Thursday, June 26, 2014
The World Egg Throwing Federation is based at Swaton, in the county of Lincolnshire, England. This ancient village has stood on this ground since before Roman times. The occupying army created a canal that ran from Lincoln to Cambridge which was fed by, and crossed, by the River Eau at Swaton. Much of the canal is still extant today. The village is mentioned in the Dooms Day book of 1068 as possessing a moated site. It’s known that this small village had a market, its own gibbet and the Church is considered to be one of the finest in England. The first female Sherriff of Nottingham is buried here.
The organised sport of Egg Throwing is thought to date back to at least 1322 when the newly appointed Abbot took possession of the Parish of Swaton by royal decree. It is said that he was the only person to own chickens and ensured the attendance at church of his peasant by providing them alms of one egg for each attendee. However, when the River Eau flooded, preventing people getting to church, the monks would hurl the eggs over to the waiting peasants. It’s also said that when the flood was even wider that they used small trebuchets to get that extra distance required. It is from these humble beginnings that the sport of egg throwing started and has been played ever since in the village.
The World Egg Throwing Federation was set up in 2004 in order to regulate Egg Throwing as a number of variations of the sport have come into existence, including nefarious use of eggs in political demonstrations. From its formation the Federation has been joined by local and national groups that practice the sport, and now acts as a central body, offering advice, ideas and as organiser of the annual world championships. Its aims and policies have been adopted by many as the sport continues to grow in popularity and in doing so the Federation raises thousands of pounds for local, nationals and international charities.
A FEW MORE SCARY PLACES IN THE U.S., IF YOU DON'T BELIEVE IN GHOSTS YOU MAY AFTER THIS SPINE TINGLING STORY!!!
Have you ever asked yourself where the scariest places in America are? There are literally thousands of them and here are just a few to entice you. Visiting these places may cause you to become a believer in ghosts and the supernatural, if you are not already one.
|The Jamestown Bridge|
The first place is The Jamestown Bridge located in Piedmont, Triad North Carolina. This bridge is said to be haunted because at night many tourists and visitors have claimed that they would pick up a little girl who was looking for a ride on the side of the road. When they picked her up, everything would be going fine and then all of a sudden when they look over at her again, she is gone. Many ghost hunters find this spot to be intriguing because it leaves so much to the imagination. It is said that this girl wears a white dress and can be seen at night.
The second place is called the Huntingdon College located in Montgomery, Alabama. This place will "knock the socks off of you". It is said that a lady ghost roams the city here. Here name has been called "The Red Lady of Pratt". The legend says that the red lady was a lonely, quiet and unpopular student. She often tried to make friends and she was unable to. The more that she tried to make friends, the harder it became for her to make them. The students would often make fun of her because she only wore the color red. She found no hope to her situation and eventually she hung herself in her room. The Red Lady of Pratt is often seen when students are picking on other kids. She has been seen to appear in and through walls. Some students have even experienced a gust of air that comes through the rooms in the middle of the night. What makes this place even more shocking is that it has a second ghost that roams around in the middle of the night. His name is called, "Ghost on The Green". This ghost is said to haunt the campus because he once dated a girl here and she broke up with him because he was too clingy. He could not take the rejection and so he shot himself in the head. Several days later, the campus returned back to normal. Some students claim that they now see him walking the green. Many students that walk the green at night claim that he often messes up their hair, blows in their ear or even tugs on their clothes. This indeed is a haunted place that you do not want to miss out on.
The third haunted place is Dudleytown, New England, Connecticut. Did you know that you are not allowed to enter Dudleytown and if you are caught trying to enter, you will be arrested for trespassing and given a $75 dollar fine or more? This place is said to have ghosts, hauntings and spirits swarming around. People that have seen Dudleytown claim that the birds are silent here and you get a spooky feeling here. The story of Dudleytown actually begins in England. Edmund Dudley was said to be beheaded for trying to overthrow King Henry the VIII. It is said that a curse was placed on the Dudley's for treason. The curse states that all descendants of Edmund Dudley would face horrors for all eternity. The son of Edmund Dudley also tried to overthrow the crown. John Dudley's third son Robert Earl, left England to avoid loosing his own head. The Dudley's settled in what is now called Dudleytown. You might be able to catch pictures of Dudleytown from ghost hunters. However, this place is not allowed to be trespassed and you may be surprised that many people have not ever heard of or seen this place.
These are some of the most haunted places in America. Many people throughout the world will tell you that these place are chilling to visit and often cause you to believe that ghosts really do exist.
