Fun Stuff/ Research

3 Old Wives Tales That Are Wrong

Old wives tales are superstitions passed down through time. They’re beliefs that aren’t backed up by facts.

While some of them are actually true, some are dangerously false. How are a couple of old wives tales dangerous, you ask? Dangerous like killing an infant with alcohol by accident. Just saying…
Here are three old wives tales that have been proven to be incorrect. As well as the facts to back them up so argumentative relatives can’t catch you with your opinion pants down around your ankles. 

You know what I’m talking about. We all have those relatives who enjoy arguing more than breathing.

 

baby-1399332_1920

 

ONE
The tale: Rub some whiskey on your infant’s gums to stop teething pain.

The truth: Alcohol can kill the wee just born mini humans.

The facts: According to Dr. Jennifer Shu, a pediatrician, no amount of alcohol is safe for infants. Makes sense to me!
Let’s look at it this way. When adults take a shot, they drink about one ounce of alcohol, according to Jaclyn Stewart. A baby is getting 0.01 of that amount when a parent rubs whiskey on their gums.

But infants are tiny little sacks of flesh wrapped around tinier bones! They’re itty bitty and can easily be harmed. Stewart continues to plead our case as she goes on to describe what alcohol does to a tiny baby’s body. In a few words? It slows them down.

Sounds like not such a big deal? Think again.
Babies are constantly growing and slowing their freshly baked bodies down can cause developmental issues.

There’s enough challenge in this world for us humans, please don’t add any more for your child before they’re old enough to even understand the difference between chocolate and vanilla.

What to do instead? Dr. Shu saves our bums again. She suggests massaging your baby’s gums with a warm washcloth, allowing them to chew on cool baby rings made of the appropriate materials, or using an over the counter pain reliever in the appropriate dose for your wee one.
Seriously though, don’t give alcohol to babies. It’s not funny.

 

people-3120717_1920

 

TWO

Old wives tale: Cracking your knuckles causes arthritis.

The truth: Nope. It hasn’t been proven to cause arthritis. Though, you might not want to make a habit of it, regardless.

The facts: There are multiple theories as to why our knuckles make a cracking sound. The most popular one is that bubbles are bursting in our synovial fluid when we crack them. Synovial fluid, by the way, is fluid that lubricates your joints. Muy importante.

Everywhere we turn, there is one thing people agree on. Cracking your knuckles on a consistent basis is noisy and annoying. Knock it off.

It certainly isn’t on the top of my annoying noises list.

(Anyone here chew with their mouth open and smack louder than a dog with peanut butter? You’re at the top of my list. Stop or die. Grrrr!!!)

But apparently cracking your knuckles drives some people up the wall and back down again. Pick a new habit. And in case that isn’t enough to get you to quit, it’s also been suggested that cracking your knuckles gives you problem with grip strength. Not something I’d give up without a fight.

So while the old wives were wrong about cracking knuckles causing arthritis, it’s still not advisable.

 

fruit-2367029_1920

 

THREE

Old wives tale: Starve a fever, feed a cold. (I’ve also heard people turn that around.)

The truth: No! No! And, uh? No!
Please hold while I slam my head into this desk.

The facts: Starving is rarely, if ever, good for improving anything. Except maybe your appreciation for life once you’re rescued from that island you were shipwrecked on, after you nicknamed the local seagulls and began wondering how good tree bark tastes.

Regardless of which way you’ve heard this old wives tale said, it doesn’t matter. They’re both wrong. We need to feed both a fever and a cold.

When fighting off being sick, our bodies need energy. Nutrient-rich food is what our bodies use to create that energy. Ta-da.
(You definitely don’t want to overeat though.)
When you have a fever, it’s your body trying to fight off the illness. According to Mark Fischetti over at Scientific America, fevers increase our metabolism, meaning we need enough food for our bodies to burn in the pursuit of getting healthy.

Whether we have a fever or a cold, we need to eat healthy food and stay hydrated. Our bodies need the nutrients. Antioxidants, protein, glutathione, phytochemicals, and bioflavonoids are especially good for your health and can often prevent a person from getting sick too often.

If you’re sick and hear someone tell you to fast? Roll your eyes and cram the veggies and water down your gullet. When stuffy nose and fever attacks, fight back with healthy food, giving this old wives tale no nevermind.

 

dreams-2904682_1280

The next time you hear an old wives tale, maybe consider whether or not it’s true on your own.

 

Did your parents put alcohol on your gums? 

Does anyone else remember those teething rings from the fridge that were in the shape of the number eight and had little bumps all over them? (I used to love those things as a wee one.)

