2016: Sinterklaas

Sinterklaas is a mythical figure with legendary, historical and folkloric origins based on Saint Nicholas and is the primary source of the popular Christmas icon of Santa Claus. Sinterklaas is an elderly, stately and serious man with white hair and a long, full beard. He wears a long red cape or chasuble over a traditional white bishop’s alb and sometimes red stola, dons a red miter and ruby ring, and holds a gold-colored crosier, a long ceremonial shepherd’s staff with a fancy curled top, and traditionally he rides a white horse. Zwarte Piet is a companion of Sinterklaas, usually portrayed by a man in blackface with black curly hair, dressed up like a 17th-century page in colorful attire, often sporting a lace collar and a feathered cap.  Parallels have been drawn between the legend of Sinterklaas and the figure of Odin, who as King of the Norse Aesir was a major […] Read More

Yuki-Onna, The Snow Ghost of Japan

In Japanese folklore, supernatural entities and phenomena are known as yōkai, and they come in many different shapes and sizes, good and bad. Some are monsters, some are demons. Others are shapeshifters, ghosts, or various inexplicable manifestations. You know, the sorts of things we often cover here. They’re all unique in their own strange ways, but given that we’re approaching winter, I thought we’d take a brief look at one of the coolest of these yōkai: Yuki-onna. The Snow Woman   Image: Sawaki Suushi /Wikimedia/Public Domain Often portrayed as a vengeful spirit who appears during terrible snowstorms, Yuki-onna, the Snow Woman, is also sometimes known as the Snow Hag, though this clashes with her usual description – that of a beautiful, ethereal woman with pale skin and haunting eyes. According to Hyakumonogatari Kaidankai, an online collection of translated Japanese legends and ghost stories curated by Zack Davisson, the first documented Yuki-onna tale […] Read More

2009 & 2010: Bi-Pedal Canine Reports

Hey, I’m Mike from the Cheboygan, MI area. This is true what I am about to describe. On November 24, 2010, me and two of my friends went out at night around 12 am. We were not hunting but had weapons. We were looking for a spot to set up our blinds for the muzzleloading season when we crossed from a field with tons of deer beddings. We came into another field with none whatsoever. We continued through this field and came across some kind of game trail. We decided to venture down this trail into the woods. We got maybe 300 yards back in it and started hearing heavy breathing and snapping sounds in the thick brush to our right. We thought maybe coyotes but we got to a corner and were stopped in our track. In front of us, maybe 60 yards away, was something blacker than […] Read More

2011: Werewolves Aren’t Real

Okay folks, let’s break this one down to brass tax: A werewolf is someone that becomes a wolf or half-man/half-wolf creature during a full moon…and they’re almost definitely not real. For centuries, werewolves have existed in the folklore of almost every culture, and have been blamed for everything from cattle mutilations to unsolved murders. However, and we’re going to say this again, odds are that they’ve never existed. How can we say this with so much confidence? Well, it’s because every culture has a different explanation for where werewolves come from, but none have any evidence of their existence; they’re also one of those creatures that magically stopped existing as soon as humans developed more reliable and permanent ways of logging information. Simply put, werewolves are one of the many fantastic explanations that people in the old world gave for things they couldn’t figure out; in fact, most have come […] Read More