Nyogtha Volume I, Issue XVII

Lots of feedback from last week’s issues, mainly from people in the bands mentioned in last week’s article (Four of the ten bands contacted me and thanked me for sending traffic their way, which I replied that is was Mick, not I that named them) and a lot of people who found the column through other spooky sites linking to it and going “Holy Crap! How long have you been doing this again?” Needless to say, I’m very happy with last week’s column, and let’s get down to some emails.

Hi Alex, Oli from IP Sports here. Great column this week, although I have to point out you, Gloomchen and Fernandez aren’t the only goth fans at the pulse šŸ˜‰

British food isn’t that bad, you just have to know where the good food is! I can’t however, explain the attraction behind soaps or why I find myself watching Hollyoaks five nights a week. I can assure you that if I lived in London, Red Ken wouldn’t be getting my vote. As for Angus Deayton, since getting the sack from Have I Got News For You, hes been relegated to presenting such TV gems as Before They Were Famous.

Anyway, keep up the good work.

Oli

Just putting this in here to show you that there’s four of us. Hmmm. I guess that would make me Ric Flair, Gloomy would be Arn Anderson, Oli, due to sports would be Sid Vicious so he can play softball all he wants, and Fernandez would be Barry Whindam. Please, like I’d ever insult anyone by calling them Tully or Ole.


Hi,

I read your review of Digital Devil Saga and I’d like to commend you for writing such an exhaustive review. I’ve only played SMT: Nocturne but I like what I see so far with the MegaTen series so I was curious about DDS. I’ll definitely pick it up now. If I could offer one tiny suggestion about your writing style: don’t talk down to your audience – your review makes readers feel dumb and unsophisticated enough to play this game. It deters people from reading your article (which is not what you’re aiming for, I’m assuming). Other than that, it was a refreshing read.

Thanks.

– Kevin
~*~
designer
silicon knights, inc.

Heh. Me? Talk down to my audience? Obviously the man doesn’t read Hyatte. šŸ˜‰ But yes, I’d definitely say my biggest handicap when doing the video game stuff for Inside Pulse is my background as a Folklorist/Cultural Anthropologist and I still write in that style when I do reviews. But then, that’s why I’m read I suppose. People would prefer the discussions of existential literature or 2 pages of game history before I even started talking about the review itself. For everyone person who I make “feel dumb” I hope I actually educate and make a little bit smarter.

Silicon Knights are the guys that made Eternal Darkness BTW. Great great game. Possibly the best on the Cube save Ikaruga.

And now just a quick conversation I had with a reader.

Hello Alex,

A very good edition of Nyogtha this week. The interview was very educational. I am writing a story about a punk sorta goth band. my question is If I like the Cure which punk/goth band would you recormend me listening to?
Punk wise I asked around and people suggested New York Dolls or The Who.

Michael

See, I’d never consider the Who punk. I mean, they wrote a rock opera about Pinball. That right there nixes them as punk or goth.

If you’re a Cure kind of guy, I’d actually go with some of the bands they had
at Curiosa this year, like Interpol. Not true punk, but it meshes well with
the Cure.

thanks for the suggestions, i’m gonna check out Interpol and those other bands over the year. What castle/old house has been the subject of the most folklore?

-Mike

And that’s actually going to be the lead-in to our main essay today. Why? Because as always this column is based on your questions and me answering them to the best of my ability.

Well I’ve already covered the Amityville Horror house, which is probably the best known actual domicile in regards to having stories surrounding it. If you want to could all buildings, King Tut’s Tomb is another one I’ve covered that has a great deal of superstition surrounding it. And in England Croglin Grange and Highgate Cemetery would get the nod.

Scary I have covered most of these already, eh?

Castle wise, I’m tempted to say Castle Bran, which was used by Vlad the Impaler while he ruled Wallachia, but in truth it was rarely used by him, but the Romanian government markets that sucks like he was born and died there. The True Castle Dracula was plain and small, but built to have probably THE greatest view in all of the country. But it was partially dismantled in 1462 and used as a prison until 1522. And in 1912 a massive earthquake shook Romania and destroyed the castle. Three following earthquakes in 1913, 1940, and 1976 reduced the castle to little more than some stone stumps of the three main towers. Soon after the third earthquake, Romania’s government decided to take care of and preserve what little of the castle remains.

If Castle Dracula was still around, I think it would be safe to say THAT was the most notorious castle. However instead, I’m going to go with the castle listed as the Most Haunted in England. Let’s take a look, shall we?

