October 2nd, 2007


sailing vernacular

I am writing a story that is not really historically accurate (set sometime in the 1700s, in Britain, if you want to be more specific), and I just need a bit of dialogue that sounds correct. Basically, I need it to mean "let down the sails and make the ship go faster, you lazy bums". I've searched for 'sailing vernacular', 'nautical terminology', etc., but most of the sites I reach are more interested in explaining the origin of, say, 'the cat is out of the bag', which is interesting, but not really relevant to my needs.

Any input would be greatly appreciated!

ETA: Thank you to all the posters! I have something I can use now. Cheers!

Foot Torture (Bastinado)

This is rather a follow up query. I was considering the excellent answers I got on this post: http://community.livejournal.com/little_details/1677544.html And the consensus was that my ideas for non-invasive tortures were anything but. Which made me do research another suggested Medieval-appropriate method of torment: Foot beating (Bastinado and Falaka).

I know that while Falaka is very damaging and violent and created great pain instantly, Bastinado is more about the duration of the torment which was said to drive people into 'hysterics' - like Chinese Water torture. I also found out through google there was (and is) an erotic component. But after a solid 2 days googling many combinations of "foot" Torture" "bastinado" "duration" and "hysterics", I was not able to find a few things about bastinado (The un-erotic torture variety)that I would need for a convincing scene.

1) How long in between each hit?
2) How long (or how many hits) did the relatively moderate blows upon the soles of the feet become: (a) actively uncomfortable (b) really uncomfortable (c) outright painful
(d) almost unbearable- causing one to writhe and scream (e) inducing hysteria or shock. (and what does 'hysteria mean in this context anyway?)

Or did the momentum to hysteria begin all at once when it became clear to the victim that the torment could go on for hours? I read that 100 hits was standard, but if I want my character to think he is getting off light (hey- a small rod, that doesn't hurt so bad) then end up wanting to die by the end I wonder when that line would be likely to be crossed.

I even checked on some BDSM sites, but none quite explained why the mental toll of this punishment, if done for pain rather than pleasure, would be so steep. And as for how it feels, I guess one just has to be there. Uh...(blushes) anyone out there ever been there?
rain, paper boats

Of Bridal Ghosts and Good Omens

Hello, all. :)

I'm sure many of us heard of ghosts and other supernatural creatures being omens of death or impending doom, like for example 'family' ghosts that appear to when there's an impeding death or disaster to the family they're 'attached' to, etc., but I was wondering if there are any ghosts that appear or are omens for good luck or joyous occasions? 

I have a story where a family has a 'family ghost' that only appears to the future brides of the sons in the family (meaning a girl sees this ghost, in the near future she's going to end up married into the family). I was wondering if there are something similar in real-life ghostlore.  It doesn't have to be exact, though, and ghosts that herald good luck or joyous occasions are most welcome.

I've google castle hauntings, ghost brides, bride omens, ghost good omens, etc., but haven't seen much so far. The nearest I could find was the Piper of Culzean Castle, where whenever one of the Kennedy (not the political one!) family is about to get married, a ghostly piper is said to play in the grounds. He is also supposed to play on stormy nights - mixed in with the howling wind and crashing waves. 


Thank you. :D