Archive for September, 2012

Our Weird World: The Etruscans

We’re headed abroad on this beautiful Friday as we check out the Etruscans.

I like studying ancient history, but more than that, I like the mysterious stuff. You know, the legends about Atlantis, Flood stories, and the oddities that ancient people left behind when they died out or, in some cases, vanished. I’ve even written a post about that, concerning the Moon-eyed People and a few North American mythologies.

Standing out in the crowd of relatively mysterious ancient people are the Etruscans.

Now, they’re a little different. They didn’t disappear mysteriously; rather, they assimilated into the Roman culture. That isn’t weird, because it’s happened a lot in history. Tuscany takes its name from Tusci, which is what the Romans called the Etruscans. Etruscan words are a part of the Latin alphabet. The Etruscans are pre-Roman and share some deities with the Greeks. None of that is out of the ordinary. We can say where they went and what happened to them.

The real weirdness comes when you realize that the Etruscans seem to have appeared mysteriously.

And, even for the time in which they lived, they don’t seem to have fit in. Their language is markedly different from either Greek or Roman (when Anglicized). Their name for themselves was Rasenna, which later became Rasna. We don’t even know what that means, and no one can read the language anymore, which was itself pretty unique, in the Tyrsenian language group.  

The knowledge actually gained about the Etruscans is only from tombs and the stuff in them. It’s somewhat apparent that, as far as families go, who your mom was had as much importance as who your dad was. It was fine for women to associate with mixed company. The root difference between the Etruscan culture and the Roman culture is just so marked.

So who were they? what were they like? Perhaps the Etruscans were completely boring, but the fact that we simply do not know is what makes them all the more fascinating.

And that is why mysteries make our world even more interesting.


Hauntings in General

I take a skeptic’s view of haunted places. I think there is always an explanation for the creaks and moans and sounds that occur in old buildings. I sure don’t believe that it has anything to do with unfinished business.

That said, North Carolina is full of places that are said to be haunted. You’ve seen my theories about any explanations in a post about Beaufort, one about the Devil’s Tramping Ground, a post featuring The Moon-eyed People, and the story of Roan Mountain.

In Wilson, North Carolina, a small town just west of Greenville (the home of East Carolina University), there are a couple of places said to be haunted, other than the Whirligigs. One is Montrose Hanger Company. It’s an old building, in a rough part of town. The company itself still exists; they make clothing hangars, but they’ve long since moved out of the building. There are of course the usual account of noises and seeing people who aren’t there when you follow them and just basic spookiness. The building has also been used in the past for some geocaching. It’s creepy, that’s for sure.

Another is old Springfield Middle School, more accurately in Lucama NC. I actually know a group of kids who enjoy “ghost hunting,” as they call it. They’ve been to the haunted old Springfield in the past. There were creaks and noises and bumps. I have no idea if the old school is still there; they built a new one recently.

My personal opinion is that hauntings have nothing to do with the past or any sort of ghosts or unfinished business or what have you.

I think they noises are from people. I don’t know how, or why. But lately, in doing research for this site, I’ve encountered some pretty interesting information. Once I have enough that I feel comfortable with posting it completely, I will.

Until then, stay weird!