrialization and rapid urbanization were also attributed and blamed on alcohol including urban crime, poverty, high infant mortalities, though its likely that gross overcrowding and unemployment was the actual root cause. The modern world then started blaming personal, social, religious, and moral problems on alcohol. This led to modern movements of prohibitionism. A typical Buddhist view on Alcohol use is as a shortcut for the pursuit of happiness as it produces a short term euphoria or happiness and this is the reason millions of people drink it repeatedly every day. Buddha teaches alcohol as well as all drugs, lead to mis judgement, blocks rational thinking, and therefore preached against amongst its disciples even though in some Buddhist disciplines it is used as offerings to Deity and spirits. Islam, Jainism, the Bahai’ Faith, The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, the Seventh-day Adventist Church, the Church of Christ, Scientist, the United Pentecostal Church International, Theravada, most Mahayana schools of Buddhism, some Protestant denominations of Christianity, and some sects of Hinduism – forbid, discourage, or restrict the drinking of alcoholic beverages for various reasons.

Science tells us alcohol releases dopamine into the brain, stimulating the pleasure sensation. There are a lot of “expectations” with alcohol, and many of these will still operate in the absence of actual consumption of alcohol, when the individual believes they are consuming alcohol. Research in North America shows that men tend to become more sexually aroused when they think they have been drinking alcohol, even when they have not been drinking it. Women report feeling more sexually aroused when they falsely believe the beverages they have been drinking contained alcohol. Men have show to become more aggressive in laboratory studies when they are drinking only tonic water but believe it contains alcohol, they also become less aggressive when they believe they are drinking only tonic water, but are actually drinking tonic water that contains alcohol.

In Magical Views, the use of alcohol, especially in ritual and rite, is a very powerful vehicle for altering states of consciousness, communicating with spirits, Deities, Ancestors, and entities. It aids in relaxation for ritual. It frees the mind of responsibility and control, and is a great aid to those very logical individuals that have to be “in control”. However it can be detrimental to those who have a lot of natural psychic or medium-ship abilities that have been raised in families or cultures that demonized or invalidated these gifts. As alcohol and drugs impair the left brain first (logical) and enhances right brain activity (where spirit communication and psychic abilities reside), thereby increasing psychic or mystical experiences while under the influence. The affects are dependent on the individual and their type, as it can be dangerous with some people – those susceptible to possession and toying by spirits, excessive drinking is similar to “throwing open the saloon door and calling out to a crowd of alcoholics – ‘Bar is open, drinks are on (in) me’”, which will attract lower astral entities to enter the body and soul to experience the alcohol vicariously through the person. It is easier for spirits to influence one when they are intoxicated, some of which are very “low life” or “demonic” entities. (Many are good and powerful, including Deities like Dionysus, Maeve, etc. but usually associate with the particular elixir being imbibed) Mixing of “Spirits” can be dangerous and very toxic on the body and spirit, as the doorway to the soul can be an orgy of spirits that the person cannot handle, often leading to alcohol poisoning, sickness, illness, and/or death.

Historical: Ancient China had wine jars in Jiahu dating to 7,000 B.C.E. and considered a spiritual food rather than a material food with high importance in religious life. Neolithic wine making was found to date from 5400-5000 B.C.E. as archaeologists uncovered a yellowish residue at Hajji Firuz Tepe in a jar that analysis determined came from wine making. Early brewing dates in Egypt showing alcohol was presided over by the God Osiris. Chalcolithic Era Indus Valley civilizations in India date from 3000-2000 B.C.E. with Hindu Ayurvedic texts describing beneficent uses. Babylonians in 2700 B.C.E. worshiped a wine Goddess and other wine deities. Xenophon (431-351 BCE) and Plato (429-347 BCE) praised moderate use of wine as beneficial to health and happiness, but were critical of drunkenness. Hippocrates (460-370 BCE) praised it for its medicinal properties (wine). Some Native American peoples developed an alcoholic beverage called Pulque or Octli as early as 200 C.E. that was used for visions, religion, and prophecy. The first distillations of spirits came from the Medieval Period, with the School of Salerno in 12th century, and fractional distillation developed by Tadeo Alderotti in 13th century. Distillation of whiskey first performed in Scotland and Ireland for centuries, and the first written confirmation of whiskey comes from Ireland in 1405, Scotland in 1494.

Alcoholic beverages are drinks that contain “ethanol” (a.k.a. “alcohol”). They are divided into three classes: beers, wines, and spirits. “Spirits” often related to distilled beverages low in sugars and containing a minimum of 35% alcohol by volume. These are often referred to as Gin, Vodka, and Rum. Alcohol is legally consumed in most countries, though regulated by over 100 countries in terms of production, sale, and consumption. In most countries and religions, alcohol plays a major role in social events, rituals, and traditional celebrations. Alcohol is a psychoactive drug with a depressant effect that reduces attention and slows reaction speeds. It can be addictive and those addicted are considered to be under the sickness called “alcoholism”. Science shows that alcohol is beneficial in moderate amounts, especially a glass of wine drunk daily as it aids in digestion. If food is eaten before alcohol consumption, it reduces alcohol absorption, and the rate at which alcohol is eliminated from the blood is increased. The mechanism for the faster alcohol elimination appears to be related to types of food especially those with alcohol-metabolizing enzymes and liver blood flow. Consumption of alcoholic drinks during Medieval times was a method used to avoid water-borne diseases such as cholera as alcohol kills bacteria.

Beer:
is the world’s oldest and most widely consumed alcoholic beverage, and the third most popular drink after water and tea. It is produced by brewing and fermenting starches derived from cereal grains – most commonly by means of malted barley, though sometimes with wheat, maize, or rice. There are two main types of beer: Lager and Ale. Ale is classified into varieties such as pale ale, stout, and brown ale. Most beer is flavored with hops adding bitterness and as a natural preservative. Beer is usually 4-6% alcohol by volume, but can be less than 1% or more than 20%. It is a stipend of the drinking culture of most nations, and has social traditions such as beer festivals, pub culture, pub crawls, and pub games. The Christian Bible refers to beer as a brawler. Medieval monks were allotted about five liters of beer per day – allowed to drink beer but not wine during fasts. Many Saints and Deities were associated with Beer, such as: St. Adrian, the patron saint of Beer; St. Amand, patron saint of brewers, barkeepers, and wine merchants; and The Ancient Egyptians believed Osiris gave their people “Beer” as he invented it and it was a necessity of life, brewed in the home on an daily basis. In Ancient Egypt, Cellars and wine presses often had a God who was associated with each of the 17 types of beer they created. These were used for pleasure, nutrition, medicine, ritual, remuneration, and funerary purposes. Babylonians often offered beer and wine to their Deities as offerings.

Wine: Alcoholic beverages distilled after fermentation of non-cereal sources like grapes, fruits, or honey. It involves a longer complete fermentation process and a long aging process (months or years) that create an alcohol content of 9-16% by volume. Sparkling wines are made by adding a small amount of sugar before bottling, creating a secondary fermentation in the bottle. The Bible refers to wine as a symbol of abundance and physical blessing, bringer and concomitant of joy, especially with nourishment and feasting; as well negatively as a mocker. It is commonly drunk with meals, as the Old Testament prescribed it for use in sacrificial rituals and festal celebrations. Jesus’ first miracle was making copious amounts of wine at the wedding feast of Cana where he instituted the ritual of the Eucharist at the Last Supper during a Passover celebration that “wine” is a “new covenant in his blood”. Under the rule of Rome, the average adult male who was a citizen drank an estimated liter (1/4 of a gallon) of wine a day. Thomas Aquinas, a Dominican monk and the “Doctor Angelicus” of the Catholic Church said that moderation in wine is sufficient for salvation but that for certain persons perfection requires abstinence and this was dependent upon their circumstance. Wine has been associated or assigned to various Saints, Deities, and Spirits such as St. Amand, patron saint of brewers, barkeepers, and wine merchants; St. Martin, the so-called patron saint of wine; St. Vincent, and patron saint of vintners. In Ancient Egypt, Cellars and wine presses often had a God who was associated with each of the 24 varieties of wine they created. These were used for pleasure, nutrition, medicine, ritual, remuneration, and funerary purposes. Babylonians in 2700 B.C.E. worshiped a wine Goddess and other wine deities. Babylonians often offered beer and wine to their Deities as offerings. In Greece the art of wine making reached the Hellenic peninsula by 2,000 B.C.E. – the first of which was Mead, and by 1700 BCE wine making was commonplace and incorporated into religious rituals. Balche’, a Mayan Honey wine, was associated with the Mayan deity Acan.

Spirits: Unsweetened, Distilled alcoholic beverages that have an alcohol content of at least 20% ABCV are called spirits. These are produced by the distillation of a fermented base product, which concentrates the alcohol, and eliminates some of the congeners. These can be added to wine to create fortified wines such as ports and sherries.
These are often Vodka, Rum, Gin, Whiskey, Whisky, Tequila, and other spirits.

