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 Good day to you all

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elspeth2002

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PostSubject: Good day to you all   Sat 13 Sep 2008, 7:28 pm

Hello everyone. I have just signed on to Mysterious Britain. I am excited to chat with you all. I currently live in Norman, Oklahoma USA. I am a Master of Fine Arts graduate student in costume design. The main reason why I signed onto this forum is to gain knowledge on some Scottish, Irish, and Celtic Mythological creatures. I have started working on my thesis, which is not due for 2 years but the class I am now wants us to create a annotated bibliography for the thesis. I thought if I have to do all of this work mind as well start working on my actual thesis.
Anyways, I ramble. My thesis is basically on the Compare and Contrast of Scottish and Irish Myths to the way we perceive them in modern times. My goal is to research the history of 'x' number of mythical creatures pertaining to Scotland and Ireland. Then render a costume reflecting that knowledge. And also reder a costume that reflects how we perceive them today.
I am looking for history, general knowledge, physical descriptions, clothing (would they wear clothing of the time), & any good sources usable in a thesis. Keeping in mind that I will need to design two seperate representative costumes for each creature.
Thank you all so much for your time and I look forward to chatting.
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Ian
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PostSubject: Re: Good day to you all   Sun 14 Sep 2008, 4:13 am

Hi Elspeth and welcome to the forum Very Happy . I'm sure we can help dig out some ideas for you.

Have you considered the Fachan yet? I copied the below from wikipedia.


The Fachen (also spelled Fachan or Fachin)(also known as Peg Leg Jack) is a creature with only half a body in Scottish and Scots-Irish folklore. Supposedly its appearance, which includes a mane of black feathers tufted at the top and a very wide mouth, is so frightening that it induces heart attacks. It can destroy an orchard with a chain in its strong, singular, withered arm, in a single night. A story in John Francis Campbell's Popular Tales of the West Highlands features a Fachen named Nesnas Mhiccallain being defeated in a race by the story's hero, Murachadh Mac Brian, who became king of Ireland. In Popular Tales of the West Highlands the Fachen is described as follows: 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.

In the Readers Digest on Folklore and Legends it mentions the Fachan as well. Essentially it refers to the Fachan of Glen Etive, Argyll. It gives a general description, one eye, one leg, one arm, but then suggests it may be an imperfect memory of Celtic Seers who when casting spells would stand on one leg, close one eye and extend one arm.

I think the Celtic Seers suggestion gives a good possible historical source of the creature, but who can say for real.

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Sparkle-

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PostSubject: Re: Good day to you all   Sun 14 Sep 2008, 9:26 am

Hello Elspeth - welcome Very Happy
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LeeWat

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PostSubject: Re: Good day to you all   Sun 14 Sep 2008, 9:49 am

Hi Elspeth, welcome to the forum and good luck with your thesis. It will be good to see what you come up with. Will you have a website where we can follow your work ?
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elspeth2002

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PostSubject: Re: Good day to you all   Sun 14 Sep 2008, 11:31 am

The Fachan could be interesting to do. As for a website, I am not that far into my research. I do know that my thesis will be printed and placed in the OU library. Futhermore, I know nothing about starting a website. But cool idea, thanks.


I have located a couple of books by Katharine Mary Briggs that look promising. And also some by a Jack Zipes. I have e-mailed some professors in Scotland and Ireland on the subject. I hopefully I will hear from them soon.

I have not decided how many creatures there will be in my thesis. I would say between 10-20. Since I am a design major my paper needs only to be about 30 pages. I am going to start looking at Gnome, Mermaid, Boabhan Sith, Unicorn, and the Fairy. I have already stated what I will be looking for in the above passage. Any other information is great, too.

Thanks for your time.
I am really excited about this project
.
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Ian
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PostSubject: Re: Good day to you all   Sun 14 Sep 2008, 12:31 pm

Briggs is good. We have used some of her books as sources for the website.

Briggs, Katherine, Abbey Lubbers, Banshees and
Boggarts. An illustrated encyclopaedia of Fairies, New York: Pantheon
Books 1976.

Briggs, Katherine, An Encyclopaedia of Fairies:
Hobgoblins, Brownies, Bogies and other supernatural creatures. New
York: Pantheon Books 1976.

Briggs, Katherine, A Dictionary of British Folk Tales in
the English Language Vol I, Vol II. London: Routledge and Kegan Paul,
1971.

Briggs, Katherine, The Vanishing People: Fairy Lore and Legend. New York, Pantheon Books 1978.

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PostSubject: Re: Good day to you all   Tue 16 Sep 2008, 6:07 am

I think mermaids of old were said to have human form within a seal skin, which they removed when coming ashore. A bit differant to todays fish tailed ones.

