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Why Prep?
(and etymology) of

Sam-wHain...and the Day of the Dead

New!  Creatures of Modern Halloween
true origins.
Real witches, warlocks, and wizards of history!
And more!

Table of Contents
Click on the icon, and go.
Or, just scroll down and browse.

Click on the Icon


Etymology of the word "Halloween"
History of Halloween (Sam-Whain)

...and the Day of the Dead

Halloween Traditions (like trick-or-treating)
Halloween Games

Click on hat

Modern-day Halloween Creatures and their true origins    [This is non-fiction].

Vampires (the truth about vampires)

Werewolves (the truth about werewolves)

Witches/Warlocks/Wizards (Real Ones!)

  Famous Hauntings Around the World.

< Just click on the haunted house to the left.

  Halloween FAQs 

If you are a TLDR person, then this section is for you.  I've got short answers to all your questions about Halloween.  Just click on the jack-o-lantern.

True Ghost Stories.  [Click on the Ghost]




Etymology & Meaning of the word "Halloween"

"Hallow" is short for "hallowed"  and it means holy.

"E'en" is short for "evening".

Hence, "Halloween" means:  "holy evening."

If Halloween is a HOLY evening, why do so many people think that Halloween is the night of the Devil?  I don't know, except maybe because of Hollywood.  In reality, Halloween has nothing to do with the Devil.  The concept of a Devil is a Judaeo-Christian concept.  Halloween actually stems from an Irish Celtic Holy Night called Sam-whain [pronounced:  Sahm-wane].  It means "summer wanes".

[sam = sum(mer), whain = wanes]


History of Halloween  (and the Day of the Dead)
(my source:  Encyclopedia Britannica)

Teachers:  Here's a ppt to show your class.  Just click on this link to download.

Would you call these things "evil"?


These are erected in front of entryways to Korean cities, towns, villages, and estates in order to ward off evil spirits.

Bald Lion Guardian

Statues of lions and dragons are placed in front of Buddhist temples to ward off evil spirits (as seen above in the photo, by my son, 2013).


These adorn cathedrals to ward off evil spirits.

If your answer is, "No," then neither should you call this thing evil...

Because jack-o-lanterns were made and placed in front of people's homes to ward off evil spirits.

There was a group of people living on what is now known as Ireland (and the British Isles), called Celts.  The religious leaders of the Celts were called Druids.  On the last day of the Celtic calendar, which is on October 31 (by the Roman Gregorian calendar); after sundown, it was believed that Hel (who is Loki's daughter and gatekeeper of the Underworld) opened the gates of the Underworld and let all the spirits of the dead roam the land of the living (but only for that one night every year).



It was believed that MOST of the spirits of the deceased were harmless;  however, some of the spirits of the deceased were considered to be wicked or might have been enemies of the family.  So, in order for the living to protect themselves from the wicked spirits, the Celts made scary lanterns out of a kind of radish called a "turnip," and hung the 'jack-o-lanterns' in front of their houses to scare away all wicked spirits.
Source:  (one of the encyclopedias, I don't remember which one).

For their deceased loved-ones, it was traditional to leave a fruit basket out on the porch (especially apples and pomegranates).
Source: Greenmanmeadows.



There weren't any pumpkins in Ireland back in ancient times.  People turned turnips into miniature
jack-o-lanterns, and hung them around the outside of their dwellings to scare away wicked spirits.



Today, in America, people use pumpkins to make jack-o-lanterns, because they are much bigger and easier to carve.  Pumpkins were introduced by the indigenous peoples of the USA.

Source of information:  Encyclopedia Britannica and History Channel


When Christianity came to the British Isles in 432 A.D., the Catholics tried to change such pagan practices, and they initiated a three-day holiday called "All_Hallowed_Tide," which consists of three days.  They were:
     (1) "All-Saints' Eve (on the night of October 31st);
     (2) "All Saints' Day," on November 1st ;  and...
     (3) "All Souls' Day" on November 2nd

Later, Mexico changed "All_Hallowed_Tide" into "Day of the Dead" (Dia de los Muertos), which is celebrated on the same, exact days.

The Mexican version of the European Holidays (All-Hallowed-Tide) is mixed with local traditions that are said to come from ancient Aztec traditions as far back as 3,000 years ago.


When the Irish settlers came to the U.S.A., they brought with them their traditions of Samhain and changed the name to "All Hallow's Eve,"  which later was shortened to "Halloween."  And, the American Aborigines introduced pumpkins to the settlers, which became very handy in making jack-o-lanterns.


So, what happened to Halloween (or Samhain) in Ireland and the other parts of the British empire???

Well, it kind of became overshadowed by "Guy Fawke's Day," which is celebrated on November 5th.

Halloween is coming back, though, probably due to American and Hollywood's influence.


[ Back to top ]



Other Halloween traditions include:

(1)  Wearing scary masks

The Celts wore scary masks if they had to leave their houses on Halloween, to scare away would-be molesting evil spirits.

(pic from http://www.deathstudios.com)

(2)  Trick-or-Treating

Since no one still believes that evil spirits roam the earth, children dress up in costumes, both cute and scary, and go from door to door soliciting tricks or treats from their neighbors.  The custom of "trick-or-treating" seems to be a fairly modern custom.  It seems to have started in the United States in 1950's.  Apparently, it was started by parents wanting to stop the Halloween pranks.  (Source:  History Channel)

It is very similar to the Christmas tradition of "wassailing," where people get together in a small group and go from house to house singing Christmas carols, and hope to get some treats for their singing.



