Urban Legend

The Vanishing Hitchhiker by Jan Harold Brunvand defines an Urban Legend as a “realistic story concerning recent events (or alleged events) with an ironic or supernatural twist.” The teller of the story believes the legend is true, and that the events actually happened to someone just out of reach–to a friend of a friend, for example, or to somebody’s relative.

An Urban Legend is not believed to be true by academics or investigators. This is often determined because the same events are said to have happened in several different geographical areas to more than one person. The stories will often be similar to one another, but will have contrasting details such as where, when, and to who the events happened to. Continue reading

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Christmas Photography in Victoria

British Columbia Parliament

Here are few photos of holiday lights and displays I took in Victoria, BC this year.

We often don’t recognize contemporary holiday celebrations as folklore in North America, but they are. Taking photos of Christmas displays allowed me to work on my night photography while simultaneously recording folkloric customs in Victoria for 2020.

I did this for Halloween this year, as well, but those images were low quality compared to these ones as they were taken on my iPhone. These are primarily DSLR images.

There are a few photos of Munro’s Books and Russell Books but there are none from Bolen Books. This is not meant as a slight towards them, but I went by twice and they did not have Christmas lights on or obvious decorations out this year.

Wishing you the very best for 2021 and beyond! Enjoy.

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Exiles

Nothing brings me more joy than writing fiction. For this reason, I am excited to tell you about Althingi, Outland Entertainment’s newly announced Icelandic Viking game! More specifically, I am proud to tell you about the Althingi anthology I contributed a story to.

Outland Entertainment is an American publisher of games, comic books, and popular culture anthologies. Their brand is pretty badass, actually. A cowboy riding a dinosaur? I mean, come on! Why didn’t I think of that? Continue reading

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Halloween Bike Ride in Victoria, British Columbia

Here’s a photograph I took of Graham Street tonight. I don’t want to spoil anything and say it isn’t anything supernatural. It’s too cool of a Halloween image for me to do that.

I was looking forward to Halloween this year. Being the end of the month, I only had 7 km left to make up my 100 km-a-month biking goal. Staying active has been good for me, though it is hard to make my goal some months with my nerve damage, and everything that is affected by that. But I knew tonight would be different than other month ends due to Halloween. If I timed it right, I’d probably get to see some Halloween displays, which to me are works of art. My greatest regret is that I didn’t bring my camera. Just my phone.

I haven’t altered any of these photos except to straighten two crooked ones. Two others at the end of this post are somewhat strange. If nothing else, they’re cool to look at. Continue reading

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Tofino in the Age of COVID

From carefully managed safety measures to mainstream COVID deniers, Tofino’s become a chaotic mishmash of policies and behaviours that feels more like a powder keg ready to blow than an anxiety-free tourist destination. This past Saturday, someone tried to pull my mask off in a gas station filled with maskless tourists. A mid-afternoon drunken attempt at humour. When I brought it up with a third person I was threatened with violence.

Some of my favourite people live in Tofino. The town has always been supportive of my writing with many stores still carrying The Haunting of Vancouver Island. I first visited Tofino in the 1990s and returned often to surf and then paddle surf after a knee injury. I eventually purchased an old fishing boat in 2015 that had been converted into a living space. A thinking-outside-the-box way to have an affordable home and office. I then invested in an unsuccessful restaurant business, recently winning the subsequent lawsuit. Continue reading

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Ghosts of Mount Tzouhalem and Stone Butter Church

On July 21st, I was in the Cowichan Valley for the filming of Harold Joe’s new documentary, Tzouhalem. Produced by Les Bland Productions and by Harold himself, the film will attempt to unpack the oral stories and urban legends surrounding the near-mythic figure of Chief Tzouhalem, who Mount Tzouhalem is named after.

What makes this project unique is that Harold is a Quamichan traditional Gravedigger. The Quamichan Nation acknowledges the existence of human and nonhuman spirit entities, so strict protocol is observed during funerals in order to avoid problems with either. Harold’s role often calls upon him to repatriate human remains and to help disembodied ancestors find peace.

Chief Tzouhalem had a complicated relationship with this same spirit world. So who better to investigate the legends surrounding him than someone familiar with his teachings? Tzouhalem was a member of the nation Harold is, as well, which means Harold has access to oral histories no other investigator would ever be able to acquire. Continue reading

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