What are your favorite old wives tales? Are there any you wonder whether or not are accurate?

 

Sources

https://www.babymed.com/blogs/jaclyn-stewart/whiskey-risky

http://www.cnn.com/2008/HEALTH/expert.q.a/12/01/baby.teething.gums/

https://www.scientificamerican.com/article/fact-or-fiction-feed-a-cold/

https://www.health.harvard.edu/pain/does-knuckle-cracking-cause-arthritis

https://www.webmd.com/osteoarthritis/joint-cracking-osteoarthritis

Fun Stuff/ Research

Have You Seen a Deer Shedding it’s Antler Velvet?

Weird question, I know.

I’d never actually seen a deer in real life until I moved up here five years ago. Now they walk around in the cemetery, which is awesome, or around my mum’s work building. Sometimes I catch them meandering around the street during the day. I even saw one walking out of someone’s yard on a jog one night. I love this place.

Back to deer shedding velvet though.

 

A few months ago, I ran into a photo on Pinterest of a deer with bloody antlers that had pieces of its own antlers hanging off. It looked like the deer had gone four rounds with a wood chipper with its antlers and tried to walk it off.

I did not like it.

Not at all.

Looked like the poor deer was in pain.

 

Thank heaven someone commented below and cleared everything right up with sciencey stuffs. When a deer’s antlers are fully formed, the blood vessels that covered them prior then harden and fall off.

Hence the gory looking velvet peeling off the brand new deer antlers.

Fast forward a few months and it was last December. My sister was wearing red antlers and I was wondering as to why anyone would sell red antlers when antlers are brown. Then the photo pinged somewhere in the back of my brain. And I was curious.

Of course, I had to go look for details.

 

Check it out.

 

hirsch-899134_1920

 

Velvet on a deer’s antlers is what makes their antlers look fuzzy.

A deer sheds and grows their antlers like once every year. Which sounds exhausting and kinda counterproductive. Just keep the pair you have and if those fall off, then grow a new pair. But that’s not how deer work.

 

It goes like this. More sunlight means more testosterone. More testosterone means growing antlers. In order to do that, there needs to be a lot of nutrition.

Nutrition comes in the form of furry skin that’s made up of blood vessels and nerves. This velvet is what causes the antlers to grow so quickly. It feeds nutrition to the growing antlers, which grow stronger and stronger. Around about Fall, the antlers are brand new and ready for full use and the velvet dries up and starts to fall off. This only takes about a day.

 

For that one day, we see loads of pictures of deer rubbing their antlers against trees. I thought it was because they were itchy.

Nope. Wrong again. Thankfully. I don’t want them in pain or even a little itchy. I mean, they don’t have back scratchers or opposable thumbs to alleviate their itchiness.

They rub their antlers against trees to mark them with their scent. Kinda like a house cat. Or a werewolf. Just saying.

According to science, they also do it to grow stronger neck muscles.

 

deer-2708262_1920

 

I wonder how they figure these things out though.

No one has ever possessed an animal, read their minds, and then repossessed their own body and reported to a lab of scientists.

At least, not that I know about.

That would be kinda cool. For like a second. Then I’d want some sort of way to keep out possession by scientists. Sounds like a good book idea. But I digress.

(It would be a great way to learn about animals without experimenting on and torturing them.)

 

If you want some great photos of bright red antlers, check out the article below. It has ten great photos of vibrant red antlers. The deer look like they’re bleeding and falling apart. Real great idea for a creature in a novel that freaks people out but is then like, “Nope, just time to shed these babies”.

…. Animals don’t talk though? Sometimes I concern myself. Am I suggesting a were-deer?

https://www.wideopenspaces.com/10-awesome-photos-of-deer-shedding-their-velvet-pics/

 

Other Random Stuff About Deer Antlers

While we’re here, why not?

 

Deer typically use their antlers to fight for dominance. You know, for the rights to mate with a chick. They also use them to move things around and search for food. I guess that means they don’t need opposable thumbs. They have mini forklifts and built-in buckets for moving and hauling. Works for me.

 

What happens to the velvet once the deer sheds it?

Because the velvet is so rich in nutrients, sometimes the deer themselves eat it. Or other deer around them.

Can you imagine? You’re a deer, your velvet is shedding, and some random deer waddles on over and starts eating it. *awkward* Or maybe not. I mean, they do defecate where they stand, so I highly doubt eating one another’s shedded antler velvet is strange.

Other than deers, other wee creatures will eat the shedding velvet. Like birds.

Because, you know, food.

 

Oh, oh. And does (female deer) can grow antlers. Two kinds. One, the kind that’s a pseudohermaphrodite. These does have outer female parts and internal male parts. The second kind have velvet antlers.

