Tag Archives: Legend

Scallop shells

Title: Scallop shells

General information about item:

  • Material lore
  • Country: Spain
  • Informant: Tommy Botch
  • Date Collected: 11/05/19

Informant Data: 

  • Tommy Botch is a 24-year-old lab manager in the Robertson Lab in the Psychology and Brain Sciences Department at Dartmouth College, where he studies vision in virtual reality. He was born and raised in Los Angeles, California and completed his undergraduate education in psychobiology at UCLA. Tommy enjoys describing fine cheeses and baking sourdough bread in his spare time. He undertook his thru hiking journey when he was 20 years old.

Contextual Data:

  • Historical Context: The Camino de Santiago is a 1,000 year-old pilgrimage route that begins at numerous points around Europe and ends at Santiago de Compostela in Galicia, Spain. According to Christianity, the apostle Santiago (known in English as Saint James) spread the religion around the Iberian Peninsula (which includes Spain and Portugal). Theory says that his body was put on a boat and landed on the coast of Spain, right near present-day Santiago de Compostela. King Alfonso II wanted his body to be buried in a special chapel, and ordered the building of the Santiago de Compostela Cathedral. Christians across Europe began taking this pilgrimage to worship at the Cathedral. 
  • Social Context: Recently, the route became a UNESCO World Heritage Site and was featured in the 2010 movie The Way, which helped it grow in popularity (Source). Our informant took the most popular route, the Camino Frances, which begins in Saint-Jean-Pied-de-Port, France, and over the Pyrenees. This trail spans 800 km (500 miles). 

Item:

  • The scallop shell is the symbol of the Camino de Santiago. It adorns every trail marker and hikers tie one to their backpacks as they make this arduous journey. Tommy reported two stories as to where the symbol comes from. The first is that when the apostle Santiago was pulled out of the sea by the coast of Santiago de Compostela, his body was covered in scallop shells, so the shells took on that religious connotation. The second is that since the pilgrimage has trails beginning all over Europe that converge at Santiago de Compostela, if you map all of it out, the radiating lines converging upon the one point resembles the bumps on a scallop shell.
  • The scallop shell also serves another purpose: there are points along the pilgrimage where hikers stop to replenish water. At these points, some towns and businesses leave out pumps of red wine, which hikers can drink from their scallop shells.

Informant comment:

  • “I think the story of Saint James is the official, historical significance of the scallop shell. The story about the multiple trails converging is more of the modern, more secular, pop-culture view of the scallop shell.”

 

Collector: Erica Busch

Stuffed Bear

Title: Stuffed Bear

General information about item:

  • Legend, Material Lore
  • Country: Spain
  • Informant: Tommy Botch
  • Date Collected: 11/05/19

Informant Data: 

  • Tommy Botch is a 24-year-old lab manager in the Robertson Lab in the Psychology and Brain Sciences Department at Dartmouth College, where he studies vision in virtual reality. He was born and raised in Los Angeles, California and completed his undergraduate education in psychobiology at UCLA. Tommy enjoys describing fine cheeses and baking sourdough bread in his spare time. He undertook his thru hiking journey when he was 20 years old.

Contextual Data:

  • Historical Context: The Camino de Santiago is a 1,000 year-old pilgrimage route that begins at numerous points around Europe and ends at Santiago de Compostela in Galicia, Spain. According to Christianity, the apostle Santiago (known in English as Saint James) spread the religion around the Iberian Peninsula (which includes Spain and Portugal). Theory says that his body was put on a boat and landed on the coast of Spain, right near present-day Santiago de Compostela. King Alfonso II wanted his body to be buried in a speciaal chapel, and ordered the building of the Santiago de Compostela Cathedral. Christians across Europe began taking this pilgrimage to worship at the Cathedral. 
  • Social Context: Recently, the route became a UNESCO World Heritage Site and was featured in the 2010 movie The Way, which helped it grow in popularity (Source). Our informant took the most popular route, the Camino Frances, which begins in Saint-Jean-Pied-de-Port, France, and over the Pyrenees. This trail spans 800 km (500 miles). 

