Happy Halloween 2020

The dark history behind Halloween

(Source: Business Insider.com)

The word ‘Halloween’ was first popularized in a poem.

Scottish poet Robert Burns helped to popularize the word “Halloween” with his 1785 poem of the same name.

So where does the name itself come from? According to the Online Etymology Dictionary, it’s actually two words smushed together. “Hallow” — or holy person — refers to the saints celebrated on All Saints’ Day, which is November 1. The “een” part of the word is a contraction of “eve” — or evening before.

The day’s morbid traditions go back to ancient times

Historians have linked Halloween to Samhain, the Celtic festival of the summer’s end celebrated in Ireland, Scotland, and the Isle of Man.

According to Celtic mythology, the veil between the Otherworld and our world thins during Samhain, making it easier for spirits and the souls of the dead to return.

People would make offerings of food in order to get on the good side of these spirits and departed ancestors, according to the Mirror.

Allhallowtide, which includes All Saints’ Eve, All Saints’ Day, and the subsequent All Souls’ Day, was initially celebrated in the spring, during the early years of the Church.

Pope Gregory IV switched it to the current date in 837, according to Britannica. His reasons were unclear, although influence from Celtic factions of the church and the fact that it makes sense to commemorate death during the fall are possibilities.

Bobbing for apples used to be more than just a splashy party game.

Halloween has come to be most closely associated with the pumpkin, but apples have played an important role in its history.

After all, apples make numerous appearances in Celtic mythology and are often connected to the Otherworld.

Bobbing for apples remains a popular party game.

The reason? Well, the practice used to be considered a form of divination performed around Halloween, according to NPR. That’s right — people would dunk their heads in a vat of water and try to bite into floating fruit in a quest to figure out their future spouse.

Ladies would mark an apple and toss it into the tub. The thinking was they’d be destined to whoever pulled it out of the water.

Jack-o’-lanterns symbolize a fateful deal with the Devil.

Otherwise, you might end up like Irish folk figure Jack O’Lantern.

Modern day, intricately designed pumpkin creations certainly make for impressive decorations. But back in the day, folks in Ireland dubbed their carved, fiery turnips “jack-o’-lanterns” thanks in part to an ominous legend.

One night, a conniving local drunkard named Jack trapped the Prince of Darkness in a tree by hacking a sign of the cross into the bark. In exchange for letting Satan climb down, Jack had him vow to never claim his soul.

Jack proceeded to act like a jerk his whole life. When he died, he sure as heck was not allowed in heaven. So he tried to return to his old pal, the Devil. But Satan upheld his end of the deal, hurling a piece of coal from hell at the dead man for good measure.

Left without anywhere to go, Jack placed the blazing coal in a turnip to use as a lantern. The dead man then set out, doomed to wander until he can find an eternal resting place.

Trick-or-treating has ancient precedent — but the candy part didn’t come about until much later.

Modern day trick-or-treating is a confluence of various traditions.

Ancient Celts dressed up as evil spirits in order to confuse demons, according to Smithsonian Magazine.

In medieval England, “soulers” would go around begging rich folk for “soul cakes” on Halloween. Instead of threatening to play tricks, however, they’d pray for peoples’ souls in return for the cake, according to “The Compleat Teacher’s Almanack.”

Throughout medieval Europe, mummering — dressing in disguises and visiting neighborhoods while dancing, playing music, and doing tricks — was popular on major feast days.

TIME reported Irish and Scottish immigrants brought “souling” to the States in the 1800s. But modern day trick-or-treating didn’t catch on in the US until the 1920s.

The practice was pretty controversial into the 1950s, though. According to the American Journal of Play’s “Gangsters, Pranksters, and the Invention of Trick-or-Treating,” many adults raised “stern objections” to trick-or-treating over the decades, as it was often viewed as a form of extortion.

The “Bloody Mary” ritual has unclear origins (and various practices).