Wednesday, June 25, 2014
Hunedoara is not a name that frequently pops up in conversations about vampires and especially Dracula. Few people know that Hunedoara is actually the castle where Vlad the Impaler, the man who gave inspiration to Hollywood's Dracula, was imprisoned during the fifteenth century.
Located in Transylvania, Romania, the castle pretty much stands the way it looked back then during Vlad's time. The castle is Gotic in style and has both round and square shaped turrets with a red roof, perched over a cliff near the Hungarian border.
|Vlad the Impaler|
Hunedoara, or Hunyadi as it is more properly known, has a rich background in Eastern European history. Because of its close location to Hungary, at one point it was claimed as part of Hungarian territory when the nation was part of the Austrian-Hungarian empire until the end of World War 1. As with any other castle, Hunedoara, also contains grand rooms for those who once owned it; a knight's hall, diet's hall, guard rooms, and sleeping quarters. The castle was first built by the Anjou family which claims its origins back to the House of Angevin, a French dynasty that had branches well in to the regions of Poland, Hungary, and the Latin Empire.
|Inside Hunedoara Castle|
Tinku, an Andean tradition, began as a form of ritualistic combat. It is native to the northern region of Potosí in Bolivia. In the language of Quechua, the word “tinku” means encounter. In the language of Aymara it means “physical attack". During this ritual, men and women from different communities will meet and begin the festivities by drinking and dancing. The women will then form circles and begin chanting while the men proceed to fight each other; rarely the women will join in the fighting as well. Large tinkus are held in Potosí during the first few weeks of May.
Because of the rhythmic way the men throw their fists at each other, and because they stand in a crouched stance going in circles around each other, a dance was formed. This dance, the Festive Tinku, simulates the traditional combat, bearing a warlike rhythm. The differences between the Andean tradition and the dance are the costumes, the role of women, and the fact that the dancers do not actually fight each other. The Festive Tinku has become a cultural dance for all of Bolivia, although it originated in Potosí, like the fight itself
The Andean tradition began with the indigenous belief in Pachamama, or Mother Nature. The combat is in praise of Pachamama, and any blood shed throughout the fighting is considered a sacrifice, in hopes of a fruitful harvest and fertility. Because of the violent nature of the tradition there have been fatalities, but each death is considered a sacrifice which brings forth life, and a donation to the land that fertilizes it. The brawls are also considered a means of release of frustration and anger between the separate communities. Tinkus usually last two to three days. During this time, participants will stop every now and then to eat, sleep, or drink.
Groups Who Participate
Tinkus occur "between different communities, moieties, or kin groups". They are prearranged and usually take place in the small towns of southern Bolivia, like Macha and Pocoata. Tinkus are very festive, with a numerous audience of men, women and children, who bring food and beverages. Alcoholic drinks are also brought and sold along with food during the tinku.
Methods of Combat
During the brawl itself, men will often times carry rocks in their hands to have greater force in their punches, or they will just throw them at opponents. Sometimes, especially in the town of Macha in Potosí, where the brawl gets the most violent, men will wrap strips of cloth with shards of glass stuck to them around their fists to cause greater damage. Slingshots and whips are also used, though not as much as hand-to-hand combat. The last day of the fight is considered the most violent and police almost always have to separate the mass of bloody men and women.
Men attend tinkus wearing traditional monteras, or thick helmet-like hats made of thick leather, resembling helmets from the Conquistadors. These helmets are often times painted and decorated with feathers. Their pants are usually simple black or white with traditional embroidering near their feet. Often times the men wear wide thick belts tied around their waist and stomach for more protection.
Festive Tinku Dance
The Festive Tinku, a much more pleasant experience than a ceremonial tinku, has many differences. It has been accepted as a cultural dance in the whole nation of Bolivia. Tinku music has a loud constant drum beat to give it a native warlike feel, while charangos, guitars, and zampoñas (panpipes) play melodies. The dancers perform with combat like movements, following the heavy beat of the drum.
For men, the costumes are more colorful. Their monteras are usually decorated with long colorful feathers. Tinku Suits, or the outfits men wear during Festive Tinku performances, are usually made with bold colors to symbolize power and strength, instead of the neutral colors worn in ceremonial tinkus that help participants blend in. Women wear long embroidered skirts and colorful tops. Their costumes are completed by extravagant hats, painted and decorated with various long and colorful feathers and ribbons. Men and women wear walking sandals so they can move and jump easily.
The dance is performed in a crouching stance, bending at the waist. Arms are thrown out and there are various kicks, while the performers move in circles following the beat of the drum. Every jump from one foot to the next is followed by a hard stomp and a thrown fist to signify the violence from the ceremonial tinku. Many times the dancers will hold basic and traditional instruments in their hands that they will use as they stomp, just to add more noise for a greater effect.
