Boo!


This Halloween, Let Every
Witch Take Over the World

________
Read Also:
* Hairy Halloweeners
* Witches’ Crew
* Hallow Talk

Everything Must Go

Houdini, Who Was Not a Believer,
Died on the Day of the Living Dead

Harry Houdini once made a promise that he was sure not to honor: if there’s life after death, he said, I’ll let you know. If he could pull that trick, it’d be a treat. But since that Halloween, 90 years ago, he’s sent no message, denying validation to many a believer.
The irony is that the great illusionist was a debunker of mediums, and left a coded message with his wife to unmask fraudsters. He knew the Big Sleep pulls no bluffs. Just don’t tell that to pilgrims who every year flock to his grave at New York Machpelah Cemetery, in Queens.
It must have taken guts. And those he had, until they literally burst out by blows, administered with his consent, by an admirer. When he died of acute Peritonitis, hundreds of new cults had flooded the world to claim ownership over the ‘supernatural’ phenomena and challenge organized religion.
The dominant figure of the so called Occult Movement, Helena Blavatsky, had died less than 30 years before, but not before inspiring a lot of deranged minds into believing that they too, had something different about them. And they did, alright, although not exactly what they believe they had.

NO RESPECT TO BELLS & WHISTLES
At the turn of the 19th century, backwater America was festering too with the roots of these messianic cults, led by an assortment of lunatics, snake oil salesmen, and plain mentally ill visionaries, many of which turned later into some of the tax-exempted religious faiths we have today.
A crucial difference between those who time forgot and say, a Joseph Smith, who went on to ‘invent’ Mormonism, was arguably sheer survival skill. And maybe an absurdly non-sensical ‘origins’ story, to rival any of the astonishingly fantastic tales upon which all three major religions of our time stake their claims.
In many ways, Hungarian-born Erik Weisz, whose ‘Harry Houdini‘ stage name topped a string of less known aliases, was ahead of his time in two main ways: he worked really hard to perfect (more)
_______
Read Also:
* Hallowed Ground
* A Tale of Two Cities
Continue reading

Hairy Halloweeners

Zombies Are no Match to
People’s Phobia of Spiders

Halloween is upon us, and the walking dead continue to bury the traditional cast of goblins, ghosts, vampires and werewolves that used to dominate the season, in the hallowed ground of popular imagination. Only one creature packs a bigger fright punch than zombies: spiders.
They’ve been around for millions of years, more species are discovered every day, and unlike all other scary monsters, they’re very much real. And guess what? they’re growing bolder, scarier, and all research done lately has only increased our paralyzing fear of them.
For however beautiful creatures spiders may be, with their intense maternal feelings, their amazing stronger-than-steel silk-making abilities, and their endearing habit of liquefying their prey, they still can’t shake their reputation as overlords of both the crevices of the real world and of our most intimate nightmares.
Science has often come to the rescue of arachnophobes everywhere, who’re helpless to ward off their deep-seated fear of these crawlers. Discoveries in medicine and promising psychological therapies have been developed in order to find ways of soothing such fears, to not much avail, we must say.

For example, the lethal poison of the Brazilian Wandering spider, for which there’s no antidote, may one day replace Viagra-like therapies in the treatment of erectile dysfunction, according to a recent study. Great, right? But then, along comes the Trogloraptor Marchingtoni, or ‘cave robber,’ a recently discovered species with a horrendous set of claws, and we’re back into our fetal position.
CAN’T SHAKE THAT FEELING
Two separate studies about our fear of spiders and snakes, have concluded that, first, it may date back to early mammals, who had to (more)
_______
Read Also:
* Hallow Talk
* The Flours of Evil
* All Hallows’ Eve
Continue reading

Holy Sandy

As Frankstorm Crushes Halloween,
The Pumpkin Carving Goes Xtreme

In the end, it’s been sad, really. The hurricane has fully lived up to its billing, wiping up the eastern seaboard with Halloween. At this point, it’s been all about rain, flood, oh the horror, oh the humanity.
Since we’ve been locked up inside, shut down in godforsaken shelters, we imagine how our place will stink up so badly after the water recedes. Carving pumpkins, anyone?
If you’re reading this, though, you still have power, so we’re better than most throughout the region. Wonder how pumpkin carving became an xtreme sport? Just check what Ray Villafane does with them.
After that, you’re on your own. Rain or shine, Jack’O Lanterns have been a feature of this time of the year, and no stinky Sandy would dare to take that away from it. Or would it?
As we write this, the wind kicks our tenement building walls and the rain seeps through the bricks, undaunted. We may have to pack and go, pretty soon.
But give it a try, will ya? Just take it easy with those knives and the sticky stuff inside, and the mess, and the the power going in and out, and everybody screaming, and all that.
It’s all for the kids, you know. They love these things. Or so we’re told. Continue reading

