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mountain 08-01-2011 06:36 PM

~ Fantastical Creatures and Places ~
 
Been wanting to start a thread about mythical and fantastical creatures for some time now. I have also gotten some inspiration from another member Sh3lly who has created the 'Everything About Aliens' thread in the UFO section.

Often we come across stories and fables with many curious beings and places. I always wondered whether or not they were really fictional or actually based on real interactions with strange beings. It could be a li'l of both. Either way, I am fascinated by the idea that a diversity of beings and creatures live amongst us, residing in a dimensional plane within this one and in remnants of the past.

This is a thread for all who share a fascination for elves, faeries, gnomes, dryads, dragons, lamias, mermaids and other mystical creatures as well as places. Feel free to post images, personal accounts and snippets of lore, there are no limits :)

I will begin with Medusa ..



http://nowpic.com/upload/files/2011-01/bf55ab83.jpg


Here we have the classic Clash of the Titans version..

http://nowpic.com/upload/files/2011-01/9286c98a.jpg


... and the 2010 version ..
http://nowpic.com/upload/files/2011-01/ecb768e7.jpg


Artwork by David Bovey ..

http://nowpic.com/upload/files/2011-01/5d769fbe.jpg


Yunalesca of Final Fantasy X ..

http://nowpic.com/upload/files/2011-01/95ec4bb4.jpg


Pet Shop of Horrors ..

http://nowpic.com/upload/files/2011-01/0cc79065.jpg


http://nowpic.com/upload/files/2011-01/b5b6556e.jpg

Medusa, one of the three Gorgons, daughter of Phorcys and Ceto. She was the only one of the Gorgons who was subject to mortality. She is celebrated for her personal charms and the beauty of her locks. Neptune became enamoured of her, and obtained her favours in the temple of Minerva. This violation of the sanctity of the temple provoked Minerva, and she changed the beautiful locks of Medusa, which had inspired Neptune’s love to serpents. According to Apollodorus, Medusa and her sisters came into the world with snakes on their heads, instead of hair, with yellow wings and brazen hands. Their bodies were also covered with impenetrable scales, and their very looks had the power of killing or turning to stones. Perseus rendered his name immortal by his conquest of Medusa. He cut off her head, and the blood that dropped from the wound produced the innumerable serpents that infest Africa. The conqueror placed Medusa's head on the shield of Minerva, which he had used in his expedition. The head still retained the same petrifying power as before, as it was fatally known in the court of Cepheus. . . . Some suppose that the Gorgons were a nation of women, whom Perseus conquered.

http://www.english.illinois.edu/maps...medusamyth.htm

metacomet 08-01-2011 07:49 PM

Good thread mountain :)

I'd like to post some nature spirits!

Quote:

Dryads and hamadryads are two types of wood nymphs in Greek mythology. These female nature spirits were thought to inhabit trees and forests, and they were especially fond of oak trees. Dryads were often depicted in myth and art accompanied - or being pursued by - their male counterparts, the satyrs.
First pic is by one of my fav artists Boris Vallejo! I have some of his other pics in one of my profile albums.

http://www.paleothea.com/Pictures/DryadsVallejo.jpg

http://www.heandfi.org/wp-content/up...ancer_tree.jpg


They are pursued (in greek mythology) by Satyrs, minions of Dionysus, who are most often depicted being with Nymphs.


http://farm4.static.flickr.com/3296/...7c6348b89b.jpg
http://www.terminartors.com/files/ar...tyr.normal.jpg
http://img204.imageshack.us/img204/3...aultnympha.jpg



Seems to me that Nymphs, Dryads and Satyrs etc. are personifications of the spirit of sex in a natural setting (not so much debauchery or carnal settings, although Dionysus is given credit for the drunken orgies of roman times etc).

The Dryads, Nymphs etc. personify feminine sexuality in nature -
The Satyr obviously personifying the male aspect.

Separate from the sexual nature of the natural feminine / natural male avatars you have the spiritual nature of the fairies:

http://www.josephinewall.co.uk/fairies/fairys_fairy.jpg

They are nature spirits as well. Not just tiny little winged people but actual earth energies expressed as conscious entities.

http://img695.imageshack.us/img695/5...etifairies.jpg

The reason fairies are depicted as little beings with wings is obvious. They are energy bodies in the form of rotating little spindles of light. They are like orbs except that they are especially close to the natural world and I believe are seen only in some locations. ECETI ranch in Washington obviously being one of them :p I experienced something following me around in the field at night by myself out there, I do believe them when they say they have nature spirits. And I take the idea of gnomes and fairies a little more seriously in light of that. It's not a cartoonish notion but a spiritual one.

