Monday, October 06, 2014

Haunted Garden: The Origins of Halloween

The month of October conjures up images of turning leaves, hayrides, pumpkins, scarecrows, black cats, and of course Halloween decorations. I love learning about the origin of the holidays we celebrate, so I did a bit of (admittedly rudimentary) research to discover some of the reasons we dress up and try to scare each other on October 31st.

Originally known as All Hallows’ Eve, Halloween is linked to the Celtic festival of Samhain. This last day of autumn was considered the time of year when the barrier between the paranormal and physical worlds grew thin.
The Christian holiday of All Saints’ Day (All Hallows) also influenced Halloween. It was said that the souls awaiting release on November 1st had one last night to extract revenge on their enemies before leaving the earth. Cautious Christians would disguise themselves with masks to avoid recognition.

The custom of carving pumpkins originated from a Samhain practice of remembering souls with turnip lanterns. Trick-or-treating can be traced back to “souling”, a medieval practice which involved the poor and hungry travelling door-to-door and offering to pray for the dead in return for food.

My favorite Halloween tradition is visiting haunted houses. In the town next to ours, a large farm designs an incredibly creepy haunted house each year. It’s out in the woods, almost pitch black inside, and people are hiding in corners to jump out at you. There’s no guide, so sometimes a group takes a wrong turn, only to discover a ghoul standing behind them. I scream the entire time, but it’s fun, because in the back of my head I know it’s not real.

The medium in my novel GULL HARBOR, however, spends her summer in a truly haunted house.
Claire Linden arrives in Gull Harbor ready to take on an aggressive ghost—now that she’s embraced her psychic gift, she’s confident she’ll be able to rid her temporary home of the restless spirit that drove the owners to hire her. However, she doesn’t expect to encounter Max Baron, the man who promised to love her forever, then abandoned her without an explanation five years ago. As Claire unravels the truth behind the haunting, Max must share his secret in order to stay close enough to help protect the woman he still loves from a danger that extends beyond the paranormal…

For a haunting Halloween read, pick up GULL HARBOR by Kathryn Knight…a Paranormal Romance available from The Wild Rose Press.


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