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    Default Mediocre Mythology

    Good morning folks,

    I find myself somewhat...vexed, at the moment. I'm looking for detailed information on obscure branches of mythology (primarily, that which deals with demons and their kind) yet all I find in the libraries is endless retreads on the subjects of Greek, Roman and Norse gods. It's very disheartening - mythology, even in the brief searches I've done so far, is a rich banquet of beliefs, creatures and symbolism and yet time and again we go for the fast food stuff.

    So I could use a little help does anyone know of any comprehensive books on mythology? It would be especialy helpful if it was a branch of mythology such as Slavic, Aboriginal, Maori or Mayan that I don't have much experience with. Pretty much except for freaking Greek, Roman or Norse. X_x

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    Default Re: Mediocre Mythology

    If you could get a hold of it, The Enchanted World series is always my first suggestion.
    Aboriginal myth is difficult. You should be able to find a book on Aboriginal religion somewhere, but every group has their own customs, beliefs and stories. You're much more likely to be able to find books of collections of Aboriginal stories - have a look on the Australian version of Project Gutenberg, I've found one or two pretty good ones from there, but keep in mind those ones tend to be quite old (early 1900s or even 1800s), and are very much a product of their time. Also I'm not sure where they find sources on their monsters - The Enchanted World, for example, has several Aboriginal monsters in one of the books, but I don't know whether they're taken from particular stories or general myth or what. If Curly has access to her copy of TEW she can check the bibliography for you.

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    Default Re: Mediocre Mythology

    No books, LOADS of folk legend.

    Pontianak
    The ghost of a woman who died in childbirth. Vampire equivalent, looks like a pretty lady until you get up close.

    (Entrails ghost, I don't remember the name)
    A floating severed head with the entire gastrointestinal tract. Drinks your spinal fluid.

    Hantu Buluh.
    A VERY tall ghost that tries to stab you with its Bamboo feet. Appears at night and when you are alone.

    Hantu Raja
    A "helper" demon I guess, keep it fed, it will do anything you want the link is personal. it has to be passed on or it will not let you die.

    Bomoh
    Shaman, medicine man, uses Jin to do stuff for him.
    Last edited by The_Admiral; 2012-11-05 at 06:21 AM.
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    Default Re: Mediocre Mythology

    Have you thought about widening your search to larger libraries? If you were in Australia I could help you out more.
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    Default Re: Mediocre Mythology

    Maybe check out if you can get access to a university library. Ours did have special guest passes for non-students and if you didn't take them home, you could just go in and read anything that's on the shelves. But with a guest pass, you could also browse the catalog and get anything brought up from the basement archives as well. Our Religious study branch was just tiny with only 100 students at a time at a university of 10,000 and even we had more books on obscure mythologies than you could ever read.
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    Default Re: Mediocre Mythology

    Not sure if this would be useful or helpful, but one of the main sources for Mayan Mythology is the Popol Vuh, which is the Mayan equivalent of the Hesiod or the Theogony from the Greek perspective.

    There's an English pdf available here, but it's a set of epic poems and reads as such, so it may not be as interesting as reading a prosaic writing.

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    Default Re: Mediocre Mythology

    I have two, Ancient Civilizations Ed. Greg Woolf and Mythology Ed. C. Scott Littleton, that are pretty good for basic stuff. I can't find Mythology at the moment, but IIRC it has sections on Oceanian and Slavic peoples, and it certainly has one on the Maya. Ancient Civilizations doesn't include the Slavs or Oceanic aborigines, since they didn't have what is classically described as "civilization" until after ancient times, but it does have sections on the Aztecs, Maya, Inca, Celts, India, and Tibet, in addition to the usual suspects of Egypt, Rome, Greece, and China.

    Unfortunately, they're both coffee table books (i.e. expensive) and possibly out of print, though apparently available on Amazon.

    Also consider looking at some used anthropology textbooks. They might have what you're looking for.

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    Default Re: Mediocre Mythology

    I'm going to have to echo Serpentine here...
    I saw your request for information concerning Australian Aboriginal mythology, so I briefly attempted to find some information before the sheer difficulty of finding anything frankly destroyed my motivation to do so.

