Wednesday, October 22, 2008
Monday, October 20, 2008
La llorona is a spirit that haunts the riverbeds, doomed to look for her drowned children for eternity. In many of the myths, the woman drowns her children and herself. When she gets to Heaven, the Lord asks where her children are. She doesn't know, so He tells her to walk the earth in search of them.
In some myths she has the head of a horse, and may wear black or white-bloodstained rags. She might steal children. In the Guatemalan myth, she has a loud weeping cry that will send chills down your spine. She tends to be present at wells and in wandering in the mountains. In the Honduran myth, she is known as La Sucia, or the Dirty Woman. She might take the form of a wife or lover, and if you realize it's her, she will scratch out your eyes with her long nails. In an alternate version of the Honduran legend, La Sucia is an abandoned married woman who seduces men by the river. She looks beautiful and young initially, but changes into the form of an old woman. The sight of which, drives the men insane. She has a popular cry that is translated as "Drink of my breast, for I am your mother." En El Salvador, she is said to cry "Where is my children?"
In Panama she is called "La Tulivieja." She was a young woman married to an important businessman who left her baby in what she thought was a safe place under a tree, only to find him gone when she returned for him. For her negligence, she was cursed by God with a hideous face with holes, long hair all over her body, and chicken feet. In Chile she wears white and is seen by people who are about to die, people with special abilities like medicine men, or by animals with heightened senses. She is the guide of the dead and also cries for the dead so that they won't haunt their living relatives. She is said to hypnotize men into spending the night with her to comfort her for her lost child. If you rub your eyes with tears from a dog, you can see her, but you must be brave, or the vision will be a horrible one.
Essentially, La Llorona is used as a cautionary tale to keep wayward children in line, or to prevent a young girl from being easily enticed by empty promises of men. Some believe that to hear the cry of the Weeping Woman is to be doomed for death.
The legend of La Llorona can be traced by to Medea, the Greek legend of a sorceress who killed her children she had with the adventurer Jason, when he abandoned her. The Aztec goddess Coatlique appeared before the arrival of the invading Spanish conquistadors under Hernan Cortes. She was said to be weeping for her lost children. This was an omen of the fall of the Aztec empire. The legend of the Weeping Woman is also said to be related to the story of La Malinche, an Indian woman who acted as a mistress for the conquistador Cortes, and who subsequently sought vengeance when abandoned her and their child for a Spanish lady.
Although the legend is slightly different depending on what country you are in, each telling is chilling. The idea of a woman who kills her children, dies, and is cursed to wanders the riverside on dark, lonely nights; weeping, and possibly looking for victims, certainly makes a person want to stay inside and far away from any bodies of water.
La Llorona-Wikipedia, The Free Encyclopedia. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/La_llorona. Last modified 20 October 2008. Accessed 20 October 2008.
Saturday, October 4, 2008
- Hellboy comic "Iron Shoes" by Mike Mignola
- DemonWars Saga by RA Salvatore
- Mage: The Hero Rediscovered graphic novel by Matt Wagner
- Meredith Gentry books by Laurell K. Hamilton
- Fables Volume 2 gothic novel
- Spiderwick Chronicles books
- The Dark Age and Kingdom of the Serpent by Mark Chadbourn
- Harry Potter series by J.K. Rowling
So if you happen to visit Scotland and get lost, remember not to seek shelter in any castle ruins. I think a night spent outside in the elements is a lot safer than encountering one of these beasties. If you think a cold Scottish night outdoors is too much for you, the alternative is to memorize a few scriptures on the flight over.
Rose, Carol. Sprites, Fairies, Leprechaun: An Encyclopedia. Page 43. Published by W.W. Norton & Company. N.Y, N.Y, 1996.
Red Cap-Wikipedia, The Free Encyclopedia. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Red_Cap. Date accessed 4 October 2008. Last modified 16 September 2008.
