North American Folklore (USA & Canada) Archives

Origins of Halloween

halloween_wallpaper_house

Halloween (also spelled Hallowe’en) is a holiday celebrated on October 31. It has roots in the Celtic festival of Samhain and the Christian holy day of All Saints’ Day. It is largely a secular celebration, but some Christians and pagans have expressed strong feelings about its religious overtones.  Irish immigrants carried versions of the tradition to North America during Ireland’s Great Famine of 1846. The day is often associated with the colors orange and black, and is strongly associated with symbols such as the jack-o’-lantern. Halloween activities include trick-or-treating, wearing costumes, ghost tours, bonfires, costume parties, visiting haunted attractions, carving jack-o’-lanterns, pranking people, reading scary stories, and watching horror movies.

Halloween has origins in the ancient Celtic festival known as Samhain [pronounced: sow- wen] (Irish pronunciation: [ˈsˠaunʲ]; from the Old Irish samhain, possibly derived from Gaulish samonios).  The festival of Samhain is a celebration of the end of the harvest season in Gaelic culture, and is sometimes  regarded as the “Celtic New Year”.  Traditionally, the festival was a time used by the ancient Celtic pagans to take stock of supplies and slaughter livestock for winter stores. The ancient Celts believed that on October 31st, now known as Halloween, the boundary between the living and the deceased dissolved, and the dead become dangerous for the living by causing problems such as sickness or damaged crops. The festivals would frequently involve bonfires, into which the bones of slaughtered livestock were thrown. Costumes and masks being worn at Halloween goes back to the Celtic traditions of attempting to copy the evil spirits or placate them, in Scotland for instance where the dead were impersonated by young men with masked, veiled or blackened faces, dressed in white.

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The term Halloween, originally spelled Hallowe’en, is shortened from All Hallows’ Even (“All Hallows’ Eve”) [eve is an abbreviation of even, an older word for evening. Halloween gets -een as a result of syncopation of even to e'en], from the Old English term eallra hālgena ǣfen meaning “All Hallow’ Evening”, as it is the eve of “All Hallows’ Day”, which is now also known as All Saints’ Day. It was a day of religious festivities in various northern European pagan traditions, until Popes Gregory III and Gregory IV moved the old Christian feast of All Saints’ Day from May 13 (which had itself been the date of a pagan holiday, the Feast of the Lemures) to November 1. In the 9th century, the Church measured the day as starting at sunset, in accordance with the Florentine calendar. Although All Saints’ Day is now considered to occur one day after Halloween, the two holidays were, at that time, celebrated on the same day.

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Big Foot Folklore

harryandthehendersons

Harry and the Hendersons (1987)

 

Bigfoot, also known as Sasquatch, is an alleged ape-like creature purportedly inhabiting forests, mainly in the Pacific Northwest region of North America. Bigfoot is usually described as a large, hairy, bipedal humanoid. Many believers in its existence contend that the same or similar creatures are found around the world under different regional names, most prominently the Yeti of the Himalayas.

The scientific community considers Bigfoot to be a combination of folklore, misidentification, and hoaxes, rather than a real creature. In general, mainstream scientific consensus does not support the posited existence of megafauna cryptids such as Bigfoot, because of the improbably large numbers necessary to maintain a breeding population and because climate and food supply issues would make such purported creatures’ survival in reported habitats unlikely.Despite these facts, Bigfoot is one of the more famous examples of a cryptid within cryptozoology.

Jack Links Messin with Sasquatch

Jack Links Messin with Sasquatch

Bigfoot is described in reports as a large ape-like creature, ranging between 6–10 feet (1.8–3.0 m) tall, weighing in excess of 500 pounds (230 kg), and covered in dark brown or dark reddish hair.Alleged witnesses have described large eyes, a pronounced brow ridge, and a large, low-set forehead; the top of the head has been described as rounded and crested, similar to the sagittal crest of the male gorilla. Bigfoot is commonly reported to have a strong, unpleasant smell by those who have claimed to have encountered it.The enormous footprints for which it is named have been as large as 24 inches (61 cm) long and 8 inches (20 cm) wide.While most casts have five toes—like all known apes—some casts of alleged Bigfoot tracks have had numbers ranging from two to six. Some have also contained claw marks, making it likely that a portion came from known animals such as bears, which have five toes and claws.Proponents have also claimed that Bigfoot is omnivorous and mainly nocturnal.

"Louie" the Boston Pizza Mascot

"Louie" the Boston Pizza Mascot

 

[youtube=http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=MEJ9Ngh0pBA]

1970s Bionic Bigfoot action figure by Kenner

1970s Bionic Bigfoot action figure by Kenner

 

–Source Wikipedia

Amazon Specials!

