Awards, Mythological Creature Archive

The ‘Cryptid Cora’ Blogger Award- #cryptidcora, Nominations-Halloween edition, October 2018 and the ‘Alû demon’ from Assyrian Mythology 📚.

IMG_2324What is the Cryptid Cora Blogger Award?

Based off of the model of the Sunshine Blogger award, The ‘Cryptid Cora’ Blogger Award is a peer recognition ‘nod of excellence,’ and exercise…executed by writerly bloggers to other writerly bloggers who are creative, positive and inspiring…while also very doing their due diligence in blasting cryptozoological characters towards the greater blogging community. These writers who are nominated, shoot straight into our imaginations and into our hearts. The purpose of this award is for idea generating, inspiration and friendship building. I’m a fantasy writer, and so I found this exercise very useful, and hopefully you will too.

Once nominated (and if you accept the ‘award’), the bloggers are required to:

1) Write a post in which they thank their nominating blogger for voting for them and link back to their blog.

2) Answer the 13 questions asked by the person who nominated you. The questions will be about an unusual cryptid found in an obscure book or on a run-of-the-mill folklore site…whatever. Pick one that interests you. Wikipedia is useful here too, of course. Remember to source the best you can with in the paragraph. This creature comes from Sumerian Mythology…etc. Creatures from long lost cultures are a plus and have a rich, hopefully well documented culture to pull from! Please include pictures of the creatures which can be found by searching the creatures name and looking under the images tab.. and be sure to photo credit the images as well, please.

monster illustration
Photo by Tookapic on Pexels.com

3) “Pay’ your good creature ideas forward by nominating 5 other blogs specifically with Cryptozoological themes or writing themes. Writing bloggers or cryptid loving blogs will benefit from this exercise the most, it seems. Gamers, programmers, and illustrators too. Heck, visual artists…you get the idea. Also, if you receive a nomination, it means that your nominator loves what you are doing and that is a really cool thing. Congratulations! Be proud! You can Nominate your bloggers via Twitter if you’d like, using the hashtag, #CryptidCora, with a link back to your post…(if they use social media.)

4) Give your bloggers the same 13 questions to answer…you can just recycle the same ones that I used, please. It’s the easiest and most uniform way to organize this mass of information that will be coming in. All cryptids are public domain and are for idea generating as this is the point of the exercise. Your cryptid WILL BE USED IN THE MYTHOLOGICAL ARCHIVE by AR Jung. Don’t post a precious, secret cryptid that will appear on your upcoming comic strip or in your award winning screenplay to us….someone viewing this material could very well be inspired to write a short story or develop a protagonist off of this exercise…for their very own upcoming debut novel! So be smart about the character you choose to showcase. I will be talking about an Assyrian Demon as my cryptid here today. It’s Halloween, what can I say? I usually am drawn to kind, benevolent characters but a demon seems appropriate, given this holiday season.

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Photo by Toni Cuenca on Pexels.com

5) Notify your nominees, through the contact page on their blogs… display the rules as well as The “Cryptid Cora’ Award logo in your new post. Remember, this is suppose to be fun! This is suppose to be thought provoking. 🙂 The BEST entries will be eligible (with the authors permission of course,) for publication in a #CryptidCora anthology.

Happy Halloween 2018! Please use hashtag #CryptidCora in your blog title, so that we all can easily find your creature for continued inspiration long past Halloween. #CryptidCora will nominate 5 new bloggers each month to keep ideas coming. Consider Cora your spark…your short term muse…that push you needed to get to writing again. She’s elusive. You need to feed her and coax her out . She’s that beautiful thing we call imagination and that’s why we love him/her/it/them, so.

My nominations for October 2018- Congrats!

MG Book Village

My side of the laundry room

Not another book blogger

Generation Exorcist

The Rising Phoenix Review

 

My Answers, examples and writing prompt

1.) What is your character called?  (Please fill in the blank.) Mythological Creature ‘The ________,’ a (choose from Malevolent or benevolent)____ being, from _______ (list the culture it is from.)

Example: Mythological Creature, ‘The Alû,’ a malevolent leprous demon from ancient Assyria.

2.) What is the general background, written in your own words?