They are actual entities that exist closer to nature than we do and are very protective of it. James Gilliland said that they express appreciation towards people who protect or love nature because they are kindred spirits - and that some human beings have actual past lives / alternate identities as these nature spirits. Some people are more elf/gnome/fairy than human and some of us have met such people before! Or we could be one ourself :)

Gnomes are the male expression of the fairy nature, sort of like Satyrs are the male expression of Nymphs.

mountain 08-01-2011 10:13 PM

Thanks Metacomet :) Lots of great info you presented here! I have just recently been introduced to James Gilliland. I really like the vibe that I get from him, along with his accounts.

mountain 08-01-2011 11:02 PM

Nagas
 
Nāga () is the Sanskrit and Pāli word for a minor deity taking the form of a very large snake, found in Hindu and Buddhist mythology. The use of the term nāga is often ambiguous, as the word may also refer, in similar contexts, to one of several human tribes known as or nicknamed "Nāgas"; to elephants; and to ordinary snakes, particularly the King Cobra and the Indian Cobra, the latter of which is still called nāg in Hindi and other languages of India. A female nāga is a nāgī.


Nagas in Hinduism

Stories involving the nāgas are still very much a part of contemporary cultural traditions in predominantly Hindu regions of Asia (India, Nepal, and the island of Bali). In India, nāgas are considered nature spirits and the protectors of springs, wells and rivers. They bring rain, and thus fertility, but are also thought to bring disasters such as floods and drought. According to some traditions nāgas are only malevolent to humans when they have been mistreated. They are susceptible to mankind's disrespectful actions in relation to the environment. Since nāgas have an affinity with water, the entrances to their underground palaces are often said to be hidden at the bottom of wells, deep lakes and rivers. They are especially popular in southern India where some believe that they brought fertility to their venerators. Some believed that the legends of nāgas may have originated with some kind of tribal people in the past.

Varuna, the Vedic god of storms, is viewed as the King of the nāgas. nāgas live in Pātāla, the seventh of the "nether" dimensions or realms [1]. They are children of Kashyapa and Kadru. Among the prominent nāgas of Hinduism are Manasa, Shesha or Sesa and Vasuki.

The nāgas also carry the elixir of life and immortality. One story mentions that when the gods were rationing out the elixir of immortality, the nāgas grabbed a cup. The gods were able to retrieve the cup, but in doing so, spilled a few drops on the ground. The nāgas quickly licked up the drops, but in doing so, cut their tongues on the grass, and since then their tongues have been forked.

The name of the Indian city Nagpur is derived from Nāgapuram, literally, "city of nāgas".

http://nowpic.com/upload/files/2011-01/8175dc2b.jpg


Nāgas in Buddhism

Traditions about nāgas are also very common in all the Buddhist countries of Asia. In many countries, the nāga concept has been merged with local traditions of large and intelligent serpents or dragons. In Tibet, the nāga was equated with the klu (pronounced lu), spirits that dwell in lakes or underground streams and guard treasure. In China, the nāga was equated with the lóng or Chinese dragon.

The Buddhist nāga generally has the form of a large cobra-like snake, usually with a single head but sometimes with many. At least some of the nāgas are capable of using magic powers to transform themselves into a human semblance. In Buddhist painting, the nāga is sometimes portrayed as a human being with a snake or dragon extending over his head.

http://nowpic.com/upload/files/2011-01/53b26e0d.jpg

Nāgas both live on Mount Sumeru, among the other minor deities, and in various parts of the human-inhabited earth. Some of them are water-dwellers, living in rivers or the ocean; others are earth-dwellers, living in underground caverns. Some of them sleep on top of anthills. Their food includes frogs.

In Buddhism, the nāgas are the enemies of the minor deities resembling gigantic eagles, who eat them. They learned how to keep from being devoured by the by eating large stones, which made them too heavy to be carried off by the .

The nāgas are the servants of (Pāli: Virūpakkha), one of the Four Heavenly Kings who guards the western direction. They act as a guard upon Mount Sumeru, protecting the devas of from attack by the Asuras.

Among the notable nāgas of Buddhist tradition is Mucalinda, protector of the Buddha.


Other Naga traditions

For Malay sailors, nāgas are a type of dragon with many heads; in Thailand and Java, the naga is a wealthy underworld deity. In Laos they are beaked water serpents.


