Wednesday, April 11, 2018

A-Z Challenge: I is for Iku-Turso and J is for Jaws

Okay, I'm doing a double post today for the AtoZ Challenge. I'm a bit behind schedule, but I'm catching up.   For the letter I for my Under the Sea Myths & Legends,  I'm posting about another extraordinary sea creature.

I is for Iku-Turso

This particular monster comes from the Finnish mythology and promises to bring forth evil and death. This beast description varies. Some say it's more like a giant octopus with tentacles and suction cups and also dragon wings? Yes, that's one description. Another mentioned no wings, and instead of tenticles, the beast had more of a beard and horns too--much like the picture to the right.  Some sources say its myth is as old as the 16th century. According to this source, the Kalevala, a Finnish national epic by Elias Lönnrot, mentioned the Iku-Turso which described him as a beast which was summoned from deep waters. According to the tale, " Later, Iku-Turso is summoned by Louhi, the Lady of the North, to stop the theft of the magical artifact Sampo. Väinämöinen, the leader of the plunderers, grabs Iku-Turso from his ears and using magical words makes him promise to never return from the bottom of the sea."  I actually feel bad for the beast with all that summoning, ordering and magical conjuring controlling his every move. If I were him, I'd be pissed.

Now, is this sea creature myth real? Probably not, although some myths don't die, do they?

The Letter J

For the letter J for my Under the Sea Myths & Legends,  I'm posting about another  ferocious monster.

J is for Jaws

Believe it or not, a century ago many scientists believed that sharks were "benign creatures" and "posed no threat to swimmers, and not powerful enough to maul a human." Boy were they wrong! Oh, there were old stores from sailors about shark attacks, but those were considered myths. Well, the idea of a shark attacking humans came to a reality back in 1916.

According to the History channel, sharks like Jaws started attacking Americans on a beach in New Jersey over a hundred years ago.  It was the fourth of July and these real-life sea creatures attacked four swimmers on the Jersey shore in a span of nearly two weeks, killing one of its victims. Worse than that, the attacking spree spawned a massive hunt where humans tracked and killed many sharks in response to the Jersey shore terror. See here the picture of fishermen exhibiting their prize. At the time, the shark attacks were believed to be either great white sharks or possibly bull sharks. Some conspiracy theorists say the sharks were even trained by Germany during the war to attack Americans. Ugh. That's a bit too much but some people believed that one.

Anyway, the great white shark, according to the BBC documentary from Planet Earth is the largest "predatory fish on the planet." Many people believe that and when author
 Peter Benchley published Jaws in 1974, the legend of the vicious great white shark was born. I remember I couldn't get through that movie when I tried to watch it. I loved the ocean and Jaws tormented me for years when I tried to get back into the water. Ridiculous, I know, but it did. Anyway, no one knows why those sharks chose to attack all these swimmers in the early 1900s. It wasn't like there was an MTV crew shooting bad reality TV, using Snooki as bate back then. Who knows what drew them to the shore. All we know is that this legend of the attacking shark--albeit not as large as Jaws--is very real. Take a look at the BBC clip.

That's it for the letter I & J. Creepy, huh? I thought so too.

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