Sunday, May 31, 2009

Hub 6 in the Hub Challange: Fairies and Little People

Fairies and Little People will be a hub I'll have to update quite a bit after the Hub Challenge is over in a few more days!

"Fairies" as a topic alone - is HUGE! According to some cultures, Fairies have an intricate and complex hierarchy, including 'elite' fairies and 'common' fairies. There are generational lists of alleged fairy blood ties and everything! Competing or nearby peoples of different cultures will often even go so far as to DISAGREE with another culture's rending of or record-keeping of fairy generational and lineage details!

If you study "Fairies" for a little while, you'll find that the study branches out to include a vast array of other 'little people,' from brownies and pixies, all the way to imps and demons.

I decided to put Fairies and Little People as Hub 6 in the Hubpages Hub Challenge, even though the topic is something that can go on forever, depending on how finely one researches into folklore, fey lore, and fairy folk.

As always, I ask that you please email me or comment on hubs I publish whenever you know of a related version of myth, lore, urban legend or story persona that I have forgotten, so that I can do some additional research, or listen to a story from you - and add information to my hubs!

And now I must go...I have several half-researched hubs almost ready for publishing in the contest - work, work, work...

Then again, how bad can this 'work' be? I'm reading fantastic stories about fey folk and little people!

Monday, May 18, 2009

Hub 5 in the Hub Challenge: Categories of Folklore

Hub number 5 in the Hubpages Hub Challenge, "Categories of Folklore" has taken me off on another tangent - so don't expect another hub posted for a couple of days.

The Categories within the topic of "Folklore," I have found (as if I didn't know before? doh!), are many, varied and are essentially a string of other related research topics that go on and on and on...not to mention that they're all connected in interesting ways which toss a person mercilessly through and throughout many genres and mediums!

Most interesting to date is the category of "Child Lore" that I hadn't paid much attention to except for in a 'Fairy Tales' sub-heading...

I can't tell you much about what I have been finding under the heading of Child Lore but I can tell you that it is enough complex information to build another hub about!

So, for the next couple of days, I'll be working on this specific genre and phenomena concerning Child Lore within the paradigm of Folklore topics I have found in books, on the internet, and also from some personal interactions with KIDS!

That said...

Here's my hub: Categories of Folklore

No doubt, once the Hubpages Hub Challenge writing contest is finished, this Categories of Folklore hub will have to be constantly updated.

What was I thinking? Building a hub about such a topic...when there are libraries FULL of folklore items...

...well - I'd best be off to the library now, hadn't I?

Hub 4 in the Hub Challenge: Paul Bunyan

Paul Bunyan is the subject of my fourth entry/4th hub in the Hubpages Hub Challenge contest, which started May 11.

What can be said about Paul Bunyan?

Well - you name it - if it relates to "BIG" - and if you can strettttttttch a story's details, exaggerate like crazy, and run off on a tangent, then you'll probably both love Paul Bunyan tales as well as be great at telling them.

Hub Challenge entry Hub #4: Paul Bunyan

Apparently, Paul Bunyan is the reason behind everything from the great and numerous lakes in the Michigan area, all the way to inventing double-decker ice cream cones! That is, according to 'legend' promoted primarily by North Americans!

Thursday, May 14, 2009

Hub #3 in the Hub Challenge: Accidental Survival in Urban Legends

Accidental Survival happens in a lot of Urban Legends. More appropriately this is called "LUCK," plain and simple.

Some people whose lives are spared in many stories haven't really 'earned' their survival. Stories that involve accidents, murderers and stalkers, animal attacks, freak storms and violent natural elements, etc., often also contain messages about being cautious, planning ahead for emergencies, making good moral decisions...


"Accidental Survival" often happens when the main character has failed to plan ahead, has made bad decisions and hasn't been cautious at all...somehow the person's life is spared, anyway, despite risk-taking behaviors, distractions, short-sightedness, etc.

Sometimes a person survives due to a miscalculation on the part of a stalker, killer or other sort of attacker in an urban legend. Sometimes a 'safe person' or authority figure shows up 'in the nick of time' to save a person who has been careless, forgetful, or cocky in urban legends. In any case, with accidental survival, the character in question (the one in the most danger) doesn't actively save him or herself - the survival/saving happens from an external force.

On occassion, the person in danger hasn't actually done anything wrong and ends up in the wrong place at the right time, thus placing him/ or herself in danger. This is actually quite rare, but can happen in stories/urban legends.