Amazon Specials!

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The Gremlin (not the car)

  

The Gremlins (1984)

The Gremlins (1984)

 

Gremlin is an English folkloric creature, commonly depicted as mischievous and mechanically oriented, with a specific interest in aircraft. Although their origin is found ingremlins special edition DVD myths among airmen, claiming that the gremlins were responsible for sabotaging aircraft, John W. Hazen states that “some people” derive the name from the Old English word gremian, “to vex”.Since World War II, different fantastical creatures have been referred to as gremlins, bearing varying degrees of resemblance to the originals.

 

  • In 1943, Bob Clampett directed Falling Hare, a Merrie Melodies cartoon featuring Bugs Bunny. With Roald Dahl’s book and Walt Disney’s proposed film being the inspiration, this looney tunesshort has been one of the early Gremlin stories shown to cinema audiences in which multiple gremlins featured.It features Bugs Bunny in conflict with a gremlin at an airfield. The Bugs Bunny cartoon was followed in 1944 by Russian Rhapsody, another Merrie Melodies short showing Russian gremlins sabotaging an aircraft piloted by Adolf Hitler.
Bugs Bunny "Falling Hare"

Bugs Bunny "Falling Hare"

  • A 1963 episode of The Twilight Zone, “Nightmare at 20,000 Feet” directed by Richard Donner, featured a gremlin attacking a plane.This episode was remade as a segment of Twilight Zone: The Movie (1983). In the original television episode, the gremlin appears as an almost ape-like creature which inspects the aircraft’s wing with the curiosity of an animal and then proceeds to damage the wing. William Shatner plays the passenger who sees the Gremlin on the plane’s wing. No one else sees the Gremlin and Shatner’s character is removed from the plane on a stretcher with symptoms of psychosis. In the movie segment, the gremlin more resembles a troll or a goblin, with green skin and a frightening grin. This incarnation of the gremlin appears to be more intellectual and menacing, and is also shown to be capable of flying. The episode was famous enough to inspire at least two parodies:

 

William Shatner in the The Twilight Zone episode "Nightmare at 20,000 Feet" (1963).

William Shatner in the The Twilight Zone episode "Nightmare at 20,000 Feet" (1963).

  

  • A gremlin makes an appearance in a Halloween special of The Simpsons paralleling The Twilight Zone’s “Nightmare at 20,000 Feet”, (the segment is even named “Terror at 5½ Feet”) in which the gremlin attempts to destroy the wheel of Bart’s school bus.simpsons season 12
Simpsons "Treehouse of Horror IV" Terror at 5 1/2 Feet

Simpsons "Treehouse of Horror IV" Terror at 5 1/2 Feet

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    • A Tiny Toon special titled Night Ghoulery (a spoof of Night Gallery, with Babs presenting in Rod Serling’s style) has a segment named “Gremlin on a Wing”, which twilight zone collectionparodies “Nightmare at 20,000 Feet” as well, with Plucky in William Shatner’s place, accompanied by Hamton in an airplane, and a gremlin similar to that which appearen in Bugs’ short Falling Hare. In fact, this gremlin is so persistent, he even appears at the end as if he had impersonated the stewardess (who looks remarkably similar to Star Trek character Lt. Uhura).

 

As is not uncommon with folkloric creatures in fiction, the nature of gremlins differs greatly depending on the setting. Creatures called gremlins are encountered in various forms in video games, fantasy literature, role playing games, etc. Many of the gremlins encountered in popular culture have little in common with the original critters from the air force legend other than their name.

Pilot and Gremlin

Pilot and Gremlin

A famous example is the 1984 movie Gremlins and its 1990 sequel Gremlins 2: The New Batch. The gremlins in these movies had nothing obvious to do GoreMaster Makeup Effects Manualwith aircraft in particular, although they were portrayed as adept at subverting or sabotaging mechanical systems; more explicit connections between the films’ Gremlins and those of folklore were drawn in the novelizations however. The gremlins in these movies differ from traditional folkloric mythology as they appear as monsters with large ears that are similar to a bat’s, sharp teeth and claws, red eyes, and dark reptilian skin.

In fact, the creatures of this movie are named “gremlins” because the protagonist, Billy Peltzer, recalls a speech by his friend, Murray Futterman, about the legend of gremlins. Thus, noting the similarities, he names them “gremlins”.gremlins 2 the new batch

Another example of gremlins in popular culture appears on the episode of Charmed named “The Power of Three Blondes” where two little blue creatures Paige referred to as gremlins start sabotaging things at her new temp job.

–source Wikipedia

gremlin plush toy

 

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