Tuesday, October 22, 2013

Guest Author: Sapphire Phelan

Paranormal Halloween


It’s that time of year again, when ghosts, goblins, witches, monsters, and all manner of scary things haunt the night of October 31st.  Whether you call supernatural or paranormal, it’s all about Halloween.

It is said that on Halloween, the veil between the world of the living and the world of the dead is at its thinnest. This allows the spirits of that dark unknown place to more freely walk among us—making Halloween the spookiest time of year. Whether that is true or just a tradition, it's certain that the living is more focused on ghosts and the possibilities of the paranormal throughout October. Yes, thanks to Ghost Hunters and Ghost Adventurers, people know that phantoms are all year long, but when creepy things happen at Halloween, the feeling of the season makes them all the scarier.

Bonfires are held on Halloween. Today, it’s just for furn. But attribute this as a hold over from a time when people still worshipped the Syrian sun god Baal. The fires were meant to represent the sun, and thus, honor him. This tradition predated Samhain, making it one of the oldest customs. Fires were also thought to be used as a way to scare off any supernatural being which might wish to bring harm or misfortune. During the spread of Christianity in Europe, people gathered around communal bonfires to feast and make merry all night, often times telling ghostly tales. They’d do this ’til sunrise, fearing to sleep because of the ghosts and goblins which were abroad. Another thing that is done back then that we still do today—wearing costumes to Trick or Treat or to Halloween parties—was masquerading or guising on Halloween because of the belief that wearing a disguise hid you from wicked spirits and fiends seeking to harm mortals, or to frighten or confuse otherworldly entities.

The custom of Trick or Treat also had its start in a paranormal Halloween of ancient times. In ancient Ireland, there would be a “White Mare procession,” where someone would dress in a white sheet, carry a horse’s skull, and lead a parade of children. Gifts were given to the children, who’d say prayers to keep bad spirits away. In Medieval Europe, impoverished adults and children alike, would go “souling,” singing songs and offering prayers to the dead on All Hallow’s in return for soul cakes.  On the night of the Feast of Samhain, people would go door-to-door collecting provisions for the feast. They’d often be dressed in costumes to confuse the supernatural beings lurking about that night. Gifts of food were also left out for real faeries and goblins who were roaming about in autumn.

Carving a Jack ‘O’ Lantern was yet another way to frighten away spirits. In Ireland, These were originally lanterns made from carved turnips. The light, as well as the ghoulish faces carved into the lanterns, was another way to scare off trouble making creatures. In America, the custom became carving pumpkins, likely because it was much easier than carving a turnip. There’s even an Irish tale that says the reason, called Legend if the Jack-O-Lantern.

Stingy Jack was a miserable, old drunk who loved playing tricks on anyone and everyone. One dark, Halloween night, Jack ran into the Devil himself in a local public house. Jack tricked the Devil by offering his soul in exchange for one last drink. The Devil quickly turned himself into a sixpence to pay the bartender, but Jack immediately snatched the coin and deposited it into his pocket, next to a silver cross that he was carrying. Thus, the Devil could not change himself back and Jack refused to allow the Devil to go free until the Devil had promised not to claim Jack's soul for ten years.

The Devil agreed, and ten years later Jack again came across the Devil while out walking on a country road. The Devil tried collecting what he was due, but Jack thinking quickly, said, "I'll go, but before I do, will you get me an apple from that tree?"

The Devil, thinking he had nothing to lose, jumped up into the tree to retrieve an apple. As soon as he did, Jack placed crosses all around the trunk of the tree, thus trapping the Devil once again. This time, Jack made the Devil promise that he would not take his soul when he finally died. Seeing no way around his predicament, the Devil grudgingly agreed.

When Stingy Jack eventually passed away several years later, he went to down to Hell to see the Devil, but the Devil kept the promise that had been made to Jack years earlier, and would not let him enter.

Thinking, Ah, Heaven will surely let me in then!, he wandered up to the Gates of Heaven, but was refused entrance because of his life of drinking and because he had been so tight-fisted and deceitful.   
Jack went back to Hell to see the Devil.

"Where can I go?" asked Jack.

"Back to where you came from!" replied the Devil. "You doomed yourself to roam the earth, a restless soul who can find no rest ever." Lucifer tossed him a turnip and a ember straight from the fires of Hell itself. "Here, hollow out this turnip and place this ember inside. Use its light to find your way through eternity." 

And to this day, Jack wanders, never stopping in one place, a hauntingly lost soul, who learned you never ever really beat the Devil at his own game.

So dust off that costume in the closet, carve that pumpkin, and make sure your home is properly protected, for as that old poem remarks:

From goulies and ghosties and long-leggedy beasties
And things that go bump in the night
Good Lord, deliver us!”

What kind of legends or myths have you heard about Halloween? Leave a comment about one of them and be entered to win a download of Just Another Paranormal Halloween anthology that includes my paranormal romance story, “His Girl.”


Sapphire Phelan

Dark heroes and heroines with bite...sink your teeth into a romance by Sapphire Phelan today.

The Witch And The Familiar Blurb—my latest book:

Mortal woman Tina discovers she is part of a prophesy that says she and Charun, her demon Familiar, must make love so she can become the witch she is fated to be. If she doesn't do it and stop the demon army bringing Armageddon to the Mortal Realm on Halloween, she won't stand a chance in Hell.

A year later, just when Tina and Charun thought it was all over and that their life would be normal—another prophesy pops up. If Lucifer snatches Tina and mates with her before the last chime before midnight of the new year and gets her pregnant with his son, that the real Armageddon would begin, spelling the end of life as they knew it. This time they get help from an archangel, Jacokb, but with demons, Lucifer, and a cute demon bunny with fangs out of a Monty Python nightmare, out to stop them and Heaven not lending a hand, will Tina this time lose the battle and become the mother of the Antichrist and the start of a new Hell on Earth?

About Sapphire Phelan:

Sapphire Phelan has published erotic and sweet paranormal/fantasy/science fiction romance along with a couple of erotic horror stories. Her erotic urban fantasy, Being Familiar With a Witch is a Prism 2010 Awards winner and a Epic Awards 2010 finalist. The sequel to it is A Familiar Tangle With Hell, released June 2011 from Phaze Books, Both eBooks were combined into one print book, The Witch and the Familiar, and released April 24, 2012. Her male/male paranormal romance novella, Dark Leopard Magic, second book in the Beast Magic series was just released as an audio book.

She admits she can always be found at her desk and on her computer, writing. And yes, the house, husband, and even the cats sometimes suffer for it!

Find out more about Sapphire Phelan at http://www.SapphirePhelan.com.

The Witch And The Familiar Buy Links:

Phaze Books  BarnesandNoble.com , Books A Million  and Amazon    For those in Uk, find it at AmazonUK


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