Thursday, October 2, 2008
- The Double by Fyodor Dostoyevsky
- Invisible Man by Ralph Ellison
- William Wilson by Edgar Allen Poe
- Doppelganger by Maire Brennan
- Heroes TV show has a character named Jessica with an evil doppleganger called Niki who manifests as part of her own psyche, and has supernatural strength.
- Buffy the Vampire Slayer TV show character Willow has an evil doppelganger in an alternate reality known as "Evil Willow"
- The movie Silent Hill has a child named Alessa who's doppleganger is called Dark Alessa, and has frightening telepathic powers
- Dopplegangsters short story by Laura Resnick in the Murder by Magic: Twenty Tales of Crime and the Supernatural Anthology has supernaturally-bumped off mobsters appearing as dopplegangers minutes before their demise.
Are your friends saying that you seem to be in two places at once? Did you rudely insult your boss, only it wasn't you? You might have a doppleganger who's out to cause mischief for you. If you don't want to believe, then just hope that the double image that you see out of the side of your eye is just a sign that you need glasses. The truth could be too frightening to accept.
Wednesday, October 1, 2008
I have always been fascinated with banshees, probably because of my Irish ancestry. They are equally eerie to me. I get the creeps thinking of seeing a pale, long-haired woman in a rotting cloak, wailing and pointing at me on a dark and dreary night. Sheesh!
According to the website, Irelandseye: A Field Guide to Irish Fairies, Banshees, or bean-sidhe, are faery women or ancestral spirits that are assigned to certain families to forewarn their members of their time of death. The five major families that the banshees were said to cry for are: O'Neill, O'Brien, O'Connor, O'Grady, and the Kavanaugh. However, this list has been lengthened by intermarriage (so don't think you're off the hook.) According to Wikipedia, the banshee is sometimes not a fairy, but the ghost of a murdered woman or a woman who died in childbirth.
The Field Guide to Fairies states that the banshee can appear in three major forms: a young woman, a bedraggled old crone, or a matronly woman. This is in representation of the triple aspects of the war and death goddess of Celtic mythology, Badhbh, Macha, and Mor-Rioghan. The banshee can also appear in animal forms, such as hares, weasels, and hooded crows, which are associated with witchcraft in Ireland.
Wikipedia states that banshees are frequently described as having long, fair hair, which they will brush with a silver comb. This relates to a very old Irish story that you should never pick up a silver comb laying on the ground, for the banshees (or mermaids, depending on the tale) will place it there to lure an gullible human away, likely to their death or to be stolen away to the land of Faery.
The banshee will typically be dressed in a hooded cloak of gray or the grave robe of people who died without receiving Last Rites. In some instances, she may appear as a washer-woman, washing the blood-stained garments of the unfortunate soul who is about to die. When a banshee appears as a washing-woman, she is called a bean-nighe. According to Wikipedia, the Scottish call the banshee a bean-nighe.
The Field Guide states that sometimes a banshee may not even be seen. Instead, her wailing can be heard when someone is about to die. The banshee's wail can be so piercing that it can shatter glass. It is said that King James I of Scotland was told by a banshee that he would be murdered in 1437. Wikipedia states that according to legend, the banshee will wail around the house of the person who is about to die.
Although banshees are very much a part of Irish and Scottish folklore and legend, they have found their place in modern fiction. For instance, Seamus Finnigan, one of the Irish students in the Harry Potter stories, saw a banshee, and screeching was heard in Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire that was attributed to banshees.
Banshees may be associated with the five great Irish families, but many Americans have Irish heritage. Who is to say that a banshee may not come to foretell of one our demises on a dark, gloomy night? I hope I never find out.
Banshee. Irelandseyes: A Field Guide to Irish Fairies. http://www.irelandseye.com/animation/explorer/banshee.html. Accessed 1 October 2008.
Banshee-Wikipedia, the Free Encyclopedia. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Banshee.
Accessed 1 October 2008. Last Modified 29 September 2008.