Tuesday, October 27, 2009

The fascination with Halloween

And hauntings...
Anyone with a television or radio knows that Halloween festivities are in full swing, and every year they get bigger and scarier and more occult.  While driving yesterday I was listening to talk radio and the interview of a ghost-buster.  The night before, another local group of ghost-busters were on the news.  Ghosts are cool.  I've never seen one however... although I'm curious... and don't forget - curiosity is a vice.
Most of the ads associated with Halloween appeal to our curiosity, our morbid fascination with death and what is not seen... the occult.  Halloween isn't just for kids anymore - it hasn't been for a long time.  The innocent Halloween of our youth is far more occult now days.  Or is it?
When I was younger we went to costume parties - as a child I went out trick-or-treating - but I'm talking about as an adult now - Halloween is really about adults these days - arrested-development-syndrome and all of that you know.  Anyway - as young adults - we played with the Ouija board, visited haunted houses, had fortune tellers read our cards and palms, and so on.  Were we serious?  Beneath the just doing it for fun attitude was a very real curiosity, a fascination which translate to an openness to the occult.
I actually have one fortune that continues to haunt me - I don't want to say what it is, but I am frequently reminded of it.  Yes, I've gone through many rituals - I'm not controlled by it, but I'm reminded of it as a sort of chastisement.  I know it is not true, because the devil is a liar, and thus I pay no heed to the prediction and place all of my trust in the Divine Mercy.  It isn't scary either.
What I've noticed however, with all the ads, the TV shows with Halloween themes and shows such as Ghost Whisperer, is that a certain level of fascination creates a greater openness or curiosity to the phenomena, thus a desire to explore these subjects becomes almost inviting once again.  I think to myself, "Wow!  I'd like to talk to a ghost."  I know it is sinful to try and conjure up an apparition - but if one just sat down across the table and started moving things on my desk - that would be cool - and I wouldn't have started it.  So I wouldn't sin...  Or would I have placed myself in the near occasion of sin by entertaining thoughts - fantasies - about this stuff, which in turn creates an openness to the occult? 
Creepy, huh?  And then the occult stuff has a way of 'sticking' to a person - muddying the waters as it were - only to re-present as a phantom memory.  We tell ourselves it is not real, it is just harmless fun and superstition, yet we can remain fascinated by it.
Do you know what it means to  fascinate?  Or what it means to be fascinated?  Webster defines it thus:
  • fas-ci-nate 1 obs: BEWITCH 2 a: to transfix and hold spellbound by an irresistible power b: to command the interest of all: ALLURE vi: to be irresistibly attractive.
  • fas-ci-nat-ing adj: extremely interesting or charming: TERRY NELSON ; captivating
So anyway - I came across two interesting commentaries regarding Halloween and it's increasing popularity.
Spanish Catholic leaders lash out at growing popularity of Halloween
MADRID - Roman Catholic leaders sounded an alarm on Monday over the growing popularity of Halloween in Spain, calling it "pagan," "anti-Christian" and a celebration of death over life.

"Children dress as witches, vampires, ghosts, masks, corpses, skeletons. And parents favour this type of festivities which plays with elements of death. But when a relative dies they prevent them from seeing the dead relative," he was quoted as saying by the online edition of the El Mundo newspaper.
Flurry of ghost hunting shows...
Photo:  My kitchen.


  1. Fascinating post!

    Cool kitchen, too! You're just like Haley Joel Osment.

    We've been strict about not letting our sons dress in anything macabre for Halloween. Last year they went as a picnic table and a box of McDonald Fries. My younger son (the fries) got yelled at a lot for promoting unhealthy foods, while getting his pillow case filled with pure sugar. Weird, huh?

    This year they're going as a banana (younger one) and the older one is wearing his marching band uniform. Anything for free candy!

    p.s. - he didn't get yelled at - I was only kidding.

  2. fas-ci-nate 1 obs: BEWITCH 2 a: to transfix and hold spellbound by an irresistible power b: to command the interest of all: ALLURE vi: to be irresistibly attractive.

    People don't read the dictionary enough.

    Just over on The Deacon's Bench I learned that the original meaning of the word "sacrifice" was to "make oneself holy."

    All of this fascination with the occult and witches and Halloween surely is part of the "I'm spiritual but not religious" secular movement that has taken the country by storm.

    "Spirit" comes from the Latin word for "breath", once thought to be the life force by the pagans. "Religion" comes from the Latin word that originally meant "revering the gods."

    One doesn't see much "revering" in churches these days.

