Questions tagged [folklore]

For questions on the traditional beliefs, customs and stories of a community or culture.

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Is there any creature or being with the role of keeping good and evil balanced?

Is there any creature or being in either mythology or folklore that serves as a form of "negotiator" between good and evil, with the role of keep order and balance between them (whether it's ...
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how/when Jotunheim was created precisely?

I can’t find anything on the origin of Jotunheim. If it was linked, like Muspellheim, to Nilfheim in any way… and I’m not sure how did Ymir arrived in it… I guess it could be unknown like many other ...
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2 votes
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Is there any folklore reference to fairies being divided into Summer and Winter Courts?

Modern fiction about fairies often describes them as being divided into Seelie and Unseelie Courts or Summer and Winter Courts, sometimes Spring, Summer, Autumn and Winter Courts. A lot of people seem ...
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Myths about creatures/items/beings that talked with people or took away their problems?

Are there any myths about beings/items/creatures that talked with people in a friendly way? Almost as if the being was a therapist to the human or something? I can think of the caladrius that ...
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1 answer
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Are (or have been) goblins ever associated with anti-semitic characteristics?

Some characteristics used to describe goblins are also depicted in anti-semitic propaganda (they are usually described as greedy, hook nosed creatures). Were goblins ever been associated with ...
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6 votes
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What are the "nine fearful curses that plague mankind" of Orcadian folklore, besides the 'Stoor Worm'?

The 'Stoor Worm' of Orcadian folklore is described as one of the nine fearful curses that plague mankind, what are the other curses if there are any? Islanders were terrified of the serpent; it was ...
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What is the origin of fortune-telling cards with faces divided into four triangles, which were known in Russia in 1850?

In her book Reading Russian Fortunes (Cambridge University Press, 1998), Faith Wigzell refers (p.33) to a type of fortune-telling card deck that reached Russia in 1850, ascribed to Marie Anne ...
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Prior to the 1800s are there any examples of a (preferably mortal) being described as possessing telekinetic abilities in the modern sense?

For the purposes of this question, by telekinesis I mean the generalized ability to pick up and move most objects at will, not the ability to move a particular object under specific circumstances (...
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Are there myths, folklore, tales, or other traditions/tales about monsters regaining their humanity permanently?

Maybe I should have slept on this question for a little bit, but here I go. I am working on a TRPG and a setting that would accompany the TRPG. In my setting all monsters are or were humans, so rather ...
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Are there any accounts of English folklore concerning walking willow trees?

"In English folklore, a willow tree is believed to be quite sinister, capable of uprooting itself and stalking travellers." On the Wikipedia page for willow it has this single sentence ...
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Ancient prophecies involving alcohol?

Are there any ancient prophecies involving alcohol? I asked this question on Beer, Wine & Spirits SE some two years ago and have not received an answer: Prophecies involving alcohol? When we read ...
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Are there any references in mythology/folklore to a concept similar to teleportation?

The earliest mention of teleportation that I can find is a mention of "matter transfer" in 1877, but I'm wondering if there's a concept similar to it in folklore. I found something about ...
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5 votes
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Crooked/uncrooked arm as sign of truth-telling. Has anyone come across this in any folklore? My example is from a Cornish folktale

I came across this in a Cornish folktale. Girl appears to be telling wild stories (about fairies). Wise woman tests to see if it is true: she has to crook her arm and repeat the story. If it is untrue ...
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Are there any folklore references to the following elements found in Xianxia i.e. modern Chinese High Fantasy fiction?

Xianxia stories often contain the following elements: 1> Cultivation of Qi: Qi is a humor-esque substance which is generally absorbed from the environment and stored in the Dan Tian which in these ...
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A "Brigadoon" But in the Appalachian Mountains?

The other day I was speaking to a friend, about Brigadoon. I seem to faintly remember there is folklore, about a town in Appalachia that did the same thing. It would disappear and reappear. But I've ...
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Is there any folklore in non-European culture that may be an attempt to "explain" similar to changeling myths in Western Europe and Scandinavia?

