Medieval America Mark III

Ghosts and other Monsters of Folklore
Ghosts and other Monsters of Folklore

The Non-Denominational Church will root out heresies that are threats to its power, but it cannot stamp out local lore and superstition everywhere. Some old stories persist and some new have been thrown up by the new medieval age. Here are some examples.

The Bonus Army

In times of unrest in Washington, it is said a terrible apparition crosses the sky, the Bonus Army. These are the ghosts of ancient soldiers who mutinied against a President and were massacred by iron clad carriages by the general MacArthur. It is said those who are out in the Mall at night in times of revolt or intrigue in the capitol might get swept into their spectral ranks.

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Ghost Trains

Though time and the fall of civilization obscured them, the remains of railroad tracks and ties still crisscross the land. This has given rise to legends among the peasantry of many lands. It is said in some places where old railroad tracks are most visible and least decayed or overgrown that ghostly trains can be seen at night, though no train has existed for centuries. The passage of one is said to mark the death of the ancient President Lincoln.

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An overgrown and rusted locomotive found in the back country and feared by the local population as a haunted place

The Doomed Astralnaughts

Sometimes, peasants see unnatural lights cross the sky and burn up and fall to the Earth. In actuality these are ancient satellites in decaying orbits burning up on re-entry. But lacking the knowledge to fully understand this, people of Medieval America believe these to be ghostly apparitions of ancient flying craft that had doomed flights. The Challenger, Apollo the Thirteenth and Columbia are said to be the ghosts reliving their deaths in the sky above when this phenomena is witnessed.

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Wonder if the Quechua people saw a resurgence after the Regression. It could be interesting to see a neo Andean civilization in South America that while Catholic with metal working and horses does have a very Andean culture with the grass rope bridges.
 
Was thinking that back in Asia the Philippines could be the new center for the regional branch of the Catholic church. Competing heavily with the Muslim Malaysia and being a refuge for exiled Christians in the Asia mainland.
 
Updated ToC and threadmarks. Still some more organization to be done in the ToC and threadmarks as they currently stand, though.
 
Apologies if this has already been addressed (I didn't come across this being raised but I could have missed something) but...how do people reconcile the Washington that is a US hero and namesake of its holy city, and the region of the northwest that was formerly Washington state? Has the state label simply fallen out of use? Do people actually remember the rough "truth" (that the area was named in honor of Washington the man)? Or is it more odd, with, say, Cascadian traditions that Washington was from there and made a "pilgrimage" of sorts to the East Coast? Or something even more outlandish?
 
Apologies if this has already been addressed (I didn't come across this being raised but I could have missed something) but...how do people reconcile the Washington that is a US hero and namesake of its holy city, and the region of the northwest that was formerly Washington state? Has the state label simply fallen out of use? Do people actually remember the rough "truth" (that the area was named in honor of Washington the man)? Or is it more odd, with, say, Cascadian traditions that Washington was from there and made a "pilgrimage" of sorts to the East Coast? Or something even more outlandish?
Well, the city-states probably believe that President Washington and the state governor were one and the same. And judging by how quickly they embraced Eco-Buddism, I'm guessing that they don't have very positive memories of the state government, and would probably see Washington as some sort of Biblical Pharoah that fleed east after being defeated. As for the East Coasters, the State of Washington would probably be an American Kingdom of Prestor John. A few expeditions would be probably be sent to find it, but a pilgrimage would be out of the question.
 
Well, the city-states probably believe that President Washington and the state governor were one and the same. And judging by how quickly they embraced Eco-Buddism, I'm guessing that they don't have very positive memories of the state government, and would probably see Washington as some sort of Biblical Pharoah that fleed east after being defeated. As for the East Coasters, the State of Washington would probably be an American Kingdom of Prestor John. A few expeditions would be probably be sent to find it, but a pilgrimage would be out of the question.
Assuming the disaster which made everything go medieval was in some way destructive, the quick embrace of Eco-Buddhism could've just been a product of people seeking something to help restore a sense of purpose or meaning in the chaotic time's they were living in.
 
It is very likely the name "Washington" for a state has fallen out of use--the maps show no such place with that name. The Western half of the Pacific Northwest is a presumably a collection of city states, and the Eastern half a kingdom known as "The District of Columbia". People from the area are most likely known as "Columbians" or "Oregonians".

That said, I don't think people really sweat any "dissonance" between a George Washington, Washington State, and Washington D.C., if they know what any of that means. Julius Caesar was an invader and a pagan but French writers of the Middle Ages still seemed to think he was kind of awesome. He was a great general, the United States used to be a big place, things are going to get named after him. I'm not even sure people really consider the United States to be that awful--maybe it had a bit of a "Fat Elvis" phase towards the end but otherwise layman probably have trouble grasping how something so big can have existed than anything.
 
