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Did they exist?

  1. May 10, 2003 #1
    We all know the Middle Ages did exist, from the 5th century to the 11th century. What i do want to know is how come other fantasy characters like elves, dwarves and dragons appeared alongside that period in so much fiction. It seems to me that the universe unlocked by that so called writer who probably first put men in the middle ages together with elves and dwarves and dragons and others to have created a world so full of stuff and races that it actually makes me wonder whether it could have existed before. If its just pure fiction, a) the writer did a real good job and b) why the middle ages?

    Just food for thought from a fantasy lover... :wink:
     
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  3. May 10, 2003 #2

    Ivan Seeking

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    Many examples of myth turned reality can be found:

    The gilled antelope-like creature of Northern Cambodia. Thought to be mythical until a herd was found some years ago.

    Sea Monsters - now called giant squid

    Gorillas and then Albino Gorillas

    There was a time when distant lands like China were thought by most to be mythical.

    Ball lightning, once treated as pseudo-science, is clearly a real phenomenon. If you don't agree then I suggest a little research before you reply. This is the view of most meteorologists.

    Many people thought the first reports and drawing of Niagara Falls were lies.

    You know how cave men couldn't draw a decent horse; they often displayed disproportionately bowed bellies? We recently found horses in Tibet [or Nepal] that are a very ancient breed much closer to ancestral horses than modern horses. Guess what, Bowed bellies. Imagine that! I never once heard the suggestion that horses might have actually looked that way.

    And I'll mention this one again since it is one of my favorites:
    CROP CIRCLES ARE REAL!!!. Meteorologists studied them as early as the 1940s. The theories proposed I think are pretty weak. I suspect they are related to a ball-lighting like phenomenon. This could explain the lights often associated with crop circles. I also think that all of the complicated crop formations are fakes. Look for the simple donut, swollen nodes in the stalks, a specific crossing pattern and a few other distinctive details. It has been shown that some crop formations were likely exposed to microwave radiation; this by microscopic examination of cells that burst in the stalk due to rapid heating.

    So how about elves and what not? Could these reports be due to errors in perception or false interpretations resulting from belief systems? Could they be factual, or semi-factual? I suspect that there is a basis for most myths. This basis may or may not require any incredible explanations. Sometimes the explanations are incredible, but we adapt to change so readily that we forget how surprised we have been before. Remember, there was a man whose life was once threatened for simply asserting that the universe was not geocentric.
     
    Last edited: May 10, 2003
  4. May 12, 2003 #3
    I always thought it interesting that the bones of some dinosaurs should so closely resemble dragons. Perhaps the bones of a dinosaur or two were somehow exposed and discovered and someone created the description of the living creature to go with them. They would have no way of kowing how old the bones would have been. Perhaps preserved in bog, which they harvested for heating fuel, or ice.
     
  5. May 12, 2003 #4
    DEVIL - Good post, good idea. Why elves and dwarfs appear in that period I'm not sure. But read below for information relating to that.

    ARTMAN - I think you would be right on the dot. Sounds perfectly Occam-like to me!

    IVAN - I think the crop circles from lightning came before people got smart enough to realize all crop circles are made by man. Perhaps very ugly disformed ones came from lightning, but all following ones (in designes) are man made.

    IVAN - About the elves et al How about midgets? Perhaps a given society never had midgets develop, and they met alongside a society that had midgets, and thus a myth was born. What do you think?
     
  6. May 12, 2003 #5

    Ivan Seeking

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    Years ago, I read in Omni Magazine [pop science stuff…is that magazine still around?] that a scientist had proposed this possibility; that fire breathing [exhausting] dragons could have been real. He suggested that a remnant dinosaur was a cave dweller and produced hydrogen or methane gas through digestion. He then supposed that spontaneous combustion of this gas resulted in the appearance that these "dragons" were breathing fire. Sounds pretty far fetched, eh...extremely far fetched, but it seemed worth mentioning...maybe not. He further argued that nearly identical representations and legends of dragons are found across cultural and geographical boundaries. By this it seems that the myth can have no common source. Since the Chinese couldn't have communicated with people in what's now England for example, he argued that the myth must have a basis in fact. I once asked a history prof about this suggestion, she argued something about snakes and human perception and that many cultures were likely to produce the concept of a dragon…which to me also sounds pretty far fetched.
     
  7. May 12, 2003 #6
    Well. we have creatures who spit venom. We had dinosaurs that spit blobs of poison. We have creatures who flip their tongue out. Creatures that throw their pheces at you.

    While I don't think anything blew fire. Perhaps they had something else, an acidic something that could cause burn. In other words, if this is true, or even coming from snake venom alone, stretching it to fire might not be a big deal.

    Or how about this one. Perhaps a creatures "spit" when shot at fire combusts it further? Thus if a human were defending itself with fire, it'd be similiar as the creature blowing fire.

    What I mean is that these are so close that, remembering this is mythology, it's not so far a stretch of the mind!
     
  8. May 12, 2003 #7

    Ivan Seeking

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    I agree. Only the simple ones are real. Like I said in another post, aside from a small joke included, I think most are made by kids and pranksters. But I do know this is not a new phenomenon. I have read theories proposed decades ago. Since many of these formations were found near rolling hills in the Midwest, one popular idea in the forties or fifties was that horizontal wind funnels forms along hilltops and then rotates to the vertical... Like a said in my post in pseudo science [note the lack of a hyphen], I thought it was a weak explanation. But there is a genuine meteorological phenomenon within the hype. Who knows, in order to understand this phenomenon we may learn something interesting.

