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Friday, October 28, 2016

WSJ: Where Our Monsters Come From

Above, a Universal publicity photo for Son of Frankenstein featuring Bela Lugosi and Boris Karloff.

Halloween is only days away and it is the perfect time to see where our monsters came from.

The Wall Street Journal has an article that does just that.

They begin with:
The Halloween season is upon us again and, with it, all the lurid paraphernalia of
assorted ghosts, ghouls and goblins. It’s all in good fun, but our favorite seasonal terrors
also say something deeper about what scares us and why. Halloween itself we owe to the
ancient Celts, whose festival of Samhain marked the beginning of the dark part of the
year, when the souls of the dead revisited the earth, but many of our current monsters
reflect more recent anxieties. 
Most anthropologists date the beginning of civilization to the institution of funerary
rituals and designated cemeteries, and it is hardly surprising that our imaginations,
even now, dwell on the disquieting line that separates the living from the dead. In many
cultures, too, ghosts are often angry because they represent, in guilty consciences, those
who been murdered, forgotten or somehow improperly laid to rest 
Religion also played a part. When the Protestant Reformation did away with the concept
of purgatory as a transit point to paradise, it opened the doors still further for unsettled
ghosts to roam the earth. Disputes between Protestants and Catholics over who could
best invoke angels and keep demons at bay ensured that those emissaries from the
invisible world would continue to be vivid realities for many believers.
Can you believe that 15 years from now the Universal Pictures horror classics Dracula and Frankenstein will be 100 years old?

To read more, go here

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