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The Bermuda Territory


  • System of Government: Tribal Chiefdom
  • Head of State: Territorial Premier, selected by and from the clans of the island
  • Population: 4,000
  • Religion: Nondenominational Christianity de jure, Bermudian Paganism de facto
  • Totemic Symbol: Red Lion
The island of Bermuda is perhaps the most isolated locale in Neo-Medieval world. When the Regression occurred, the islands economic raison d'etre as a tourism destination and tax haven disappeared, and so did the food imports that it depended on to support its massive population. Most immigrated away, though the population remained far too large to support. Waves of famine, war, and even cannibalism wracked the island over the next century. By the end of it all, the population had fallen to a few hundred.

Where the mainland degenerated to a medieval level of technology, Bermuda degenerated to a Neolithic level of technology. Knowledge of metal tools was lost, as was any ship building beyond the level of canoes. The population became reliant on low-level fishing, agriculture, and most especially pig pastoralism. Different parcels came under the rule of different clans. Once a year, these clans would meet up on Town Hill to select the new Premier of the isles, who would adjudicate disputes between the various clans until his death.

The religion of the Bermudians was shaped by the profound trauma of the Regression. Though they maintained belief in a one God and a vague belief in the trappings of Christianity, the every day lives of Bermudians came to be far more defined by the machinations of demons. The Bermudians believed that in times past the isles were the terrestrial paradise - however, for their sin and vanity, Bermuda was cast low and became the Devil's stomping ground. Demons constantly inflict misfortune on the islanders, calling down storms and pestilence, and most be constantly placated by offerings and the sacrifice of pigs. While God is believed to be eternally distant, a sufficiently pious man may come under the protection of the Saints and Angels (who are effectively one in the same). The demons and angels of Bermudian mythology are tied to various locales and stories unique to the island, and seldom bear resemblance to biblical narratives.

For most of the new Medieval era, Bermuda remained practically unknown to the inhabitants of the Americs. It was known variously as an isle of demons at the center of the mireous Sargasso Sea and the source of the anomalies of the Bermuda Triangle, or it was believed to be the terrestrial paradise and was termed "The Summer Isles." Bermudian lore points towards occasional ship wreck survivors washing ashore, though far more common was for the bodies and debris of wrecked ships to wash ashore.

In 2855, the Gullah merchant Ricky Thomas was blown off course from an expedition into the Bahamas and into the Sargasso Sea. Thomas's bark managed to survive the tribulations of the deep sea and he landed upon Bermuda. Throwing himself upon the mercy of the Premier and offering gifts of iron, Thomas managed to survive and lived two years among the Bermudians, who treated him with the hospitality due a traveler from another clan. After completing repairs on his ship, Thomas and his surviving crew managed the extraordinary feat of sailing back to Florida.

President Theodore Roosevelt V was not living up to his name at this time (having picked it purely as a function of being a descendant of the Oyster Bay Roosevelts). Facing opposition from within the court and following a disastrous expedition against the Abenaki Quebeckers of inland Maine, President Roosevelt seized upon the re-discovery of Bermuda to boost his popularity, and proposed to conquer the Terrestrial Paradise in the name of Manifest Destiny. A massive expedition of 50 ships was launched to conquer and convert the pagans in 2863.

Sailing out of Jacksonville and led by Ricky Thomas, the fleet was met with misfortune after misfortune. Bahamian pirates, mutinous crews fearful of sailing into the Triangle, navigational difficulties and, finally, a hurricane reduced the fleet's strength by three fourths by the time it arrived on Bermuda's shore. A flag was raised, a Church was built, and the Premier accepted a theoretical vassalage to the Presidency in exchange for gifts of iron. Then the fleet sailed home to Jacksonville, disappointed to find that the wild riches promised by myth and the account of Ricky Thomas were wild exaggerations - in a sense, Ricky Thomas was lucky to have been killed early in the voyage by Bahamanian pirates, as he no doubt would have been tortured by the CIA for his troubles. The boondoggle that was the Bermudian Expedition was often brought up in the Impeachment and Treason trials that ultimately ended in Roosevelt V's execution.

The Bermudians were only too happy to accept the Americans and their strange religion. In 2857, upon the departure of Ricky Thomas, the priest of Crystal Caves (the holiest site in Bermuda) predicted that the stranger's departure was the harbinger of great things, that God would once again turn his eyes to the Island, and that all of this would be marked by a great sign in the heavens. Lo and behold, the arrival of the American fleet was accompanied by the return of Halley's Comet.

Today, life proceeds on Bermuda much as it ever has. Though enthusiastic adopters of the trappings of American Christianity, the islanders maintain the old rituals on their island, and the local Church is far too weak to do anything about it. Every ten years, a Census ship sails from Jacksonville bringing news and supplies. For the most part, this is the only communication Bermuda enjoys with the outside world, and they like this arrangement just fine.
 
Here There Be Monsters: The Bermuda Triangle



Sailors are a superstitious sort, always have been. This is only natural - sailors in the pre-Industrial era resemble astronauts more then anything else, trapped in cramped boxes upon an alien and capricious body where death may strike in a thousand and one manners. In the new America, any number of myths and monsters have arisen to make sense of the murky depths, from the hated Jaws to the Deep Ones. However, no phrase makes a sailor go weaker in the knees then "The Bermuda Triangle."

