Author Archives: acchrist

Slender Man Phenomenon

The informant is a Sophomore at the University of Southern California. She reports a legend about Slender Man, an alleged paranormal figure who has existed for centuries in different civilizations throughout the world.


Nys: “Okay, so he is this like really skinny stick figure looking guy, and apparently he like lures children, typically vulnerable people into the woods and makes them do like crazy shit, like kill people. I don’t know, it’s weird, but basically the only reason I know about this is because I saw a news report on how his- they call it creepy pasta online- how his creepy pasta made two young girls in, I think Wisconsin, stab their friend nearly to death. She survived, but they like lured her into the woods and basically like stabbed her because they worshipped Slender Man and were attempting to make a sacrifice for him.”


Me: “what culture is this from?”


Nys: “I’m not sure. I think it’s American culture. I didn’t really look too much into where it came from. It like started on the internet I know for sure though, so like it was shit that they would post on Read It and people who were really into his fan base put their stories of him on there.”


Me: “What do you think about this story?”

Nys: “ In terms of the things that happened with the little girls, it’s creepy and insane and it says a lot about how important mental health in childhood is and in general. This is just one story but it’s significant to me because I think internet folk stories are fascinating.”

It’s fascinating to me that such folklore can influence people’s behaviors, but this particular story is unsettling. It suggests how powerful some legends and other folkloric pieces can be for the intended audience, especially children. Slender Man, who originated as an internet meme, is an example of how the internet is a massive contributor to the distribution of folklore stories. People are able to communicate with one another and share their opinions, thoughts, and ideas. For more Slender Man lore visit  “The Slender Man.” Creepypasta Wiki. Web. 28 Apr. 2016.

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An Ugly Husband If You Don’t Eat Your Rice

The informant is a freshman at USC. She’s from the Phillipines, where she was born and raised. She talks about a quirky superstition that runs in the family.


Chelsea: “My mom told me, when I was young, that if I didn’t finish all the rice on my plate that the remaining rice on my plate would like somehow tie in with my future husband’s appearance.  So, if I left, like a lot of rice on my plate she would say that my future husband would have a lot of pimples on his face.”


Me: “Is that something your grandma told your mom and she passed it down to you?”


Chelsea: “Probably. I feel like it’s been running through the family for a while. I don’t know, but my cousins, they all say it. It’s just like , I think it’s like to make you finish your food though.”


Me: “So what was the significance of this superstition and how did it affect your behavior?”


Chelsea: “I personally don’t think there’s much significance, but it certainly made us eat all of the rice every time (laughs).”


This piece of folklore was funny to me. Parents often have trouble getting kids to finish all of the food on their plate. This story tells about a method of getting young girls to eat their food. I would have listened to this story in my earlier years. Women begin to fantasize about husbands at a very young age, so this folklore can prove to be very effective. According to Chelsea, she and her sisters finished their rice from there on out.

Greek/ Roman Civilization Myth

A Freshman at the University of Southern California, the informant is majoring in archeology. The informant is very interested in Greek, Roman, and Egyptian mythology. He shares some Greek mythology.

Kevin: “Okay, so there’s two Greek Kingdoms. There’s Menelaus who’s king of Sparta, and then Agamemnon was king of Mycenae which were the two great powerful kingdoms. So, in Menelaus’s kingdom in Sparta, uh Paris and Hector of Troy were visiting and having dinner and coming to make peace with the Greek nations after all this war between the, and so Eris comes in and gives them an apple. She makes it a competition between three- Athena, Hera, and Aphrodite. Aphrodite drives them to fall in love, so then Paris leaves with Helen of Troy, and Menelaus gets really angry and goes to his brother Agamemnon. He’s very concerned about power. Agamemnon’s very powerful, arrogant guy and wants to take over Troy already, so he’s down with the plan…so all the Greek ships embark to Troy to go get Helen back, and they leave there, and they’re not doing so well in the beginning…So they retreated from the beach and they created this huge Trojan horse and they thought it was like a sacrifice to Poseidon for safe voyage during the time, but when they brought it into the city. They were all hidden inside and they started to sack and burn the city, but then what happened was Aeneas was able to go through these secret tunnels and get out of Troy with some of the Trojan people…So Aeneas travels and he makes it across to like the part in Italy where Rome is and then he finds the city of Rome and then after that that’s where from him his burst like Romulus and Remus, and then they become, like they become the first Roman heroes and they’re trained by Lupa and Lupa becomes like the trainer of humans and the Romans have like the birth of their own civilization.


So I guess what this story’s kind of saying is that a lot of it like talks about renewal and the driving power of love subtly behind everything, so like love drove this corrupt war to happen, but even though it happened, there was a renewal and there was a whole new society that was birthed out of that society being destroyed I guess.”


Me: “Okay, so do you think there’s a moral to the story?”

Kevin: “It talks about invincibility. It’s saying that nothing lasts forever, and like nobody’s invincible because first thing, Achillis who’s born from a goddess and Demigod, he’s shot in the heel and killed like during the war, so like this very, like powerful figure dies. Then Troy had walls around it and it was known as a city that couldn’t be penetrated and couldn’t be destroyed but it was destroyed. So, like invincibility but then also from chaos is births order because like from the war was birthed a whole new civilization that became  one of the biggest like, in all there ever was, so even though Troy wasn’t invincible and wasn’t able to last forever, like the thoughts and the beliefs and everything behind Troy were able to last for forever.”