    I'm going to have to be repetitive here and suggest you see if any universities are willing to let you browse through their books.
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    Default Re: Mediocre Mythology

    Also, as far as I'm aware, Australian Aboriginal legend doesn't really have demons and the like. There's some evil spirit type things... but even those don't tend to be as unambiguously evil and demonic as, well, demons.

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    Default Re: Mediocre Mythology

    Quote Originally Posted by Serpentine View Post
    Also, as far as I'm aware, Australian Aboriginal legend doesn't really have demons and the like. There's some evil spirit type things... but even those don't tend to be as unambiguously evil and demonic as, well, demons.
    While it's true that I'm looking specifically for succubus-like creatures in these branches of mythology, it needn't be a 100% match. For example, part of my research features a Japanese spirit called a Yuki-Onno. It's primarily an ice spirit but does feature certain behaviours (like sneaking into the house of men at night, sleeping with them and potentially killing them).

    I've even found examples of benign succubi that are actually considered to be a sign of good luck when they visit you. I think part of the research will have a very brief look at the cultures that sourced these myths and whether attitudes to things like sex and gender shape the beings in question.

    It's a big project.


    I like the suggestion about trying university libraries - I hadn't actually thought of that. I did try the British Library but that's more of a collection of extremely rare books than an extremely big library.

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    Default Re: Mediocre Mythology

    Swedish mythology speak of 'rå' (from a word meaning "caretaker") - frequently beautiful women who lure young men into the wilderness (forests, mountains...). But if you see their back, you turn to stone. Or sometimes they just screw your brains out. Or sometimes they make you mad. Sort of an all-purpose "bad thing" really.
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    Default Re: Mediocre Mythology

    This is odd. I have a ton of knowledge about local folklore and mythology, but I have no idea where I know it from. Guess this must be some form of white knowledge.

    I do have a wonderful book (also a coffee table type book) about West African folklore, but it's in Afrikaans. I'm guessing that won't be of great use to you, but it's full of those great "How grandfather giraffe got his long neck" type legends.

    Also I know for a fact I've seen a book on Mayan folklore somewhere in my library. I'll have to check on its name, though.

    I love folklore, and the kind of around-the-firepit type stories, but books on the subject are kind of scarce.
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    Default Re: Mediocre Mythology

    Quote Originally Posted by The Succubus View Post
    While it's true that I'm looking specifically for succubus-like creatures in these branches of mythology, it needn't be a 100% match. For example, part of my research features a Japanese spirit called a Yuki-Onno. It's primarily an ice spirit but does feature certain behaviours (like sneaking into the house of men at night, sleeping with them and potentially killing them).

    I've even found examples of benign succubi that are actually considered to be a sign of good luck when they visit you. I think part of the research will have a very brief look at the cultures that sourced these myths and whether attitudes to things like sex and gender shape the beings in question.

    It's a big project.


    I like the suggestion about trying university libraries - I hadn't actually thought of that. I did try the British Library but that's more of a collection of extremely rare books than an extremely big library.
    I was using the broadest definition of "demon" I could think of when I said that. I really don't know of anything along those lines in aboriginal stories. Having said that, though, most of my sources of aboriginal myth are child-friendly, so that could explain it.

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    Default Re: Mediocre Mythology

    Quote Originally Posted by Serpentine View Post
    I was using the broadest definition of "demon" I could think of when I said that. I really don't know of anything along those lines in aboriginal stories. Having said that, though, most of my sources of aboriginal myth are child-friendly, so that could explain it.
    Same situation here. I know practically nothing of the local Aboriginal mythology. I would look into it, but I figure that would require bugging people, and I'm much to shy to ask questions.
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    Default Re: Mediocre Mythology

    I've got a book somewhere called the Encyclopaedia of Things That Never Were which gives a sort of Cliff Notes overview of various mythologies. Not sure if it goes into enough depth for your needs, though!

