Tag Archives | myths

The Icelandic Elf School Of Álfaskólinn

Looking to go back to school? Atlas Obscura on Álfaskólinn, an institution in Iceland specializing in the study of elves:

Some Icelanders take their belief in elves very seriously — road crews in Iceland will sometimes hire folklore experts to determine if certain boulders are homes to elves, and will divert the road around the boulder if it turns out there are little people living within it.

There’s an entire school dedicated learning about these hidden people. Located in the thoroughly modern city of Reykjavik, the school has a full curriculum of study about the 13 types of elves in Iceland. This concentration comes with a set of published textbooks with drawn depictions of these creatures for reference.

The school studies Iceland’s other supernatural flora as well, such as fairies, trolls, dwarves and gnomes, but they mainly focus on elves, because they are the most commonly believed in and “seen”.

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Was Santa Claus A Stoned Magic Mushroom Shaman?

This theory may seem far-fetched but explains all; he is garbed in red and white to match the toadstool mushroom.  Mother Nature Network reveals:

According to one theory, the story of Santa and his flying reindeer can be traced to an unlikely source: hallucinogenic or “magic” mushrooms. “Santa is a modern counterpart of a shaman, who consumed mind-altering plants and fungi to commune with the spirit world,” said John Rush, an anthropologist and instructor at Sierra College in Rocklin, Calif.

According to the theory, the legend of Santa derives from shamans in the Siberian and Arctic regions who dropped into locals’ teepeelike homes with a bag full of hallucinatory mushrooms as presents in late December, Rush said.

“As the story goes, up until a few hundred years ago these practicing shamans or priests connected to the older traditions would collect Amanita muscaria (the Holy Mushroom), dry them, and then give them as gifts on the winter solstice,” Rush told LiveScience.

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Swiss Santa Claus’s Terrifying Alter-Ego Schmutzli

The harsh Germanic Santa Claus equivalent known as Krampus has seen his celebrity rise in recent years, but he’s not Northern Europe’s only the only psychologically scarring Christmas figure. Switzerland’s black-cloaked Schmutzli, also known as “the Whipping Father,” arrives each December 25th to beat and abduct children. Swissinfo says:

Known as Schmutzli in the German part of the country and Père Fouettard (from “whip”) in French, Samichlaus’s alter ego usually carries a broom of twigs for administering punishment to children.

Kurt Lussi, curator at Lucerne’s History Museum, says that the St. Nicholas custom in Switzerland became interwoven with a festival of masks dating back to pre-Christian times. Schmutzli, he says, was a symbol of the evil spirits which these ancient festivals sought to drive out with a combination of noise and light.

He gives the example of an illustration from 1486 that depicts a demon who abducts children. “This child-stealing motif returns again in Schmutzli,” he said.

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Unclear Holocaust: The Ultimate 9/11 Movie

The art group Anti-Banality Union has created a feature-length movie which is impossible to stop watching. Fifty Hollywood blockbusters portraying the spectacular obliteration of New York City were cut up and interwoven (somehow fitting together seamlessly), revealing the meta-narrative running through them all -- the "death-drive on the part of capitalist culture":
Unclear Holocaust is a feature-length autopsy of Hollywood's New York-destruction fantasy, gleaned from over fifty major studio event-movies and detourned into one relentless orgy of representational genocide. It is the unrivaled assembly of the greatest amount of capital and private property heretofore captured in one frame, that, with unfathomable narrative efficacy, suicides itself in an annihilatory flux of fire, water, and aeronautics...We see the Cinema as it really is; an unequivocal annihilation, the auto-genocidal mass fantasy of a megalomaniacally depressed First World.  
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Researchers Believe Greek Myth Of Hades Is Based On Real-Life Ancient Underground River-Cave Community Where Corpses Were Sent

Do not go here alone after dark. Live Science writes:

A giant cave that might have helped serve as the inspiration for the mythic ancient Greek underworld Hades once housed hundreds of people, potentially making it one of the oldest and most important prehistoric villages in Europe before it collapsed about 5,000 years ago and killed everyone inside, researchers say. Cave dwellers apparently used the cavern not only as a shelter, but also as a cemetery and place of ritual.

The complex settlement seen in this cave suggests, along with other sites from about the same time, that early prehistoric Europe may have been more complex than previously thought. The cave, located in southern Greece and discovered in 1958, is called Alepotrypa.

People apparently performed burials in the cave while conducting rituals that involved burning huge amounts of dung and depositing large amounts of colored and finely painted pottery. “The burial sites and rituals that took place really do give the cave an underworld feel.

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North Korea Claims To Have Discovered Ancient Unicorn Habitat

The Guardian reports on North Korean cryptozoology:

The inimitable Korean Central News Agency (KCNA) has now broken the incredible news that archaeologists in Pyongyang have discovered a unicorn’s lair.

Or rather, the report says that they have “recently reconfirmed” the lair of one of the unicorns ridden by the ancient Korean King Tongmyong, founder of a kingdom which ruled parts of China and the Korean peninsula from the the 3rd century BC to 7th century AD.

The KCNA goes on to state that the location happens to be 200 metres from a temple in the North Korean capital, adding: “A rectangular rock carved with words “Unicorn Lair” stands in front…The carved words are believed to date back to the period of Koryo Kingdom (918-1392).” Archaeologists from the Academy of Social Sciences at North Korea’s History Institute were credited with making the discovery.

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Humboldt Museum: Native American Tale of “Red-Haired Giants” Slain by Tribe

Picture: Timothy O'Sullivan (PD)

Atlas Obscura travels to Nevada’s Humboldt Museum and hears what is purported to be a legend of the Paiute tribe concerning a race of warlike, cave-dwelling, red-haired giants who were slain by fire and arrow.

Local legends passed down by the Paiute Indians tell of a race of giants who were exterminated by the tribe. It is said this was done by trapping the giants in a cave, shooting arrows at them, and then starting a large fire at the mouth of the cave. When the Lovelock Cave was later mined, many giant skeletons and artifacts were found in the area; there was also a large quantity of arrowheads found in the cave. Many of the artifacts were lost in a fire, but some of the skulls and artifacts are located at this museum.

See some of the skulls here.

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