Halloween Games

1. Bobbing for Apples





- a big bucket full of water

- as many apples as there are contestants (or more)

- a stop watch

- a score sheet/board

- writing implement
Method Put all the apples in the bucket.  The apple should float.  If it doesn't float, get another apple.  The first contestant must try to grab the apple with his/her teeth and stand up straight with the apple securely lodged in his/her mouth.  The contestant may not use his/her hands.  Someone should use the stop watch to time the contestant.  Then, the next contestant tries.  The contestant with the quickest time wins.  

2.  Pin the Tail on the Donkey
(or Pin the Nose on the Jack-o-lantern)


x For:
Materials - a big paper donkey w/o tail

- a paper donkey tail

- a blind fold

- a writing implement

- a big paper jack-o-lantern w/o nose

- a paper nose

- a blind fold

- a writing implement

Method Make a paper donkey with a separate tail.  Stick the tailless donkey to the wall or board.  Put the blind fold one the first contestant.  Put the donkey tail in his/her hand.  Spin the contestant three times.  Send the contestant in the direction of the tailless donkey.  The contestant must place the donkey tail as close to it's original position as possible.  Mark the chosen spot with a pen or other writing implement.  Then contestant number two tries.  The closest contestant wins. Make a paper jack-o-lantern with a separate nose.  Stick the nose-less jack-o-lantern to the wall or board.  Put the blind fold one the first contestant.  Put the nose in his/her hand.  Spin the contestant three times.  Send the contestant in the direction of the nose-less jack-o-lantern.  The contestant must place the nose as close to it's original position as possible.  Mark the chosen spot with a pen or other writing implement.  Then contestant number two tries.  Repeat as many times as there are contestants.  The closest contestant wins.

3.  Scariest Mask Contest





- lots of paper

- lots of coloring implements

- tape

- scissors

Method Have all contestants draw and color the scariest mask they can imagine.  Then have them cut the eyes out.  Then have them tape the mask to their faces.  When everyone is finished.  Have the contestants vote for the scariest mask.  The winner gets the most votes, of course.

4.  Pumpkin Carving Contest





- one pumpkin for each team or contestant

- one knife for each team of contestant

- lots of old newspapers

- two big pots

Method Each contestant or team gets one pumpkin, and one knife.  Each team must spread out newspapers under their work area.  Then, they must cut open the top of the pumpkin and take out all the seeds and put the seeds in one of the pots.  Then they must try to carve out the scariest face they can imagine in the side of the pumpkin.  The chucks of pumpkin must be put into the other pot.  Then the contestants vote for the scariest jack-o-lantern.  The seed can be cleaned, roasted and eaten.  The pumpkin chunks can be used to make pumpkin pie or pumpkin porridge.



Modern-Day Halloween

(Creatures of Halloween; and their TRUE origins)


Originally, Halloween (then called Samwhain) was all about people protecting themselves from evil spirits. when Hel (Loki's daughter) opened the gates of the Underworld on the last night of the Celtic year.  It was a bit scary.

Over time, more and more scary things got incorporated into Halloween.  Eventually, all things scary became associated with Halloween, most especially vampires, werewolves, witches, and warlocks.

While I'm not fond of the idea that Halloween has become a melting pot of different cultures all into one, let me cover those other creatures that are now associated with Halloween.

Clipart from Clipart Library.


The word vampire comes from the Hungarian language, because that's where vampires were first discovered (in written history).  [Interestingly, the Bible does forbid the eating of blood (so vampires probably go wayyyyyyy back), but the Bible doesn't have a name for people who eat blood.]

In "modern" times, the first mention of vampires was in Hungary in 1732.  From, there, the phenomenon spread to Bulgaria, which is now part of Germany.  Then, the word "vampire" became a part of the German language.  And eventually, all of Europe became aware of vampires and incorporated the word into their languages.  But, these vampires didn't just drink blood, they drank blood directly from a living human body.

Another interesting side-note is that in England, there have been reports of the "Undead" since 1196.  The "Undead" were very similar to vampires.  They only came out at night, they were blood-thirsty, and were blamed for the the spread of plague and disease in the middle ages.  By the late 1700s, the "Undead" became associated with vampires.

Source:  Online Etymology Dictionary.  See "vampire".


Count Dracula was a real person.  Dracula means "Dragon" and the family took the word "Dracula" as their surname because they were members of the 'Order of the Dragon'.

Source:  Online Etymology Dictionary.  See "Dracula".

Was Dracula a vampire?  No.  He was from Romania.  And, he was a blood-thirsty warrior, but he was not a vampire.  He only became associated with vampires is because of the fictional tale by Bram Stoker in 1897.


Are vampires real ?  I don't know.  But, blood-drinkers definitely still exist.  If vampires do exist, Dracula is not one of them.


Clipart from Clipart Library.

Werewolves & Other Werebeasts

Werewolves and other werebeasts are human shapeshifters.  Werewolves are humans that can change into wolves.  A common misconception is that they only change involuntarily on the night of a full moon.  Actually, they can change whenever they want.  The misconception probably came because people could see the werewolves on nights with a full moon.

As I implied above, there are a plethora of werebeasts.  Some common ones, other than werewolves, are:  werecoyotes, werebears, wererats, weredogs, and werebats.  (Interestingly, werebats became associated with vampires, because certain bats suck the blood of their prey).

Arabian Werewolves

In Arabian Lore, there is a Qutrub, which literally means "Wolf-man".  It has been associated with the Jinn, some saying that they are Jinn, but I don't think that's the case.  My source, Bill Schnoebelen, has first-hand knowledge of how these things work.  According to his research and experience, people can make deals with the Jinn to become werewolves.  (But at what cost, you must ask.  Your soul?)