There is a story connected to Loch Druich and three brothers who happened across a troupe of merfolk. One night the brothers were by the loch side when they saw a group of seals come up onto the beach and shred their furry skins. Beneath the skins were naked people, who danced together on the shore.
The three brothers were captivated by the beauty of three of the mermaids and decided that they wanted to marry these girls. They crept down to the shore line and stole the seal skins left by the maidens. When the merfolk started to return to the loch, the three mermaids were stranded and their family were heart broken to have to leave them behind. In came the brothers to the rescue, each taking a mermaid back to his home, taking care of her and marrying her.
The youngest brother saw his wife was extremely sad and unhappy for she longed to be back with her people. He loved her so much that he could stand to see her pining for her family, so he gave her back the seal skin he had taken and allowed to leave. Nine nights later the merfolk returned with the mermaid. She introduced the youngest brother to her father, who explained that his daughter was equally in love with the brother, therefore they struck a bargain, that the mermaid would be allowed to return to him on each ninth night.
The mermaid bride of the second brother found the seal skin that her husband had hidden away and stole it back. She returned to Loch Druich and never returned.
The eldest brother was told what had happen and was terrified that his wife may find a way to steal back her own skin and leave him alone. He decided that the best thing to do would be to destroy the skin, so he set it on fire. He had not however realised the bond between a mermaid and her seal skin and by setting it on fire he burnt his wife alive.

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DJP

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PostSubject: Re: Good day to you all   Thu 18 Sep 2008, 2:06 am

Hi

Welcome to the forum.

Have you thought about the influence of films on the modern view of otherworld creatures. Films like Lord of the rings did a lot of research on ancient costumes and depictions of creatures in art work which they used as a basis for their own ideas. I would imagine that films as popular as this would have an effect on how people would visualise say an elf - I would guess the first thing that would sping to mind for a lot of people now would be Orlando Bloom as Legolas.
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Ian
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PostSubject: Re: Good day to you all   Thu 18 Sep 2008, 2:13 am

Good point Dan. I think Tolkien had a big part in redesigning elves and dwarves. This was then taken up by Roleplaying Games as well such as D&D.

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PostSubject: Re: Good day to you all   Thu 18 Sep 2008, 1:00 pm

Back to my above Mermaids, although they described as mermaids in the references I found, perhaps they were akin to the Scottish Silkie.

Silkies are shape shifting sea fairies usually in the form of bright-eyed seals. They are localised to Northern Scotland and the Shetland Islands.

Silkies often came on to land in human form, where they would dance, especially on the night of the full moon.

In taking human form the Silkies shed their sealskin, and hide them in a safe place. There are many tales from the clans of leaders taking Silkie wives by stealing their skins. The Silkies are said to make good wives but always long for the sea, and return to their seal form if they gain repossession of their skins.

The silkies can be identified in their human form by their webbed fingers and toes and their ability to swim underwater for long periods of time.

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agricola



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PostSubject: Re: Good day to you all   Thu 18 Sep 2008, 1:42 pm

This may be of interest;


Location. Island of Muck Highland Region Scotland

Date: 1947

Time: unknown

80-year old Alexander Gunn, an angler saw a mermaid like creature right off the coast of the island. The being was a female humanoid in appearance, and sat on a floating wooded box and appeared to be coming her long blond hair. She plunged into the sea when she noticed the witness looking at her. No other information.



Pasted from <http://ufoinfo.com/humanoid/humanoid1947.shtml>



Not sure how reliable it is or if it has cropped up elsewhere. Also I seem to recall a sighting last century from Sandlewood Bay, though I can't find where that came from. Maybe someone on here may be able to offer some more - Uriske seems to have a few good tomes on this sort of thing.
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Urisk

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PostSubject: Re: Good day to you all   Fri 26 Sep 2008, 7:49 am

Hello elspeth and welcome to the forum Very Happy

If you have any questions about Scottish folklore and beasties please don't hesitate to get in touch. It's something of a pet interest for me and I'll do my best to help!

The good ol' Urisk is a good Scottish critter to start with! Very similar to a satyr in appearence but nowhere near as gregarious in attitude. He was a solitary dude who often longed for a bit of company, but would just sit and watch travellers from atop a nearby stone. Happy to help with harvests, tending livestock etc.


Then you've got the Each Uisge (Scot) and Augh Isky (Irish); the much feared water horse similar to the kelpie (but inhabits lochs as opposed to the kelpie which lived in rivers).
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Turtlethrone

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PostSubject: Re: Good day to you all   Sun 05 Oct 2008, 4:48 pm

Hi Elspeth, welcome to the site. I don't know much about folklore but I'll help out if I can.
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