Tag Archives | Folklore

‘Robert’ And Other Haunted Dolls

Pic: Cayobo (CC)

Pic: Cayobo (CC)

I still remember being frightened of that damned clown doll in “Poltergeist”.

Via Mysterious Universe:

When it comes to haunted dolls, Robert is arguably America’s most famous. The Key West doll is a fixture on local ghost tours and even served as an inspiration for Chucky in Child’s Play.

Robert belonged to Key West painter and author Robert Eugene Otto. In 1906, a Bahamian maid reportedly gave the doll to Robert and then cursed the toy after Robert’s parents displeased her. Soon after the maid’s departure, strange events began plaguing the Otto household.

Young Robert enjoyed talking to his namesake, and servants insisted the doll talked back. They also claimed the plaything could change expressions at will and move about the house on his own. Neighbors reportedly saw the doll move from window to window when the family was away, and members of the Otto household heard maniacal giggles emanating from the toy.

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Alan Moore and Psychogeography

Picture: Karen Karnak (CC)

Picture: Karen Karnak (CC)

Alan Moore interviews are always worth reading. Here he discusses psychogeography as it applies to various of his works.

via Reasons I Do Not Dance:

What exactly, in your not unlimited understanding, is Psychogeography?

In its simplest form I understand psychogeography to be a straightforward acknowledgement that we, as human beings, embed aspects of our psyche…memories, associations, myth and folklore…in the landscape that surrounds us. On a deeper level, given that we do not have direct awareness of an objective reality but, rather, only have awareness of our own perceptions, it would seem to me that psychogeography is possibly the only kind of geography that we can actually inhabit.

What books and writers ignited your interest in psychogeography?

The author that first introduced me to the subject was the person I regard as being its contemporary master, namely Iain Sinclair, with his early work Lud Heat.

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Here Come The Men in Black

Picture: "RadioKirk" (CC)

LiveScience explores UFO buffs’ stories of the mysterious Men in Black.

Were any of these stories true? It is of course possible that at some point dark-suited men from government agencies made inquiries into UFO reports; there was, after all, an Air Force program that investigated flying saucer claims in the 1950s called Project Blue Book. Government officials (including those with the military, police, Secret Service, FBI, or IRS, for example) are sometimes known to throw their weight around and intimidate people, even unintentionally. Of course, hoaxing a Men in Black encounter would be very simple, and require nothing more than three somber, dark-suited pranksters to menace a UFO eyewitness. [The Real Men in Black: Secret Service Agents (Infographic)]

Mysterious, authoritative, and menacing figures dressed in black are hardly unique to UFO mythology. In fact, folklore from around the world often describe such figures as representing Satan or other dark forces.

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Legendary Monsters Of Africa

Mental Floss has a nice rundown of supernatural monstrosities of traditional African folklore, including ghost apes, flying reptiles, and, at right, the one-eyed Popobawa bat and airborne vampiric pest the Adze:

The Popobawa is a fairly recent manifestation reported in Zanzibar and Tanzania. The creature is a demon who appears as a normal human by day, and a one-eyed, bat-winged monster at night. The Popobawa attacks and sodomizes both men and women in the dark of night. Reports of attacks come every few years, with a large number in 1995 attributed to mass hysteria.

The Adze is a vampire in the legends of the Ewe people of Ghana and Togo. It takes the form of a firefly, but if you capture one, it will revert to human appearance. In the insect form, the adze will suck your blood while you sleep and spread disease, which is a possible explanation for malarial outbreaks.

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The Navajo Skinwalker: Fearsome Sorcerers and Shapeshifters.

Brian Dunning of the Skeptoid podcast relates a short history of the Navajo legend of the skinwalker. While he covers a lot of ground in his piece, it seems remiss that he didn’t examine the legend in a shamanic context beyond a word or two in the final paragraph. Perhaps of particular interest to Disinfo readers is Dunning’s reference to a series of supernatural events on what has become known as the Skinwalker Ranch. Needless to say, the author dismisses any speculation that leans toward a supernatural explanation for the reported occurrences. Regardless, this is an interesting read.

From the plains of the American West comes a story with a history as long as that of the Native Americans themselves: the skinwalkers. Witches, a class of outcast criminals who practiced black magic, were said to have the ability to shapeshift into any animal they chose. Such people were called skinwalkers, and if one was suspected, it was legal to kill them on sight.

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