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    Default Re: Mediocre Mythology

    I thought that most of this stuff came from Dante's Inferno, or at least the medieval myths are reflected here.
    Someone did a parody, Heinlein's Job possibly, which is a bit lighter.
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    Default Re: Mediocre Mythology

    In a lot of cases, a modern translated English version of the old collections can be incredibly good for this kind of research.
    - Norse has Prose Edda and Poetic Edda
    - Celtic has the Mabinogion
    - Mayans have the Popol Vuh
    - For Christian/Jewish you can look into the Greater and Lesser Keys of Solomon

    Quote Originally Posted by Feytalist View Post
    I do have a wonderful book (also a coffee table type book) about West African folklore, but it's in Afrikaans. I'm guessing that won't be of great use to you, but it's full of those great "How grandfather giraffe got his long neck" type legends.
    Give me the title anyway, see if I can find it here. Afrikaans is close enough to Dutch.
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    The Wikipedia section on Sumerian religion is fairly extensive. It's fascinating to read about what people thought so long ago.
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    Default Re: Mediocre Mythology

    Quote Originally Posted by The Succubus View Post
    While it's true that I'm looking specifically for succubus-like creatures in these branches of mythology, it needn't be a 100% match. For example, part of my research features a Japanese spirit called a Yuki-Onno. It's primarily an ice spirit but does feature certain behaviours (like sneaking into the house of men at night, sleeping with them and potentially killing them).
    Slight correction, it's a 'Yuki-Onna' (literally Snow Woman) that you're thinking about. In the mythology I've read, it's less that they sneak into men's houses and more that they accidentally fall in love with men that have been caught in their snow storms.

    The classic story features a Yuki Onna letting a woodcutter live on the proviso that he never talks about their meeting. Shortly after, he meets a nice young woman, they get married and raise a family, only for him to idly mention his meeting with the Yuki Onna years before and his wife reveals she IS the Yuki Onna.

    I think the 'entrails ghost' mentioned earlier is a Malaysian vampire called a Penanggalan, and is less on the seduction and more on the 'murder any hapless mortal that crosses her path' side of things.

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    Quote Originally Posted by The Succubus View Post
    I like the suggestion about trying university libraries - I hadn't actually thought of that. I did try the British Library but that's more of a collection of extremely rare books than an extremely big library.
    Not just extremely rare. The British Library is a copyright library, and is required by law to carry a copy of every book ever published in the UK.

    Out of interest, I wonder why it is that the Greco-Roman and Norse myths are so much better known around here than anything else?
    Last edited by Heliomance; 2012-11-05 at 08:15 AM.
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    There is a book out there, its kinda rare. The Lesser Key of Solomon. Its basically an encyclopedia of demonic lore, and has all sorts of stuff like how to summon, capture, and enslave them, stuff like that. Last time I saw a copy of it, it was in some college library in california, couldnt get them to ship it out to my state though. I was big into demonology at the time and was trying to find it. It covers evil neutral and good spirits, something like 72 of them the author claimed to have summoned.
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    Default Re: Mediocre Mythology

    Most likely it's because Greco-Roman mythology was built upon and dug up again in the Renaissance, and Norse because it was kept alive pretty long and easily spread to the Americas as well (Slavic was kept alive long too, but didn't spread like that, I think). For the same reason Shinto mythology is also pretty well known.
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    Have you read The Golden Bough and The Hero with a Thousand Faces?

    Quote Originally Posted by Traab View Post
    There is a book out there, its kinda rare. The Lesser Key of Solomon.
    It's thirty five dollars plus S&H on Amazon. You can get your demon summoning on in less than five business days!
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    Quote Originally Posted by nedz View Post
    I thought that most of this stuff came from Dante's Inferno, or at least the medieval myths are reflected here.
    Someone did a parody, Heinlein's Job possibly, which is a bit lighter.
    I've read the Inferno quite a few times and while there are a lot of references to lust throughout, I don't actually recall coming across any succubi in there. The one I need to read is Paradise lost as it draws a lot from early Jewish mythology and covers dealings with demons such as Asmodae, Samael, etc, some of whom either had succubi brides or (I think it was Asmodae - don't have my notes here) were born from succubi.

    I've heard of the Golden Bough but never actually read it. The Lesser Key of Solomon sounds as though it has potential.