More often, even something as seemingly small and insignificant as a person driving at nighttime - when they've been at a legitimate function and have done no wrong prior to the time of danger - is actually considered a 'mistake' and 'fault' on the part of the other words, the person should have KNOWN to drive during the daytime. A situation like this is found in a few versions of "Don't Flash The Headlights/Gang Initiation" where a person flashes but somehow the "gang" car malfunctions, sparing the life of the person who flashed the headlights. If the 'victim' has survived for such reasons, this is like an accidental survival. A survival that wasn't planned out or made possible by the victim's own skills.

My third entry in the Hubpages Hub Challenge is called "Accidental Survival in Urban Legends."

So far on the hub, I have shown the "Knife in the Briefcase" urban legend - a basic version as well as the "Good Samaritan" version which isn't the same story but is similar in end-result. Both stories contain a man whose briefcase is somehow left in a car. In one version, a woman escapes from a killer 'accidentally' because she is actually forgetful, believe it or not! In a similar story, in the "Good Samaritan" version, a woman is annoyed with a man and acts assertively - then finds out afterward that he was intending on killing her.

Enjoy the hub!

Concerns Re: Content Quality During Hub Challenge

Hub Challenge Content Quality:

I'm a little concerned, only a few days into the Hubpages Hub Challenge contest. I'm checking around, looking at the new content submitted as "hub challenge" hubs and although most hubs I'm reading are quite nice, I'm noticing more hubs that are short on content.

"Short on content" is about the best description I can find for what I see in the hub challenge. Many hubs are just really SHORT - limited in words.

I suppose the hubs containing fewer words are an attempt from some hub authors to keep up with the demands of the contest - that is - attempts to push out numerous hubs in a short amount of time.

Although I see the strategy here, in writing many hubs with limited words, I'm worried that such a strategy will eventually be bad for the Hubpages site. I sincerely hope that new viewers who come across the Hubpages site while the Hub Challenge contest is in progress, and while people are pressing out short hubs, will not assume that 300-400-word hubs are the standard.

I've been a Hubpages member for over a year and most 'fan' lists that I am on are with authors who are writing a lot more original content than 400 words per hub. Most of my own hubs are well over 500 words, and - for the record - I intend to keep making sure that my hubs contain content of more than 500 words, despite having entered into the Hub Challenge contest.

I thought about the concept of 'content quality' just prior to the contest start date of May 11. The first information I read online about the contest was about the 100 hubs in 30 days, but after following a few more links around and checking up on this contest, I was happy to find a 30 hub in 30 days category.

I felt that 30 hubs in 30 days was more 'my speed,' and am awfully glad I didn't commit to building 100 hubs in 30 days now. Luckily, I'm not feeling much pressure to write short hubs in order to complete 30 of them in as many days. Actually, I haven't 'published' hub #4 yet, even though today is considered day 4 of the contest. I still think it's important to do some research for each hub, so I'll just keep plodding along this month, reading a lot, writing a lot, and see how I fare by the end of the contest!

Wish me luck!

Prompt Twitter Support - Thanks Lukester

A few days ago, I created a new Twitter .com account and within hours, my account was blocked.

I'm happy to report, however, that I received same-day attention once I noticed the problem and submitted a support ticket.

My account was blocked pending investigation of questionable activity, but once I reported the problem on a brand new account, support staff managed to check on the problem quite quickly.

My account was unblocked (during the same 24-hour period in which I submitted the ticket) by Lukester at Twitter .com

Thanks Lukester!

Obviously, I'm quite new to Twitter, and I'm still figuring out how to navigate around links through Twitter, so it's now nice to know that support staff are responsive at the site.

I just thought I'd post a 'successful site support ticket' blurb for a change because I don't often see people posting about good support attention online. Mostly I see people ranting and complaining when mistakes/bad things occur to their online accounts - but rarely do I ever see enough praises for the people who answer support tickets/emails online.

I think a lot of people just forget to post again after complaints, and once their issues have been resolved - but I didn't want to be one of those people who forgot!

Again - thx Lukester from Twitter support!

Tuesday, May 12, 2009

Springheel Jack - A Hub I WISH was in the Hub Challenge

Springheel Jack - Urban Legend

One of my favourite hubs to put together has been the Springheel Jack one that I published quite a while ago. I wish I had just thought of doing a hub on this notorious leaping entity more recently instead of months ago, because if I'd just completed the hub NOW, I could enter it in the hubpages Hub Challenge to get the hub the exposure I think it deserves!