Some commonly believed changes in personality with ‘types’ of alcohol:

  • Beer: Boldness, Braveness, Becoming Boisterous, Loud, Obnoxious, Lush behavior, Know-it-all attitudes, and Dumb-ness.
  • Wine: Romantic connotations, sexuality, relaxation, restfulness, tranquility, lush-ness.
  • Vodka: Bravery, Boldness, Invincibility, Strength, Attitude, Security.
  • Tequila: Boldness, wildness, sexuality, aggression, and lush behavior.
  • Absinthe: Creativity, Inspiration, Desire to do Art, Write, or Music; imaginative thought. Rumored to be psychedelic and produce hallucinations. Inspires oracles, omens, and prophetic thought.
  • Rum: Wildness, craziness, boldness, and lust.
  • Gin: Intellectual thought, healing, lethargy, and dumb-ness.
  • Whiskey: Aggression, testiness, boldness, violence, invincibility.
  • Irish Whiskey: Revitalization, Rebirth, Renewal, Invincibility, and Intellectual discussions.

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Sol Duc Hot Springs, Olympic National Forest, Washington

Sol Duc Hotsprings (http://www.technogypsie.com/reviews/?p=26101); Olympic National Park (http://www.technogypsie.com/reviews/?p=26099), Washington. Exploring Olympic Peninsula - Northern Exposure: Chronicle 24 - Chronicles of Sir Thomas Leaf, Lady Etain, and Prince Cian.  Adventures in Washington. Photos taken March 25, 2016.  To read the adventures, visit  http://www.technogypsie.com/chronicles/?p=20007.   To read reviews, visit: www.technogypsie.com/reviews.  All photos and articles (c) 2015/2016 Technogypsie.com - by Leaf McGowan, Eadaoin Bineid and Thomas Baurley. All rights reserved.
Sol Duc Hotsprings (http://www.technogypsie.com/reviews/?p=26101); Olympic National Park (http://www.technogypsie.com/reviews/?p=26099), Washington. Exploring Olympic Peninsula – Northern Exposure: Chronicle 24 – Chronicles of Sir Thomas Leaf, Lady Etain, and Prince Cian. Adventures in Washington. Photos taken March 25, 2016. To read the adventures, visit http://www.technogypsie.com/chronicles/?p=20007. To read reviews, visit: www.technogypsie.com/reviews. All photos and articles (c) 2015/2016 Technogypsie.com – by Leaf McGowan, Eadaoin Bineid and Thomas Baurley. All rights reserved.

Sol Duc Hotsprings and Campground, Olympic National Forest, WA
http://www.olympicnationalparks.com/lodging/sol-duc-hot-springs-resort/

As opposed to the rustic natural state of the Olympic Hot Springs, Sol Duc is the developed National Park Service hot springs resort in the Olympic National Forest. We wound up going here when we found out the road to Olympic Hot Springs had been washed out (March 2016). Sol Duc is well known for its pool, soaking tubs, and camping. It lies off the natural springs dotting the Sol Duc River. The original inhabitants of the area – various Native American tribes who frequented the Springs, believed them to be healing and therapeutic. Euro-Americans took over the area in the 1880’s as usual pushing out the aboriginal visitors. They opened a resort in 1912 here but it was burnt down in 1916. It was rebuilt in the 1920’s with less scale operating until the 1970s until problems with the spring occured. After the problems were resolved it was rebuilt again in the 1980s operating since. The current Springs are operated and managed by the National Park Service, open for visitors from March 25 until October 30th each year. The pools can be accessed from 7:30 am until 10 pm daily. Cabins and campsites are available for overnight lodging. There are 32 cabins that sleep 4 each, dining facilities on site, gift shop, store, a river suite that sleeps 10, 17 RV sites, and a primitive campground. There is no wifi, telephones, television, or radios offered. There are three modern pools, regulated and cleaned daily to soak within.

Folklore: Native American lore talk about two dragons who lived in the adjoining valleys who often would fight together. Their fights would be so fierce that the trees in the mountain’s upper realms would be destroyed so badly they would never grow back. The dragons experienced a even match each fight, and never able to prevail against one another. After years of struggling they each retired to their own valley, living under the earth, and it is their hot tears that feed the waters of the springs creating the hot springs – the Olympic Hot Springs and Sol Duc.

Geology: The springs are located on or near the Calawah fault zone extending from the southeastern Olympics to the northwest into the Pacific Ocean. The water is vented from a hot spring caused by geothermal heat coming up from the Earth’s mantle by geothermal gradient with water percolating up after contact from the hot rocks. Because the hot water dissolves solids, high mineral content is mixed in the waters ranging from calcium to lithium even radium causing healing effects on bodies soaked in them. The Springs are managed by Olympic National Park.

Sol Duc Hotsprings (http://www.technogypsie.com/reviews/?p=26101); Olympic National Park (http://www.technogypsie.com/reviews/?p=26099), Washington. Exploring Olympic Peninsula - Northern Exposure: Chronicle 24 - Chronicles of Sir Thomas Leaf, Lady Etain, and Prince Cian.  Adventures in Washington. Photos taken March 25, 2016.  To read the adventures, visit  http://www.technogypsie.com/chronicles/?p=20007.   To read reviews, visit: www.technogypsie.com/reviews.  All photos and articles (c) 2015/2016 Technogypsie.com - by Leaf McGowan, Eadaoin Bineid and Thomas Baurley. All rights reserved.
Sol Duc Hotsprings (http://www.technogypsie.com/reviews/?p=26101); Olympic National Park (http://www.technogypsie.com/reviews/?p=26099), Washington. Exploring Olympic Peninsula – Northern Exposure: Chronicle 24 – Chronicles of Sir Thomas Leaf, Lady Etain, and Prince Cian. Adventures in Washington. Photos taken March 25, 2016. To read the adventures, visit http://www.technogypsie.com/chronicles/?p=20007. To read reviews, visit: www.technogypsie.com/reviews. All photos and articles (c) 2015/2016 Technogypsie.com – by Leaf McGowan, Eadaoin Bineid and Thomas Baurley. All rights reserved.

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St. Columb’s Rill, Northern Ireland

St. Columb’s Rill, Northern Ireland

The source of the magic for the infamous Bushmill’s Irish Malt Whiskey, these volcanic blessed waters is the life stream of the elixirs produced at the Bushmill’s Distillery for over 400 years (1608). Saint Columb’s Rill is a tributary of the “an Bhuais” (River Bush) of Northern Ireland. The Rill is actually a rivulet, or really small stream, that rises in bog land five miles southeast of the Bushmill’s Village in County Antrim. It is named after the Patron Saint “Columba” of Derry/Doire. It is one of the inspired waters creating the art of Irish Whiskey known as “Uisce Beatha” Gaelic for “Water of Life”. It is the distinct mineral composition of these waters that gives Bushmill’s its distinct flavor, combined with the arts the distillery uses to distill them, triple distilled in copper stills, and matured to spirits in oak casks.

Saint Columba was a distinguished student of Saint Finnian in 546 C.E. (Common Era) when the monastic settlement of Derry was formed and established by him. Saint Columba was fascinated by magical and healing waters, and the Rill was no different legend states. Being concerned with the health of his community, he identified and recommended various springs and water sources for people to drink from. He was one of the twelve Apostles of Ireland who sailed across the Irish Sea in 563 C.E. beginning missionary work in the lands that became Scotland. They sailed to Iona, a small island where they created the “Cradle of Christianity” in Scotland.

Geology – The water that feeds Saint Columb’s Rill, comes up from limestone and sedimentary rock before passing through basalt and igneous rock gaining small quantities of calcium and magnesium which makes the water alkaline and slightly hard. This process feeds off the elements of the remains of former volcanic activity of the area that is much attached to the fabled Slemish Mountain 30 miles to the south which was the dormant plug of the volcano that created these stones. This mountain is riddled with faerie lore as well as Christian roots with being the home of Saint Patrick when he was taken to Ireland as a slave being the place he tended sheep and pigs in 405 C.E.

As The Rill moves northeast, it flows across acidic Sphagnum peat lands before making its way to the village of Bushmills. This colors the water brown and gives it its’ distinctive peat flavor. It is cherished so much by the region that it is protected and monitored by the Northern Ireland Environment Agency guaranteed not to be ever tainted or polluted. They had one incident in 2012 that was stopped once discovered that had to do with peat harvesting for fuel. The Bushmill’s Distillery lies in the direct path of Saint Columb’s Rill and captures some of the fast moving waters into their private reservoir holding in excess of 2.2 million gallons at any given time. The rest of the Rill runs underneath the distillery and discharges into the River bush, finding its way into the Atlantic at Portballintrae where the Giant’s Causeway lies.

In earlier years, there were four other distilleries licensed to operate near Bushmill’s utilizing the Rill. These have purportedly been closed since. The Bushmill’s Inn opened the Saint Columb’s Rill Relaxation Room that provides guests with a range of homeopathic procedures and treatments using the Saint Columb’s Rill waters for spiritual and physical healing.

