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Unknown Country Halloween Week: Myths and Monsters - Is There Any Truth Behind The Legends?

We all love a good monster movie, don't we, even if it's viewed with just one eye open from behind the safety of our sofas?

Year after year, Hollywood favourites such as Count Dracula and the Wolfman, and other classic fiendish figures continue to draw crowds of eager horror-movie-lovers. But when and where did our preoccupation with the "bogeyman" arise? Is there any basis in truth to the stories of mythical monsters?

Greg McDonald, director of forensic medicine at Philadelphia College of Osteopathic Medicine, says that like many myths and scary stories, both Dracula and the Wolfman stemmed from a poor understanding of medical maladies.
We are all programmed to have strong reactions to the vivid color of the life-giving fluid that runs through our veins. For some, it is a morbid fascination that causes them to watch horror movies, but for others it evokes terror and can often have a deeply profound effect when witnessed; phobia of blood is very common and can cause fainting in tho...

We are counting down the week to Halloween here at Unknown Country! Whatever your personal beliefs about this archaic and arcane tradition, this is a good time to examine the shadow-sides of our personality and the importance of recognising the purpose of the dark side in each and every one of us.

The term “shadow” was firs...

IN WHITLEY'S JOURNAL

We have reached the climate tipping point much more quickly than anybody anticipated. But with methane outgassing in arctic tundra and beginning to boil up from under the Arctic Ocean, Greenland ice turning black due to lack of snowfall, and rapid warming of northern waters, the stage is set.

Nobody has any idea when dramatic changes will overtake us, but the form they will likely take is beco...
Our inner emotions are very powerful, and it is becoming more widely accepted by science that they can have profound and measurable physiological effects.

Stress is known to have negative effects on the body, but what about more positive emotions, such as happiness, joy and awe?
Can feeling deeply moving sentiments change our bod...

The sun's solar flare activity appears to be hotting up: a massive X-Class solar flare erupted early on Sunday (Oct. 19) from a huge sunspot, and astronomers fear that this could just be the beginning of a spate of sizeable flares.

Solar flares are explosions of energetic radiation that can have potentially devastating effects on our c...

IN ANNE'S DIARY

When we visited a producer recently, we were surprised to discover that his office contained a proud display of all the sort of furniture Whitley and I grew up with—circa around 1957. There was a dining table with chairs that looked like they were out of the old cartoon show the Jetsons, and framed fifties movie posters. I remember when my dad, who was certainly no esthete, painted our refrigerator turqu...

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