SOC SCI 189 University of California Irvine Supernatural Folklore Discussion As part of the course assignments, you are required to complete a final projec

SOC SCI 189 University of California Irvine Supernatural Folklore Discussion As part of the course assignments, you are required to complete a final project that reflects on the major themes and questions developed throughout the semester. This project must be submitted to our course Canvas website by 11:59PM on June 5th. The project will contain a collection of four supernatural narratives based on the topics statement below. Your project will be worth a total of 100 possible points and must include: 1) An Introductory Statement: This one-to-two page statement should detail your process in finding and selecting your narratives. It should also reflect on key class topics and themes that aided in your understanding of these accounts (10 points). 2) Four personally collected supernatural narratives (from four separate individuals) with accompanying analysis. Each discussion should include the following:

· Basic background information, including the person from whom you collected the narrative, and, if applicable, where that person in turn first heard it. Also, make a concerted effort to locate the narrative’s folk origins through consultation of class readings and internet inquiries (20 points).

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· Discuss what specific characteristics make this a legend, fabulate, memorate, or related narrative (10 points). · Narrative itself, including any variations or parallels found in class readings/discussions (10 points).

· Most importantly—At least one page or more of analysis: What is the basic background/demographic information of the narrator, and how does it compare to the surveys discussed in Paranormal America? How did this narrative fit course themes? Is it believable, particularly to the storyteller? What belief traditions did the narrator subscribe to? Prior to his or her experience, what were the narrator’s attitudes about the supernatural? Did the narrative change the individual’s perspective on the supernatural or reinforce it? What was the setting for the interview? What storytelling tactics did the narrator utilize? Does the narrative hold an obvious social function or contain a clear moral message? Is it conveying a sense of anxiety or fear? Does the narrator willingly discuss this story in public? Be sure to incorporate arguments, examples, and parallels from our readings and class discussions in your analysis!! (50 points).

Format: This is meant to be a creative assignment; choose the format the best fits your set of supernatural narratives. You may use illustrations, pictures, graphics, videos and specialized fonts at your leisure. You are also required to provide a works cited page.

Topics: This project offers the opportunity to select supernatural topics of your choice. I encourage VARIETY in both your sources and your themes. All four of the narratives you collect must come via oral interviews with friends, relatives, or other corporeal beings. (Given our current unique circumstances, this should be done online or over the phone, unless one of your interviewees currently lives with you). Please make sure you have explicit permission to collect and analyze their accounts, and by default offer to use a pseudonym rather than their actual names. If you experience difficulty in finding sources, please come talk to me! You must cite all sources using either the APA style or MLA format.

**SOME SUPERNATURAL NARRATIVES AND BELIEFS ARE NOT OPEN TO PUBLIC DISCUSSION OR DISCLOSURE. PLEASE BE RESPECTFUL OF YOUR INFORMANTS’ BELIEFS AND WISHES WHEN COLLECTING YOUR NARRATIVES. ALSO, REMEMBER: YOUR JOB IS NOT TO “PROVE” OR “DISPROVE” THEIR BELIEFS OR EXPERIENCES**

Grading: Your final project is worth 40% of your final grade, and is due on Canvas on Friday, June 5th by 11:59PM. We will grade this final project based on your ability to fully engage and analyze the topics covered during this quarter, including your ability to incorporate the course readings into your analysis. Do not skimp on your analysis. Do not try to put together your project at the last minute. Exercise good judgment in your selections, and take the time to put together a thoughtful project that addresses all of the criteria listed above. 1
ANTH 129/SOC SCI 189
Supernatural Folklore
Spring 2020
Final Project
As part of the course assignments, you are required to complete a final project that
reflects on the major themes and questions developed throughout the semester. This
project must be submitted to our course Canvas website by 11:59PM on June 5th.
The project will contain a collection of four supernatural narratives based on the topics
statement below. Your project will be worth a total of 100 possible points and must
include:
1) An Introductory Statement: This one-to-two page statement should detail your
process in finding and selecting your narratives. It should also reflect on key class topics
and themes that aided in your understanding of these accounts (10 points).
2) Four personally collected supernatural narratives (from four separate individuals)
with accompanying analysis. Each discussion should include the following:




