Samhain, All Hallows Eve and Ghost Stories – Halloween Special!

Some of my close friends will know, Halloween is my favourite holiday! It’s the one time of year that the majority of people dress up as something ‘scary’ and in a way celebrate the dead and all things weird yet wonderful. Why do I like this? Well, only a select few will know that not only have I got a few ghost stories of my own, as well as been able to predict a few things, but I have a fascination with parapsychology.

For those who don’t know, or probably think they know but are a little misinformed, parapsychology is a study of paranormal psychological phenomena (such as telephathy, psychokinesis and clairvoyance). It’s not to be confused with paranormal investigators! (But ghosts and spirits can be a part of it). And, as far as I am concerned, parapsychology is a little more ‘science’ based than paranormal investigators. There are even legitimate research laboratories set up around the world for the study, one of my favourites is the Koestler Parapsychology Unit based here in Scotland, at Edinburgh University (link at the bottom of the blog post). I am interested in one day completing at least the online course for interest, but have also been considering a PhD and conducting real research (plus, wouldn’t it be a cool talking point to say that my PhD was in parapsychology? I’ll call myself Dr Spooks!)

Continue reading and there might be a few spooky stories of my own!

Where did Halloween Originate from?

Halloween is an annual holiday celebrated each year on October 31st. This year it falls on a Thursday. Many people around the world celebrate it; United Kingdom, Ireland, Canada, United States, Mexico, Australia, New Zealand, Germany, Greece, even China and Japan.

Some people believe Halloween originated from the pagan religious festival ‘Samhain’, others, however, believe that Halloween is a solely Christian celebration.

Samhain

Let’s start with Samhain.

the-festival-of-samhain-is-celebrated-in-glastonbury

Photo from: https://www.history.com/topics/holidays/samhain

Samhain (pronouced “sow-in”), is a Gaelic word for “summer’s end”. It is a typically ancient Celtic spiritual tradition, possibly originating in Ireland 2,000 years ago (the Celts also lived all over the United Kingdom and parts of northern France), celebrated from the 31st October to 1st November (the mid point between autumn equinox and winter solstice) to usher the “dark half of the year” and to welcome the harvest. The Celtic New Year was November 1.

After the harvest, the community began celebrations around a wheel that, due to friction, would create sparks and flames. This is said to represent the sun. Cattle were sacrificed and people would take a flame back to relight their fire in their own homes.

The Celts also believed that a barrier between worlds was breachable during Samhain, believing that this time of year was associated with death and also believed the dead would cross over during this time.

By 43 A.D., the Celtic territories were conquered by the Roman Empire, and over 400 years, two Roman festivals (Feralia, a day in late October for commemorating the dead and day to honor Pomona, the goddess of fruit and trees – probably where the tradition of bobbing for apples came from) were combined with Samhain.

It’s possible that Samhain was merged with these two days to eradicate the original pagan festival, as there was a Persecution of paganism under Theodosius I in 381 A.D., who reigned as co-emperor of the Roman Empire. Theodosian created “Theodosian decrees” which meant practicing paganism was banned, visits to temples forbidden, and remaining pagan holidays were abolished, among others. He also declared that pagan feasts that had not yet been rendered Christian ones to now be workdays.

Christian Halloween

The name “Halloween” comes from “All Hallows’ eve”, which, “hallows” means saints. November the 1st was a day to celebrate all the saints and martyrs, originally called All Saints’ Day. October the 31st just so happened to be the eve, which, of course, was also important day of celebration.

But, All Saints’ Day was originally on the 13th of May, originally to celebrate Martyrs, but Pope Boniface IV changed it to the 1st of November and incorporated a celebration for all saints.

In 1000 A.D. the church also made November the 2nd “All Souls’ Day” a day to honor the dead. It was celebrated similarly to Samhain.

All three days are collectively called Allhallowtide.

Pumpkin Carving

On Halloween, pumpkin carving is a tradition, sometimes called Jack O’Lanterns in America. This is where a pumpkin is hollowed out, a face calved into it’s side and then a candle being placed inside to light it up.

