Every episode our heroes are faced with the idea of reanimating dead bodies. Well, image if this happened when the Vikings were visiting the New World. What would the Native Americans think about this sort of activity? We include a brief reference to Skadegamutc in this episode because it’s a wonderful way to look at how Sage & Savant might appear to the locals.
The Icelandic Sagas tells of the exploits of various Viking travels. Because these were songs or stories of heroic adventures, not every detail is included. However, the The Saga of Erik the Red or Eiríks saga rauða–one of the Vinland Sagas–is an account of Viking travels in the new world, over 400 years before Columbus. Many of the characters we have in Episode 8: Vikingr are directly from this saga. We even quote a section about the exploits of Freydis, a woman who fought off a band of Skrælingar, or indigenous people.
In Episode 8: Vikingr, we mention record keeping. Vikings had an alphabet or runes they used to write. Although many of their sagas–including the sage we include in our episode, Eric the Red–were handed down through oral tradition, they did write fairly extensively. The Viking letters or runes are called FUTHARK for the first six letters: Fehu,Uruz, Thurisaz, Ansuz, Raido and Kenaz. There are actually two types of runes, Elder Futhark and Younger Futhark.
The Elder Futhark is the oldest form of the runic alphabets. It was a writing system used by Germanic tribes for the northwestern and Migration period dialects. Its inscriptions are found on jewelry, amulets, tools, weapons, and rune stones from the 2nd to 8th centuries.
In Scandinavia, from the late 8th century, the script was simplified to the Younger Futhark, while the Anglo-Saxons and Frisians extended the Futhark which eventually became the Anglo-Saxon futhorc. Unlike the Anglo-Saxon and Younger Futharks, which remained in use during the Early and High Middle Ages, respectively, knowledge of how to read the Elder Futhark was forgotten until 1865, when it was deciphered by Norwegian scholar Sophus Bugge.
The style our vikings would have used would be Younger Futhark. The Younger Futhark is divided into long-branch (Danish) and short-twig (Swedish and Norwegian) runes, in the 10th century further expanded by the “Hälsinge Runes” or staveless runes. The lifetime of the Younger Futhark corresponds roughly to the Viking Age.
We try to incorporate as much historical information in our episodes as possible, pulling from a variety of sources to ensure the events we portray are as accurate as possible–even though the premise of time-travel is fictitious at this point.
In our January episode we begin dealing with supernatural being – because how else would you explain a dead body coming back to life?
In Iroquois Supernatural: Talking Animals and Medicine People by By Michael Bastine & Mason Winfield, we found this gem:
The Vampire Corpse
The Iroquois had a lot of stories about evil, semidead, humanlike beings sometimes called vampires or cannibal corpses. Not all of the Six Nations’ variety are bloodsuckers like the Romanian vampire or the Scottish glaistig. Still, they were so similar to the human predator of European folklore that we have to call the vampires. Variants abound.
The culprit can be a dead human, a simple corpse that something overtakes. It may be the body of a witch or sorcerer so full of its own otkon that the force lasts on after the physical death. Sometimes the demon is an airy specter or ghost, physical enough at the business end for a bit of chewing. The Iroquois vampire can be a virtual skeleton, sometimes even what seems to be a separate species that only looks human. It could even be a servant of the otherworld like the monsters that wait along the perilous course of the human soul in Egyptian mythology.
It’s hard to tell if these are different tales–regional variants–or if the subject of them has different forms. Ah well, the European vampire is a shape-shifter, too, at least within a range of animal forms: bats, wolves, rats, moths. Mabe the stories are about the same critter. But forget the suave Victorian counts or runway models of the twenty-first-century vampire industry. The Iroquois bogie is a reanimated corpse that wouldn’t score at a zombie festival.
California is no stranger to earthquakes, but we are hardly the only place in the world to feel their effects. Italy has been hit particularly hard throughout history, most recently in August 2016 when an earthquake registering 6.2 on the Richter scale rocked Amatrice. The Italian earthquake institute (INGV) reported 60 aftershocks in the four hours following the initial quake, the strongest aftershock measured 5.5.
In this month’s episode–Feet to the Fire, Dr Sage runs the risk of losing her funding by the head of her department, Provost Cunningham. While the are a variety of issues, one concern is to what extent can one stifle the quest for knowledge and understanding.