Nagas in Cambodia

In a Cambodian legend, the nāga were a reptilian race of beings who possessed a large empire or kingdom in the Pacific Ocean region. The Nāga King's daughter married the king of Ancient Cambodia, and thus gave rise to the Cambodian people. This is why, still, today, Cambodians say that they are "Born from the Nāga". The Seven-Headed Nāga serpents depicted as statues on Cambodian temples, such as Angkor Wat, apparently represent the 7 races within Nāga society, which has a mythological, or symbolic, association with "the seven colours of the rainbow". Furthermore, Cambodian Nāga possess numerological symbolism in the number of their heads. Odd-headed Nāga symbolise the Male Energy, Infinity, Timelessness, and Immortality. This is because, numerologically, all odd numbers come from One (1). Even-headed Nāga are said to be "Female, representing Physicality, Mortality, Temporality, and the Earth."

Nagas in Nagaland

The Naga people of Nagaland are said to have believed themselves to be descendants of the mythological "Nāgas", but to have lost this belief due to Christian missionary activity.


Prehistoric Nagas

Legends similar to the Cambodian legend exist amongst the tribal Hindus of Southern India (Adivasis) and the aboriginals of Australia. In this version of the legend, the Nagas inhabited a massive continent that existed somewhere in the Pacific Ocean region. The continent sank and the remnants formed the Indonesian archipelago and Australia. These Nagas are said to have developed a subterranean or underwater civilization technologically more advanced than ours and they are thought to possess superhuman powers.

http://www.associatepublisher.com/e/...mythology).htm


Phanom Rung, Buri Ram Province, Thailand

http://nowpic.com/upload/files/2011-01/da4c5aad.jpg

http://nowpic.com/upload/files/2011-01/5706e845.jpg
Krishna dances over the subdued Kaliya Naag in river Yamuna, while his wives are praying to Krishna for his mercy. Also seen on the banks are people of Gokula, Krishna's father Nanda Baba and his brother Balarama. From a Bhagavata Purana manuscript, c. 1640.



http://nowpic.com/upload/files/2011-01/da562abf.jpg

http://nowpic.com/upload/files/2011-01/d12694fd.jpg

mountain 08-01-2011 11:19 PM

Since I am already on the subject of naga type beings mind as well mention Lamia ...

The ancient Greeks believed that the Lamia was a vampire who stole little children to drink their blood. She was portrayed as a snake-like creature with a female head and breasts. Usually female, but sometimes referred to as a male or a hermaphrodite.

According to legend, she was once a Libyan queen (or princess) who fell in love with Zeus. Zeus' jealous wife Hera deformed her into a monster and murdered their offspring. She also made Lamia unable to close her eyes, so that she couldn't find any rest from the obsessing image of her dead children.

When Zeus saw what had be done to Lamia, he felt pity for her and gave his former lover a gift: she could remove her eyes, and then put them on again. This way, though sleepless, she could rest from her misfortune. Lamia envied the other mothers and took her vengeance by stealing their children and devouring them.

http://www.pantheon.org/articles/l/lamia.html

http://nowpic.com/upload/files/2011-01/44396162.jpg

http://nowpic.com/upload/files/2011-01/fae66347.jpg

http://nowpic.com/upload/files/2011-01/c73e1232.jpg

http://nowpic.com/upload/files/2011-01/eec1737c.jpg

http://nowpic.com/upload/files/2011-01/7bd2d615.jpg

:eek:

torus 08-01-2011 11:35 PM

I like alot of Roger Dean's mythical places. I've always wanted to climb this spiral rock.

http://farm1.static.flickr.com/108/3...d408d2518e.jpg

mountain 08-01-2011 11:47 PM

A favourite character of mines ...

http://nowpic.com/upload/files/2011-01/b70ab333.jpg

Deis (pronounced DAY-iss) is a recurring character in the Breath of Fire series. Due to a translation issue, she was known as 'Bleu' in the original SNES releases of the first two games.

Unlike Ryu or Nina, the other two continually recurring characters of the series, Deis is always herself. While Ryu and Nina are descendants or reincarnations of their previous selves, Deis is always the same character, who lives for thousands of years, to the point of near immortality. As a sorceress, she can take many forms, but her favourite is half-woman, half-snake - a Naga. This may be said to be her 'natural' form, since she always reverts to it. However, it is entirely possibly that it is simply the one she likes best. This becomes more likely when one considers that, when Deis is unconscious and imprisoned, she reverts to a human form.