Nature is freaky cool.
hirsch-899118_1920

 

(Yes, I know, I know. Deer don’t waddle.)

 

What have we shed in our past that once helped us grow but we no longer needed in our lives?

What do we need to shed now?

 

Sources

http://www.iwla-rh.org/html/DGIF_articles/deer_antlers.html

https://sciencing.com/do-deer-velvet-horns-6690259.html

https://www.mossyoak.com/our-obsession/blogs/deer/a-furry-crown-what-is-antler-velvet

Fun Stuff/ Research

Did You Know Flowers Have Vascular Tissue?

That’s right.  We aren’t the only ones with blood vessels.

Well… flowers don’t have blood vessels.

But they do have a vascular system sorta kinda like ours.

 

 

Gina cut the bottoms of the rose stems before she put them in a bucket filled with water and plant food. (I mean, that’s not all she did, but for the purposes of this post, that’s all you need to know.)

I stalker-ishly watched her and peppered her with questions.

 

Plant tissue is made up of  xylem and phloem.

Xylem delivers nutrients to the flower’s head.

Phloem pushes waste out of the bottom of the stem.

 

When we bring flowers home in a bouquet (as in, not growing in a pot but there for pretty decoration until they wilt and die), we need to cut the bottom of the stems off and then put them in water with plant food.

This opens up the flowers’ vascular tissues to eat nutrients and dispose of waste.

 

….Had no clue flowers had WASTE.

I mean, now that I think about it, it’s obviously common sense.

 

Also, when a flower’s stem is droopy, it’s a lot harder to get the nutrients to the flower.

Have a droopy rose?

Yeah, it’s gonna die a lot sooner than your roses with a strong, straight stem.

Because the nutrients can’t get to the flower.

 

 

How do I know all of this?

This writer found herself a real life, in the flesh, walking horticulturist-research-gold-mine. I speak of the amazing Gina of Gina’s Floral Enchantment, who can make your wedding or funeral AMAZING.

So you know, when you die and haunt your funeral, your immortal soul will be all shiny with happiness at all the pretty flowers smelling up the place…with, uh, good smells. Unless you happen to be going to Hell or something like that, and then, well, flowers aren’t going to do anything for you.

But seriously though, if you’re getting married in California – go to Gina!

Or you know, any time you want to send someone flowers.

 

On another note, I wish flowers stayed in the BLOOM stage forever and never died.

But they don’t. They wither and die. 😦

Regardless, feed your flowers! So they can be happy until they go to heaven.

Side Note; I wonder if every time a flower dies, it pops up in heaven. Then stays fully bloomed all day long (or night, depending on the species of flower), never going out of season.

 

This message was brought to you by a slightly dazed and very overstimulated Daphne-writer person who apologizes for any inaccuracies as she’s not a genius or expert on much except bare minimum survival and insanity. If you have any issue with what’s been written – too bad. Don’t bother suing, she doesn’t have any money.

 

Fun Stuff/ Research

Egyptian Ankh Symbolism

The ankh is a hieroglyph (representation of a concept) for “life”. It symbolizes eternal life, to be specific.

Egyptologists, archaeologists, religionists, historians, random people – no one can decide on where the ankh came from. Where the idea spawned from. Why some random ancient Egyptian dude or dudette made a teardrop/cross shaped thingy and wore it as a necklace.

No clue.

Like most symbolism, mythology, and archaeology, we have no freaking idea. We’re just guessing from what we have when it comes to things like Celtic symbolism, runes, and ancient Egyptian symbolism. If something isn’t literally written out, we don’t know anything for certain.

And I am in no way an Egyptologist, so I have no clue either. But I love symbolism and I’ve always been fascinated by the Ancient Egyptians. So this is what I’ve found and what I like.

I am, after all, a writer. I like poking at things, collecting stories. Possibilities.

 

 

One theory is that the ankh is a combination of female and male. Some believe it was first used as a belt buckle for the goddess Isis.

“The theory of Egyptologist E.A. Wallis Budge (1857-1934 CE), who claims it originated from the belt buckle of the goddess Isis, is considered more probable but still not universally accepted. Wallis Budge equated the ankh with the tjet, the “knot of Isis”, a ceremonial girdle thought to represent female genitalia and symbolizing fertility. This theory, of the ankh’s origin stemming from a fertility symbol, is in keeping with its meaning throughout ancient Egyptian history and beyond to the present day. Egyptologist Wolfhart Westendorf (b. 1924 CE) supports Wallis Budge’s claim”

Combined with other amulets the ankh could bring the wearer greater health. It was also known as a powerful magical talisman, some believe. There’s a huge dispute on that one. Careful who you say that too. You might get your head bit off.