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Icelandic Wonders Museum

photos 08/27/12 172 to 240

Icelandic Wonders Museum
* Hafnargotu 9 * 825 Stokkseyri * + 354 483 1202 * info@icelandicwonders.com * http://www.icelandicwonders.com/ *

As a enthusiast about folklore and faerie lore I was very excited to hear that Iceland had a Elves and Trolls museum. Ventured in we did to find a collection of the legends and lore of Icelandic unseen people. It is dedicated to Trolls, Elves, and the Northern Lights. Within a maze of rooms within a very large 1200 meter square warehouse is a tour through the faerie world as a glimpse of how the elves and hidden folk live, as well as learning about the Northern Lights. At $24 / 1,500-kr) equivalent entrance fee for an adult it is extremely over-priced. It probably is only appreciated by someone who is an avid fan of such things, a complete rip-off for the general public. Its attached next to the Ghost Center which is even less interesting than the Troll museum. You wander through the Troll cave and learning about these giants, hang out in a special room dedicated to Northern Lights, and end at the Souvenir Shop. Rating: 3 stars out of 5.

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Hiwassee River (Murphy)

Hiwassee River
Hiwassee River, Murphy, North Carolina

We stumbled upon this river while in search of the legendary fairy crosses. We searched along her shores for the staurolite crystals as we wandered down to an Irish sounding town called “Murphy” through which the infamous Hiwassee River flowed. The river has many names, including the Heia Wassea, Highwassee, Eufasee, Eufassee, Highwassee, Quannessee, etc. The proper name, the “Hiwassee” comes from the Cherokee word “Ayuhwasi” meaning “meadow” or “savanna”. The Creek indians (Muskogee) say its name is the “Koasati” and “Hitchiti” for “copperhead snake”. This could be for the numerous copperhead snakes the river gives a home to. The Hiwassee is a 147 mile long River that has its headwaters flowing from the northern slopes of the Rocky Mountain in North Georgia flowing down into North Carolina and turning west to Tennessee where it dumps into the Tennessee River. Where it flows through North Carolina it has three sections where it is dammed by the TVA (Tennessee Valley Authority) at the Hiwassee Dam, the Chatuge Dam, and the Appalachia Dam. These Dams were all constructed in the 1940’s. Some of the river’s waters are diverted from the Appalachia Dam into a pipeline tunneled 8 miles through the mountains and being gravity-fed through the Appalachia Powerhouse for electric. The river is well known for its white-water rafting, as it possessed class 1-3 rapids at various points along its course. River is used at various points for boating, fishing, and water skiing. The river has major tributaries including the Nottely River, Coker Creek, Valley River, Big Lost Creek, Spring Creek, Toccoa River, and the Conasauga Creek. The region through which this river flows was inhabited by various ethnic groups, including the Muskogean groups before the arrival of the Cherokee. The riverbanks were first explored by westerners in the 16th century by Spanish explorers. There is good reason to believe that Hernando de Soto probably crossed this river where it merges with the Tennessee River at Hiwassee Island in 1541 C.E. There is probable evidence that Juan Pardo followed a trail along its shores in 1567. Earliest European maps of the river valley dated to the 17th century vaguely showing the river basin occupied by a mountain branch of the Apalachee and the Kusa. The Tama-tli, the Apalachee, and the Kusa were also known to have had occupation here. It was in this valley that the early English explorers and traders found the Muskogean and Yuchi towns occupying in the 1690s which led to territorial battles including the massacre of the remaining Yuchi tribes. It was also here that a 40 year long war between the Creek and the Cherokee ensued beginning in the early 1700’s. The area eventually became the Cherokee homeland by the 18th century. Near the mouth of Peachtree Creek by present day Murphy, North Carolina was a Cherokee town called Hiwassee (Ayuhwasi). The tribes had established various routes and paths through the area such as the Great Trading Path, the Overhill Trading Path, and the Warrior path. By the 1760’s the Cherokee lost all of their lands in present day North Carolina east of the 80th longitude which runs through Murphy and crosses the Hiwassee River there. This was the penalty to the Cherokee by the British since they had assisted the French in the French and Indian War. American Independence Battles took place in the area, and the river was home to one of the largest camps such as Fort Cass on its southbank near Charleston, Tennessee. Today, it is a hallmark of the town of Murphy, North Carolina as it passes a Cherokee Indian mythology site known as the “Leech Place”. This legend tells of a house-sized leech that could control the waters of the Hiwassee and use them to sweep hapless people to the bottom of the river and consume them. This place was called the “Tlanusi-yi” or “The Leech Place”.

Read about the folklore about the monster that haunts these rivers: The Leech Place: http://www.technogypsie.com/faerie/?p=537

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Horseshoe Falls

070313-125

Horseshoe Falls
* Niagara Falls State Park, Niagara, New York *

Located on the Canadian side of the Niagara River, the “Canadian Falls” or “Horseshoe Falls” is the most famous and most attracted spots at the Niagara Falls wonder. Over 90% of the Niagara River flows over these falls and is used for massive hydro-power generation. The Remaining 10% of the river flows over the American Falls. These falls are located between Terrapin Point on Goat Island and Table Rock in Ontario. The Falls have been fought over between America and Canada throughout history.

The Myth of the Maid of the Mist is a Native American legend from the Ongiaras Tribe about a young woman, named Lelawal, the Maid of the Mist. She lost her husband at a very young age and was lost in sorrow. She canoed along the Niagara River to the Falls, singing a death song paddling into the current. She was caught up in the rough waves and hurled into the falls, but as she fell, Heno, the God of Thunder who lived in these falls caught her carrying her down to his home beneath the veil of waters falling. Heno and his sons took care of her until she healed. One of his sons fell in love with her, married, and bore a son who learned to be a God of Thunder. The Maid however missed seeing her family and tribe. Heno reported to her that A great snake came down the mighty river and poisoned the waters of her people. They grew sick and were dying, being devoured by the snake until the mass disappearance of the tribe occurred. She begged Heno to be able to go back to the realm of her people to warn them of the dangers, so he lifted her through the falls back to her people. She advised them to move away from the river onto higher lands until the danger passed. Heno came back and brought her back to her husband. Once the great snake discovered that the people deserted the village, it went into a rage hissing and going upstream to search for them. Heno rose up through the mist of the falls and threw a giant thunderbolt at the snake killing it in one blast. The giant body floated downstream and lodged just above the cataract creating a large semi-circle that deflected huge amounts of water into the falls just above the God’s home. Heno swept through the falls trying to stop the massive influx of water caused by the position of the corpse. His home was destroyed. He called for the Maid and his sons returning up into the sky making a new home in the heavenly realms watching down over the humans, Heno thundering in the clouds as he once did in the falls. The thunder of the falls is Heno’s voice. [ http://americanfolklore.net/folklore/2010/09/the_maid_of_the_mist.html ] Other legends claim Lelawala was betrothed by her father to a king she despised and secretly wanted to be with He-No, the God of Thunder, who lived beneath Horseshoe Falls. In the middle of heartache she chose to sacrifice herself to him, paddling her canoe into the Niagara River and swept off into the Falls. He-no caught her, merged with her spirit, and lived forever in his sanctuary behind the falls, whereas she became the “Maiden of the Mist”.

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Hill of Uisneach

The Hill of Uisneach / Cnoc Uisnigh or Ushnagh, in the heart of County Westmeath, is a 182 meter high sacred hill that was once considered to be the absolute center of Ireland. Located along the northern side of R390, and 8 kilometers east of Ballymore, next to the village of Loughanavally – it is a pivotal connection of four adjacent townlands – Ushnagh Hill, Mweelra, Rathnew, and Kellybrook; and is the meeting point of the provincial borders of Leinster, Munster, Connacht, Ulster and Midhe. (Midhe was the once separate 5th province) and by so being, has been called the “omphalos” or “mystical navel of Ireland” atop which rests the Cat stone, the Ail na Mreann or “stone of divisions”. (The actual geographic center of Ireland is near the western shore of Lough Ree to the west). The site was seen as the tromping grounds of the tutelary Goddess riu who is seen as the personification of Ireland and is where she legendarily met the invading Milesians and the poet Amergin, after much debate, agreed to give the country her name. The site was most famous for the lighting of the Beltane fires and Druidic ceremonies, of which has been reconstructed with Irelands infamous Festival of Fires Celebration. According to the Lebor Gabla renn (Book of the Takings of Ireland) the first fire was lit here by the Nemedian Druid Mide and ever since, a fire was lit here during the feast of Beltane which supposedly can be seen from the Hill of Tara. According to legend, when those at Tara saw the fires lit at Uisneach, they would light the fires on Tara. According to the Historia Regum Britanniae (History of the Kings of Britain), Geoffrey of Monmouth claimed that the stones of Stonehenge were brought to Britain from the Hill of Uisneach. Some say the hill is also Riba or Raiba that was identified by Ptolemy (Ptolemaeus), the Egyptian/Greek astronomer when he wrote Geographia in 140 C.E. The site is rather large, spread out over two square kilometers including holy wells, wells, enclosures, barrows, megalithic tomb, and two ancient roads.