Deis has long dark blue hair (easily past the start of her tail), and in the first two games, wears a hooded purple cape with gold trim, held in place by a heavily jewelled, wide gold brooch which stretches across her collar bones. Beneath this, she wears a purple wrap-around top, slit almost to the waist, held firmly in place with a golden belt. This top covers the top of her tail, falling in a v-shape, decorated, again, with jewels. All of Deis' jewels are red or green.

Deis' tail is green, with a white underbelly. It starts off fairly thick, and tapers to a slim point. When she sleeps, she curls up on top of it.
http://breathoffire.neoseeker.com/wiki/Deis

mountain 08-01-2011 11:58 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by torus (Post 1059581396)
I like alot of Roger Dean's mythical places. I've always wanted to climb this spiral rock.

http://farm1.static.flickr.com/108/3...d408d2518e.jpg

Very beautiful, Torus :) It sort of reminds me of this place in the game Final Fantasy VII, City of the Ancients, Forgotten Capital ...

http://nowpic.com/upload/files/2011-01/48e49a3c.jpg

http://nowpic.com/upload/files/2011-01/2cb8c849.jpg

http://nowpic.com/upload/files/2011-01/9c1cdea3.jpg

torus 09-01-2011 12:10 AM

I think that Dean inspired some of the Avatar floating lanscapes.

http://www.linesandcolors.com/images...5/dean_450.jpg

mountain 09-01-2011 12:32 AM

Quote:

Originally Posted by torus (Post 1059581496)
I think that Dean inspired some of the Avatar floating lanscapes.

http://www.linesandcolors.com/images...5/dean_450.jpg

Lovely! Here's another Dean one ..

http://nowpic.com/upload/files/2011-01/cd29fb30.jpg

Here is a brief summary of a tale of floating islands that I found in a person'a blog ..

http://nowpic.com/upload/files/2011-01/da77cb3d.jpg

Laputa is a floating island from the classic novel Gulliver’s Travels by Jonathan Swift. It is one of the many strange lands that Gulliver travels to in his journey. Laputa is an island with a bottom made entirely of adamantine, and the people of Laputa can direct where the island floats to by manipulating the magnetic fields of the metal. It is populated by a patriarchal society made up of scientists and mathematicians, except the people are not particularly logical in the way they go about things like design—for example, using a compass or a quadrant to try and design clothing, rather than a measuring tape.

The king of Laputa also ruled the lands below it, mainly by fear. If a land below rebelled, he would threaten to float the island directly above them, and thus cutting them off from all sunshine or rain, and ultimately creating a famine there. In some cases rocks were thrown off of Laputa onto the cities below—which is supposedly the first idea of aerial warfare. In extreme cases, Laputa could be made to land on unruly cities, crushing them out of existence.

The society is male-dominated, and because of this women had to request to be able to visit the lands below Laputa, which requests were often denied because of the extreme possibility and likelihood that they wouldn’t want to come back. (I wonder why!)

So all in all, while the idea of a floating island is really a magical and wonderful one (at least in my mind), I don’t know that Swift’s Laputa is the one you’d want to visit. Of course, Laputa was also the inspiration of Hayao Miyazaki’s film of the same name, also called Castle in the Sky in the U.S., a movie that comes highly recommended from yours truly.

http://hollowtreetales.wordpress.com/2010/06/

armoured_amazon 09-01-2011 12:37 AM

Fun thread. :)

size_of_light 09-01-2011 12:39 AM

I've always dug the mimi spirits of Northern Australia:

Quote:

The Mimi are tall, thin beings that live in the rocky escarpment of northern Australia as spirits. Before the coming of Aboriginal people they had human forms. The Mimi are generally harmless but on occasions can be mischievous.

When Aboriginal people first came to northern Australia, the Mimi taught them how to hunt and cook kangaroos and other animals. They also did the first rock paintings and taught Aboriginal people how to paint.
http://i51.tinypic.com/2ci8g7o.jpg

http://i53.tinypic.com/vff2qg.jpg
Aboriginal rock painting of Mimi spirits in the Anbangbang gallery at Nourlangie Rock

Quote:

Many paintings of what are called "Mimi spirits" are located high up on the rock and it is unclear how human beings could have reached the area to paint them. The Aboriginal people claim that their Mimi rock pictures were painted by the Mimi spirits themselves. The Mimi are very thin and fragile and are said to live in the nooks and crannies of the rocky landscape. The Mimi are seen not only as the artists of their self-portraits, but also the Dreaming ancestors who taught people to paint, hunt, dance and compose songs.

