Friday, May 26, 2017

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Dragon's Breath Chilli Pepper


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Thursday, May 18, 2017

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Fachen



In both Scottish and Irish folklore, the Fachen (aka Fachan, Fachin or Peg Leg Jack) is a malevolent fairy with an appearance so frightening that it reportedly induced heart attacks in anyone who saw it. It wields a spiked club, and uses it to chase away (and kill, if it can) anything that comes near it. It hates all other life, and will destroy whole farms and orchards in a single day. It is active all year, but you can recognize its lair quite easily, due to there being no trees, animals or grass, just barren ground. It only has one arm and leg, so it compensates for being extremely strong in those limbs.

Appearance:


Descriptions tend to vary and include such physical features as a single eye, a rooster like crest, a mane of black feathers tufted at the top and a very wide mouth. The Fachen also was reported to have a single foot and in some cases is said to have only half a body.One of the strangest physical features of the Fachen was its mangled, arm like appendage which is said to have jutted out of its torso. It was said that with this strong, singular, mangled arm, the Fachen could destroy an entire orchard with a chain in one night.

Legend:


A story in John Francis Campbell's Popular Tales of the West Highlands features a Fachen by the name of Nesnas Mhiccallain who was defeated in a race by the story's hero, Murachadh Mac Brian, who would later become king of Ireland. In Campbell's book the Fachen was also referred to as Direach Ghlinn Eitich, or the Dwarf of Glen Etive.

The Fachen is Monster in My Pocket #114, and resembles a strange, feathery insectile creature.

In a story written by John Francis Campbell the Fachan is described....

"Ugly was the make of the Fachin; there was one hand out of the ridge of his chest, and one tuft out of the top of his head, it were easier to take a mountain from the root than to bend that tuft."

The tale, written in Popular Tales of the West Highlands, tells of a Fachan by the name of Nesnas Mhiccallain being defeated in a race by the Irish hero Murachadh Mac Brian. Through this deed he subsequently becomes the king of Ireland.

The lore of this solitary faery, the Fachan, says that he is madly jealous of the gift of flight and those who have it. He spends all his time brooding on it, bitter that he does not possess it, bitter at such a oversight by the deities! He hates all living things, not just those who fly, and will not tolerate them in his lands. Thus he is rather a lonely figure though it is doubtful that this bothers him.
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Saturday, May 13, 2017

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4000-Year-Old Funeral Garden Unearthed In Egypt


The Djehuty Project, led by research professor, José Manuel Galán, from the Spanish National Research Council (CSIC), has discovered a 4,000-year-old funerary garden- the first such garden ever to be found- on the Dra Abu el-Naga hill in Luxor, Egypt. The discovery comes during the 16th year of archaeological excavations which are sponsored this year by Técnicas Reunidas and Indra.
The discoveries made by this project shed light on a key epoch when, for the first time, Thebes (now Luxor) became the capital of the unified kingdom of Upper and Lower Egypt about 4,000 years ago.
Dr. Jose Galán explains, "We knew of the possible existence of these gardens since they appear in illustrations both at the entrances to tombs as well as on tomb walls, where Egyptians would depict how they wanted their funerals to be. The garden itself consisted of a small rectangular area, raised half a meter off the ground and divided into 30 cm2 beds. In addition, next to the garden, two trees were planted. This is the first time that a physical garden has ever been found, and it is therefore the first time that archaeology can confirm what had been deduced from iconography. The discovery and thorough analysis of the garden will provide valuable information about both the botany and the environmental conditions of ancient Thebes, of Luxor 4,000 years ago."


