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Author Topic: Please tell me some interesting legends/memorates [Completed]  (Read 5841 times)

Matt_S

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"What on earth is this guy talking about?" you might be wondering.  Well, I'm taking a class on Slavic folklore, and I have an assignment to do some "field work" by collecting legends/memorates.  I figure this is a sort of diverse community, and it might be a good place to ask.  First, a disclaimer:

Hi, my name is Matthew Sullivan.  I am soliciting this material for use in my folklore class. It is part of an assigned project on folklore field work. Your name, relationship to me, and basic contact information will appear on the materials I submit to the instructor, Prof. Maria Carlson (mcarlson (at) ku.edu) or Prof. Jonathan Perkins (jperkins (at) ku.edu), but no other use will be made of this material. These materials will be returned to me after the assignment has been graded. You may contact the instructor if you have concerns or questions.

Second, I need to tell you the official, folklore definition of what I'm looking for, because they distinguish things like legends/memorates and folktales.  A memorate/legend is a short experiential narrative that tells the story of a human being’s encounter with the dark forces or the supernatural, but always with the insistence that the story is true.  "Dark forces" is a little vague, but memorates don't have to involve anything supernatural; for example, various urban legends are, not surprisingly, legends.  There's not much distinction between a memorate and a legend, as far as I know.  But the key thing is that it's "supposedly true", even if you don't believe it yourself.

Third, if you choose to assist me, and I'd really appreciate it if you did :), I'll need the following information:
Name
E-mail (or other preferred contact info)
Profession
Level of Education
Cultural origin of the legend/memorate (location of where you heard it, or maybe it's a legend associated with a certain profession, etc.)
And of course, the legend itself, and its title if it has one.

Finally, while it would be cool to post multiple legends, I need three legends from three separate people (and my teacher says one of those needs to be from meatspace, but she generally approved of collecting from online acquaintances), so one per person is definitely sufficient.  And it would be cool if you posted your legends before reading anyone else's, because it's best if you don't have preconceived ideas about what to post.  It's why I don't have any actual sample legends to show you.  Biases and stuff.

So let the legending commence.
« Last Edit: November 13, 2012, 16:47 by Matt_S »
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Matt_S

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I have one taker over PM.  Would anyone else like to assist me?  Folklore is the bee's knees.
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Klear

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PM'd you one.
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Matt_S

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You are the man!

Edit: If anyone else has some legends, please post them.  My meatspace friends have so far failed to produce a third legend, so I'm in a bit of a bind.

Edit 2: I think I might have to do a huge facepalm.  I mentioned that it's a Slavic folklore class, but the important thing I forgot to mention is that the legends do not, in fact, have to be Slavic.  I came here knowing some people were from the region and thinking it would be neat if I could maybe get some Slavic legends (massive thanks, again), but feel free to contribute legends from any culture.
« Last Edit: November 06, 2012, 19:08 by Matt_S »
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ZicherCZ

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PM'd you one.
Something from CZ? Hope we didn't provide the same legend ;).
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Klear

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I thought the point of not posting the legends here was so there's a chance two people do the same one, but don't copy each other.

In any case, we have a lot of legends, but I chose the pretty much biggest one from Prague... I guess chances are we both did the same one =)
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Dude... we need to change your forum handle from "Klear" to "Klear Nukem".

ZicherCZ

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Oh. Then we certainly didn't post the same :).
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Matt_S

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This assignment is done now.  Thanks for your contributions!
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Klear

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I'll go ahead and repost the PM I sent here, hoping the others do the same:

Quote
There is a lot of legends centered in Prague, some well known, some less, but none of them is as famous as the legend of the Prague Golem. The story starts with Judah Loew ben Bezalel, usually known as rabbi Löw. This wise 16th century mystic created Golem out of sand and dirt found on the bank of Vltava river, reciting forgotten Hebrew incantations and finally putting a magical "šém" into its mouth to give it life. This animated being was to be his servant. Sometimes it is said that it was created to protect to Jewish quarter from pogroms. In any case, Golem was a capable helper, but sometimes too overzealous, since it didn't understand its own strength. For example, when sent to the market to bring apples, Golem would bring the whole stand including the frightened clerk selling them. Another time, tasked with fishing, Golem caught almost all the fish in Vltava (back then it wasn't as dirty as today and there was a lot of fish).