Friday, June 20, 2014
The Lost Art of Hollerin’
Hollerin’ is considered by some to be the earliest form of communication between humans. It is a traditional form of communication used in rural areas before the days of telecommunications to convey long-distance messages. Evidence of hollerin’, or derivations thereof such as yodeling or hunting cries, exists worldwide among many early peoples and is still be practiced in certain societies of the modern world. In one form or another, the holler has been found to exist in Europe, Africa and Asia as well as the US. Each culture used or uses hollers differently, although almost all cultures have specific hollers meant to convey warning or distress. Otherwise hollers exist for virtually any communicative purpose imaginable -- greetings, general information, pleasure, work, etc. The hollers featured at the National Hollerin’ Contest typically fall into one of four categories: distress, functional, communicative or pleasure.
Within the US, particularly the Southeast, folklore researchers have found the practice of hollerin’ to be present primarily among traditionally black communities. Although hollerin’ is rarely found to have survived in white communities, many folklorist believe it to have once been widespread throughout the region and practiced by both whites and blacks alike. Oddly, in Sampson County, North Carolina, the reverse of the norm is true; while hollerin’ has continued to live on in white localities, there is little or no evidence of its existence among the black population.
Although similarities abound -- particularly in sound, hollerin’ as defined by the Spivey’s Corner contest, is not the same thing as yodeling or other farm or hunting calling. Rather, it is viewed, at least by Sampson County natives, as an art form to be taken seriously. Its roots, however, can be traced back to the men working on rafts in the 1700s, when logs were transported from Sampson County via its many rivers and streams to Wilmington. The loggers operating the rafts hollered back and forth to one another about their rafts so that they wouldn’t run into each other, or so that if stuck, others would come to their aid. The tradition has survived since its colonial origins.
The “trademark” holler of Sampson County, NC is one considered unique because of its virtuoso rendering. This holler “consists primarily of rapid shifts between natural and falsetto voice within a limited gapped scale” and the typical melodic movement “consists simply of alterations between the first, third and fifth of the scale” so that the voice is “employed almost as a musical instrument.”
Types of Hollers
The hollers native to Sampson County can be classified in one of the following groups:
Distress hollers: In many ways, hollers were essential in rural communities; they notified others within hearing range of imminent danger or brought assistance to otherwise isolated farmers when needed. In the past, locals say, hollers have helped locate lost children, saved drowning men, and even ended house fires. “There was just as much a need of hollerin’ as there was of eatin’ at that day and time,” says 1971 Hollerin’ Champion, Leonard Emanuel. Distress hollers are typified by a falsetto tone and sense of urgency.
Functional hollers: These are the hollers used in day-to-day life on the farm or in the field. Each farmer or rancher had his own distinctive hollers to bring in this hogs, cattle, sheep or dogs. This was particularly useful when farmers’ animals grazed common land. A farmer could round up his hogs with his unique holler without disturbing any of his neighbors’ hogs. This is also the type of holler used each morning to let nearby farmers know that one was up and about, as well as by women to call home their families from the fields at the end of the day.
Examples of The Different Types of Hollers'
Communicative hollers: “Howdy neighbor” is the main purpose of these cries. Ermon Godwin explains: “A man working alone in a field might holler just to hear a reassuring answer from his neighbor in the next field a mile or two away” . Women also frequently used this form of holler.
Expressive hollers: Some hollers are voiced purely for pleasure’s sake -- they are known as expressive hollers. Often, this is a hollered version of a popular tune or melody and serves no purpose other than of entertainment. Many of the contest champions have won using expressive hollers, particularly in recent years. Even North Carolina's Agriculture Commissioner Jim Graham gets into the act with a hollerin' impression of a mule. You won't believe the Duet, but my favorite is the Quartet rendition of "Amazing Grace."
History ofThe National Hollerin’ Contest (1969-present)
Every year, on the third Saturday of June, in an otherwise sleepy borough of southeastern North Carolina known as Spivey’s Corner (population 49), some 5,000-10,000 folks gather from far and wide to take part in the festivities and entertainment in the day-long extravaganza known as the National Hollerin’ Contest.
You may have heard of the contest -- since its inception in 1969, the contest has garnered attention and fame throughout both the country and the world. The contest and its winners have been featured on television shows such as The Tonight Show and Late Night with David Letterman, in magazines with worldwide circulations such as Stars and Stripes and Sports Illustrated, and have even been the subject of documentary films, featured on The Voice of America, and mentioned in television sports commentaries.