Late folklorist and UC Berkeley professor Alan Dundes wrote an article titled “Bloody Mary in the Mirror: A Ritual Reflection of Pre-Pubescent Anxiety” about the various origins and practices of the “Bloody Mary” ritual, also known as “Mary Worth” and “Mary Whales.”

Many versions of the ritual include the elements of a girl peering into a mirror (often in a bathroom), darkness, blood, chanting, and the appearance of the cursed “Mary.”

Black cats have been associated with the supernatural for hundreds of years.

Black cat costumes are particularly popular on Halloween.

“In the Middle Ages, black cats were often portrayed as the famliars of witches, which is likely to be the origin of the distrust with which they are regarded in America, where early Puritan settlers rejected anything associated with the Devil and witch,” Chloe Rhodes wrote in “Black Cats and Evil Eyes: A Book on Old-fashioned Superstition.”

According to History.com, it was also believed in the Middle Ages that witches transformed into black cats to conceal themselves.


After this interesting and fascinating information about ‘All Hallow’s Eve’ I wish you and your loved ones:

Picture courtesy of http://www.google.com

 

7 physical and psychological changes that happen when you fall in love – Written By Nicol Natale

Nicol Natale on the Business Insider wrote an article about the physical and psychological changes in our body when we’re in love. I found this very interesting and decided to share the article with you, of course, linking it back to the original page. Maybe you find the one or other information as fascinating as I did.


Phase4Studios/Shutterstock

  • Love leads to biological changes that have been observed in scientific research.
  • Being in love can reduce stress, relieve pain, and make you happier.
  • Here are seven ways your body and brain change when you fall in love.

 

Have you ever looked at your partner lovingly and felt your heart flutter, palms sweat, or mood instantly get better?

Cuddling, hugging, and kissing the one you love can instantly reduce stress and increase feelings of calm, trust, and security thanks to oxytocin, while your mood improves as a result of your reward center flooding with dopamine.

Here are seven ways your body and brain change when you fall in love.

Elevated blood pressure, or hypertension, is a dangerous condition that puts your body at increased risk for heart attack, stroke, and kidney failure. Medication and lifestyle changes like getting exercise and eating healthier can control or reduce hypertension, but research has also suggested that being in love can serve as a a natural way to reduce blood-pressure levels.

A 2007 study published by the US Department of Health Services looked at the relationship between marriage, physical health, and longevity, and found that married couples have lower blood pressure and a reduced risk for cardiovascular disease.

In an analysis of cardiovascular disease risk, the American College of Cardiology looked at 3.5 million participants who were single, divorced, or widowed. They found that married couples under 50 years old tended to have a 12% lower risk of vascular disease. Married people between the ages of 51 and 60 had a 7% lower risk for disease than their unmarried counterparts.

Falling for someone may be stressful in the beginning — there’s uncertainty about whether they feel the same way, the possibility of rejection, and anxiety about when to say those three big words.

The initial stages of falling in love increase levels of cortisol, a hormone associated with stress, in new couples, according to a small study published in 2004. However, when the participants were tested 12 to 24 months later, their cortisol levels had returned to normal.

Though love can be stressful for some — especially in the early stages — it can potentially lower stress in the long run. A study published in 2005 in Neuroendocrinology Letters examined the neurobiology of those in love and found an association between people’s stress response systems, known as the HPA axis activation, and the development of social attachment. The results suggest that forming a bond with your partner could help bring about physiological changes that reduce levels of anxiety.

One reason why you feel less stressed may be because being in love makes you feel safe and develop trust towards your loved one.

Oxytocin, a hormone released through physical contact like huggingkissing, and sex, deepens feelings of attachment towards your partner and produces sensations of contentment, calmness, and security, according to a Harvard Medical School report.

Oxytocin also plays a role in social bondingmaternal instinct and reproduction, and sexual pleasure. The “love hormone” substantially increases social attachment and trust among partners, according to a study published in Nature.

Your brain activates the vagus nerve, which is connected from the brain to your gut. 
Motortion Films/Shutterstock

Have you ever felt your heartbeat speed up, palms sweat, or stomach churn (in a good way) at the sight or thought of someone you love?