The stories connected to these artworks are known only to certain Aboriginal people.
http://i51.tinypic.com/rhibee.jpg

mountain 09-01-2011 12:56 AM

Quote:

Originally Posted by armoured_amazon (Post 1059581557)
Fun thread. :)

Thanks AA! YAAAAAY :)

mountain 09-01-2011 12:57 AM

Quote:

Originally Posted by size_of_light (Post 1059581562)
I've always dug the mimi spirits of Northern Australia:



http://i51.tinypic.com/2ci8g7o.jpg

http://i53.tinypic.com/vff2qg.jpg
Aboriginal rock painting of Mimi spirits in the Anbangbang gallery at Nourlangie Rock



http://i51.tinypic.com/rhibee.jpg

That is very interesting! Thanks Size :)

I will have to look more into the Mimi people, never heard of them before until now ..

torus 09-01-2011 01:00 AM

Quote:

Originally Posted by armoured_amazon (Post 1059581557)
Fun thread. :)

outrageous avatar!!:eek: To this woman I say, "you look delicious when you're in that mood!"


forgive this interruption, carry on. :)

mountain 09-01-2011 08:14 AM

Ningyo - Japanese Mermaid
 
NINGYO- The Story of Japanese Mermaids, Part 1


By- Brent Swancer

http://nowpic.com/upload/files/2011-01/f989a676.jpg

Mermaids. The word conjures up images of magical half human, half fish beings with beautiful maiden bodies atop elegant fish tails. These types of beings have been common fixtures in much folklore, myth, and legend around the world. Sailors from every corner of the Earth have long reported seeing and being enchanted by these enigmatic creatures in the waters of the far flung corners of the Earth.

http://nowpic.com/upload/files/2011-01/554f263d.jpg

As a nation surrounded by the sea, it is perhaps no surprise that Japan too has its own long tradition of mermaids. These creatures are known to the Japanese as ningyo (人魚), literally “human fish,” as well as gyojin (魚人), “fish human,” and hangyo-jin, (半魚人)or “half-fish human.”

http://nowpic.com/upload/files/2011-01/37428612.jpg

Stories of fish-like humanoid beings have been reported around Japan for centuries. It is said that the first recorded account of mermaids in Japan dates all the way back to the year 619 during the reign of Empress Suiko, when one was allegedly captured in Japanese waters and brought before the court of the Empress herself.


Physical descriptions of Japanese mermaids vary, however they generally differ in appearance from the typical image of the beautiful maiden torsos with fish tails common to traditional European mermaid lore. Before the influence of foreign lore somewhat changed the image of mermaids in Japan, the Japanese ningyo had little in common with their Western counterparts.

http://nowpic.com/upload/files/2011-01/80760a36.jpg

Although they were often described as having full heads of hair, the ningyo were typically depicted as more bestial and grotesque looking than the European variety, with an appearance more like a cross between a fish and a monkey than that of a beautiful woman. Often the mermaids had barely human scaly arms ending in claws. In many local traditions, these Japanese mermaids had no appendages, and were often said to be just a humanoid head upon a fish body instead of possessing full human torso. The heads were sometimes depicted as being horned, or possessing prominent fangs. Some stories tell of a more relatively normal looking human head, only attached directly to a full fish body. In some traditions, the mermaids retained a form reminiscent of the more familiar version of mermaids, but with a more demonic appearance or having distorted features. Japanese mermaids were sometimes said to have alabaster white skin and high, musical voices that sounded like a skylark or flute.

Many mystical qualities were attributed to the mermaids of Japan. The ningyo were believed to cry tears of pearl, and it was thought that eternal youth and beauty would be imparted upon any human being who consumed a mermaid’s flesh. Many legends tell of women eating the flesh of a ningyo and miraculously ceasing to age, or reverting to a younger, more beautiful form. Like many Japanese folkloric animals, merfolk were also said to have shape-shifting abilities. Mermaids taking on the form of human beings or other creatures are often mentioned in much folklore concerning the creatures. For instance, in the 1870s lighthouse keepers at the Cape Nosaapu Lighthouse in northeast Hokkaido believed that mermaids could turn into deadly jellyfish. These mermaids were thought to masquerade as beautiful, kimono clad women on shore that would lure men into the sea, upon which they would transform into giant jelly fish and kill anyone foolish enough to have gone for a swim with them.