Galán continues, "The plants grown there would have had a symbolic meaning and may have played a role in funerary rituals. Therefore, the garden will also provide information about religious beliefs and practices as well as the culture and society at the time of the Twelfth Dynasty when Thebes became the capital of the unified kingdom of Upper and Lower Egypt for the first time. We know that palm, sycamore and Persea trees were associated with the deceased's power of resurrection. Similarly, plants such as the lettuce had connotations with fertility and therefore a return to life. Now we must wait to see what plants we can identify by analysing the seeds we have collected. It is a spectacular and quite unique find which opens up multiple avenues of research."
"Digging in a necropolis not only allows us to discover details about the world of funerals, religious beliefs and funerary practices, it also helps us discover details about daily life, about society and about the physical environment, both plant and animal. The necropolis thus becomes, as the ancient Egyptians themselves believed, the best way to understand and embrace life," concludes the CSIC researcher.
The garden, or funeral garden, was unearthed in an open courtyard at the entrance of a Middle Kingdom rock-cut tomb very probably from the Twelfth Dynasty, circa 2000 BCE. The garden, measuring 3m x 2m, is raised and is divided into a grid arrangement of 30 cm2 beds distributed in rows of five or seven beds.
According to experts, these small beds may have contained different types of plants and flowers. In addition, at the centre of the raised garden there two beds which are set higher than the others where small trees or shrubs probably grew.


In one corner, the researchers recovered a still upright tamarisk shrub complete with its roots and 30cm-long trunk, beside which was a bowl containing dates and other fruit which may have been given as an offering.
In addition, attached to the facade of the tomb, which the garden is related to for the time being, a small mud-brick chapel (46cm high x 70cm wide x 55cm deep) with three stelae, or stone tombstones, in its interior was also uncovered. These are dated later than the tomb and the garden, coming from the Thirteenth Dynasty, around the year 1800 BCE. One of them belongs to Renef-seneb, and the other to "the soldier ("citizen") Khememi, the son of the lady of the house, Satidenu." On each, reference is made to Montu, a local god from ancient Thebes, and to the funerary gods Ptah, Sokar and Osiris.
"These finds highlight the importance of the area around the Dra Abu el-Naga hill as a sacred centre for a wide range of worship activities during the Middle Kingdom. This helps us understand the high density of tombs in later times as well as the religious symbolism that this area of the necropolis holds," concludes the CSIC researcher.
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Saturday, April 29, 2017

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Alan (Phllippine Folklore)



The Alan are deformed spirits from the folklore of the Tinguian tribe of the Philippines. They have wings and can fly, and their fingers and toes point backward.
These weird creatures have been known to shelter human children who have been left to their own devices in the harsh, jungle terrain of the Philippine Islands. 

Supposedly hailing from the dense jungles of the Philippine Islands, this mysterious race of small, deformed half-human, half-avian creatures, are known for their mischievous antics. Locals claim that these beasts dwell in the deep shadow ridden abyss of the Philippine rain forests, where they spend the better part of their days hanging upside down from trees in a bat-like fashion.

Appearance:


The skin on the face of a " wizened old alan” is described in a Tinguian tale as having been tough like carabao hide. The alan’s long arms had fingers pointing back from the wrist, “horrible to look at.” Elsewhere, the alan are said to be: “. . . as large as people but have wings and can fly. Their toes are at the back of their feet and their fingers point backward from their wrists.”



Legend:

The Alan and the Hunters:

Two men once went to hunt wild pig in the mountains, and after some time they speared and killed one, but they had no fire over which to singe it.
One man climbed a tree to see if there was a fire near by, and discovering smoke at some distance, he started toward it. When he reached the place, he found that the fire was in the house of an Alan,  and he was very much afraid; but creeping up into the house, he found that the Alan and her baby were fast asleep.
He stepped on tip-toe, but nevertheless the Alan was awakened and called out:
“Epogow,  what do you want?”
“I should like to get some fire,” said the man, “for we have killed a wild pig.”
The Alan gave him the fire, and then taking her basket she went with him to the place where the pig was.
After they had singed the animal, the Alan cut it up with her long nails and handed the liver to the man, telling him to take it to her house to feed the baby.
The man started, and on the way he ate the liver. When he reached the Alan’s house he did not know what to do. For some time he looked around, and then seeing a large cauldron of hot water on the fire, he threw the baby into it and went back.
“Did the baby eat well?” asked the Alan.
“Very well,” said the man.
Then she put most of the meat into her basket and started home. As soon as she had gone, the man told his companion what he had done, and they were so frightened that they ran to hide.
When the Alan reached home and found the baby dead in the hot water, she was very angry and started back immediately to find the men, who, in the meantime, had climbed a high tree that stood near the water.
The Alan looked down into the water, and seeing the reflection of the men, she reached in her long hand with the fingers that pointed backward, but when she could not touch them, she looked up and saw them in the tall tree.
“How did you get up there?” she cried angrily.
“We climbed up feet first,” called down the men.
The Alan, determined to get them, caught hold of a vine and started up the tree feet first, but before she quite reached them, they cut the vine and she fell to the ground and was killed.
Then the men came down and went to the Alan’s house, where they found a jar full of beads and another of gold, and these they brought with them when they returned home.

The Man and the Alan:

Tinguian was once walking along a trail in the woods when he heard a strange sound in a large tree near him, and looking up he was startled to see that it was the home of the Alan-spirits who live in the wood.
He stopped and gazed for a moment at the horrible creatures, large as people, hanging from the limbs of the tree with their heads down like bats. They had wings to fly, and their toes were at the back of their feet, while their long fingers, which pointed backward, were fastened at the wrist.
"Surely," thought the man, "these terrible beings will eat me if they can catch me. I will run away as fast as I can while they are asleep." He tried to run but he was too frightened, and after a few steps he fell face down on the ground.
At this the Alan began to wail loudly, for they saw him fall and believed him dead. They came down out of the tree with gold and beads which they laid on him.
After a while the man gathered courage and, jumping up, he cried as loudly as he could, "Go away!"
The Alan did not move, but they looked at him and said: "Give us the one bead nagaba [a peculiar bead of double effect], and you may have the rest." When the man refused to do this, they were angry and turned away, crying, "Then we are going to burn your house, for you are a bad man."
Thereupon the man went home as fast as he could go, but very soon after that his house burned, for the Alan kept their word.
And then...This Alan creature passed his legacy on to those that came forth and were worthy creatures of the gift. So, from generation to generation the Alan creatures can be seen.


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Wednesday, April 26, 2017

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The Green-Clawed Beast


The Green Clawed Beast was an unseen underwater cryptid that is rumored to live in the Ohio River near Evansville, Indiana. 

On August 21, 1955, an unseen “claw-like hand” grabbed Mrs. Darwin Johnson and pulled her beneath the water. Her friend, Mrs. Chris Lamble, lay sunning herself on a nearby raft when she heard her friend yelp, and turned to see her pulled under.The hand released Johnson who swam to the surface only to be grabbed, and pulled under again. She kicked free and pulled herself onto the raft with the screaming Lamble. 

Appearance:


The creature was never seen, but it appeared to have clawed hands. In an interview, Mrs. Johnson also described the creature's palm as feeling "furry".

Chronology:


On August 21, 1955, in Godtown, Indiana, Mrs. Darwin Johnson had a terrifying encounter with what she claimed was a hideous creature beneath the surface of the Ohio River near Evansville, Indiana. While enjoying a leisurely swim only 4.5 meters from shore with a friend Johnson was suddenly clutched around the knee by a large, hairy, claw-like hand and started t drag her underwater. She managed to disengage herself, only to be grabbed again from behind. Mrs. Johnson struggled to disengage herself and head for safety. Mrs. Lamble could only stare in horror as her distraught friend was yanked beneath the surface of the river. 

Mrs. Lamble’s shrieks echoed down the shoreline as she helplessly watched her friend being pulled below the river’s murky surface once again. After resurfacing a second time, Mrs. Johnson lunged for Mrs. Lamble’s inner tube and the splash of her impact apparently scared her beastly assailant away.Once back on shore, Mrs. Johnson was treated for multiple contusions on her leg, at which point it was discovered that she bore a green, palm-print shaped stain. The stain could not be removed for several days.