Here’s an interesting tidbit…

“Archeologists have discovered pictures in ancient Egypt that show the gods pouring water on the pharaoh’s head as part of a cleansing or ritual for purification. The water is shown as chains of ankhs”

According to Scholar Adele Nozedar:

“The ankh represents the male and female genitalia, the sun coming over the horizon, and the union of heaven and earth… Its resemblance to a key gives a clue to another meaning of this magical symbol. The Egyptians believed that the afterlife was as meaningful as the present one and the ankh provided the key to the gates of death and what lay beyond”

 

The ankh is often depicted on the Egyptian god’s and goddesses’ fingertips. For example, Isis, who was connected to rites of the dead and known as a magical healer. Or Anubis, the jackal god associated with mummification and the afterlife. Let’s try Ma’at. The goddess of truth, harmony, balance, and justice. And don’t forget Osiris, the god of the underworld and judge of the dead. And to wrap things up, the sun god Ra.

The ankh eventually became a symbol of the planet Venus, and then the goddess Venus (or Aphrodite).

Apparently every divine being had an ankh. Or were throwing ankhs at their subjects’ heads.

Christians, as usual, adopted the symbol in their quest to take over the world. As opposed to demonizing it. (No offense to Christians, I’m a Christian. Every religion and pretty much every country tried taking over the world at some point. *rolls eyes*)

“Its shape has been variously understood as the rising sun on the horizon, as the union of male and female, or other opposites, and also as a key to esoteric knowledge and to the afterworld of the spirit. The Coptic church of Egypt inherited the ankh as a form of the Christian cross, symbolizing eternal life through Christ (35).”

 

The ankh is also known as a good luck charm. Probably because every Egyptian god and goddess was sporting it from their nose hairs and every Ancient Egyptian had about twenty of them just lying around or adorning their clothes, face, furniture, and probably their cats.

 

 

One thing that is known for certain, is that the Ancient Egyptians favored the symbol. It shows up all over in burial tombs, sculptures, paintings, and was carried as an amulet.

Curiously, mirrors were often found in the shape of an ankh. One theory is that the mirror could then let the owner look into another world.

“The Egyptians believed that the afterlife was a mirror image of life on earth and mirrors were thought to contain magical properties.”

 

Speaking literally, some people think the ankh is the depiction of a sandal strap. Others think it’s a flower. Yet another theory is that it’s a human raising their hands. As stated above, some think it is genitalia.

 

So basically, the ankh was the post-it note for the Ancient Egyptians. Thing was everywhere!

I absolutely love it. 🙂

I always hear of it being used as a luck charm. I’d never looked into it further so I didn’t know about all of this awesomeness. There are just so many stories and possibilities. It’s drool worthy.

As a genre fiction writer there are just so many ideas rolling around in my head.

Ankh mirrors that might peer into another realm! Eternal life! Ma’at, Ra, and Venus!

*swoon*

 

 


Sources

http://www.historyforkids.net/egyptian-ankh.html

https://www.ancient.eu/Ankh/

https://www.britannica.com/topic/Isis-Egyptian-goddess

https://www.ancient.eu/Anubis/

https://www.ancient.eu/Ma’at/

https://www.ancient.eu/osiris/

http://www.touregypt.net/featurestories/ankh.htm

http://www.touregypt.net/featurestories/re.htm

Fun Stuff/ Research

47 Truths People Would Tell Their Younger Selves

If you could go back in time, and tell yourself up to five things, what would you say?

While I’m a big believer in having to live through our trials, pains, and sorrows in order to learn, grow, and become who we are today – I read this question in an email and it immediately captured me.

I haven’t been able to get it out of my head.

So I asked a handful of people I know what they would say…

 

I’d like to play blog tag with EVERYONE WHO READS THIS POST.

Oh yeah.

Challenge thrown down.

I’d love it if different people could copy and paste this post – and add onto it, wisdom from the people in their own lives. Let’s see how many truths we can accumulate. Don’t forget to link back to me so I can see too!

Also, if you’ve got some answers — throw ’em at me in the comments section! I want to know.

 

 

Laura,

  1. “Love yourself as you are, but always strive to become better.”
  2. “You’re beautiful and worthwhile and priceless.”
  3. “You are a daughter of a King [God] and are destined to be a Queen. Act accordingly.”

 

Reta,

  1. To my fifteen-year-old self: “You don’t know everything, you’ve got a lot more to learn about the real world. Much more wisdom to hear.”

