Tuesday, October 30, 2012

Halloween 2012

Happy Halloween.  All Hallows Day and Eve (Hallow being older English for "Saint") are ceremonies started by Pope Gregory III, a Syrian, in the 700s and spread by Pope Gregory IV, a native Roman, throughout the western Church  in the 800s.  All Hallows Day marks the Church's remembrance of all those in Heaven who pray for us.  (The belief that Halloween is a Celtic holiday is a more modern-day Protestant myth)

Old Christian folk belief stated that the veil between the living and the dead becomes thinner on All Hallows Day and allows for easier viewing of souls and demons.  Meanwhile, the established Church tried to turn this folk belief more into a mockery of evil by encouraging scary stories, plays, and games which taught the ultimate triumph of good over evil.

Halloween became popular in the late 1800s as the United States lost its more learned anti-Catholicism and decided the day was a great opportunity to have fun.  Secular Europe and other countries have adopted American-style Halloween due to its fun nature.  Meanwhile, Orthodox Churches and some fundamentalist Protestant groups continue to oppose Halloween because of the occult nature of neo-celebrations and, to a point, the Catholic origins of the holiday

So let us have fun this Halloween....

Recommended Entertainment

Robert Hugh Benson was an Anglican priest who converted and became a Catholic priest, his father was the head of the Church of England in the late 1800s, who also wrote old-style ghost stories.  His works are a collection of Gothic horror stories from a Catholic perspective.  Some of his stories had a demon as the cause of evil but many of the stories have issues of an explained origin.  Benson wrote that Catholics are agnostic about the greater cosmos because, he believed, God has chosen to reveal only so much to us.  His A Mirror of Shalott contains some duds but also some page-turners.  Monsignor Maxwell's Tale is specifically engaging as the reader wonders what price the stories subject will have to pay in order to save his brother's soul.

H. P. Lovecraft took American horror out of Gothic fiction and into a world of monster and early Sci-Fi.  While many will remember his works about ancient sea anti-gods like Cthulu and fish-frog/human creatures like those in the Shadow Over Innsmouth, Lovecraft also wrote a story loosely based on New England vampires legends.  In The Shunned House, Lovecraft's hero does what any man should do in the case of possible vampire infestation:  the hero and his uncle supply themselves with flamethrowers, gas masks, and lots of containers of acid.

Grim Fandango is a great adventure game.  Purgatory isn't floating in space or a burning of sins off on back in the game.  Instead, life after death for those with a chance is working as a Grim Reaper salesman in a 9 to 5 job.  Corruption, Aztec and Mayan art, film noir, and jazz all combine for the most magical world one can imagine.

Bubba Ho-Tep is a Bruce Campell about two men, one who believes he is Elvis and one who believes he is President John Kennedy, who battle a mummy who is feasting on people living in an old folks home.

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