Example: According to Wikipedia, In Assyrian mythology (Also listed as Akkadian which was the language of Assyria and Babylonia in Mesopotamia. Additionally listed as Sumerian mythology.), Alû is a vengeful spirit of the Utukku that goes to the underworld of Kur. The demon has no mouth, lips or ears, which is horrifying. It roams the earth at night and scares people while they sleep. If you were to become possessed by the Alû you would become unconscious and would fall into a coma. Similar creatures are the Mara, and the Incubus, which explain sleep paralysis, or at least did in Akkadian and Sumerian mythology. The Alû is associated with other demons like Gallu and Lilu.

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Photo Credit: http://nataliejonesportfolio.blogspot.com/2012_02_01_archive.html

3.) Are there any pop culture references to the creature? So that you can reference how this creature has been referenced, recycled and depicted in the recent past, so that you can do something fresh and new with it?

Example: The Alû is found in the ‘Monster in My Pocket #113,’ video game. Monster in My Pocket produced trading cards, comic books, books, toys, a board game, a video game, and an animated special, along with music, clothing, kites, stickers, and various other items. The Alu-demon was used in Dungeons & Dragons as well. In the Dungeons & Dragons fantasy role-playing game, the Alu-demon is a female demon, the result of a succubus mating with a human.

Stephen Herbert Langdon (1876 – May 19, 1937) was an American-born British Assyriologist and cites a translation of a cuneiform script in his book Cuneiform Inscriptions of Western Asia, describing this creature as androgynous, evil and suffocating. You can read the translation on Wikipedia here.

4.) Do you have Images of the creature, sited with a photo credit? 

Example:

alu
Photo Credit: http://forgottenrealms.wikia.com/wiki/Alu-fiend

5.) What is the dilemma? A Universal need has not been met in your character’s life.  What does He or She need or want at the beginning of the story? 

Example: The Alû has been feeling incredibly lonely lately but has been generally unwilling to meet someone half way for a relationship to build. Her name is Allie Swanson, and she is sitting at a coffee shop in NYC, drinking her favorite warm drink, prepping for the briefing later. She is a cut throat lawyer. High powered and extremely successful. She wants desperately to post her picture to the dating app she is looking at online but is afraid. In walks her best friend and orders a Chai latte.

orange pumpkin near white ceramic mug with seeds
Photo by Jessica Lewis on Pexels.com

6.) How could your character change or overcome his or her dilemma over the course of your story? 

Example: Allie Swanson works on a case trying to prove the innocence of a woman who was accused of murder. The woman’s brother is attractive and kind. He is supportive and intelligent. Allie Swanson is an immortal being whom is no stranger to dark deeds, but is so used to pretending to be something she’s not, she doesn’t quite know how not to fake being a human being, accept when it comes to James. The accused’s brother. Allie wants to be herself with him. Will he accept her sordid past? Will she better herself for love? When she is able to prove the sister’s innocence, she finds that she is appalled by what actually took place and finds that she loves humans and wants to work to protect them.

7.) What are some Comparison Films or books that this piece reminds you of?

Example: This piece on Allie could be HANCOCK meets A TIME TO KILL, perhaps with less of a racial focus, but more on the unjustified and immoral killing of children.

hancock
Photo Credit: http://www.comicbookandmoviereviews.com/2011/03/handcock.html

8.) Who is your audience?

Example: Adults because of the subject matter.

9.) Why did you pick this cryptid?

Example: I picked this creature because I am following a list of Mythological creatures and it was the next one that caught my eye. I liked it because I am fascinated by ancient cultures and their belief systems.

10.) Could you create a quick writing prompt related to your creature and the above scenario?

Example: The Alu is lonely and needs companionship because she is losing faith in humanity and her killer instinct is coming back from the depths of her soul. She had suppressed her desires by seeing a psychiatrist for years who taught her to see humans as enlightened beings who could help move forward the agenda of her choosing. The psychiatrist helped her to form an agenda that was perhaps a little self serving but was ultimately benevolent. What was that agenda? Why has she become so lonely?

11.) What is your name? (Twitter handle or Blogger name is fine.)

Example: AR JUNG

12.) How will you use your character now that he or she is a bit more fleshed out?

Example: I will probably not use this character as the criminal case that I proposed would take some legal knowledge and I am not interested in writing about crime and punishment. I would watch this movie or read this book though. It could be quirky or serious. The fact that her character is so ancient and that she has come to a place in her personal journey of wanting to choose love, is a pretty great trope, but this one is just weird enough to hold my interest.