 

Tannis,

  1. “If I had something to tell my younger self, it would just be that I wouldn’t change a thing. I have no regrets. My life has had the same ups and downs that every person does. But, I wouldn’t change who I have become. And, the best part, I have the three most miraculous children in the world! Just keep driving yourself forward every single day.”

 

Rose,

  1. “My feelings matter.”
  2. “I am special and deserve to be loved and nurtured.”
  3. “There is help out there for kids in abusive situations.”
  4. “I was right when I wondered if families could be happy, supportive, and loving.”
  5. “I can be truly happy and someday I will meet a wonderful man that loves me for who I am – and I will have a beautiful family of my own and have the opportunity to be the loving role model I always wanted.”

 

Anonymous,

  1. “It get’s better.”

 

Anonymous,

  1. “You don’t really have to grow up in all aspects of life; most of your best times will involve being silly and childlike.”
  2. “Yes, I know it sounds foreign right now, but you CAN learn to meditate.”
  3. “You are who you are and that’s okay. You can still be a wife and a mom. Most people will still like you and the ones who don’t won’t matter. You’ll miss out on a lot of peace if you wait until you’re 26 to realize this.”

 

Alisha,

  1. “Don’t date that guy.”
  2. “Go to class.”
  3. “You’re not fat.”
  4. “Say ‘no thanks’.”
  5. “Don’t waste your time.”

 

Martha,

  1. “Be more attentive in school. Now I understand the true importance of history! It’s a composite of everything we are – and a true path to whatever we will be. What, with all the warnings of what to not do again!”
  2. “Study Orwell more in depth. His 1984 is today! Are we in a time warp? Will we ever learn? And if we truly did, would we have the courage to change?”
  3. “Keep God’s commandments and follow without question!!!”

 

Chuck,

  1. “Go into baseball with Don Drysdale with the chance to pitch for the Dodgers.”
  2. “Do not get married at age nineteen.”
  3. “Do not start drinking.”

 

Kevin,

  1. “Don’t sell your 1967 Mustang fastback.”
  2. “Buy that house even if at first it will be hard.”
  3. “Save money for a rainy day.”
  4. “Don’t take that first pain pill.”
  5. “Most of all, I would beat it into myself to put my kids first in everything and to show them support in everything they do.

 

Anonymous,

  1. “Be courageous.”
  2. “Don’t allow my fears to sway my dreams.”
  3. “When I meet a church member, listen with my heart. Better decisions will follow that knowledge.”

 

Jim,

  1. “Career, financial, and investment advice.”
  2. “However, most of the wisest counsel I would like to give myself, I needed to learn through experience.”

 

Tiffany,

  1. “Just because you do something differently than someone else does not make it wrong or the wrong way of doing something. It’s your own way!”
  2. “Always keep an open mind.”
  3. “Never make an important decision based on emotions.”

 

Lisa,

  1. “This Earth is not our home. Our home is with God. Stay focused on your Eternal goal and not the worldly experience.”
  2. “Stand up for the things that you need and believe in.”
  3. “Don’t stress over the little things. God is there to help you through any trial. He will make the pain lighter and easier to handle.”
  4. “Love yourself, shine your light.”

 

Daphne Shadows,

  1. Stop hating yourself. If you don’t, this bad habit is going to grow until it’s taken over your identity.
  2. Stop allowing others to choke the life out of you with fear.
  3. Hope. Believe. It gets better. So much better.
  4. I would read “Invictus”, hug myself, and whisper in my ear, between you and God, you are the master of your fate, you decide your life. No one else. Not anyone else. Not ever.
  5. Get to writing stories you want to write! Enjoy it. That’s why you do it. If there’s no passion, there’s no life.

 

 

Invictus 

by William Ernest Henley

 

Out of the night that covers me,

Black as the pit from pole to pole,

I thank whatever gods may be

For my unconquerable soul.

 

In the fell clutch of circumstance

I have not winced nor cried aloud.

Under the bludgeonings of chance

My head is bloody, but unbowed.

 

Beyond this place of wrath and tears

Looms but the Horror of the shade,

And yet the menace of the years

Finds and shall find me unafraid.

 

It matters not how strait the gate,

How charged with punishments the scroll,

I am the master of my fate,

I am the captain of my soul.

 

Fun Stuff/ Research

Real Vampire Graves

When I was a kid, I entertained the idea of being an archaeologist.

That lasted about a year.

I like the idea of having my own place to go back to every day MORE and I’m not big on the idea of spending my time in a different country that might hate me.

But anywho – archaeology is still interesting to me.

And as you already know, all kinds of monsters and creatures interest me. I wake up from nightmares going, “YES!” and scramble to write them down so I don’t forget.

