December 9, 2019

The Editor speaks: Halloween and horror is thrilling. Really?

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The Ghost Editor

The 31st October is approaching. It is less than a week away. This day is celebrated as “Halloween” and is also known as All Hallows’ Eve, or All Saints’ Eve. This is because it is the day before the Western Christian feast of All Hallows’ Day.

Halloween has spurned many, many books and nearly as many movies.

We have published already one article on spooky destinations to visit and we have another one on our website today.

America is especially obsessed with Halloween.

Because it is closely related to a Christian festival, as explained above, Halloween draws from both Celtic and Christian traditions.

Halloween is the spookiest night of the year.

It’s also a boon to the retail industry. In the US, spending on costumes and candy gets bigger every year.

Historians have linked Halloween to Samhain, the Celtic festival of the summer’s end celebrated in Ireland, Scotland, and the Isle of Man.

According to Celtic mythology, the veil between the Otherworld and our world thins during Samhain, making it easier for spirits and the souls of the dead to return.

People would make offerings of food in order to get on the good side of these spirits and departed ancestors,

As apples are connected to the Otherworld they make a big appearance at Halloween. Bobbing or dunking for apples remains a popular party game. On the 31st October people would dunk their heads in a vat of water and try to bite into floating fruit in a quest to figure out their future spouse.

Ladies would mark an apple and toss it into the tub. The thinking was they’d be destined to whoever pulled it out of the water.

It might seem fun to intricately design pumpkins and place them over a lighted candle and turn them into Jack-o-lanterns but they have a sinister past. They symbolize a fateful deal with the Devil. It all goes back to many, many years ago in Ireland. The legend has it that one night, a conniving local drunkard named Jack trapped the Devil in a tree by hacking a sign of the cross into the bark. In exchange for letting Satan climb down, Jack had him vow to never claim his soul.

Jack proceeded to act like a jerk his whole life. When he died, he wasn’t allowed in Heaven. So he turned back to the Devil for help.. However, the Devil upheld his end of the deal, hurling a piece of coal from Hell at the dead man, for good measure.

Left without anywhere to go, Jack placed the blazing coal in a turnip (now substituted as a pumpkin) to use as a lantern. The dead man then set out, doomed to wander until he can find an eternal resting place. He appears every year on the 31st October. Beware he might be inside one of your lanterns.

As for dressing up at Halloween – it goes back to the Celts who dressed up as evil spirits to confuse the demons who pray on ordinary folk on this night.

And why do so many people like to be scared?

Margee Kerr, Ph.D., sociologist, and author of “Scream: Chilling Adventures in the Science of Fear, told the website Healthline, “When we’re afraid our bodies release different chemicals that can contribute to feeling good under the right circumstances.”

Kerr says the positive feelings are caused by different neurotransmitters and hormones released when the body feels fear.

These are all triggered by the body’s sympathetic nervous system.

So, that scary feeling gives you a great big thrill.

Be prepared, your thrill time is coming soon.

As long as you’re not scared to death!

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