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Folklore/Tall Tales
I posted a brief description of the Australian legend of the Nullarbor Nymph back in 2004. This is what I wrote:

Thirty-two years ago the tiny town of Eucla, Australia, on the edge of the Nullarbor plain, became famous when a few of its residents first sighted the Nullarbor Nymph. The Nymph was a blonde, feral, half-naked woman who lived in the bush and ran wild with kangaroos. News of this wild woman quickly spread around the world.

Now filmmaker Matthew Wilkinson has brought the legend to the screen. ABC News quotes him as saying:

It was sort of a male fantasy sort of story that there was this blonde, beautiful woman out there. I guess I saw the Nullarbor Nymph as our version of Bigfoot or the Loch Ness Monster. I was always sort of surprised that no-one my age knew about it and so I really wanted to tell that story for a younger generation.

The film just premiered. Based on the trailer, it looks like an instant classic.

Categories: Folklore/Tall Tales, Videos
Posted by Alex on Tue Mar 06, 2012
Comments (1)
A fake seagull perched on a billboard outside the town of Grand Marais, Minnesota recently went missing. Residents suspect it was stolen, and they want it back. So the town has organized a "give us the bird" campaign, in which they're offering a free vacation in Grand Marais in return for information leading to the safe return of the seagull. The best story wins. A strict adherence to the truth, in this case, would seem to be irrelevant. [upi.com]
Categories: Folklore/Tall Tales, Places
Posted by Alex on Thu Sep 10, 2009
Comments (2)
From Cabela's you can buy actual Jackalope Sausage:

The jackalope is nearly impossible to find, yet, we've successfully located the elusive animal and captured its wonderful flavoring. Jackalope (i.e. antelope, rabbit and beef) are mixed together and smoked slowly for mouth-watering results. An amusing gift for the skeptic and believer alike. Contains three 6-oz. "jackalope" summer sausages.

Eating this would be kind of contrary to the idea of trying to Save the Jackalope. Nevertheless, I've ordered some to find out what it's like.
Categories: Animals, Folklore/Tall Tales, Food
Posted by Alex on Tue Dec 23, 2008
Comments (2)
Meet Angie from Chernobyl. She's the biggest cat in the world. She belongs to Dr. Maricek, who's a radiation scientist. Angie's missing a gene that controls her growth. As a result, she just keeps growing and growing (and growing!). She currently weighs about 800 lbs and eats 60 lbs of food a day. Despite her size, Angie behaves like a normal cat, though she is extremely shy with people.

Angie's very cute (and looks a bit like my cat Boo), but if she ever curled up on someone's lap, I think the result would be a very flat human.

Thanks to Sarah of messybeast.com for the link. Sarah says, "With some dodgy photo-editing. I can't work out how this hasn't yet ended up in a chain email. Eat your heart out Snowball!"

image image image
Categories: Animals, Folklore/Tall Tales, Websites
Posted by Alex on Wed Aug 22, 2007
Comments (8)
image The Coleman Frog, explains a recent article on Canada.com, is an enormous stuffed frog -- it weighs 19 kilograms, or about 42 lbs -- on display in the York-Sunbury Museum in Fredericton, Canada. According to legend, the frog originally belonged to Fred Coleman, who owned a lodge near Fredericton back in the 1880s. He used to feed it whiskey and whey, causing it to grow to its enormous size. After it died, he had it stuffed. It sat in the saloon of a hotel for a while before coming into the possession of the York-Sunbury Museum.

There are skeptics who say that the Coleman Frog is a fake. They suggest that the frog was actually originally a display item used to advertise a cough medicine guaranteed to relieve "the frog in your throat" (See Canada's Mysterious Maritimes), but the York-Sunbury Museum dismisses such skepticism. Tim Andrew, a local expert on the frog who defends its reality, says, "I don't suppose we'll ever put the controversy to rest. It was suggested doing DNA testing on it, but I think we're reluctant to disturb the peace of a stuffed beast that's been around quite happily for 123 years now." (Thanks, Joe)
Categories: Animals, Folklore/Tall Tales
Posted by Alex on Mon Jul 30, 2007
Comments (10)
A young Indian boy is claiming to be the reincarnation of an American scientist. According to the article linked below, he speaks mostly gibberish with a few "scientific" words mixed in. Proof enough for me! I especially like the next-to-last paragraph of the article. [Thanks to the reader who submitted this story]

Indian boy claims to be reincarnation of American scientist
Categories: Folklore/Tall Tales, Identity/Imposters, Mass Delusion, Religion
Posted by Cranky Media Guy on Tue Jul 17, 2007
Comments (18)
I guess with over one billion people, it's inevitable that China would produce its share of kooks, quacks and crazies. This 71-year-old man who claims to let 220 volts flow through his body as a form of exercise and says he can cook fish in his bare hands in two minutes fits into at least two of those categories. Oh, he can cure arthritis, too. I just upped him to all three categories.

Chinese man cures arthritis with electricity
Categories: Folklore/Tall Tales, Health/Medicine, Paranormal
Posted by Cranky Media Guy on Tue Jul 10, 2007
Comments (7)
This is a weird one. A book allegedly written by a young man, JT LeRoy, made a sensation recently. JT was a truck stop hooker, got involved with drugs, was possibly transgendered and generally had a pretty screwed-up life. The book was billed as non-fiction, supposedly the true story of JT's life. Naturally, it sold very well.

Oprah loved it, the movie director Gus VanSant and other Hollywood types were interested in it. Then the JT LeRoy saga started coming apart. Funny story, turns out there is no such person as JT LeRoy.

