Category Archives: Magic

Ritual actions engaged in to effect changes in the outside world.

The Infamous Bridgewater Triangle

Text: “A super popular legend in Massachusetts is the story of the Bridgewater Triangle which is like an area in southeastern Massachusetts that is supposedly haunted by ghosts, UFOs, and other paranormal phenomena. According to legend, the Bridgewater Triangle is a hub of supernatural activity, with many people claiming to have witnessed strange occurrences in the area. These include sightings of Bigfoot-like creatures, mysterious orbs of light, and ghostly apparitions. The Hockomock Swamp, which is located within the Bridgewater Triangle, is said to be a particularly active area for paranormal activity and I personally heard a story about a ufo with a bunch of flashing lights being seen there, but I have also heard about people saying they’ve seen bigfoots or like giant snakes there. Its basically this huge area where a ton of weird unexplainable stuff happens.”

Context: CW is a very close friend of mine and it was clear to me from the very beginning of this story that he did not really believe in the supernatural sightings within the Bridgewater triangle, but he still said this legend was very very common in Massachusetts. He recalls first being told about it by his friend in middle school, but that when he was first told about it, his friend blew it out of proportion, saying that the ghosts of several random famous people have been seen there having parties or that aliens often go there to just casually hangout. This led to a good laugh and it also helped explain why he was altogether unphased by the supposed supernatural nature of this area close to his home. We looked up if any of the supposed sightings could be backed by evidence and while we found some very blurry pictures it was certainly not enough to “prove” anything.

Analysis: I found this to be one of the more enjoyable legends I have been told about particularly because it leaves a lot up to the person hearing the story’s imagination. It seems that it does not necessarily matter what supernatural activity occurs in the Bridgewater Triangle, it is more important just to believe that something supernatural might be happening there in general. The legend has supposedly gained a large following among paranormal enthusiasts and has been the subject of numerous books, movies, and TV shows. Additionally, many people who live in the area have reported experiencing strange occurrences and believe in the supernatural happenings that are said to occur in the Bridgewater Triangle. This legend exists because of the numerous reports of paranormal activity and strange occurrences that have been reported in the area. The stories of this particular area have been passed down from generation to generation, and many people believe in the supernatural happenings that are said to occur there. This leads me to believe that it s primarily passed down through word of mouth. People who have experienced strange occurrences in the area share their stories with others, who then pass them on to their friends and family. Like in the case of CW, who heard the legend from his close friend. I also enjoy the fact that this particular legend can have many different effects on a person or group depending on what they believe in. Because of the lack of concrete or credible evidence, this falls nicely into the category of legend because of how much people do truly believe in the supernatural activity of this area, even though it is yet to be proven.

The tale of the Stuttgarter Ratskeller

Text: “One popular legend in Stuttgart, Germany is the tale of the Stuttgarter Ratskeller. According to the legend, the Ratskeller (City Hall cellar) was once home to basically a group of goblins or dwarfs known as the Stuttgarter Männle. The story goes that these goblins would steal food, spill wine, and generally wreak havoc. The citizens of Stuttgart tried everything they could to get rid of the Männle, but nothing worked. One day, a cook came up with a plan. He prepared a large vat of stew and laced it with a potent sleeping potion. He then placed the stew in the Ratskeller, where the Männle could smell it from their hiding place in the cellar. As soon as the Männle tasted the stew, they fell into a deep sleep, and the cook quickly sealed the cellar shut with a large stone slab. The Männle were trapped inside, never to cause trouble again. The Stuttgarter Ratskeller is still sealed and people say that the goblins still sleep beneath the city streets.”

Context: BA is one of my closest friends and was very happy to be sharing folklore from his hometown. Apparently, this is a very very popular folk tale that is told even to tourists visiting Stuttgart. BA was told this story by his mother when he was about 8 years old and BA claims he always thought it was funny. He always knew it was not a true story but also thought it was very cool how an effort was made to keep the ratskellar closed. He also recalls how when he was little he was more keen on the possibility of the story being real but now he obviously knows it is untrue. BA believes this is a tale more suited for younger audiences and tourists unfamiliar with the folklore of Stuttgart.

Analysis: This was a very fun tale and I actually found myself to be very intrigued. BA was also very well versed when telling it, which showed me it was an important piece of folklore from his hometown. The story is typically told by locals and tour guides who want to share the city’s rich history and culture with others, but it is kept alive within the community itself usually from a mother or father to their own children. The legend of the Stuttgarter Ratskeller is an example of a classic folk tale that tells the story of mischievous creatures who are eventually defeated by human ingenuity. The tale reflects a common theme in folklore where humans overcome supernatural forces using their intelligence and cunning. The story of the Stuttgarter Männle is also a way for the people of Stuttgart to connect with their past and honor their ancestors. The city has a long and storied history, and the legend of the Stuttgarter Ratskeller is one way for the people of Stuttgart to remember their past and preserve their cultural heritage. Additionally, the legend of the Stuttgarter Männle is a fun and entertaining story that captures the imagination of both children and adults. The tale has been retold in many different forms, including plays, books, and movies, and it continues to be a beloved part of Stuttgart’s folklore. But, from what BA told me, it seems to be more suited for a younger audience.