For many Japanese in earlier eras, as in other parts of the world, mermaids were not figments of the imagination or the stories of crazed fishermen, but rather a very real feature of the ocean. Japanese fishermen were well acquainted with them, with sightings being fairly commonplace. Throughout the 16th to 19th centuries, it was not considered particularly unusual for fishermen to tell of seeing these enigmatic beings swimming alongside their boats or attempting to steal fish from their nets.

More relatively modern accounts exist as well, such as a case in 1929, when a fisherman by the name of Sukumo Kochi captured a fish-like creature in his net that had a human face upon the head of a dog. The creature broke free of the net and escaped.

Western explorers also gave accounts of seeing mermaids in Japanese waters. In 1610, a British captain saw one such mermaid from a pier at the port of Sentojonzu. The creature was cavorting in the water nearby and reportedly came quite close to the pier where the bewildered captain stood. The mermaid was described as being the head of a woman atop a body that was all fish, with a dorsal fin running down the middle of the upper body. Sea traders from the west would make note of mermaids in Japanese waters on many occasions in their logbooks.

Not only were ningyo regularly sighted by various seafarers, but tales abound of them being captured by fishermen all over the country, either by accident or by those looking to gain the purported immortality bestowing meat. In the 1700s and 1800s in particular, mermaids were often reportedly brought in by fishermen around Japan. The captured mermaids in some cases were said to have the ability to speak, and would try to trick their captors or talk the fishermen into releasing them. Although many of these mermaids managed to break free, not all were so lucky.

http://nowpic.com/upload/files/2011-01/7f706012.jpg

Among the Ningyo successfully caught by fishermen, some were said to be exhibited in sideshows. In 18th and 19th century Japan, sideshow carnivals known as misemono were quite popular among the populace. These events were like festivals of sorts that featured a wide range of attractions such as acrobatics, dance, fortune telling, and arts and crafts. One very popular type of attraction were exhibitions of strange natural phenomena. These were typically booths comprised of a “cabinet of curiosities” type exhibitions showcasing bizarre animals, plants, and other exotic wonders of nature from all over the world. These booths can be seen as being in many ways similar to the circus sideshows of the U.S. and Europe, attracting curious onlookers with their displays of the mysterious, strange, and sometimes downright freakish.

One of the biggest draws of the misemono sideshows was when mermaids were displayed. These typically dead and preserved specimens drew in huge crowds of people clamoring to get a glimpse of a real mermaid, and many of the exhibitors became wealthy from such shows. Whether any of these specimens were in fact real mermaids or not is not known for sure, but they certainly were quite real to those that saw them. Most common people of the time already considered mermaids to be real, and seeing one in front of their eyes only reaffirmed this notion.

The success and popularity of the misemono sideshow mermaids increased the demand for such attractions. A significant amount of money was changing hands, and some enterprising fishermen consequently began to see an opportunity to make some good extra money by crafting their own mermaid specimens. After all, why go out and go through the trouble of catching a real mermaid when you could make your own? Typically these fake mermaids were cobbled together from the upper torso of monkeys and the lower bodies of fish, as well as all manner of parts such as fur, skin, and membranes, joined in such a way as to avoid detection by the naked eye. These fakes turned out to turn quite a profit, and the increasing presence of more Westerners in Japan willing to pay exorbitant prices for these specimens only increased the trade in fake mermaids.

With regards to trying to discern any grain of truth behind these first mermaid exhibits, it is unfortunate that the one thing Japan became known for concerning mermaids was their ability to manufacture them. The Japanese, long known for mermaid exhibitions in their own country, became renowned overseas for being master craftsmen of fake mermaids, and there is much evidence to suggest the regular manufacture of such curios.

It may sound as if anyone who could be convinced by a such a monstrosity as a monkey sewn to a fish must be extremely gullible, but that would be underestimating the skill and ingenuity some Japanese displayed in these creations. At the time, many Japanese fake mermaids were incredibly convincing to the majority of those who saw them, and even some experts were confounded. An issue of The American Journal of Science and Arts from 1863 describes the craftsmanship of these fake mermaids thus-

“We should judge that the Japanese must have considerable knowledge of the lower animals to be able to produce factitious congeries, so nearly agreeing with nature and so well calculated as to deceive even practiced naturalists.”