Navajo Skinwalkers

I have information from a Navajo native, that skinwalkers do really exist.  Most are werecoyotes, but some can change into any animal at will.  They get this power from evil spirits.  It is a taboo subject for the Navajo, and it is rarely spoken of.  I'm very fortunate to be allowed this information.  In the Navajo tribe, becoming a skinwalker is a very ignominious thing.

Nigerian WereHyenas

In northern Nigeria, there is a group of people called the Kanuri.  They believe in werehyenas called, Bultungin, which translates into "I change myself into a hyena" exist.  It is believed that one or two of the villages in the region was populated entirely by werehyenas at one time.  Source:  Wikipedia (West African Religion).

Clipart from Clipart Library.

Witches, Warlocks, and Wizards

Witches are mentioned in the Bible, so the dark arts have probably been around since time immemorial.  In fact, the first "witch" (my word for her) was probably Adam's first wife, Lilith.  [Lilith is not in the canonical Bible; but she is part of Hebrew Lore].  She did not like to be told what to do by Adam, so she divorced him and became a demoness (what I call a witch) who among other things would steal the children of Adam and Eve.

The witch of Endor is probably the most famous witch mentioned in the Bible, and she was, among other things, a necromancer (one who summons the dead to gain information).

Of course, there are good witches, but most witches are involved in the dark arts (dark magic).

Here are some of the most famous witches in history:

Time Name / Culture Info
See above.
1020 B.C. Witch of Endor
King Saul sought her out to summon up and communicate with the recently deceased prophet Samuel.  She was a necromancer (one who summons and communicates with the dead).
Mid-9th century B.C. Jezebel
While not called a witch in the Bible, she was the high priestess of Baal (a pagan god) and Asherah (a pagan goddess).  In my opinion, she was probably one of the most evil women in human history.  The Bible is very clear about her wickedness.

Baal was a storm god (god of the weather), and Asherah was the goddess of fertility.  Put those two together and you have a recipe for plentiful crops and a productive society.

But, why was Jezebel so evil?  Well, in addition to being the high priestess of pagan worship (which allegedly  involved great licentiousness), she was the wife of King Ahab, and she wielded both great political authority and great religious authority in all the kingdom.  She used her power to kill, steal, rob, and commit a multitude of whoredoms.   (Parenthetically, the Bible was not clear and what kind of whoredoms;  these could have been merely drawing people away from the true God.)

There is a mention in the Bible of the Baal-worshippers offering their children as sacrifices to their god.  This was in the eighth century B.C., under King Ahaz.  So, it is likely that Jezebel also offered children to her gods.

So, let's sum up.  Jezebel worshipped false gods, sacrificed children, and engaged in all sorts of immorality.  That sounds like a witch in my book.

11th century B.C. -
 4th century B.C.
There were many Sibyls.  They were considered "oracles" of the gods.  They were never called "witches", but that's what they were.  They would achieve trancelike states (probably with the help of some narcotic) and utter prophecies.  These prophecies were written down on leaves.
Late 5th century A.D. or Early 6th century A.D. Morgan Le Fay
Morgan Le Fay was the half sister of the legendary King Arthur Pendragon.  She was said to have great powers of healing.
Early 1500's A.D. Mother Shipton
Mother Shipton was a suspected witch (as was her mother).  She had clairvoyant powers and correctly prophesied many future events, including some that are yet to come to pass.  Read more here.
1692 Salem Witch Trials
Honestly, I wasn't even going to mention this one, because I don't believe that any of those women (or men) accused were actually witches/warlocks.  It was a "witch hunt" (pun intended) and innocent people got hurt and/or killed.  Over 200 people were investigated, thirty were convicted, and 19 put to death by hanging.  It was shameful part of Massachusetts' history.
1801-1881 Voodoo Priestess
Marie Laveau
Voodoo is originally from Africa.  The word means "spirit deity" (but is most likely a demon posing as a deity).  Marie Laveau was very famous in Louisiana for her work as a Voodoo priestess, an herbalist, a nurse, and a midwife.  Voodoo involves a lot of animal sacrifice, potion-making, and communicating with spiritual entities (which I call demons).  That's a witch!
1831-1891 Helena Blavatsky
Madame Blavatsky (as she's called) started the Theosophical Society in 1875 and wrote a popular book entitled "The Secret Doctrine," which is popular reading for occultists around the world.  She was heavily into the paranormal, such as:  séances, channeling, and  mediumship;  And, was said to get a lot of her information from such sources.  Therefore, in my book, she was a witch.  She was not a bad person, but I question some of her information, because it is not from reliable sources.

She is credited with heavily influencing the New Age movement that started in the 1970s.

1900s Wicca Wicca started as a grassroots movement in England in the mid 1900's, becoming very popular in the 1960s.  Sometimes it is called, "The Craft" (as in... "witchcraft"); but its not necessarily bad.  There's a lot of connection with and reverence for Mother Nature.  One thing I like is that they understand that whatever intentions you put out there towards another person, comes back on you three times stronger.  So, at least they understand the law of karma; and so they tend to stay away from bad spells, potions, etc.

Sources:  The Holy Bible, Wikipedia, Google A.I., and other sources that I cannot remember (I read a lot).
Jezebel info comes from the Bible and Jewish Women's Archive.
Asherah info also comes from the Bible and Jewish Women's Archive.

