No. 58                                                                                                                 May 2004

ISSN 1026-1001


From the Editor
22nd Conference Schedule


Cite Unseen 2003-04, Part II


From the Editor

My apologies for another delayed issue; organizing this year’s annual Perspectives on Contemporary Legend conference has taken up most of my time and been occupying any and all available brain space. This issue, and FTN 59, is also about this year’s conference. FTN 58 features the schedule of events for the conference and the agenda for this year’s annual general meeting. I have also included more references from the ‘Cite Unseen’ file to supplement the last issue’s listing and hopefully for those ISCLR members who are not interested in this year’s conference, these listings will be of interest.  FTN 59 will feature the abstracts of the papers presented in Aberystwyth. As always, submissions to FTN – articles, cite unseen references, reviews (including notices of other conferences) – should be sent to out FTN email address,


22nd Annual Perspectives on Contemporary Legend Conference

21-24 July 2004

University of Wales, Aberystwyth

Schedule of Events


Please note, all paper and panel sessions will be held in the A14, Hugh Owen Building and all coffee and tea breaks will be held in Bronwyn’s, Penbryn Building. Breakfasts and lunches will also be held in Brownwyn’s.


Tuesday 20 July 2004                                                                               

15:00 - 17:00 Registration   

Foyer, Parry-Williams Building

17:00 - 19:00 Welcome and Opening Reception

Foyer, Parry-Williams Building


Wednesday 21 July 2004                                                                           

9:00 - 11:00 Session A                            

·          Kelly Roubo; Representations of the Devil on St. Valentine’s Day and the Legendary Characteristics That Put Him There

·          Eda Kalmre; The Saga of Brothers Voitka in Estonian Press: Origin and Perishing of A Heroic Myth

·          C.P.V. Vijayakumaran; Vishnumurti of north Kerala: the incarnation of Lord Vishnu in folk ritual     


11:00 - 11:30 Coffee/Tea  


11:30 - 13:00 Session B

·          Karen Baldwin; Piratelore and Touristlure in Legendary Coastal North Carolina: Blackbeard’s Revenge, Nags Head Land Pirates, and “The Day the Booze Yacht Came Ashore”

·          George Mifsud-Chircop; Humor as Cultural Critique in Maltese Contemporary Legends


13:00 - 14:00 Lunch                               


14:00 - 15:30 Session C                          

·          Mikel J. Koven; The Folklore Files, or how The X-Files understands and uses folkloristics

·          Julie LeBlanc; Elvis Gratton: Quebec's Contemporary Folk Hero


15:30 - 16:00 Tea/Coffee  


16:00 - 18:00 Session D

·          Robert MacGregor; “ALTOIDS: The Curiously Strong Peppermints”: The Commercial Appropriation of an Urban Legend

·          Kirsten Hardie; But Who is Betty Crocker?’ The existence of ‘real’ and ‘unreal’ people and personalities in contemporary international packaging.

·          David Main; “Waiter, there's something disgusting in my legend”: Food contamination, disgust and the recall of Contemporary Legends"


19:30 Conference Dinner, Wasdell Room, Penbryn                           


Thursday, 22 July 2004                                                                              

9:00 - 11:00 Session E                             

·          Rhiannon McKechnie; Within These Haunted Halls: A Case Study of the Legends at Memorial University of Newfoundland’s St. John’s Campus

·          Ian Brodie; Einstein’s Pants and Buddy’s Comps: Straddling the Line between Gossip and Legend

·          Beth McDaniel; "Do you think there's going to be a strike?":  The Function of Rumor During Recent Faculty Contract Negotiations in Pennsylvania


11:00 - 11:30 Coffee/Tea  


11:30 - 13:00 Session F

·          Sandy Hobbs; Contemporary legend and fraud: E-mail versions of the Spanish Prisoner swindle

·          Bill Ellis; Footless Ghosts, Demon Dolls, and the Internet


13:00 - 14:00 Lunch                               


14:00 - 15:30 Session G

·          Diane Goldstein; Deranged Psychopaths and Victims Who Go Insane: The Depiction of Mental Health and Illness in Contemporary Legend

·          Jon Lee; Public Reactions to the SARS Virus: Rumors, Panics and Pseudo-Preventatives


15:30 - 16:00 Coffee/Tea  


16:00 - 17:30 Session H

·          Per-Anders Östling; Legends of Ghosts in Contemporary Swedish Folklore

·          Bodil Nildin-Wall; Witches of Reality – Contemporary Legends in Witchcraft Trials