This tradition originated from Ireland, but it wasn’t pumpkins that were originally used, as they weren’t native. Originally turnips, potatoes and other root vegetables were used, it wasn’t until Halloween made it’s way to America that pumpkins were used, as it was found they were easier to calve than root vegetables.

images

Original Jack O’Lantern, Turnip Carving.
https://www.irishcentral.com/roots/history/jack-o-lantern-turnips-ireland

The name ‘Jack O’Lantern’ is also from an Irish folktale. According to the story, a man called Stingy Jack invited the Devil to have a drink with him, but Stingy Jack didn’t want to pay for his drink, so he convinced the Devil to turn himself into a coin so Jack could use to buy their drinks. But Jack decided to keep the money and put it in his pocket, next to a silver cross, which prevented the Devil from changing.

The Devil was eventually freed, under the condition he would leave Jack alone for one year, and should Jack die, he would not claim his soul.

The next year, Jack again tricked the Devil into climbing a tree, Jack carved a cross into the tree so the Devil could not come down until he promised Jack he would not bother him for another ten years.

When Jack died, God didn’t allow Jack into heaven for his actions, but the Devil also didn’t allow him into Hell. Instead, Jack was sentenced to roam Earth with only a burning coal to light his way. Jack put the coal into a carved out turnip and became a ghostly figure called ‘Jack of the Lantern’, which eventually was shortened to ‘Jack O’Lantern’.

Trick or Treating

It is suggested that the practice of trick or treating originated from the custom of “Souling”, baking and sharing soul cakes for all christened souls. Groups of poor people, often children, would go door-to-door during Allhallowtide, collect soul cakes in return for a prayer for the dead.

Soul cakes, or soulmass cakes, were often market with a cross, much like the Easter/Lenten hot cross buns.

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Picture from: https://www.instructables.com/id/A-Witchs-Afternoon-Tea-Celtic-Style/
(includes a receipe if you’d like to recreate them yourself!)

Of course, the phrase ‘Trick or treat’ wasn’t used back then, the first mention of this phrase can be dated back to 1951 from a Peanut Comic Strip, but the actual origins are unclear.

Now, trick or treating has become a tradition for children to go knocking on local doors in exchange for sweets, usually dressed up as something scary!

Dressing up

The act of dressing up on Halloween can probably be dated back to Samhain, where villagers would disguise themselves in costumes made of animal skins to drive away unwanted visitors/spirits.

It was also a tradition shared with Christians, who believed Allhallowtide was the last day for the dead to seek vengeance on their enemies before moving on. People would dress up to avoid being recognised from being a target of this vengeance.

Now, the act of dressing up is left to parties and children who take part in trick-or-treating.

My Own Spooky Experiences

Something doesn’t feel right

A few years ago, probably around 2013, I took a trip to Conwy, Northern Wales (home to the smallest house in Britain) with my partner at the time. We both lived in Warrington so getting to Northern Wales was easy.

It was a cold day, which made for a good day exploring as there weren’t many people about, and so we took a trip to have a look around Conwy Castle.

conwy01
Photograph from www.castlewales.com/conwy.html

At first, it was great, hardly any tourists, because it was the wrong time of year, it was cold but dry and I always love my little days out visiting new sites, so I’m happy exploring too. We had just seen the smallest house in Britain and now we were having a wander around the castle, I was snap happy with my camera. As always.

But as I got closer to one of the towers, I had a very unsettling feeling towards it. I hadn’t had that feeling anywhere else so far in the castle except that one tower. I told my partner I couldn’t go near it and he just looked at me oddly. He was a sceptic (I didn’t hold it against him, but I did hate the looks he used to give me). But he started to read out the board next to the tower, and told me why couldn’t go near…

…it was the prison tower.

Imaginary Friend

This is a story that I will be turning into a book eventually, so I won’t go into too much detail, but I will explain a little about it.

My experiences with all things paranormal started when I was a child. When I was very young, probably still at primary school (ages 5 to 7), my brother and I had an imaginary friend; Sammy.

I don’t remember much about this because I was still quite young, so most of my memories have gone, the only memories I do have was remembering telling my mum that my missing hairbands were probably lost because Sammy hid them.

My mum told me that this imaginary friend, Sammy, used to live in the corner of our ceiling and would hide things for fun.

