The ancient Celtics fed solely off the land. And so they feared Winter’s bane. In-between the Autumn’s light and the Winter’s darkness, they celebrated Sowain Day. And Sowain Day was when druids left food for the dead. It was believed that dead souls wandered in-between the Fall and Winter. So, the snacks were left to appease the dead. Bonfires were held. They tossed cows and horses in (the fire) for sacrificial honor. Then the druids said they could converse with dead souls, which explains our current ghost-telling ritual on Halloween night.
And here’s a ghost tale for you now:
In the 70’s and 80’s a story rose to prominence. Rumors revolved around Halloween trick-or-treaters. Supposedly strangers were poisoning Halloween candies. They were said to be placing anything from blades to poison in trick-or-treat candy. Consequently, panic spread amongst concerned parents. Schools opened their doors so teachers could help check kid’s candy bags. Communities organized mass inspections. Even hospital x-ray machines searched stashes in search of razor blades. And as a kid, I remember having my own goods inspected. But could strangers really be so evil?
Well, as it turns out, no.
Research revealed something strange: the poison / razor candy was indeed only a myth. Researchers Gerald Horiuchi and Joel Best reported every Halloween incident from 1958. The results are more shocking than the myth. They found that two children were murdered. The scary part is who killed them. No, strangers didn’t do it — their fathers did! One father left his heroin unattended and the youngster ate it. And to cover his tracks, the father sprinkled the smack on the child’s entire Halloween stash. The other boy died from a deliberate poisoning. His father put cyanide in his son’s candy. Why? To collect on life insurance. He saw the opportunity afforded by the Halloween myth and quickly pounced.
In short, we learn that strangers are not nearly as fatal as our own families can be. And that’s a grim reality to be sure. A family holiday tainted by family. And second to the fatality of familia is our adherence to mythos. As neighbors readily suspected neighbors. And we quickly assumed strangers to be sadists. All because we allowed the dark side to seduce us with urban legend. Nothing is as evil as our myths and imaginations.
Happy Hallowe’en . . . muah,ha,ha,ha!!!