Myth Monday: Cerberus

Cerberus is a strong image, connected to Greek mythology. An interesting premise; a three-headed dog, giant in stature. Obviously, this is ridiculous, but, where does it come from? The concept of a three-headed dog can’t just come from nowhere.

Dogs are a very intelligent species, relatively; they have some interestingly human-like traits. Some of these weirdly human behaviors factor into the creation of the Cerberus, one especially; cheerleading.

That’s right. Dogs are the only species, other than humans, to perform gymnastic stunts for entertainment and pleasure. In addition, canines are huge fans of sports; they just don’t like human sports, so they don’t watch with people.

To aid in the excitement of dog sports, especially for BiscuitBall, dogs invented cheerleading, including the stunts involved. Later, this concept was borrowed by human beings. This led to dogs creating human dog pyramids- three headed pyramids were the absolute minimum.

Although for many years, humans didn’t know about dog sports, one Greek man stumbled into a very early practice for a dog college cheerleading team, and saw a glimpse of three stacked dogs. Cerberus has been legend ever since.

As for the fire breathing, dogs used to breathe fire- in the past 2500 years, they’ve been bred out of it. Deaths by canine flames have gone down 100% ever since.

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Myth Monday: Ghosts

I’m sure that you’re quite confused by the title of today’s article. “Ghosts are a myth?”, you say, “No, Ghosts are most certainly real. You’re off your rocker.” Fear not; Ghosts definitely do exist, that’s been scientifically proven since the Edison Phantom Materializer was first developed. No, the existence of Ghosts isn’t the myth itself; rather, the actual methods of Ghosts are frequently misunderstood. So, in an effort to inform the public, this week’s Myth Monday is about Ghosts, and the myth regarding them.

Ghosts try to scare people, right? It seems only natural. For a Ghost, scaring people is just a way of life. Or is it?

Okay, it is. It is, however, a little bit of a myth; the Ghosts don’t just scare people for fun. You see, Ghosts are notorious for their production of ectoplasm. This gooey substance is mostly harmless, but it tends to lodge itself inside of the ears of Ghosts, making their hearing less precise.

Due to this less precise hearing, Ghosts tend to perceive many human noises, such as burping, speaking, and singing Celine Dion, as hiccups. Naturally, most Ghosts want to help people out in their time of need, so they come out and try to scare the hiccups away. Most of the time, it doesn’t work, because the subject didn’t actually have hiccups to begin with, but it’s still a thoughtful gesture.

So, the next time you are spooked by a ghost, make sure you say “thank you”; Scary Ghosts are the most helpful Ghosts. On the other hand, look out for Ghosts that seem completely friendly; it’s a two-way Ghost street.

Myth Monday: Mermaids

Mermaids; sometimes they are devastatingly beautiful, other times horrifically ugly- either way, they always seem to be half fish, half human. We know by now that mermaids aren’t actually real, but there are so many stories about them. Where do they all come from?

Fish/human hybrids have never actually existed, but there was an attempt to make humans more “fish-like”, with the aid of a personal transportation device known as the “Man-Fin.” This device was a steam-powered water vehicle that affixed itself to the legs of the user, so that he may swim at extreme speeds. Sir Dennis P Chamberlain invented this device back in the mid-to-late 19th century, in order to swim the English Channel in record time.

The Man-Fin was manufactured out of shining brass, making it glimmer like fish scales, and, for hydrodynamic purposes, it was shaped like fish tails. There was only one ever made; Chamberlain’s prototype, which he attempted (but failed) to use, and was subsequently killed by, after he lost control and it drove him deep beneath the waves.

Chamberlain was not a skinny fellow- he was actually quite large, and for the Man-Fin to function properly, the user has to be relatively streamlined. To avoid flapping and drag from the waves, Chamberlain created a brassiere made of large seashells- he liked the aquatic theme. He used this bra to tame in his unruly chest fat, and theoretically, it should have allowed him to have better control. Unfortunately, he forgot to reign in his belly fat; that was his undoing. Also, he found that a brassiere of seashells was not very supportive; admittedly, this seems like common sense.

So there was only one voyage of the Man-Fin, and it failed, but it was enough for numerous people to see Chamberlain swimming across the water, and invent their own stories. Although this seems to dispel the mystery, how anyone ever mistook the stocky Dennis Chamberlain for a beautiful woman is another mystery in its own right. It just may be that this is another case of beauty being in the eye of the beholder.

MYTH MONDAY: Centaurs

(This article is a part of a new weekly segment, “Myth Monday,” featuring scientific explanations to popular myths and legends.)

The majestic Centaur. Half man, half horse, Centaurs are an integral part of the mythos of numerous fantasy novels. Generally, they are strongly associated with nature, and live deep within forests (also, they tend to be very shirtless; female centaurs are rarely depicted). Obviously, they aren’t real, but there is always a grain of truth in every story, no matter how ridiculous. So, where did this “grain” come from?

Although it is little known, scientists do have a theory regarding the Centaur, and among those interested in the subject, it is fairly widely accepted. Although Centaurs are usually described as seven or eight feet tall, these estimates seem to be exaggerated; in reality, Centaurs are the misinterpretation of the five-foot tall insect, the Man-Beetle.

The comparisons are difficult to ignore. For one thing, Centaurs, whatever they really were, must have been some kind of insect. Between their arms and their four legs, they each have six limbs (a signature insect trait). The very curious thing about the Man-Beetle, however, is the same thing that gives it its name; the Man-Beetle has a massive horn on the top of its head, shaped exactly like a human torso. Extended from the torso are two long antennae, which are movable, and shaped to appear like human arms (Every member of the species has a horn that is shaped like a human male. This is why female centaurs are so rare in fiction; that, and the aforementioned shirtlessness thing).

Man-Beetles actually have six legs, which is confusing at first. Centaurs had four legs, and two arms, and the “Arms” of the Man-Beetle are actually antennae. Upon further investigation, however, it seems like two of the legs were in the very rear of the insect, and vestigial, joined together to form what appears to be a “tail.”

It’s often hard to decipher if Centaurs are gentle, or extremely proud and violent. Between different works regarding Centaurs, there are different stories. The reason for this is the species-wide case of bipolar disorder that affects the Man-Beetle; and, even stranger, they all seem to have synchronized emotional states. So, one person might see them, and find them to be very kind, and then, a week later, another individual might encounter the same “herd” and find them to be incredible aggressive.

Sadly, the Man-Beetle is now extinct; they were hunted to extinction by the ferocious 17-foot wingspan bird, the Giant Pheasant, which were, in turn, made extinct by the 40-foot tall Giga Fox, which was then made extinct because there was no longer anything big enough to sustain the appetite of those creatures. Although it is disappointing that none of us can actually witness the inspiration for the Centaur, it is probably for the best that we no longer have five-foot-tall insects with mood swings roaming around the planet.