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2015 Digest

Jan. 3rd, 2016 11:56 am
frameacloud: A stylized green dragon person reading a book. (A stylized green dragon person reading a)
[personal profile] frameacloud
Briefly, some news of interest to otherkin from 2015 that I haven't previously reported on this blog. In chronological order:

Read more... )

I have an idea for how I could run this blog in a way that I hope would be efficient enough to be manageable. I could post to our Twitter about news articles as soon as I find them. Then, at the end of each month, I could post a digest to here and to our Tumblr. It would just be a collection of headlines, links, and brief summaries, rather than whole articles of original writing with complete citations. What do you think?

As always, there's a lot of news out there and I can't do this alone, so anyone who can help out by posting news links in this blog as they find them would be very much appreciated.
frameacloud: A stylized green dragon person reading a book. (A green dragon person reading a book.)
[personal profile] frameacloud
Content warnings: The links have some graphic descriptions of mental illnesses and delusions.

March 2014. Jan Dirk Blom published an article in the academic journal History of Psychiatry. Blom's article "When doctors cry wolf: a systematic review of the literature on clinical lycanthropy" looks at 56 cases of clinical lycanthropy or zoanthropy from 1850 to present. These are psychiatric cases in which people believed that they were animals, or were becoming other creatures. A popular source, LiveScience, offers a summary of Blom's article.

Sources

Jan Dirk Blom. "When doctors cry wolf: a systematic review of the literature on clinical lycanthropy." History of Psychiatry 25: 1 (March 2014). http://hpy.sagepub.com/content/25/1/87.short doi: 10.1177/0957154X13512192

Bahar Gholipour. "Real-Life Werewolves: Psychiatry Re-Examines Rare Delusion." April 16, 2014. LiveScience (online magazine). http://www.livescience.com/44875-werewolves-in-psychiatry.html
frameacloud: A white dragon with its tail in a knot. (Heraldry transparent)
[personal profile] frameacloud
Content warnings: none.

A skeptical Finnish-language blogger wrote an entry that covers some basics about otherkin. Google Translate handles it poorly, so I'm not sure of the article's thesis or attitude.

Source

Ez. "Seikkaluja internetin harhamaassa: oletko sinäkin oikeasti eläin?" May 28, 2014. Tämä Päivä (Today). (Personal blog.) http://tamapaiva.blogspot.fi/2014/05/seikkaluja-internetin-harhamaassa.html
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[personal profile] frameacloud
Content warnings: Redfern's article describes cannibalism in medium detail. Some unrelated fantasy artwork included with the article shows gore.

October: Cryptozoologist Nick Redfern wrote an article about a wendigo trial that happened in Canada in 1879. A Cree man named Swift Runner confessed that he had survived a bad winter by eating the bodies of his family. Swift Runner said this happened to him because he was possessed by a dangerous type of entity called a wendigo. Swift Runner was executed for cannibalism.

In Algonquin mythology, Wendigos are cannibal entities associated with cold winters. They possess people and turn them into wendigos. Sometimes people who know those stories believe they possessed by wendigos. People of European background think that problem is a culture-bound syndrome, and call it "wendigo psychosis."
frameacloud: A white dragon with its tail in a knot. (Heraldry transparent)
[personal profile] frameacloud
Content warnings: The linked article is about mental illness and witch trials.

Journal cover.
This September's issue of the academic journal called the History of Psychiatry has an article about medical responses to the condition of believing that one is a werewolf (lycanthropy). In "Battling demons with medical authority: werewolves, physicians and rationalization," Metzger "attempts to construct a conceptual history of werewolf beliefs and their respective medical responses." Metzger focuses on early physicians' categorization of lycanthropy as a melancholic disease, in contrast with demonologists' beliefs about werewolves as recorded in werewolf trials.

Presumably, Metzger's article also touches on modern psychological definitions of clinical lycanthropy. (Unfortunately, I don't have access to academic databases at the moment, and therefore I lack the full text of the article. I'm working on that problem. In the meantime, would any scholars please help me out by summarizing more of the full text?)

- O. Scribner



Source


Nadine Metzger, "Battling demons with medical authority: werewolves, physicians and rationalization." History of Psychiatry 24, no. 3 (2013), 341-355. doi: 10.1177/0957154X13482835 http://hpy.sagepub.com/content/24/3/341
frameacloud: A white dragon with its tail in a knot. (Heraldry transparent)
[personal profile] frameacloud
Content warnings: None.