When in love, cortisol levels increase and the body goes into fight-or-flight mode.

“Your limbic or emotional brain activates the vagus nerve that goes from the brain to your gut,” Dr. Daniel Amen, psychiatrist and neuroscientist, told NBC News. “When you get nervous, or when you get excited (as I explain to my patients, it’s the same feeling, but it depends on your interpretation of it) this nerve is stimulated that activates the gut.”

  • Being in love releases dopamine, a neurotransmitter that controls the brain’s reward and pleasure center, which makes couples feel happy around each other.

In 2005, a study published in The Journal of Comparative Neurology scanned 2,500 brain images of 17 individuals who self-identified as being in love. Researchers found that participants who looked at a photo of a person they romantically loved showed brain activity in two areas highly associated with dopamine: the caudate nucleus and ventral tegmental area.

Being in love has been shown to have pain-reducing qualities, although most doctors wouldn’t recommend relying solely on love after, say, a serious surgery or injury.

A 2010 study published in the journal PLoS ONE took fMRI scans of participants in new romantic relationships. The researchers found that people who viewed images of romantic partners had increased activity in several reward-processing regions in the brain, suggesting that love (and distraction) may reduce the experience of pain.

“When people are in this passionate, all-consuming phase of love, there are significant alterations in their mood that are impacting their experience of pain,” Dr. Sean Mackey, senior author of the study, told Stanford Medicine News Center.

Like addictive drugs that light up our pleasure centers and keep people coming back for more, love can be addictive in its own way.

Scientists have observed overlapping neurochemical responses in the same areas of the brain among people experiencing drug addiction and love. A 2017 study published in the journal Philosophy, Psychiatry, & Psychology reviewed research about the relationship between addiction and love. The authors suggested that love can be addictive because it’s a need that can be temporarily satisfied but can become very distracting if it’s not fulfilled for a long period of time. (Official medical classification guides do not include love as an addiction, however.)

Some of these feelings may have to do with sex — sexual activity, orgasms, and some drugs all release dopamine in an area of the brain called the nucleus accumbens. An orgasm’s rush of oxytocin and serotonin, along with muscular relaxation, can leave you craving more. That’s why it might feel like engaging in sexual activity can give you a rush.

Source: https://www.businessinsider.com/falling-in-love-changes-your-body-and-brain-2018-7
Jul 11, 2018, 7:51 AM

Free Short Story: Everyone Deserves A Second Chance – Written By Nicholas C. Rossis

Today I discovered a free short story on Nicholas Rossi’s blog. I was fascinated and loved it enormously. I, therefore, hope he’ll permit me to show you a very small part of it – and link you to his page. Enjoy the read.


Waters of Oblivion

While I wait for you, I take in the beach. This is my home. The deep, calm sea—too dark to make out anything but the soothing waves that lap my feet. Dark silhouettes surround me. They would crowd the beach, were it not for its immensity. Old and young, men and women, take slow, dazed steps into the abysmal waters. Guides like me help them in. Not that you need us for this. Ancient, forgotten instincts would drive you forward even if we weren’t there. But we pride ourselves in that special, personal touch.

Smaller, translucent silhouettes come out of the sea, too, like baby turtles going the wrong way. Other guides are there to take them to their new homes. You will be following them in no time.

And now you’re finally here. When I left you at your bedroom after you had swallowed all those pills, I was wondering how long it would take you to join me. Not that time matters. Not here, anyway.

You shudder after the unpleasant experience of going through the death portal. “What… what happened?” you ask.

“You got what you wanted,” I say. “Congratulations. You’re dead.”

Continue Reading HERE

 

A possible new novella or novel. It’s up to you! – Written By Jack Eason

Jack Eason posted an excerpt of a possible novel or novella on his blog. He would like feedback on his writing and would like to hear if we want him to continue with this. Check it out, please – you won’t be disappointed. Then leave your comment! Thank you!


https://youtu.be/6n9EyT1R3l0

Have We Had Help?