Even funnier, also turns out that more than one person, some of them female, portrayed JT at book signings and other appearances. As you'd expect, the people who put up good money to produce a book based on "JT"'s life story didn't see the humor in the situation. They sued Laura Albert, the woman who really wrote the book and who recruited friends and relatives to play JT.

The case came to trial this week. I don't want to spoil the ending for you, so click on the link and see how the case turned out. Oh, and you're gonna LOVE Albert's lawyer's defense of her actions. It's, uh, creative, I'll give him that.

AOL News, JT LeRoy.

OK, this is annoying. The article that link takes you to had a summary of Albert's defense of her actions, but it's been changed since I originally copied the link. The gist of it is that the lawyer said that Albert suffered from "multiple personalities." Now you *might* be able to buy that, but she claims that her multiples were contagious (my term) to explain how other people portrayed "JT" when the "author" needed to make an appearance. I've found the reference elsewhere, though.

From the Augusta Chronicle:

Albert and her lawyers say the matter is more complicated.

The middle-aged Albert testified during the trial that she had been assuming male identities for decades as a coping mechanism for psychological problems brought on by her sexual abuse as a child. To her, she said, Leroy was real — something akin to a different personality living inside her, but one that was capable of transferring to the people she hired to impersonate him.


UPDATE:

If the meme of the 90's was, "I know I did something wrong, but I apologize from the bottom of my heart and, by the way, I've found Jesus," the Ought's version seems to be, "I have no idea why you think what I did was wrong. I'm a misunderstood genius unappreciated by philistines like you."

I direct your attention to:

Gawker story on J T LeRoy.
Categories: Con Artists, Folklore/Tall Tales, Identity/Imposters, Literature/Language
Posted by Cranky Media Guy on Mon Jun 25, 2007
Comments (11)
A series of articles by Dave Clarke of the Star Courier has revived interest in the legend of the Deerman. The legend is local to Kewanee, Illinois. It tells of a creature, with the upper body of a deer and the lower body of a man, that lurks in the woods, occasionally popping up to scare lovers parked on moonlit nights or people wandering around alone. Supposedly if you see Deerman three times you die.

Clarke credits Jerry Moriarity, the editor and publisher of the Star Courier during the '50s and '60s, with popularizing the legend of the Deerman in his column "Mostly Malarkey."

Half-human/half-animal creatures are a staple of local legends. Some of the other famous ones that I know about are Mothman of West Virginia, the Owlman of Cornwall, the Goatman of Maryland, and the Lizard Man of South Carolina. I'm sure there must be many others. (Thanks, Joe)
Categories: Cryptozoology, Folklore/Tall Tales, Urban Legends
Posted by Alex on Fri May 25, 2007
Comments (19)
The Japanese poodle scam - wherein thousands of gullible buyers were sold lambs instead of the dogs they were expecting - was first reported in UK Sun newspaper. The story went that rich women were buying cut-price poodles from a company named Poodles For Pets, and were astonished to find later that they were sheep.

The story itself was immediately dubious (aside from being in The Sun, which tends to be somewhat lax in the fact-checking department), when you consider snippets like:

The scam was uncovered when Japanese moviestar Maiko Kawamaki went on a talk-show and wondered why her new pet would not bark or eat dog food.
She was crestfallen when told it was a sheep.

Then hundreds of other women got in touch with police to say they feared their new "poodle" was also a sheep.
One couple said they became suspicious when they took their "dog" to have its claws trimmed and were told it had hooves.

The story unravelled when police in Sapporo, where the company was claimed to be based, said they had never heard of the scam. The talk-show story was not as it seemed, either. It appears that Kawakami had told a story about a lamb being sold instead of a poodle. However, she'd said that it had happened to a friend of hers.

It seems that nobody had heard of the scam - it hadn't been reported in any Japanese newspapers.

The final nail in the coffin? The original article claims that the scam "capitalised on the fact that sheep are rare in Japan, so many do not know what they look like."
In fact, Sapporo has had a sheep farm since 1848.

Forum thread here.
Categories: Animals, Business/Finance, Celebrities, Folklore/Tall Tales
Posted by Flora on Wed May 02, 2007
Comments (5)
The Wisconsin Historical Society has just posted a large collection of tall-tale postcards online, along with some accompanying history. Definitely worth checking out. Highlights include galleries devoted to two early masters of the tall-tale genre, William H. Martin and Alfred Stanley Johnson. It's also possible to buy reproductions of these prints through their website.

The only thing I find regrettable is that their site is full of all kinds of warnings threatening people not to use any image from the site without first obtaining written permission from them. If an image is public domain (as many of these tall-tale postcards are, since they were published before 1923), then can the Historical Society actually set conditions on their usage? It seems to me that would be like a publisher selling Shakespeare's works along with a warning that their permission must be obtained before any play is actually performed.
Categories: Folklore/Tall Tales, History
Posted by Alex on Thu Dec 21, 2006
Comments (13)
We set up the Christmas tree in the house a few days ago, and in a flash of inspiration I figured, why not have some hoax-themed ornaments. So I created a few. All that was required was printing the pictures on card paper and cutting them out. I created a whole bunch. (I was procrastinating.) Pictured below (clockwise from top left) are the jackalope, fur-bearing trout, Bigfoot, Cottingley fairy, Nessie, and Touristguy. Nessie and Bigfoot kept fighting, so I had to move them apart. Now Bigfoot keeps wandering around and hiding behind the tree. I can tell already that he's a troublemaker.

The one flaw with the tree is that it's real. Next year I'll need to get a fake tree just for the hoax ornaments.

image image image
image image image
Categories: Folklore/Tall Tales
Posted by Alex on Fri Dec 08, 2006
Comments (15)
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