The hub has had a fairly consistent score of 70+ often in the 80's but the score is starting to slip. Today the score on the hub is only 71, so I'll have to update the hub soon with fresh content.

I've enjoyed the Springheel Jack story and also the research involved in finding out more about Springheel Jack. He/It is a very mysterious entity, made more mysterious by the fact that reports of Jack's first appearances were in Britain during the Victorian era...

Record-keeping was being done back then but methodical , ethical and reliable record-keeping was questionable back when Springheel Jack was leaping around London and various locations in England. Therefore, I can track down a great number of reports - even newspaper reports that can be cross-referenced - about a Springheel Jack persona who terrorized areas of England, but these reports are largely unreliable.

Now, just because many reports from the recent-past are considered unreliable data - this DOES NOT MEAN that the documents are USELESS to us today...

What the old documents, sighting reports and personal accounts/interviews contain are very interesting data, displaying the general state of the human psyche in individuals who reported seeing or coming into contact with Springheel Jack.

No doubt, whoever or whatever Springheel Jack was - his/its presence created hysteria, confusion and fear - in a huge way all over England.

If you'd like to read about what I've been able to dig up so far about Springheel Jack:

Hubpages Hub: Springheel Jack

I'm not sure we haven't also seen a similar sort of hysteria in our own times - even though we are capable of better record-keeping today and though our sciences are more accessible and advanced as compared with Victorian times.

For me, similarities exist between the Springheel Jack legend(s) and a creature that turned up in the U.S.A. in the late 1960's named, The Mothman.

Both entities caused terror of the general public in the regions - several square miles - where they were visible. Though each creature/figure was described a bit differently, we are talking about Victorian era and vocabulary in England versus present-day, modern vocabulary in The United States of America...when discussing the two entities.

Both figures showed up suddenly - and were visible for a short span of time (days to a couple of years) - and then reports of sightings just stopped as suddenly as they had started concerning each of the entities in separate eras.

Makes ya say, "Hmmm"

Hub #2 in the Hub Challenge: The Exploding Cactus

"The Exploding Cactus"

My 2nd hub entered in the Hubpages Hub Challenge (which started yesterday, May11) is about an urban legend called "The Exploding Cactus."

In this incredible story, usually a family has been out of the country on vacation. The family brings back an exotic plant (almost always a cactus) that can't usually be found in their usual hometown or country.

Unfortunately, along with the exotic and rare cactus, the family unknowingly also brings back some other unwanted sorts of pets...which are somehow linked to the purchase of the cactus.

Read a version of the urban legend on the 2nd hub I submitted in the Hub Challenge at a website called "Hubpages."

Hub 2: The Exploding Cactus

Here are a few tidbits that aren't on the hub above yet...

One of the most important elements that makes the story, The Exploding Cactus, successful as an urban legend is the cactus itself, along with public ignorance about cactus plants.

(admittedly, I know almost nothing about cactus plants, myself - but knowledge of these items is not necessary for storytelling, either...)

Cactus or "cacti" are usually considered an EXOTIC plant. The care of these flora is necessarily different than that of plants that most people are familiar with. Therefore, not as many people KEEP Cacti as will keep 'ordinary' and more common plants.

This also means that people who know about cacti or cactuses have EXCLUSIVE information about their growth and care...

The average person who does not know anything or who knows very little about cacti can be easily taken in by the details given in the urban legend The Exploding Cactus. Those who know little to nothing about cactus plants easily assume that what happens in the story CAN REALLY HAPPEN!

Another tidbit: readers of this blog now have exclusive information about one of the most important things that makes The Exploding Cactus urban legend successful - because this tidbit has not been posted on the hub at all...

You see... 'logic' and plain 'common sense' of an average person who does not know anything about cactuses will actually MAKE THIS STORY APPEAR logical, true, plausible, etc.

Don't we live in a strange world? Where logic can actually allow a myth to perpetuate and spread?

Monday, May 11, 2009

Looking for Sawney Beane

Do you have information about a legend about Sawney Beane (sometimes spelled, "Bean")?

From my research efforts so far, what I have turned up is that no sure documents have been discovered about a person by the name of Sawney Beane who was actually proven to be a cannibal in fifteenth or sixteenth century Scotland.

According to legend, Sawney Beane, along with the help of his 40+member clan, is supposed to have murdered and performed acts of cannibalism upon over 1000 human beings - somewhere in the area of "East Lothian." Eventually, Sawney Beane and his clan grew too big, got careless and were found out. They were executed...