So vampire graves are pure awesome (I need to find better describing words. What kind of author says uber, awesome, and amazing all the time?)

Check out some crazy stuff going on with corpses…

 

"The Vampire" by Philip Burne-Jones
“The Vampire” by Philip Burne-Jones

 

Vampire Graves have Been Found In

  • Bulgaria (more than 100 vampire burial sites have been uncovered, especially in a 7000 year old city, Thracian)
  • Europe (The famous Twins of Sozopol were found in Poland)
  • US (Mercy Brown most notably was exhumed, her heart cut out, burned, and mixed with water for the brother to drink)
  • Romania

 

Reasons People were Given Vamp Burials

  • missing a finger
  • disfigured appearance
  • talk to themselves
  • committed suicide
  • having nightmares
  • exhaustion
  • anemia
  • sleeplessness
  • weight loss
  • aversion to garlic
  • having no appetite
  • being murdered violently
  • practiced witchcraft
  • died before they were baptized
  • lived a long life
  • died of an odd ailment, like tuberculosis
  • violated society’s laws
  • had the plague
  • corpse was unearthed and it looked too fresh
  • corpse was unearthed and had blood on it
  • killed a lot of people
  • cat jumped over the corpse
  • strange marks found on bodies – often times people thought birthmarks and moles were signs of evil

So, basically, if you didn’t brush your teeth, have perfect health, eat all your dinner, and donate your liver to the grandma down the street, you were going to get jumped by evil spirits and reanimate, doomed to kick it in a coffin during the day and cannibalize your family, friends, and random strangers by night.

0.o

But in all seriousness, vampires were a real threat back then. People believed that the likelihood of returning from your grave to suck the life from your loved ones was good.

One of the reasons for this was the plagues and diseases that swept through villages. A few people would crop up with it and when their families got sick with the “mystery illness” – it must be their dead loved one possessed by evil spirits, trying to kill them.

It was also used for scapegoating. Humans are humans after all, and a lot of them just aren’t nice.

I should note that some countries still hold these beliefs, to a lesser extent.

 

Skelett aus dem Vampir-Grab von Sozopol, ausgestellt im Nationalen Historischen Museum in Sofia; Oktober 2012" by Bin im Garten
“Skelett aus dem Vampir-Grab von Sozopol, ausgestellt im Nationalen Historischen Museum in Sofia; Oktober 2012” by Bin im Garten

 

So what would people do to your corpse if they thought you were already a vampire? Or feared you might rise from the grave as one?

Different kinds of vampire burials:

  • Shove a stake through your heart. (A Bulgarian corpse was found with a 2-pound iron rod shoved in his chest.)
  • The same Bulgarian man was found with half of his leg removed and laid beside his body.
  • Cover your grave in huge, heavy stones.
  • Pin your corpse down in your grave with metal rings.
  • Bind your hands.
  • Sever your head and put it between your legs (this is really popular).
  • Shove a brick in your mouth (that’s just hilarious to even type).
  • Weight your neck down with stones.
  • Place coins in your mouth to keep evil spirits from entering you.
  • The Twin Sozopol vampires were pinned to their graves through the chest by the metal end of a plough.

 

And just to be POSITIVE you weren’t coming back and sucking anyone’s blood – they’d dig you up a short while after you were buried. Shove a stake through your heart (bodies are still fresh then) or do any number of the things listed above. If they hadn’t already.

These days, there are rumors that a few countries dig suspect corpses up after three or four years to check them for vampirism. Don’t quote me on that though.

 

Vampire Body Weirdness

Part of the decomposition process bloats the human body, which sometimes causes blood to seep from the mouth.

When a person dies, human skin dries out and shrinks, causing the hair and nails to appear longer, as if they’re growing.

So it wasn’t actually strange for these things to happen – they just didn’t know that back then.

 

There are A LOT of strange beliefs surrounding vampires and what causes them. Which, you know, is awesome (that’s the same freaking descriptive word!!!).

If I ever get into my archeological urges, hopefully I’ll find a vampire grave. Unbury it, remove the stake, and have a living, non-breathing vampire in my good graces.

Because who wouldn’t want a vampire in their debt? Or to befriend, question, and stalk. Right?

