The Honey Island Swamp monster: the development and maintenance of a folk and commodified belief tradition

Leary, Frances (2003) The Honey Island Swamp monster: the development and maintenance of a folk and commodified belief tradition. Masters thesis, Memorial University of Newfoundland.

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Over the past twenty years folklorists have looked seriously at the relationships between narrative and the development and maintenance of belief traditions. More recently belief studies have focused on tourism, commercialization and the commodification of belief phenomena. Within this context a few folklorists have examined cryptozoological traditions, most notably the Sasquatch, studied by Carpenter and Taft, and the Giant Squid, explored by Aldrich. In Louisiana there have been reports of a creature that has come to be known as the Honey Island Swamp Monster, and its home is the 250 acre Honey Island Swamp that lies on the border of Louisiana and Mississippi. In the past 27 years, this creature has evolved into a folk and commercial belief tradition, and this thesis will explore the development and maintenance of these two divergent narrative corpuses. -- Chapter One examines past and present theoretical arguments surrounding monsters, specifically focusing on the hairy monster tradition. Chapter Two identifies the features that define the Honey Island Swamp Monster folk belief tradition as unique. Chapter Three investigates the genres utilized to perpetuate the folk and commodified belief traditions and introduces the divergent paths of the two traditions. Chapter Four examines the commodified tradition in a more detailed fashion by investigating the influences of the academic world, the media, the tourism industry, and the enthusiast tradition. Chapter Five explores the explanatory traditions employed by believers and nonbelievers to attempt to explain the existence of the Honey Island Swamp Monster belief tradition.

Item Type: Thesis (Masters)
Item ID: 10863
Additional Information: Bibliography: leaves 171-185.
Department(s): Humanities and Social Sciences, Faculty of > Folklore
Date: 2003
Date Type: Submission
Library of Congress Subject Heading: Monsters--Folklore--Louisiana.

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