Nyogtha Volume I, Issue XXXIII

Nyogtha Volume I, Issue XXXII
Tagline: Everything from the I-Ching to Count Chocula gets covered today.

This week I’d thought I’d take a bunch of the emails I received over the last few months that just aren’t long enough to do a normal column with. They’re nice and short and can generally be answered with a paragraph or a sentence.

-Is the Blair Witch a real folklore story

-No. But The Jersey Devil is.

Someone told me Mononoke, as in Princess Mononoke, means ghost. Does it?

Yes. it does. In Japan, a Mononoke is the equivalent to our poltergeist. The Mononoke live in inanimate objects, which according to the Shinto religion of Japan, all things, even inanimate objects have their own Kami, or spirit/soul. The Mononoke are not good spirits and they basically kick out the original Kami and then use the object to scare, and sometimes even KILL people. Mononoke are often found around graveyards or shrines and temples of the Shinto religion. The objects they inhabit can be exorcised by Buddhist priests.

Did you know your name is an anagram for Dracula?

Yes. Yes I did. Now shut up about that. I only get that at least once a day.

What is the I-Ching?

The I-Ching is the Oracle of China that predicts the future and also acts as a source of wisdom for those who use it. It also supposedly gives one defenses against magical attacks and allows a person to do exorcisms. It’s a text that combined Philosophy with folklore and supernatural commentary.

The I-Ching was written between 2852 BCE and 2738 BCE

The I Ching consists of 64 lines arrangements which are called Hexagrams. If the line is unbroken, it is called Yang. The Yang are the creative principles. If it is a broken line, it is called Yin. The Yin are the Receptive principles governing us. Now you know where Yin Yang comes from.

Each of the Yin Yang Hexagrams represents a state of being. When the hexagrams are cast through various means of divination, it will indicated to you what states of being are fluid, or changing, and which are stable, or fixed.

A hexagram consists of six lines. Each hexagram is also spawned from what are called Trigrams. Think of the trigrams as Morse Code. You will have three lines in a row. A trigram consists of 3 lines in a row. Each of these three lines will either be a full line (Yang/Dash) or a Broken line (Yin/Dot).

This of course means there are only 8 possible Hexagrams. So let’s take a look at them, shall we?

lll = Force/Heaven/Northwest
ll: = Open/Swamp/West
l:l = Radiance/Fire/South
l:: = Shake/Thunder/East
:ll = Ground/Wind/Southeast
:l: = Gorge/Water/North
::l = Bound/Mountain/Northeast
::: = Field/Earth/Southwest

Now above, I mentioned a Hexagram is made of 6 lines. Yet each Trigram is only made up of 3 lines. So where do the other three lines that will make up a Hexagram come from?

Simple: They stack. And thus you have the 64 possible hexagram arrangements I mentioned at the start of the little essay. Thus you could have Heaven and Earth being placed together as lll:::, which makes Pervading or Peace However due to the possible combinations, you could also have :::lll. This makes Obstruction, or standstill.

I’m obviously not going to go through all 64 Hexagrams. I’ll leave that to you, the more curious reader who will want to learn more.

There are several ways to read the I-Ching. All involve a randoming agent which produces a number which correlates to any of the 64 hexagrams.

The first and oldest is using a Turtle or tortoise shell. The Shell of a dead turtle would be heated up until cracks formed, and the Oracle would read the cracks in the shell. The next is using yarrow stalks, but through actual scientific study, it was found that the use of Yarrow stalks is inherently geared due to mathematical probability towards certain hexagrams, so it’s not worth discussing here. Once currency came into play, flipping a coin, with one side as Yin and the other as Yang, came into play. There are also versions of divination involving dice, marbles (which has the same statistical bias as Yarrow), rice grains, brush strokes, and Calendars.

Hopefully that was a nice 1 page intro into what the I-Ching is. Now that you know the Trigrams, you can go look at a South Korean flag and tell people what it means. Yay for being smarter than you were before you read this!

