Researchers of traditional storytelling are largely limited to existing indices for the discovery of stories. These indices rarely include geo-indexing, despite a fundamental premise of folkloristics that stories are closely related to the physical environment. Consequently, it is often difficult for folklore researchers to address questions that relate story topics to geographic location. To address this problem, we propose WitchHunter, a suite of tools for the geographically based exploration of a large folklore corpus (>30,000 stories). WitchHunter presents visual representations of the latent semantic connections between stories in a map-based navigation and discovery environment. These visualizations of the relationship between places and a first-level approximation of story topics can be used by researchers to build and refine research questions. We illustrate the usefulness of this environment through a series of experiments related to legends about witches, cunning folk, ghosts, revenants, hidden folk, and other supernatural phenomena.


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pp. 14-42
Launched on MUSE
Open Access
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