Glamis Castle
Glamis Castle is considered haunted castle in all of the United Kingdom. Built in the 14th Century, Glamis is home to a variety of ghosts, a vampire, secret rooms and even a monster or two.

Glamis is the ancient home of the Lyon family, now the Bowes-Lyons family, and the land that Glamis is built upon was presented as a gift to this family by Robert the Bruce in 1372. It is still owned today by the Bowes-Lyons family through the Earls of Strathmore, and is where the Queen Mother spent her childhood, as well as where she gave birth to Princess Margaret.

Glamis first would-be ghost is that of Macbeth. In his famous play, Shakespeare mentions Glamis as the castle where Macbeth murdered Duncan foully. Even though the actual historical killing took place in Elgin, many have claimed that the ghost of Macbeth haunts the place. As well, the most haunted part of the castle is called ‘Duncan’s Hall.’

Another ghost that supposedly haunts the place involves the Murder of King Malcolm. Folklore states Malcolm was murdered in Glamis in 1034 in a room in the main tower of the castle and that his murderers became lost in the darkness, well out a window and drowned in the body of water that surrounds the castle, know as the Forfar. This too is merely miscued statements handed down over the centuries, Malcolm four centuries before the castle was even built. It is still told however, that Malcolm’s blood stained the floor of one of the rooms and would not be removed by scrubbing.

The most famous ghost story involving Glamis Castle involves the Earl of Crawford, also known as Earl Beardie. In the first version of this legend, the Earl and the Lord of Glamis were playing cards with the devil himself. Because of the sheer aura of evil left by this act, the room they had played in was walled up.

In the second version of this legend, the Earl in a drunken stupor, was infuriated that he had no one to play cards with, as it was Sunday and the servants were fearful of gambling on the Sabbath. The Earl cried that he would even play cards with the Devil himself, and from behind him came a knock at his door. When the Earl opened it, a tall man dressed in all black inquired if he still needed another person to play cards with. The Earl said yes, and both men entered a small room in another section of the castle. Shortly after the game had started, horrible things began to happen. There was a ruckus of swearing and shouting coming from within the room, and when a servant attempted to look into the peephole to see what was going on, the servant was blinded by fire and light. The Earl left the room to chastise the servant, and when he returned, the stranger was gone, along with the Earl’s soul. Five years later, the Earl died. After his death, people claimed to hear the sounds of stamping, profanity, and conversations about cards and dice coming from the tower and other rooms in the castle. Some even say the devil and the Earl still play cards in a secret room in the castle every night.

Although it is not a ghost, Glamis is home to a famous monster as well. And a royal one to boot. In the 18th century (1821 to be exact), the firstborn son of the Earl of Strathmore was born in Glamis and was hideously deformed. Supposedly it was egg shaped, had no neck, underdeveloped arms and legs and was covered in hair. The child, due to the massive deformities was not expected to live, and so the child was hidden in a secret chamber and the rumor was circulated that the child was stillborn. Only the Earl, his second son, the family lawyer and the executor of the estate knew the truth about the child’s birth.

The child did not die however, and survived infancy to become strong and virile. Although the malformed son was the true heir to the caste, he was still hidden away from the world and the estate went to the second son. As generations came and went, each heir to Glamis was told the secret of the hidden creature on his twenty-first birthday and then shown the beast. Each Earl was supposedly changed forever by this revelation, becoming moody, withdrawn and depressed. It is believed that one of these Earls that saw the forlorn being still haunts what is known as the ‘Mad Earl’s Walk.’ It is also said that the creature managed to live over a hundred years, dying in either 1821 or 1841, yet there are no sightings of this poor beings ghost. After a lifetime of hell, it seemed to have willingly left this world.

There is nothing to confirm or deny if this story is true, but there are records that firmly state a secret chamber (if not more than one) was built into Glamis, but as of yet, the chamber has not been found. In 1800, a Scottish newspaper reporter that a workman, while fixing and making alterations to the castle, accidentally broke through a wall and discovered a secret passage that led to the hidden room. The workman disappeared shortly after this discovery, with rumors that the current owners of the castle had bribed him with a substantial amount of money and sent him to Australia.