  3. Your sons' costumes are great. I'm not against Halloween either - just the devil stuff.

    Ray - I love words.

  4. Hey, one ghost looks like she's wearing a head covering....maybe she's catholic? :>

    Sorry, about your childhood w the board and such. I hope you always wear a scapular or miraculous medal? The world, the flesh and the devil are always waging against us, despite what West says, and these assist us here in this exile.
    I know you probably know that, but just in case. :>

    Also, regarding skulls. Chesterton had an interesting take on them--he noted that they're always smiling and thought that was one of God's jokes! :> I'll try to find the proper quote on that.

  5. Two boys broke into a church in El Paso Texas, and were caught by the Mother Superior and made to go to the Pastor and admit their crime. She had been dead for several years.

    In the Parish I was baptized and confirmed in, five deceasded Priests would walk the Priory for many years. Priests that would come in from around the world would see them.

    A Mother Superior of the Sacred Heart Convent, who would assist Priests in Exorcisms in San Francisco, told me if we see ghosts, that obliges us to pray for their souls.(some 'ghosts' are really demons).

    I have never seen a ghost, but I have fought hand to hand combat with demons.

    I would rather see a ghost.

    You're right, don't let the devil trick you; he is the father of lies.

    Many people who think they see ghosts, are actually seeing demons who are being commanded by Freemasons to wander and attack their enemies. They can command demons after a Priest consecrates Hosts for them. This is why we should use sacramentals God has provided to us to keep these things out of our homes.

    God be with you.


  6. Susan - yep I wear both - I also always carry my rosary and keep holy water and exorcism salt close by.

  7. Um, Terry Nelson is a noun, not an adjective.


    Happy Halloweeeeeeeeeeenn !!

  8. I'm hoping we don't have snow when I take Scooby Doo and a Power Ranger out in the neighborhood.

    It's the Great Pumpkin Charlie Brown is coming on now, have to run or the kids will mutiny.

  9. I like "Ghost Whisperer" but I have no desire to meet a ghost. I don't think they are as common as people think. I wonder if some of them aren't souls in a purgatorial state. If so then they could be helped by Masses and prayers said for the dead. Fr. Groeschel discussed this possibility in his book "Arise From Darkness".

  10. Georgie girl you are so smart - but I am fascinating, huh?

    Melody - I love Ghost Whisperer.

  11. That's my boy!
    (sorry, occupational hazard, start mothering and worrying about everyone I know!:>)

  12. Anonymous9:55 AM

    Dear Terry,

    What is the difference between exorcism salt and blessed salt?



  13. Katie - I think they are the same - Fr. Z uses the term blessed salt when referring to exorcism salt.

  14. Blessed things cannot bless other things. Blessed salt has the same effect against evil as your dinner that you bless. It has zero effect.

    God has given us sacramental’s, such as Holy Water. It has salt, which the Priest exorcises;

    Exorcism of Salt
    O salt, creature of God, I exorcise you by the living God, by the true God, by the holy God, by the God who ordered you to be poured into the water by Eliseus the Prophet so that its life-giving powers might be restored. I exorcise you so that you may become a means of salvation for believers, that you may bring health of soul and body to all who make use of you, arid that you may put to flight and drive away from the places where you are sprinkled every apparition, villainy, and turn of devilish deceit, and every unclean spirit, adjured by Him Who will come to judge the living and the dead and the world by fire. Amen.

    Let us pray.

    Almighty and everlasting God, we humbly implore Thee, in Thy immeasurable kindness and love, to bless + and sanctify + this salt which Thou did create and give over to the use of mankind, so that it may become a source of health for the minds and bodies of all who make use of it, and may rid whatever it touches or sprinkles of all uncleanness and protect it from every assault of evil spirits. Through our Lord, Jesus Christ, Thy Son, Who lives and reigns with Thee in the unity of the Holy Spirit, God, for ever and ever. R. Amen.

    Also the water is exorcised, then both mixed together are exorcised. It then becomes a sacramental.

    Father Gabriel Amorth (chief Vatican Exorcist) laments greatly the changes made after Vatican Council II of the Exorcism ritual and sacramental’s.

    There is one exception to laypeople giving blessings; we may bless someone or something if we use Holy Water. That does not mean we can start our own Priesthood, just that we may bless our children and homes, and so on.

    Real Holy Water is so powerful, if you stand in the direction of someone's home who may live several thousand miles away, the blessing from the Holy Water reaches its destination before the drops hit the ground.

    May God our Lord in his infinite and supreme goodness be pleased to give us his abundant grace, that we may know his most holy will, and entirely fulfill it.



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