Friday, December 16, 2011

The Mythology of Supernatural, Reader Question Response #4

Today my Mythology of Supernatural response is not exactly answering a question, but instead is my response to a rather disconcerting article that one of my readers recently brought to my attention (thanks for that, by the way, Joseph). The author of this article claims to be using my book The Mythology of Supernatural, as a source for one of his statements (full article is here…but I warn you it is rather offensive:

More or less, the author of this article goes on a rant against the evils the Roman Catholic Church and the “demonic” practices of “pagans” in relation to the celebration of Halloween.

Of course... Pagans, as we all know, are the members of a motorcycle gang. Hahaha

No, in all seriousness, the word Pagan originally just meant “country folk” and was used to refer to rural people in areas of the Roman Empire who still practiced the “old religions” … which meant anything that wasn’t Christianity. The church eventually labeled such religions as “witchcraft” and/or “demon worship,” which eventually led to the word “pagan” being associated with such things.

To be honest, I am usually fine with letting people spout off their own personal forms of crazy on the internets ... but not when they are taking something I wrote and citing and/or paraphrasing it in a misleading way, as the author of this article seems to have done. Because, aside from the handful of historical facts he got right, nothing I believe or have written in any way supports anything the author of this article (who is apparently a creationist) believes or has written.

The below excerpt from the article, though short, REALLY gets on my nerves:
(Note: Some claim Samhain to be a pagan god, but pagan cultists say this is incorrect--
Samhain is a demon summoned by a warlock long ago.)
(See Nathan R. Brown, The Mythology of Supernatural, published Penguin, 2011,
ISBN: 9780425241370)

First of all, I can’t even figure out which part of the above statement the author is claiming to be citing from my book. The Mythology of Supernatural certainly does have a section on Samhain. However, aside from speaking about the CHARACTER ON the SHOW, the book does NOT claim Samhain is a “pagan god”… nor does it claim that Samhain is a “demon summoned by a warlock long ago.” However, the way the author presents the citation, it almost seems as if he is claiming my book supports his statement. I can assure you, it does NOT.

In fact, my book does the exact OPPOSITE. My section on Samhain in The Mythology of Supernatural explains how the word refers to the “end of summer,” and that early incorrect documentation of certain seasonal festivals led to the mistaken belief that Samhain was a god that was being worshipped at these events.

And where in the farfegnugen is he getting this craziness about Samhain being a “demon summoned by a warlock long ago”? It certainly did not come from my book.

Soooo…what could possibly be his source of info for making the claim that a “warlock long ago” summoned a demon named Samhain? Did he get that from The Lord of the Rings?

Better yet, what exactly does he mean by “long ago”? That could be ANY length of time, dpeending on how you look at it. I consider five years to be "long ago." So...what was it? 10 years ago? 100 years? A millennium? Come on, man, at least be specific with your crazy.

The only semi-reasonable conclusion I have been able to take away from this odd citation is that the author believes me to be a “pagan cultist.” I find this both interesting, odd, and (perhaps most importantly) incorrect ... since I do NOT subscribe to any organized religion, "pagan" or otherwise.

I DO, however, believe in God.

Yes, despite not having a religion I believe in God … but over a decade ago I chose to just leave organized human religions out of the relationship (a belief system which I have found, strangely enough, seems to make overly religious people even angrier than if I'd told them I was an atheist).

Well ... if choosing my own path to God makes me a “pagan cultist” ... then so be it, chuckles.

Mr. Christopher Johnson (a.k.a. author of the original article), I don’t appreciate you trying to stick my crazy in your crazy. Seriously ... leave my peanut butter out of your chocolate, dude. And, while you're at it, learn to properly quote/paraphrase your source citations if you are going to use them in your articles.

Trust me, sir ... you don’t want to go down this road with me.

UPDATE: I recently tried to take another look at the original article and it would appear that Mr. Johnson, after learning that the cat was out of the bag, decided to completely edit/revise the section I discuss in the above blog post. He removed the citation of my book, and revised the part about Samhain being a "demon." The article now says that the word Samhain, as I have explained, just means "end of summer" (though he cites a completely different source for this info). In addition, he now claims that "neo-pagans" celebrate a "demonic aspect" of Samhain, and offers what he claims to be a flyer from a "Samhain festival" as evidence ... unfortunately, the flyer is actually for an all ages punk show, featuring the band Samhain. I swear ... this guy really needs to learn how to properly conduct his research.


  1. You misspelled "fahrvergn├╝gen" but other than that, nicely done. However, the referenced article probably wasn't worth more than a sneeze from you.

  2. Actually, Doug ... this WAS a sneeze. You should see what happens when I go full steam ahead.

  3. Haha, I happened to find this by accident. I'm the author of that article. First of all, you need to update the link. We updated our website last year. Second, someone pointed out your book in my article soon after I wrote it, and I realized that the quote from your book was added by mistake. I never wanted your quote in there because as I looked over your book, I found it was completely unreferenced, and did not have accurate information in it. (I often write down references and quotes, and remove those I don't need afterwards, and I included yours by accident.) I appreciated a hateful letter I got about it from an anonymous source because it helped me remove bad information. Have a wonderful day. :D
    (btw, I'm doing another complete revision of this with a lot more updated information and referenced sources from more reliable books)


I am sorry, but I had to remove the Anonymous User comment option. I was receiving far too many spambot posts (100s a day). However, if you are a real person and not a bot, feel free to post with your google, blogger, or one of the other available IDs.