My mother at the time was a sceptic, and she believed my brother and I were just blaming things going missing on an imaginary friend, not wanting us to get into trouble. My brother also had a very vivid imagination when he was young, mum would get teachers from school worried about some of the stories he used to tell. Mum still to this day remembers the story about the Tiger in the backgarden. I’m suprised my brother never followed in my footsteps and became a writer!

But her scepticism quickly vanished after what she thought my brother and I had outgrown our imaginary friend became a lot more than just an imaginary friend…

She used to work at the primary school my brother and I went to, and because of such, became friendly with a few of the other mothers. One lady had approached my mum asking her for advice, asking if my brother and I ever had imaginary friends. After my mum gave her advice that “don’t worry, they grow out of it.” The mother proceeded to tell my mum that her son had an imaginary friend…

…called Sammy…

…who lives in the ceiling…

…and hides things.

My mum told me this a few years ago, and I can’t say I was surprised, after all the other things that had happened to me over the years… she also explained that the other mother’s son told her that Sammy was looking for his parents. Somehow we figured out that Sammy had died in an accident, car accident or something similar.

But I have tried to search for information on such an accident in the area I grew up (near Laws Woods/Park, in Swindon, Wiltshire) and I couldn’t find anything in any records. Although, a lot of locals have had ghostly encounters in Lawns Woods, my mother and I have heard a few stories in the area, a woman in white searching for something, ghost animals, even amature ghost hunters went to the area and believe they saw a woman in white being carried.

Lawns Woods used to be home to the Goddard Family, with remains of an old church and graveyard apparently for the family’s pets, an old ice house up on the hill, remains of an old sunken garden, a site where Tutor Mansion used to sit, then an 18th Century Mansion, both no longer there. But with so much history in the area, I wouldn’t be surprised if there were a few ghostly goings on in the area. Including the ghost of Sammy that used to haunt the children in the area. I just wish I could find more information about it.

References:

Here are a few links if you’re interested in reading more about some sites I mentioned in this blog post:

Koestler Parapschology Unit

Lawn Park

Goddards in Swindon

Paranormal activity in Lawns Park

History of Halloween

History of Samhain

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Keeping in theme of the spooky, check out these links below.

New Story idea! – Butterfly House
Rose Garden Sanatorium – Prologue
New Story Idea – “I fell in Love with a Psychopath”
My Normal – A Short Story by Penny Hooper

If you’re interested in my other travel/historical posts, check these out:

Remember, Remember, the 5th of November…
Douglas, South Lanarkshire – A Hidden Gem
Best places to visit in South Lanarkshire
Living in Australia – Part 1: Breakup from hell and Brisvegas

Don’t forget to like this post and follow me!
And feel free to comment with any of your spooky stories!

Both my books are currently 99c!

Both of my books are currently 99c in e-book format on Smashwords!

The idea of putting them up for sale is to get more reviews and traffic through my sites. I don’t get a lot of profits from selling them so cheap, as Smashwords takes a good chunk, but it’s mostly to get my name out there.

And hopefully, when I finally get my other books finished (still waiting for free time around uni work and job searching!) I’ll have a fan-base already!

See below for links and synopsis for each e-book.I-Fell-in-love-with-a-psychopath-full30713453_2359540254272254_3615440063170609152_n

Here is I fell in Love with a Psychopath:

https://www.smashwords.com/books/view/893044

Here is It’s My Mistake:

https://www.smashwords.com/books/view/744287

Synopsis for I Fell in Love with a Psychopath:

What would you do if you realised the man you fell in love with had a psychopathic personality disorder?

After getting her degree in history, Jo took the plunge and moved to Chicago. But one day a guy changes her life completely. And not necessarily in a good way.

When she first moved to the city, Jo met Liam. She had a small crush on him from day one. Along with his good looks, he was funny and charming. Maybe a little immature, but he never failed to make her laugh. Finally, one day Liam asks Jo out on a date and she is stupidly nervous and surprised he even likes her!

Jo meets Xander in a bar. He is handsome and confident. He holds himself tall and constantly watches her reactions with mild curiosity. She keeps bumping into him, sometimes deliberately. He seems to say all the right things and do all the right things and she finds herself craving more of him.

