I love All Hallows Eve. Everybody does – and they always have. Even back in the mysterious elder days when folks trembled in the belief that the spirits of those after death would walk abroad at night, Halloween held a grinning, conspiratorial excitement. In recent years this excitement has not in the least abated. In fact, if the legion of inflatable goblins and witches around my neighborhood is anything to go by, there is less fear of the walking dead, than fervent relish. And frankly, Dr. Frankenstein, I think it’s a lot more than the Pavlovian candy salivating.
The nice thing about the haunting spirits from the underworld is that they take a lot of time off. Last night when all was dark, I went to the old Gothic Hopewell train station and sat slack jawed while listening to a coven of accounts about actual house poltergeists. But even in the most spirited of ancient dwellings, the sightings of spirits entering through walls were rare. Even the most head-shaking tales of furniture mysteriously moved and flying water glasses, our evening’s Virgil admitted, came quite infrequently. And in most cases, these otherworldly souls and events rise only to the level of mild annoyances. Not so with the more solid-flesh ghouls of this world.
As the moon sets on the first of November, we will all rise and face those ghosts who deeply haunt us, and refuse to go away. The boss will still treat me like an idiot. The trades people I have been alternately bullying and begging to fix my pool, my computer, my leaky cellar, and the latest insect infestation will still be just as unresponsive, and still treat me with undisguised disdain. The neighbor, whose costumed kiddies I sent merrily away on a sugar high, will continue to bad mouth me secretly and vote the way I truly know he shouldn’t.
Real life is not for sissies. In truth, as I review all these too-mortal beasts that plague my daylight, the dark realms of the afterlife seem to hold very little horror indeed. So on this Halloween, I wish you the best as we dip into a fantasy world of unearthly specters. And from ghoulies, and ghosties, and long-leggety beasties, may the good Lord deliver you.
– Bart Jackson