Monday, October 29, 2012

The Ghost Behind You....

Ah haunted houses.  No matter what you believe they are pretty fun for the imagination.  I thought I'd talk about both haunted houses as in really haunted houses with ghosts and poltergeists, and haunted attractions which I have a special fondness for.  Personally I do believe in ghosts so that's the slant that I'm going with here.  Hey, anything is possible in this world. 

So we all know about haunted houses.  Those places where someone or something is showing itself to the people who live there or visit there.  Most of us probably have memories of that one house in the neighborhood that all the other kids swears is haunted.  Haunted house lore has been around for as long as anyone can remember.  Hauntings in general are a lot more of a common belief than most realize.  Locations that claim to be haunted are usually places where violent death has occurred.  Unfinished business keeps these spirits here or they're the residual energies of those who lived and died there.  Haunted locations can be anything from houses to battlefields to cruise ships. 

There's all sorts of arguments over whether or not some place is haunted or not.  It's the same arguments for whether or not ghosts exist.  I tend to keep an open mind about everything.  Like I said before I do believe in ghosts in whatever form they take, and I also think that there is never a simple explanation.

The haunted attraction plays off this.  You take all the elements of horror to create an interactive experience to scare and entertain people.  It's a dream job, getting paid to scare people...seriously how awesome is that?  It's not an easy job and every year you have to come up with new material to keep people interested.  Going to haunted house attractions is the highlight of Halloween.  It's basically the chance to live a horror movie without the actual threat of death and dismemberment.  Doing a bit of research no one really knows where the tradition of haunted houses came from though the oldest haunted house seems to be from about 1915 and they came into real popularity starting at about 1960 or 1970. 

The people that I was always impressed with were those who literally created a mini haunted house on their own lawn/homes.  It was this extra added treat to Trick or Treating that you always hoped for and of course once you know who does it every year that's the house you always make a point to go to.      

Saturday, October 27, 2012

Pumpkin Light

All right day one of my Halloween series.  I know I said seven days before but I've decided to condense it down to five.  Again life just won't provide me more time.  Plus the specific nature of what I want to write about just doesn't allow for stretching out over a week.  I wanted to talk about a few things that I connect for the most part to Halloween.  I'm not going to write about ghosts or vampires or werewolves, those are pretty much year round.  I picked five things that I thought it might be cool to explore.  Tonight's topic is Jack O' Lanterns.

Honestly I've never really thought about why we carve pumpkins for Halloween.  It's one of those things you just grow up with and assume it will be like that forever.  So far, so good anyway.  But doing some light research has come up with some interesting stuff.

The original legend of the Jack O' Lantern comes from an Irish legend.  I won't go into major detail, and there are many variations, but basically Stingy Jack decided that he was smarter than the devil and managed to trick him.  The deal they struck was that the devil would never take Jack's soul.  Turns out the catch is that Jack's soul was doomed to walk the earth forever in darkness.  The devil through him a bone, or in this case an ember that would never die and would help light Jack's way through the darkness.  Jack's favorite vegetable was turnips and he had one in his possession at the time.  Jack carved out a hollow in the turnip and placed the ember in there creating a makeshift lantern. 

Those from Ireland, Scotland, and England would also carve turnips, potatoes, rutabagas, and beets and make them into lanterns to ward off evil spirits.  The images carved into them would sometimes represent certain ghosts and spirits.  They'd place these lanterns in their windows or on their doorsteps to keep those spirits out of the home.  Pumpkins being used as jack o' lanterns has American origins, started by some of the first Irish immigrants who came to the New World.

No matter how you look at it or what you decide to carve into your own Halloween pumpkin it's a fun tradition that brings back great childhood memories.  It just isn't Halloween without a jack o' lantern sitting at your doorstep glowing brightly in the night.

Saturday, October 13, 2012

Favorite Time Of Year

Oh October.  Love this month and this season.  Fall is lovely and I wish for it year round.  I also love Halloween though in the past few years I haven't really done much to celebrate it.  Life always gets in the way and though really it's not a great excuse it is never the less what happens. 

Halloween has also provided for some great inspiration.  My zombie story was prompted by something that happened not around Halloween but by a friend.  Said friend was given this story as a present for Halloween since it seemed the best time to finish it for her.  It's the same story I've published here on my blog.  Plans for celebrating the holiday are up in the air at the moment.  It really depends on how the universe decides to treat me and how I decide to react to it.  I'm getting geared up to try and kick it's ass into submission so we'll see how that goes :)

'The Haunted Life' first segement is nearly done.  It's taking me longer than I thought to fine tune it but I should be done by the end of this week.  As I type this I have my handy dandy red writing journal next to me and I'm jotting things down as I go along.  So far it's pretty fun stuff, both to write and read or so my writing group has told me.  Great bunch of people they are. 

Taking a que from the A to Z challenge I'm going to make a little challenge to myself.  The week of Halloween I think I'll do a post a day revolving around something that's usually connected to Halloween.  I'll do  the research on the lore and myths and write about it.  A nice little seven day challenge, and I might learn something in the process which is always fun.  Plus it might be fun to be able to geek out on a few things for a bit and not focus on my novel and story writing.  It's times like that that sometimes provide my brain the best opportunity to wander and come up with new stuff.