The problem was, however, one of them is a psychopath and he now has an obsession with Jo…

Synopsis for It’s My Mistake:

Alice wants a career change, especially after a terrible incident at her last job. Her dream job has always been to work in a hotel, maybe even own one. But after messing up an interview very spectacularly for a vacancy at a well-known hotel chain in London, she wasn’t expecting to hold the attention of the Global Business Manager; Daniel Jeffries. And in more ways than one. Does Alice take the risk and accept Dan’s offer or does she play it safe?

Who knew that that interview day would be the day that changed Alice’s life? But is it for the better? Is this alluring Global Business Manager as amazing as he seems? And who is that mysterious yet amazingly handsome man at the hotel?

**Mature Content** Recommended for ages 18+ due to sexual situations and language.

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

If you want to read a part of I Fell in Love with a Psychopath, read it here.

If you want to read a part of It’s My Mistake, read it here.

Here are some links to my other works you might like:

Ender’s Love – Chapter 1

Butterfly House – Chapter 1

Rose Garden Sanatorium – Prologue

My Normal – A Short Story by Penny Hooper

Other blog links:

Best places to visit in South Lanarkshire

The HALO Trust: Safe Steps – Challenge Complete!

I won! I came first in the Earnesty Writer’s Awards 2018 Paranormal Genre!

Paying for Reviews – BEWARE!

My Book ‘It’s My Mistake’ available in paperback!

Butterfly House – Chapter 3

If you’re new to the story, please read the prologue here.


Chapter 3

A ringing sound woke Declan abruptly, he lifted his face from his pillow and blinked up at the clock on his bedside table. The time just changing from 09:23 to 09:24.

“Shit!” he swore as he rushed to get up out of bed, tripping on the bedsheets and fell to the floor, knocking his head on the cheap scratchy carpet.

He pulled himself up, groaned as he rubbed his head and picked up his ringing mobile.

“Harris,” he muttered into the phone, the best awake voice he could muster.

“Where are you?” said a hurried voice, his partner; Fiona Boyd.

“Pass, next question.”

“Declan!” Fiona’s voice hissed at him.

“I’m sorry! I…” He paused, and tried to think of an excuse. “I can’t come up with an excuse right now, can I get back to you on that one?”

“This is the last time I’m covering for you, you need to get your act together.”

“I know.” Declan groaned, and sat up, leaning against the bed frame. “I’ve already been told I need a holiday, maybe I should?”

“You’ll be seeing the inside of a morgue soon if you don’t.”

Declan laughed. “At least you’re friendly with the prison staff!”

He heard his partner sigh. “Seriously, what’s wrong with you?”

“Nothing, I… I just slept through my alarm again. I’ll be there in ten minutes.”

“Fine, but you’re doing some of my paperwork!”

“I’ll buy donuts.”

“Very funny!” The phone suddenly went dead.

Declan stared at the floor of his bedroom for a few minutes, wondering about whether he should redecorate—or maybe moving was a better option?—until he sighed, pushed himself up from the floor and got dressed, putting his standard police trousers over the top of the same boxers he wore yesterday and pulled a plain black t-shirt up over his muscular frame, the rest of his police uniform would be in his locker at the station. He didn’t even bother to shower, he didn’t have time. He would drown himself in deodorant and aftershave instead.

***

When Declan walked into his tiny kitchen, his stomach rumbling angrily at him, he walked over to his fruit bowl and picked up an apple. He pressed a button on his answer machine to play the messages he missed to listen to last night and walked over to the blinds, pulling on the string to open them with one hand while biting into the apple with his other.

“One new message,” he heard the mechanical voice of his answer machine. It proceeded to tell him that a new message was received only last night, ironically only minutes before he had finally got home last night. Having left the station late, skipping dinner and collapsing straight into bed. Only just managing to strip before doing so.

