Mythology is like other traditional tales but exceptionally important to a culture. In addition, it would be the primary focus of modern pagan practitioners. The study and interpretation of myth is called mythography. No matter where mythology originates the stories seems to have fundamental similarities. This aroused the attention of the groundbreaking psychologist Carl Jung to theorize and popularize the concept of the collective unconscious, a telepathic network connecting all of humanity. This leads to phenomena such as simultaneous invention, which happened hundreds of times in history with a particularly famous example being the simultaneous development of calculus by Isaac Newton and Gottfried Wilhelm Leibniz, as well as the crossword puzzle challenge factor phenomenon, where crossword puzzles seem to be easier once they have been published for awhile. Jung's work was elaborated upon by a mythographer named Joseph Campbell who described a system called The Hero's Journey in his magnum opus The Hero with a Thousand Faces. This could be described as a spiritual operating system that we are all attracted to and work with even in our everyday lives. This system is used by those in media to structure a story which will garner interest. In virtually every case the more faithful a story is to The Hero's Journey the more popular and impactful it is. This formula is widely used, but series that follow this formula particularly strictly include Star Wars, Harry Potter, Lord of the Rings and The Matrix. Such stories can become ubiquitously known and highly treasured, and in a way serve as modern mythology.

Traditional Folklore, Fairy Tales and Reports

Traditional folklore and tales are legends told by witnesses or from bards, parents, elders, etc. which tell a tale, often to entertain but which can also hold truth. In many cases they involve local legend but they may be made up whole cloth, and this can be difficult to ascertain; they may be made up to simply scare children from straying too far from their parents a great deal of the time. However, many of them are no doubt honest reports of sightings and interactions. Crude and irreverant stories are common but tend to have been recorded less; tales may be bowdlerized in attempting to suit a certain audience and may become more moralistic as a result. Traditional tales may come off as strikingly in line with old ideals and tropes which have long since been deconstructed and toyed with.

Usually collected from oral tradition, there are many thousands of tales recorded in writing. They were transcribed and published between the 15th-18th centuries when printing became more affordable in what are called chapbooks, which were usually paper-bound and less than 40 pages. An even earlier type of publication was the broadside ballad, a single sheet of paper with a ballad, rhyme and/or news which was highly affordable as entertainment. These remained popular alongside the chapbook. Folklore continues today with urban legends, ghost stories, encounter stories and cryptozoology, much of it unrecorded and remaining between friends and family like the old days but sometimes posted on message boards or recorded in blogs.

Sometimes tales can be recorded by the media or government institutions such as courts of law. These may be classified as reports since they fall out of typical oral tradition. This is a thin but noticeable divergence from traditional folklore.

Collections of strictly fictional tales originating from professional writers such as Hans Christian Anderson will not be included, and are in the media section instead. Many recorders are also authors, but the entries will be sorted by what constitutes the majority of their work for convenience.


Specific Tales