As if that experience wasn’t strange enough, a few days later, Mrs. Johnson and her husband were visited at their home by a person claiming to be a Air Force colonel who questioned her extensively about the incident in the river. Before leaving, he warned the couple not to talk about the matter.








































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Sunday, April 23, 2017

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Loveland Frog Creature



These amphibious anomalies have shocked and terrified both business men, farmers and police officers and remains one of the most intriguing cryptozoological mystery in the United States.
One of the most intriguing cases is that of the Loveland Frogmen. The story of these unique creatures begins in May of 1955, on a lonely stretch of road that runs along the Little Miami River in Clermont County, just on the outskirts of a small town known as Loveland, Ohio.
Loveland, Ohio can best be described as a sleepy, pocket suburb in the hills north of Cincinnati.  Nestled along the Little Miami River, Loveland is a community that straddles three counties and is home to a true enigma of the aquatic realm.  Loveland, Ohio is home to the legendary Loveland Frogmen.

Appearance:

A Loveland Frog is said to be roughly three to four feet in height, weighing 50 to 75 pounds, and having greenish, leathery skin. They are also described as having frog faces, with large eyes and mouths, as well as walking on two legs. By some estimates, this puts them at the size of a large dog or a small person.
They are also sometimes said to have deep wrinkles on their heads where hair would be on a person.

Chronology:

The legend of the Loveland Frogmen begins in the early summer of 1955.  The exact date is a matter of speculation, but most reports place it sometime in May.  Like any good legend involving monsters, this encounter is typically told in three similar, but slightly different versions.The first states that at approximately 3:30 a.m., an unnamed business man claimed to have witnessed three, bipedal, quasi-reptilian entities congregating by the side of the road. The man pulled his car to the curb and observed these creatures for what he estimated to be about three minutes.

During this time he noticed that these strange beings stood between 3 and 4-feet tall, were covered with leathery skin, and had webbed hands and feet. Their most distinguishing characteristic, however, was their distinctly “frog-like” heads, which the man claimed bore deep wrinkles where there hair should have been.

Just as the man was about to steal away, one of the creatures suddenly held what the witness could only describe as a “wand” above its head. The anonymous source further claimed that sparks spewed out of the end of this device. Needless to say, he left posthaste.

As this first account does not give an exact location or road, it is difficult to confirm which specific bridge the reports are meant to describe. The tale is further complicated by local information that puts the man entering or leaving Branch Hill (a community bordering the southern end of Loveland).  It is worth noting that most of the side roads leading to and from Loveland, specifically the bridge areas, are not well lit

At about 1:00 am., on March 3, 1972 — nearly 17 years after the first report — a police officer (who understandably chose to remain anonymous) was traveling along Riverside Road heading towards Loveland when he saw something that would forever change his life.

The officer claimed that he was driving slowly, due to the substantial amount of ice on the road, when he saw what looked like a dog by the curb. 

Suddenly, the animal darted in front of the cruiser, forcing the officer to slam on the brakes in order to avoid a potential collision with the creature. Once the police cruiser came to a halt, its headlights fell upon the prone creature; at this point the officer describes something that seems literally too bizarre to be true.

In the span of seconds this crouched, frog-like creature, stood on two legs, stared back at the police man, then scrambled over the guard rail and scurried down the embankment, finally disappearing into the Little Miami River.

The officer in question described the creature as being 3 to 4-feet tall and weighing in the area of 50 to 75 pounds. He also claimed that its skin had a leathery texture and that the animal’s features resembled those of a frog or lizard. Another officer investigated the scene later that evening. He saw no sign of the creature, but reported that there were distinct “scratch” marks on the guard rail where the animal purportedly crossed.

The second sighting occurred two weeks later while police officer Mark Mathews had an encounter of his own. According to the report officer Mathews, while driving into Loveland, spotted what he believed to be an injured animal lying on the pavement. Mathews climbed out of his cruiser with the intention of removing the carcass from the already ice slicked road, when the creature abruptly lurched upwards into a “crouched” position.