19:00 - 21:00 Film: Y Mabinogi (2003, Derek Hayes); Drwm, National Library of Wales – free admission


Friday, 23 July 2004                                                                                     

9:00 - 11:00 Session I                              

·          Phillip Hiscock; Takes on Texts:  Readings of Local Legends

·          John Ashton; Landscape, Legend and Hyperbole:  The Wreck House Wind Phenomenon in Newfoundland

·          Monika Kropej; Contemporary Legends from Karst Region of Slovenia Compared to Fairylore and Traditions of Belief


11:00 - 11:30 Coffee/Tea  


11:30 - 13:00 Session J                           

·          Theo Meder; They are among us and they are against us: Contemporary horror-stories about Muslims and immigrants in the Netherlands

·          Peter Burger; From FOAFtale to media legend: the case of the Smiley Gang


13:00 - 14:00 Lunch                               


14:00 - 15:30 Session K

·          Veronique Campion-Vincent; Metamorphoses

·          Jan Harold Brunvand; Urban Legend - Still Booming, Despite 'Vanishing'


15:30 - 16:00 Coffee/Tea


16:00 – 18:00 Session M

·          Wendy Welch; Underground Railways and Overland Lorries

·          Brian McConnell; The Pretty Nun’s Kiss

·          Mare Koiva; Big Fears in a small town


Saturday, 24 July 2004                            

9:00 - 11:00 Session N

·          Elissa Henken; The Price of Beauty: Body Modification in Legendry

·          Anne Lafferty; Variation in Form and Intensity of Belief in the Banshee

·          Gillian Bennett; “St.” William of Norwich and the Blood Libel: Revaluating the Legend


11:00 - 11:30 Coffee/Tea  


11:30 - 13:00 Session O                          

·          Mark Grazer/Stephen Liebowitz; Aids Legends in the Chicano Community of South Texas:  Tellers and Gender

·          Christine Shojaei Kawan; Not that new but quite adaptive: three cases of contemporary legends


13:00 - 14:00 Lunch                               


14:00 - 15:30 ISCLR AGM 



International Society of Contemporary Legend Research

Annual General Meeting Agenda

24 July 2004, 2:00 PM


1. Council Reports

     A  President’s Report (Dr. Diane Goldstein)

B. Treasurers Report (Dr. Mark Glazer, Dr. John Ashton, Dr. Sandy Hobbs)

     C. Publications Report

                Contemporary Legend (Dr. Cathy Preston)

                FOAFTale News (Dr Mikel Koven)

D. Report of the Membership Secretary (Dr. Mikel Koven)

E. Report on the Buchan Award (Jeannie Thomas)


2. Setting of annual subscription rate


3. Future conference dates and locations


4. Election of members of council


5. Constitutional Amendment


6. A.O.B.


7. Date of the next general meeting



Cite Unseen 2003-04, Part II


Anderson, Donald. “Irving's 'The Legend of Sleepy Hollow'”. Explicator 61.4 (2003): 207-10.

Arnold, David L. G. “Fearful Pleasures, or 'I Am Twice the Man': The Re-Gendering of Ichabod Crane”. Literature/Film Quarterly 31.1 (2003): 33-38.

Bacigalupo, Ana Mariella. “Rethinking Identity and Feminism: Contributions of Mapuche Women and Machi from Southern Chile”. Hypatia: A Journal of Feminist Philosophy 18.2 (2003): 32-57.

Barnes, Linda L. “The Acupuncture Wars: The Professionalizing of American Acupuncture: A View from Massachusetts”. Medical Anthropology 22.3 (2003): 261-301.

Barnes, Linda L. and Joan M.Martin, eds. Special Issue, “Religion and Empire”.  Journal of the American Academy of Religion 71.1 (2003).

Bernardo, Susan M. “The Bloody Battle of the Sexes in Tim Burton's Sleepy Hollow”. Literature/Film Quarterly 31.1 (2003): 39-43.

Boldane, Ilze. “Latvians' Ethnic Stereotypes Regarding the Ethnic and Cultural Minorities of Latvia”. Pro Ethnologia 15 (2003): 197-206.

Bringéus, Nils-Arvid. “The Rest on the Flight into Egypt: A Motif in Scandanavian Folk Art”. Folklore 114.3 (2003): 323-33.

Brown, Mary Ellen. “How to 'Read' a Legend: An Auto/bio/graphical Excursus”. Fabula: Zeitschrift für Erzählforschung/Journal of Folktale Studies/Revue d'Etudes sur le Conte Populaire 44.1-2 (2003): 70-78.

