As a celebration of all things terrifying, creepy and haunted we thought we would have a look at the History of the word Halloween. As a special Treat (or Trick) afterwards we shall be looking at ten of the most haunted places on Earth!
c.1745, Scottish shortening of Allhallow-even “Eve of All Saints, last night of October” (1550s), the last night of the year in the old Celtic calendar, where it was Old Year’s Night, a night for witches. A pagan holiday given a cursory baptism and sent on its way. See hallow; also cf. hallows. from the Online Etymology Dictionary.
However, the tradition has its roots even further back than this, in the world of the pre-christian Celts typically linked to the Celtic festival of Samhain derived from the Old Irish Samuin meaning “summer’s end”.
Samhain was the first and by far the most important of the four quarter days in the medieval Irish and Scottishcalendar and, falling on the last day of Autumn, it was a time for stock-taking and preparation for the cold winter months ahead.
There was also a sense that this was the time of year when the physical and supernatural worlds were closest and magical things could happen. To ward off these spirits, the Gaels built huge, symbolically regenerative bonfires and invoked the help of the gods through animal and perhaps even human sacrifice. Check out some more on this over on Wikipedia.
In fact, Halloween is still celebrated in a variety of ways around the world today. It would take far too long to go into all of them but check out the brilliant “don’t drink and fly” decoration from Germany above.
But where are the most haunted places on Earth? Environmental Grafitti
has put together a list of places which make everyone’s blood run cold. From the Paris Catacombs to Rose Hall in Jamaica, these attractions are not for the faint of heart.
Here is a taste of what awaits you…