Famous Warlocks or Wizards in History:

Time Name / Culture Info
970-931 B.C.E. King Solomon In the Bible, King Solomon lost favor in God's eyes because he followed after the gods of his wives.  In Arabic lore, King Solomon is written to have had power over the Jinn.  King Solomon may have been a warlock.
5th-6th Century A.D. Merlin Merlin was definitely a warlock or wizard.  And, he tutored Morgan Le Fay.  Merlin and Morgan were real people, but not much is known about them.  Most of what you see in the movies is conjecture.
1503-1566 Nostradamus Nostradamus was into just about everything occult:  astrology, apothecary (chemistry + herbalism), and seership, but how he got his information is quite the mystery.  He wasn't a bad person, and therefore I would not classify him as a warlock.  I would classify him as a wizard, which is a very educated person in the occult.
1887 Founders of the Golden Dawn 3 guys broke away from the Societas Rosicruciana in Anglia (S.R.I.A.) and started their own occult society called the "Golden Dawn".  Each was called "Grand Magus" (magus = magician).
1875-1947 Aleister Crowley Was a member of the Golden Dawn, but then he started his own occult society/religion (called "Thelema") on his own property aside the Loch Ness.  His religion stemmed from Egyptian occult, and involved channeling information from the dead by both he and his wife.  (This is called necromancy).  Therefore, he and his wife were warlock and witch.

The motto (allegedly channeled) is "Do as thou wilt."

1930-1997 Anton LaVey Founder of the Church of Satan (in the U.S.A.) in 1966.  Definitely a warlock.  He has been called, "The most evil man in history," and "The Black Pope."  

Sources:  Wikipedia mostly.
Information on King Solomon comes from the Bible and various Arabic texts (translated into English, of course).







Clipart from Clipart Library.

Famous Hauntings of History,
Haunted Places Around the World


To elucidate all of the haunted places around the world would be impossible.  So, I'll just focus on the famous ones of the historical record.  [and perhaps a few from modern times].
Please come back next week or next year to see if I've added more stories of haunted history or haunted places.

Time Name / Location Info
5,000 B.C.E. Ancient Sumeria

Most of the knowledge we have about ancient Sumeria (on this topic) comes from the study of their burial sites and clay tablets.

It is clear that the people of ancient Sumeria believed in an afterlife.  Their habit of burying people with beloved items and even with pets suggests that the people thought that they could "take it with them".

Also, the writings are clear that people believed that if they did not placate the dead, with offerings and proper burials, and such, that they might escape the Underworld and come back to haunt them.

This believe could not exist if there weren't any hauntings.

This information comes from a wonderful article written by Joshua J. Mark, entitled, "Ghosts in Ancient Mesopotamia".  2022.

Roughly 1100 B.C.E. Ancient Egypt

Tree of Life
Painting in Tomb of Sennedjem


This story of a haunting in ancient Egypt comes from a letter that was was found at the burial site of an Egyptian woman.  Apparently it was a common practice to write letters to the deceased and leave the letters at the grave.

The man who wrote the letter was haunted by his deceased wife, and he did not understand why.  He wrote a letter expounding upon all the nice things he did for her, and in the end he actually accused her of not knowing what is good and what is bad.  (Because the man clearly thinks that he did good by her).  But, honestly, I think that the man misunderstood her intentions.  Perhaps she came back to thank him for all he did.

To read all the details of this story and another story from ancient Egypt, see the fantastic article by Joshua J. Mark, entitled, "Ghosts in Ancient Egypt".  2016.

Note:  the other story deals with a ghost that was troubled because his tomb had deteriorated due to neglect and nobody knew where it was, and could not visit, and he would not be remembered.  I just thought that was interesting.

1st century B.C.



My review of Henry Justice Ford's artwork (pictured to the right):
I am completely spellbound (pun intended) by this artwork.  I am an artist myself and I am so amazed by the quality, and how the artist made the ghost look translucent.  I just had to add this picture to my site.  I absolutely adore this picture.

Haunted Athens House, Greece

The artwork (above) Credit:
"Athenodorus Confronts The Specter" by Henry Justice Ford, 1913.

I found this story on several sites but the most detailed version can be found on thecollector.com.  In the interest of time, I will summarize.

This story comes from a Roman Lawyer and prolific letter-writer named Pliny the Younger.  He wrote a letter elucidating a cheap real estate deal.  And, why was the house cheap?  Because it was haunted.  The previous owners complained of the sound of rattling chains all through the house at night, and they couldn't sleep, partly from the noise and partly from being so scared.

A shrewd philosopher named Athenodorus, learned of the sale on the house and why it was so cheap.  And, he bought it, knowing full well that it was haunted.  On his first night staying at the house, he heard the rattling of chains, the sound of which got closer and closer.  But he was not afraid.  When the sound stopped, Athenodorus looked over and saw a specter of an old man in chains who bid him follow.  He followed the ghost out to the garden, and then the ghost disappeared.  Athenodorus marked the spot where the ghost had disappeared, and the next day he called the authorities, who dug at the spot and found the skeleton of a man in chains.

They gave the man a proper burial; and he never haunted the house ever again.  This story, besides elucidating the way to find cheap real estate, also served to confirm the prevalent belief in Rome and Greece that the spirits of the deceased cannot rest until they receive a proper burial.

Chinese Lore
Date Unknown
Ancient China

Picture is from the movie "The Ring".
I'm not suggesting anyone see that movie.  It is a scary horror movie and I don't watch horror movies.  Never seen it and I don't want to see it.  But, this is a photo of a girl ghost which matches the story to the right.

One of the most famous haunting stories that comes from ancient China is that of the spirit of a little girl.

The little girl haunted the house of four brothers, living together.  Eventually, the four brothers had enough of this little girl, and hatched a plan to get rid of her.  So, they captured her one night (and don't ask me how you capture a ghost; but I'd sure like to know how they did it).  They put her into a bag and threw her down a well.

The next night she was back with the bag in hand.  So, they put her back into the bag, tied a rock to it, and threw it into a nearby river.