 

"Blackrose" by Nenesita1
“Blackrose” by Nenesita1

 


 

Sources:

Bulgaria’s Vampire Graveyards

“Vampire Grave” in Bulgaria

‘Vampire’ Graves Shed Light

‘Vampire’ Graves Uncovered in Poland

‘Vampire’ Graves Unearthed Near Black Sea

Unearthed: The Medieval ‘Vampire’ Skeleton

Pictured: ‘Vampire’ Graves in Poland

 

Fun Stuff/ Research

‘Life is But a Dream’ Meaning

Most nursery rhymes and fairy tales have a disturbing background and meaning. So when my siblings and I were lying around in my room and we started singing ‘Row your Boat’, I figured it’d have some demented origin. Like rowing to your doom, being drowned or being forced down a path to your own beheading.

Surprisingly, this one has a good meaning. And when I looked it up, I was smacking my forehead. Because I already knew what it was a metaphor for. What can I say? Sometimes I forget it’s not all burning people to death and water dragons.

Duh. I love the meaning behind this nursery rhyme.

It’s a metaphor for life. We all agree on that. But there are multiple theories on how to break it down, what each object and line mean.

There are two main ideologies and a few random thoughts on specific verses.

 

Dory

 

ONE

Your boat = your life.

The stream = time. Water is always moving, so is time.

Row, row, row = you’re constantly rowing, constantly moving through life, constantly working at it. You don’t just row for a little while and then rest. Uh-uh. No breaks. No rests. Life. Keep moving.

Gently = It’s not a race. You aren’t racing toward the end – um, your death –are you? Gently row through life, don’t hurry. It’s the trip (life) not the destination (death).

Merrily, merrily, merrily, merrily = attitude, personality, character. How you look at things, positive versus negative, optimist versus pessimist. Be happy, be passionate on the way. They say attitude is everything. Enjoy your life, enjoy the ride.

Life is but a dream = Dream or nightmare, we have the ability to choose what our life will be. We cannot decide what happens, but we can decide who we are, what we become, how we react, how we cope. It’s our life, our dream. And our choice.

 

TWO

Boat = body. It’s the vessel for your movement, changes, growth, learning, development, awareness.

Row, row, row = you have to work for what you want in life, have to apply effort to get where you want to go. Unless you row, your boat won’t go anywhere. Be careful of distractions that could pull you away from your goal. But don’t be so focused, have such blinders on, that you don’t remain open to change, to life, to possibilities.

Gently down the stream = let go of the past, move toward your future. Row gently because to push or force or fight the natural direction your life is leading you will only create stress and upset.

Merrily, merrily, merrily, merrily = you may already have it hard. Don’t make it worse. Water can be rough but you can get through. A negative attitude will not help, in fact, it will make things worse. Use the challenges you face to make you a better person.

Life is but a dream = touches on the dreamlike state of reality. The world is physical around us, yet thoughts and emotions change, shift, alter, transmutation making something less physical, solid. Dreamlike.

 

stockvault-stream127511

 

RANDOM

  • Row, row, row your boat:

You have to row your own boat. No one else’s. Don’t try to control other people. Control yourself.

Rowing takes skill. Practice makes perfect.

When someone is rowing on their own, it implicates free will and the choices they make that decide which paths they take.

When rowing with others, it touches on the need to work together, in unity to reach the intended goal.

  • Gently down the stream:

Force creates resistance. Don’t resist if you can flow along with the water’s natural path and make something of it. This is different than fighting the challenges, the bumpy stream’s road.

  • Merrily, merrily, merrily, merrily:

Take challenges in stride, meet them with a joyous attitude and a smile. Go with the flow.

This is not a rehearsal, not a dry run, not a trial run before the real thing. This is the real thing. You might as well enjoy it. Don’t waste time being upset longer than need be or by holding grudges when you could be happy instead.

  • Life is but a dream:

So stop making it a nightmare.

It has religious overtones of how life is simply the dream before the consequences/rewards.

Life is only a dream, not real. Everything you do is meaningless. (I don’t like this one.)

Life is a short moment. Only a dream when compared to our eternal soul’s existence.

 

stockvault-the-river104863

 

YOUR LIFE

With that in mind, remember that it’s talking about your life for a reason. Ask yourself;

Row, row, row your boat.

Where are you going? Are you headed where you want to be headed? Are you working for what you want? Are you trying to control someone else’s life (with good or bad intentions)? Are you trying to control things you know you can’t/shouldn’t? Are you trying to race through your life? Are you learning, growing, achieving what you want? Are you open to positive change? Open to new paths?

Gently down the stream.

Are you fighting things for the sake of fighting them? Are you fighting for what you believe in without being cruel or self-destructive? Do you approach your life with hope? Have you worked through and let go of your past? Are you enjoying the journey, the process, whatever it is that you’re doing right now? Are you hurrying through things you could instead be enjoying? Are you flexible when things change? Do you adapt well to change?

Merrily, merrily, merrily, merrily.

