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The Deeper Mysteries of Halloween

Halloween originated as a Christian holy day (holiday) called the "Eve of All Saints" or "All Hollows Eve." The evening of October 31 was the first time that the feast of remembrance of all Saints could be celebrated in the churches. November 1 is the Feast day of All Saints, but just as Christmas celebrations begin on Christmas Eve, so All Saints begins on All Saints Eve.

The following poem, by Ed Pacht, is dramatic and evocative. It takes the form of a Litany and speaks of the deeper mysteries of Halloween. The secularization of Halloween has caused people to lose the original meaning of this Christian holiday. Traditonally, this is the time of the year when all those who had died are remembered by name during the service and thanks offered for their lives. In the earliest days of Christianity many who had died that year were martyred for their faith; some crucified, some beheaded, and some burned alive.

Today Halloween is a cheap fall festivity. It is about costumed children going from door to door, asking for treats. It has been used also as an excuse to damage property and disrespect tradition.


From ghosties and ghoulies and
things that go bump in the night,
good Lord, deliver us.

In the darkness of the night,
in fevered imagination of troubled mind,
in nightmare dream of restless sleep,
in waking terror of fearful heart,
evil takes form, and flesh of a sort, and walks.
Incarnate, as it were, in the world of men, it walks,
and, walking, works its ills, and cursing brings
along the path its blackened steps have trod.

From ghosties and ghoulies and
things that go bump in the night,
good Lord, deliver us.

In the minds of men are many monsters,
many terrifying evil creatures, calling, crawling,
running, flying, dead, undying,
squeezing, seizing, captivating
those who fall afoul of their devices.
Fairies foul are chasing children, 
choosing that they may be changelings;
Sirens sweetly singing summon sailors to their death;
Ghosts inhabit houses where they once drew breath;
and Voodoo dead, as Zombies, walk upon the earth.
Trolls beneath the bridges, Yeti upon the ridges,
and in the forests hungry lurk in packs 
the men made wolves,
and worst of all, with piercing fangs 
in dark of night there walk,
or fly on leather batlike wing and seek warm humankind
to drink and drain from them life's blood and terrify
the ones yet living who believe 
that Vampires truly are.

From ghosties and ghoulies and
things that go bump in the night,
good Lord, deliver us.

Graven in stone in old cathedrals,
penned in ancient manuscripts,
carved in wood for illustrations,
described in words in countless books,
there are the countless kinds of demons,
filling Hell, o'erflowing to the earth,
in the ugliness of every evil to be seen,
tricking, tempting, fouling all that will
allow the Devil's hosts to have a place
and ultimately to destroy.

From ghosties and ghoulies and
things that go bump in the night,
good Lord, deliver us.

And, O my friend, if thou believest 
that this fearsomeness is real,
and that these terrors stalk the night,
and by this truth is justified thy fright;
or if thou doubtest what hath been said,
and refusest that thou walk'st in dread;
then, friend, thou must now ope thine eyes,
behold what lies beneath the skies,
and see the horrors seen by God on high,
the greatest horrors that are most nigh,
for the fearsome evil in thee doth lie,
and of that evil doth the spirit die.
From ghosties and ghoulies and
things that go bump in the night,
good Lord, deliver us.

Far darker than the thoughts of men,
more evil than the things that might have been,
the darkest evil can be found within
thy heart where dwells the curse of sin,
a horror to the God above,
a deep offense to holy love,
convincing thee that it is right
to see thy brother's faults as blight,
worse by far than thine own life,
for he is weaker in the strife
than thou,
and thou by deep and dark and hidden lie
hast by devil's voice been made the measure,
choosing some for trash and some for treasure,
knowing not the everlasting love of Him
for thee
and he
and all who have to darkness fallen,
bit by ancient horrid curse, condemned,
and doomed,
and justly earning full damnation
such as thou dost fully merit
and eternal death thou shouldst inherit.

From ghosties and ghoulies and
things that go bump in the night,
and from fearsome darkness deep within,
good Lord, deliver us.

Yet, my friend, He hath delivered,
as His holy Blood outpoured,
and upon the Rood His Body
with one final breath expired.
There in death he tasted to the fullest
all that thou and I deserved,
buried, broke the bonds of prison,
and triumphant leads the way,
reaching out to all that follow
a glorified, yet nail scarred hand.
Yes, my friend, he conquered horrors
and the terrors no more reign,
and, when asked, hath sins forgiven,
and for Him no sin so great
exists that stops redemption,
save one,

--Ed Pacht


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