13.) What kind of writer are you? i.e., blogger, fantasy, true crime….?

Example: I write Middle Grade Fantasy.

 

The Questions

1.) What is your character called?
2.) What is the general background, written in your own words?
3.) Are there any pop culture references to the creature?
4.) Do you have Images of the creature, sited with a photo credit?
5.) What is the dilemma? A Universal need has not been met in your character’s life. What does He or She need or want at the beginning of the story?
6.) How could your character change or overcome his or her dilemma over the course of your story?
7.) What are some Comparison Films or books that this piece reminds you of?
8.) Who is your audience?
9.) Why did you pick this cryptid?
10.) Could you create a quick writing prompt related to your creature and the above scenario?
11.) What is your name? (Twitter handle or Blogger name is fine.)
12.) How will you use your character now that he or she is a bit more flushed out?
13.) What kind of writer are you? i.e., blogger, fantasy, true crime….?

 

If you find this article fun and interesting and you decide to expand on this story -let me know how it continues in the comment section below, or contact me at arjungwriter@gmail.com and as usual…happy writing!

 

Mythological Creature Archive

Mythical Creature, ‘The Akkorokamui,’ a Japanese ‘Kami,’ and benevolent octopus spirit- with writing prompt

Akkorokamui

Photo Credit: http://www.havenartgallery.com/akkorokamui/

Kami (神) is a Japanese word for the spirits worshipped in the Shintoreligion. According to Wikipedia, they can be elements of the landscape, forces of nature, and beings, as well as qualities that these beings express. They can also be the spirits of the venerated dead. Many Kami are considered the ancient ancestors of entire clans. Traditionally, great or sensational leaders like the Emperor could became Kami.

Shintoism

According to the BBC, the nature of Shinto as a faith should not be misunderstood. ‘Shinto.’ is often called the ‘Japanese religion’, and has had a major influence on Japanese culture and values for over 2000 years. But some writers think that Shinto is more than just a religion – it’s no more or less than the Japanese way of looking at the world.
Because ritual rather than belief is at the heart of Shinto, Japanese people don’t usually think of Shinto specifically as a religion – it’s simply an aspect of Japanese life. This has enabled Shinto to coexist happily with Buddhism for centuries.
Shinto is involved in every aspect of Japanese culture: It touches ethics, politics, family life and social structures, artistic life (particularly drama and poetry) and sporting life (Sumo wrestling), as well as spiritual life.

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Photo Credit: http://powerlisting.wikia.com/wiki/Akkorokamui_Physiology

Many events that would be secular in the West involve a brief Shinto ritual in Japan – for example, the construction of a new building would involve a Shinto ceremony.
Although most Japanese follow many Shinto traditions throughout life, they actually regard themselves as being devoted to their community’s local shrine and Kami, rather than to a countrywide religion.
So many Japanese don’t think that they are practicing Shinto nor are followers of the Shinto religion, even though what they do is what constitutes actual Shintoism, rather than theological or academic Shinto.

The Akkorokamui

Akkorokamui (アッコロカムイ,) according to cryptidzwikia, is a gigantic part-human-part-octopus monster from the Ainu ancestors as well as Shinto folklore. This is a creature which lurks in the Funka Bay in Hokkaidō, Japan, and has been sighted in several other locations including Taiwan and Korea for hundreds of years.

According to the Shinto mythology, this creature is human-like and contains a bright red color. The 19th century account by John Batchelor confirms this. His book, free here, The Ainu and Their Folklore, provide many details of the creature. It states that it was 120 meters in length. The book specifies that the red color of the Akkorokamui a striking red, seemingly “likened to the color of the reflection of the setting sun upon water.”

akkorokamui-watermark

Photo Credit: http://yokai.com/akkorokamui/

The Akkorokamui is also characteristically described with the ability to self-amputate, like several octopus species, and regenerate limbs. This characteristic manifests in the belief in Shinto that Akkorokamui has healing powers. Consequently, it is believed among followers that giving offerings to Akkorokamui will heal ailments of the body, in particular, disfigurements and broken limbs.

