Wednesday, October 28, 2009

Sites & Blogs

Good news: Ken Gerhard (who, don't forget, is featured on The Real Wolfman on the History Channel tonight) has a new website devoted to his crypto-work. And the CFZ's Michigan rep, Raven Meindel, has a new blog. Check 'em out!

Tuesday, October 27, 2009

Tomorrow Night: The Real Wolfman

Tomorrow night, the History Channel broadcasts a 2-hour show called The Real Wolfman, which tells the strange, intriguing and notorious story of the Beast of Gevaudan.

The star of the show (the beast aside, of course!) is good friend - and Texas-based CFZ rep - Ken Gerhard, who sets off to France in an effort to try and resolve the puzzle.

Ken has told me a lot about the show over the last few months, and it sounds like it will be an excellent production.

Here's the link for times etc, for those who may want to watch the show.

Tuesday, October 6, 2009

Naomi's Spectral Rat

From Texas-based CFZ rep, Naomi West, comes a tale of ghostly proportions:

"The coolest thing happened to me this past weekend: the renter in my old house saw the ghost of one of my rats. She wasn't even sure what it was exactly, except that she saw it and then suddenly it wasn't there. Then she put it together. You can read about it here:

"And I apologize for ripping off the Weird Weekend title but it was a wonderfully weird weekend for me. Honestly, it was difficult for me to post this on my blog: belief in ghosts for (American) Christians of my tradition is pretty taboo. Belief that God would send me a personal sign sounds silly to those that don't believe in a personal God. So...I posted this risking both ridicule and disapproval. (You wouldn't know anything about that, would you?? ;o)"

Fortean Bison

Another thoughtful post from Oregon's CFZ rep, Regan Lee. And in case you're wondering where the accompanying photograph comes from, by a curious coincidence (or, perhaps, by a synchronicity?), my wife, Dana and I attended the first Goat-Man celebratory event at Lake Worth, Texas this past weekend - which also happens to be home to a large herd of bison. Dana took a few photos of the mighty beasts, never thinking that we might need to use one or two of them one day. But, now, I suppose we do!

And now to Regan:

"A gruesome and sad story with Fortean elements from South Dakota. Bridgewater South Dakota became overwhelmed by the stench of over 44 tons of rotting bison meat. The owner of the meat processing plant abandoned his business, leaving behind tons of frozen bison meat. Electricity was shut off for nonpayment, though the meat stayed frozen through the severe Dakota winters.
"When spring and summer arrived, the meat thawed. It didn’t just thaw; it literally 'liquified.' The stink of decomposing bison flesh was worse than 'rotten [human] bodies' said the mayor.

"Some said the scent was like road kill. The mayor said he spent two tours of duty in Vietnam and could not recall smelling anything as bad. 'This is worse than rotten bodies,' [mayor] Barattini said.

"Going in a Fortean, slightly esoteric direction, we can say all those bison were sacrificed for nothing; the symbolism of the bison as an animal of strength, abundance and nurturing gift to indigenous peoples is contrasted with the legacy of man’s greed and disrespect for both non-human and human beings."

Monday, October 5, 2009

Eastern Shore Bull-Beggars

We have a new post from Andrew Gable today, who says:

In Ghost Stories From the American South, W.K. McNeil recounts a folktale gathered from a man by the name of Mart Rankin: "I was batchin' then, up there in Virginia. Been out on my horse, and my little dog had followed me. When I got to the lane -- guess I was about two hundred yards from the end of it -- I spied two men. They was walkin' together purty fast, keepin' step. I watched 'em. They had four times as far to go as I did. I kept on watchin' them an' never took my eye off of 'em till they got to the lane. Then the little old dog jumped a rabbit, and I turned to look.That quick they disappeared or turned into somethin', one. They was a black thing about the size of a sheep thrashed around an' took up through the field, tearin' up brush heaps where there wasn't no brush heaps an' makin' a lot of noise. It didn't look like nothin' I'd ever seen. Don't know what it was, but they had turned into it."

Another book of folktales, Virginia Folk Legends, recounts a tale gathered from Mrs. R.V. Brayhill: "My grandfather Pernell had a large farm and in those days the farms all had to be fenced and the cattle run outside [the fence]. And between his farm and the Crysel farm was a haunted woods. The road was a narrow wagon road going through a thick pine forest between the two farms, and often people had seen and heard things as they pass[ed] through this pine thicket. My mother and my Aunt Bittish said that often as they went over this road at night that they would hear the most pitiful cry, as if someone were in distress, and then an animal that resembled a big black bear would brush by them and then it would suddenly vanish.And one time the fence around the farm caught fire about three o'clock in the morning. And Aunt Bitty saw the fence burning and she come running over to my father's to get him and my brothers to go help put the fire out. And as she was coming through the pine forest there was something that looked like two men came running behind her, and as they passed her they suddenly disappeared. Bitty said she was scared almost to death, but it was closer to my father's than it was back home, and she was through the haunted woods. So she came running to my father's for help. The family left the haunted farm and went to another community."

A last bit of information regarding this is contained in An Encyclopedia of Fairies by Katherine Briggs:

"Its meaning is unspecified, but it did not perish with the 16th century, for there is still a Bullbeggar Lane in Surrey, which once contained a barn haunted by a bullbeggar, and traditions of a bullbeggar who haunted Creech Hill near Bruton in Somerset were recollected by Ruth Tongue from oral tradition in 1906 and published by her in County Folk-Lore (vol. VIII, pp. 121-2). In the 1880s two crossed bodies were dug up in quarrying operations, and crumbled to dust when they were exposed to the air. For some unexplained reason they were supposed to have been a Saxon and a Norman, and after this finding, Creech Hill had a bad name and was supposed to be haunted by following footsteps and a black uncanny shape. A farmer coming home late one night saw a figure lying on the road and went to its help. It suddenly shot up to an uncanny height and chased him to his own threshold. His family ran to his rescue and saw it bounding away with wild laughter. Another night traveller was attacked on Creech Hill and held his own from midnight to cock-crow with the help of an ashen staff. This bullbeggar was considered a bogy or bogey-beast rather than a ghost because two bodies were found."

While I'm not certain where in the state these stories were gathered, in Accomack County there is a Bullbegger Creek. This is on the peninsula of Virginia on the eastern shores of the lower Chesapeake Bay. Sightings of Bigfoot and so-called "devils" have surfaced from the adjacent regions of Maryland's Eastern Shore.Not Pennsylvania or Maryland, but close enough to be irresistible. Just by virtue of the name, I'll be needing to keep my eyes open as to things at Bullbegger Creek.

And we also have this new one from Andrew too, who is doing some excellent research!