The Instrument

~~~

Because of the hubbub in the stadium no one saw or heard the thumb of an insignificant elderly man’s left hand snap against his left forefinger, before sweeping both of his hands in front of him in an imperceptible way, close to his body. But, everyone there that day experienced the carnage that transpired.

As far as he was concerned the time to rid the nation of everyone who didn’t deserve to live had arrived! He sat at the back of the crowd in the stadium listening to Miserere mei, Deus (Agnus Dei) on his headphones, oblivious to the chaotic scene unfolding before him. Whenever circumstances appeared to be getting beyond his control, Allegri’s beautiful choral work always restored his inner peace. With his right hand he once more waved it from left to right in an almost dismissive gesture. Instantly peace returned to the stadium. Apart…

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Interview With One Of My Characters III

Hello, 

Welcome to ‘Writer’s Treasure Chest’. It’s wonderful to have you here.

Thank you, Aurora Jean. I really appreciate the invitation.

Please tell us a little bit about yourself.

Of course. My name is Mairead McCarthy. I’m originally from Ireland. Currently I’m looking for Simin Arnatt. I have been searching nearly everywhere. But whenever I seem to get closer, she disappears.

I know Simin. Is it important that you’ll find her?

Yes, very much so. I do have an order for her. From what I hear she’s the best in her job.

Oh, she definitely is. But can you tell us what you need her for?

Uhm. I’m not sure I should. Not as publicly as here. However, I need to find her. Can you help me?

Sure. I will give you the phone number of her agency after the interview.

Oh, This is amazing. Thank you.

But, please, tell us more about you. Who are you and what is your occupation?

Oh… I told you, I’m originally from Ireland. I love it there. My home is magical in many ways. As for what I do: I’m a jewelry designer.

I see. And that’s all you do? I mean, you don’t hide anything from us? 

(laughs musically). Of course I’m hiding something from you, what do you think? But don’t expect me to blurt it out here in public, I doubt that would be very smart. In particular not, since I need Simin’s help.

Of course. By the way: I’m very intrigued by your name. Does it have a meaning?

Yes. Mairead is the Irish version of Margareth and means ‘pearl’.

Hence, the jewelry designer.

Well, I figured I wanted something to do that fits me. Designing is a passion of mine. For quite a while I used to make my own clothes. But then: everyone is a fashion designer, obviously, even if they haven’t studied design or gotten the right education. You simply have to be some TV starlet and you’re an ‘expert’. That’s mainly why I decided to do something a bit different.

I studied gemology and mineralogy and closed with a degree in design.

Do you design for big houses, like ‘Cartier’ for example? 

No, sorry. I run my own business and it’s quite successful. It’s tiny but exclusive and I’m making quite a good living.

This is wonderful to hear. I am as well fascinated by your look. The strawberry blonde hair and the green eyes. 

It’s genetic. My mother looks just like me and so do my baby-sisters.

I’m sorry for interrupting. But I’m a bit eager to get Simin on the phone. Can we end this? It’s wonderful that I can be here. But I’m a bit impatient. I was looking for her for quite some time now.

I understand. But may I ask you something before we quit?

Sure, go ahead. What do you want to know?

Are you a creature of light or darkness, normal or supernatural, with or without wings and are you single?

(laughs) I’m definitely a supernatural creature of light. As for the wings: occasionally I have them. As for my marital status: I wonder why you want to know that, but let’s say: being one of ‘us’ means it is quite difficult to be in a relationship. Does that help?

Yes, it does. Thank you very much.

It was my pleasure. Thank you for having me.


Picture courtesy of http://www.google.com

 

Because I fell in love with you again (National Poetry Month)

A heartfelt, touching, sensitive and fascinating poem by F. E. Feeley jr.

F.E.Feeley Jr

lubov-birina-579146-unsplash

unsplash-logoLubov’ Birina

Because you came to me
in the night
knocking on my door
gentle raps, barely taps
but enough to send me to the door,
wrapping myself in a robe as I went

There you stood
windswept hair, leather jacket, and doe eyes