All Hallows’ Eve

Last Rites For Halloween:
Candy Slaves & Ole Zombies

The origin of the bloodiest of all popular holidays is pagan. But church soon got into the action. It celebrates the dead and the dark side of the human experience, and the first frost in the Northern Hemisphere.
For sure, it’s a healthy and playful way to cope with the fact that the mysteries of the great beyond are usually fully disclosed, or not, only to those unable to report back to us.
Pretty much all ancient cultures had a day or time of the year dedicated to the diseased and the spooky, and even a place to do so, from the Celtics to the people who built Stonehenge, the Pyramids and everything else we hardly know much about these days.
The fact that now most celebrations congeal around the same time of the year, regardless of the hemisphere, may have a lot to do with primitive religion, which successfully inserted itself in many holly dates and cults to superior beings that pagans used to mark and worship.
It was a clever and effective form of domination, exemplified, for example, in the fact that to this day, many Catholic Church saints are loosely based in pre-Christian figures.
We could get here into demonology and the changing depictions and characterization of Satan, for example, or Lucifer and all that, but why Continue reading

Hallow Jacks


The Games

The Zappas

And Other Ideas

& Websites

Hairy Halloweeners

Zombies Are no Match to

People’s Phobia of Spiders

Halloween is almost upon us, and the walking dead continue to bury the traditional cast of goblins, ghosts, vampires and werewolves that used to dominate the season, in the hallowed ground of popular imagination. Only one other character packs a bigger fright punch than zombies: spiders.

They’ve been around for millions of years, more species are discovered every day, and unlike all other scary monsters, they’re very much real. And guess what? they’re growing bolder, scarier, and all research done lately has only increased our paralyzing fear of them.

For however beautiful creatures spiders may be, with their intense maternal feelings, their amazing stronger-than-steel silk-making abilities, and their endearing habit of liquefying their prey, they still can’t shake their reputation as overlords of both the crevices of the real world and of our most intimate nightmares.

Science has often come to the rescue of arachnophobes everywhere, who’re helpless to ward off their deep-seated fear of these crawlers. Discoveries in medicine and promising psychological therapies have been developed in order to find ways of soothing such fears, to not much avail, we must say.

For example, the lethal poison of the Brazilian Wandering spider, for which there’s no antidote, may one day replace Viagra-like therapies in the treatment of erectile dysfunction, according to a recent study. Great, right? But then, along comes the Trogloraptor marchingtoni, or ‘cave robber,’ a recently discovered species with a horrendous set of claws, and we’re back into our fetal position.

CAN’T SHAKE THAT FEELING

Two separate studies about our fear of spiders and snakes, have concluded that, first, it may date back to early mammals, who had to quickly identify sources of potential harm, in order to survive in a world dominated by reptiles. Secondly, being afraid of them also distorts our perception of their size and we wound up thinking they’re bigger than they really are.

Both studies may one day lead to new therapies to easy people’s phobias against the two species. That’s wonderful. Until you read about a woman who had a spider living inside her ear for a week, and the hair behind your neck goes into instant shock mode. Even if there are questions as to whether this really happened, just the thought of it makes us literally cover our ears, say, forever.

And more. From the mild-fear inducing spectacle of watching a spider molt, to the invasion of large, biting ones that happened last summer in Gauhati, India, to their remarkable ability of not just walking on their sticky webs without getting glued to it, but dousing them with poison, so to keep ants off them, we keep learning more and more about spiders.

Generally scary things, of course. So, even though there’s merit in using an imaginary invasion of zombies to educate the public for a potential virus outbreak, as done by the CDC recently, all we can say is: we don’t need no stinking zombies to feel utterly terrified. And, as with every phobia, we can’t get enough of it.

GUESS WHO’S DROPPED BY?

So during Halloween, along with all creepy but mostly fictional creatures that are part of the fun of it, there’s one critter that’s not just real, but scarier for a percentage of the population. For these folks, the ‘eight-leg freaks’ surpass even the fear of the walking dead, and many would be glad to spend a night at a cemetery but never in a room they knew there was a spider hidden somewhere.

For us, the final straw happened just the other day, live during a news broadcast program in Idaho Falls, Idaho. Todd Kunz, the anchor, was delivering the news when a spider started a long, skin-tingling descent and landed right next to his lapel mike. Kunz haven’t lost his composure, brave man. We would’ve screamed so hard we bet the studio floodlights would have exploded.

It took us a while to recover, but now we’re happy to report that we’re fine, calm, and collected. Incidentally, we’re about to watch our favorite seasonal movie, one that we’ve been watching at least twice a year since it came out. A real classic and our personal favorite. Great story, wonderful actors. A family movie, really. We’re about to press play to watch yet again, Arachnophobia.

___________________

Read Also

* Eight Legs

* Bug Time