Basic background information, including the person from whom you collected
the narrative, and, if applicable, where that person in turn first heard it. Also,
make a concerted effort to locate the narrative’s folk origins through
consultation of class readings and internet inquiries (20 points).
Discuss what specific characteristics make this a legend, fabulate, memorate, or
related narrative (10 points).
Narrative itself, including any variations or parallels found in class
readings/discussions (10 points).
Most importantly—At least one page or more of analysis: What is the basic
background/demographic information of the narrator, and how does it compare
to the surveys discussed in Paranormal America? How did this narrative fit
course themes? Is it believable, particularly to the storyteller? What belief
traditions did the narrator subscribe to? Prior to his or her experience, what
were the narrator’s attitudes about the supernatural? Did the narrative change
the individual’s perspective on the supernatural or reinforce it? What was the
setting for the interview? What storytelling tactics did the narrator utilize? Does
the narrative hold an obvious social function or contain a clear moral message?
Is it conveying a sense of anxiety or fear? Does the narrator willingly discuss this
story in public? Be sure to incorporate arguments, examples, and parallels from
our readings and class discussions in your analysis!! (50 points).
2
Format: This is meant to be a creative assignment; choose the format the best fits your
set of supernatural narratives. You may use illustrations, pictures, graphics, videos and
specialized fonts at your leisure. You are also required to provide a works cited page.
Topics: This project offers the opportunity to select supernatural topics of your choice.
I encourage VARIETY in both your sources and your themes. All four of the narratives
you collect must come via oral interviews with friends, relatives, or other corporeal
beings. (Given our current unique circumstances, this should be done online or over the
phone, unless one of your interviewees currently lives with you). Please make sure you
have explicit permission to collect and analyze their accounts, and by default offer to
use a pseudonym rather than their actual names. If you experience difficulty in finding
sources, please come talk to me! You must cite all sources using either the APA style or
MLA format.
**SOME SUPERNATURAL NARRATIVES AND BELIEFS ARE NOT OPEN TO PUBLIC
DISCUSSION OR DISCLOSURE. PLEASE BE RESPECTFUL OF YOUR INFORMANTS’ BELIEFS
AND WISHES WHEN COLLECTING YOUR NARRATIVES. ALSO, REMEMBER: YOUR JOB IS
NOT TO “PROVE” OR “DISPROVE” THEIR BELIEFS OR EXPERIENCES**
Grading: Your final project is worth 40% of your final grade, and is due on Canvas on
Friday, June 5th by 11:59PM. We will grade this final project based on your ability to
fully engage and analyze the topics covered during this quarter, including your ability to
incorporate the course readings into your analysis. Do not skimp on your analysis. Do
not try to put together your project at the last minute. Exercise good judgment in your
selections, and take the time to put together a thoughtful project that addresses all of
the criteria listed above.
**Finally, although not required, we strongly encourage you to share a sample of your
analysis with us prior to submitting your project**
SAMPLE ANALYSIS: DAN’S MEMORATE
The first account is a memorate from an older, Caucasian man known as Dan who has a long
history of police and military service. He has been married over 35 years, works long-hours in a
middle-class job, and has two adult children. Although I tell the account of one memorate,
several were collected in the interview and all are just as interesting as the last. This particular
narrative was during a time when Dan was working as both head of security for a local hospital
and in law enforcement. He was called in to investigate and review the security tapes of a
possible altercation within the ER department of the hospital, which had been undergoing
renovations at the time. However, he describes that what appeared on the tapes was wholly
unexpected. Two misty shadows emerge from the wall of the ER and appear to float around the
waiting area in the far left corner of the video. Dan mentions that while one shadow seems to
disappear rather quickly through the floor, the other tends to float around, passing through the
wall and then coming back through to the waiting area (personal communication, April 25, 2018).
Then, from what appears on the video, the entity tries out several seats in the waiting room,
passing from one to the other until it arrives at one it seemingly “likes.” However, as a woman
starts to pass through the ER near the front desk and out the entrance to the hospital, the “form”
appears to turn and follow her out. The mist disappears from frame, and the rest is a mystery. As
you will come to see, this is only the first of interesting narratives to come.
Because Dan is someone with a high amount of social standing and respect, he began
his relation of his experience rather hesitantly and concerned. Although I was a friend and coworker, he was worried that because the account was connected to academia, he would be
ridiculed and criticized. I assured him that his identity was to remain confidential and the course
was not to critique the paranormal beliefs of others, but merely know more about them and
their experiences. Throughout the telling of his memorate, Dan was careful how he described the
account and protected himself from skepticism in certain ways, such as tense body language and
was careful to mention that he looked for other possibilities or ways to fake the tape, as he has
extensive video and photography knowledge. This funnels into the discussion of how story-telling
and performance affects the memorate itself and goes a long way in establishing the credibility
and authenticity of the story-teller. When asked about this supernatural beliefs, Dan mentions
that he has believed in the supernatural and the afterlife for a long period of time going back to
his childhood and upbringing as Christian, as well as when his mom would tell him about her
experiences with the paranormal. Additionally, he always conveyed the message that he
approaches the paranormal from a place of respect and treats it as something not to be messed
with. Though the video did not convert him from non-belief to belief, he does underscore that it
strengthened his beliefs in the paranormal and the possibility of an afterlife. Thus, while the
video displays seemingly extraordinary phenomena, it is important to emphasize that the focus is
on the person themselves and how they have been affected by their paranormal experiences,
and it is clear that Dan’s experiences have made quite an impact on him.
Dan’s account has much in common with other ghost stories; it navigates the lines of
enlightenment and discovery, and reflects the powerful role of personal narratives in the realm
of belief and the supernatural. As mentioned by Bader et al., “Ghosts, by their very ephemeral
nature, cross boundaries and confound attempts at definition” (2017, p. 81). Just as with other
narratives, the story-teller has been personally changed by the experiences, which strengthens
supernatural beliefs and makes them more of a participant in deeper realms of paranormal
subculture. When Dan discussed his experiences, he mentioned that it strengthened his beliefs
and made him more interested in paranormal investigation. This is similar to what Marc Eaton
describes of paranormal investigation as a spiritual practice and its ability to transcend
paranormal, religious, and scientific lines (2015, p. 391). As a result, Dan now enters into the
world of hauntology and what Partridge describes as “occulture” where he is blending his
traditional religious beliefs with the paranormal into an individual, self-centered practice that
integrates science and discovery (2013, p. 47). On another note, Dan’s experience is interesting
in that it shares commonalities with some older ghost narratives and folklore. The second “form”
that appears on-screen and follows the woman out seems to exhibit a sense of mischievous-ness
and trickery that parallels poltergeists or the Dani from New Guinea. Though it does not appear
particularly aggressive or violent on-screen, which are characteristics of both folklore, it does
seem to play games a bit as displayed in the seat-switching and when it follows the woman out,
which remains true to the origins. Therefore, the narrative is both unique and part of a greater
collective of ghost stories as it plays into national and international folklore and the power of
memorates.

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