Last May: A therianthrope* named Wolf VanZandt (author of The Therian Timeline) created a web-page on the psychology of therianthropes. His page, “The Mind of the Were,” tells about their common experiences (such as mental shifting), information about them collected from surveys, and some possible explanations for why they are this way. There’s also an audio version of that page.

* A therianthrope is a person who identifies as an animal.



Source


Wolf VanZandt, “The Mind of the Were.” Created 2013-05. Updated 2013-07-20. The Therian Timeline. http://theriantimeline.com/therianthropy/the_mind_of_the_were
frameacloud: A white dragon with its tail in a knot. (Heraldry transparent)
[personal profile] frameacloud
Trigger warnings: mental illness (clinical lycanthropy), violence, religion (Catholicism, exorcism, demonic possession).

July: A cryptozoologist named Malcolm Smith wrote an article about a clinical lycanthropy patient who was last heard of in 1992. The subject is William “Bill” David Ramsey (b. 1943-). Since childhood, Ramsey occasionally had situations in which he believed he was becoming a werewolf, during which he behaved inappropriately and violently, and sometimes had hallucinations. These episodes were so severe that he was sometimes arrested and hospitalized. Ramsey was successfully cured of this problem by an exorcism in 1989. For this reason, demonologists Ed and Lorraine Warren interpret Ramsey’s condition as demonic possession rather than mental illness. Smith cites from two sources about the Warrens and Ramsey. Michael notes that he could find no information about Ramsey after his interview in 1992.

Here’s some extra context that Smith did not bring up. The below is based on my own research on werewolves and clinical lycanthropy.

Ramsey’s references to moon phases have more similarity to his contemporary pop culture imagery of werewolves than old folklore. His condition had even less resemblance to the behavior of actual wolves. This factor makes it more likely that Ramsey’s beliefs were a mental syndrome rather than a supernatural phenomenon, even if one believes the latter is possible.

I find it odd that Ramsey is not mentioned in the psychological literature on clinical lycanthropy. Perhaps this is only because Ramsey chose not to enter a mental hospital, fearing the stigma. The literature on clinical lycanthropy only talks about people who were admitted to mental hospitals. The lack of formal documentation for this case (aside from the Warrens’ book), and the lack of information about Ramsey after 1992, give me cause to question whether Ramsey’s case might be a complete fabrication.

It’s important to understand that clinical lycanthropy is a psychological syndrome, not a specific mental illness. In the definition of lycanthropy established by Keck, et al., the belief of becoming an animal isn’t connected with any specific mental illnesses. It could happen together with any of them. A person with clinical lycanthropy doesn’t just believe they’re an animal: they really believe they’re physically changing, usually against their will, and they lose control over their behavior.

This case makes me wonder if the scarcity of clinical lycanthropy in psychological literature-- as noted by Keck-- might be because the subjects go to exorcists for help instead of mental hospitals. One of the common features of clinical lycanthropy is that the subject believes that they’re possessed by a demon.



Sources


Malcolm Smith, “The English werewolf.” Malcolm’s musings: Anomalies. 2013-07-31. http://malcolmsanomalies.blogspot.com.au/2013/07/the-english-werewolf.html

(Smith primarily cites from this: Ed and Lorraine Warren, Werewolf: A true story of demonic possession. St. Martin’s, 1991.)

Paul E. Keck, et al., “Lycanthropy: Alive and well in the twentieth century.” Psychological Medicine 18 (1988), p. 113-120.
frameacloud: A white dragon with its tail in a knot. (Heraldry transparent)
[personal profile] frameacloud
Trigger warnings: The linked survey inquires about mental health in detail.

"The Therianthropy Research Group are pleased to announce our first research study is ready to go! We are conducting a quantitative questionnaire on therian mental well-being. [...] Whether you are a therian or a non-therian we would welcome your participation in this study." For more information, please see the current studies page of the Therianthropy Research Group's site. It includes a link to the online survey that you can take.

(For more background, here's the previous post on Otherkin News about the launch of the Therianthropy Research Group.)
frameacloud: A white dragon with its tail in a knot. (Heraldry transparent)
[personal profile] frameacloud
Trigger warnings: None.

June 2013: There's a call for otherkin, therianthropes, and vampires to participate in a study conducted by a researcher in the UK, named Ish’had Duncan,1 (MA Student at University of East London). The project is titled "Exploring The Experiences Of Otherkin, Vampires and Weres and Their Perceptions Of Therapy." Apparently, within a week, Duncan has already collected all six of the participants needed.2 Anyone who is interested in the project can e-mail Duncan.

