Friday, January 28, 2011

Discussion Fifteen: Dragons

Hi, everyone, my name is Kit. I'm Emily's younger sister. She and Frankie are letting me to the discussion this week because I'm pretty much an expert on dragons.

Not everyone knows that there are different species of dragons. These can be divided mostly into two categories: Western and Eastern. I'll talk about Western dragons first. This group includes the most common dragon, the European. This is what is depicted in most artwork and TV shows. The dragon in Merlin is this. These dragons live in a mountain or sea cave and can grow up to 45 feet long and 17 feet high. Their favorite food is cattle and sheep, but they will also eat humans if no other food source is around. They try to avoid this, though, because humans have a bitter flavor.

The Gargouille is another fairly common dragon. You might be more familiar with a gargoyle, which this dragon is named after. The Gargouille is very good at camouflaging itself, perching itself on top of old buildings much the same a gargoyle does. They eat rats, bats, and cats.

Eastern dragons are a little different in appearance. You can think of these as the dragons depicted in Chinese artwork and legends: long bodied. If Frankie and Emily let me do another discussion I will talk more on these guys. Right now I want to cover a unique dragon.

The Basilisk is pretty well known thanks to Harry Potter, but did you know it is a dragon? These dragons are very deadly; there is not cure for it's deadly bite. There is some debate on whether seeing a Basilisk face to face will kill you. Some say having a mirror with you protects you from being attacked by the Basilisk as it will attack it's mirror image instead of you. It is logical to say then, that if you don't have a mirror you will get killed because the Basilisk will attack you. But you'll die from the poison not seeing it.

Questions: Have you ever seen a dragon? If you live in Europe your chances are higher as there is only one breed found in the US. How do you think the Basilisk kills?

--Kit--

Most of  my information came from: The Dragonology Handbook: A Practical Course in Dragons written by Ernest Drake.

Monday, January 24, 2011

My new favorite book!

At school, we have been working on a project, where we have to read a book a month and write a book report. The report has to be like a book review. At first I wasn't to happy. I don't mind reading, but I'd rather be out sledding, or playing with my friends. But then, I went to the library at school, and found a book that caught my eye. Since it's suitable for this blog, I thought I would share my book review here:

The Last Apprentice: Revenge of The Witch
By Joseph Delaney


The Last Apprentice: Revenge of The Witch is about a young boy named Tommy who becomes apprentice to the town "Spook." The Spook is a mysterious man who rids the surrounding towns of evil and horrifying creatures. Tommy is not sure how he feels about being the Spook's apprentice. It is a scary and very lonely job, especially when dealing with boggarts and witches. But when Tommy makes a mistake that causes him to be indebted to a clan of witches (a mistake that may have freed the most evil witch of all), he fears that he has endangered not only himself, but everyone he cares about. Now Tommy has to try to stop them with his own skills and smarts, and the help of an unlikely friend.

I loved this book. It was packed with everything I am interested in. And it was full of valuable ghost hunting info. I liked the ghost-hunting aspect, although Tommy and the Spook didn't just hunt ghosts, but all kinds of paranormal entities. It was full of spooky, creepy moments, and it was a lot of fun to read. I also loved the illustrations, which really added to the haunting vibe of the story, and Tommy's personal notes about "Spooking." I recommend this book to any fan of the supernatural. It was really good!

Frankie's rating: * * * * (four stars)

Book review by Frankie


For more info on this book, see here:

http://www.harpercollinschildrens.com/books/Last-Apprentice-Revenge-Witch/?isbn13=9780060766184&tctid=100

Friday, January 21, 2011

Discussion Fourteen: The House That Ghosts Built

The Winchester Mansion is a sprawling California Mansion. It was owned by Sarah Winchester. Legend has it that the house was built after a seance, where Sarah was told by spirits that she must never stop building her home, in order to be protected from spirits who were killed by Winchester rifles. Seances were very popular during the Victorian period, as people started to develop an interest in supernatural phenomena. The construction of the mansion went on for 38 years, until Winchester's death. Sarah was allegedly guided by the instruction of spirits whom she made contact with, during the construction of her house, which lead to the eccentric design, which is described as a maze. The home is now world famous for it's mysterious design

Read all about this amazing historical home here:
http://www.winchestermysteryhouse.com/index.cfm

Discussion:
1.Why do you think the Victorians were so interested in the supernatural? Parlor games concerning seances and contact with the dead became extremely popular in this time period.

