Currently viewing the tag: "superstition"

wednesday vampire

The causes of vampiric generation were many and varied in original folklore. In Slavic and Chinese traditions, any corpse that was jumped over by an animal, particularly a dog or a cat, was feared to become one of the undead. A body with a wound that had not been treated with boiling water was also at risk. In Russian folklore, vampires were said to have once been witches or people who had rebelled against the Russian Orthodox Church while they were alive.

Cultural practices often arose that were intended to prevent a recently deceased loved one from turning into an undead revenant. Burying a corpse upside-down was widespread, as was placing earthly objects, such as scythes or sickles, near the grave to satisfy any demons entering the body or to appease the dead so that it would not wish to arise from its coffin. This method resembles the Ancient Greek practice of placing an obolus in the corpse’s mouth to pay the toll to cross the River Styx in the underworld. It has been argued that instead, the coin was intended to ward off any evil spirits from entering the body, and this may have influenced later vampire folklore. This tradition persisted in modern Greek folklore about the vrykolakas, in which a wax cross and piece of pottery with the inscription “Jesus Christ conquers” were placed on the corpse to prevent the body from becoming a vampire.

Other methods commonly practised in Europe included severing the tendons at the knees or placing poppy seeds, millet, or sand on the ground at the grave site of a presumed vampire; this was intended to keep the vampire occupied all night by counting the fallen grains, indicating an association of vampires with arithmomania. Similar Chinese narratives state that if a vampire-like being came across a sack of rice, it would have to count every grain; this is a theme encountered in myths from the Indian subcontinent, as well as in South American tales of witches and other sorts of evil or mischievous spirits or beings.

In Albanian folklore, the dhampir is the hybrid child of the karkanxholl (a werewolf-like creature with an iron mail shirt) or the lugat (a water-dwelling ghost or monster). The dhampir sprung of a karkanxholl has the unique ability to discern the karkanxholl; from this derives the expression the dhampir knows the lugat. The lugat cannot be seen, he can only be killed by the dhampir, who himself is usually the son of a lugat. In different regions, animals can be revenants as lugats; also, living people during their sleep. Dhampiraj is also an Albanian surname. –Wikipedia

Fiction Writing Prompt: Write a story about vampires.

Journaling Prompt: Do you enjoy reading about vampires or watching vampire movies? Why or why not?

Art Prompt: Vampire

Non-Fiction / Speechwriting Prompt: Tell your audience about the origins of the vampire legend.

Photo Credit: Samet Kilic on Flickr

Thursday Poltergeist

Poltergeist is the term assigned to those apparently meaningless noises and movements of objects of which we from time to time hear accounts. The word is, of course, German, and may be translated “boisterous ghost.” …

Professor Barrett, in the paper to which we have already referred, draws certain conclusions from his study of this subject; one of the chief of these is that “the widespread belief in fairies, pixies, gnomes, brownies, etc., probably rests on the varied manifestations of poltergeists.” –St. John D. (St. John Drelincourt) Seymour, True Irish Ghost Stories

Fiction Writing Prompt: Write a story involving a poltergeist.
Journaling Prompt: Do you believe in poltergeist or other supernatural events?

Art Prompt: Poltergeist

Non-Fiction / Speechwriting Prompt: Tell a dramatic story about a poltergeist.

prophet friday

presage v
  • (transitive) To predict or foretell something.
  • (intransitive) To make a prediction.
  • (transitive) To have a presentiment of; to feel beforehand; to foreknow.

Fiction Writing Prompt: Use the word of the week in whatever you write today.

Journaling Prompt: What do you believe about predicting the future?

Art Prompt: Make a prediction

Non-Fiction / Speechwriting Prompt:Use the word of the week in your article or speech.

Photo Credit: stainedglassartist on Flickr

Fiction Writing Prompt: Write a story with a plot driven by fairies and changelings. 

Journaling Prompt: Do you believe in fairies? Would you like to?

Art Prompt: Fairies

Non-Fiction / Speechwriting Prompt: Tell your audience about fairies and changelings.

Photo Credit: The Changeling by John_Bauer,_ 1913 on Wikimedia

witch thurs

“But what can I do?” cried she, spreading out her arms helplessly. “I can not hew down trees, as my father used; and in all this end of the king’s domain there is nothing else to be done. For there are so many shepherds that no more are needed, and so many tillers of the soil that no more can find employment. Ah, I have tried; hut no one wants a weak girl like me.”

“Why don’t you become a witch?” asked the man.

“Me!” gasped Mary-Marie, amazed. “A witch!”

“Why not?” he inquired, as if surprised.

“Well,” said the girl, laughing. “I’m not old enough. Witches, you know, are withered dried-up old hags.”
“Oh, not at all!” returned the stranger.

“And they sell their souls to Satan, in return for a knowledge of witchcraft,” continued Mary-Marie more seriously.

“Stuff and nonsense!” cried the stranger angrily.

“And all the enjoyment they get in life is riding broomsticks through the air on dark nights,” declared the girl.