- O. Scribner


Sources


1. "Identity Group Experiences & Perceptions Of Therapy: Vampires, Otherkin and Others." 2013-06-11. TheoFantastique. http://www.theofantastique.com/2013/06/11/identity-group-experiences-perceptions-of-therapy-vampires-otherkin-and-others/

2. Merticus. "Researching Identity Group Experiences & Perceptions Of Therapy." 2013-06-11. Vampire News. http://merticus.com/vampirenews/2013/06/11/researching-identity-group-experiences-perceptions-of-therapy/
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[personal profile] frameacloud


Trigger warnings: None.

March 5, 2013: At the American University in Washington, D.C., Trevor Addie delivered a guest lecture before an anthropology class (ANTH-331 "Taboos")1 of twenty people.2 Addie delivered a lecture called “Therianthropy: A state of being.” (The lecture is shown in the Youtube video, above.) Addie has a Bachelor of Arts in Justice, with a minor in Anthropology, awarded in 20123, and is going to law school next. Trevor is also an affiliate of the Therianthropy Research Group, which says that this “appears to be the first ever lecture on Therianthropy.”4

The lecture introduces the basics of the experience of therianthropy and the community around it. For the lecture, Addie worked with three people who identify as therians: Wolfstorm, a science student and wolf; Prowl, a computer tech and tiger; and Graytooth, an athlete and prehistoric beardog (Amphicyon cynelos). Addie explains the difference between therianthropy and similar things, such the furry fandom, clinical lycanthropy, and “otherkinism.” Addie lists a few types of shifts that therianthropes describe experiencing, and looks at the significance of the community demographics, and emphasizes the community’s overall attitude of shyness about any public recognition of therianthropy. In the discussion segment at the end, the audience asks some thoughtful and surprising questions.5

The Therianthropy Research Group says that the lecture “was also the first public announcement of our research group. Going live on our site the day before, we felt it was the ideal time to be announced to the community.”6 The Therianthropy Research Group says of its plans to research therianthropy,

“We aim to conduct professional research with full ethics backing in a hope to try and find not only common themes among the experiences of those who are self-identified therians, but also try and investigate finding a potential cause of therianthropy and bring some understanding in both the scientific communities and society in general about who a therian is and what they experience. […] Together we plan to conduct our own research in our free time with hopes of benefiting the community as a whole. Our research will be conducted according to the scientific method to minimize any biases. We have ethics backing from the University of Northampton; however this does not mean the university shares our opinions, so anything you see on this site is purely a result of our own work.”7


Five academics made the Therianthropy Research Group. This includes Timothy Grivell, a postgraduate who wrote an undergraduate dissertation about therianthropy, and has been active in the therianthrope community since 2009. Grivell wrote,

“My main aim in researching therianthropy so far has been to distinguish it from phenomena that are labelled as mental disorders; I take a critical attitude towards such labels, especially when individuals are able to live fully functional lives. I intend to build on the initial, exploratory work to look at the wider implications; what does the existence of therianthropy mean for society, and how can society be better equipped to understand therianthropy? I hope that my research can help to increase both awareness and understanding of therianthropy.”


Dr. Helen Clegg, a senior lecturer in Psychology, says,

“In 2011, I discovered the Therian community through Tim Grivell […] I plan to develop my research into therianthropy by exploring related experiences, such as mental shifts and phantom limbs, developing an understanding of how and why some people become therians whereas others do not, and focusing on a non-pathologising approach to these experiences.”


Elizabeth Roxburgh is a Chartered Psychologist who “was awarded her PhD by the University of Northampton for research exploring the phenomenology and psychology of spiritualist mental mediumship,” and has much interest in parapsychology and spirituality.

Emily Bemelmans, an undergraduate, active in the therianthrope community since 2004, says, “I am fascinated about how humans can feel like they are an animal and whether just human traits are being misidentified or if it really is possible to ‘be’ that specific animal.”

Mario Cintron, an undergraduate, active in the therian community since 2006, says,

“My major interest in therianthropy research involves potential cognitive links for the experience of phantom limbs that many therians report. Are phantom limbs experienced through the same neurological pathways as physical limbs? What kind of activity occurs in the brain when these feelings intensify?”8


Mario Cintron wrote a transcript of Addie’s lecture. You can download the transcript from the web-site of the Therianthropy Research Group: here.