Item: 

  • Unlike other thru hikes, people hike the Camino in order to arrive in Santiago de Compostela. However, there is one man who is notorious for hiking the trail from Santiago de Compostela towards Frances, away from the Catedral. Not only does he complete the trail backwards (and has done so several times), but he does so with a giant stuffed bear on his pack. Apparently he does this in order to bring a smile to the faces of the other hikers, who are often exhausted mentally, emotionally, and physically. Legend has it that he completes this backwards journey once a year.

Collector: Erica Busch

A Chinese Love Story

Title: A Chinese Love Story – similar to Romeo and Juliet 

General Information about Item: 

  • Verbal lore, Legend, Myth, Drama
  • Language: Chinese
  • Country of Origin: China
  • Informant: Brandy Zhang
  • Date Collected: 11-07-19

Informant Data:  The informant’s name is Brandy Zhang. Brandy is a twenty-year-old female who attends Dartmouth College in Hanover, NH as a sophomore. Brandy studies music and theatre—she is very passionate about both, and loves to listen to music, play music, and watch theatrical productions in her free time. She was born and raised in Shenzhen, China, where she still lives today. Brandy attended Blair Academy for high school, which is located in New Jersey. When Brandy is in China, she lives with her mother—her parents are married but live in different households due to work. Brandy spends a lot of her time with her maternal grandparents. She is an only child.

Contextual Data: This story can be viewed on screen as an opera or it can be told to children as a bedtime story.

Item:

“So, this is a story about these two people, the man is called Liang Shanbo and the woman is called Zhu YingTai. Basically, this is known as the Romeo and Juliet of China, but it came like thousands of years ahead of time—ahead of Shakespeare so that’s an interesting little side note. So, there are a lot of different versions in different towns. Even within the same province there are a lot of different versions, either written down or just passed on as oral traditions.

So yeah, basically the story is the man, Liang Shanbo, wanted to learn and study, and that was something that…if you are trying to be a cultured man and trying to get into the court of the emperor, you go study somewhere. He was very talented, so he found this master that he studied with—so that’s his side of the story.

And for the girl, her name is Zhu YingTai. Basically, she was ahead of her time and she wanted to learn as much as anybody else did. Back in those days, girls weren’t allowed to learn or attend school, or get schooling of any sort, so she had to pull a Mulan. So, she basically disguised herself as a man and then went to the same master, as a matter of fact, and became a student of his.

So, these two, the man and the girl who is disguised as a man—they met and then they became roommates. So, during this whole duration of their schooling, which lasted about two and a half, three years, they became really great friends, during which the man never knew that his roommate was not supposed to be male. But then they build such a strong emotional connection that Zhu YingTai, the girl was very much in love with her roommate.

So, the schooling was coming to an end and they have to leave—or she has to leave because family pressure. There’s a famous snippet of the story; they walked about 18 miles…I don’t know exactly how many miles that is nowadays, but it’s a pretty long walk, I would say. So, they walked to this mountain. And then, near this mountain there’s this little pavilion thing. And then, they basically talked and then the girl was so in love that she was like ‘If you come find me, I will make sure that my little sister marries you.’ But then, she’s actually talking about herself because she is the youngest daughter of the family.

And then Liang Shanbo, the man, was like ‘Oh, cool. Would be sick if I could marry my best friend’s little sister.’ And then basically, what happened was she left and then she went home, he went back. The master, who was very wise, was like, ‘Oh, I bet you didn’t notice that your roommate, your best friend, is/was a girl, or was a woman.’ And then he’s like, ‘Oh god, she literally just promised me that she would marry me if I go find her.’ And then he’s like, ‘I’m gonna go find her!’

So, then he went all the way to her hometown to try to marry her because he’s like, ‘This is great—I love my best friend and now that she’s a girl it’s even better.’ But then when he got there, he wasn’t even allowed to go into the courtyard of her house because apparently, right after she got home, her dad has made a wedding arrangement for her and this random man who is supposed to be a prominent figure. She’s never met him before, but again, this is very old times.

So yeah, she didn’t have a choice. And as a bride, or a bride-to-be, she is not allowed to see anybody, or like, she was supposed to be kept in the dark, especially when her supposed lover is looking for her. So, the man became very depressed; he didn’t even get to see her or say goodbye. He was just shunned away and had to go home. He was so sad that he became very sick. And so, he contracted what we know nowadays as tuberculosis. Basically, back in that time, it’s like cancer—there’s no cure for tuberculosis. You get it, and that’s it for your life.

