The Official Collection of Fantastical Creature Information--Updated Randomly

For all your fantastical creature needs! This is the beginning of my encyclopedia, and I'm collecting as much information as I can on various fantasy creatures. Most of my stuff can be found on wikipedia. However, no source is perfect, so the stuff that is my input is often italicized. Help me by sending me more information at Questkid13@gmail.com

Side Note: There have been concerns about my using Wikipedia because it is not a reliable resource. I am well aware of wikipedia's unreliable nature--but that's exactly why I use it. Fantasy creatures are available to all, and everyone should have a chance to add their "discoveries." This website is supposed to be a fun collection of fantastical creature information with fun images to go with. I am not a reliable source--I'm just a collector. Though at this point, I am flattered that people are concerned with the validity of my site. :)

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Friday, April 25, 2008

Lorelei

One of the Rhine Maidens who lures navigators of this river to their dooms with her alluring singing, a distant cousin to the Grecian Siren, possibly even a subspecies.

Physical Description
Almost similar build to sirens and memaids, the Lorelei are creatures with the head and torso of human female and the tail of a fish. Their hair and skin color varies from almost human tones to bright rainbow-like colors depending on the family inheritence.

However, unlike mermaids, Lorelei have the unique ability to transform their tail into a pair of human (but still slightly scaley) legs, thus passing themselves off as humans. On more than one occassion a Lorelei has slipped ashore only to dramatically pull the heartstrings of every available (and some unavailable) human male--then just as dramatically refuse all and commit "suicide" (which is basically doing the high jump and transforming their legs into fins at the last possible moment, safely swimming away from the human world before becoming too involved).

Abilities
The most commonly known ability is their alluring song that leads fishermen to their deaths. Interestingly enough, Lorelei don't mean to cause the death of any--for their are fairly gentle in nature. More often than not, Lorelei are trying to warn sailors of the danger--but their vocal range is such that those who are trapped in their song can't really make head or tails of what they are saying anyway. There is something unique about the resonance of a siren's voice that affects the human mind in much the same way some modern drugs do. Still, they enjoy making a grand and stately performance, but lately the Lorelei have realized that with all the modern technology and such already out there, they have gone almost but not completely silent. Many have thought it would be better to hide and gossip than to be caught and observed in a fishtank. Other Lorelei have been seen walking on land, blending in with humans and generally enjoying their secrecy--but the draw to the water will always be present, so these beautiful creatures will never be far from their home. The world is now in a less threatening but sadder state than it should be.

Now the Sirens and Lorelei have a still more fatal weapon than their song, namely their silence. And though admittedly such a thing never happened, it is still conceivable that someone might possibly have escaped from their singing; but from their silence certainly never.

Location
The Loreley (also written as Lorelei) is a rock on the eastern bank of the Rhine near St. Goarshausen, Germany, which soars some 120 meters above the water line. It marks the narrowest part of the river between Switzerland and the North Sea. A very strong current and rocks below the waterline have caused many boat accidents there. However, it is often the song of the Lorelei that draw these skilled navigators who are typically trained to avoid these currents to their deaths.

History
The name comes from the old German words "lureln" (Rhine dialect for "murmuring") and "ley" (rock). The translation of the name would therefore be: "murmur rock" or "murmuring rock". The heavy currents, and a small waterfall in the area (still visible in the early 19th century) created a murmuring sound, and this combined with the special echo the rock produces which acted as a sort of amplifier, then gave name to the rock itself. The murmuring is hard to hear today due to the urbanization of the area which greatly discourages the river maidens from singing. Lately they have been almost silent because of pollution in the area and lack of respect to their musical abilities. However, Lorelei love to gossp whenever the opportunity presents itself. With the rock amplifying their whispers, it's no wonder that the name "murmuring" rock came into being. Other theories include attributing the name to the many accidents, by combining the word "luren" (lurk) with the same "ley" ending, with the translation "lurking rock". Which is also understandable, due to the fact that they have turned the ability to Lurk into an art form. Singing...Lurking...its what they do.

In folklore and poetry
The rock is associated with several legendary tales originating in German folklore. It appears in many forms. One of the legends is that Loreley, a beautiful young maiden, committed suicide because of an unfaithful lover. She jumped from the steep rock into the Rhine River, thus killing herself. She then became a siren, luring shipmen to their fates with her hypnotizing voice. The echoing heard today is said to be Loreley. It is interesting to see where this folklore developed from. Due to their ability to change into a human shape, it is unsurprising to think that one of the Lorelei slipped ashore--only to dramatically jump off later. Lorelei love theatrics of any kind, and to make a dramatic dive would have been greatly lauded by their kind. To be mistaken for a siren is also fairly typical, as their physical build are very similiar--some researchers have claimed that they are actually more of a subspecies of siren that merely migrated north to Germany rather than a distinct and separate class of their own--but try telling that to the Lorelei as they are profoundly patriotic and on more than one occasion has been caught singing the German National Anthem.
And of course...who could possibly write about Lorelei without including some classic prose?
The Lorelei by Heinrich Heine, translated by Clint Andrews
I don't know what it may signify
That I am so sad;
There's a tale from ancient times
That I can't get out of my mind.
The air is cool in the twilight is falling,
And the Rhine is flowing quietly by;
The top of the mountain is glittering
In the evening sun.
The loveliest maiden is sitting,
up there wondrous to tell.
Her golden jewelry sparkles,
as she combs her golden hair.
She combs it with a golden comb
and sings a song as she does;
A song with a peculiar,powerful melody.
It seizes upon the boatman in his small boat
With unrestrained woe;
He does not look below the rocky shoals;
He only looks up at the heights.
If I'm not mistaken the waters,
Finally swallowed up fisher and boat.
And with her singing
the Lorelei did this.
And a Special thanks to Wikipedia for some of the background information!!

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