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Viking Art Stone, Borre, Norway


Viking Art/Rune Stone, Borre Viking Marked, Borre, Norway

The Viking Art Stone
Borrehaugene National Park, Borre, Norway

In the Borrehaugene National Park lies a modern artistic replication of a Viking runic stone as one walks towards the grave mounds. The Park is home to the largest number of burial mounds from the Viking age – which were contemporaneous to the famous boat graves at Oseberg and the trading centre Kaupang in Tjlling. It is suggested that this burial site was used for burying Norwegian kings descending from the Ynglinge dynasty. I unfortunately could not find any information about who created this piece of art on the boulder, if the boulder was added to the park or was a currently standing one, and what is the age of the painting. It does however look very modern.

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Navajo Spring (Manitou Springs)


Navajo Spring, Manitou Springs, Colorado

Navajo Spring
Manitou Springs, Colorado, USA

Just off of main street in historic Manitou Springs, at the back of the popcorn and candy store in front of the amusement arcade, coming out of the wall in a decorated font is a natural soda spring that is one of 7 popular natural springs that put this town on the map. Originally visited by Native American Indians who sought their healing and spiritual powers whom some believed were gifted by the great spirit called Manitou. They were then frequented by white Euro-American settlers, who pushed the tribes out and commercialized the area. It is because of the commercialization of this particular spring is the one where legend has it the Utes placed a curse on all whites that the westerners can never have a successful business in this place. By the late 1880’s, the westerners built a large bath house and spa, as well as a bottling plant on this former location, but did not succeed. The waters however were famous throughout American in that time and place. The spring waters are fissured up through rock fracures from the rainwater and snow melt coming from Pikes Peak. Water reaching the depths become heated and mineralized, flowing up through the Ute Pass fault zone, into limestone caverns which carbonate them, and tapped into by natural springs or wells. Each spring in the area has its own distinct taste and flavor. This particular spring originally had a bowl-like concretion of calcium carbonate that was large enough to dip or wash oneself in. From 1871-1972, Chief Joseph Tafoya – Chief Joe “LIttle Deer” and his family came to this spot to do authentic Indian dances and songs from the Tewa tribe of the Pueblo Reservation of Santa Clara, New Mexico. In 1889 Jerome Wheeler built a 3 story bottling plant east of the arcade and used these waters to bottle up to 5,000 gallons of water a day selling it throughout the world as table water of the popular non-alcoholic Giner Champagne. After collapse of the plant, the spring fell into abuse, and was restored in 1991 by Manitou’s residents and donors.

    Navajo Spring: “Chief Joseph Tafoya – Chief Joe ‘Little Deer’ 1891-1972: Generations of the Tafoya family have presented authentic Indian dances and songs on this site and at the Manitou Cliff Dwellings Museum since 1925. The Tafoya Family Dancers are members of the Tewa tribe from the Pueblo Reservation of Santa Clara, New Mexico, and descendants of the ancient Puye Cliff Dwellers. For 15 years, Chief Joseph Little Deer served both as governor of the Santa Clara Reservation and Chairman for the All Pueblo Indian Council. He introduced a democratic form of government on the reservation, opened his home to orphaned Indian children, and worked tirelessly to improve the living conditions of his people. Chief Little Deer married Petra Suazo, a great niece of Cheif Manitou so named for his active promotion of Manitou Springs at the turn of the century. Chief Manitou danced for 20 summers at the Cliff Dwellings museum. Navajo Spring is one of the seven natural soda-type springs that led to the settlement of Manitou. The early French trappers named the bordering creek “Fountaine qui Bouille”, the Boiling Water. Mineral deposits containing large amounts of carbonate of lime created a natural basin where the Indians bathed their sick and wounded. The white mineral basin now is hidden under the arcade floor. In 1889, Jerome Wheeler built a 3-story bottling plant east of the arcade and used Navajo Spring for bottling up to 5000 gallons of water a day. The water was sold worldwide as table water of the popular non-alcoholic Ginger Champagne. Navajo Spring was restored in 1991 by generous assistance from various donors” ~ sign outside the Spring.

Navajo Spring, Manitou Springs, Colorado

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Tiveragh Fairy Hill (Cushendall)

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The Tiveragh Fairy Hill
Cushendall, Northern Ireland

Legend and lore has it that this very broad sided hill with steep sides overlooking the small village of Cushendall in Northern Ireland is the gateway to Tir na nOg. A place very well known locally to be haunted by faeries, leprechauns, elves, and pixies … this giant hill is a natural fortress all in its own and easily seen to be claimed as a stronghold by the fae. Fairy tales mention many stories about it rising up on pillars during the twilight evening with glimmering meriment of faeries frolicking and dining. Many believe that the wee folk live in this hill that is accessed by a nearby cave. As the warning goes, if ye are mortal, regardless of how appeasing the faerie music may sound, if you wander within, you’ll never be seen again on this plane of existence. Time holds a whole different rhythm in Faerieworlds.

We however, of fae persuasion, did venture up the hill at the turn of twilight just as the sun was going down. We spied the hill with visions of faerie impressions while across the valley atop Ossian’s Grave – the Megalithic tomb believed to be the burial spot of the fabled poet and bard Oisin. Now Oisin was lured into fae, into Tir na nOg where he lived until he requested to return to the land of mortals to visit his family. Of course due to faerie time, he came back several hundred years later to find them all gone and deceased. He fell off his faerie steed and became a blind old man wandering these fields eventually dying. If the faerie tale is true, this would be the hill he would have rode out of and across the valley would have been his grave overlooking it … curiouser and curiouser. Midway along the way up the base of the hill is one of the most magnificent Faerie Thorn Trees I’ve ever encountered. As usual with these faerie hills, I always find a wee hole just big enough for the Victorian sized fae to enter within, usually lined with heavy rocks, making it look peculiarly like its a miniature mine rather than a animal hole. We climbed atop as the sun was going down, empowered by the feelings of the ancient ones. Archaeologically though, this may be a massive hillfort. I’m looking for those records and will post my findings here.

    On Tiv-ra Hill near Cushendall,
    I heard a commotion behind a wall,
    I stopped and looked over, and boys-o-boys!

    Now what do you think was making the noise?
    Twas a Hurley match – and may I choke -
    It was two wee teams of the Fairy folk
    That was rippling’ and tearing’ and weltin’ away
    In the light of the moon was bright as day.

    And their playing pitch was hardly as big
    As my Uncle Barney’s potato rig;
    And me there watchin’ them puck and clout
    At the back o’ the wall with my eyes stuck out.

    When all at once, like the squeal of a hare,
    A wee voice shouted, “Who’s that up there?”
    And a bit off a thing about nine – inch tall
    Came climbing up to the top of the wall.

    And he stood there; he stood about pot -size
    With his two wee fingers up at my eyes,
    And its God’s own truth that I’m speakin’ mind ye,
    ”Get out o’ that,” says he, “or Ill blind ye!”

    Aye that’s what he said, “I’ll blind ye,” says he,
    And by Jing what he said was enough for me,
    Did I run? Aye surely; I didnt miss -
    And I haven’t seen Tiveragh from that to this.

    ~ H.Browne

    The Fairy Hill Tiveragh is a fairy hill and near to Cushendall,
    And nobody goes there at night, no nobody at all.
    The hill is small, the sides are steep.
    And I have heard it said That flickering lights go in and out While everyones in bed.
    And on the top two hawthorns grow, A white one and a red.
    ~ John Irvine Desmond

~ Yours truly, Leaf McGowan

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The Amsterdam Miracle; Begijnhof and Chapel (Holland)

Begijnhof and Chapel
*Zandvoorterweg 78 * 2111 GZ Aerdenhout * Tel. 023-5246229 * Fax. 023-5440081 * info: info@stille-omgang.nl * website: www.stille-omgang.nl
Amsterdam, Holland
http://www.begijnhofamsterdam.nl/
It was here, at the Begijnhof that a few days before Palm Sunday on March 15, 1345 a sick man in the Kalverstraat took the Sacrament of the sick from the local priest. The man vomited up the host, which was caught in a basin and thrown on the fire where it “appeared” to “float above the flames”. It was an amazing miracle. A woman then stretched out her hand into the flames to seize the host from the fire and put it in a case. She remained unburnt and unharmed from putting her hand in the fire when touching the host. The priest, who was from the Oude Kerk was sent for and took the host back to the “Old Church”. The next day a woman in the house in the Kalverstraat opened the case and saw that the host had magically transported back. She sent for the priest again, and again he took the magic host back to the Old Church. The next day for a third time, the host transported back to the case in the sick man’s room. The miracle of the bread that didn’t burn and wouldn’t leave the house became known widespread. Again, the priest took the host, but this time returning to the Old Church with a solemn procession. The next year the Bishop Jan van Arkel declared this host to be a genuine miracle. Two years later, a church was built on the very spot where the miracle took place. As people joined a procession to take the holy sacrement through the streets of Amsterdam in mid-march to celebrate the Miracle. The Holy Stead Chapel (The Ter Heylighen Stede) was consecrated by the vicar-general of Bishop Jan van Arkel, the Bishop of Utrecht in 1347.