As their popularity increased, Japanese mermaids began to pop up all over the place. A typical description of a Japanese made mermaid is written of in the book Curiosities of Natural History by Francis Trevelyan Buckland, in this letter from 1866 from a correspondent of Land and Water.

“Captain Cuming, R.N., of Braidwood Terrace, Plymouth, has returned from Yokohama, bringing with him a great variety of curiosities. Amongst them is a mermaid. The head is that of a small monkey, with prominent teeth; a little thin wool on the head and upper parts; long attenuated arms and claws, below which the ribs show very distinctly; beyond these latter the skin of a fish is so neatly joined that it is hardly possible to detect where the fish begins and and the monkey leaves off. The fish has large scales, spines on the back, a square tail, and appears to be a species of chub. It is quite perfect except the head, which only seems to have been removed to make the joint. Total length about sixteen inches; color of monkey, dull slate; the fish, its natural colour; and the whole in excellent preservation.”


It’s interesting to note the praise given to the craftsmanship on display, a common sentiment regarding the fake mermaids of Japan. Also noteworthy is the small size of the specimen. Most Japanese made mermaids were far from human size, with most being under three feet long.

Another well known specimen was shown at the Oriental Warehouse of Farmer and Rogers in Paris that was 25 inches long. It was described by one observer as follows:

“The lower half of her body is made up of the skin and scales of a fish of the carp family, neatly fastened to a wooden body. The upper part of the mermaid is in the attitude of a sphinx, leaning upon its elbows and forearm. The arms are long and scraggy, and the fingers attenuated and skeleton-like. The nails are formed of little bits of ivory or bone. The head is about the size of a small orange, and the face has a laughing expression of good nature and roguish simplicity. I cannot say much for the expression of her ladyship’s mouth, which is a regular gape, like the clown’s mouth at a pantomime: behind her lips we see a double row of teeth, one rank being in advance of the other, like a regiment of volunteers drawn up in a line. the hind teeth are conical, but the front ones project like diminutive tusks. I am nearly certain as I can be that these are the teeth of a young cat-fish- a hideous fish that one sometimes sees hanging up in the fishmonger’s shops in London. Her ears are very pig-like, and certainly not elegant, and her nose decidedly snub. The coiffeur is submarine, and undoubtedly not Parisian: it would, in fact, be none the worse for a touch of brush and comb.”


The observer later goes on to describe the following:

“At the back of her head we see a series of nobs, which run down the back till they join with a bristling row of 24 spines- evidently the spines of the dorsal fin of the carp like fish. The ribs are exceedingly prominent.”

An issue of the Saturday Magazine of June 4th, 1836 describes another such specimen that was displayed in a glass case in London that had “the skin of the head and shoulders of a monkey, which was attached to the dried skin of a fish of the salmon kind with the head cut off, and the whole was stuffed and highly varnished, the better to deceive the eye.”

Although this particular mermaid was allegedly taken by a Dutch crew from a native Malacca boat, it is likely that it was Japanese made due to the apparent quality of the craftsmanship.

Many of these faked mermaids were exceedingly clever and creative in their design, with the artists using all manner of various animal parts and often taking great artistic license with their creations. One specimen shown at Picadilly in London was found to be made up of a fish tail, ape body, the jaws of a wolf fish, the skull of an ape, and the fur of a fox. Some even had wings attached that were apparently fashioned from those of bats. Again, the quality of construction was so good as to require very careful examination and a keen eye to discover even the vaguest signs of human tampering.

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It was quite common for Japanese mermaid specimens to be carried around in special wooden boxes. One such box that contained a mermaid had an inscription in Japanese claiming that the specimen had been captured and kept alive for two days before dying, suggesting that live specimens were sometimes obtained and exhibited as well. Indeed, as spectacular as the exhibitions of stuffed specimens were at the time, there was even a case of a purported live Japanese mermaid put on display. In 1825, a supposedly living mermaid from Japan was shown at Bartholemew’s Fair in London. The attraction brought in droves of amazed, gawking onlookers who could nt believe their eyes. The creature seemed truly spectacular until closer inspection determined that the “mermaid” was in fact a woman with the skin of a fish painstakingly, artfully, and no doubt uncomfortably, stitched to her skin.

http://www.cryptomundo.com/cryptozoo...nese-feejee-i/

For Part 2 go here --> http://www.cryptomundo.com/cryptozoo...ese-feejee-ii/


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211200 09-01-2011 09:27 AM

Theseus and the Minotaur

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torus 09-01-2011 08:52 PM

YES - The Calling

Feel the calling of a miracle
In the presence of the word.
Now we hold the right to rearrange
How the stories can be heard.