What does the word “Nosferatu” mean?

It means Plague Carrier, NOT Vampire. It never actually meant anything to do with the undead really, except sometimes disease in Eastern Europe was blamed on vampires. Bram Stoker can be credited for making this mistake a worldwide phenomenon after reading Emily Gerard’s heavily erroneous text, The Land Beyond the Forest (1885). There Emily used Nosferatu to mean vampire and Stoker took that book as gospel, so he used it in Dracula/

What is the stupidest method that people came up with to keep away vampires?

Hands down it is taking a black dog and painting an extra set of eyes on it with white paint. I wish to god I had just made that up.

Is it true that Jewish groups once boycotted Count Chocula?

Nope. That is an Urban Legend. The urban legend states that Count Chocula was drawn to be a negative Jewish Stereotype. he also supposedly wore a six sided star of David until angry Jewish people forced General Mills to change the picture.

In fact, Count Chocula never wore a six sided star and was never meant to be anti-Semitic. The only time a six sided star appeared on a box of Count Chocula was in 1987 and only because Bela Lugosi appeared on the cover, and he wore one as part of his Dracula costume.

Also, the guy who does the voice of Count Chocula is also Lion-O on from the cartoon Thundercats

And since we’re on vampires, I ended up watching the Christopher Lee narrated documentary In Search of Dracula Saturday afternoon, and man, that thing hasn’t aged well in 30 years. But it was quite excellent in terms of defining the differences between Stoker’s Vampiric count and the actual Prince of Wallachia in Vlad the Impaler.

I thought it would be fun to take a quick look at Vlad. Not in terms of a biography, as that would take an entire column, but instead we’re going to look at one particular story about Dracula, but several versions of the story from various countries so you can see how things change from culture to culture, and region to region. The Countries we will look at are Romania (Where Vlad is considered a hero), Germany (where he was feared and despised), and Russia (where it flickers back and forth depending).

Dracula and the Turkish Ambassadors

1. Romanian:

Is is said that during the reign of Dracula in Wallachia, Sultan Mehmed II sent some ambassadors.

Having entered the reception hall of the prince, the ambassadors paid homage in accordance with their custom of not taking their caps off. Dracula then asked: “Why do you behave in this way? You introduce yourselves to me and then do me dishonour.”

The Turkish representatives answered in Unison: “This is the custom with the rulers of our country.” Dracula then spoke to them in this way: “I, too, would like to strengthen your customs, so that you may adhere to them even more rigidly.”

He then immediately ordered his retainers to bring hi, some nails in order to secure the caps on the heads of the Turkish Ambassadors.

Having done this, he allowed the envoys to leave and told them: “Go and tell your master that he may be accustomed to suffer such indignity from his own people. We, however, are not so accustomed. Let him not send either to this country or elsewhere abroad, ambassadors exporting his new customs, for we shall not receive them.”

2. Russian

There lived in the Wallachian lands a Christian prince of the Greek faith who was called Dracula in the Wallachian language, which means devil in our own language, for he was as cruelly clever as was his name and so was his life.

Once some ambassadors from the Turkish sultan came to him. When they entered his palace and bowed to him, as was their custom, they did not take their caps from their heads and Dracula asked them: “Why have you acted so? You ambassadors have come to a great sovereign and you have shamed me.” The ambassadors answered, “Such is the custom of our land and our sovereign.”

And Dracula told them, “Well, I want to strengthen you in your custom. Behave Bravely.” And he ordered that their caps be nailed to their heads with small iron nails. And then he allowed them to go and said, “Go relate this to your sovereign, for he is accustomed to accepting such shame from you, but we are not accustomed to it. Let him not impose his customs upon other sovereigns who do not want them, but let him keep his customs to himself.”