Taken aback by the Frog Man’s Reptilian visage, Mathews unholstered his revolver and took a shot at the creature, which then proceeded to hobble over to the side of the road and step over the guardrail — all the while keeping a watchful eye on the trigger-happy officer. Mathews’ “Frogman” matched the first officer’s description down to the last detail, with the exception of a tail, which was absent in earlier reports.

In the years following these events, Officer Mathews ended up recanting somewhat on his tale. He now claims that the animal in question was nothing more than a large reptile, which likely escaped from its owner. He further insists that the only reason he shot at the creature was to help confirm a fellow officer’s story — a story which was, of course, being met with predictable skepticism by their superiors.
Whether or not Mathews’ change of heart was inspired by ridicule or the fading memory of an event from which he was 30-years removed, the fact remains that his own testimony counter indicates his later retraction.

Other sightings of the Loveland Frog came from area farmers. One spotted a large reptilian creature with large circular eyes. Its skin was a pale greenish-grey and its huge mouth was filled with sharp pointy teeth. Luckily, the creature didn’t attack the farmer, but quietly slipped away, heading back toward the waters’ edge from whence it came.

Another recent encounter comes from a woman who claims she was attacked by a reptilian creature while swimming in the Ohio River near Evansville, Indiana. The frogman grabbed her by the legs and dragged her deep under the water. The panicked swimmer managed to kick herself free from the monster with help from a bystander who witnessed her distress. The attack left behind tears and scratches, as well as an unusual green palm print that stained her leg for days.

It is vital to note that the tales of the Loveland Frogmen did not truly originate in 1955.  The Native American population was familiar with a creature, or species of creatures, they call Shawnahooc (River Demon).  The creature was described as being a large reptile that could walk on two legs.  The creature lived specifically along the banks of the Little Miami River.  It is said that this creature threatened the indigenous tribes until they sent their greatest warriors to confront the demon.  After the fray was decided, the Shawnahooc is said to have gone into hiding.  When the Native Americans were driven from the territory by encroaching settlers, the Shawnahooc is claimed to have returned to the river banks.  This particular aquatic legend is attributed to both the Shawnee and the Twightwee tribes.

Although there have been no confirmed sightings of the Loveland Frogmen in almost 40-years, the  Ohio River — and it’s tributaries like the Little Miami and Licking Rivers — remain some of the most prolific cryptozoological “hotspots” in the continental United States

The Loveland frogs continue to be sighted at irregular intervals along the Ohio River and the Little Miami River. They got their moniker from the town of Loveland, Ohio, near most of the sightings. Today cryptozoologists have little interest in these creatures. After all, they sound absurd, just like most humanoids that are not some kind of Bigfoot or a closely related hairy humanoid.id.

The tales of the Loveland Frogmen have been the subject of countless campfire stories that echo the banks of the Little Miami River.  Whether cryptid, alien, or hybrid, the Loveland Frogmen has captured the collective psyche of the Ohio River Valley.  Some dismiss the creature as something too imaginative to be real.  Others insist that the dark river banks hold secrets few are willing to accept.  Regardless, when stalking through the dank mud of the Little Miami, even those with a rationally skeptical mind will find themselves peering over their shoulder on occasion.



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Sunday, April 16, 2017

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The Snallygaster



While we have all heard of Bigfoot, the Loch Ness Monster and the Chupacabra, many more regional and rare cryptids exist that few ever hear of. One of these is the Snallygaster of Maryland, particularly found in the hills of the Washington and Fredrick counties.

Descriptions of the beast vary, but in general, it is described as a reptilian bird with hooks on the ends of its feet, a massive beak (possibly made of metal) lined with sharp teeth.It is reported as having claws, but it is also reported as having hooves.At times it has tentacles.It resembles a flying octopus. The noise it makes has been likened to that of a locomotive whistle.