It has been suggested by some authors that stories of changelings in Scandinavia and western Europe are an attempt by ancient peoples used to try and explain developmental abnormalities in children, ...
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4 votes
2 answers
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Are there any evil dog gods in folklore?

I know there are dog gods like the Inugami but are there any evil dog gods? By this I mean a god that is clearly evil but still represented as a dog. Cerberus would fit the bil if it where a god and ...
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2 votes
1 answer
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What's the secret behind the infamous 'Backrooms' creepypasta?

DISCLAIMER: I did not create this creepypasta, nor do I claim it to be true. I'm not quite sure if this is the right place to ask about creepypastas, but there isn't a specific site on the SE network ...
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2 votes
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Is there a Celtic folklore or mythology story associated with the Hill of Mael in Ireland?

Does anyone have any record of a story associated with the trivallate settlement complex on the Hill of Mael in Co. Westmeath, Ireland? I am looking for earlier Celtic stories under Irish mythology.
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5 votes
2 answers
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What is the origin of a common Christmas tree quotation concerning an old Babylonish fable about an evergreen tree?

Searching for "evergreen tree which sprang out of a dead tree stump" gets nearly 3000 hits. The Seed of the Woman and the Power of Darkness - Donbor Syiemlieh - Google Books is an example: &...
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1 vote
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Mythologies or folktales regarding dormouse/mouse?

I’m trying to create a character based on a powerful and immortal god, but I kind of want a mouse to represent that as it would fit into my story of how the character is portrayed. I was thinking of ...
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6 votes
2 answers
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What creatures eat a humans life force?

Are there any creatures that eat, or drain a human's life force? Have tried googling but am not sure which creatures do.
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4 votes
1 answer
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Are there any myths of Gods or Goddesses giving up their divinity permanently of their own free will?

The type of story I'm curious about is one where a God or Goddess is so enamoured with the human experience, that they willingly give up their divinity to mingle among humanity and live+die as they do....
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Greco-Roman stories of a mother losing her daughter?

I am looking for Greco-Roman stories of a mother losing her young daughter and the grief that takes place as a consequence of such. I am writing a play where a similar thing occurs and would like to ...
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3 votes
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Giant guarding Wada's Keep, other sources for the legend

Eric Knight's short story “Strong In The Arms” (1942 or earlier, I've mostly read it in Hungarian translation from the volume [1]) talks about the legend of a giant guarding Wada's Keep. Let me ...
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Were there any gods Floridian Tribes recognized?

I am researching the pre-Columbian-colonization Americas for a poem and am currently focused on Florida. Thus I am intriguing myself to the cultures of the major "Indian" tribes, especially ...
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4 votes
1 answer
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What are the earliest and latest reference of black dog apparitions in folklore?

I'd like to know what is the earliest reference for Black Dogs such as Black Shuck, Hairy Jack, Barghest, etc. Is there anything before the 1577 Black Shuck of Blythburgh in worldwide folklore? And ...
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Way to measure the probability a story evolving in a given culture

I am wondering if there exists a way to get a numerical estimate of the probability of whether or not a given society will evolve a story with certain characteristics within a certain amount of time. ...
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5 votes
1 answer
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Is it sound to academically analyze myth in translation?

I am working on my dissertation on An Táin Bó Culaigne. I (sadly) can't work from the Old Irish text but am relying on using translation to explore a point I am making about Early Irish society. Is ...
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7 votes
2 answers
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The unreadable book: Voynich manuscript?

What are, if any, the most plausible mythical origins and legends surrounding the unreadable book also known as the Voynich manuscript? What do legends, folklore or myths have to say as to what is ...
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Do there exist any spells or ritual things / chants in Old Norse, Old Irish, or Old English online in text format?

I have found the voluspa and other large Old Norse texts. Then there's Beowulf. I've seen several Old Irish poems as well. But what about spells and magic? Do there exist any of those online in the ...
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3 votes
1 answer
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Why are there different names and appearances for household spirits in Estonian folklore?

In the Estonian folklore Pisuhand, Kratt and Puuk are all household spirits who steal grain and milk for whomever’s house they dwell in. They are described as a goblin or dragon and are an old ...
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What was the area of Koschei's sleeping/petrification spell?