For the very end of his life he told his mom, ‘Hey mother, if I die, please bury me at the pavilion where I said goodbye to my best friend.’ So, his mom did so. And on wedding day—so, brides are carried in like, chariots, but not chariots, but carriages that are carried by strong men. And then, they go from their home…they have a face cover, it’s like the equivalent of a veil, but more opaque so you can’t see the face at all. So, their confined in this carriage box with their veil. So, the girl had to be carried from her own house to the husband’s house. And what happened was, when they passed the spot, the pavilion where they said goodbye, there was this monstrous wind that just passed by. And the whole queue of people had to stop because the wind was so strong. So, she asked to come outside and to see what’s going on and then she realized that she is where the pavilion is. And because of that she saw the grave, the tombstone of the man. And she became really sad, so she decided to…kill herself by hitting her head against the tombstone. It was said that the power, it was so powerful that she cracked the tombstone. And then, for some reason, after she died, she disappeared into the crack, and then, out flew two butterflies. And then, they were intertwined and together forever as butterflies.”

Associated file (a video, audio, or image file):

Brandy Zhang – Chinese & English

Informant’s Comments: 

“Well, it was definitely one of the most famous stories. It’s actually one of the four major love stories of Ancient China, which sounds really funny. There are three other ones that are very intense as well. This is the only one—like all of them have some sort of magical element to it throughout, or one of the characters is magical, or some sort of snake person or whatever—but this is the one where they’re both normal humans, and their very ordinary people. And the funny part is, just the idea of the girl disguising herself as a man to go study somewhere is like a very modern…you can see it in a lot of modern iterations of different stories. You can see like a girl goes into an all-boys school because of sports—you see a lot of troupes like that, which is very interesting considering this story came from thousands of years ago. I remember watching it in like a Beijing Opera version with my grandparents during one of the summers. And I’ve asked very specifically, you know, what does all of this mean? And a fun fact is that in…well it’s not the Beijing Opera, it’s like the regional type of Chinese opera. In that specific genre, men are considered…it’s the complete opposite of Shakespearean times…it’s considered disgraceful for men to perform and they can’t hit high notes like women can. So, both the man and the woman are played by women. It’s very interesting, I remember that very well.”

Collector’s Comments: 

Like Brandy mentioned, this story is very similar to Romeo and Juliet; it’s a story of two star-crossed lovers who cannot end up together because of external influences. The ending is a bit different though; I thought it was very unique. The two lovers turn into butterflies and end up together. While this story first appears to have a tragic ending, it actually has a happy one. This differentiates it from the Romeo and Juliet tragedy.

Collector’s Name: Milla McCaghren

Tags/Keywords: Legend, myth, love story, China, folklore

Legend of the Overexerted Swimmer

General Information about Item:

  • Text Folklore – Legend
  • Language: English
  • Country of Origin: United States
  • Informant: James Edward Thompson III
  • Date Collected: 03-03-2018

Informant Data:

  • James Thompson was born and raised in Tracy, CA. A lifelong swimmer, James came to Dartmouth as part of the Class of 2017 and was an accomplished member of the Men’s Swimming team for four years between 2013 and 2017. He is no longer a member of the Dartmouth Swim and Dive Team.

Contextual Data:

  • Cultural Context: The Dartmouth Swim and Dive team has a storied tradition of lore. This particular legend utilizes a walk-on underdog figure to help the team motivate themselves and remind themselves that effort, and not reputation, is what is most important.
  • Social Context: James relayed this legend in a one-on-one interview. It is often told either after an extremely hard day’s practice to help team members vent their anger through sarcasm, or when they feel that the team is not working hard enough, in order to motivate themselves through the hyperbole of this legend.

Item:

  • James relayed a story of a walk-on (a team member who was not good enough to be recruited but eventually made the team after coming to Dartmouth), who trained so hard to be on the team and then set a pool record, but who perished in the attempt.