The next night she was back.  So, they stuffed her into a hollow log, and capped both ends, and sent it down the river.

The next night she appeared to them and thanked them for a proper burial.  And, she never bothered them again.

This information comes from a fantastic article by Emily Mark, entitled, "Ghosts in Ancient China".  2016.

World's Most Haunted
Name Location Details

Ao = Blue
Ki = Tree
gaHara = Meadow

Mt. Fuji, Japan Aokigahara literally means "Blue Tree Meadow", but in English circles it is more commonly known as "Suicide Forest".  The reason for the nickname, is because legend has it that people go there to commit suicide.  The Japanese people won't go in there.  But, some Westerners did.  One story that I read said that the author went into the forest and heard a loud scream.  Upon investigating, the author could not find the source of the scream.

Snakku Blog.
Medium Dot Com.
The Japan Times.

Bridgewater Triangle Freetown Fall River State Forest, Massachusetts Like the Bermuda Triangle, the Bridgewater Triangle is a hotspot of paranormal phenomena.  Some the things reported are:
- UFOs
- poltergeists
- giant dogs (dire wolves?)
- dogman?
- orbs of light
- bigfoot
- thunderbirds (pterosaurs?)
- giant snakes
- and Satan worship

Bridgewater Library.
The Lineup.

Hoia Baciu A forest in Transylvania, Romania Hoia means warrior.
Baciu means kiss.
Source:  Google Translate.
So, together they would mean:  "Warrior's Kiss".
And, the story goes that a shepherd (nobody gives the date), named Hoia (which means warrior) [and nobody explains why he was named warrior] kissed his wife goodbye, and then took his flock of 200 sheep into the forest and was never seen or heard from again.  The forest is named after him.

In 1968, a military man and photographer named Emil Barnea took a photograph of a UFO near the forest.  When, he published it, he lost his job and was called a fraud.

Another story tells of a young girl who went into the forest and emerged five years later, the same age as when she left, and wearing the same clothes.

Finally, there are reports of a circular clearing in the middle of the forest, where nothing grows, and hasn't grown for all long as records have been kept.  Some think that it is a portal to another dimension.

JayWay Travel.
Medium Dot Com.
India Times.


( I update this every year.  Come back next year for more! ) 






Halloween FAQs



Short Answer

Long Answer

Who started Halloween? The Celtic People of Ireland The long answer is that Halloween is a hodge-podge of cultures, traditions, and lore.  But, the original tradition came from Ireland with the holiday called "Sam-whain" which means:  "Summer wanes."
Is Halloween of the Devil? No.


and, yes...

Halloween is what you make of it.  If you make it to be the day of the Devil, then it is the day of the Devil.  If you make it to be a day of spirits roaming the Earth, then it is a day of spirits roaming the Earth.  If you make it to be a day of dressing up in costumes and trick-or-treating, then it is a day of dressing up in costumes and going trick-or-treating.  Honestly, it's all what you make of it.  It's your day.  Make it fun.  Halloween was created for you, not for the Devil.
Why is Halloween on October 31st? Because that's the last day of the Celtic year, Hel (Loki's daughter) let the spirits of the Underworld out for that one night to roam the Earth.  While this might seem like a benign thing, the Underworld had both good and bad spirits in it.  So, what if a bad spirit can to your house?  Well, the ancients of Ireland had a solution for this problem; they would make scary jack-o-lanterns out of turnips and hang them on their porches to scary away and would-be haunting spirits.
The use of pumpkins to make jack-o-lanterns didn't happen until the European settling of America, where they were introduced to pumpkins by the indigenous tribes.
Why is it called "Halloween"? Because it is a literal holy day (holiday).  Halloween means "Hallowed Evening". Halloween (Samwhain) was a holy day in the Celtic religion.  It had nothing to do with the Devil, because in their religion there was no Devil.  There was Nidhog, but he stayed in Niflheim.  And, there were evil spirits, but those were the diembodied souls of the dead.  Both evil spirits AND good spirits came out on Halloween night.
Why do we go trick-or-treating on Halloween night? Because parents in the U.S. wanted something fun for their children to do (instead of doing pranks). Before trick-or-treating you had youngsters going around on Halloween doing pranks on people, which were messy, destructive, and annoying.  In the 1950s there was a grass-roots movement to stop this criminal behavior.  And, trick-or-treating was born.
Why do people think that Halloween is the night of everything evil? Because of Hollywood. Hollywood (AKA:  Movie-makers), make scary movies, because there is a market for scary movies.  And, since Halloween was already scary with all the evil spirits roaming the Earth, why not add to the scariness by adding other scary creatures, such as vampires, werewolves, and witches?  I'm not fond of how Halloween has been mutilated by the introduction of scary things that were never supposed to be a part of Halloween; but it is what it is.
Are vampires real? I don't know. I know that some people have been drinking blood since time immemorial (as it is condemned in the Bible).  I also know that there are some people who would like to be vampires.  But, do they really exist?  I really cannot say.  I do have one first-hand report that there are some secret covens of people trying to become vampires (and they are getting help from demons to do so); but are they succeeding?  I don't know.
Are werewolves real?

Are other werebeasts real?

Yes. I have a first-hand account from a Navajo native who told me about skinwalkers.  They do exist.  They make deals with demons to be able to shapeshift into animals.  Mostly they shapeshift into coyotes, but can also shapeshift into birds.

Sounds like a cool power to have, but I guarantee you that its not. For instance, maybe you could change into an animal at will, but will you ever be able to change back into a human????  (Ever thought about that?)

Are witches, warlocks, and wizards real? Yes. See my section on real witches and real warlocks/wizards above.