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Platypus: Ornithorhynchus anatinus

a.k.a. “Platypus” or “Bewick’s Platypus”

Taxonomy: Animalia; Chordata; Mammalia; Monotremata; Ornithorhynchidae; Ornithorhynchus; Ornithorhynchus anatinus

Common Names: platypus, watermole, duckbill, and duckmole.

Localities: Native to Eastern Australia including Tasmania, with ancestors from South America. They live on the edges of rivers and freshwater lakes where they can burrow.

Description:
When white settlers first encountered this mammal, it was defined a hoax. It took over a hundred years to be accepted by the scientific community as defined a semi-aquatic mammal, as one of five extant species of monotremes – mammals that lay eggs instead of giving birth to live young. They are egg-laying, venomous, duck-billed, beaver-tailed, otter-footed mammals that represent creatures of faerie tales and legends. It became so popular to Australia’s iconography, it was placed as a national symbol, appears as a mascot to national events, and was featured on a reverse of the 20 cent coin. The oldest fossil of a platypus dates from 100,000 years ago in the Quaternary period.

Paraphrased from Australian National Museum displays and exhibits: Platypuses are found only in Australia, though their ancestors lived in South America. With waterproof fur and webbed feet, platypuses are uniquely adapted to life in fresh water throughout Australia and Tasmania; they breathe air, but can stay underwater for about five minutes at a time, storing the food they catch in special pouches in their cheeks. The platypus was first seen by Europeans in 1797. The first Drawings were based on a preserved specimen sent to Joseph Banks in England by New South Wales governor John Hunter. The earliest published drawing was done in 1800 from “A General History of Quadrapeds” by Thomas Bewick. “Hoax?: “Of all animals yet known it seems the most extroadinary in its conformation. ~ George Shaw, 1799. In 1797, when the first platypus reached Europe pickled in brandy, scientists in Europe were suspicious. They could not believe one animal could have both a beak and fur. They thought it was a hoax. Even now, the fact that the platypus makes a nest, lays eggs, and suckles its young, seems remarkable. From Hoax to Enigma: The Natives have exhibited their ignorance of the natural history of the platypus by asserting that the young are produced from eggs. ~ Arthur Nichols, 1883. “ Platypuses and Echidnas were no mystery to Aboriginal people, who were well acquainted with their habits and biology. They told the first Europeans who arrived in Australia that platypuses and echnidnas laid eggs, but scientists in Europe did not believe this. It took nearly 100 years before it was accepted that the platypus really did lay eggs. “O’ thou prehistoric link, kin to beaver, rooster, skink, duck, mole, adder, monkey, fox, Paleothoic paradox! Beak of shovellers, spur of fowl; cheek of monkey (pocket jowl); trowel of beaver, gait of skink; Dope of adder, foxy stink. ~ Harry Burrell, “The Mud-sucking Platypus: A Brief History; about 1925.” During the day, the platypus rests in burrows they dig along river and freshwater lake edges within banks that overhang the river, here they bask in the sun and groom their dense fur. They are most active at night, which is when they feed, for several hours after dusk and before dawn. They are excellent swimmers and divers. When diving, they keep their eyes and ears shut using its webbed forefeet to swim downwards fighting its natural buoyancy. Webbing on the front feet extend beyond the claws forming large paddles for swimming. They can stay under for over two minutes, though can rest upwards of 10 minutes underwater under a submerged object. It’s bill resembles that of a duck’s bill which is really a elongated snout covered with soft, moist, leathery skin and sensitive nerve endings. Their bodies can be upwards of 12-18 inches long, with a 4-6 inches long flattened tail, and webbed feet. They can weigh upwards of 5+ lbs. They have three layers of fur – an inner layer to trap air and keep the animal warm, a middle layer working like a wet suit, and an outer layer to sense distance from objects. They have been known to live for upwards of 12 years in the wild. The male platypus has a sharp, hollow, horny spur that is about 15 mm long on the inside of both of its hind leg ankles which is connected to a venom gland producing a very strong toxin they use in defense against predators. They are monotremes, a rare form of mammal that do lay eggs instead of live birth. As the males are larger than females, they mate once a year from late June and in October. Females lay two to four eggs, incubated against her abdomen, and milk is produced in large glands under her skin oozing out onto a patch of fur that the offspring suckle.

Predators:
Loss of Habitat, Humans, snakes, water rats, foxes, and goannas.

Diet:
The platypus eats aquatic insect larvae, shrimps and worms found in the bottom silt of rivers and freshwater lakes and can eat their own body weight in food in one night.

Uses:
Once hunted for its fur, it is now a protected species.

Culinary:
Unknown.

Medicinal:
Unknown.

Folklore and Magical Uses:
Unknown.

Written and researched by Thomas Baurley, Leaf McGowan, Technogypsie Research Services. November 25, 2011.

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Thor (PG-13, 2011)

Thor
(PG-13: 2011)
Director: Kenneth Branagh; Starring: Chris Hemsworth as Thor, Natalie Portman as Jane Foster, Tom Hiddleston as Loki, Anthony Hopkins as Odin, Stellan Skarsgrd as Erik Selvig, Kat Dennings as Darcy Lewis, Clark Gregg as
Agent Coulson, and many more.

Based on the Ragnarok mythology, the 2011 American Superhero film “Thor” is based on the Marvel comic book character of the same name. The film starts out in 965 CE with Odin, the King of Asgard, waging war against the Frost Giants of Jotunheim and their leader Laufey for the prevention of them conquering the nine realms, beginning with Earth. Odin’s soldiers defeat the Frost Giants and sieze the source of their magical power – the Casket of Ancient Winters. Just as Odin’s son Thor is about to take the throne, the Frost Giants break into Asgard and try to steal the casket back. This infuriates Thor, and against his father’s orders, travels to Jotunheim to confront Laufey and experiences battle with them, breaking the standstill that Odin worked so hard to establish. Odin is angered with his irresponsibility and wants him to learn what it is like not to have Godly powers or his hammer. However, his evil bother Loki discovers he really is Laufey’s son, kills off Odin his false father, and tries to take the throne for the Ice Giants as the new king of Asgard. He lands in New Mexico where he is found by the astrophysicist Jane Foster, her assistant Darcy Lewis, and mentor Dr. Erik Selvig. The government gets attracted to the wormhole through which Thor travelled to reach Earth and the men in black are soon taking all of Jane’s team’s data. Thor and Jane begin to develop a romance as she helps him get back his hammer and deal with becoming human. The Warriors Three find out what is happening and go to retrieve Thor, after which Loki sends the Destroyer to pursue and kill Thor. Battle on Earth, Thor eventually gets his hammer back, and and defeats the Destroyer. They then return to confront Loki and stop his plan. Odin wasn’t killed and awakens, repairs things with his son Thor, and Thor misses Jane. Thor 2 is planned for July of 2013. I found the film riddled with mythology, in-depth interpersonal dynamics of the Gods and their family relationships, and modern day implementation of ancient myths regarding Thor. High action, emotional appeal, great special effects, and good story line. The 3D gave it a high class edge. Review by Leaf McGowan. Rating: 4.5 stars out of 5. Viewed 4/23/11.

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Australian National Museum

National Museum of Australia
* Lawson Crescent * Acton Peninsula, Canberra ACT 2601 * (02) 6208 5000 *

One of Australia’s most brilliant and diverse museums is the National Museum of Australia in Canberra within the heart of the Australian Capital Territory. It was established in 1980 by the National Museum of Australia Act to preserve and interpret Australian history, cultures, people, and events that made Australia what it is today. It was homeless until March 11, 2001 when it opened its doors in the national capital. Diverse collections and exhibits ranging from 50,000 Before Present upwards to the current day with focus on the Aborigine, the original inhabitants, their beliefs, culture, and myths. It covers European settlement of these shores from 1788 to modern day and focuses on the material culture that Australia creates both past and present. They possess the largest collection of Aboriginal bark paintings and stone tools found in Australia. Exhibits rotate around like all major museums and during my visit had a feature called “Not Just Ned” covering the Irish immigration to Australia. In addition to a massive artifact collection, they have a wide range of books, catalogues, and journals in their archives. Highly innovative and on track with technology, the Museum is notable for its advancement and design. They have an incredible outreach program with regional communities as well as a inclusion with the Aborigines. The Museum was designed by architect and design director Howard Raggatt themed with knotted ropes symbolizing the weaving together of Australian stories and tales. The entire building and grounds tells the story of creation, the Dreaming, and immigration of these shores. The building is at the center of the knot with trailing ropes or strips extending from the building, forming large loops that are walkways extending past the neighbouring AIATSIS building ending in a large curl aligning as the “Uluru Axis” representing the Australian natural landmark. This design incorporates Bed Maddock’s “Philosophy Tape”, Jackson Pollock’s “Blue Poles”, the Boolean String, A knot, Ariadne’s thread, and the Aboriginal Dreamtime story of he Rainbow Serpent creating the land. Within the Museum complex is an exact copy of the lightning flash zigzag that Libeskind created for the Berlin Museum by breaking a five pointed star of David. This initially brought allegations of plagiarism. Its exterior is covered with anodised aluminum panels that include worlds written in braille. These words include “mate”, “She’ll be right”, “sorry”, and “forgive us our genocide”. In 2006 the Museum was damaged by a hail storm that caused the ceiling to collapse, expose power cables, and flood the floor.