Cartwright, Keith. “Notes toward a Voodoo Hermeneutics: Soul Rhythms, Marvelous Transitions, and Passages to the Creole Saints in Praisesong for the Widow”. Southern Quarterly: A Journal of the Arts in the South 41.4 (2003): 127-43.

Collins, Derek. “Nature, Cause, and Agency in Greek Magic”.  Transactions of the American Philological Association 133.1 (2003): 17-49.

Corbey, Raymond. “Destroying the Graven Image: Religious Iconoclasm on the Christian Frontier”. Anthropology Today 19.4 (2003): 10-14.

Cozzo, David. “Beyond Tall Tales: Ray Hicks and Mountain Herbalism”. Appalachian Journal: A Regional Studies Review 30.4 (2003): 284-301.

Demény, István Pal. “Duel in the Form of a Wheel or Flame in Legends of Belief and Tales”. Acta Ethnographica Hungarica: An International Journal of Ethnography 48.3-4 (2003): 353-65.

Dianteill, Erwan and Martha Swearingen. “From Hierography to Ethnography and Back: Lydia Cabrera's Texts and the Written Tradition in Afro-Cuban Religions”. Journal of American Folklore 116 (2003): 273-92.

Duncan, Christopher R. “Untangling Conversion: Religious Change and Identity among the Forest Tobelo of Indonesia”. Ethnology: An International Journal of Cultural and Social Anthropology 42. 4 (2003): 307-22.

Ellis, Bill. Lucifer Ascending: The Occult in Folklore and Popular Culture. Lexington: UP of Kentucky, 2003.

Etkind, Alexander. “Whirling with the Other: Russian Populism and Religious Sects”. Russian Review: An American Quarterly Devoted to Russia Past and Present 62.4 (2003): 565-88.

Felat, Anne. “Neopaganism and New Age in Russia” Folklore: Electronic Journal of Folklore 23, (Dec 2003): p. 40-48.

Figueredo, Maria L. “The Legend of La Llorona: Excavating and (Re) Interpreting the Archetype of the Creative/Fertile Feminine Force”. In Irene Maria F. Blayer and Mark Cronlund Anderson, eds. American Narratives and Cultural Identity: Selected Readings. New York: Peter Lang, 2004. 232-43.

Finneran, Niall. “Ethiopian Evil Eye Belief and the Magical Symbolism of Iron Working”. Folklore 114. 3(2003): 427-33.

Flake, Kathleen. “Re-Placing Memory: Latter-Day Saint Use of Historical Monuments and Narrative in the Early Twentieth Century”. Religion and American Culture 13.1 (2003): 69-109.

Gliwa, Bernd. “Witches in Baltic Fairy Tales”.  Onomasiology Online 4, (2003): 1-14.

Gopal, Sangita. “Hindu Buying/Hindu Being: Hindutva Online and the Commodity Logic of Cultural Nationalism”. South Asian Review 24.1 (2003): 161-79.

Grieve, Gregory Price. “Symbol, Idol and Murti: Hindu God-Images and the Politics of Meditation”. Culture, Theory, and Critique 44.1 (2003): 57-72.

Heartney, Eleanor. “Thinking through the Body: Women Artists and the Catholic Imagination”. Hypatia: A Journal of Feminist Philosophy 18.4 (2003): 3-22.

Herzig, Tamar. “The Demons' Reaction to Sodomy: Witchcraft and Homosexuality in Gianfrancesco Pico della Mirandola's Strix”. Sixteenth Century Journal: Journal of Early Modern Studies 34.1 (2003): 53-72.

Hultkranz, Åke. “Thoughts on Drugs in Eurasian Shamanism”. Shaman 111-2 (2003): 9-16.

Johnson, Greg. “Ancestors before Us: Manifestations of Tradition in a Hawaiian Dispute”. Journal of the American Academy of Religion 71.2 (2003): 327-46.

Juergensmeyer, Mark. “Thinking about Religion after September 11”. Journal of the American Academy of Religion 72.1 (2004):221-34.

Kleinman, Scott. “The Legend of Havelok the Dane and the Historiography of East Anglia”.  Studies in Philology 100.3 (2003): 245-77.

Langford, Jean M. “Traces of Folk Medicine in Jaunpur”. Cultural Anthropology 18.3 (2003): 271-303.

Leach, James. “Owning Creativity: Cultural Property and the Efficacy of Custom on the Rai Coast of Papua New Guinea”. Journal of Material Culture 8. 2 (2003): 123-43.