smelling of Burberry cologne and nervousness
while the thunder rolled in the pitch dark
and lightning flashed
because the mother nature was conspiring

I’d missed you for weeks, it seemed
Maybe it was a lifetime or two
the warmth of your voice
the way my name tumbled from your lips

I thought you’d never come back
and because of the wind I shivered
and retreated back through my doorway
before you stepped inside

before I could speak
you wrapped your arms around me
I wanted to cry, I wanted to laugh
because I missed you – I wanted to freeze time

My hands reached up…

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Don’t Judge A Book By Its Cover

… and still, we all do it, right? I’m not the exception to the rule either. Often I catch myself judging a person I don’t know because I don’t like her jacket. But I don’t know what happened to her that her jacket looks as ragged as it does.

But let’s stay within the literary world. Like so many other writers and readers, I love spending time in bookstores. I browse through the shelves and aisles, and occasionally I pick one, turn it around and start reading the blurb on the back.

My eyes fly over the shelves, and once in a while, they are caught by a particularly attractive and intriguing book cover. If I don’t like the cover, I don’t even bother reading a blurb, means I might miss a few good books, just because my eye isn’t attracted to the books’ cover.

Over the years I saw a few very interesting and eye-catching covers, and by a couple, I was quite fascinated.

Now, these five here, are only a few that impressed me and my eye in particular. To some of you, they might be weird, sad or even boring. This blog post and these covers are my taste.

Picture courtesy of: http://www.google.com

 

Cover designer: Jim Tierney

I love how the designer mixes color and the trace of antique and ancient. It’s not often we discover a new book with an ‘old’ cover.

 

 

 

 

Picture courtesy of: http://lithub.com/the-64-best-book-covers-of-2017/

 

Cover designer: Peter Mendelsund

I love the colorful simplicity of the book cover. It seems to be one simple compass needle, but I was drawn in when I saw this cover.

 

 

 

 

Picture courtesy of: https://litreactor.com/columns/the-best-horror-book-covers-ever

 

Designer team:

Bob Giusti (illustration)
Amy Hill (lettering)

This I call a perfect symbiosis between illustration and lettering. It can’t get any simpler than this, any darker, any more impressive – and any scarier.

 

 

 

Picture courtesy of: http://lithub.com/the-60-best-book-covers-of-2016-as-chosen-by-designers/

 

Designer: Na Kim

I cannot even tell whether this book cover is ‘intriguing’ or repelling… but it definitely is fascinating. And in combination with this book title it has a lot to say.

 

 

 

 

 

Picture courtesy of: http://www.pinterest.com

 

Cover designer: Anne Jordan

The cover caught my eye immediately. Why would a reader and writer like me not be intrigued by a turning page? I briefly looked at the book and found that I had to add it to my growing pile of books I need to read.

 

 

 

Are there covers you like? And I know, I got a lot to learn and many people to meet, cover designers amongst them. Who do you know, being a cover designer or illustrator and designed the perfect cover for your book?

Or what book cover do you particularly love?

Your content is being archived

Wow, this is quite interesting. Who would have known? Thanks for sharing this, K. Morris!

K Morris - Poet

Did you know that your site (well a snapshot of it’s contents) may well be preserved for posterity?

This remains the case even if you decide to delete your blog and/or website.

Anyone interested in exploring what information is held about their site can visit https://archive.org/ and search for archived material pertaining to their blog.

https://archive.org/is not a substitute for backing up your website (it only collects snapshots of a website’s contents).

It does, however offer a fascinating glimpse into sites, many of which are no longer operative.

WHAT YOU WILL SEE:

SELECT and CLICK the WEB icon

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Type in YOUR FULL URL

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See the period covered

SELECT and CLICK ANY YEAR

SELECT and CLICK ANY BLUE CIRCLED DATE

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SEE the post imaged

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