Once, spirits cursed Rebunge, a villager of Abuta Toyoura, with destruction of his town. They sent a part-spider-part-human creature, Yaoshikepu (ヤオシケプ), to fulfill the curse. Yaoshikepu caused rampant destruction throughout the town, slaughtering so many that the streets were filled with crimson blood. After hearing the townsfolk tremble with fear, the sea kami, Repunkamui, transformed Yaoshikepu into an octopus, and cast her into the sea.
After Yaoshikepu was cast into the sea, she began to grow, eventually beginning to consume larger prey, such as whales and ships. One day, Akkorokamui gobbled up a boat full of fishermen. In her stomach, they called for help. Hearing the cries, Repunkamui poisoned Akkorokamui, causing her great pain. As Akkorokamui hollered in agony, the fishermen escaped. However, Akkorokamui learned to harness the venom, using it to attack her prey. In a 1800s sighting, John Batchelor stated that as the monster attacked the ship, it “emitted a dark fluid which has a very powerful and noxious odor,” confirming the myth’s truth! :))
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Writing Prompt- The healing powers of the Akkorokamui

According to livescience  Octopuses (this is the correct plural for octopus)  have three hearts and blue blood; they squirt ink to deter predators; and being boneless, they can squeeze into (or out of) tight spaces. They are quite intelligent and have been observed using tools.

akkorokamui-bibo

Photo Credit: http://fineartamerica.com/featured/akkorokamui-bibo.html

The Akkorokamui is a sacred beast. A healing sage. What is bigger or more sensational than that? A creature that still has all of the attributes of the sea creature, but is holy and benevolent?

Your writing prompt is; The Akkorokamui is living directly off of the coast of where you live. How do I know? You’ve sensed him. You are also Kami, and important, influential and dominant in the region. Who are you? (This will take research, because regions in Japan have specific dominant Kami.)

You find yourself in cahoots with Akkorokamui since there is a new spirit in town causing all matters of ill to the people. What is your special strength that can aid or hinder the Akkorokamui? Do you find yourself a conduit for good or for evil?

Or, what is more likely…do you find yourself living in the grey area, and why?

If you find this article fun and interesting and you decide to expand on this story -let me know how it continues in the comment section below, and as usual…happy writing!

Mythological Creature Archive

Mythical Creature, “the Akateko,” a Japanese yōkai, witnessed as a dangling, disembodied red hand- with writing prompt

 

 

 

The Akateko Ghost

赤手児
あかてこ, meaning, red child’s hand, is a ghost or yōkai who lives in Japanese honey locust (Gleditsia Japonica) trees. Akateko drop down as people pass underneath them, giving their victims a scare, but isn’t known for causing any great harm and isn’t known to be evil.

akateko__day__6__by_vitoradler-daorggj

Photo Credit: https://vitoradler.deviantart.com/art/Akateko-day-6-646253587

The Young Apparition

Some have seen the figure of a furisode-wearing girl standing underneath the Akateko’s tree. Those who witness her are immediately struck with a powerful fever.

It is not clear what relationship she has to the Akateko. She may be part of the same apparition or another spirit entirely.
The story of the Akateko usually describes a certain tree in front of an elementary school in the city of Hachinohe, in the Aomori Prefecture. Maybe that is where the first sightings were.

There are local versions of the story in Fukushima and Kagawa Prefectures as well. In these areas, Akateko sometimes work together with another yokai called Aka Ashi.

Aka Ashi grab at the feet of pedestrians, causing them to stumble and fall. It has also been suggested that Akateko and Aka Ashi are two forms of the same yokai.

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Writing Prompt-

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Photo Credit: https://www.flickr.com/photos/okinawa-soba/2819980890/

This photograph, taken in the 1880s by KIMBEI KUSAKABE, is one of the few shots, which take you inside this richly shadowed inner courtyard of the large teahouse.

This teahouse was the stuff of legends, and was very famous, well liked and prosperous, but had the misfortune of having the Akateko and the accompanying Aka Ashi dangling from it’s tree to the right of this photo, (this is a complete fabrication by myself for the sake of this prompt.)

There was one beautiful woman who was the most sought after woman in the teahouse. Her name was Aiko.

She was tripped by the yōkai in this courtyard and was killed. It was perhaps an accident, no one really knows, but the subsequent hauntings to the establishment happened for decades afterward. The tea house was finally met with financial ruin after the yōkai scared off the clientele. Is the woman who was killed in this courtyard, the same young woman who is sometimes seen at the base of the Akateko’s tree? Please explain, and why does she infect her victims with fever?