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The Dreaming and Dreamtime

The Dreaming and “Dreamtime”

As I take a career and life journey’s “Walkabout” around Australia and Europe during the Summer of 2011, during my visit to the Australian National Museum I really for the very first time embrace the concept of the Australian Aborigine “Dreaming” and “Dreamtime” that I was first introduced to during my Anthropology of Religion class I took during my college years at Florida State University. Nevermore did the concept “sink” and “settle” in me more than at this time of my life that I could truly say in a “Stranger in a Strange Land’s” true essence of “grokking” the concept fully and spiritually. “The Dreaming” tells of the journey and actions of the Ancestral Beings when they were creating the natural world. An animistic narrative telling of a “timeless time” of formative creation and perpetual creating. This took place during a mythological era called “Dreamtime”. This is a sacred era when the ancestral Totemic Spirit Beings formed “The Creation”. The philosophy is infinite and demonstrates how the past and present is linked together to prophesize the future. The concept of “Dreaming” is often used to refer to a person’s or group’s set of beliefs and spirituality. The Australian Aborigine might refer to “Shark Dreaming”, “Kangaroo Dreaming”, or “Eucalypus Dreaming” and this would refer to particular natural items or life forms in their resident area or country, laying down patterns of life from which to follow. This creates their mythos, their creation stories, and their folklore as to why certain things have come to be. They believe that every person exists eternally in the Dreaming and represents both the spirit that existed before physical life began and is the spirit that exists after death as a “Spirit Being” or “Spirit Child”. The Spirit Being can only exist physically by being born from a mother, entering the fetus during the fifth month of pregnancy. Upon birth, that child is to become a special custodian of the land and country to which s/he was born, required to learn the stories, lore, and songlines of that particular place. Our natural world, especially that which is within one’s cultural heritage, race, and species, is what provides the link between the people and “The Dreaming”. The Act of Dreaming and the stories that are within them carry the truth from the past, blended together with the code for the Law, to operate and facilitate the present. Every story within “The Dreaming” weaved as creation through the “Milky Way” is a complete long complex tale, many of which discuss consequences and our future being. During the Dreamtime, the Australian Aborigines believed that the creators were both men and women who took on spiritual forms. These “cultural heroes and heroines” sometimes defined as spirits, other times as “God/desses”, would travel across a formless land, create sacred sites and significant places of interest during their travels weaving story and songlines that would guide the spirit beings they birthed in Creation. They joined together with various spirits to create the land, the waterways, the geographical features of the land, the skies, the seas, the plants, the animals, the stones, and all the other wo/men that exist. Every event that takes place would leave a record in the land. To the Dharawal, “Biami” the Great Spirit, went up into the skies to watch over their people and to make sure they obeyed his rules. Spirits habitating in waterholes, caves, and other spirit places to watch over or affect those people that lived near them. This was one of the reasons that another tribe would not conquer tribal lands for doing so would place them in a land full of strange and potentially hostile spirits. The Australian Aborigines believed in both good and evil spirits they called “Goonges”. Children would be warned not to go to certain areas for the “goonge will get them”. Same for the oceans, for they too contained spirits underneath the waters and explained deaths at sea, getting caught in a rip current, or attacks by various sea creatures. The Creators, or the Ancestral Spirits, were shape-changers who were half-human, both male and female, who used the powers, great wisdom, and intentions to create all of being. They lived and retired in the sky clouds. The Aborigine believed that every living creature were created by the Creators as “spirit-children” and/or “spirit animals” during the Dreamtime and were assigned to live in particular spirit places. They believed that their own birth was the result of a spirit child entering into the mother’s body and was brought into being during conception by the specific actions or designs of the creators to make spirit children in the Dreamtime. They also believed that after death their spirit would return to the spirit-place to await rebirth. It was in Dreamtime that the Creators and ancestral spirits created the world which we all live. The Australian aborigines embrace all of life and the phenemena that affects if as part of the vast and complex system of relationships that go back to the original acnestral Totemic Spirits of the Dreaming. The Dreaming establishes a culture’s and regional country’s laws, taboos, structures, and history in order to ensure the continuity of life and land in that area. Breaking these cause destruction to the areas that one’s spirit is meant to guard or caretake.

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Milky Way and the Crocodile Story


The Milky Way and Crocodile Story

Upon wandering around the Australian National Museum in Canberra of the Australian Capital Territory, I discovered this fine bark painting. This unique Aboriginal folklore masterpiece consists of a application of ochres and polymer on bark with wooden restrainers attached to its rear. It was done in the 1980’s by Galuma Wirrpanda of the Aboriginal Manggalili clan in the Baniyala lands of the Northern Territory of Australia. It is the painting that tells the story about the Milky Way and the Crocodile according to Aboriginal myth. This painting shows the “milnguya” or “Milky Way” as a river. A constellation in the Milky Way is seen as “The Crocodile” which is surrounded by stars that represent the deceased members of the Aboriginal Manggalili clan. The overturned canoe and paddles refer to the drowned ancestors of the Munuminya and Yikawanga who found their way to the Milky Way by following string made from the fur of the possum Marrngu.

This mythos was also very sacred to the Ancient Maya. Displayed is the crocodile mouth in the Milky Way, representing a dark rift called the “Xibalba” or “The Underworld”. It has similarities to that which the Aboriginal Australians and the Mayans who noticed it and embedded into their lore as well. Each night, this constellation changes its orientation causing the Milky Way to become north/south oriented on some nights and then on others it alternates to east and west. This relates to Aboriginal creation stories. It is told that the date of present creation took place on August 13, 3114 B.C.E. (Before the Common Era) On this date, the hearth was laid out – three stars from Orion were put in place by the Gods. During Mid-August each year, the Milky Way would be right overhead and this change in orientation would be highly notable. It was on February 5, 3112 B.C.E., two years after the hearth was created, that the cosmic tree of creation was lifted up to the heavens. On the 5th of February every year the Milky Way would also align directly overhead showing changes that is opposite to the mid-August alignment). Many believe that the sky is seen as a re-enactment of creation. As the constellations move, so do the cycle of stories from dusk to dawn. When the Milky Way is aligned to the north and south, it represents the world tree. As it turns to east and west, it becomes the crocodile tree that manifests as a canoe carrying the maize Gods across the sky in the Mayan Myth.

Sources cited:

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Kungkarangkalpa: Seven Sisters Tjukurpa Dreaming

Kungkarangkalpa: Seven Sisters Tjukurpa Dreaming

“A Man pursues the seven sisters across many parts of Australia, trying to trick them into marriage with him. They create landforms as they travel and eventually flee into the sky to become the constellation known as the Plaeides or “the Seven Sisters””. Pitis have been made as women’s carrying bowls with designs relating to the story of the Seven Sisters Dreaming burnt onto them with hot wire as shown in these pictures. The u-shape with the spear and spearthrower represents Wati Nyiru, the man chasing them, while the other u-shapes represents the sisters.

Tjukurpa Kungkarangkalpa Kurualala – Seven Sisters Story at Kuru-ala
http://www.indigitube.com.au/index.php?option=com_k2&view=item&id=259:tjukurpa-kungkarangkalpa-kurualala-seven-sisters-story-at-kuru-ala&Itemid=3

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Walkabout


Walkabout

A “Walkabout” comes from the Australian Aborigine “rite of passage” that young males undergo as a journey during adolescence to live in the wilderness for a period as long as six months. It is through this journey that the young male would trace the paths or “songlines” of their ancestors, imitate them and cherishing their ancestral heroic deeds. It is also defined as (Merrian-Webster dictionary) “a short period of wandering bush life engaged in by an Australian aborigine as an occasional interruption of regular work”. Today, adopted by worldwide cultures as a “quest to find oneself” or “travelling with wanderlust to determine one’s life’s passage and purpose”.


Photos are copyrighted and cannot be reproduced without permission of authors Tom Baurley or Leaf McGowan. Photos can be purchased via Technogypsie.com at Technogypsie Photography Services for nominal use fees. Articles and Research papers are done at the Author’s expense. If you donate below, you’ll help contribute to the costs of the research that provided this article. Any Reviews can request a re-review if they do not like the current review or would like to have a another review done. If you are a business, performer, musician, band, venue, or entity that would like to be reviewed, you can also request one (however, travel costs, cost of service (i.e. meal or event ticket) and lodging may be required if area is out of reviewer’s base location at time of request).

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Soul Mates

The Concept of “Soul Mates”

   “Methinks I have a plan which will humble their pride and improve their manners; men shall continue to exist, but I will cut them in two and then they will be diminished in strength and increased in numbers; this will have the advantage of making them more profitable to us. They shall walk upright on two legs, and if they continue insolent and will not be quiet, I will split them again and they shall hop about on a single leg.”
Source(s): from Plato’s Symposium @ the Internet Classics Archive: http://classics.mit.edu/Plato/symposium.