Every evening, when rabbi Löw no longer had use for Golem, he took out the šém and he became a lifeless statue again. On day however, he forgot, and Golem went on a rampage. He tore through the crooked alleys of the Jewish quarter, wrecking everything and killing anybody unlucky to stand it its way. Rabbi Löw, woken up by the noise, ran after him and barely managed to snatch the šém from Golem's mouth. After seeing the destruction his creation wrought, he put Golem to the attic of the Old New Synagogue, vowing never to bring him to life again. Nobody has been to the attic since then, except they say, for one student, who... but that's a different story.
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ZicherCZ

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What the hell? I can't find the legend I sent in my outbox, nor can I find my later response to Matt's reaction ... WTF?
Matt, if you still have the legend I sent you, would you please post it here on my behalf?

EDIT: Oh. Stupid me. "Save a copy to my outbox" apparently left unchecked :(.
« Last Edit: November 08, 2012, 15:42 by ZicherCZ »
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Matt_S

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Here it is.

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Číhošť ("Cihost" without diacritics, read: "Chee-hosht) is a small town located in the center of Czech Republic (Czechoslovakia at that time). On Sunday 11th December 1949 the local priest, Josef Toufar, held his Sunday preaching in the local church, when several of the listeners saw a cross, about half-meter tall and standing above and behind the priest, move from side to side for no apparent reason. Due to this, they were considering this an act of God.
The priest was surprised as well - but he told the listeners to stay quiet about this. The times were really bad for all religions, not just Catholic, as the Communists were opressing all the churches pretty badly - misinformations, forged trials, you name it. (Those were really bad times for _anyone_ not going with the Commies ...).
However, the rumors spread, and then came a Christmass church mass was held on 25th December 1949. Again, several listeners noticed a similar movement of the same cross, and Číhošť became a place for pilgrimage.
However, the secret police, StB (a Czechoslovak counterpart to Russian KGB) learned of this and decided to use this against the Christians. Josef Taufer was kidnapped, taken to prison and tortured by hunger, thirst and outright physical violence for nearly a month, until he finally gave up and forcedly signed a confession that it was him who moved the cross, using a string-based mechanism.
Three days after the forced confession, Josef Toufar died from total exhaustion after the torture.

The fact that the cross moved is undoubtable, there were too many witnesses (19, according to some sources). But the cause af the movement remains unknown even now. None of the StB-suggested and tried mechanisms worked, unless it would be clearly visible on the plain altar. Not to mention that forging such a miracle during times of these religious repressions could only be either a provocation, or a direct call for suicide. The furniture, upon which the cross stood, was sturdy, as was the floor under the furniture, so this cause was also ruled out. New investigations were conducted at the end of 20th century - but still to no avail.
Was this an act of God? Only God knows ...
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Kabrinski

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Here's one-a native american nightmare known as a skinwalker. My knowledge of native american history and folklore is fairly roughshod-but I make it a point to know as much as I can.

According to the Navajo Indians-yee naaldlooshii-or literally he who goes on all fours, are people who practice the Witchery Way. They've gained the power to shapeshift-amoung other things by breaking some cultural taboo-such as the murding of the family memeber, even have used the native dance to curse instead of heal-like I said-little roughshod. Natives have a hard time talking to non natives about them-because they don't have base of folklore to draw from to protect themselves-that or their afraid that it might be a skinwalker in disguise looking to get its kicks.

I know there's more-I just have to do a little digging.

Hopefully I'll be back with more.
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We all walk a dark path...for there are only shadows. Some lighter, and some darker...but shadows all the same.

For all life is a shade of grey.
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