We all learned it in elementary school, didn’t we? That mythology was just a way for primitive people to explain away natural phenomena they didn’t understand. This is often true, yes, but then as we got older, some of us, and continued to study the matter, with an able assist from Joseph Campbell and other such experts on comparative religion, we realized that mythology was so much more. That’s where the capital M comes in. If it’s a myth, it’s a fictional story. But if it’s a Myth, it’s something much more profound. It’s a fictional story that contains inherent Truth—capital T. A story that contains psychological and spiritual insights regarding the people who tell it, and about human beings in general.
But what about when Myths are also folk memories of actual events?
From the linked article, in reference to the Myth of the Wild Hunt, wherein demons leading packs of Hellhounds prowled the countryside: “Northern cultures associated wild hunts with the change of the seasons from fall into winter, probably because strong, cold winds came blowing over the landscape and forced people indoors. Anyone who didn’t make it inside during the winter could freeze to death. Interpreting howling winds as a pack of hunters would thus make sense. People were mythologizing their surroundings as a way to warn people to stay indoors. Winds aren’t nearly as scary as a pack of rabid dogs on the hunt, but the outcome could be same. If someone didn’t flee from the Black Shuck, they could be killed. Particularly in England, when winds would come howling in from the sea, there were stories of black hellhounds in more than a dozen areas.”
Okay, that makes perfect sense. A nice, tidy explanation. Reason outdoing superstition.
The problem is, people are still reporting *seeing* these things. And they can’t *all* be lying or drunk. That defies probability. So what are they seeing?