Are you happy? Why or why not? Are you holding grudges or focusing on the negative to the point that you’re creating your own heartache? Are you approaching things with a positive attitude? Do you try to find the silver lining? Are you passionate about what you’re doing? Are you aware that regardless of trials, pain, suffering and challenges, there is always hope?

Life is but a dream.

There are three definitions of a dream :

1: “a succession of images, thoughts, or emotions passing through the mind during sleep.”

2: “a vision voluntarily indulged in while awake; daydream; reverie.” “an idea or vision that is created in your imagination and that is not real”

3: “something that you have wanted very much to do, be, or have for a long time”

Are you helping your life to be a dream or a nightmare? How can your life be more dreamlike; what would you need to do/achieve/change to shape your life into a dream – your dream? Are you making the right choices for yourself? If your life is a nightmare, what can you do to work toward bettering it?

 

Boat

 

Row, row, row your boat,

Gently down the stream.

Merrily, merrily, merrily, merrily,

Life is but a dream.

 

Just remember: Water is rough but boats are tough.

 

What does this rhyme mean to you? Do you have a favorite metaphor?

 

Sources: http://dictionary.reference.com/ and http://www.merriam-webster.com/

Fun Stuff/ Research

5 things You’ll Never Need to Know about Bloodsuckers (or a melon)

I love research. Research finds me in the strangest (and sometimes mentally disturbing) places, learning the most demented oddest things. Sometimes they just stick with me until I look them up again.

(I mostly write it all down now so I don’t go insane trying to find it.)

Point being, there are some very strange myths and lore centered around the ever prevalent vampire.

And since sharing is caring…

(minus diseases, blame, and pain)

 

ONE

Vampires were not always considered nighttime creatures. Seventeenth and eighteenth century vampiric lore found vampires to be daytime roamers. Specifically early morning and late evening. Most commonly however, the cruelest of intentions were carried out during the darkest hours of night.

It wasn’t until later that books and movies glorified the evil night dwelling vamps, which of course caught like wildfire.

I mean come on, you hear about a vampire that can come out in the daytime these days and people are blowing it off like the proverbial pink kitten at the biker bar. Why wouldn’t it scare people more if vampires could come out and play hangman with them at all times of day and night? The nighttime thing feels like a product of poor plotting and easily killed antagonists.

And yet I’ll probably use it. 😉

 

If my eyes looked like this, I'd want to be able to see my reflection.
If my eyes looked like this, I’d want to be able to see my reflection.

 

TWO

Bram Stoker invented the theory that vampires have no shadow. He also took the no reflections bit and blew it up in “Dracula”, causing it to become traditional vampire mythology.

The reasoning behind both of these failings, is the lack of a soul. Thusly, the vampire couldn’t have a shadow or reflection as their soul was no longer intact, leaving them empty and lifeless. So to say.

 

THREE

In Chinese, Slavic, and Russian lore (among other countries), it was believed that if an animal or person jumped over a corpse, it could cause the corpse to come back as a vampire. Cats and dogs were the most feared in this situation. The Chinese particularly feared the tiger. The Romanians, a black hen.

There’s a lot of lore on how a corpse becomes a vampire and a lot of it involves a person or animal disturbing a corpse, turning it against the natural order of things and damning it to raise. Kinda freaky to think they believe becoming a vampire could be so completely out of your control. Makes me wonder why more people didn’t decide on cremation back then. How could you get more vulnerable than corpse?

0_o

 

FOUR

In Yugoslavia’s lore, gypsies believed that melons, specifically watermelons, could turn into vampires if they were left out for ten days straight or too long after Christmas. These vampire watermelons were stained with blood, rolled around annoying people, and growled.

I will never look at a watermelon the same way again.

 

FIVE

Some Arabians believed an aluga could possibly be the demon king of all vampires, tracing its origins from the book of Proverbs in the bible.

There’s actually a lot of tie in between demons, witches, and vampires throughout history. Oh – and werewolves. I only left them out of the list as more than half of old lore considered werewolves and vampires to be the same thing, as the vampire could transform into a wolf at will, or out of necessity.

But that’s another topic completely. (Interested?)

 

Careful. They bite.
Careful. They bite.

 

CONNECT THE DOTS

I often follow one theory, myth, or legend to another. Say I want to research cannibalism. I might end up learning about tulips riding chimpanzees in the wild forests after Armageddon. Not really, but you get my point.

So how did I get from daytime vampires to vampiric watermelons?

I don’t remember. I just know I was researching the reasoning behind the no-soul-having-vampire theory. It ends up in my novel.

All in all – I’m curious. Getting lost proves fun.

 

Any random questions about vampire lore?