“Declan, hi, it’s me,” he heard a familiar female voice. His blood ran cold, his heart stopped and he stood still, the apple to his mouth and the blinds half-way open. “I’m sorry to call, but…” The woman sighed. “This is awkward.” She laughed. “Well, I’ll just come out and say it; I think I left my passport in our… your… filing cabinet.” The line went dead for a long time, Declan wasn’t sure if the message was over, or the machine started to play up, he looked round at it, taking the apple from his mouth, but just as he did, she continued again; “Sorry.” She continued, sounding like she was sobbing. “I… I need it need it by next week. We… I… I’m going away. So, could we… I don’t know… meet up? Or… if you don’t want to… which I completely understand, could you somehow get my passport back to me?” Another long pause and Declan was sure the message had finished this time, when her voice came back. “I did love you, you know that right?” Declan snorted and shook his head at the answer machine. “Anyway, you have my number, call me when you get a chance… but… please don’t leave it too late. I need my passport… Bye.”

Declan closed his eyes as the answer machine told him his options, pressing buttons to save, delete, and so on. He rushed up to the machine and pressed the delete hurriedly. He wanted to pretend he never heard her voice. Pretend she never existed. Pretend she never came into his life, tore his heart out and stamped on it. He’d find the passport alright, but he wasn’t sending it to her, it’ll go straight to the station and he’d report it as lost. She had no chance leaving the country. It’s the least she deserved anyway.

He threw the rest of the apple in the bin, no longer felting hungry, grabbed his keys and left his flat, his already bad mood had worsened.

New Chapter coming soon!


Please check out my other written works! 😀

If you like what you read, please do check out my WattPad account here: https://www.wattpad.com/user/penny_bones16

I also have a few ‘samples’ on my other works here:

New Story Idea – “I fell in Love with a Psychopath”

It’s My Mistake – Chapter 1 – UPDATED

Rose Garden Sanatorium – Prologue

Butterfly House – Chapter 2

Note: If you’d like to read the Prologue and Chapter 1, please find them here:
Prologue
Chapter 1


Chapter 2

The sound of music filled the air as a red Aston Martin Vantage convertible drove down a relatively busy road in the city centre of London, its roof down. The owner of the car, a young pretty woman with long brown hair tied back into pony tail, sunglasses and a large smile on her face, tapped to the beat of the song on her car door as she rested her arm out the window.

The car gave a bit of life to the street for a few minutes, the happy song filling everyone with joy, and the bright beautiful car turning most men’s heads, even a few of the women who either appreciated the car too, or were hoping to see a hot rich guy in the seat instead.

The woman grinned as a set of pedestrian lights turned red, signalling her to stop. She grinned because stopping the car was sometimes the best bit, being able to concentrate on the people around her and not the road, taking in their looks and agape faces as they stared. She winked at a young lad, no older than eighteen, but realised he probably couldn’t see her eyes behind her glasses so gave him a cheeky grin instead.

But just as the lad stumbled across the road, his cheeks going red, the music dulled and her car speakers were filled with a ringing sound instead. She sighed, looked down at her mobile which was on the passenger seat, recognising the caller ID, she pressed the answer button on her steering wheel.

“Hello, beautiful,” she said, making a balding middle-aged man look round in shock as he walked passed the car, and suddenly looking embarrassed when he heard another voice come from the speakers, knowing instantly that that hot woman in the expensive car wasn’t talking to him.

“Al, next Saturday!” said a woman’s voice.

The woman in the car, just as she started to drive off now the lights were green, gasped and said, “Have you realised you love me, so you’re leaving Dillon and running away with me?”

The woman in the speakers laughed. “Lunch, babe.”

“Ah, that’s the next best thing I suppose.”

“Is twelve okay?”

“Midnight?”

Another laugh. “Lunch at midnight?”

“You know me, I like to live life on the edge, thought maybe you were taking a leaf out of my book?”

“I’m in bed by nine these days!”

“That’s usually the same time I get up!”

“At night, babe.”

“Exactly!”

Another laugh. “Then what are you doing up this early?”

The woman in the car looked round at the time on the screen in her car, it read nine-thirty in the morning. “Haven’t gone to bed yet.”

Another laugh. “I can’t tell if you’re joking or not!”

“Sometimes I can’t tell either.” She laughed.

“So, you free next Saturday?”

“Will Dillon be there?”

“No, he’s working, just you and me.”

“That’s a shame, I’d quite like a threesome.”

“Allison!” her friend groaned, and she could almost see her friend going red from embarrassment.