Leon's Ghost Stories
(These are true stories)

Haunted Toilets?

Ghost in Magna, Utah

He Walked Right
Through a Wall
Las Vegas


Ghost in Las Vegas

Cemetery Ghost
on the Radio

in Salt Lake City

Ghost in Salt Lake City

Ghost of a
 Bird Lady?

in Mongolia

Ghost in Mongolia


The Haunted Toilets of Magna, Utah
(a true ghost story by Leon)

       It was 2018, in Utah, U.S.A. I was a 5th-grade teacher at a small charter school in a small town, called Magna, Utah. The word ‘magna’ is Latin for “great”, which is an oxymoron, because the town neither was great nor ever became great. Magna was first settled in 1868 as a mining town (still is a mining town to this day). But, it wasn’t called Magna back then; it was called Pleasant Green. Later, they changed the name to Magna, because it was thought that the town would grow to become a great city. It never did become a great city, though, despite continued mining operations for over 150 years.
Magna, Utah is located a mile south of the Great Salt Lake, just at the base of the Oquirrh Mountains, where the mines are located. Oquirrh is a Ute word which mean tree stump or log, which is funny, because no trees grow on those mountains. Rumor has it that the Mormon pioneers chopped them all down, but I find that very hard to believe. What I find more believable is that the mountains in that area have neither the necessary elevation, nor the necessary precipitation for trees to thrive there.
       Magna is a small town, ridden with low-income families and unfortunately several drug dealers running meth-amphetamine labs out of their homes. Gangs and Cartel live in the area as well. The school where I worked was on the outskirts of the eastern part of town, surrounded by acres of private farms and grazeland. In fact, the owner of the land adjacent to the school had some horses and two lamas in his field.
       Long before the modern-day flush-toilet was invented, even before Magna was a town, the Utes lived and hunted there. And, before the Utes, the Fremont Indians lived and hunted there. As I have come to learn from visiting Fremont Indian State Park, the term “Fremont Indian” is just an umbrella term for all the people that lived in Utah more than 2,000 years ago. Evidence of the Fremont Indians lies in a cave just west of town inside the Oquirrh Mountains, facing the Great Salt Lake. Today, the cave is referred to as Deadman Cave (or Dead Man’s Cave), because allegedly a man committed suicide there in 1913. Archaeologists from the University of Utah have been to the cave twice to do excavations and found bones and artifacts that carbon-date to between 9,500 years ago to 10,000 years ago. Legend has it that the spirit of the man who committed suicide in the cave—a miner—still roams around the town of Magna at night. My student and her mother literally drove their car right though him one night. Scared the ever-living daylights out of them. So, is that really a legend if we have a modern-day witness? You decide. And, he’s not the only apparition in town. The Empress Theater, built in 1916 as a place of entertainment for the miners, now has a burlesque girl ghost, who still puts on shows from time to time. But, haunted toilets??? Really? Yes! Read on, my friend.
       Again, it was 2018, and I used to come into the school on the weekends to do lesson prep, clean up my classroom, decorate my classroom, and get it ready for the upcoming week. I was always the only person there. It was very quiet, except for the weather. One could hear the weather outside, and the building creaking from time to time. To another person, it might seem spooky. Not to me. I quite enjoyed the quiet and the weather, even the creaking. I liked being alone, without any distractions (and I get distracted easily). However, I was soon to realize that I was not alone in that building after all.
       Why wasn’t it spooky to me? Well, because I’m a praying man. I prayed every day. I prayed every day for myself, my family, and my school. To be honest, I had had the sneaky suspicion that my students were being plagued by depressing spirits, which were keeping them from achieving academically. I prayed every day that there would be angels surrounding the entire school grounds, keeping out every wicked spirit, and that our school would be a safe haven.
       Well, one weekend evening, I was working in my classroom with the door open to get fresh air in the classroom. I was the only person in the building, or so I thought, when all of a sudden, the toilet flushed in the restroom down the hall. Now, if I were teaching a classroom full of children, I would not have been able to hear it, but it is amazing how much you can hear, when you are the only person in the building. The outside doors stayed locked at all times, and one could only enter the building by fob or by being buzzed in. All of the teachers had fobs, so naturally I thought that one of the other teachers had come to get some work done as well. I immediately went to the classroom door and yelled out, “Who’s there?” No answer. Then, I went the boys’ room and checked. There was no one in there. Then, I stood outside the girls’ room and said, “Is anybody in there?” No answer. I walked around the whole school. Saw no one. Finally, I checked the parking lot. Mine was the only car in the lot. Okay, at that point I was a little freaked out. But, I dismissed it as a malfunctioning toilet and went back to work.
       Then, it happened again. Only this time it was a toilet at the other end of the hall. I went through the exact same routine in order to confirm that no one else was in the building. At that point, I was thinking that some invisible entity was trying to get my attention. Because during the normal school day, the toilet did not automatically flush randomly. They had sensors and only flushed when a person triggered the sensor. Something was triggering the sensors on the toilets and trying to get my attention. I wasn’t scared, but I was confused. What could the entity be trying to tell me? I think I even said out loud, “What are you trying to tell me?” After several minutes of ruminating on that query, I finally gave up trying to figure it out.
       From then on, every weekend, when I went to work, toilets would randomly flush throughout the building. Now, keep in mind that one malfunctioning toilet is one thing, but multiple malfunctioning toilets is statistically so astronomically out of the range of possibility that it is incongruous to think of that as a viable option. Clearly, I was not alone in that building on the weekends. And, keep in mind that while I was working, I was working with love in my heart. I wanted to prepare the best lessons for my students. I wanted the best decorations in my classroom. I wanted the best educational environment to stimulate my students natural curiosity and learning, and to have the best possible configuration of desks and desk assignments to optimize the learning environment. I didn’t have to be there. No one else was. I did it out of love in my heart for all of my students. And, whoever the invisible entity was, trying to get my attention, must have been allowed to enter by the sentinel of angels surrounding our school. So, it must have been friend.
       Eventually, it came to the point that as soon as I would enter the building on the weekends, a toilet would flush, and I would say, “Hi,” out loud. No more random flushing. One toilet would flush when I came in, and I would say, “Hi.” By the way, I would say, “Goodbye,” when I left, but no toilet flushed when I left. Only when I came in.
       I told a few people about my experience with the flushing toilets, and one person said that the school had been built on ancient Ute burial grounds. I can’t verify that. Personally, I think that it was my guardian angel just letting me know that he/she was there, looking after me.
What do you think? Contact me.

