February 2nd, 2012

Lake Superior Weather Signs

Researched: Weather signs Lake Superior, storm signs lake superior.

Setting: Apocryphal island 5 to 10 miles south of Caribou. ie. It doesn't exist in our reality, although there's a map with it from the late 1700s. Geography ended up slightly different in the world of the story.

Time period: Current time, late October. Not quite into the storm season but close enough that there are going to be a few beauties headed the island's way.

Question: Lake Superior's storms are well known. What I'm not finding is a description of what sort of signs the inhabitants of the area see to warn that a storm is coming, nor what direction the storm typically heads when it's there. For example, here in the Miami Valley, we get weather from west to east for the most part. What would a storm do over Lake Superior?

Also, if there are any otter related folktales from the region they'd be useful, too. I've searched for Obijiwa folktales, Algonquin folktales and just general ones, but the internet doesn't seem to have a good selection.

Poisonous Women from Herb Usage

So I used to research the lore and historical use of poisonous herbs as a hobby and I remember reading about a myth or legend about a group of women in ancient times (I want to say Greece or Rome, or that's where the legend circulated) who had regularly taken a particular deadly herb so that they were not only accustomed to it, but that they themselves gained poisonous qualities and having physical contact or sleeping with them was deadly.

Unfortunately I cannot for the life of me remember where I read this or even what herb it was.  I thought it was belladonna, but I haven't been able to find anything that sounds similar to what I remember.  I've searched the entries for belladonna in Rodale's Illustrated Encyclopedia of Herbs, Herbs and Things, and on Botanical.com and Wikipedia, and done google searches for various combinations of "belladonna poisonous women" "deadly nightshade poisonous women," "deadly nightshade lore" "poisonous women" etc but haven't found what I'm looking for.

So does anyone happen to have heard this legend or know what herb I'm talking about?  And if there was a certain name for the poisonous herb-eating women?  And also if it was just a myth or something that was purported to actually happen and sailors were warned away from them or something.

Thank you for your help!