The woman called Allison laughed, just as she saw a disgusted look from an old lady who was walking down the street as she drove past, clearly having overheard Allison. “I’m kidding!” she said, and gave a small pause before saying; “It’s all about foursomes now! Much more fun and no risk of someone missing out.”

Her friend groaned loudly. “I’m regretting booking this place now.”

“Where have you booked?”

“It’s that new place the other side of the city, beautiful willow trees in the gardens.”

“My house?”

“No.” Her friend sighed. “I can’t remember the name of the place.”

“Sounds exciting.”

“So, you free?”

“I’m always free for you, baby,” Allison replied. “I’ll even wear my kinky outfit.”

“I wonder why we’re friends sometimes, you know.”

“I pay you well.”

The woman on the phone laughed again, and then was cut off by sirens as an ambulance drove past.

“Where are you?” her friend asked.

“Victoria Street.”

“Oh god, you’re talking to me on hands free through the speakers with your top down again, aren’t you?”

“Yep,” Allison said, a huge grin on her face, as she stopped by another set of traffic lights. She glanced to her side as another car rolled up next to her. A rather plump looking couple in a beat up Volvo glared at her from within, the passenger; a woman with greying hair and a large mole on her chin, had her window down in the sun. “Oh, toats hot couple right next to me in traffic!” Allison yelled deliberately loud. “Shall I ask them if they want to have a foursome with us?”

“What?” said her friend on the phone, she must have not heard her or was momentarily distracted at work.

“Hot couple, three o’clock, say hi, Kathy!”

Just at the same time as Kathy groaned on the phone, the woman in the passenger seat of the Volvo went red and rolled her window up. Allison just burst out laughing.

“I have to go,” Kathy said, her voice sounding absolutely horrified.

“Don’t worry, you can have the guy, I’ll have the hot chick. Her mole is a strange turn on.”

“Allison,” Kathy groaned. “I have a meeting in five minutes, I’ll ring you later or something to give you the details for next Saturday.”

“Bollox do you have a meeting, you have an awful lot of them when you’re on the phone to me.”

“I was being polite.”

“Don’t be,” Allison said, as she started to drive off again. “Just tell me to fuck off, I don’t mind.”

“Alright, fuck off.”

“Well, I say!”

“Bye, Allison.”

“Love you, sexy.”

There was another groan before the line went dead and the music started to run back up, Allison just drove, singing along without a care in the world, as she drove towards the Wellington Arch.

***

Click here to read the next chapter!


Thanks for reading!
If you like what you read, please check out my other works.

Ender’s Love – Chapter 1

Rose Garden Sanatorium – Prologue

I also have a book published, “It’s My Mistake” with 5-star reviews!

It’s My Mistake – Chapter 1 – UPDATED

It’s also out in paperback where you can get a physical copy here!

New Story idea! – Butterfly House

Prologue

THE SEARCH CONTINUES AFTER BMW FOUND!

  • Authorities located the car of missing man, David MacLeod, found parked in Notting Hill five miles from home.
  • He was last seen leaving home at 7:00am Monday 19th of June to catch a flight.

By DEENA RICHARDS
PUBLISHED: 09:22, 15 July 2019 | UPDATED: 11:12, 15 July 2019

David MacLeod, husband to Jan MacLeod, father to Charlie and Margaret MacLeod, ages 1 and 4, is still missing after three weeks. Supposedly having left for a business flight, but never making it to the airport.

Authorities have responded to a report of an abandoned car, which has been confirmed belongs to that of David MacLeod. It is not known why David’s brand new BMW was parked in Notting Hill when he was due to catch a flight at 08:00 that Monday at Gatwick Airport.

Jan MacLeod is appealing for witnesses who may have seen or heard from David or knows any information to his whereabouts, to come forward as she “extremely worried” about her husband. She says “this behaviour is very unlike David, he normally finds any way to contact me and wouldn’t abandon his children!”

His ex-wife Allison refused to comment but is believed to be working closely with authorities to find David.

Click here to read the next chapter!

woman s face
Photo by Isabella Mariana on Pexels.com

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Don’t forget to check out my other works!

Rose Garden Sanatorium – Prologue

New Story Idea – “I fell in Love with a Psychopath”

Ender’s Love – Chapter 1

No one likes you! – A short story.

My Normal – A Short Story by Penny Hooper