Dead Man’s Cave:
Science Reviews (Historical)

Jacob Barlow's Travel Blog

Historical Marker Help

Princeton University Library

The Empress Theater:
KRCL:  Story of Us

Magna Ghost Stories:
The Ghost Miner
Background information: The mines in the Oquirrh Mountains, just west of Magna, Utah have changed ownership many times over the past two centuries. At the time of this story, the mines were owned by Kennecott. They are currently owned by Rio Tinto.


All Dressed in White, and Walking Through a Wall
in Las Vegas
(a true ghost story, by Leon)

       I was a baker and doughnut-maker in 1993.  I started out as a baker, baking pies for the casinos in Las Vegas in 1993.  Then, my boss decided to expand into doughnut-making.  Baking was done during the day and the pies were frozen, but doughnut-making was done during the graveyard shift, so that the doughnuts were fresh in the morning.  I was trained to be the sole doughnut-maker, working graveyard shift, all alone in the huge warehouse bakery.

       It wasn't scary.  I didn't mind being alone.  What bothered me was the daunting task of making a hundred doughnuts of all kinds to perfection before the sun rose.  It felt like spinning straw into gold in a single night.  A lot of responsibility was placed upon my shoulders, and I wasn't up to the task, even though I said I was.

       Well, I was working all alone one night.  In fact, it was my first night alone in the warehouse-bakery.  I was getting all my equipment ready, and someone or something kept knocking them off the table.  I put the mixing bowl on the table, and it was knocked onto the floor.  I put the utensils on the table, and they'd be knocked off onto the floor.  At that point, I got super pissed off.  I yelled, "Stop it!"  I was pissed off because I was working on a deadline and now I had to wash the bowl and the utensils.  Whoever was messing with me was putting me behind schedule.

       Finally, I calmed down and got to work mixing up the dough.  Out of the corner of my eye, I saw a man all dressed in white walk across the floor and through the wall.  It was the last time I ever worked there during graveyard shift.


Cemetery Ghost on the Radio
in Salt Lake City
(a true ghost story by Leon)

       It was 2017 and my son was too old to go trick-or-treating, and yet I wanted to do something special for him on Halloween.  We decided to visit some haunted spots in Salt Lake City on Halloween night.  I did some research and we found that the two most famously haunted spots in Salt Lake City are: (1) the Rio Grande Train Depot (now a historical landmark) and (2) the Salt Lake City cemetery.

       According to the stories, sometimes a young lady dressed in a purple dress can be seen in the windows at night.  Legend has it that she died trying to retrieve an engagement ring that had fallen onto the tracks.  Mostly she's been seen in the lady's restroom.  We went to the depot first, hoping for a glimpse of her through the windows, but the windows were all boarded up, or had curtains closed, so we couldn't see anything.  However, we were not entirely disappointed.  As we were walking around in front of the depot, a truck horn sounded.  No one was inside the truck--at least no one visible.  I walked right up to the truck and looked in the window.  No one was in that truck.

       Then, we went to the Salt Lake City cemetery.  We parked the car and walked around the cemetery.  Saw nothing but gravestones.  But, when we got back into the car and I turned on the ignition, the radio went from normal radio to static.  Then, we heard some people talking (nothing intelligible), then some really old music started playing, like from the 40's or 50's.  I did not recognize the song.  My son and I just looked at each other with incredulity in our eyes.  After about thirty seconds, the radio went back to normal.  We were freaked out, and we called it a night.


The Mongolian Bird-Lady Ghost
(a true ghost story by Leon)

A Dead Sparrow on My Balcony
Tuesday, July 5, 2011  
By Leon

[FOREWORD:  You may be wondering what a Mongolian Ovoo has to do with a dead sparrow.  Well, read this recount and find out!]

Before I went to sleep last Friday night, I lay on the bed thinking about what my next article would be about.  When I awoke, I went out on my balcony to water my plants.  There was a dead baby Eurasian tree sparrow lying on my balcony.  I freaked out!  I thought, “Oh, my heavens!  What kind of omen is this?”

Interpolatively, am I superstitious?  Yes! I am superstitious.  I’ve always been superstitious.  When I was young, I used to make up my own superstitions.  For instance, I used to think that if I locked my bicycle in a certain spot, I’d have a good day at school.  When someone took my spot and I was forced to lock my bike in another location, I was sure to have a bad day.

As I stood there, mesmerized by the matter at hand, I wondered what a dead bird on one’s balcony portends.  I just had to know.  I called my friend, Markus.  He’s a Mongolian American.  I figured he’d know.  I asked, “What does it mean when someone finds a dead bird on their balcony in Mongolia?”  He replied, “It means the bird died on your balcony.”  He was no help.  So, I immediately sat at my laptop and began to search the web for answers.  I searched all day long.  I found nothing related to my predicament.  However, herein below is what I did find.