 

Transcript:

  • “One story I remember was from a speech a Captains gave a long time ago about a swimmer a while back who was a walk-on, but trained super hard and ended up setting a pool record, but he died while training.”

Collector’s Comments:

  • This story of a hero who sacrificed everything, including their lives, to achieve some fantastic goal is quite familiar in many different types of lore, but is always inspiring to hear. It also has some elements similar to Max Luthi’s tragically underequipped hero, who still succeeds.

Collector’s Name: Ashwath Srikanth

Tags/Keywords: Text Folklore, Legend, William Bascom, Max Luthi, Swimming

Sparky’s Chair Legend (Jacob Cruger)

Title: Sparky’s Chair Legend

General Information About this Item:

  • Legend, material folklore, workplace folklore
  • Language: English
  • Country of Origin: United States
  • Informant: Informant #1
  • Date Collected: 3/8/2018

Informant Data:

  • The informant is a Facilities, Operations, and Management  Engineering Services employee who is not originally from the Upper Valley region.

Contextual Data:

  • This story was passed between FO+M employees. According to the informant, it dates back to a time when alcohol played a much more prominent role in the workplace culture of Facilities, Operations, and Management. This story also takes place in the time before the FO+M offices had modern office chairs.

Item:

  • An electrician, after having a couple drinks, attempted to squeeze through the slats of an old wooden chair. He succeeded, and the story became well-known. The chair itself also became legendary – a retiring employee ultimately took it home.

Collector’s Name: Jacob Cruger

Tags/Keywords:

  • Legend/Material Folklore
  • FO+M

Image Credit

Softball Injury (Rick Gangopadhyay)

Title: Softball Injury

General Information about Item:

  • Legend, workplace folklore
  • Language: English
  • Country of Origin: United States
  • Informant: Informant #7
  • Date Collected: February 20, 2018.

Informant Data:

  • FO+M Custodian and has been working for college for three years. Has been part of the custodial department the entirety of his time at Dartmouth.  Originally from Connecticut and moved to the Upper Valley area.

Contextual Data:

  • Some of the members of the custodial department sometimes meet to play softball in their free time. The last time this occurred was three years ago as far as the informant is aware.  This is due to problems that ensued during the game that was played on this occasion.  The story describes the informant’s experience at the softball game and an accident that occurred.

Item:

    • The custodian is at the casually organized softball game among other custodians and his team is up at bat. Another custodian winds up to hit the ball and hits it as hard as he can.  The ball flies directly into the ribcage of another custodial worker on the other team and he has to go to the hospital.  As it turned out, the victim was okay but suffered a cracked rib cage.

     

Associated file (a video, audio, or image file):

Transcript:

  • “I can’t say I’m all that good at softball or other ball sports… When Jim hit that ball though I almost threw up myself, he hit it into the man- I didn’t know his name – and it looked pretty darn painful! I’ve been telling this to some of the new guys and they think it’s a shame we stopped doing it.”

Collector’s Comments:

  • I used to play in casual soccer games when I was a kid and whenever someone got hurt, everyone would often stop playing altogether. It seems like this doesn’t stop as we get older.

Collector’s Name: Rick Gangopadhyay

Tags/Keywords:

  • Legend
  • FO+M
  • Narrative Folklore

Water Balloon Legend (Rick Gangopadhyay)

Title: Water Balloon Legend

General Information about Item:

  • Legend, workplace folklore
  • Language: English
  • Country of Origin: United States
  • Informant: Informant #6
  • Date Collected: February 23, 2018

Informant Data:

  • Has been working for the custodial sector of FO+M for over five years. Is originally from Manchester, New Hampshire but more recently moved to the Upper Valley.

Contextual Data:

  • A story that has been passed down to her from her boss who heard it from her boss. The story takes place in 2007 and the story has been told by her boss that the story is true.  The story describes the experience one custodian had one afternoon when he walked up to the third floor of Topliff.

Item:

    • This custodian walks into his assigned dormitory, which he was assigned that day. Walking up to the third floor, he hears loud yelling and the sound of splashing water.  Entering the floor, he finds that there is a water balloon fight going on in the third-floor hallway with the walls soaked as well as the floors.  Students escape through the fire escape and the custodian cannot catch a glimpse of them of whether they live on the floor.  No one was ever found accountable for the incident.