And yet, there are more creatures that supposedly haunt the castle grounds. The ghost of a young black boy, believed to be an ill-treated servant, haunts a stone directly outside the Queen’s bedroom. The family chapel is haunted by the ghost of Lady Janet Douglas, wrongfully burned at the stake as a witch in 1537 for political reasons. Her ghost is also known as ‘The White Lady’ and has been known to follow cars that drive on the castle grounds, keeping in perfect pace with the motorized vehicles, along with haunting the clock tower. There is also a ghost known as the ‘Grey Lady’ who is still a complete mystery, yet over 100 visitors to the castle saw her at the same time as she quietly glided across the castle grounds. The ghosts of women who have either died from lost love or died in the name of love are known ‘Grey Ladies’ in European folklore. Most likely this mystery ghost is one of those.

There is also ‘Jack the Runner,’ a male ghost that acts in a similar fashion as Lady Douglas. A tongueless woman has been seen on the grounds of the castle as well as staring out windows. Each time she is described as pointing to or tearing at her face. Ghosts of a fully armored Knight, a mournful woman and a mysterious man all in black have been seen as well within Glamis.

The final creature known to haunt Glamis Castle is a vampire. Said to be a servant girl who was revealed to be a vampire even back then, she was walled up in ANOTHER secret room of the castle and still exists to this day, resting in a torpid like state, awaiting someone to awaken her from the sleep of the dead.

Although supposedly filled with nearly a dozen creatures not meant for this world, Glamis is still a beautiful and important piece of Scottish history and can be visited by tourist for most of the year, from the beginning of April to the end of October. It is highly recommended as something to visit of your next Scottish vacation.

Sources

Brooks, JA. Britain’s Haunted Heritage. London: Invisible Ink, 1991.
Folklore, Myths and Legends of Britain. London: Reader’s Digest Association, 1977.
Guiley, Rosemary Ellen. Encyclopedia of Ghosts and Spirits, The. New York:
Checkmark Books, 2000
Harper, Charles G. Haunted Houses: Tales of the Supernatural with Some Accounts of
Hereditary Curses and Family Legends. Rev and enlarged ed. London: Cecil Palmer, 1924.
Owen, William. Strange Scottish Stories. Norwich: Jarrold, 1985.
Underwood, Peter. The A to Z of British Ghosts. London: Invisible Ink, 1992.

Hopefully that helps Mike!

We’ve got time for one more Essay and as long as we’re on wacky places…

Easter Island

Easter Island is a tiny little island isolated in the southeastern Pacific Ocean (2,300 miles west of Chile) that has become famous due to one very bizarre manmade feature: Hundreds of large statues, the origins of which have never been discovered.

In 1722, a Dutch vessel landed on the shores of the then un-named island. On this island the sailors discovered that the islanders who once dwelled here had erected hundreds of statutes in an odd parody of human like forms, ranging from three to SEVENTY feet high. The natives called these statues Moai. These Moai would usually be grouped together, looking out towards the ocean or turned inwards at a village. But 50 years later, when James Cook and the Britons arrived at Easter island in 1774, most of the statues had been knocked down from the platforms.

And so we were left with many questions. Who built the Moai? Why their precise placement? What knocked them over, considering their size and weight? And most bizarre of all, how did humans make it to this island thousands of miles away from any other bits of land before the age of boats and vessels? Curiouser and curioser.

Although none of these questions can be truly answered there are a lot of theories. In regards to how the statutes could be knocked over in a 50 years span, many anthropologists and historians believe a civil war broke out on the island between the villagers, after talking with the islanders and the oral history of the island they received from each generation. As well, the damage to the statues that were knocked over appeared manmade and not by an earthquake or any other sort of natural disaster.

The origins of the statues however is something no one seems to agree on. Some feel they were used in some sort of religion or ancestor worship. Other believe these Moai were totems for individual families, and yet others believe they were done simply out of boredom. I mean, you’re trapped on a small island. What else is there to do?

And of course there is the crackpot belief that aliens either built them or taught the natives how to do it themselves.

But it is WHERE the Easter Islanders came from that historians anthropologists seem most interested in. The generally accepted theory is that they came from the Polynesian island north and west of Easter Island around the 12th century. But still that it a great deal of distance to cover in outrigger style canoes. Especially in regards to the food and water it would take to survive that journey. These are the islanders called “long-ears” by the Dutch and British due to the elongated earlobes they possess. It is further believed these are the original builders of the statues by those that subscribe to this hypothesis. Eventually the “Short ears” arrived and were enslaved by the original settlers. Anthropologists believe it was the short ears rebelling against the long ears in the 18th century that destroyed the original culture and history of the Moai and their creation.

In 1955, Norwegian Anthropologist Thor Heyerdahl visited Easter Island and experimented with trying to raise some of the fallen statues. In these experiments he formed different conclusions about the origins of the Long-Ears.