Dia De Los Muertos “Ofrendas”

Text: “Every year in late October we make a shrine of all of my family member who have passed away, like the one in Coco, and we put out their favorite things. For example we put tulips for my grandma and one of the great grandpa’s ties on the shrine. The idea is that in November 1st they will come visit the shrine and interact with the items and watch over us for the rest of that year in return for us honoring their memory. The shrines are called ofrendas and the kids usually make them but the parents make sure they are structurally sound and beautiful. Making ofrendas is one of my favorite things to do with my siblings and cousin.

Context: GB is originally from Madrid Spain but his mother has strong roots in Mexico, where the tradition was created centuries ago. GB told me stories about making the ofrendas with his siblings and was excited to show me pictures of an example of a shrine from a past holiday. The tradition is very important to GB’s mother because she would make a family ofrenda with her siblings as a child and it seems to be a very long standing tradition from her side of the family.

Analysis: The ofrendas are a central part of the Day of the Dead celebration, which is a time for families and communities to come together to remember and celebrate the lives of those who have passed away. The brightly decorated shrines are meant to welcome the spirits of the dead back to the world of the living, and they are often decorated with offerings such as food, drinks, and personal items that were important to the deceased. The twist of this tradition regards the fact that making these ofrendas means the ghosts of the dead will look over them for the rest of the year, because traditionally the dead can only interact with the living on the days of dia de los muertos. I think this addition is sweet, especially for younger children, for them to be able to feel close to loved ones they may have never gotten to meet. Furthermore, it is a great way for them to get to know what their family members were like based off of what they put on the ofrendas.

The Fort Point Ghost Walk

Text: “I think like 3 years or so ago I went on a tour of Fort Point underneath the golden gate bridge and there was like this scary tour pertaining to the ghosts of soldiers who served in the fort in the past. Part of the tour contained people in ghost costumes but it also included explanations of supernatural events and examples of the tour guides communicating with ghosts in the rooms or sites where they are believed to be.

Context: CH is a resident of Mill Valley in Orange County where he claims to be an hour or so away from the fort where he went on this tour. The scariest part according to him was the setting of the tour, the dark and twisting corridors of the old fort, which added to the overall sense of unease and tension. He also remembered a point where his tour guide tried to talk to the ghost of a soldier who passed away in the room he was in which was very scary. CH said this was a Halloween tradition that people could experience annually around that time of year but that the tour would likely lose its charm after going again.

Analysis: While there have been reports of supernatural activity at the fort over the years, including sightings of ghostly apparitions and unexplained sounds and movements, these claims have not been scientifically verified. It is important to note that many of the stories and legends surrounding Fort Point are based on historical events, such as the fort’s use as a military prison during the Civil War, and the deaths and tragedies that occurred there over the years. These stories have been passed down through the years and have become part of the folklore and mythology surrounding the fort. The people dressing up as these ghosts and telling scary stories of ghosts believed to be inhabiting the fort are ways of perpetuating this belief and are not only a way to attract tourists and visitors, but also a way to keep the rich history of the fort alive and well. The way CH described it the tour he went on seemed to involve some examples of ritual where the guides tried to communicate or interact with apparitions.

Lemon Water – The Cure for a Stomach Ache?

Text: “Ever since I was little my mom has always prescribed me a glass of water with lemon squeezed into it whenever my stomach hurt or I felt nauseous. She did this because it helped her whenever her stomach hurt during her chemotherapy treatments. It never really worked for me but I kept doing it because I did not want to hurt her feelings and it always seemed to make her happy that she had this “cure” for stomach discomfort.

Context: AG is a friend of mine from Sydney Australia and it was at first pretty tough for him to come up with examples of folk medicine or food ideas. Once I broadened the scope of my interview though he recalled this story about how his mother would always make him lemon water whenever he had any symptoms pertaining to his stomach. This was my first time hearing about it, but he seemed confident one of his mom’s friends told her to do that to help with the nausea associated with her chemo treatments when she was battling ovarian cancer. The advice worked for her but not AG, but out of consideration for his mom he just went along with it.

Analysis: While there is evidence for the citric acid in lemons to aid with indigestion, there is not evidence to say it will aid or cure a stomach ache or nausea associated with other ailments. It is in no way a cure all for stomach discomfort as it believed by AG’s mother. I think the explanation likely lies in the fact that AG’s mother was likely desperate for relief and when she was offered it by her friend there was a sort of placebo effect that allowed her to feel better from her upset stomach. From my interview it was clear that the lemon water trick never worked for AG when his stomach hurt which aligns more with what science would suggest. I think it is very interesting how AG still went along with his mothers advice and attempt to cure him with the lemon water, there is also little risk to doing this so he did it just to be considerate of his moms feelings and also likely allowed her to continue using the placebo to treat stomach issues of her own.