This infamous root of the belief that “According to greek mythology, humans were originally created with 4 arms, 4 legs and a head with two faces. Fearing their power, Zeus split them into two separate parts, condemning them to spend their lives in search of their other halves” is one of the world’s greatest citations for the concept of “Soul Mates”. I of course did not hear of this in my Greek Mythology class (not even sure if it was covered) but in the Television series “Bones: Season 5, episode 15” (an episode I might add was a complete tear jerker (at least for me) and heartfelt of an eye opener about fate).

This of course challenges my evolved thought about soulmates. I’ve always been a deep believer in the concept of the “soul mate” which of course challenges any views about “non-monogamy”, “serial monogamy”, “polyamory”, “polygyny”, “polyandry”, “polygamy”, “open relationships”, and what-have you. Since I could name four of my past lovers that I truly believe are and were “my soul mates”, I evolved in my personal belief system to believe that a person has multiple soul mates out there, and many people spend their lives never even meeting one, and here I was lucky that I met four … But maybe I haven’t, maybe if the concept of soul mate truly exists, if they were indeed a “soul mate”, would I not be bound to still be with them, even in this era of un-successful marriages and relationships in which we currently live? I mean, I truly believed that these certain past partners within the count of four were indeed “true loves” and based on all research I’ve ever done were “soul mates” because they felt like they completed me. We’d be thinking of the same thing at the same time, we’d finish each other’s sentences, those butterflies in the stomach was so real every single day we were together, we’d never seemingly fight, we’d love the same music, the same things to do, we would hardly be separated as it seems we felt attached at the waist, we’d want the same things out of life, and were on the same path towards the same future. When you experience that, a psychologist’s analysis of “co-dependence” doesn’t fit the bill, and all the writings of love through the ages defined such as “true love” and “soulmate connection”. I mean, when you have all that, how could it be anything other? Of course, those four serious partnerships (1 of my 2 marriages, both of my other engagements, and a committed relationship I was in the Pacific Northwest) never lasted – mainly because we independently involved to want other things or “changed” or decided there were aspects society or peers told us we shouldn’t just accept – so parted ways. Out of many relationships, it was only these particular monogamous ones that made me feel textbook “true love” as I never did experience the same in any of the polyamorous relationships I experimented with through the ages. I do believe in love at first sight as well. So the question I ask, if this particular mythos about Zeus was true … then perhaps I have not yet met my match or my soulmate? It is pretty funny that a forensic anthropology television series episode would strike this question so deep in my heart at this very moment in my very heart. “Wow” is all I can think.

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The Tree Leaves Oracle & Folk Fellowship

The Tree Leaves’ Oracle and Folk Fellowship
* www.treeleavesoracle.org * 1991 – Present * Livejournal Community * Facebook Group *

Founded in 1991 as an underground Neo-Pagan newsletter, evolving into an arts and crafts wandering business, “Tree Leaves” eventually mutated into a cooperative / collective of folk enthusiasts, folklorists, artists, musicians, religionists, and culturalists who seek to preserve folk and tree lore, culture, ways, religion, art, music, and beliefs. As a cooperative, members network together, share ideas, theories, concepts, art, techniques, and lore to help one another preserve traditions, knowledge, and beliefs that have been generated in the past, present, and future. Tree Leaves sprouted from an entity known as “The Tree Leaves’ Oracle”. (The Tree Leaves’ Oracle started as a community newsletter and grew into a journal. It became an organization, a store, a company, and was reduced back to a journal offered by the Folk Fellowship to it’s membership. From 2007-2008 it became a faerie and art store in historic Manitou Springs, Colorado.)

When “The Tree Leaves’ Oracle” started out as a Tallahassee Florida publication in 1991 it very quickly shifted into a nomadic arts/crafts/oils/ and herbal sachets nomadic peddling business founded at the Saturday Market in Eugene, Oregon that same year. In 1993 a not-for-profit special-interest group was formed for the study of folklore and the offering of folk artist networking as a avenue for drum circles, talent shows, classes, and discussion groups. This special-interest group became known as “The Tree Leaves’ Folk Fellowship”. Tree Leaves soon took off on it’s own and escaped the financial support of “The Tree Leaves’ Oracle”. In fact, as the “The Tree Leaves Oracle, Inc.” collapsed as a corporation, the Folk Fellowship was still holding activities and networking several hundred enthusiasts of folk culture (and a membership base of a couple hundred). The Tree Leaves Folk Fellowship was officially born and founded as a separate entity in November of 1995 with conceptual activities sprouting in 1994. Through membership dues and support, the fellowship offered it’s collective a bi-annual journal called The “Tree Leaves’ Oracle”, a quarterly newsletter known as “Tree Talk”, an annual membership directory, a web site, and a board of Directors and volunteers who actively organized activities, events, and question/answer support for those seeking answers about folk culture. Because of difficulties with volunteer support, The Tree Leaves’ Folk Fellowship closed it’s person-to-person activities and community support on September 1st of 1998. By October 1, 1998 Tree Leaves had mutated into a internet organization that operated on a strictly cyber-basis. (although Tree Leaves’ Folk Fellowship forest groups still held activities in their local areas) The official organization stopped holding events, printing paper publications, and no longer offered telephone or person-to-person guidance & support. After careful consideration of the expenses involved in becoming a non-profit tax-exempt organization, Tree Leaves decided to remain not-for-profit and allow other organizations to donate support and funding for it’s operation and existence. The journal, website and former newsletters were shortly made available for free online. Their folk journal is sporadically still published online for free viewing by anyone with internet access. From 1998 to 2000, Tree Leaves was adopted by the research and design firm known as “Leafworks, Inc.” (a company now defunct). From the death of Leafworks, Tree Leaves operated under the wings of Wandering Leaf Designs. Reproduction of all cyber published materials was available for a nominal printing or reproduction cost through copyright held by Wandering Leaf, LLC. (now defunct)

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Ghost Stories on Wreck Beach …

Saturday, November 6th, 2004

Wreck Beach Ghost Story, Wreck Beach, Vancouver, British Columbia


Wreck Beach Ghost Stories

Wreck Beach- Vancouver, B.C.

Some say, that if you visit Wreck Beach at night, and are away from the camp fires or the crowds, you can hear a woman screaming as if she’s being brutally murdered. Some say, you can see a apparition of a bloodied naked young girl stumbling around on the sand or walking the trails. Others claim to have seen a mist that floats with a shape of a young woman. Some have said to hear screams coming from the bushes. Others have reported seeing a ghost of a male wailing in agony.

Evidence of these tales have not been proven. Some say the ghost tales are hearsay. In 1990, Kevin Ladouceur was brutally murdered on the beach. He was the first reported murder at Wreck Beach. The horrid death of Christina (Tina) Joy Thompson who was murdered at the top of Trail Six in August 1993, inspired a local play called “Wreck Beach” that tells the tale, and could be the source of the tale. Apparently this was the 2nd murder committed at Wreck Beach by 1993. Not aware of any other murders since that date.

In 1995, after two years of angst in the community as rumours circulated over who murdered the popular girl, Joseph Daniel Hammond arrived with a priest at the Richmond RCMP detachment and admitted killing Thompson. He was jailed for life and is eligible for parole in 2004. Hammond said he had watched the woman argue with her boyfriend. He then offered to carry a bag for her up a trail. He began to touch her and a struggle ensued. The woman was quickly strangled. The Crown lawyer said that Hammond had intercourse with the deceased woman “a couple of times” in the bushes after killing her.

Links:
http://www.vancourier.com/issues01/08301/news/083101nn1.html
http://www.nsnews.com/issues98/w120798/12049801.html
http://www.nsnews.com/issues98/w102698/10239802.html
http://www.cms.uhi.ac.uk/publications/re/arp05.pdf

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Warehouse 13: Season 1 (2009: NR)

Warehouse 13
* (NR: 2009) * Creators: Jane Espenson, D. Brent Mote. Starring: Eddie McClintock … Pete Lattimer; Joanne Kelly … Myka Bering; Saul Rubinek … Artie Nielsen; Genelle Williams … Leena; Allison Scagliotti … Claudia Donovan; and many others. *

It’s X-files Mulder and Scully meets a spin-off of where the Lost Ark of the Covenant disappeared off to at the end of “Raiders of the Lost Ark”. This popular Syfy network television series is a fantasy created by Jack Kenny and David Simkins as a dramatic comedy that reminds one of Raiders of the Lost Ark, the X-files, Moonlighting, and Friday the 13th: The Series. So far the series is up to 3 seasons with popularity that might keep it going. Its about two U.S. Secret Service agents, Myka Bering and Peter Lattimer who become re-assigned to the government’s secret “Warehouse 13” where un-natural artifacts with dangerous properties are locked up where they cannot do damage, in a barren warehosue in the middle of South Dakota. Initially they feel they are being punished for some assignments that involved foul-ups, but rather being “rewarded” for their great skills. The Warehouse is under the premise that is was established in 1914 by Thomas Edison, Nikola Tesla, and M.C. Escher that is a continuation of various Warehouses throughout the world that houses artifacts of this kind – the first being Warehouse One operated by Alexander the Great, Warehouse 2 as the Library at Alexandria, Warehouse 12 in Great Britain – always being moved into the possession of whichever country was the super power during that age. All of the artifacts housed in the warehouses possess magical, supernatural, or scientific powers that are dangerous, and are connected to some historical or mythological figure, each imbued with something of their former owner. Most excellent series. Rated: 5 stars out of 5.