Lewis, Bonnie Sue. Creating Christian Indians: Native Clergy in the Presbyterian Church. Norman: U of Oklahoma P, 2003.

Lin, Szu-Ping. “The Woman with Broken Palm Lines: Subject, Agency, Fortune-Telling, and Women in Taiwanese Television Drama”. In Jenny Kwok Wah Lau ed. Multiple Modernities: Cinema and Popular Media in Transcultural East Asia. Philadelphia: Temple UP, 2003. 222-37.

Long, Susan Orpett. “Becoming a Cucumber: Culture, Nature, and the Good Death in Japan and the United States”. Journal of Japanese Studies 29.1 (2003): 33-68.

Lohmann, Roger Ivar (ed.). Dream Travellers: Sleep Experiences and Culture in the Western Pacific. New York: Palgrave Macmillan, 2003.

Mac Coitir, Niall.  Irish Trees: Myths, Legends and Folklore. Cork: Collins, 2003.

MacPhee, Marybeth. “Medicine for the Heart: The Embodiment of Faith in Morocco”. Medical Anthropology 22.1 (2003): 53-83.

Maranhão, Tullio. “The Politics of Translation and the Anthropological Nation of the Ethnography of South America”. In Tullio Maranhão and Bernhard Streck eds. Translation and Ethnography: The Anthropological Challenge of Intercultural Understanding. Tucson: U of Arizona P, 64-84.

Marshall, Alison (ed. Special Issue). “Negotiating Transcendence/ Négocier le transcenance” Ethnologies 25.1 (2003).

Matsumura, Kazuo. “The Rise, Fall and Transformation of Daimon Worship”. Iris 25 (2003): 91-95.

Mazer, Sharon. “The Power Team: Muscular Christianity and the Spectacle of Conversion”. In Erin Striff ed. Performance Studies. New York: Palgrave Macmillan, 2003. 14-28.

McRoy, Jay. “There Goes the Neighborhood: Chaotic Apocalypse and Monstrous Genesis in H. P. Lovecraft's 'The Street,' 'The Horror at Red Hook,' and 'He'”. Journal of the Fantastic in the Arts 13.4 (2003): 335-51.

Moravec, Mark. “Strange Illuminations: 'Min Min Lights'-Australian 'Ghost Light Stories'”. Fabula: Zeitschrift für Erzählforschung/Journal of Folktale Studies/Revue d'Etudes sur le Conte Populaire 44.1-2 (2003): 2-24.

Orr, Stanley. “'A Dark Episode of Bonanza': Genre, Adaptation and Historiography in Sleepy Hollow”. Literature/Film Quarterly 31.1 (2003): 44-49.

Partridge, Christopher ed. UFO Religions. London: Routledge, 2003.

Peebles, Stacey. “Yuman Belief Systems and Cormac McCarthy's Blood Meridian”. Texas Studies in Literature and Language 45.2 (2003): 231-44.

Peers, Laura. “Strands Which Refuse to Be Braided: Hair Samples from Beatrice Blackwood's Ojibwe Collection at the Pitt Rivers Museum”. Journal of Material Culture 8. 1 (2003): 75-96.

Pócs, Éva. “Why Witches Are Women”. Acta Ethnographica Hungarica: An International Journal of Ethnography 48. 3-4(2003): 367-83.

Prentiss, Craig R  ed. Religion and the Creation of Race and Ethnicity: An Introduction. New York: New York UP, 2003.

Selberg, Torunn. “Taking Superstitions Seriously”. Folklore 114. 3 (2003): 297-306.

Senelick, Laurence. “The Making of a Martyr: The Legend of Meyerhold's Last Public Appearance”. Theatre Research International 28.2 (2003): 157-68.

Siegel, James T. “The Truth of Sorcery”. Cultural Anthropology 18.2 (2003): 135-55.

Simpson, Jacqueline. “Rumors of Angels: A Response to Clarke (Folklore 113: 1)”. Folklore 114.1 (2003): 114-15.

Simpson, Roger. “King Arthur in World War Two Poetry: His Finest Hour”. Arthuriana 13. 1 (2003):66-91.

Stein, Ron. “Royal Name, Hero's Deeds: A Pattern in Beowulf”. In Wayne H. Finke and Leonard R. N. Ashley, eds.  A Garland of Names. East Rockaway, NY: Cummings & Hathaway, 2003. 126-39.

Stiles, Erin E. “When Is a Divorce a Divorce?: Determining Intention in Zanzibar's Islamic Courts”. Ethnology: An International Journal of Cultural and Social Anthropology 42. 4 (2003): 273-88.