In the beginning is the future,
And the future is at hand;
I'll be calling voices of Africa
Be the rhythm to the plan.

From the Congo to Lenasia
Be the writing on the wall.
I'll be calling the colors of India
See the Asian life explode.

Head in to the headlight.
Don't turn from the rain.
There's a fire raging somewhere near,
Like a longtime friend who's
Seen it darker than ebony.
Take off on the turnpike
(Asking for the first call)
Give me more of the same
(Asking for a song)
There's a fire burning in my heart again.

I'll be calling the dragons of China;
See the dancers of the Nile.
See the wings of change are on display
This revelation mine.

Feel the calling of a miracle
In the presence of the word.

Head in to the headlight.
Don't turn from the rain.
There's a fire raging somewhere near,
Like a longtime friend who's
Seen it darker than ebony.
Take off on the turnpike
(Asking for the first call)
Give me more of the same
(Asking for a song)
There's a fire burning in my heart again.

Feel the calling of a miracle,
The revelation mine.


mountain 09-01-2011 11:57 PM

Qilin - Chinese unicorn
 
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The Qilin (Chinese: 麒麟; pinyin: qílín; Wade–Giles: ch'i-lin,騏驎), also spelled Kirin (from Japanese) or sometimes Kyrin, is a mythical hooved Chinese chimerical creature known throughout various East Asian cultures, and is said to appear in conjunction with the arrival of a sage. It is a good omen that brings rui (Chinese: 瑞; pinyin: ruì; roughly translated as "serenity" or "prosperity"). It is often depicted with what looks like fire all over its body. It is sometimes misleadingly called the "Chinese unicorn" due to conflation with the unicorn by Westerners.

The earliest references to the Qilin are in the 5th century BC book Zuo Zhuan.[1][2] The Qilin made appearances in a variety of subsequent Chinese works of history and fiction.

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In legend, the Qilin became tiger-like after their disappearance in real life and become a stylised representation of the giraffe in Ming Dynasty.[3][4] The identification of the Qilin with giraffes began after Zheng He's voyage to East Africa (landing, among other places, in modern-day Kenya). Zheng He's fleet brought back two giraffes to Beijing, and they were referred to as "Qilins".[5] The Emperor proclaimed the giraffes magical creatures, whose capture signalled the greatness of his power.

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A Qilin in the dragon, fish, and ox style of the Ming Dynasty. Note the pair of horns.

The identification between the Qilin and the giraffe is supported by some attributes of the Qilin, including its vegetarian and quiet nature. Its reputed ability to "walk on grass without disturbing it" may be related to the giraffe's long, thin legs. Also the Qilin is described as having antlers like a deer and scales like a dragon or fish; since the giraffe has horn-like "ossicones" on its head and a tessellated coat pattern that looks like scales it is easy to draw an analogy between the two creatures. The identification of Qilin with giraffes has had lasting implications; even today, the giraffe is called a "kirin" by the Japanese and Koreans.

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It is unlikely that giraffes and qilin were regarded as the same creature in pre-modern times however. For example, typical depictions of the qilin have much shorter necks than giraffes. However, the Chinese characters of Qilun 麒 and 麟 both carry Chinese radical 鹿, suggesting that the eyewitness described them deer like animal, or perhaps an antelope.

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Although it looks fearsome, the Qilin only punishes the wicked. It can walk on grass yet not trample the blades and it can also walk on water. As it is a peaceful creature, its diet does not include flesh. It takes great care when it walks never to tread on any living thing, and it is said to appear only in areas ruled by a wise and benevolent leader (some say even if this area is only a house). It is normally gentle but can become fierce if a pure person is threatened by a sinner, spouting flames from its mouth and exercising other fearsome powers that vary from story to story.

Some stories state that the Qilin is a sacred pet (or familiar) of the deities. Therefore, in the hierarchy of dances performed by the Chinese (Lion Dance, Dragon Dance, etc.), the Qilin ranks highly; second only to the Dragon and Phoenix who are the highest.

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In the Qilin Dance, movements are characterised by fast, powerful strokes of the head. The Qilin Dance is often regarded as a hard dance to perform due to the weight of the head, stances and the emphasis on "fǎ jìn" (traditional Chinese: 法勁) — outbursts of strength/power/energy.

mountain 10-01-2011 12:14 AM

Kirin - Japanese unicorn
 
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