It’s a time for ghosts. It happens every year, but this year it feels somehow more important. This tradition -- our day of the dead -- goes back millennia to a time when our ancestors celebrated the half-way point between the Vernal Equinox and the Winter Solstice. They believed the veil between the world of the living and world of the dead was at its thinnest, and that ghosts and other creatures from the underworld can come through and meddle in our affairs.
So we hold celebrations and light bonfires. We leave out food offerings for the dead. We dress our children as ghosts and monsters in the hopes this will confuse these other-worldly creatures and spare our kids the torture of being dragged below.
Yet, these are troubled times. We’re not fighting with ghosts and monsters right now, we’re fighting with each other. Our trivial differences and problems are growing to monumental proportions. Everything seems so drastic… what can Halloween do? What can ghosts do?
Maybe they can do what they do best. Maybe they can haunt us…
Maybe Sir Winston Churchill’s apparition can remind us of a time during World War II, when bombs were falling en masse over the homes of civilians, killing tens of thousands of innocent people. Perhaps old President Abe Lincoln’s specter can cry out, “You think you got problems? My son died while I served in office. My nation was at war with itself. Brothers killing brothers. Pause and look around!” Maybe we can go further back than that, to a time when our hunting and gathering ancestors fought each day to find enough food to eat, and for shelter from the storm.
We’re a product of every person who came before us and left some kind of mark. Maybe this Halloween we should open our minds and hearts to these ghosts of the past and allow them to come in and scare us to the most primal parts of who we are. Maybe they can remind us of what’s really important. I know they can remind us that each and every one of us is going to die one day. It’s an inevitable date with destiny. Maybe these ghosts can force us to ask ourselves how we’ll be remembered… and who we may haunt when the bickering is over and we’re truly taking stock of important moments in our lives.
As I make my way around each night sharing ghosts and legends from all over the world, I’ve been meeting hundreds of people eager to escape discussions of politics and who is fighting with who on social media. We’re there to talk about these stories from the fringe. I’m happy to do it, even if to offer a temporary escape. But I also hope that by the end, these legends of the past offer us some kind of human sermon that gives us just a bit of pause before we wake up tomorrow to the same headlines as today.
It’s Halloween. A time for fear. Maybe it’s also time to face some of our own.
Mayor of Ghostvillage.com
Facebook: Jeff Belanger
P.S. There are still a few copies of my limited-edition 2019 Haunted New England calendar still available. You can get yours here: https://www.jeffbela...ngland-2019.php