In the Russian folk tale of “Ivan Sosnovich”, it says that the evil Koschei the Deathless put an entire kingdom to sleep (or petrified) via a spell after killing two of the three beauties he heard ...
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5 votes
4 answers
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Do European folklore creatures, like ogres, brownies, fairies,goblins etc. have characteristics attributed to anti-semitism?

These creatures mentioned in the title have characteristics (any, such as traits, costumes, behavior, etc.) attributed to anti-semitism by antisemitic people (or have their origins rooted in this)?
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2 answers
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Are there myths that contains the concept that people with triple iris eyes are psychic or clairvoyant?

I have heard that those with triple iris eyes were said to be psychic, clairvoyant, etc. Is this true if so in what myths does this concept appear.
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4 votes
1 answer
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Is there a folklore belief that the spirit of a wolf comes back to avenge its death?

Isidoros Zourgos in his novel "Στην σκιά της πεταλούδας" mentions that if you kill a wolf, the animal's spirit will come back and kill you after forty days. The origin of the belief is assumed to be ...
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were witches in northern England more common?

Were witches in northern England more common than in other parts of the U.K. I read about Pendle Hill and it seems so .
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2 votes
1 answer
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What is the origin of legend of Alderley Edge?

What is the legend of Alderley Edge, in northern England? Are there other legends, folk tales, from this area?
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1 vote
0 answers
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How do I analyze a mythology?

[Sorry if this question isn't specific or not very legitimate. I've only been in this site for a while.] I've been getting into religion and mythology lately. I've been wondering, how do I analyze a ...
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5 votes
1 answer
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When did chicken become a synonym of cowardice?

Chicken is often used to mean someone is a coward. This is exemplified in the game of chicken. When did chicken first become a synonym of cowardice?
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10 votes
1 answer
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What is the source of the belief that the seventh son of a seventh son is a clairvoyant?

The Iron Maiden song Seventh Son of a Seventh Son was inspired - according to Steve Harris - by the folklore belief that the seventh son of a seventh son has clairvoyant powers: “I just had a ...
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Is there a culture that celebrates day of birth, day of conception?

Is there any culture that celebrates the day of conception instead of the tipical birthday we enjoy in occidental countries? It would be a more exact event in some ways, imho.
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Is there a similar folklore/parable in American/Western/European culture to the East Asian (Chinese?) parable on a Fox and a Tiger?

The Chinese/East Asian parable on a fox and a tiger goes like the following A fox asking to be walking in front of a tiger brags about being a fearsome animal and exudes borrowed confidence from ...
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What is the specific term for those creatures that exist because people believe in them?

So recently i have seen in films and series about this oddities that exist in our reality because people believe in them. Something that exist because of the collective imagination from people that ...
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6 votes
1 answer
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Where do Leprechauns live?

Like, when they aren't dragging people into the sea or granting wishes. The wikipedia article doesn't describe in much detail about where they reside. Holes? Mountain Tops? Tiny Cottages?
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8 votes
2 answers
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What is the origin of these creatures in Appalachian folklore?

My family (for these intents and purposes) comes from the mountains of Appalachian southern Virginia. The older folks told tales of three specific monsters as warning against wayward children ...
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Who is Ashirah in Hebrew mythology?

When I heard about the myth regarding Asherah as God’s “wife”, it started to appear some questions which I’d like to ask because I could not find the answers I’m looking for. Here is a list questions: ...
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Myths/folktales/fairytales of areas/buildings/objects that disappear and reappear at fixed intervals?

I remember back when I was young that I saw an episode of Smurfs featuring a castle that disappears and reappears each few centuries and when, more recently, I thought about the whole concept of ...
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5 votes
1 answer
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What are the supernatural properties of gold in mythology and folklore?

I would like to research the supernatural properties and/or uses that gold shows in mythologies and/or folklore. I am not talking about the properties or abilities of specific artifacts made of gold ...
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1 answer
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How did you survive my 100-step punch?

I remember from long ago a story about a martial artist, The Bully, who was renowned for his "100-step punch": if he lands the blow, you will die after taking 100 steps. One day another martial ...
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