Tag: folklore

  • Benandanti: The Dream-Walking Witch Hunters

    Benandanti: The Dream-Walking Witch Hunters

    The Salem Witch Trials are the best-known witch hunts, but they were prominent throughout Europe during the Catholic Revival. While most witch hunts were terrible tragedies involving the execution of innocent women and other vulnerable people, not all witch hunters did that. The Italian tradition of the Benandanti fought a different kind of witch: malignant […]

  • The Story Behind The Little Mermaid

    The Story Behind The Little Mermaid

    Hans Christen Anderson’s The Little Mermaid is a classic fairytale of magic, transformation, and forbidden love. Most people know the Disney version, where the prince falls in love with Ariel and they live happily ever after. The original version was much darker and bleaker, and likely came about because of an event in Anderson’s personal […]

  • Vampires from Around the World

    Vampires from Around the World

    The common perception of vampires comes from the European archetype of the pale, fanged, aristocratic monster. Count Dracula is usually the first vampire that people think of, but he’s not the original.  Bram Stoker was influenced by John Polidori’s The Vampyre, a story developed at the same party of Lord Byron’s where Mary Shelley wrote […]

  • The American “Fearsome Critters” and Other Tall Tales

    The American “Fearsome Critters” and Other Tall Tales

    I’m an Australian, and playing some good-natured pranks on tourists is a time-honoured tradition. Our most famous of these pranks is probably the Drop Bear, an aggressive relative of the koala that drops from trees onto unsuspecting prey. I was delighted to discover that we are not the only country that does this! It’s a […]