- O. Scribner



Sources


1. TherianEdu, “Therianthropy: A state of being.” Published 2013-05-10. Youtube. http://youtu.be/ZMEkuOW5pjs or http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ZMEkuOW5pjs Video.
2. “News.” Posted 2013-05-12. Therianthropy Research Group. http://www.therianthropyresearchgroup.org/index.php/news/
3. “Affiliates.” Therianthropy Research Group. http://www.therianthropyresearchgroup.org/index.php/about/affiliates/
4. “News.”
5. “Affiliates.”
6. “News.”
7. “Home. (Welcome to our site! So what is the Therianthropy Research Group?)” Therianthropy Research Group. http://www.therianthropyresearchgroup.org/
8. “About.” Therianthropy Research Group. 2012-11-24. http://www.therianthropyresearchgroup.org/index.php/about/
9. “Affiliates.”
[identity profile] merticus.livejournal.com
Would you like to take part in research about Otherkin, Vampires, and Therians/Weres and are over 18?

Ish’had Duncan (MA Student at University of East London) is seeking six self-identified Otherkin, Vampires and Therians/Weres to share their experiences for an interpretative phenomenological research project aimed at the education of therapists.

More Information:
http://merticus.com/vampirenews/2013/06/11/researching-identity-group-experiences-perceptions-of-therapy/
frameacloud: A white dragon with its tail in a knot. (Heraldry transparent)
[personal profile] frameacloud
Trigger warning: weird, trippy glitches in how brains and bodies work.

In a recent study in Sweden, published in the Journal of Cognitive Neuroscience, an experiment induced supernumerary phantom limb sensations. They investigated it in more detail by conducting 11 experiments on 234 participants. The tactile illusion works like this:

"the participants sat at a table with their right arm behind a screen so that it was not visible to them. The right hand of the volunteers was then touched by the researchers with a small paintbrush, while they imitated the same movement with a different paintbrush up in the air so that it was visible to the subjects. [...] 'most participants, within less than a minute, transfer the sensation of touch to the region of empty space where they see the paintbrush move, and experience an invisible hand in that position. Previous research has shown that non-bodily objects, such as a block of wood, cannot be experienced as one's own hand, so we were extremely surprised to find that the brain can accept an invisible hand as part of the body.'"1


Brain scans demonstrated that the participants could really feel the invisible hand. "'Taken together, our results show that the sight of a physical hand is remarkably unimportant to the brain for creating the experience of one's physical self,'" Arvid Guterstam [lead author of the research] explained."2

I include this news here because supernumerary phantom limbs are a common experience among therianthropes and otherkin.

- O. Scribner


Source


1. Sarah Glynn, "Non-Amputees Experience Phantom Limb Sensation." 2013-04-11. Medical News Today. http://www.medicalnewstoday.com/articles/259003.php

2. Ibid.

The study in question:

Arvid Guterstam, Giovanni Gentile, and H. Henrik Ehrsson, "The Invisible Hand Illusion: Multisensory Integration Leads to the Embodiment of a Discrete Volume of Empty Space." Journal of Cognitive Neuroscience 2013-04-11 doi:10.1162/jocn_a_00393
frameacloud: A white dragon with its tail in a knot. (Heraldry transparent)
[personal profile] frameacloud
Trigger warnings: Medical practices, physical health problems, mental health problems, paralysis, stroke, amputation, brains, and weird health treatments. In the comments on this post, there's some discussion about gender dysphoria (transgender issues) and private body parts.

Summary: If a person's idea of their body doesn't match how their body is shaped, putting water in their ear can temporarily change that.

A person’s inner ear (and other parts of the vestibular system) gives them their sense of balance and sense of their body’s position and movement. It also has something to do with a person’s sense of the shape of their body (body schema). If you put water in a person’s ear, it can temporarily change their senses of balance, position, and body schema. (Different things happen if the water is warm or cold, or which ear it's put into.) This practice is called vestibular caloric stimulation. It’s useful because it sometimes helps treat people who have problems with those senses. It can also show things about the relationship between the inner ear and the body schema in the brain.

For some people, their body schema doesn’t match their physical body. Either the person has a body part and feels like it isn’t theirs (somatoparaphrenia), or they’re missing a body part and feel like it’s still there (a phantom limb). People have to learn more about the body schema in order to treat these. Likewise, studying these will help people learn about the body schema. Treatment of these can involve trying to repair the person’s body schema. One of the ways to do that is by showing the person a type of optical illusion, called “mirror box therapy,” but that’s another story. You can also temporarily treat both of these conditions by means of vestibular caloric stimulation. That is to say, these are problems that can be helped by putting water in a person’s ear.

