Archive for the ‘ Spooky and Scary ’ Category

It Happens…

bela-old

Bela Lugois, Hollywood’s most famous Dracula once said, “I look in the mirror and say to my self, “Can it be you once played Romeo?””

young-bela

Today’s his birthday.

 

 

All Cooped UP!

Speaking of odd things about politics, I learned a new word this past week.

Cooping.  Cooping was a practice in 19th Century US politics in which unwilling and often unwitting folks were forced to vote.

That’s right, forced to vote, and sometimes, more than once.

Maybe that’s where that vote early vote often slogan came from?

But anyway, innocent bystanders would be nabbed off the street or from a bar by “cooping gangs” who were working for a particular political candidate. They were taken to a room called the coop, held hostage, often plied with alcohol, and taken to the polls in groups.

If they refused to comply, they were often beaten. Some were killed.

And from time to time, they’d change their clothes or add a disguise to fool the polling folks.

This really happened folks, right here in the good old U S of A!

And it may have happened to one of America’s most famous literary figures.

On October 3, 1849, Edgar Allan Poe was found delirious, in “great distress”, and in need of “immediate assistance”, according to Joseph W. Walker, the poor soul who found Poe.

Poe

Walker took Poe to Washington Medical College where he died a few days later early in the morning of October 7th.

Never coherent long enough to give any one a clue as to how his situation came to be or explain the fact that the clothes he had on were not his, he continually called the name Reynolds throughout the night.

The corrupt electoral atmosphere of the day has to be considered in Poe’s death.  The violence, political gansterism, storming of polling centers, ballot box theft, and a basic disrespect for human life set a likely stage for such an incident.

Of course, Poe’s death was attributed to contemporary euphemisms such as cerebral inflammation or congestion of the brain:  pretty words for the DTs, alcoholism, or even syphilis.

No one really knows how the American king of the macabre died, but cooping is just as good a guess as any.

At Last…

Well, October’s over, and tonight’s Halloween.

All Hallow’s Eve.

Carved Pumpkin

I hate to see to see the month end.

I hope you’ve enjoyed reading these posts as much as I have researching and writing them.

Some are “true”, some are truly works of fiction. All made me think, as I hope they did you.

As the days wore on during the creative process, I found myself getting darker and darker even if the writing did not.

It worried me a tad.

But, tomorrow is All Hallows’ Day, or more correctly, All Saints’ Day, when some celebrate the earthly accomplishments of the followers of Christ.

So, if this has brought you down, not to worry, there’s light ahead.

I don’t really believe in ghosts, and am quite sure that most instances can be explained away by natural causes, the movement of the earth, or the over active imagination of the person telling the story.

Or liquor.

Or evil.

I do believe in evil.  It exists.

What really makes these things happen?

Well, if you knew what I really believed, you’d be scared to death!

Thanks for being so faithful in your reading!  And let me know.  Was the work worth it?

Beggars’ Night

As a kid growing UP in Germantown, I always looked forward to the haul of candy we’d get on Beggar’s Night.

It was usually October 30th rather than Halloween night. I don’t know exactly why, but can only assume that the grown UPs didn’t want us out on Halloween, which in my Dad’s view, was the most evil night of the year.

Mother, not being all that creative when it came to costumes, usually picked UP a couple of dime store costumes for my younger brother and I to wear.  Once in a while, we went as a fat hobo.  It was never a skinny hobo, which, again, I don’t understand, because hobos are supposed to be underfed, starving, looking for a handout, and in general, skinny.

But, there was usually a feather pillow stuffed under one of Dad’s shirts, smudge marks on our faces, and a bandanna tied to a stick for our hobo belongings.

Or we went as Popeye, Batman, or Zorro.

That was a pretty easy one too.

Fortunately, we’re a little more creative around here.

Urbam Cowboys 1991 ish

At least, we used to be!

Beggars’ Night is a Midwestern concept, stemming from Central Ohio and spreading outward through the Buckeye state to the rest of the Northwest Territory states.

The rest of the country refers to it as “Trick or Treat”, and we always yelled “Trick or Treat” when we’d run UP to the doors on Pollyanna Avenue with our pillow cases held out.

It was fun.

And then, of course, it got crazy.  Razor blades in apples, cookies with cayenne pepper, pop-corn balls put together with Elmer’s Glue.  People just screwed it UP.

So, for many cities, Beggars’ Night moved in doors.  The goblins and witches and princesses and Batmen headed to the mall for their treats.

Kinda took the edge off it too.

They still do Beggars’ Night in Germantown, and it’s a wonderful tradition, one I hope never goes away, because it brings the community together.  Neighbors greeting children, who’s parents stand at the curb letting the little ones have fun, greet one another, with “Happy Halloween” and laughs.

Of course, the Moms usually have to stay home to hand out candy to the hordes of munchkin arriving with their pillow cases too.

So, Happy Beggars’ Night, I hope you got a haul! Now run over the the Atrium and they’ll X-ray your candy for you!