This week: Happy Halloween 2012!Edited by: LJPC - the tortoise
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This newsletter is about Halloween history and some fun facts.
"Double, double, toil and trouble; fire burn and cauldron bubble."
~ William Shakespeare
"'Tis now the very witching time of night,
When churchyards yawn and hell itself breathes out
Contagion to this world."
~ William Shakespeare
The witches fly
Across the sky,
The owls go, "Who? Who? Who?"
The black cats yowl
And green ghosts howl,
"Scary Halloween to you!"
~ Nina Willis Walter, author
"Being in a band you can wear whatever you want - it's like an excuse for Halloween everyday."
~ Gwen Stefani, singer
"I would rather sit on a pumpkin and have it all to myself than be crowded on a velvet cushion."
~ Henry David Thoreau, author
"Nothing on Earth is so beautiful as the final haul on Halloween night."
~ Steve Almond, author
** Image ID #1895004 Unavailable **
Halloween History and Little Known Facts
Halloween Halloween had its beginnings in an ancient, pre-Christian Celtic festival marking the harvest of crops and the end of the seasonal year (winter was considered the beginning of a new year). The day was originally called Samhain (pronounced SAW-win). The Celts believed that the ghosts of the dead were able to mingle with the living during the "last" night of the year. People lit bonfires to keep the spirits away and put out offerings of food, hoping to placate the ghosts, witches, faeries and demons thought to be roaming that night.
Trick or Treat The custom of trick-or-treating is thought to have originated with a ninth-century European custom called "Souling." On November 2, All Souls Day, early Christians would walk from village to village begging for "soul cakes," made out of square pieces of bread with currants. The more soul cakes the beggars would receive, the more prayers they would promise to say on behalf of the dead relatives of the donors. The prayers were believed to speed the dead souls' passage to heaven.
Jack-o-lantern The name "jack-o'-lantern" came from 17th century Britain, when it literally meant "man with a lantern" (a night watchman). Hollowed out turnips were used to protect the home from the evil creatures roaming abroad on All Hallows Eve. It's only when the tradition came to America that they began to use pumpkins, which were more plentiful and larger than turnips.
In Irish history, there's another story about how the name came about. The story goes that Stingy Jack was a miserable, old drunk who played pranks on family, friends, and even the Devil. One day, he tricked the Devil into climbing up an apple tree and then carved crosses in the tree's trunk so the Devil couldn't get down. Jack would only let him down from the tree if the Devil promised never to take his soul into Hell. Later, when Jack died, he was denied entrance to Heaven because of his evil ways and he was also denied access to Hell because his agreement with the Devil. The Devil cursed his spirit to wander the earth forever in the darkness. When Jack begged him for a something to light his way, the Devil tossed him an ember from the flames of Hell. Jack placed the ember in a hollowed out turnip (used in Britain instead of pumpkins). He now roams the earth without a resting place, lighting his way with his "Jack O'Lantern."
Bobbing for Apples This game of putting apples in a tub of water (or hanging them from strings attached to the ceiling) and trying to catch one in a person's mouth was started by Celts who were influenced by the Roman goddess Pomona. She was the goddess associated with love and fertility, and her symbol was an apple. In the game, the first person to catch an apple would be the next one to marry.
Winners of the Horror/Scary Newsletter Contest!
Until next time: Let the horror bleed onto the pages with every word!
** U.S. East coast people -- I'm sorry your Halloween was cancelled this year. I'm wishing that you're all safe, warm and dry. **
Here are some spooky Halloween tales for your reading pleasure!
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To my delight, some writers took the time to comment on my last newsletter: "Horror Sub-Genres and Tropes" Thank you!
Comments posted in the order they were received.
lotte writes: Thanks for the highlight! I'm really impressed with that list--I think I'll keep it in our forum!
Great! Thanks for all your help.
Voodoo Shampoo writes: Well cheers for listing popular horror types. my favorite tho, is not listed, it's sci-fi horror why? nothing is more scary than something that might actually happen
With this i don't mean the unscientific zombie horrors. I mean scary stuff such as getting blocked in time, genetic experiments gone wrong, teleportation chaos, alien abductions, civilization collapses back into stone age, the world's still primitive state isn't overcome etc. Well you get the idea. Nasty stuff we rather not think about.
I adore Sci-Fi/Horror! Rather than a sub-genre of Horror, it's considered a mash-up or combination of genres, like Fantasy/Comedy or Sci-Fi/Romance, which fit into more than one category.
Vampyr14 writes: Wow! This is a fantastic and very comprehensive list of genres and tropes.
Thanks so much for your appreciation and for replying to the newsletter!
BIG BAD WOLF is Feeling Lucky submits "The Vampiress and the Boy" and writes: Not all vampires are evil- some are very picky.
You're right, not all vampires are evil -- some even sparkle!
Taniuska writes: This is a great post... pointing out the tropes for each sub-category is great. :) Keep up the awesome newsletters.
Thanks so much! I love hearing from you.
salliemoffitt writes: Great newsletter! I found your descriptions of the sub-genres and tropes to be informative and educational. I liked how you defined each different type of horror writing with examples of settings, characters, published works, and even movies. Thank you for an enlightening newsletter!
You're welcome, Sallie! I hope some of the sub-genres and tropes will inspire you in your writing.
Arakun the twisted raccoon writes: Great newsletter! The movie "Burnt Offerings" scared me so bad I couldn't sleep without the lights on for three months! The hearse driver was soooo creepy and he looked like my high school English teacher!
Yikes! I'm glad I didn't go to your high school.
Trisha writes: This really help me with a couple Nano ideas I have. I couldn't pinpoint if one was Scifi or not. But reading this I realized it was science run amok. The other is survival horror. Knowing that and examples that I recognize, is giving me a whole a lot more to go on. I can see these ideas in a fuller light. This newsletter was really helpful. Thanks!
That's so nice to hear. Good luck with NaNoWriMo!
billwilcox writes: I haven't penned anything new in quite awhile, but I think I will take you up your newsletter contest challenge.
Uh-oh. I didn't get a contest entry from you. I guess real life interfered with you writing a Halloween story. Better luck finishing one next year.
CreativebyNature writes: Novel Writer: Stephen White, a Psychological Thriller. To all those who are sincere in the studies that of the HUMAN MIND, this is in itself full of nightmares which many consciences of yet, the here and now are unconfessed as for motives in why we do the things we do.
Nightmares are great fodder for writing Horror, and the more a writer knows about psychology, the better his writing is no matter what the genre. Thanks for replying to the newsletter!
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