Halloween: A 500 Year History Of Apparitions, Poltergeists, Seances And Ghosts
Tomorrow night, October 31, 2016, is Halloween, when both children, and adults, can escape the mundane, and stressful aspects of their everyday lives; and, for a short period of a few hours, enter the world of the make believe — of ghosts, goblins, apparitions, and poltergeists. According to the website, True Ghost Tales, Halloween’s origins date back to ancient times with the festival of Samhain. The website notes that this festival “was a Celts version of a New Year’s Eve celebration honoring the end of summer and harvest time; and, marking a period of cold, darkness, and [the] death of winter. Celts believed that this end of year, marked the time in which the barrier between the living and the dead became thin. On October 31st, the spirits would come back from the dead, and create havoc by damaging the crops with frost, and causing a multitude of other problems.”
“The Roman church soon enacted a holiday to detour the worship of the spirits; and so proclaimed November 1st, All Saints Day, to honor the saints and martyrs of the church. This day is also known as All Hallows Eve. As the two religions began to mix, much of the traditions of Samhain, such as dressing up in costumes and dancing around the fire became one with All Hallows Eve — to [ultimately] create Halloween.”
“Trick or Treating is also a tradition of Halloween,” with trick or treating a by-product of “All Souls Day parades in early England,” True Ghost Tales notes. “The poor citizens of England would line up on the sides of the street as the richer members of the community paraded by and threw them pastries called soul cakes. The starving citizens would accept these cakes in exchange for praying for the richer class dead family members.”
The tradition of dressing up in costume, “started in early England, where citizens, knowing that Hallows Eve was a time for the spirits of their ancestors to come back and taunt them, would dress up in masks and costumes to keep the spirits from recognizing them,” according to True Ghost Tales.
For those of you looking for a good read on Halloween, Roger Clarke’s 2014 book: “Ghosts: A Natural History — 500 Years — Searching For Proof,” is an entertaining, and sometimes scary read, about ghosts. apparitions, poltergeists, seances, and our longing to believe in the paranormal. Patrick McGrath, who reviewed Mr. Clarke’s book in The New York Times in October 2014, wrote that Mr. Clarke “contends that England is the most haunted country in the world.” And not surprisingly, Mr. Clarke writes that “many dramatic haunting’s have occurred in wartime.” “Clarke looks closely at the case of The Angels Of The Mons, and discovered not an authentic instance of supernatural intervention in human affairs; but, rather a case of what’s referred to elsewhere as “fiction reversing into reality..” “The “angels” were winged figures in some recent accounts, and in others, English archers from the Battle Of Angincourt of 1415,” and one of the most significant military battles of all time.
Finally, you may want to set your DVRs tomorrow night (Monday October 31, 2016/Halloween), from 9pm EDT – 11pm EDT, airing on Destination America, for the 2-hour special — “100 Hours At Black Monk House,” in Pontefract, England, where the most violent poltergeist activity of all time occurred in 1966. Paranormal Lockdown’s Nick Groff and Katrina Weidman recently went to the Black Monk House and conducted the longest paranormal investigation ever recorded.
So, you can get Mr. Clarke’s book, watch Paranormal Investigation’s 2-hour special, both, or take your kids Trick Or Treating — or all three. Happy Halloween! V/R, RCP