“Well, well, well!” said the old man in an astonished tone. “One might think you knew all about witches, to hear you chatter. But your words prove you to be very ignorant of the subject. You may find good people and bad people in the world; and so, I suppose, you may find good witches and bad witches. But I must confess most of the witches I have known were very respectable, indeed, and famous for their kind actions.”
“Oh. I’d like to be that kind of witch!” said Mary-Marie, clasping her hands earnestly. –“The Witchcraft of Mary-Marie”, in Frank L Baum’s American Fairy Tales (1908)

Fiction Writing Prompt: Write the story of a girl who wants to become a witch.

Journaling Prompt: Write about your favorite fairy tale witch.

Art Prompt: Witch

Non-Fiction / Speechwriting Prompt: Tell your audience about the history of witches.

Photo Credit: Terri Kahrs on Flickr

sat ghosts

Behind every man now alive stand thirty ghosts, for that is the ratio by which the dead outnumber the living. –2001 – A Space Odyssey, Arthur C. Clarke

Fiction Writing Prompt: Use the first line of the week as the starting point or inspiration for a scene, story, poem, or haiku.

Journaling Prompt: Do you believe in ghosts? Have you had any experiences with them?

Art Prompt: Ghosts

Non-Fiction / Speechwriting Prompt: Tell your audience a story about an experience you had that cannot be explained logically.

Photo Credit: M. Accarino on Flickr

-The_lady_at_the_window,-_one_of_the_famous_Nimrud_ivories'_plaques._The_Sulaymaniyah_Museum,_Iraq.

In the Ancient Near East along the Tigris–Euphrates river system there were many shrines and temples or “houses of heaven” dedicated to various deities documented by the Ancient Greek historian Herodotus in The Histories where sacred prostitution was a common practice. It came to an end when the emperor Constantine in the fourth century AD destroyed the goddess temples and replaced them with Christianity. –Wikipedia

Fiction Writing Prompt: Write the story of a sacred prostitute.

Journaling Prompt: Write about your feelings about sex as a sacred act.

Art Prompt: Sacred prostitute

Non-Fiction / Speechwriting Prompt: Tell your audience about the history of the houses of heaven and the women who worked in them.

Photo Credit: Wikimedia

Freud

The interpretations of Freud are more and more successful because they are among the myths accessible to modern man. The myth of the murdered father, among others, reconstituted and interpreted in Totem and Taboo. It would be impossible to ferret out a single example of slaying the father in primitive religions or mythologies. This myth was created by Freud. And what is more interesting: the intellectual élite accept it (is it because they understand it? Or because it is “true” for modern man?) –Mircea_Eliade – No Souvenirs (1977) later retitled Journal II, 1957-1969 (1989)

Fiction Writing Prompt: Using a sensational news story, create a modern myth.

Journaling Prompt: What myth speaks to your soul? Why?

Art Prompt: Modern Myth

Non-Fiction / Speechwriting Prompt: Tell your audience a modern myth created from something that happened in your family.

Photo Credit: Max Halberstadt

ghost town jail

… Lily, Arizona, had never really been a ghost town because it had never been completely deserted. It had just fallen by the wayside. It had seen good times—when the mines yielded silver and there’d been a hint of gold, as well, and the saloons and merchants had flourished—and it had seen bad times when the mines ran dry. Still, it had the look of either a ghost town or the set of a Western movie. The main street had raised wooden sidewalks and an unpaved dirt street. Muddy when it rained, she was certain, but that was seldom in this area. –The Night Is Watching by Heather Graham

Fiction Writing Prompt: Write a story that is set in the town described in the reading.

Journaling Prompt: Write about someplace you visited that felt deserted.

Art Prompt: Ghost town

Non-Fiction / Speechwriting Prompt: Tell your audience a dramatic or humorous story about a visit to a ghost town.

Photo Credit: Jc Olivera on Flickr

The Holy Pool of St. Fillan

At Strathfillan, there is a deep pool, called the Holy Pool, where, in olden times, they were wont to dip insane people. The ceremony was performed after sunset on the first day of the quarter, O. S.,* and before sunrise next morning. The dipped persons were instructed to take three stones from the bottom of the pool, and, walking three times round each of three cairns on the bank, throw a stone into each. They were next conveyed to the ruins of St Fillan’s chapel; and in a corner called St Fillan’s bed, they were laid on their back, and left tied all night. If next morning they were found loose, the cure was deemed perfect, and thanks returned to the saint. The pool is still (1843) visited, not by parishioners, for they have no faith in its virtue, but by people from other and distant places. –The Book of Days: A miscellany of popular antiquities in connection with the calendar, etc , W & R Chambers

Fiction Writing Prompt: Write the story of a miraculous healing at a holy pool.

Journaling Prompt: Do you believe in miracles?

Art Prompt: Miracle

Non-Fiction / Speechwriting Prompt: Tell your audience the story of a pilgrimage to a holy place.

Photo Credit: Willie Angus on Flickr