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Photo Credit: http://snipview.com/q/akateko%20(folklore)

If you find this article fun and interesting and you decide to expand on this story -let me know how it continues in the comment section below, and as usual…happy writing!

 

Mythological Creature Archive

Mythical Creature, ‘Abura-Sumashi, a Japanese Yōkai, who steals oil, with writing prompt

Yokai_monsters_abura_sumashi_by_loneanimator-d4k5gjq

According to Wikipedia, Yōkai (妖怪ghostphantomstrange apparition) are a class of supernatural monsters, spirits and demons in Japanese folklore. The word yōkai is made up of the kanji for “bewitching; attractive; calamity”; and “spectre; apparition; mystery; suspicious”.[1] They can also be called ayakashi (あやかし), mononoke (物の怪), or mamono (魔物). Yōkai range diversely from the malevolent to the mischievous, occasionally bringing good fortune to those who encounter them. Often they possess animal features (such as the kappa, which is similar to a turtle, or the tengu which has wings), other times they can appear mostly human, some look like inanimate objects and others have no discernible shape. Yōkai usually have spiritual or supernatural powers, with shapeshifting being one of the most common. Yōkai that have the ability to shapeshift are called bakemono (化物) / obake (お化け).

Aburasumashi_ver1

A blogger named Zack Davisson has a great blog about Japanese ghost stories and it is awesome. I have pasted his explanation of what Yōkai means in English below. You can find his work here.

Thanks to movies like “The Great Yokai War,” and comics and books like “Nura: Rise of the Yokai Clan” and “Yokai Attack!,” yokai as a word is slowly making its way into the English language. People are becoming aware of Japan’s legacy of magic and mystery. But, “yokai” is entering English with a meaning almost-but-not-quite the same as the Japanese meaning.

It is kind of like the word “manga”—in English, manga has come to mean “Japanese comics.” Exclusively. But in Japanese, manga just means … comics. All comics. Regardless of national origin. Iron Man? Manga. Mickey Mouse? Manga. Rex Morgan, M.D.? Manga. Tin Tin? Manga. And it doesn’t even specifically mean books (That would be “manga no hon.”) “Manga” can mean toys, movies, games … anything comic-related. It has a vast meaning beyond the limited scope of usage that we have given the word in English. I digress.

Of course, yokai can refer to Japan’s menagerie of monsters. All of the beasties and spirits—the baku, the kodama, the yuki onna, the kappa.

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According to yokai.com, The Abura- Sumashi is a rare yokai native to Kumamoto (map below.) It looks like a squatty, stout, humanoid with a large head like a potato or a stone, wearing a straw-woven garment. It is extremely rare to come across one. They are only found deep in the mountains or along mountain passes in the southern parts of Japan – in the places where wild tea plants grow.

Very little is known about the lifestyle and habits of this reclusive yokai. The most well-known Abura- Sumashi lives in the Kusazumigoe Pass in Kumamoto, but only ever appeared to travelers. Once, an old grandmother walking the pass with her grandchildren said, “You know, a long time ago, an Abura- Sumashi used to live in these parts.” And a mysterious voice called out in reply, “I still do!”

The name Abura-Sumashi means “oil presser,” and comes from the act of pressing oil out of the seeds of tea plants which grow in Kumamoto. Though its origins are a mystery, it is commonly believed that Abura- Sumashi are the ghosts of oil thieves who escaped into the woods. Oil was a very difficult and expensive commodity to make, requiring a lot of time and hard work to extract it from tea seeds, and so its theft was a very serious crime. Those thieves who went unpunished in life were reincarnated as yokai – a punishment for their sins in the afterlife.

12612-kumamoto-locator-map

 

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Writing prompt-

A teenage girl is having a sleepover in Kumamoto. It is late at night and the girls decide to scare each other. They set out with a lantern and a walking stick. They walk to “the place.” The place where the Abura- Sumashi has been seen and heard. The wind is blowing quite wildly on this night and the girls have on their pajamas. The fabric whips in the wind. The experience doesn’t disappoint. They hear a loud, slow, deliberate voice saying, “It is I, the Abura-Sumashi, and I will steal your oil!” The lantern goes out and they can’t see. The girls are in a panic. They are at a place in this rural area that is flat land, so they aren’t in danger of falling off a cliff, but they can’t see where they are to get home. What happens next?

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If you find this fun and interesting and decide to expand on it- let me know how this story continues in the comment section below, and as usual…happy writing!