The cave where Sawney Beane and his notorious clan supposedly lived, undetected, for a quarter of a century was located in an area known as "Galloway." Galloway has been re-named and is now called "South Ayrshire."

Some people think that the actual cave is in existence today and is called the present-day "Bennane Cave." This cave is located between a burgh of about 8000 people called, "Girvan," and a place called "Ballantrae," both located in South Ayrshire.

Ballantrae is featured in famous author, Robert Louis Stevenson's book, "The Master of Ballantrae," written in (first ed.) 1889.

Hopefully, posting a few of these Scottish regional and burgh names will jog someone's memory - of a story heard or overheard about The Legend of Sawney Beane.

Most researchers of folklore and legends, as well as historians, believe the persona of Sawney Beane to be a purely fictitious figure - pure myth.

But - ya never know, now...

Legend of Sawney Bean:

The terrain of Scotland is notoriously varied in hills, valleys, caves - not to mention all the features of terrain caused by Scotland having maritime qualities...

What do you think? Could the Legend of Sawney Beane be rooted in truth?

Is is possible that a notorious cannibal and his despicable clan could have hid out in caves for a couple of decades and preyed - literally and physically - upon unsuspecting passersby who journeyed along 16-Century pathways?

Hub #1 in the Hub Challenge: Caller in the House

"Caller in the House" the name of my first hub submitted in Hubpages' Hub Challenge, which just started today.

You know the story, don't you? (aside from several movies that have been made with the same 'babysitter stalked' idea).

Here's the basic stuff of the story...

A teen is babysitting at a house and everything is going fine. The kids are well-behaved, nothing is out of the ordinary - until the babysitter puts the kids to bed.

After the kids are in bed, upstairs in their rooms, then--

THEN - bad stuff starts to happen.

The babysitter starts to receive a number of very strange phone calls

Read more about this urban legend on my newest hub:

Hub: Caller in the House

Of course, there are several versions of this urban legend. 3 version are featured on my hub.


Problems With Twitter

So, here I am getting all revved up for the Hub Challenge

New blog here, as suggested by the Hubpages Hub Challenge entry on the Hubpages blog...I've done a bit of topic research to get ready for building hubs, starting tomorrow, checked the coffee can to make sure I've got a good supply of java for the next few days - got my Twitter account all set up

...and then...

Logged back in to Twitter after taking a break from the computer for a couple of hours and...

My Twitter account has been suspended! (suspicious activity? after 2 updates?)

Well, hopefully, Twitter support will answer my support ticket...

Sunday, May 10, 2009

Do You Know Who Mary Worthington Was?

I've written a hub on the HubPages site about "Bloody Mary" but I'm still researching versions of this legend.

So far, a number of legends exist, naming a person called Mary Worthington as a witch, a disfigured teen, a young mother whose young infant was stolen and who committed suicide, a young mother whose infant died shortly after birth (Mary ended her life in this version, as well), an innocent young female who was wrongly charged and executed for being a witch...

...the versions of the person of Mary Worthington are many but I have not been able to track down a REAL PERSON of Mary Worthington from our near-past who fits any description that the legends offer.

If you do know of a Mary Worthington who can be proven to have really lived a real life in our recent past (anytime between fifteenth century and twentieth century), please contact me!

My Mary Worthington Hub at HubPages: Mary Worthington

As well - if you have heard of or have played the "Bloody Mary" game (sometimes reported to be a very scary game) connected with the persona of this elusive Mary Worthington, drop me a line! I may be able to feature your 'version' on my hub or blog!

Entering the Hub Challenge

I've created this blog to record what happens for me in the Hubpages "Hub Challenge" which starts tomorrow (May 11 2209).

My ID on Hubpages is mythbuster and most of my hubs are about urban legends, folkore, legends, scary movies, and similar topics.

I've studied folklore, mythology, religion & theology, and folk and fairy tales at the university level for 4+ years... the real world, what does one DO with knowledge of how urban legends, fairy tales, religion, folklore and mythology work? What PRACTICAL purpose is in these topics? What kind of work does one do with folklore, mythology and fairytales?


Writing about these things beyond school assignments and telling/re-telling snippets of stories in story circles and at campouts garners me some decent marks on paper and some scares and screams around campfires...

However, taking these topics to HUBPAGES is starting to earn me more money than any real life application I've managed so far!

It only seems natural now for me to enter the Hub Challenge!