Friday, October 31, 2014

Happy Halloween 2014!

"Never mind me, I can bring you good luck . . . "
-Shadow the Cat

It's Halloween, which is not only filled with pop culture but also history and astronomy.

Pop culture: well, wait for tonight and the scary kids and movies.

Astronomy: October 31 is also a cross-quarter day, the mid way point of a season in layman's terms. While inconsequential today, at the dawn of the age of agriculture in about 5000BC, timekeeping was a matter of live and death and any way of measuring time helped keep the latter at bay. In addition to the seasons, the ancients would also mark the mid-way days of any given season as important for this reason, too.

History: with the ancients believing that the the night of October 31 was the time of the year when the barrier between the living and the dead was at its thinnest, it is also interesting to examine the ways the living have tried to contact the dead throughout the ages, especially when combined with the parallel advances in technology that resulted in spirit photography in the mid 1800s. While there are a few examples that cannot be conclusively refuted, some ghost photographs are so laughable it's hard to believe that, at one point, people actually thought they were real.

Oh, yes, black cats aren't bad luck, either. In fact, they're considered lucky in some cultures.

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