The Triangle is said to extend from Miami to old San Juan, and all the way north to legendary Bermuda, though this definition is not strictly adhered to - for all their talent, neo-medieval sailors cannot said to possess a "scientific" knowledge of geography. Thus, any voyage that sails past Miami and does not bear west for the Keys is said to be at "Triangle's Corner". The route along Cuba's northern coast and towards the West Indies is said to be the "at Triangle's Base." A sailor may not breathe a sigh of relief until he lands in old San Juan.

Woe be to that sailor who must sail amid the Bahamas or the Turks - pleasant lands though they may be, one may be said to have truly entered the triangle. Even worse is when a ship is failed to sail along the outer rim of these isles, with only the endless expanse of the Triangle to see as they look to port. Woe be to any who is blown off course into the open expanse of the Triangle itself, whether he be sailing the Caribbean or the much more mundane route along the southeastern seaboard. This is considered to be just about a certain death sentence, swept up in the mire of the Sargasso to be devoured by monsters or butchered by ghosts.

The stories surrounding the Triangle are some of the most diverse of all sailor's tales. A seemingly endless horde of beasts and spooks are said to be the cause of the perpetual misfortune this stretch of sea brings. It is said to be a favored haunt of the Deep Ones who live amid the undersea ruins of Atlantis (which is used by many to explain the webbed hands and strange appearances of the inhabitants of the isle of Bimini.) Jaws and Old Hitler are said to do battle here, and when they clash the result is the freak hurricanes the region is so well known for. It is said to be the haunt of the Doomed Astronauts who failed to return to Cape Canaveral, and that their space stations and space ships still lurk below the waters, piloted by skeletons who still wear their space suits. Alongside the Doomed Astronauts are the UFOs, who will sink merchant vessels without warning or abduct crews. Most feared of all are ghost ships, the result of over a thousand years of plunder and piracy in this region dating from the Golden Age of Piracy to the pre-Regression era, and indeed through to the Neo-Medieval Era. These ships are said to be crewed by the damned, hellbent on taking as many sailors as they can with them to Davy Jones's Locker.

In truth, more sober observers will point out, there is nothing particularly extraordinary about the region. Rather, the stretch of sea between Cuba and Florida (and over Cuba's northern coast towards Puerto Rico) is one of the most trafficked in the world, the site of much trade, warfare and, indeed, piracy. This, when coupled with the hurricanes that do indeed wrack the area, account for the number of sinkings, but even then the number is large only in absolute terms. It's true that being blown away from the Bahamas or the Carolina Coast is a death sentence but this is because of the pernicious currents of the Sargasso and the dangers of the open sea, not because of attacks by old world aircraft carriers.

Indeed, even the strange and scary things that sailors report seeing off the bow are explainable in psychological terms, for the "base" of the triangle is a scary place. In addition to the dangers outlined above, the Triangle is at the very outer limits of American supply lines and cultural awareness - if you run into trouble there's no cavalry on the way. This is bound to put one on edge. The cultures here are foreign and seemingly diabolic, and the potentates that they owe fealty to are often overtly hostile to American interests.

Despite these reassurances, sailors remain unconvinced and are likely to carry talismans or give offerings to foreign gods to assure their safe passage. Indeed, even some in government are not so sure that the Bermuda Triangle is purely mundane - certain learned men of the CIA have written treatises drawing on what hazy remnants of pre-Regression science remain, suggesting that the Bermuda Triangle is the center of a gravitational anomaly that may make it a portal to other dimensions - perhaps even Hell itself. It is worth noting that the decennial Census ship that sails to Bermuda always has a CIA attache aboard.
 
Whatever the Regression was it must have been really nasty if it wiped out so much of the world's scientific knowledge.
Obviously this is true in general, though it's worth noting that it's only so extreme in Bermuda due to the massive population loss (since Bermuda has such an unnaturally large population currently) coupled with isolation and a lack of resources.
 
Do you guys think that they have llama chariots and carts in south America?
Obviously this is true in general, though it's worth noting that it's only so extreme in Bermuda due to the massive population loss (since Bermuda has such an unnaturally large population currently) coupled with isolation and a lack of resources.
Makes sense. Do you think there might be an order of Monks or record keepers out there who actually have a pretty complete record of modern knowledge preserved somewhere? Just picture some scribe out in the desert uncovering a hidden room and discovering all those lost texts.
 
I think the Flying Dutchman should probably warrant a mention in here or separately.
I figured seperately, I originally mentioned it in the post but it just didn't quite work mechanically.

Makes sense. Do you think there might be an order of Monks or record keepers out there who actually have a pretty complete record of modern knowledge preserved somewhere? Just picture some scribe out in the desert uncovering a hidden room and discovering all those lost texts.
Maybe, probably not. Plenty of neo-medieval and post apocalyptic stories cover that angle, not really interested in it here.
 
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