Season 1:

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Monster Quest: Season 2 – Vampires in America (2008: NR)

Monster Quest: Vampires in America
* www.imdb.com * August 6, 2008 * NR/Documentary * The History Channel * Creator: Doug Hajicek * Writer: Joe Danisi * Starring: Stan Bernard and Konstantinos * 45 minutes *
Monster Quest is a History Channel Documentary look into the strange and unknown creatures that are believed to be lurking in the shadows of time spotted around the world. In Season 2, Episode 11 they explore “Vampires in America”. Focusing on the 18th century Vampires scare in New England, focusing on vampire legends and graves in Connecticut and Rhode Island, the investigators excavate the purported grave of J.B. the Vampire and hunt for the vampiric Johnson children. They make the rational link that many purported vampires that were dug up and had their graves desecrated were indeed victims of consumption or tuberculosis. Hysteria and fear affecting the communities making it a widespread practice in New England as well as Europe. As they explore European influences, including Bram Stoker, Nostferatu, Elizabeth Bathery, and Mercy Brown. They then address modern day people who claim they are vampires. Testing the blood of a modern blood drinker as well as gauging energy exchange of a self-proclaimed energy vampire. The episode was captivating and interesting: Rating 4 stars out of 5.

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Elizabeth Bathory the Blood Countess

Elizabeth Bathory the Blood Queen

* August 7, 1560 – August 21, 1614 *

Elizabeth Bthory de Ecsed was a late 16th century Hungarian countess who became legend for her mass serial murders of her servants after which she would bathe in their virgin blood in order to retain her beauty and youth. (She was also known as the “Blood Countess”, “Countess Dracula”, or the “Blood Queen” and more accurately as Bthory Erzsbet in Hungarian and Albeta Btoriov in Slovak) She, along with four collaborators, were accused of killing over 650 victims who were primary young female girl servants, but was only convicted for 80 of them, involving no trial or conviction. She’s become the focus of vampire myth and legend, high in popularity with Vlad III the Impaler of Wallachia whom Bram Stoker’s Dracula is based.

She was born to George and Anna Bathory in 1560 raised at the Ecsed Castle with links to the Voivod family of Transylvania. She was also the niece of Stefan Bathory, former King of Poland and Duke of Transylvania. She was raised very literate and scholarly, having been fluent with Latin, Greek, and German as well as being obsessed with the study of science and astronomy. She was a very knowledgable woman who often intervened on behalf of destitute women. In 1575 she wed Ferenc Nadasdy, potentially as a political arrangement, in the little palace of Varanno. They then moved to Nadasdy Castle in Sarvar, spending much of her time alone while her husband studied in Vienna as well as when in 1578 he became the chief commander of the Hungaran Troops during the war against the Ottamans. Her husband gifted her the Csejte Castle that is located in the Little Carpathians near Trencsen which came with a country house and 17 adjacent villages, agricultural lands, and outcrops of the Little Carpathians. While he was away at war, she managed the castle and estate affairs which involved providing food, sustainability, and medical care for the Hungarian and Slovak peasants. She had to defend her husband’s estates that were on the route to Vienna during the height of the Long War which lasted from 1593 to 1606. This was a difficult feat as the castle and village previously had been plundered by the Ottamans. In 1585 she gave birh to her daughter Anna, then a second daughter named Ursula, and finally a son Tomas – both of whom died at a young age. In 1594 she gave birth to Katherine, then a son Paul in 1597, and finally Miklos. Her husband died in battle at the ripe age of 47 in 1604 C.E. It was shortly after his death that the local church and villagers began to complain about atrocities purportedly done by Elizabeth. Rumor had it that one of her handmaidens had accidentally cut herself and splattered blood on the countess. As the countess wiped off the blood she was impressed with the fact her skin looked younger, lighter, and rejuvenated beneath it. It was rumored then that she went on a murder spree killing her servants and bathing in their blood to become younger. It took the Hungarian authorities some time to respond and investigate the accusations. By 1610 she was under investigation of murder. Testimonies from over 300 witnesses it was proposed she had killed mainly the adolescent daughters of local peasants lured to work in the castle as maidservants, then she moved on to killing daughters of lesser gentry who were sent to the castle to learn courtly etiquette, and many others were believed to have been abducted with estimates of over 650 victims. Even with testimonials and minimal evidence, the government bypassed a trial and execution for fear of the public scandal it would cause the noble family (who at the time was ruling Transylvania) and would cause her property to become siezed by the crown. They debated sending her to a nunnery but realized she needed to be under strict house arrest and released King Matthias’ debt to her. December 1610, the authorities arrested Bathory and four of her servants who were believed to be accomplices. They reportedly only found one girl dead, one girl dying, and another girl wounded with others locked up. King Matthias requested the death sentence for her, but again, for fear of affecting the noble family’s reputation, was dismissed. Her associates were tried and punished in 1611 even though Bathory did not appear at the trial. Dorota Semtsz, Ilona J, and Jnos jvry were found guilty and served the death penality by having their fingers ripped from their hands before being burnt at the stake. Janos was beheaded before burnt at the stake as he was deemed least guilty. Katarna Benick was sentenced to life imprisonment as was only accused of dominating and bullying the other women. After these trials, Elizabeth was placed under house arrest and walled up in a set of rooms in the Csejte Castle of Slovakia where she remained for four years until she died. She was discovered dead on August 21, 1614 after several plates of food were discovered untouched. She was buried in the castle’s churchyard but after villager outcry she was moved to Ecsed interred at the Bathory family crypt.

 

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Mercy Brown, the 19 year old 18th Century Vampire

Mercy Brown

The Rhode Island 18th century Vampire, RI Historical Cemetery No 22 in Exeter, RI on Route 102

In the heart of what has been nicknamed “The Vampire Capital of America” lies the grave of sweet 19 year old “Mercy Brown”. Her family and neighbours however didn’t think she was that sweet. Especially after she died. She had been deemed a vampire. Not only then, but her reputation continues hundreds of years later as being one of the most popular vampire burials in North America. The good citizens of Exeter Rhode Island firmly believe she was rising from her grave as a blood sucker and literally feeding on the blood and energy of her sick brother. She was in a line of female family members that had died from consumption (tuberculosis), following her mother and sister to the grave. Then her brother fell ill and the community was strong in the belief that she was the cause. They convinced her father who was desperate to do anything to save his son from the death bed. He and his accusing neighbours dug up the remains of his daughter Mercy to see if she was a vampire. Sure enough they found she had shifted in her coffin, there was fresh blood in her mouth as well as in her heart. She looked like she was rejuvenating, growing hair, nails, and teeth. Her skin was light and looked new. She had to be a vampire. They tore her heart from her chest, and burned it on a large rock near her grave to stop her from coming out of her grave. It was believed that those ashes would have magical properties to heal the brother, so they were fed to him as a cure. He still died two months later. He was staked in the heart and tied in his coffin to make sure he didn’t catch the vampire virus like believed of the rest of his family. Or so goes the legend. She was one of many in the area that gave Exeter the status of Vampire Capital. It was quite commonplace in this era to dig up the remains of the dead, make sure they were dead, dismember, behead, or burn the corpse to prevent vampirism. Oddly in Rhod Island, most of those accused of being vampires were 19 year old girls who died of consumption. There is also the story of 19 year old Nelly Vaugn. Her epitaph is rumored to state “I am waiting and watching for you”. Apparently grass nor moss would grow on her grave and numerous haunting apparently take place at her grave site. Her headstone was victim of so many anti-vampire hate crimes they had to remove it to stop the vandalism. Then there is Juliet, the daughter of William Rose, who after her mother, died of consumption. Vampirism was blamed, exhumed her corpse, cut out her heart, and bladed her chest. Her grave was reputedly moved to an unmarked location to stop hate vandalism. There was also Sarah Tillinghast of 1799. Her fate was revealed in a prophetic dream, that was had by her father Stuckly “Snuffy” Tillinghast. After her death, many of the neighbours reported seeing her each night pressing on their chests. As later children began to become ill, Sarah’s body was exhumed, heart removed, and burned. Clippings about Mercy Brown were discovered in possession of Bram Stoker after his death leading to the speculation that he based many items in his novel Dracula on Rhode Island vampires. Mercy Brown and Sarah Tillinghast were stories used by H.P. Lovecraft in his short story “The Shunned House”. Reuben Brown, descendant of Mercy Brown, tells tales that there were unexplained deaths, young girls, six or seven on one side of the Brown family, died of consumption, all of them with a mark on their throats, leading people to believe they had been bit by a vampire. Many blamed Mercy for this. After burning her heart the deaths had stopped.

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