    The book in Afrikaans....well, my boss speaks Afrikaans but I'm not overly keen on the idea of discussing my research with her. =p

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    Quote Originally Posted by Morph Bark View Post
    Most likely it's because Greco-Roman mythology was built upon and dug up again in the Renaissance, and Norse because it was kept alive pretty long and easily spread to the Americas as well (Slavic was kept alive long too, but didn't spread like that, I think). For the same reason Shinto mythology is also pretty well known.
    Not really, Norse mythology is terribly pooröy documented. However, it's the local cultural heiritage of northern and central europe, where most of historic research known in the western world was done, so people were quite efficient to get a great deal of information from what little evidence has survived. And it's also quite possible, that a great deal of it started as complete speculation that somehow became established facts and never got seriously questioned since.

    With Greek-Roman mythology we have excelent original source material and material evidence. The educational standards of these cultures was surpassed in the modern world only rather recently and they already did think of such concepts as documentation, sociological research, scientific papers, and history as a science. I think a similar situation you might only find in China and nowhere else in the world.
    Greek and Roman culture are direct predecessors to our modern Western Cultures, often without any distinct breaks in continuity. If you study the history of the late Roman Empire, you are already in the roots of the Empires of the Middle Ages. The Dark Ages were not a period of some centuries where there wasn't anything and then suddenly something new came out of nothing, there's a direct continuation as seen for example in the Holy Roman Empire, which was located in Germany, Austria, and northern Italy, or the Byzanthine Empire, which split from Rome as the East Roman Empire. And as someone mentioned, there was a huge rise in popularity on Roman and particularly Greek culture during the Rennaisance, when refugees from Byzanthine brought with them their libraries of arabic translations of ancient greek literature and textbooks.
    I think ancient Chinese History and Culture might be equally well documented, but people in Europe and America never really cared enough about it to give it any serious attention. And then there was the whole mess with the collapse of the Empire and almost permanent states of Civil Wars, World Wars, and the Cold War, that made all the data and local research inaccessible to foreign researcher since the late 19th century. And these days such things don't seem to be a subject of puplic attention that would encourage large scale research.
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    Quote Originally Posted by Asta Kask View Post
    Swedish mythology speak of 'rå' (from a word meaning "caretaker") - frequently beautiful women who lure young men into the wilderness (forests, mountains...). But if you see their back, you turn to stone. Or sometimes they just screw your brains out. Or sometimes they make you mad. Sort of an all-purpose "bad thing" really.
    Ah, I think I've come across these being referenced as huldra...or I might be thinking of Scandinavian trolls.

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    Huldra is Norwegian, while the rå is southern Sweden. The border between them and goblins/trolls is very fuzzy.
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    Chinese and Japanese mythology still survive and are practiced as religions. I do most of my research on Wikipedia, so you can start your search there with "Yellow Emperor" for Chinese or "Shinto" for Japanese. There's also some good Native American folktales you can check out. I'd start with Coyote. Anansi myths are everywhere as well for African stuff. Hinduism has plenty of good myths as well. There's also Egyptian mythology.

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    I second the hero with a thousand faces (used it for schoolreports). For the Jeudo-Christian mythology you can find about a lot of it in La Divinia Commedia (the story of Dante) and Faust (by Goethe). they handle the side of demons and devils quite extensively (or so I have heard). Maybe you can find a version of the Time's series of the world. It's a series of encyclopedic books that handle just about any topic and often feature well researched information. Then there is Wikipedia which could give a nice indication (they ususally list books or articles when they cite information). and for greek, roman and germanic myths you can seek out the Dutch book: Het Groot Heldenboek. Which basically handles hercules's trials, the Iliad, the Odyssee, (which you don't want, but they still have some lesser known infomration) the founding of Rome and the legens of Sygfried plus some other (i can't remember since I read that about 15 years ago). if you want to go slightly more celtic, seek out topics like Cu Chulainn, and the Seelie and Unseelie courts. that woudl help you in having west europe covered.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Brother Oni View Post
    I think the 'entrails ghost' mentioned earlier is a Malaysian vampire called a Penanggalan, and is less on the seduction and more on the 'murder any hapless mortal that crosses her path' side of things.
    I remember those from the first edition Fiend Folio--flying head trailing their entrails behind them as they went, as I recall.

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