     

Associated file (a video, audio, or image file):

Transcript:

  • “I can’t complain these days about students, they’ve been great to me.  This story I told you though makes me wonder what got into those kids.  To be honest though, I probably would have joined in if I were one of the students.”

Collector’s Comments:

  • I’ve seen custodians deal with a lot of cases of disregard for the dorms we live in.  It’s amazing to me how much work they put in.  I myself have never heard of the water balloon story but it does not surprise me at all.

Collector’s Name: Rick Gangopadhyay

Tags/Keywords:

  • Legend
  • FO+M
  • Narrative Folklore

Killer Train Ride

General Information about Item:

  • Verbal lore, legend
  • Language: English
  • Country of Origin: United States
  • Informant: Sai Mupparaju
  • Date Collected: 3/8/2018

Informant Data:

  • Sai Mupparaju is a female Dartmouth student in the class of 2018. She is majoring in Neuroscience and minoring in Religion. She intends on pursuing a career in medicine. She was born in Hyderabad, India but she grew up in Atlanta, GA. She has no siblings. She has visited Disney World in Orlando, Florida around five times with her family. She loves Disney and her favorite Disney movie is Aladdin. When she was at the park, she would try to find the park characters, Aladdin and Jasmine. Sai would stay at a hotel not on the Disney World premises during her visits to the park. She is not a Disney Vacations Club Member.

 

Contextual Data:

  • Cultural Context: In Disney World, there is a popular roller coaster called Big Thunder Mountain Railroad. Big Thunder Mountain Railroad is a fast and jerky roller coaster with small drops in Frontierland. Before starting the ride, the ride operators tell visitors to keep their arms and legs inside the vehicle at all times. However, during the ride, it is pretty common to see people raising their hands out of excitement
  • Social Context: The informant heard about a mysterious death that occurred on this ride during her first trip to Disney World. While Sai and her family were waiting in line, other park visitors were discussing why the ride is often shut down for maintenance. The park visitors claim that the ride operators always try to take extra precaution with this ride after the tragic death that occurred on it. Sai shared the story about the mysterious death with her friends and family back home in Atlanta.


Item:

  • There is a legend about a high schooler who went on Big Thunder Mountain Railroad and died. There is a portion of the ride that involves a drop inside a cave and there was supposedly a loose cable hanging down from the ceiling. The boy was very tall and the loose cable caught on the visitor’s neck, resulting in immediate death.

Transcript:

  • “When I was waiting in line for the ride, I heard some people whispering about why the ride had shut down. They said that Disney takes extra precautions after the death that happened a while back. They talked about how a high school boy was killed by a loose cable that was hanging in the tunnel portion of the ride.”

Collector’s Comments:

  • This legend was one of the scarier folklore items that I heard. I know this ride is constantly shut down for maintenance so hearing about this mysterious death put the pieces together for me. I know that a lot of ride malfunctions are not disclosed to the public so this is an interesting story because some park visitors have heard it, but it is unclear where it originated from.

Collector’s Name: Meghana Reddy

Tags/Keywords:

  • Verbal Lore
  • Legend
  • Killer Train Ride

 

Cinderella’s Ghost

General Information about Item:

  • Verbal lore, legend
  • Language: English
  • Country of Origin: United States
  • Informant: Sarina Kothari
  • Date Collected: 2/23/2018

Informant Data:

  • Sarina Kothari is a female Dartmouth student in the class of 2021. She is majoring in Mathematics and Biology. She intends on pursuing a career in medicine. She was born in Philadelphia, PA, but she grew up in Orlando, FL. She has one younger brother. She has visited Disney World in Orlando, Florida twelve times with her family and sometimes her friends. She loves Disney and her favorite Disney movie is Beauty and the Beast. When she is at the park, she tries to find the park characters, Mickey and Minnie Mouse.  Sarina would stay at home during her visits to Disney World. She is not a Disney Vacations Club Member.