Sometimes people who have had a stroke or become paralyzed on one side end up feeling like one of their body parts isn’t theirs. The sufferer develops far-fetched beliefs about how the body part got there. (It’s called a somatoparaphrenic delusion.) Since there isn’t necessarily anything wrong with the body part itself, doctors try to repair the person’s body schema. A 1991 study showed that putting water in the sufferer’s ear can temporarily change their body schema, so that they feel like the body part is theirs again.

People who have lost a body part (amputees) sometimes feel like the missing body part is still there. Even if the person knows nothing is there, the “phantom limb” can feel very real. Phantom limbs happen because the person’s brain still has that body part in its body schema. The brain gets confused about why it isn’t getting sensory messages from the limb anymore, so it makes things up to fill in the blank. Sometimes a phantom limb even feels like it hurts. You can’t just use pain killer on a body part that isn’t there.

A study published in 2001 found that vestibular caloric stimulation can do things to phantom limbs. When the researchers put water in the ears of amputees who never felt phantom limbs, it made the amputees temporarily feel phantom limbs. When the researchers put water in the ears of amputees who had suffered phantom limb pain, the phantom limbs stayed there, but they stopped hurting.

I heard about these discoveries in recent post in a non-academic blog (io9), but when I read the sources, it turns out that these aren’t very recent discoveries. Please note, I’m not a neurologist or any kind of doctor. I’m an interested layperson. I can’t guarantee that I got the facts right. If you're curious about this stuff, you should talk to a professional who has studied it in particular. I’m including this article in Otherkin News because therianthropes and otherkin often report that they have, so to speak, a body schema that doesn’t match their physical body. Any information and discoveries about the formation of the body schema in the brain could lead toward helping them understand why theirs might be that way.

- O. Scribner

Sources


Esther Inglis-Arkell, “The weird way to eliminate—or evoke—phantom limbs.” 2013-01-20. io9. http://io9.com/5976618/the-weird-way-to-eliminateor-evokephantom-limbs

Edoardo Bisiach, Maria Luisa Rusconi, and Giuseppe Vallar, “Remission of somatoparaphrenic delusion through vestibular stimulation.” Neuropsychologia 29: 10 (1991), pp. 1029–1031. http://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/002839329190066H

J. M. André, et al., “Temporary Phantom Limbs Evoked by Vestibular Caloric Stimulation in Amputees.” Neuropsychiatry, Neuropsychology, & Behavioral Neurology 14:3 (2001), pp. 190-196. http://journals.lww.com/cogbehavneurol/Abstract/2001/07000/Temporary_Phantom_Limbs_Evoked_by_Vestibular.8.aspx
frameacloud: A white dragon with its tail in a knot. (Heraldry transparent)
[personal profile] frameacloud
Trigger warnings: The linked article talks about mental health issues. To a lesser degree, it talks about child abuse and physical handicaps.

In BetaBeat, tech blog section of Observer.com, which is the online companion to The New York Observer, there's a new article about multiples. Reporter Jessica Roy interviewed the JC Klatch system and their housemate Mr. Verrier, the Oure Gaya system and their partner Jan, and psychiatrist Dr. Richard Baer, on what it's like to be multiple. Roy introduces multiplicity, its history, and some authors in favor of healthy multiplicity.

For no particular reason, the article mentions otherkin, just once, with a link to the Gawker article "From otherkin to transethnicity."


Source


Jessica Roy, "Me and You and Everyone We Know: The Many (Many, Many) Faces of Internet Multiples." 2013-03-07. BetaBeat (New York Observer, Observer.com). http://betabeat.com/2013/03/me-and-you-and-everyone-we-know-the-many-many-many-faces-of-internet-multiples or http://infoweb.newsbank.com/iw-search/we/InfoWeb?p_action=doc&p_topdoc=1&p_docnum=1&p_sort=YMD_date:D&p_product=AWNB&p_text_direct-0=document_id=(%20144E5306D6004F18%20)&p_docid=144E5306D6004F18&p_theme=aggdocs&p_queryname=144E5306D6004F18&f_openurl=yes&p_nbid=C50X4BYHMTM2Mjc4NjAyNi45Njg4MTM6MTo3Om5jZDgyMzY&&p_multi=NYOB
[identity profile] merticus.livejournal.com

‘Vampirism’ In A Case Of Dissociative Identity Disorder & Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder
Journal of Psychotherapy and Psychosomatics; 2012 – Issue 81: Pages 322-323

Link: http://www.alphagalileo.org/ViewItem.aspx?ItemId=128321&CultureCode=en
Full PDF: http://www.researchgate.net/publication/230598656_%27Vampirism%27_in_a_case_of_dissociative_identity_disorder_and_post-traumatic_stress_disorder

Please note that ‘Clinical Vampirism’, ‘Autovampirism’, and ‘Renfield’s Syndrome’ do NOT appear in the current Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders (DSM-IV + TR; 1994/2000) and ‘Vampirism’ will NOT be included in the forthcoming Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders (DSM-V; 2013) as a mental disorder, listed paraphilia, or under ‘Paraphilias Not Elsewhere Classified’.