Tappy, Ron E. “Recent Interpretations of Ancient Israelite Religion” Journal of the American Oriental Society 123.1(2003): 159-67.

Tarkka, Lotte, ed. Dynamics of Tradition: Perspectives on Oral Poetry and Folk Belief. Helsinki: Finnish Literature Society, 2003.

Thornton, John. “Cannibals, Witches, and Slave Traders in the Atlantic World”. William and Mary Quarterly: A Magazine of Early American History and Culture 60.2 (2003): 273-94.

Throm, Timothy J. “Discerning the True Heresy: An Examination of Three Historical Perversions and Myths Surrounding the Cathar Religion”. Michigan Academician 35. 3(2003): p. 281-94.

Tsoffar, Ruth. “The Body as Storyteller: Karaite Women's Experience of Blood and Milk”. Journal of American Folklore 117 (2004): 3-21.

Van Deusen, Kira. “Khakassian Mountain Spirit and Snake Love”.  Shaman 11.1-2 (2003): 179-90.

---. “Music and Storytelling in the Tuvan Shamanic World”. Acta Ethnographica Hungarica: An International Journal of Ethnography 48.3-4 (2003): 441-50.

Wallace, Anthony F. C. and Robert S. Grumet (eds.) Revitalizations and Mazeways: Essays on Culture Change, Volume 1. Lincoln: U of Nebraska P, 2003.

Wallis, Robert J. and Jenny Blain. “Sites, Sacredness, and Stories: Interactions of Archaeology and Contemporary Paganism”. Folklore 114. 3 (2003): 307-21.

Warrier, Maya. “Processes of Secularization in Contemporary India: Guru Faith in the Mata Amritanandamayi Mission”. Modern Asian Studies 37.1 (2003): 213-53.

Werbner, Pnina. Pilgrims of Love: The Anthropology of a Global Sufi Cult. Bloomington: Indiana UP, 2003.

Wheeler, Rachel. “Women and Christian Practice in a Mahican Village”. Religion and American Culture 13.1 (2003): 27-67.

Wyporska, Wanda. “Witchcraft, Arson and Murder-The Turek Trial of 1652”. Central Europe 1.1 (2003): 41-54.

Zgismond, Gyozo. “Popular Cosmogony and Beliefs about Celestial Bodies in the Culture of Hungarians from Romania”. Acta Ethnographica Hungarica: An International Journal of Ethnography 48.3-4(2003): 421-39.


FoafTale News (FTN) is the newsletter of the International Society for Contemporary Legend Research.  We study "modern" and "urban" legends, and also any legend circulating actively.  To join, send a cheque made out to "ISCLR" for US$30.00 or UK£20 to Mikel J. Koven, Department of Theatre, Film and TV, Parry-Williams Building, Penglais Campus, UWA, Aberystwyth, Ceredigion, SY23 2AJ, UK. Institutional rates available upon request.  Members also receive Contemporary Legend, a refereed academic journal.  Some back issues of FTN are available on-line at, while others can be requested from the Editor.   FoafTale News is indexed in the MLA Bibliography.

This newsletter is called FoafTale News for the jocular term current among legend scholars for over twenty years.  The term "foaf" was introduced by Rodney Dale (in his 1978 book, The Tumour in the Whale) for an oft-attributed but anonymous source of contemporary legends: a "friend of a friend."  Dale pointed out that contemporary legends always seemed to be about someone just two or three steps from the teller  — a boyfriend’s cousin, a co‑worker’s aunt, or a neighbor of the teller’s mechanic.  "Foaf" became a popular term at the Sheffield legend conferences in the 1980s.   It was only a short step to the pun "foaftale," a step taken by a yet-anonymous wag. 

FoafTale News welcomes contributions, including those documenting legends” travels on electronic media and in the press.  All research notes and articles are copyright by the individual authors who reserve all rights.  For permission to reprint, contact them at the addresses given in the headnote of the article. Send queries, notices, and research reports to a maximum of 3000 words to the Editor; clippings, offprints, and citations are also encouraged.

The opinions expressed in FoafTale News are those of the authors and do not in any necessary way represent those of the editor, the contributing compilers, the International Society for the Study of Contemporary Legends, its Council, or its members.

Editor:  Mikel J. Koven, Department of Theatre, Film and Television Studies, Parry-Williams, Building, Penglais Campus, University of Wales, Aberystwyth, United Kingdom, SY23 2AJ 



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ISCLR Web page:


ISSN 1026-1001