3. German.

Several Whalen [Western Ambassadors] were sent to Dracula. When they came to him, they bowed and took off their hats and under them they had brown and red berets or caps, which they did not take off. So Dracula asked them why had they not taken off their caps or berets. They said, “Lord, it is not our custom.” And as they thanked his grace, he had them take good strong nails and had them nailed into the caps into the head, so that they could not take them off. In this way, he strengthened them in their custom.

So as we can see, it’s generally the same story with vary little variance. When tales stay mainly the same throughout time and different regions, that’s a good indicator this actually happened and it not just something cooked up to scare people or make Vlad seem like a monster. So always remember to take your hat off when visiting a foreign leader abroad.

Cooking
This week I thought I’d take a look at something for breakfast. Truthfully, I rarely eat breakfast. My stomach doesn’t usually wake up until much later in the day. My Stomach is rarely up that early. But when I do eat breakfast, I’m a pancakes and waffles sort of guy. I love waffles. I use my waffle maker to make homemade cones for ice cream and for sundaes. Fresh fruit + homemade vanilla ice cream + a waffle = yummy yum goodness.

This week I thought I’d appeal to you all through your sweet tooth. Instead of the usual Waffle fare, I thought I’d give you a more eclectic recipe. We’re going to make delicious chocolate, fruit and nut waffle. Heck, you might not even need syrup for this! Perfect for a desert, or even an early morning sugar rush for your kids before you send them off to school, making their teachers curse you all day for having dared to spawn.

Chocolate-Hazelnut Waffles

Ingredients

2 cups all purpose flour
4 ounces grated bittersweet chocolate
Two-thirds cup toasted chopped hazelnuts
One-third cup sugar
2 teaspoons baking powder
One-half teaspoon baking soda
One-fourth teaspoon salt
4 large eggs, separated
1 and one-half cups milk
6 tablespoons (three-fourths of a stick) unsalted butter, melted (You can exchange this for canola oil though)
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
One-fourth teaspoon almond extract
2 cups fresh raspberries for topping
Caramel or chocolate syrup for topping

1. Preheat a waffle iron. In a bowl, whisk together the flour, chocolate, hazelnuts, sugar, baking powder, baking soda and salt. In another bowl, beat the egg whites with an electric mixer until soft, glossy peaks form. In another bowl, beat or whisk together the egg yolks, milk, butter, vanilla, and almond extract. Add the milk mixture to the dry ingredients and mix just until combined. Fold in the egg whites.

2. Spoon or pour about 1 cup batter onto the hot iron. Close the lid. Bake until the waffle is golden brown. This should take about 4 minutes. Remove with a fork to a warm plate. Serve at once or keep warm on a baking sheet at an oven set to 200 degrees F. Repeat with the remaining batter. Top with raspberries and syrup.

13 Plugs

In Games, we are finally getting a new Shadowrun video game! About time. The Sega Genesis version is one of the greatest games EVER! Oh, and Tom N. reviewed a game. Good man!

In Wrestling, Eric S forces me to look at Ronnie Reagan and Bradshaw at the same time, making me wish he had placed a disclaimer in his tagline, and Gordi spanks it to more All Japan matches.

In Comics, Andy Campbell reviews Hercules #4, which everyone should be reading, and Tim Stevens reviews New Thunderbolts #10, which no one should be reading.

In Movies, Kubryk reviews The Devil’s Rejects, and Robert Sutton reviews The Garbage Pail Kids Movie.

In Figures, PK looks at SDCC Superhero announcements, and Batesman looks at Spawn toys.

In TV, not a single person wrote about the death of James Doohan. Hell, I never liked Star trek, but that’s a wee bit important to couch potatoes, I’d think. Bad Section! BAD SECTION!

In Music, Gloomchen talks Kindergoths, and Tom D’errico covers Ozzfest. Yay?

Closing

We’re a fortnight away from a shakeup here at Inside Pulse. Repeat after me people; Change is good. Change is GOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOD.

Join our newsletter

never miss the latest news, reviews, live event coverage, audio podcasts, exclusive interviews and commentary for Movies, TV, Music, Sports, Comics, Video Games!