Monday, March 16, 2009

Pop Quiz!

I am a writer (with a lifelong love of stories) who holds a degree in history, so I have a geeky love for the tales that get passed down over the years and retold in different cultures worldwide. The varied urban legends and folklore that formed the backbone of season 1--and, to a lesser degree, later seasons--fascinate me (and, also, scare the hell out of me). And, on St. Patrick's Day, with its association with leprechauns and faerie folk, it seemed like a fitting time to offer this short quiz to see what you know about the mythological!

SPN's pilot jumped right in with something eerily familiar to me, the ghostly hitchiker, frequently known as the Woman in White. (As I've mentioned before, I grew up with the Ghost of White Rock Lake down the road, to speak.) Witch of the following (okay, I swear that was a totally Freduian typo) is also a well known regional tale of a paranormal passenger?

a) the Pasadena woman in white who, according to reports, predicted a major earthquake
b) the Georgia woman in white who warns of evil in the red clay
c) the Washington woman in white who warned her drivers of a Mt. Saint Helen's eruption

Tales of encountering her began after the major eruption in 1980 and were eventually reported in numerous media, such as the Tacoma Washington News Tribune. According to legend, she warned that MSH would erupt again on October 12. Which it did. In 2004. I prefer these "helpful" (or at least innocuous) sightings to the traditionally Hispanic and emotionally disquieting stories of La Lorona (the weeping woman who killed her children), which is the version in the SPN pilot. (Great ep, but that scene where her kids confronted her at the end? CHILLS. I am now officially sleeping with the light on. Oh, and speaking of me being a wuss, I understand that if you Google you Tube ghost hitchhiker, someone aparently posted an eerie little vid that, even if it turns out to have been doctored up by some high school kids who are good with a camcorder, I am still too chicken to check out. You feel free, though!)

When it comes to warding off evil, by now, we should have all learned the nifty properties of the all important salt circle (I briefly considered sleeping with a big ring of Morton around the king sized bed, but figure J is only willing to indulge my neuroses so far.) What else is suggested for keeping evil out of the house?

a) bamboo wind chimes outside the front door, sprinkled with Holy water the day they are first hung
b) burying an iron knife beneath your doorstep
c) cooking with lots of garlic

Iron has long been reputed one of the stronger wards against evil, helpful for barring entrance to demons, witches, spirits and even malicious fairies. (Then again, some superstitious might claim that you need the garlic to hedge your bets with vampires. But garlic apparently has a high sulfur content, which SPN generally associates with demons dropping by the neighborhood, so season at your own risk...)

Which of the following is a real medical syndrome based on a mythological creature depicted in Supernatural?

a) Wendigo psychosis
b) Vanaheimr
c) Djinn dementia

The second episode of Supernatural (Wendigo) is not among my favorite (although I cackled at "I'm Agent Ford, this is Agent Hamill.") But the legend stuck with me because, unlike Hook Man or Bloody Mary, it wasn't one I was familiar with. So I did a little research until it creeped me out too much. Variations of Wendigo legend were part of tribal lore for some Native American and Canadian peoples who believed that a person could be transformed if they resorted to cannabilism for any reason. The rare psychosis leads to an actual craving for human flesh (usually after having ingested it in life-threatening famine) which, yikes. And ew.

So, to change the subject, Vanaheimr was the mythological home to Vanir (Norse deities). Do you know what episode featured a Vanir without looking it up? (I'll give the answer in comments.)

And finally, I think we can agree that the Impala is nearly a supernatural being herself--preternaturally strong and sexy and full of life. So when did Chevy introduce the first Imapala? (Come on, Dean would want you to know.)

a) 1955
b) 1960
c) 1958

That's when the earliest version was introduced, but it didn't become its own model until 1959.

So, how'd you do? Ready to ride shotgun and rock out to Bon Jovi, or are you probably better off safely at home? Always assuming, of course, that "home" has no malevolent poltergeists...

Check back in April for my quiz on Which Hunter Type Are You? (Less educational trivia, more pictures of Dean and Sam.)


Anonymous said...

That was awesome, Tanya! But I only got the first two right. :( May I please still ride along? Can't wait for the next quiz.

Natalie J. Damschroder said...

I didn't keep track, really, but I think I only got about half right. Not very impressive of me.

VERY interesting post!

I think Vanir was in "Hell House" with the Hellhounds (later Ghostfacers). Is that right?

Anonymous said...

The Vanir was in scarecrow--a kind of fertility god (that in the case of the episode demanded sacrifices to keep the town fruitful and propsperous!)

You guys will do better on next month's quiz, LOL--no wrong answers there.


Natalie J. Damschroder said...

Oh, right! I was thinking Hell House because they had symbols from all over, but that was a Tibetan thought form. Darn it.