Adventures in Demon Hunting 2, or An Account of Creatures Strange and Wondrous: Sedna

The second of the amazing creatures encountered by intrepid Demon Hunters Teresa and Jolaine on what became known to history as The Great Demon Hunting Expedition of 2009 was an intensely ugly, but enormously powerful, Inuit goddess by the name of Sedna.

Sedna was once a human woman, living in the frozen Canadian North with her father, the creator god Anguta. Different versions of what happened between her and her father exist. In one, the ugly Sedna took a dog for her husband, enraging her father. In another, Sedna was so beautiful that an evil bird spirit fell in love with her and abducted her, leading her father rescue her. However, the spirit was too powerful, creating a terrible storm that threatened the lives of the people, leading her father to make a sacrifice of her.

Both versions of the story agree on the ending part: Sedna got into a canoe with her dad. Dad threw her overboard. When she tried to hang on, he cut off her fingers.

Good ending, through… Sedna’s fingers became seals, walrus, and whales–the big creatures of the Northern sea. Sedna herself became the powerful goddess of the sea on whom the Inuit depend for survival. Hunters especially worshipped her for good luck on their hunts.

Behold, Sedna!

Sedna

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Sedna_(mythology)

Adventures in Demon Hunting 1, or An Account of Creatures Strange and Wondrous: Blurry, grainy photographs

Several weeks ago, I, and my intrepid friend Jolaine, realized it was high time for this demonic researcher to get out from behind the computer and do some actual, true-to-life demon hunting.

We considered many possibilities. Should we plunge into the dark unknown of the Amazonian rainforest in search of the wild and bizarre? Should we risk our very lives by facing the dark predators of Scotland (not to mention the bagpipes)? Should we delve into historical documents to uncover the truth behind a four hundred year old mystery?

As this was the first expedition (and we wanted to be home in time to pick up some sushi and watch The Number 1 Ladies’ Detective Agency), it was decided that we should ease into the initiative by going local. The expedition committee settled on a location only one province away: the Mythic Beasts exhibit at the Canadian Museum of Civilization.

We intrepid explorers donned our camo gear and pith helmets and headed out into an unknown world of strange, almost unbelievable creatures. Over the course of the next few weeks, I will uncloak these mysterious and exotic monsters for you, complete with outlandish claims and grainy photographs.

Grainy photograph #1: Mishipashoo/Mishepishu

The explorer Samuel de Champlain, the founder of Quebec City, describes a Native ceremony in his journal of an 1613 journey up the Ottawa River:

“After carrying their canoes to the foot of the fall, they assemble in one spot, where one of them takes up a collection in a wooden plate, into which each one puts a bit of tobacco. The collection having been made, the plate is placed in the midst of the troupe, and all dance about it, singing in their style. Then one of the captains makes a harangue, setting forth that for a long time they had been accustomed to make this offering, by which means they are insured protection against their enemies, that otherwise misfortune would befall them, as they are convinced by the evil spirit…”


What is this evil spirit
, our intrepid explorers had to ask themselves.

So we kept our eyes open, and the answer was soon revealed to us.

Natives who lived in the Ottawa River area believed a monstrous creature lived in the nearby lakes. Without an offering of tobacco to ease its wrath, it would lash its huge serpent-like tail at any stray canoe, tipping its owner and its contents into the water.

This might sound not such a big deal to you or me, or many people who do casual canoeing these days, but the Natives carried their lives in canoes on their voyages. The loss of weapons, hunting instruments, supplies, or warm clothing, might actually mean death.

The creature’s name was Mishipashoo/Mishepishu, or “great water lynx.” It had the unlikely head of a large cat, a serpent’s tail, razor spikes on its back, and horns on its head.

Gentle readers, at great risk to OUR VERY LIVES, your intrepid explorers bring you an unfocused, grainy photograph of the Mishipashoo. Are you sitting down?

The Dread MISHEPISHU

The Dread MISHEPISHU

On Saturday

On Saturday, meet a new vampire to know and love, the Nachzehrer (Even the name sounds scary!).

Sources

Mid-week Adventures in Demon Hunting 1: Blurry, grainy photgraphs

Several weeks ago, I, and my intrepid friend Jolaine, realized it was high time for this demonic researcher to get out from behind the computer and do some actual, true-to-life demon hunting.

We considered many possibilities. Should we plunge into the dark unknown of the Amazonian rainforest in search of the wild and bizarre? Should we risk our very lives by facing the dark predators of Scotland (not to mention the bagpipes)? Should we delve into historical documents to uncover the truth behind a four hundred year old mystery?

As this was the first expedition (and we wanted to be home in time to pick up some sushi and watch The Number 1 Ladies’ Detective Agency), it was decided that we should ease into the initiative by going local. The expedition committee settled on a location only one province away: the Mythic Beasts exhibit at the Canadian Museum of Civilization. http://www.civilization.ca/cmc/exhibitions/cmc/mythicbeasts/mythicbeasts01e.shtml

We intrepid explorers donned our camo gear and pith helmets and headed out into an unknown world of strange, almost unbelievable creatures. Over the course of the next few weeks, I will uncloak these mysterious and exotic monsters for you, complete with outlandish claims and grainy photographs.

Grainy photograph #1: Mishipashoo/Mishepishu

The explorer Samuel de Champlain, the founder of Quebec City, describes a Native ceremony in his journal of an 1613 journey up the Ottawa River:

“After carrying their canoes to the foot of the fall, they assemble in one spot, where one of them takes up a collection in a wooden plate, into which each one puts a bit of tobacco. The collection having been made, the plate is placed in the midst of the troupe, and all dance about it, singing in their style. Then one of the captains makes a harangue, setting forth that for a long time they had been accustomed to make this offering, by which means they are insured protection against their enemies, that otherwise misfortune would befall them, as they are convinced by the evil spirit…”

What is this evil spirit, our intrepid explorers had to ask themselves.

Keeping our eyes open, the answer was soon revealed.

Natives who lived in the Ottawa River area believed a monstrous creature lived in the nearby lakes. Without an offering of tobacco to ease its wrath, it would lash its huge serpent-like tail at any stray canoe, tipping its owner and its contents into the water.

This might sound not such a big deal to you or me, or many people who do casual canoeing these days, but the Natives carried their lives in canoes on their voyages. The loss of weapons, hunting instruments, supplies, or warm clothing, might actually mean death.

The creature’s name was Mishipashoo/ Mishepishu, or “great water lynx.” It had the unlikely head of a large cat, a serpent’s tail, razor spikes on its back, and horns on its head.

Gentle readers, at great risk to OUR VERY LIVES, your intrepid explorers bring you an unfocused, grainy photograph of the Mishipashoo. Are you sitting down?

Norval Morriseau, "Mishepishu"

Samuel de Champlain, Charles Pomeroy Otis, Edmund Farwell Slafter, Voyages of Samuel de Champlain
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Samuel_de_Champlain
http://ottawariverkeeper.ca/river/ottawa_river_creatures_real_or_imagined_the_story_of_mishipashoo