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May 20 , 2009

Blue Men and River Monsters

Folklore of the North


The north is a treasure trove of folklore. From magical creatures of the old country to legends of the mysterious and macabre, such lore is a fascinating record of the stories people held on to and the customs, foods, and cures that filled their lives. Collected in the 1930s as part of the Federal Writers’ Program, a Depression-era works project, these are the stories of Norwegian and Swiss immigrants, Native American medicine men and storytellers, and pioneers with memories of the earliest days of settlement in the Old Northwest. In search of stories, legends, songs, and other scraps of traditional knowledge, researchers fanned out across Wisconsin and other states. The resulting handwritten notes, thousands of pages in length, capture history as people remembered it. Blue Men and River Monsters collects the most interesting and noteworthy of these tales, placing them alongside stunning artwork collected by the Federal Art Project in Wisconsin. Peruse these pages and discover a new history of the people and places of the old north.

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