The Snallygaster has one widely known enemy, called Dewayo. The Dewayo is reported to be a mammalian biped with features similar to a wolf, but the stance and stature of a human. The sightings of Dewayo are primarily reported in West Middletown, Maryland, but sightings have also been reported in the Wolfsville, Maryland region. The Dewayo and the Snallygaster have reportedly had vicious encounters dating back to early settlement of the Middletown valley.

The word Snallygaster has its origins in the German phrase "Schneller geist," meaning quick spirit.The area around Middletown Valley was no stranger to strange happenings.Rumors of a beast that would swoop in silently and steal children and chickens pervaded the area from as soon as the first white settlers arrived in the area.There are early references to ghosties and ghoulies that could be the Snallygaster throughout Frederick's history. The documented Snallygaster, however, is a twentieth-century beast. 

The first newspaper article about the Snallygaster appeared in 1909 in the Middletown Valley Register. A smattering of articles appeared during that time. The Snallygaster then went dormant in this area until 1932, when a series of sightings were again reported in the Middletown paper. Some speculate that the second monster was the offspring of the first that had been reported to have been laying eggs. In fact, some men were reported to have found one and tried to incubate it.





The First report of the Snallygaster came from a man named James Harding who saw the creature flying low overhead.  He described the Snallygaster as a huge winged monster with a long sharp beak, claws like steel hooks, and having one eye in the middle of its head.  The monster’s screech he described as “as loud as a train whistle”.

Reports would continue for several months with only one reported fatality. Bill Gifferson was a black man and is said to have been snatched up by the monster, who flew to a nearby hill, pierced his neck and sucked out his blood.  While it dined it flapped its wings and when satisfied, dropped his corpse down the hill.

Sightings of the Snallygaster were creating such a commotion that at one point it was reported that President Theodore Roosevelt might postpone a trip to Europe so that he could lead an expedition to capture it.

Apparently, the Smithsonian Institute was also interested in the beast. From the description provided by engineer 83, at Shepherdstown, West Virginia, they determined the strange beast was either a bovalopus or a Snallygaster, since it had the characteristics of both. Further, its hide was so rare that it was worth $100,000 a square foot, as it was the only substance known to man that could polish punkle shells.

The Snallygaster's travels throughout Maryland are not limited to Frederick County.  It has been seen not only in neighboring Carroll and Washington Counties, cut as far away as Baltimore and Cecil Counties. 

Some accounts place Snallygaster activity in Ohio and West Virginia, communities that have migrant patterns out of Western Maryland. Coincidence - or an illustration of cultural traditions?

While people may have seen less of the Snallygaster as the twentieth century progressed, it was still very much in the minds of Frederick Countians. In the late 1940s, for example, a Thurmont algebra teacher would threaten his less studious charges with the beast.  He also threw erasers at them. It is unclear which threat was more successful.

The Snallygaster finally met his end in a way some might envy. The creature was flying near Frog Hollow in Washington County when it was attracted by the aroma of a 2500-gallon vat of moonshine. As the beast flew overhead, it was overcome by the fumes and dropped into the boiling mash. A short time later, revenue agents George Dansforth and Charles Cushwa arrived on the scene. They had received information about the still, but were rather startled at the sight of the dead monster in the vat.

The two agents exploded five hundred pounds of dynamite under the still, destroying the remains of the Snallygaster and John Barleycorn’s workshop.

A great deal has been written about the Snallygaster since 1909. It has appeared in countless articles in the Middletown Valley Register, Frederick News Post, and other area newspapers. Is has also appeared in the Baltimore Sun, National Geographic, and Time Magazine.

Information about the Snallygaster can be found in several books on Maryland legends.  There is a Snallygaster chapter in both "Spirits of Frederick" (1992) and "Weird Maryland" (2006). The definitive history of the Snallygaster tale was recently published by local researcher Patrick Boyton in "The Snallygaster: The Lost Legend of Frederick County."  
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