    I can't imagine how we could have an isolated medieval band of midgets [vertically challenged people :wink:], but I prefer this possibility to that of mystical elves. Of course, with the lack of genetic diversity in those days...I don't know. Could there have been a group of outcasts - thought to be evil or some silly thing? Or, all that it might take is one isolated colony that happens to have a lot of midgets and I think yes, this could be a source of such a legend.
     
  9. May 12, 2003 #8
    As for the midget thing. There indeed could have been a group of outkast midgets. I mean let's face it, they're discriminated against these days, and back then it woulda been more publically allowed no doubt.

    As for the crop circle thing. Yes, it's nothing new. However, recently on T.V. I have seen members of the "it mus tbe aliens" group sit down, watch an entire LONG non-elapsed video of 2 people making an entire and VERY COMPLEX crop circle. And this person still said "that video isn't real, it's fake and never happened".

    Talk about emotional barriers from truth. It couldn't be more sad.
     
  10. May 12, 2003 #9

    Ivan Seeking

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    I agree entirely. This is the thing that is frustrating [and humuliating] about investigating strange claims...even as a hobby. I will give you another example. I have talked with at least a few people who I believe saw something very strange - a ufo...whatever that may be. I have also talked with individuals who literally can't tell a genuine ufo, whatever that is, from a military transport plane. I think it is important for the sake of fundamental knowledge and science to try to filter this stuff and to get at the truth. I am convinced that we do a disservice to ourselves to dismiss strange claims only because they sound like nonsense. Unfortunately, to do otherwise does take a strong stomach; and an even stronger logical gag response.
     
  11. May 12, 2003 #10
    You agree with me, I agree with you you agree with me and further i agree.

    When I was younger, I did EXTENSIVE research on all errors that claim any involvment in aliens. Anything involed I studied and began a major outline for a book which spoke intelligently about all these issues.

    Well, I soon realized that speaking about these issues intelligently comes to a conclusion that there sure isn't anything of substance involed. I was at a point where I wished people would quit with idiocy to open up truth, but then I saw the truth was it's all idiocy, why not let it flourish.

    It's like if you have a peice of meat that's no good just throw it to the dogs, you know? So I said heck with it.


     
  12. May 12, 2003 #11

    Ivan Seeking

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    One thing that I would like to add here. Now don't misunderstand as I am proposing nothing specific to any example, but to be fair to those who claim to have experienced something incredible such as a ghost or bigfoot encounter, if there is any truth in their claims, it might be expected that they lose perspective after such an event. If I was abducted by aliens, and I mean really abducted by aliens, I am sure that I would be quite tramatized by the experience. I am quite sure I would sound like a complete nut. [I am also sure some or many of you already think so... ]. So don't forget, a person could be driven insane or next to insane because what they claim did in fact happen.
     
  13. May 12, 2003 #12

    Ivan Seeking

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    Now who would have expected that?

    I think it is mostly idiocy, but not all. There may be no visiting aliens, but some very smart people think otherwise. But, in order to avoid hijacking devil5_advocate's thread any more, please see the UFO thread for further discussion of this issue. Judging from your comments however I will not expect any posts there...you've had enough of this @#$@@! I completely understand the frustration. I would add that some skeptics are as much zealots as the believers…which only adds to the pile of bologna. People are making money by denouncing this stuff! “Trust no one!”
     
  14. May 12, 2003 #13

    Ivan Seeking

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    By the way, I am not greatly encouraged with our theory of a medieval band of exiled short people roaming the countryside. But, since we were grasping for anything other than mystical elves... Sometimes you've got to work with what you've got.
     
    Last edited: May 12, 2003
  15. May 14, 2003 #14
    Go to about.com and you'll read input given by people who believe that they have come in contact with elves and goblins, etc.
     
  16. Dec 2, 2003 #15
    Myth vr Reality

    I try to approach myths and legends in a simplistic way... That is I take a look around what I've personally experienced and what I seem to KNOW from those perspectives and I turn around and apply that to past myths and legends. I support the idea of dragons originating from exposed dinosaur skeletons. Dwarves from midgets. Giants from naturally large people seems no surprise. Sasquatch as either an evolving or de-evolving species of erectile primate. Simple crop circles from ball-lightning, and complex from attention seekers. Goblins from ugly (by normal standards of symmetria) sub-earth dwellers.

    Though, I can't be too sure about the elf business, aside from theories and crazy ideas... Like a further evolved race of humans or aliens.... Yet, I have the same trouble with this subject since I have researched much, but I have never had any kind of personal experience to back anything in support or against the existent of "visiting" life forms. I have faith that we aren't the only intelligent forms of life in the universe, though I think we've got a really long way to go before we could be even remotely considered successful than the 99.9% percent of life that has already gone extinct since Earth's formation!!! All we have now is potential, but because of our deceptive nature we may, as well, become myths to yet another race millions of years from now.
     
  17. Dec 2, 2003 #16
    there is always some truth behind most myths. My guess is that back in those times there were many uneducated people. So stories and tales were probably a bit on the edge of fantasy since the people would have a hard time understanding what is actually going on.
     
  18. Dec 2, 2003 #17
    As far as I've seen, elves are always depicted as bassically human. On the slim side, pointy ears, a bit more "magic" than your average human, but on a whole, not that far from being humans. Seeing as people usually exagerated everything. and often when coming in contact with different people exagerated it extremely, why is it not considerable that people just came across groups of people who as a whole were good archers and knew how to make good medicines/poisons out of herbs?
     
  19. Dec 2, 2003 #18
    It is, however, strange that dragons were depicted in several stories. I wonder what started those myths.
     
  20. Dec 2, 2003 #19
    Just fantasy, like other people said, maybe an exageration of snakes, people looking back on our culture might discover a depcition of godzilla or king kong, doesn't mean it's based in fact at all.
     
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