Currently viewing the tag: "superstition"

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Photo Credit: Saducismus on Wikimedia

A strange appearance, known as the “Scanlan Lights,” is connected with the family of Scanlan of Ballyknockane, Co. Limerick, and is seen frequently at the death of a member. The traditional origin of the lights is connected with a well-known Irish legend, which we give here briefly. Scanlan Mor (died A.D. 640), King of Ossory, from whom the family claim descent, was suspected of disaffection by Aedh mac Ainmire, Ard-Righ of Ireland, who cast him into prison, and loaded him with fetters. When St. Columcille attended the Synod of Drom Ceat, he besought Aedh to free his captive, but the Ard-Righ churlishly refused; whereupon Columcille declared that he should be freed, and that that very night he should unloose his (the Saint’s) brogues. Columcille went away, and that night a bright pillar of fire appeared in the air, and hung over the house where Scanlan was imprisoned. A beam of light darted into the room where he lay, and a voice called to him, bidding him rise, and shake off his fetters. In amazement he did so, and was led out past his guards by an angel. He made his way to Columcille, with whom he was to continue that night, and as the Saint stooped down to unloose his brogues Scanlan anticipated him, as he had prophesied. –St. John D. (St. John Drelincourt) Seymour, True Irish Ghost Stories

Fiction Writing Prompt: Write a story involving supernatural intervention in the events of humans.

Journaling Prompt: What do you believe about stories like the one above?

Art Prompt: Angel on call

Non-Fiction / Speechwriting Prompt: Tell your audience about St. Columba (Columcille) and his exploits.

Photo Credit: Saint Columba converting the Picts on Wikimedia

Kitsune is the Japanese word for fox. Foxes are a common subject of Japanese folklore; in English, kitsune refers to them in this context. Stories depict them as intelligent beings and as possessing magical abilities that increase with their age and wisdom. According to Yokai folklore, all foxes have the ability to shape shift into human form. While some folktales speak of kitsune employing this ability to trick others—as foxes in folklore often do—other stories portray them as faithful guardians, friends, lovers, and wives.

Foxes and human beings lived close together in ancient Japan; this companionship gave rise to legends about the creatures. Kitsune have become closely associated with Inari, a Shinto kami or spirit, and serve as its messengers. This role has reinforced the fox’s supernatural significance. The more tails a kitsune has—they may have as many as nine—the older, wiser, and more powerful it is. Because of their potential power and influence, some people make offerings to them as to a deity.

Conversely foxes were often seen as “witch animals”, especially during the superstitious Edo period (1603–1867), and were goblins who could not be trusted (similar to some badgers and cats). –Wikipedia

Fiction Writing Prompt: Write a story involving a trickster or kitsune.

Journaling Prompt: What animal do you associate with trickery? Why?

Art Prompt: Kitsune

Non-Fiction / Speechwriting Prompt: Tell your audience about the tradition of the kitsune in Japan.

Photo Credit: Christopher Lance on Flickr

This is a small town. Small towns always have legends. Some are true and some are not, but they’re always floating around. –Deborah Garner, Above the Bridge

Fiction Writing Prompt: Write the story about a small town with a legend that happens to be as unbelievable as it is true.

Journaling Prompt: What legend did you grow up hearing about your town?

Art Prompt: Legend

Non-Fiction / Speechwriting Prompt: Tell your audience about a legend you heard in your childhood about where you lived.

Photo Credit: Nicholas A. Tonelli on Flickr

My parents knew I was a witch before I was born. –The Key to St. Medusa’s by KAT HOWARD

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: What did your parents believe about you before you were born?

Art Prompt: Witch

Non-Fiction / Speechwriting Prompt: Tell your audience the story of how your parents expectations for you shaped your development.

Photo Credit: Ши3андра Пожар on Flickr

Just outside of the tiny town of Vik, whose population hovers just above 300, lies the famed black pebble beach called Reynisfjara. Towering, hexagonal basalt columns rise from the dark sand at the base of Reynisfjell Mountain, and 216-foot rock pillars called Reynisdrangar jut out of the turbulent North Atlantic Ocean just off the coast.

According to Icelandic folklore, these pillars actually used to be trolls. While dragging a three-mast ship towards land, the trolls were taking too long to reach the shore, and at the break of dawn were instantly turned to stone. Even today, it is believed that if you drive near by the cliffs you can hear their wails and moans, as they long for their home in the mountains. –The Eerie Folktales Behind Iceland’s Natural Wonders by Austa Somvichian-Clausen

Fiction Writing Prompt: Write the story of the trolls before they were turned into stone.

Journaling Prompt: What is your favorite story about living beings turned into stones? What is it that appeals to you about this story?

Art Prompt: Trolls

Non-Fiction / Speechwriting Prompt: Tell your audience about a local legend.

Photo Credit: Christian Rüfli on Flickr

I still remember that moment as if it was yesterday. I was nine years old when I first encountered La Guadalupe. I traveled with Abuela from my hometown Yabucoa, a small town on the southeast coast of Puerto Rico, to Ponce, the island’s second major city. We were going to visit Abuela’s relatives.

“First things first, ” Abuela announced when we arrived. “We will go the Ponce Cathedral to pay our respects to the Virgin of Guadalupe.” –Lillian Comas

Fiction Writing Prompt: Write the story of someone who is going to pay homage.

Journaling Prompt: Who do you or would you travel to pay homage to?

Art Prompt: Paying homage

Non-Fiction / Speechwriting Prompt: Tell your audience about the history of a local shrine that people travel to.

Photo Credit: Fr Lawrence Lew, O.P. on Flickr

If you watch by the gate at midnight on All Hallows Night to see who will die within the coming year you are in danger of being the first comer yourself and you will become the “Churchyard Walker” and the guardian of the graveyard until another foolhardy and impious person disturbs the Service of the Dead. –Remains of Gentilism and Judaism by John Aubrey

Fiction Writing Prompt: Write the story of someone who watches at the gate on All Hallows Night and becomes a Churchyard Walker..

Journaling Prompt: Write about a superstition that you have or have heard of regarding graveyards and how you feel about it.

Art Prompt: Watching by the Gate

Non-Fiction / Speechwriting Prompt: Tell your audience about superstitions surrounding graveyards.

Photo Credit: Des D. Mona on Flickr

For a ghost story, the tale of Violet Saville Devohr was vague and underwhelming. –The Hundred-Year House by Rebecca Makkai

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: Write about the scariest camp fire story you ever heard.

Art Prompt: Ghost story

Non-Fiction / Speechwriting Prompt: Tell your audience a spooky ghost story with a twist at the end.

Photo Credit: Yosomono on Flickr

I’m not scared of the woods. I’m scared of being lost in the woods, unable to find my way back to the main road and the brush where I hid the bike. Mostly, I’m scared about what else might be in the woods hunting the deer hunters. –The Omega Project by Steve Alten

Fiction Writing Prompt: Write a horror story about something that hunts the hunters in the woods.

Journaling Prompt: What scares you about being in a wilderness area.

Art Prompt: Hunted

Non-Fiction / Speechwriting Prompt: Tell your audience about common fears about going out into the wilderness and what they can do to stay safe.

Photo Credit: Nick Vidal-Hall on Flickr