2. Would you want to visit the Winchester mansion? I would!

Happy Haunting,
Frankie

P.S.- It's not too late to enter our photo contest! Hope to see your entries.

Friday, January 14, 2011

Photo Contest 1: Favorite Paranormal Creature

Do you have a favorite paranormal creature? Do you like dressing up? Then here is the contest for you! For the next three weeks, Frankie and I will be accepting pictures of you girls (and boys) dressed up as your favorite paranormal creature. This can be anything: ghost, dragon, werewolf, banshee, fairy, etc. What we want to see is something creative that shows your personality as well as the creatures. Don't worry about fancy camera tricks or elaborate scenes. A simple photo that shows off your costume well is enough. Here's all the details:
  • Send your photo to clementinefox7@yahoo.com with the subject "Paranormal Photo Contest"
  • Include your Name, Age, and a few sentences about why this creature is your favorite or something unique about this creature
  • You can enter from now until February 4th (Friday). Pictures will be posted that weekend for everyone to see. Frankie and I will choose the winner and announce her/him on Monday.
  • The winner will receive a personalized ghost hunter badge and get to choose the next discussion topic and write it up if they like.
  • If you have any questions please post them as comments here.
I think that covers it. Don't be shy about entering. We look forward to seeing what you guys come up with and learning about your favorite creatures. Have fun!

Discussion thirteen: Resurrection Mary

Resurrection Mary is a famous Chicago ghost. Her story is rooted in the family of "vanishing hitchhiker"* ghosts. But who is this windy city phantom? Is she real?

Her legend begins in the 1930's, where a young woman named Mary was supposedly killed in a hit and run accident, coming home from a dance. She was buried in Resurrection cemetery, and since then, witnesses have claimed to pick up a young girl on the road, near where Mary died. The woman asks to be dropped off near Resurrection cemetery, where she then disappears. People have reported seeing Mary's ghost since the 30's, until recently.

To read the full legend, see here:
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Resurrection_Mary

Discussion questions:
1. Many phantom hitchhiker stories are never proven- no one has connected them to an actual person who actually died at the allegedly haunted place. But Resurrection Mary is different. There are several graves in the cemetery where she was supposedly buried, that have been linked to her name and cause of death. Does this make Mary more "real?"

2. Could this be why her story has stayed popular over the years?

3. Mary supposedly had a fight with her boyfriend on the night of the dance, and left angry, which is why she was walking home when she died. Do you think this could be why her spirit has stuck around? Do you think she haunts because she has unfinished business to deal with, or, like some ghost, she doesn't know she is dead?

* Vanishing hitchhikers are ghosts that are prevalent in urban legends and campfire stories. They are the type of story that can be placed in any town, and are told over and over. They differ, but some elements that the stories share are:

-The ghost is usually a young woman in a white or blue dress, who is picked up by a man driving alone.
-She usually has a classic name like Mary or Sarah.
-She is usually walking home from a party, or sometimes, leaving her wedding.
-It is usually stormy on the nights a phantom hitchhiker are spotted, parroting the type of night she died. The weather is usually what caused her to meet her fate.
-She asks to be dropped off at a strange place like a cemetery, a rundown house, or an empty lot where her house once existed. Or she simply disappears from the car.
-The driver returns to where she was dropped off to check on her, only to find the house is abandoned, or the current owners fill him in on who this girl actually was.

Happy Haunting,
Frankie

P.S.- Check back for details on our first ever photo contest!

Saturday, January 8, 2011

Discussion Twelve: Banshee

A bit of a continuation from last weeks discussion. What do you think a banshee looks like? Beautiful, ugly, ordinary? Supposedly a banshee wails if someone is about to die. Do you believe there is a creature--maybe not a banshee--that can foretell death? There have been some cases about animals knowing when someone is about to die. What are your thoughts on banshees? Real, or just Irish myth?

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Banshee

Next week Frankie and I will be having our first contest. It will be a photo contest. So, get your cameras ready!