It’s time for the A to Z Challenge! Hello and welcome to my main blog. My name is Rose Anderson and I’m a novelist. Join me and nearly 2000 bloggers and authors as we blog the alphabet throughout the month of April. It’s not as easy as you might think. There’s a reason Q and Z are worth 10 points in Scrabble!
For me, this year’s alphabet will be about history and historical science– things that tickle my fancy or capture my imagination. I hope you will find them interesting too.
Keep the topic rolling! If you’ve enjoyed the today’s offering and have comments or questions, add them at the end of the post in the comment section. And…if you enjoy romances with unique twists, a good deal of steam, facts, and characters full of personality and depth, scroll down for a free chapter sampler. I love to make the impossible sound plausible. Suffice to say, I have an unusual mind.
Imagine trying to describe a platypus to someone who had never heard or seen of one. The creature looks like it’s comprised of assorted parts. It has a bill and lays eggs like a duck. It also has fur and webbed feet like an otter. To add more puzzle to this puzzle the platypus nurses its young after they hatch and they even have venomous stingers! Who would believe that unlikely mix? History is filled with accounts of strange animals. Early explorers brought back tales of fantastic and unbelievable creatures from around the world. These recognizable animals once sounded too farfetched to be true and were met with skepticism: Orangutan, Panda, Komodo Dragon, Beaver, Tiger, Python, Kangaroo, Giraffe, and Elephant.
No so farfetched once you know what they are, huh?
Cryptids ~ Not always fiction
Through the ages imaginative people have come up with all sorts of strange creatures. Three off the top of my head– griffin, jackalope, and mermaid. Sometimes they’re the beast of myth solely created for the hero to defeat bravely like the Minotaur. Or they’re a tragic human like the werewolf. Sometimes they play a role in cautionary tales of the unknown like here there be dragons at the edge of a map. Occasionally they’re a “tall tale” that stretches the truth for the sake of the absurd like Paul Bunyan and Babe his blue ox. And sometimes, people just see things and are unable to explain them.
The Jersey Devil
Legend says the first time the Jersey Devil made an appearance was in the pine barrens of New Jersey in 1735 and the story has been in oral circulation in the area ever since. That’s a long time. It’s believed to be the oldest reported monster sighting in America. Documented sightings appear in the mid-1800s in batches in 1859, 1873, and again in1880. One report says Napoleon Bonaparte’s brother Joseph claimed to have seen the creature while hunting.
Looking at the 1909 picture, I’m thinking if the first witness saw anything, it might have been a bat. The Malaysian Flying Fox is huge, and if your only exposure to bats are the small ones that come out at night, something this big would certainly raise the hairs on the back of your neck! A large bat might have been a rare species in North America, or perhaps a sailor brought a gentle fruit-eating flying fox on his ship and it got away.
What ever the Jersey Devil initially was, the sightings were passed on by word of mouth for generations. What began as the unknown grew in proportion and ferocity in the telling until one was lucky to be alive after seeing it. The writer I am imagines it unfolding at a pub…
I tell ye, it had wings like the devil himself.
I saw it meself, it had a horse’s head and glowing red eyes.
I saw it too and it spit fire at me. I feared for me life!
Hysteria or an as-yet-unknown animal? More than 2,000 witnesses have reported seeing the Jersey Devil since that first sighting in 1735. In the Camden County area of New Jersey, a number of sightings took place in 1909. Accounts say the tracks in the snow went up trees and crossed rooftops roof to roof. They also say the tracks disappeared in the middle of the road and stopped in the middle of open fields. One account said this: Strange tracks were found in the snow, and as a result of these sightings, teams of illustrators and reporters were sent out from various Philadelphia newspapers — no photographers, just illustrators.
But isn’t that always how it goes? With cellphones taking digital pictures these days, perhaps one day an actual photograph will be taken. Or not.
The the almanac wars and the vilification of Daniel Leeds
Other versions of the story
Mrs. Leeds’ child or was it Mrs. Shrouds?
A fine collection of details from Dave Juliano Includes recent sightings.
Perspective is everything!
The Blind Men and the Elephant by John Godfrey Saxe
As mentioned in my intro, I am a storyteller. We writers are strange creatures too. I never know from where the next story will come, but every so often something will tickle my fancy and a story will practically write itself. That happened the day I stumbled upon an author selling her paperback book about local sightings of a wolf-like creature walking on two legs. Here’s that story on USA Today Her research on this urban legend inspired me to write a plausible reason for the sightings, that is to say, as plausible as one can get when working with supernatural elements. My series is called The Witchy Wolf and the Wendigo.
Tomorrow ~ Fun Day Sunday
Monday ~letter K!
My Other Weekend Happenings~
Weekend Writing Warriors
Authors in Bloom Blog Hop
My Sexy Saturday
**A promo op for you too!**
Fantastic authors & industry representatives all month long. http://romancebooks4us.blogspot.com/
Love Waits in Unexpected Places –
Scorching Samplings of Unusual Love Stories
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