If you personally self-identify as a “real vampi(y)re” please take a moment to answer the following question (divided for both Primary Practicing Sanguinarian (Blood Feeding) and Psychic (Energy Feeding) Self-Identified Vampires).  If you identify as sexual, pranic, elemental, hybrid, eclectic, adaptive, living, or other identifiers sometimes ascribed to vampirism please choose the the category which best encompasses your primary feeding method: Sanguinarian (blood consumption, physical fluid-blood exchanges, etc.) or Psychic (psi/chi/qi/life energy feeding or manipulation, metaphysical, spiritual, etc.). *Note: This poll will be permanently relaunched in April 2013 and hosted via http://www.suscitatio.com; see “Projects” section of website.

Poll Link:  http://merticus.com/vampirenews/2013/02/09/real-life-vampires-vampirism-mental-illness/

Vampire Community News (VCN) POLL CLOSED FEBRUARY 15, 2013 - ANALYSIS BELOW & AT LINK:
http://www.suscitatio.com/images/DiagnosedMentalConditionsAmongVampires-VCN+VEWRSAnalysis2013.jpg



frameacloud: A white dragon with its tail in a knot. (Heraldry transparent)
[personal profile] frameacloud
Summary: News from 2012 regarding topics of interest to otherkin and therianthropes (therians), including: a new study on clinical lycanthropy, an anthology of non-supernatural otherkin and therian romantic fiction, a survey of therians and furries, a Tarot deck for people who were extraterrestrials in past lives, a therian-inspired art exhibit, advances in the technology of wearable animal ears, other transhuman innovations, and the death of Stalking Cat.

Trigger warnings: mental illness, death.

2012-01. A new academic article about clinical lycanthropy was published in The Journal of Psychiatric Practice, focusing on the case study of Ms. A., 47, who believed herself to be a snake.1 The syndrome of lycanthropy recognized in psychiatry has some traits in common with spiritual therianthropy as discussed in the therianthrope community, in that the subject believes himself or herself to be or become an animal. The syndrome itself isn’t a mental illness, and doesn’t consistently correlate with any specific mental illnesses. Clinical lycanthropy is distinguished by delusions of physical transformation, and presence of other mental illnesses; all but one case of clinical lycanthropy have quickly responded to treatment. People in the therianthrope community, on the other hand, generally don’t believe they physically transform. The new article itself is behind a pay-wall. You can get the gist of the article through an irreverent informal commentary on it in the Neurotic Physiology blog.2

2012-09. Good Mourning Publishing is working on assembling an anthology of short romantic fiction titled Shifting Hearts, "in which at least one of the love interests is Otherkin/Therian. Any identification of otherkin or therian is accepted. No vampires, p-shifting, or paranormal themes; strictly real world depictions. […] The submission deadline is December 31, 2012."3 To my knowledge, this is the first book of its kind. Personally, I’ve heard rumors that a member of the therianthrope community is writing the preface for it; is there a public post by the person in question to confirm this rumor?

2012-09-05. A multidisciplinary team of scientists (sociologists, anthropologists, and social psychologists) called the Anthropomorphic Research Project (ARP) released results for its surveys of furries, bronies (fans of My Little Pony), and therianthropes.4

2012-09-05. An interview with Patricia Cori, co-author (with Alysa Bartha) of the Sirian Starseed Tarot. In the interview, Cori said she intended the oracle deck as a tool for “starseed awakening,” to assist the “the starseed [extraterrestrial] beings currently incarnated [in human bodies] on the planet, here to assist in the great transition that we all are beginning to recognize is well underway. […] In the generations of children since the 60’s, I believe, many very special souls are coming into the life experience highly conscious, with many gifts. They are starseeds from other planets and systems that are quite possibly more evolved than ours.”5 The starseed community has been active for several decades, but their community remains separate from the otherkin and therianthrope communities.

2012-09-11. Valerie Daval’s art exhibition of paintings inspired by therianthropes, featuring animal-themed reinterpretations of classic paintings. “Therians believe that while they have a human body, some important part of their mind, identity or spirit is that of an animal. […] Therians Dream is a series of portraits about metamorphosis between human and animal form.”6 Caution: the linked page includes artistic nudity.

