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Examples of folklore in steampunk?

Started by FallenFantasy174, March 02, 2021, 11:29:35 PM

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Whilst I've seen a few deep sea diving mermaids and steam powered dragons I'd love to see some examples of the less well known folklore and mythological creatures in strampunk. Where are the Seelie? The Yōkai? The Titans? The urban myths?

Does anyone have some examples they can share of folklore used in steampunk? Be it art, story, games, tv, blog posts or their own creative projects?


Personally:As a gaian with a dark sens of humor, i tend to combine steampunk and folk horror in my daydream.

In General: Steampunk  fantasy is very current and the victorians love for fairies and neo-paganism is often acknowledged.
The word pagan came from paganus , who mean peasant . Its was a way to significate than christianism was the religion of the elite and paganism the one of the savage worker class.

''Trickster shows us how we trick OURSELVES. Her rampant curiosity backfires, but, then, something NEW is discovered (though usually not what She expected)! This is where creativity comes from—experiment, do something different, maybe even something forbidden, and voila! A breakthrough occurs! Ha! Ha! We are released! The world is created anew! Do something backwards, break your own traditions, the barrier breaks; destroy the world as you know it, let the new in.''
Extract of the Dreamflesh article ''Path of The Sacred Clown''

J. Wilhelm

You might find some creatures in the old Brassgoggles' Bestiarum vocabulum. I haven't seen that thread in many years:,24935.0.html

J. Wilhelm

Well there's always vampyres. Did you ever hear about the (real life) Catholic priest whose steampunked holy-water guns?,26636.msg680001.html#msg680001


J. Wilhelm

Actually, in seeing the relatively slow progress of this thread, it just occurred to me that we can't see the forest for the trees. Folklore is exactly that. Folk Lore. The localized culture, customs and myths of regional groups of people.

You see Steampunk IS folklore by definition. It is the idealization of  a certain period of time that is re-imagined as an alternate time-line. It's the idealization of a world where people were in transition from a horse driven culture to a locomotive driven culture, which we re-imagine by way of airships and ray guns and all sorts of retro futuristic technologies, with the advantage that WE actually live in future, and we unfairly know what technology looks like when Jules Verne had no choice but to make it all up in his mind. We idealize the historical technological events which helped spread Britain (19th century ) and a newfangled United States (20th century ) into global cultural dominance.

In the British world it can also be Imperial folklore, with various spin-offs, such as British India folklore. In other countries touched by the industrial revolution it can also involve their own historical folklore. In Japan, it's Meiji Era Folklore, in Russia there will be folkloric elements too. I've written quite a bit on Mexico in the late 19th century (Porfiriato and industrialization with massive European migration) and of course there is the Weird West folklore in the United States which we don't see so often in these days - probably because we're missing various American members now.

So in my mind folkloric elements will be geographically derived based on the local history which will involve some sort of technological and cultural influence and exchange from Britain or 19th century Europe. And for examples, there's probably a great many threads in this forum! It's just that we don't commonly use the word "folklore" to describe Steampunk. If you search the threads, you'll find it!

Germanic Steampunk:,47188.msg957489.html#msg957489

Mexican Steampunk:,26636.msg592752.html#msg592752

Japanese Steampunk:,38619.msg828422.html#msg828422

Steampunk in Russia:,47396.0.html

Since you can "Turn Anything into Steampunk™" the list of folkloric Steampunk ideas is endless.

In my not yet written novel "The Valkyrie and the Eagle" I make use of Germanic folklore by bringing to life elves and making them human. That's Germanic folklore. I also introduce Wild West elements, which are American folklore and history (eg Civil War, Indian Wars type characters), and also Mexican history (French Intervention / Maximilian Empire) which involves both Germanic (Austrian) history.,49108.msg983624.html#msg983624


as someone who has studied folklore in university, i do have to say that this is an interesting point of discussion. folklore encompasses much more than what most people associate with the term.

Quote from: J. Wilhelm on March 26, 2021, 07:11:06 PM
Actually, in seeing the relatively slow progress of this thread, it just occurred to me that we can't see the forest for the trees. Folklore is exactly that. Folk Lore. The localized culture, customs and myths of regional groups of people.

You see Steampunk IS folklore by definition. (...)

This, this is a very good point. steampunk, in it's very nature encompasses many folkloric elements. pulling from a history, you will see the subculture has it's own, well, culture. folklore is in the tales we spin, the clothes we wear, the language we speak, the songs we sing (etc). and for many of us, steampunk is an intergral part of that.
though i have yet to see any steampunk folk medicine (folk medicine being unofficial treatments, like using flour to stelp blood, honey to sooth a sore throat or garlic to lessen a fever) and i hesitate to think what i'd be like with the crew of madmen i have met in this wonderful subculture.

in choosing do participate in this steampunk movement, we are adopting the folklore that comes with it. we have our own stories, annecdotes, jokes, music, clothing, names, terms and mannerisms.

calling a child a cogling is steampunk folklore, so is listening to a steampunk band of your choosing, wearing a hat, too, could be folklore.

Passion is like a Peatfire


More in line with what the original post writer was, I think, thinking...gremlins, or rather goblins, nockers and gremlins, which seem related in what I have seen. Gremlins appear to be those mechanically inclined sprites (as a generic term) with an interest in and at least in many tales, destructive dislike, of air craft in particular. These beings, the more earth centered of the folk being goblins and nockers tending towards association with mining and metal work, including as folklore beings associated with miners in the 19th century, would be quite fitting within a steampunk context.

I don't personally know how prevelant their usage actually is in steampunk but I would be delighted if anyone has anecdotes of such, or even just more folklore references to these beings that could be so incorporated.

That said, I find the idea of studying Steampunk itself within the context of folklore a fascinating idea and it anyone more learned in that area of study than I...I am only very marginally self taught...would be willing to share any gems of wisdom I am all gramophonicly enhanced ears here.

I also wonder if the folklore of steampunk and folklore in a steampunk context might gain enough interest to become a rallying point for a club of some sort, a society of amateur folklorists perhaps? Just some thoughts and may this vein prove rich with ore!

Now I must go get lost in the caverns of the links posted already, why what interesting fungus grow down here.