August 10th, 2005

Snakes, funerals and symbolism

I'm actually asking this for a friend of mine...

"I wasn't having good luck finding this... but someone asked me about it and I became curious. Maybe someone here knows or could find something.

I'm looking for superstitions/symbolism involving snakes and funerals. Like, if it's supposed to be any sort of omen connected to finding a snake at a funeral, or on the day someone is buried or anything like that.
Bonus points if you find something that stems from Poland or the Austria/Hungary region in general."

burning herbs for the dead

Are there any herbs or other plant parts, that burn readily, that are in any particular way associated with funeral rituals/remembering the dead/etc.? Strong preference for ones that grow in a temperate climate.
Failing that, or in addition, any plant bits that (with no processing other than drying and/or chopping up) burn readily and give off a particularly pleasant odor when burned? (same climate preference)
This is for the customs of a fictional world, but I'd like to know if there's anything that might fit well.
For that matter, just as a bonus, anyone happen to know of any extant customs involving burning things (besides candles or cremation-related activities) as a rememberance of the dead?

Relationship between Tinnitus, Hyperacusis and Schizophrenia and Murder

I'm currently writing a story where my main character has Tinnitus (basically known as "ringing in the ears") and suffers also from hyperacusis attacks (as researched by me -- when you can't stand high noises). I want him to gradually become mentally ill and in a fit kill someone.

The problem is i need to know if there are any connections between hearing disorders and schizophrenia or any other mental illness and if aggravated, they could really end up in murder.

Also i am very interested in the psychology of murderers, and if there are resources online, or even better, books i can look up, i'd be very appreciative. I have researched tinnitus and hyperaccusis, but am interested in the psychological, or rather psichiatric aspect of this disorders.

manuscript formatting for dance shows

I have read books/websites on screenplay writing and drama, but so far I have been unable to find out if there are formatting conventions for dance performances. I'm not talking about ballet per se (I know there is a very complicated notation for the movements of the dancers), but about about writing what you might call a libretto for a musical pantomime/dance show. Think Lord of the Dance (on a much smaller scale). I am writing the "play", which functions mostly without words, and I describe where the dance numbers are placed and what they are supposed to express, I describe the sets, and I even have to give instructions to the composer. So far, I'm using the format for screenplays, but I don't know how to describe the music. In plain text? I feel like my normal prose inventory isn't enough to describe the many levels of such a production in a tidy and easy to read fashion. Help? Please?