The following was written for the Oak Tree Press blog site and appeared on October 30, 2013.
Heh heh. Gather round, my mystery writer friends, while I take you into the realm of Halloween literature. Let’s call it – Hal Lit 101.
Perhaps you’re already intimately aware of the following books and quotes and facts. I hope not. That would spoil my fun.
Come read with me as I sit, dressed in black, in my local cemetery just a broom’s throw from my humble home (see it in the distance?). I’ve a nice bonfire going, in the open field that leads to the graves, and the wind is strong enough to gently howl – good atmosphere for our gathering. A secretly sourced Wi-Fi has me plugged in, and the fire light enables me to read. Hee hee. This is fun! I do hope nobody passing on the road can see me.
Now, pay attention or my cats here will put a spell on that OTP connection of yours.
Who said the following? Answers are at the end; don’t sneak a look!
1. The moon gazed on my midnight labours, while, with unrelaxed and breathless eagerness, I pursued nature to her hiding-places.
2. Dark, dark! The horror of darkness, like a shroud, wraps me and bears me on through mist and cloud.
3. There was something awesome in the thought of the solitary mortal standing by the open window and summoning in from the gloom outside the spirits of the nether world.
4. “Here is the first passionate love-letter I have ever written in my life. Strange, that my first passionate love-letter should have been addressed to a dead girl. Can they feel, I wonder, those white silent people we call the dead?”
5. There was no gleam, no shadow, for the heavens, too, were one still, pale cloud; no sound or motion in anything but the dark river that flowed and moaned like an unresting sorrow.
Next, I present 10 Novels That Will Scare The Hell Out Of You.
You may not agree, but I didn’t make up the list – or that title. So keep calm and read on.
“The Haunting of Hill House” by Shirley Jackson
“Rustication” by Charles Palliser
“The Shining” by Stephen King
“The Little Stranger” by Sarah Water
“O My Darling” by Amity Gaige
“We Have Always Lived in the Castle” by Shirley Jackson
“The Shining Girls” by Lauren Beukes
“Great Expectations” by Charles Dickens
“Hell House” by Richard Matheson
“The House of Leaves” by Mark Danielewski
You’re probably dying to know why these titles and not others. And you surely know other equally or more frightening novels to add to the list. Julie Buntin posted this list, with her reasons for selecting the books, on The Huffington Post on October 24. Simply Google “10 Novels etc.” to read her take on each book, and look over the comments that follow.
It will make your day.
Finally, I have some trivia facts to share. Take notes. Is that a siren I hear? I hope no one is coming for me. . .
1. Potatoes and turnips were the original Jack-O-Lanterns. Irish children would carve and light them to use during the
gatherings on Halloween.
2. Can you think of a word that rhymes with orange? It may be a popular color for Halloween, but don’t try writing a rhyming poem with the word orange. Even if you use a dictionary, you won’t find any words to rhyme with orange.
3. Halloween was actually a Celtic holiday. It was originally called Samhain meaning “end of summer.” In ancient Celtic
Ireland, October 31st marked the official end of summer.
4. Although Halloween is generally thought of as a fun holiday, some people have a fear of Halloween. If a person has an extreme, intense, or irrational fear of Halloween, they may be suffering from a condition known as samhainophobia. You can read more about this condition by reading L. Vincent Poupard’s article entitled “Do you Suffer from Samhainophobia, the Fear of Halloween?”.
We’re just about done. And wasn’t that fun? (Rhyme intended. You’re all writers, after all.) For those of you who didn’t guess (or sneak a peek) where all those quotes came from, here are your answers:
1. Mary Shelley — Frankenstein
2. Sophocles – Oedipus Rex
3. Sir Arthur Conan Doyle – Selecting a Ghost
4. Oscar Wilde – The Picture of Dorian Gray
5. George Eliot – The Mill on the Floss
The fire is dying out, and I must be going, my friends. Have a ghoulishly happy Halloween, and if you have nightmares, don’t blame me. Heh heh.