I’m taking an Athenian Drama class, so I’ve read many of the Greek plays inclusive of characters Menelaus, Athena, and Hera. There are a few new characters in this version, and it’s interesting to note how Greek mythological characters are connected and related to multiple stories. Before hearing this story, it had never occurred to me that the thoughts and beliefs of Troy still live to this day. Although people can’t be, culture, beliefs, and things such as these can be everlasting.

Essential Gods from the Demon Days

A Freshman at the University of Southern California, the informant is majoring in archeology. The informant is very interested in Greek, Roman, and Egyptian mythology. He tells the Egyptian myth of the birth of the Essential Gods from the Demon Days.


Kevin: “Pretty much the Egyptian’s, they followed like a monotheism. They believed in one, like all powerful God that was more powerful than all the other set of Gods that existed, but there were other Gods that existed that controlled different domains of thought or influence or like spheres like on the earth and things like that. So, there was the God of the Sky, which was called Nut. And there was the God of the Earth which was Geb, and they were separated from Ra, and Ra was known as the God of light, like the God of Sun. He was known as the monotheistic God that everybody was influenced by. Nut wanted to have five children but since she had been separated from Geb there was no way she could have children so she like, she started bargaining with the moon to give her extra daylight so that she could create five new days in the year, where she would be able to give birth to her children since she wasn’t allowed to during the calendar year. And the game was, it was an ancient Egyptian game and the description entailed that you were gambling with the Moon for your soul so you’re gambling extra daylight from the Moon, but if you lost the game, you would essentially be giving up your soul, like your essence to the Moon, and them Moon would like eat it up, like eat up your essence. So, it was a really risky endeavor but she had been winning the game for so long that she got enough for five extra days, and during each day she gave birth to a different God. So, she gave birth to Set or Seth…he was associated with the God of chaos or the God of Desert. He was a very chaotic being. Isis- he was known as the savior of  humanity, and he rocked with the people and he had been leading the people on for generations. She also gave birth to Osiris. He was a God and he was killed by Set and became the God of resurrection…There was also Nephthys, which was the river goddess, so the last goddess…So these were called the Demon days. The year was 360 days but then because of this gambling, they added on the extra five days to the end of the year. So, that’s how the calendar year came into being, but it also brings out an association of chaos on the last five days because they were known as the Demon days, where, like each of these Gods were born, so they also have like more power on each of those days at the end of the year so they’re very like skewed, and then the end of the year was around the time of the solstice and everything like that, so like, it was known as a turning point with the birth of these Gods.”

I think this version of the myth might be missing pieces of information. It’s a little hard to follow, but what I did gather from the story was that five Gods were born representing the five extra days at the end of 360 days. It was interesting hearing about the different gods and what they were the gods of. We know that the year is 365 days long because that’s how long it takes for the earth to revolve around the sun, but the ancient Egyptians associated this science with their polytheistic gods and goddesses to explain why the world is the way it is. Polytheism gives birth to an extensive number of different folklores and tales.

The Myth of Echo and Narcissus

A Freshman at the University of Southern California, the informant is majoring in archeology. The informant is very interested in Greek, Roman, and Egyptian mythology. He tells the story of a mountain nymph Echo and a beautiful youth, Narcissus, a greek mythological epic.


Kevin: “Echo’s this river nymph who basically…her flaw is that she like talks too much. She like talks over people. So, one day Hera- she’s Zeus’ wife- and Zeus is like cheating on Hera with a bunch of like other Nymphs. So Echo distracts Hera by talking to her, while this is going on. So Hera basically curses Echo when she finds out that, like she was  totally distracting her, and she curses her so she can only repeat what other people say for her, so that’s how you get ‘Echo’.”


Me: “Oh! Got it, got it.”


Kevin: “And then one day she is going to the woods and she sees um Narcissus, and Narcissus is like this hunter and he’s like walking around and she calls out to him, and he basically rejects her because she can’t really communicate with him. And Echo, he sees her, and he’s like frightened by her, and he like rejects her love or whatever, so he find this pool and he like falls in love by looking at himself. He falls in love with himself, and basically he knows he can’t have like himself, so…it’s weird, he just dies in the pool.”


Me: “Doesn’t he like drown or something?”


Kevin: “Maybe. Cause he tries to like kiss himself and he can’t. So, Echo like sees this and she basically gets even more sad when she realizes she can’t have him and that he dies, so she kind of just like withers away. So, she’s like not a person anymore but she still has a voice, and that’s where you get Echo from. And Narcissus becomes a flower. It only grows on the riverbanks because it’s trying to like look at itself. And that’s a real flower.”

I just thought the myth was interesting in that it tied into why these figures are associated to the meanings of their names. This Greek myth deals with themes of love and hybris. In ancient Greek society, it was very important for people to worship Gods and not be hubristic or arrogant, so the myth could be implying that because Narcissus was super shallow and in love with himself, he suffered the most unfortunate fate. In this version, Echo seems to be cursed for deceiving Hera, who is a Goddess. Because she challenged a God, she too, has to pay the consequences for the rest of her life.

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