 

Contextual Data:

  • Cultural Context: One of the most iconic attractions at Disney World is Cinderella’s castle. It is the central attraction in Magic Kingdom and many park visitors take photos in front of the castle to document their trip. The inside of the castle contains a store and a luxury suite for elite Disney customers. Most park visitors use the castle’s tunnel to get to other rides within the park. Very few people spend time inside the castle itself.
  • Social Context: The informant first heard of this legend from her friends in high school. She mentioned how the legend was passed between teenagers who lived in Orlando because they knew a lot about the Disney parks since they visited them so often. Whenever Sarina visits the park with a new friend, she tells them the legend as they walk through Cinderella’s castle.


Item:

  • There is a legend that individuals who enter through a giant wooden door on the left side of Cinderella’s castle will come upon a giant bookshelf. If an individual stares long enough at the bookshelf, the individual will see Cinderella’s ghost run past him or her.

Transcript:

  • “During my freshman year of high school, I remember a couple of my friends were talking about their trip to Disney World. They mentioned some old scary story about Cinderella’s ghost. They said that you could find her ghost if you go through a wooden door on the left side of Cinderella’s castle and then stare at some bookshelf for a long enough time. Many people claim that the ghost-like figure is wearing a ball gown so people think that it is Cinderella’s ghost.”

Collector’s Comments:

  • This legend was something I heard about before from other people who frequently visited the parks, but I never knew the details about it. I knew that the castle was supposed to have hidden rooms and be haunted. It was fascinating to hear this specific story that involves a ghost that resides in the castle.  

Collector’s Name: Meghana Reddy

Tags/Keywords:

  • Verbal Lore
  • Legend
  • Cinderella’s Ghost

Pirates of the Caribbean Skeletons

General Information about Item:

  • Verbal lore, legend
  • Language: English
  • Country of Origin: United States
  • Informant: J.H. ’19
  • Date Collected: 3/1/18

Informant Data:

  • J.H. is a female Dartmouth student in the class of 2019. She is majoring in Neuroscience and Asian and Middle Eastern Studies. She intends on pursuing a career in public health or medicine and is a licensed Emergency Medical Technician. She grew up in Ohio. She has two younger siblings, one brother two years younger than her and one sister four years younger than her. She visited Disney World in Orlando, Florida with her family one time in the mid-2000s.

Contextual Data:

  • Cultural Context: The Pirates of the Caribbean is a ride in the Magic Kingdom park at Disney World. It places its riders in a raft-like vehicle and maneuvers them along a fake river as they pass animatronic pirates who tell tales of their exploits. The pirates stand upon various intricate sets that depict their seafaring lifestyle. Some of these sets include skeletons. The ride actually opened at the Magic Kingdom in 1973, modeled after a similar ride at Disneyland. The ride served as inspiration for the extremely successful Pirates of the Caribbean movie franchise of the 2000s.  
  • Social Context: The informant first heard of this legend from her mother during her only trip to Disney World in the mid-2000s. She does not know from whom or how her mother learned of the legend, but assumes her mother likely heard it from a friend. The informant retells this legend in social situations with friends during which someone brings up the Pirates movie franchise or the ride at the Disney parks.

Item:

  • This legend alleges that the skeletons within the sets of the Pirates of the Caribbean ride are real human bones, and not fake moldings. This constitutes a legend since it is grounded in presumed historical fact, takes place in the contemporary human world, and features human characters (both dead and alive).
  • The following is a transcript of the legend as it was told to the collector in February 2018. Some words and phrases have been omitted from the original to allow for easy reading.

Transcript:

 

  • So when we went to Disney [World] my little brother really wanted to go on the Pirates of the Caribbean ride since it was sometime after the first movie came out. He loved Jack Sparrow. So we were on the ride and passing this weird sort of grotto and my mother leaned over and told me, ‘You know I once heard that those skeletons are from real humans.’ And I had to agree with her – I was young, but the skeletons looked scary real. That’s just a fun and freaky tidbit I like to bring up when my friends talk about the parks.”

 

Informant’s Comments:

  • “I’d really love to go back as an adult and investigate this once and for all.”

Collector’s Comments:

  • My inspiration for this project topic came from seeing online lists of alleged dark Disney park secrets, but I’d actually never heard of this one before!

Collector’s Name: Karina Korsh

Tags/Keywords:

  • Verbal Lore
  • Legend
  • Pirates of the Caribbean Skeletons