Heyerdahl believed these islanders were not Polynesian in origin, but Peruvian, and that they came from South American in 300 A.D. He came to these conclusions through three facts he discovered while investigating the Island.

1) The South American cultures had a history of stone carving where the Polynesians did not. As well, in Peru there are Moai as well.

2) The Easter Islanders had a written language, which was discovered on rongo-rongo boards. The Polynesians never developed a written language, while the Peruvians did.

3) Heyerdahl went and proved such a journey was possible by taking what is now known as the Kon-Tiki trip in 1947. The Kon-Tiki trip involved Heyerdahl traveling in a primitive balsa-wood raft for 4,300 miles over 101 days taking him from South America to the Tuamoto Archipelago, proving it was possible and probable that the Easter Islanders traveled this way from Peru. It was considered one of the most famous events of the early half of the 20th Century, but no doubt most of you have never heard of it. šŸ˜›

Even though this event gave Heyerdahl worldwide fame, most Anthropologists still clung to the belief that the Easter Islanders are Polynesian, due to the fact the Easter Island language is closer to that which the Polynesians spoke. They believe that simply because Heyerdahl proved it could happen, doesn’t mean it DID.

And this debate still rages today between the two schools of though. Although there is one thing both sides can completely agree upon: That the Moai were MAN-MADE, and not by some wacky aliens.

Cooking

Down in Cajun Country there’s a dish that is as simple as it is delicious; as homey as it is warming. It’s called Poulet Aux Gros Oignons or simply “Chicken Smothered in Onions.” It’s a quick and easy dish usually prepared for when family and guests are stopping by with little to no warning. It’s an easy meal to make, and due to all the veggies and white meat, very healthy and good for you to boot.

Ingredients

1 Large Chicken, cut into serving pieces (approximately 3.5 lbs)
2 tablespoons salt
One-half teaspoon Cayenne pepper
1 Tablespoon flour
One-fourth cup vegetable oil
8 cups thinly sliced onions (Should be about 2.5 lbs)
1 cup sliced bell peppers
1 bay leaf
one-fourth cup water
1 cup whole kernel corn
1 cup young sweet green peas
2 cups sliced mushrooms
3 tablespoons chopped parsley

1. In a mixing bowl, toss the chicken with 1.5 teaspoons salt, one-fourth teaspoon cayenne pepper, and the flour.

2. In a large cast-iron or enameled cast-iron Dutch oven, heat the oil over medium-high heat. When the oil is hot, but not smoking, add the chicken and brown, cooking for about 6 to 8 minutes on each side. Add the onions and the remaining one-half teaspoon salt and remaining one-fourth teaspoon cayenne. Stirring constantly, wilt and brown the onions, scraping the bottom of the pan to loosen any browned particles, which should take about ten minutes. Add the bell peppers and bay leaf. Continue stirring, again scraping the bottom of the pot to loosen any browned particles, for about 15 minutes. Add the water, cover, and reduce heat to medium. Stir occasionally and cook for about 30 minutes, or until the chicken is tender.

3. Add the corn, peas, and mushrooms. Cover and cook for 15 minutes more, stirring occasionally. Add the parsley

4. Remove the bay leaf and serve immediately.

13 Plugs

I previewed Digimon World 4 and Still Life, both for the Xbox. This week there will be reviews for both Super Monkey Ball Deluxe and Phantom Dust, so keep your eyes peeled for those.

In Games, Sarah Graves reviewed the latest Squaresoft game, while Fred Badlissi returns to the kliq, reviewing the new Star Wars game.

In Comics, Jessie Baker reviews New Thunderbolts, which needs Zemo back IMO, and Jim Trabold needs more emails.

In Music, Aaron Cameron mentions Popeye’s Chicken N’ Biscuits, which gets an automatic pimp from me, as it’s the only fast food place I will go to. Meanwhile, Tom De’rrico reviews some band I’ve never heard of.

In Wrestling, Eric S gives me a picture of Dawn Marie in fishnets. Rowr. Oh, and Gordi keeps discussing ring psychology.

In Movies, Shaun Norton talks movie trailers and Kubryk reviews the new Hoosiers DVD release.

In Figures, Batesman talks Mega Man

In TV, Dan Hevia can’t shut up about his interview with Reiko Aylesworth. But hey, who wouldn’t?

Closing

And that’s it for another week. I’ll see you same bat-time, same bat-channel.

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