In the West, there is a superstition that if a bird flies into one’s home, there will be a death of a loved one.  Whew!  Dodged that bullet!  In Mongolia, apparently the belief is that if one comes upon a dead animal, one should spit three times and say, “I didn’t kill you.”  This is to avoid retribution from the spirit of the deceased animal.

Needless to say, I was a bit relieved that there wasn’t any bad omen associated with a dead bird.  However, I couldn’t help but feel uneasy about it.  Questions plagued my mind.  Why me?  Why now?  Why on my balcony?  Somebody once said that there is no such thing as a mere coincidence.  I mean sure, the baby bird probably fell out of a nest on the roof of my building.  But, why?  How?  Did some evil spirit push it out of the nest?  Was it a message from the spirit world?  How was I to take it?  So, that night, after putting my son to bed, I went out on the balcony and said, “I didn’t kill you,” but I didn’t spit three times.  I didn’t spit at all.  That’s just nasty.

The next morning, I went out on my balcony again.  There on the telephone wires, no more than two meters away from me, practically eye to eye were two adult tree sparrows yelling at me.  I said, “I didn’t do it!  It was probably that lady two floors up who flicks vodka into the air.”  Then, a third sparrow flew right up to my balcony and gave me a severe scolding.  Again, I said, “I didn’t do it!”

Now, I know what you are thinking.  You are thinking, “Leon, you are crazy!  You talk to birds?  Are you serious?”  Yes.  I’m serious.  The last thing I needed was a replay of Alfred Hitchcock’s “The Birds”.   But, seriously, I believe that you can talk to animals, and they will in most cases understand your general intentions.

Now, I must digress and tell you about the lady two floors up.  I’ve seen her late at night in our apartment parking lot flicking some kind of liquid into the air in all four cardinal directions.  She spooned the liquid, which looked like a milk tea, out of her cup high into the air.  Clearly, she was performing some kind of shamanistic ritual, but I didn’t know why.  Did she want rain from the sky?  From my research about Mongolian shamanism, I learned that in the past Mongolians asked their shamans for rain, but now, they generally ask for money.  Sometimes Mongolian shamans will tell their clients to give offerings of milk tea or vodka to the spirits, in return for favors.  Perhaps that was the reason.  Perhaps she needed money.

“Ah, ha!” I thought.  However, I was a bit dismayed to go out on my balcony one sunny afternoon only to get a vodka shower.  You see my balcony is the lowest one and jets out a bit farther than the others above me.   I looked up to see what was causing my shower.  It was that old lady again flicking a clear liquid into the sky from her balcony.  In fact, I didn’t know what kind of liquid it was.  It could have been anything.  I’ve read that sometimes the shamans will tell their clients who are plagued by evil spirits to bathe in vodka and then throw it out the window to get rid of the evil spirit.  For all I know I was being showered with dirty bath vodka.  Maybe it worked, though.  Maybe the evil spirit left her home and entered the baby sparrow, and then it tried to fly away, but its wings weren’t fully developed.  Or just maybe, the old lady flicked the vodka a little bit too high and it got into the nest, intoxicating one of the little chicks, which then accidentally fell out of the nest.

Anyhow, let’s get back to my story.  After I convinced the adult sparrows that “…it wasn’t me”, they left me alone.  It became clear that I couldn’t just leave the little bird on my balcony.  I decided that it was time to bury the felled foul, whom we affectionately named “Sparrie”.  I put the lifeless little thing into a cardboard coffin and I said, “Let’s go bury Sparrie.”  My son and I went out into the field next to our apartment building, dug a grave with a spoon, and buried the bird, coffin and all.  Then, we erected an ovoo, or rock monument, on top of the grave and a headstone out of piece of polished granite we found lying in the field.  We said a little prayer that went something like this, “Dear God, please accept the spirit of our little sparrow friend, whom we’ve named Sparrie, into your heavenly abode.  Amen.”

For now, I think we have appeased the spirits.  Whatever happens next, I’m not going to spit three times.  That’s just nasty.   

UPDATE:  09.04.2022
(Updated much later; but you've got to read what happened next...
because it will figuratively blow your mind!)

Now, an ovoo, pictured above, is a very sacred thing in Mongolian tradition.  If one should happen upon one, one is supposed to (doesn't have to; but may if they want to) pick up a rock that is NOT part of the existing ovoo, walk around the ovoo three times, carrying the rock and saying a prayer.  Then, one places the rock on the ovoo.  This is akin to our Western tradition of adding a coin to a wishing well.  Just as it is extremely taboo to remove coins from a wishing well, it is extremely taboo to remove stones/rocks from an ovoo.

So, after we had buried Sparrie and erected the miniature ovoo on top of the grave, and said our little prayer, we retired to the apartment wherein we resided.  As we were going about our daily routines, my son experienced an odd event, which he relayed to me.  He told me that when he looked in the mirror in the living room, which was facing the balcony, he saw a Mongolian-looking woman standing on our balcony.  When he immediately turned around to look at the balcony, she was no longer there.  When asked what she was wearing, he said that she was wearing an ancient outfit with feathers all over it.

I, personally, believe that it was the spirit of the sparrow coming to thank us for what we had done for her.  I also, personally, believe that she tarried with us for the duration of our time in Mongolia as our guardian angel.  There were many "close calls" for my son and me while living in Mongolia, but we were always propitiously protected.

Please note:  It is NOT a Mongolian tradition to erect on ovoo on top of a grave.  But, I wanted to do something special for Sparrie.  I also wanted to teach my son to respect all creatures (dead or alive), even respect the spirit of a picayune tree sparrow.




The End



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