2012-10. Following the release of Necomimi, the wearable cat-like biofeedback ears by Neurowear, an independent business emerged, called Emoki, offering diverse modifications built upon that hardware. Emoki offers the Necomimi headset, plus their own variety of interchangeable animal ears: bunny, bear, and fox, with more to come soon.7

2012-10. Transhuman week on Wired magazine, featuring the latest experiments and predictions about high-tech enhancement of the human body and mind. Trigger warnings: surgery, physical injuries particularly to eyes and extremities, vivid descriptions and photos thereof.

2012-11-05. Stalking Cat, 54, died. Famous for modifying his body to resemble a tiger, which he called his totem animal, Stalking Cat was active in the furry community,8 but I haven’t found evidence that he was active in the otherkin or therianthrope communities.


- O. Scribner

Sources )
frameacloud: A white dragon with its tail in a knot. (Heraldry transparent)
[personal profile] frameacloud
Trigger warnings: criticism of otherkin.

I thought that I would post a link list like this every month, but the otherkin community has been so creative recently that I find it hard to keep up! Scarcely any time after my previous link list, I’ve already got a long list of new articles and projects. Maybe I should post a link list here on a weekly basis instead of monthly?


New articles introducing otherkin-related concepts

Cladotherianthropy,” by Pantairin, of Chimera. 2011-07.
A cladotherianthrope is one whose animal side is a generalization of all animals within a taxa, such as an entire genus, rather than a species. A very well-written introduction to the definition and history of this concept.

A short history of soulbonding,” by Tatsuya Rokurou, of the Flatlanders.
This article is written with the assumption that the reader is already familiar with multiplicity. In 2001, the first mention of “soulbonding” (mentally communicating with fictional characters). An overview of this concept’s changing relationship with fan-fiction and multiplicity. The development of related concepts of “muses” and of “otakukin.” How the definition of “soulbonding” changed in 2003, and problems with that definition: it assumes that every soulbonding relationship is the same, which is false in actual practice.


New articles criticizing otherkin, and new responses to criticism

Otherkin troll bingo!” by Tsu. 2011-11-12.
A list of the phrases that people most commonly use to discredit otherkin, followed by a list of short responses from an otherkin correcting misconceptions in all of those. Both parts were created by a bird otherkin.

We are not sick and dangerous, for the record,” by an anonymous otherkin. 2011-10-27.
An otherkin described being otherkin to mental health counselors, and they responded positively. They don’t see it as disassociation, schizophrenia, or anything harmful. It just exists, so the responsible thing to do is to deal with it existing as best possible.

The parable of the were-duck,” by Aura Escher. 2011-08-24.
A vampyre criticizes therians for claiming to be animals, saying that therians are not animals in any real way. Escher expresses the opinion that what therians fool themselves into mistaking for their “animal side” is actually something else which is present in all humans, and not an “animal side” at all.

Confessions of a former otherkin,” by BellaDonna Saberhagen. 2011-11-13.
A personal reflection by a Neo-Pagan who once self-described as fairy, describing how inexperienced Neo-Pagans often initially go through a phase of deluding themselves and one another into believing excessively far-fetched things, including that they are dragons, werewolves, angels, or even gods, who will play a part in the end/transformation of the world. Saberhagen advises the reader to take caution with spirituality, and accept being human.

The skeptical otherkin #3: How inappropriate,” by Feathertail. 2011-11-21.
An otherkin asks, how do we determine whether the use of an idea is cultural appropriation?


Articles on what it's like to be a...?

Motionless claws,” by Citrakāyaḥ. 2011-07.
What it’s like to be a cheetah therianthrope.

Certata: From the blue fleet,” by Earth Listener, of Chimera. 2011-11.
What it’s like to be a blue glaucus sea-slug therian.

Tell me what it is like to be a swangirl,” by Tsu. 2011-11-18.
What it’s like to be a swan.

Untitled (swangirl), by Tsu. 2011-09-06.
On how the human and swan sides get along without clashing. On being autistic and otherkin.


Other new articles
People are only visible when they’re encouraged to speak,” by an anonymous author. 2011-11-12.
The otherkin and therian community mostly limits itself to conversation in English. As a result, we hear less or not at all from people in non-English-speaking parts of the world.

From fictionkin to animalkin,” by Mist Weaver, of the Chimeras. 2011-06.
Written by a fictional animal member of a plural system. Assumes the reader is already familiar with the concepts of fiction-kin, therianthropy, and plurality.

