David A. Schwinghammer
· Soldier's Gap
· Mengele's Double, Chapter 9
· Seminary Boy, a memoir
· Fisher of Men, Chapter Nine
· Soldier's Gap, Chapter Three
· Honest Thief, Tender Murderer, Chapter Nine
· Fisher of Men, Chapter 8
· Honest Thief, Tender Murderer, Chapter Eight
· Mengele's Double, Chapter Eight
· Bereavement Blues
· Fisher of Men, Chapter 7
· The Lusitania, book review
· The Wilderness of Ruin, book review
· A Beautiful Mind, book review
· Another Planet, book review
· The Three Stooges, book review
· The God Particle
· Empire of Sin, book review
· Science at the Edge, book review
· Obama, a Modern Caesar?
· Americans Need to Pull Together
· Widow's Peak
· Alumni Game
· Girls Who Wear Glasses
· The Do Drop Inn
· Ode to Neve Campbell
· Jacks or Better 101
David A. Schwinghammer, click here
to update your web pages on AuthorsDen.
Michigan's Upper Peninsula was a very strange place.
In 1946 folklorist Richard Dorson crossed the Straits of Mackinac entering "an uncharted world of folk societies." He spent five months in the field interviewing Lake Superior fisherman, lumberjacks, miners, Ojibway Indians, and immigrants who worked in the copper and iron mines of the Upper Peninsula.
Dorson got the title from old-timers who said they had the power to stop blood from flowing from a wound or nosebleed, sometimes doing this over the phone. The Bearwalkers were evildoers similar to the Navajo Skinwalkers.
Some of the most fascinating passages deal with the Finlanders who emigrated from Lapland. They believed in noitas, or religious magicians, who cured the sick, charmed or cursed evildoers, and protected their people against invaders. In the old country, noitas were often burned for witchcraft. Dorson interviewed a man who claimed a noita hung by his neck for a week or two, and when he was cut down, twisted his neck about a bit and said, "This is good training for the neck muscles."
The Cornishmen, who worked in the copper mines, were almost as interesting as the Finns. These "Country Jacks" as they were called had many strange beliefs that have become local customs. A rooster crowing at midnight is the sign of death of a relative; a green Christmas makes a fat graveyard; if you wash your blankets in May, you drive your friends away; never return borrowed salt.
Dorson compares the old time lumberjacks of the Upper Peninsula to medieval knights in respect to standards of valor, honor, justice, and chivary. "The teamsters cherished their horses and the axeman their broadaxes as ever the armored knight his war steed and broadsword." Both spent a lot of time fighting for sheer fun. And, of course, they liked to drink. After six or seven months in the woods, they would blow four or five hundred dollars on rot gut whiskey.
The iron miners were another fascinating group. To kill a rat in the mine was worse than murder. Rats knew ahead when the ground was breaking; they could hear it. Also, the relationship between the miners and the owners provided grist for a curious folklorist. Cousin Jacks were followed by Finlanders, Swedes, Italians, Bohunks, Poles, and Irish. They were suspicious and envious of each other and couldn't understand each other, a situation the owners rather liked.
Dorsons chapter headings will give you a further idea of the ground he covered: Indians Stuffed and Live; Bearwalkers; Tricksters and Thunders; Canadians; Cousin Jacks; Finns; Bloodstoppers; Townsfolk; Lumberjacks; Miners; Lakesman; and Sagamen.
Want to review or comment on this
Click here to login!
Need a FREE Reader Membership?
Click here for your Membership!
David A. Schwinghammer
| 1. ||The Lusitania, book review|
| 2. ||Magical Review|
| 3. ||children'sBOOK : Douglas’ Florian’s beast |
| 4. ||Why Read SOLDIER'S GAP|
| 5. ||Science at the Edge, book review|
| 6. ||Another Planet, book review|
| 7. ||Let's have some critical reviews, please|
| 8. ||Is organic stevia better than sugar and ot|
| 9. ||Odd Man Out, book review|
| 10. ||Portrait of a Killer, book review|
| 11. ||The Wilderness of Ruin, book review|
| 12. ||Libby Prison Breakout, book review|
| 13. ||children's BOOK : Margery Cuyler - That's|
| 14. ||Roberta Grimes' The FUN OF DYING Molly's |
| 15. ||Voices of the French Revolution, book revi|
| 16. ||The Irish Tinkers, book review|
| 17. ||Empty Mansions, book review|
| 18. ||Hyperspace, a Scientific Odyssey Through P|
| 19. ||Rube Waddell, book review|
| 20. ||Book Review: The Priest and the Peaches by|