Thursday, May 27, 2004

Jersey Devil

This is my favorite urban legend, probably since he's said to hang out right around where I grew up, and of course its the origin of the NJ hockey team's name.

It is said to have started when a woman (who lived in the Jersey Pine Barrans) prayed for the child she was about to have to be a devil, however, when it was born, it looked like a normal child so gave it up for adoption. It really was a devil, but since he was turned out of an evil house at such a young age, he never developed much of his wickedness. Recent sightings have been said to have been in Northern New Jersey wooded areas and Harriman State Park in Rockland Country, New York. Campers and hikers tell stories of the small flying kid with wings, horns and a pointed tail, who simply asks for directions to the Pine Barrons (in Southern Jersey). They describe him as genial and polite.

Most of the documentation on the internet differs from the story i was told, but heres a link to one legnthy description:


Kudos to Jo for breaking the long silence on this blog. Please note that there are two ways one could reply to questions or speak to issues on this blog. First, you could do so in a separate post (as I am doing here). If you do so, please try to include a hyperlink to the original post you are responding to. To do so, right-click on the date and time stamp beneath the post in question and choose "copy shortcut." You can then paste it into a hyperlink in your own posting, like this.

The other way you can respond is to click on "comments" beneath the post in question and leave your comments there.

In answer to Jo's queries:
--Yes, the GW library system does have a collection of electronic databases, known collectively as ALADIN. You can use it to access individual databases (like JSTOR or Factiva) or you can click on "e-journal Title Finder" to search for specific journals or publications.
--I won't be teaching this course next year (other courses already booked). If this summer experiment works well, though, I may try to revive it again in the following year.
--There are, of course, many mythological references to cannibalism. Arens (in the piece you all need to have read) mentions one of the earliest European historical references is from Heroditus.


Wednesday, May 26, 2004

questions, questions

ok i have two questions for people
1) being new to the whole american university system i was wondering if you have an electronic database that you can use to search for journal articles?
2) was telling someone about the urban legends course and they were asking if its around next semester? any ideas?

ps. be interesting to find out when the first reference to cannibalism was made in literature. know there are a few in greek mythology, were a Greek King Lycaon wanted to test whether the gods could tell the difference between meat and human flesh.

Thursday, May 20, 2004

I have been unable to access the second reading for the paper posted on blackboard. I tried from New Hall and 2 computer labs. I know this is last minute for today's class, but could someone post it up here when they get the chance?


Wednesday, May 19, 2004


The practice of sneaking up on a sleeping cow and knocking it over (presuming that cows sleep standing up). What fun! And such a threat to our society that a Florida legislator sought to outlaw the nefarious practice.

I have it on fairly good authority--my brother-in-law grew up on a diary farm and his parents happened to be visiting when I called him--that cows don't sleep standing up. It is possible, the folks with decades of cow experience between them surmised, that one could stealthily walk up to a cow and, with the help of several able bodies, push against the half-ton cow. The result is most likely to be that the cow would push back, amble away, or (most unlikely) stare at you with bewilderment as you successfully knock it over. But they had never seen it attempted let alone accomplished.

Fact or fiction? Probably mostly the latter with an exceptional actual case thrown in from time to time. As the Tallahassee Democrat opines
I grew up on a cattle farm in North Florida and never once - despite the easy access to tequila - participated in the fine art of cow-tipping. Just like going on a snipe hunt, cow-tipping sounds like an elaborate ruse to get Yankees to step in cow patties.

Yet, cow-tipping has such an authentic ring of human idiocy that it's probably true.

If you don't want to mess with nighttime jaunts through patty-filled fields, click here for all the cow tipping you could want.


The Urban Legends Reference Pages. By far the best and most comprehensive on-line resource I have found to date.


First blog; testing