Monday, February 4, 2013

Hunting Hogboons and Detecting Trows: Kids search out the supernatural

I had two meetings today about future folklore projects in Conception Bay, one in Bay Roberts and the other in Cupids. Perhaps unsurprisingly, talk of the fairies came up in both. Conception Bay is rich in fairy lore, and there seems to be a growing interest in communities in the area in documenting and celebrating these traditions.

While in Cupids, I mentioned two fairylore projects from across the pond, one from Shetland and the other from Orkney. I first heard about the Shetland project from storyteller Davy Cooper when he visited Newfoundland a few years back. The Shetland Museum and Archives had created a Trowie Knowe, the house of a "trow" - a type of small, ugly supernatural creature like a troll. They had also created a "Trow Detector" - a steampunkish looking device for alerting museum goers to nearly trows.

The Orkney project allowed kids to search out evidence of a similar type of creature, a hogboon, a mound-dwelling creature tied to particular families. The hogboon hunt was part of a one day workshop where participants used newly learnt archaeological skills like surveying, map making, photography, and collecting and documenting artefacts. You can check out the video of the kids on their hunt on Vimeo. The story in the piece is told by Orkadian storyteller Tom Muir.

Rousay Summer Club Survey from Mark Jenkins on Vimeo.

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