More thoughts about monsters,” by Tsu. 2011-10-17.
On the sacredness of that which is seen as different, strange, wrong, unacceptable, or scary. Whether you are a monster or not, you deserve to exist.

Untitled (mythology), by Tsu. 2011-08-28.
On the value of mythology

The upside-down of grounding,” by Child Of The Fae. 2011-11-15.
The metaphysical anatomy of this Fae otherkin differs from the standard metaphysical anatomy of a human. This creates a challenge when performing metaphysical acts such as “grounding.” Assumes the reader is already familiar with the concepts of metaphysical anatomy, otherkin, and grounding.


New foreign-language articles

Otherkin – dziwactwo czy fantastyczny sposób na życie? (Otherkin – a quirk, or a fantastic way to live?),” by Ewelina Czarnecka. 2011-08-29.
(In Polish.) An introduction to otherkin for outsiders. This polite and not sensationalistic article is in a women’s online magazine, We-Dwoje, which is otherwise mostly about fashion and health.


New art

Otherkin comic, by Drakmanka. 2011-11-13. Very nice.


New Podcast

The Pagan Musings podcast is having a show about otherkin, interviewing three otherkin: “Arthur,” Stormcrow, and Lupa.


New projects

The Beyond Awakening blog focuses on exploring otherkin-related topics that have had relatively little written about them. The latest essay prompt is titled “Challenge: Energetic Health.” Meirya asks otherkin to write about how their metaphysical energetic anatomy differs from that which is defined as “normal and healthy” in most literature on the subject.

Waoterlelie is running a survey, and is asking for otherkin to take a Meyers-Briggs personality test, and then send in their results.


New web-sites

Walking Between Worlds, a collection of essays written by two anonymous Vanir elves: one, an otherkin, the other, her spirit companion.


New blogs

The Other Problems, or, Dear Solace: A secrets and advice Tumblr. Anonymously send in your otherkin-related secrets or pleas for advice. The person running this blog is familiar with both psychology and otherkin, and patiently offers very wise advice to any who ask for it.

It Was Never Perfect But It Was Always Right, an otherkin-inspired work of ongoing fiction that has only just begun.

I Want To Go Home: Send in pictures of places that feel like Home, pictures of places for which your otherkin side feels homesick.

Little Otherkin Things And Problems. Short blurbs summarizing small things that are distinct to otherkin experience, whether joyful or sorrowful.


Other new link round-ups, like this one

Link roundup and some news,” by Meirya. 2011-11-26.
Includes some summaries of how the otherkin community has been changing recently.

Non-human blogs, resources, and projects,” by Tsu. 2011-11-26.


Thank you

Thanks to Earth Listener for telling me about several of these new things. Thanks to Tsu and Meirya for also collecting lists of new links on their blogs. When the otherkin community is so wonderfully creative and active, I appreciate any kind of help for keeping up with the fast pace!

- O. Scribner
frameacloud: A white dragon with its tail in a knot. (Heraldry transparent)
[personal profile] frameacloud
Trigger warnings: spirituality and science together.

A study carried out by Dr. Jason Braithwaite and published in the journal Cortex last July showed that instability in the temporal lobe— even in sober, mentally “normal” people— correlate with out-of-body experiences (OBEs) as well as sensations of shape-shifting.

Braithwaite explains that the temporal lobe is the part of the brain that “interprets the sensory and other information coming in from the body and places it on a body map, giving us our sense of being inside our body, of looking out from our eyes. If this interpretation goes wrong, a hallucination can occur …”1 Braithwaite performed the study upon “63 University students, 17 of whom (26%) claimed to have experienced at least one OBE in their lifetime.”2 The subjects were healthy, mentally “normal” people who were not under the influence of drugs.

The questionnaire part of the study included asking the subjects questions from the Cardiff Anomalous Perception Scale (CAPS), which includes in the “body distortion” section the question, “Do you ever have the sensation that your body, or part of it, is changing or has changed shape?”3 The original research article does not state how many subjects answered “yes” to this specific question or scored high in the “body distortion” section of CAPS. However, it does state that subjects who had experienced an OBE were more likely to have experienced body distortion than subjects who hadn’t experienced an OBE.4

Braithwaite summarized some correlations found in the study: “OBEers reported significantly more perceptual anomalies … relative to the non-OBEers. … OBEers had a tendency to be more hallucinatory-prone compared to non-OBEers.”5

Readers interested in this study can download a PDF of Braithwaite’s original research article via the ScienceDirect database, accessible via your local or school library. Each library’s web-site has a different route to access the article databases; please ask your librarian how.

- O. Scribner

Sources )

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