On the night of October 31, one of the most famous holidays in Western culture takes place, Halloween, which has a tradition of dressing up as the most famous creatures of the horror genre.
This popular All Hallows’ Eve holiday has its roots in the ancient Celtic festival known as Samhain (pronounced “sow-in”), which means “end of summer.”
This is the Celtic New Year, which coincides with the autumn equinox.
During this magical night, it was believed that the dead walked among the living, although not in a sinister way, but in a festive way.
In fact, sacred festivals and rites were carried out that included communication with the dead.
One of the most famous customs was to place a candle in the window of homes, so that the dead could find their way.
Hence comes the custom of recreating the most terrifying creatures, associated with death, when October 31 arrives.
Every time the fans of this party try harder and harder to achieve costumes that are as realistic as possible and scare those around them, always with the goal of having a good time.
Vampiric creatures, with sharp fangs and dedicated to feeding on the blood of others, are figures that have populated popular European folklore for centuries. Although the legend of Dracula is a creation of the Irish writer Bram Stoker, the truth is that this figure is based on a character that really existed.
His name was Vlad Tepes, nicknamed “the impaler,” who lived in Romania in the 15th century. This character went down in history for his cruelty as one of the great symbols of the horror genre.
This is one of the most recurring creatures at the Halloween party. ‘Zombies’ are, neither more nor less, living dead, usually with a terrifying appearance and in an advanced state of decomposition. What bases does this legendary creature rest on? The roots of the myth are located in Haiti.
The ancient culture of this corner of the planet included sacrifices of young people, who were killed by making them drink a poisonous potion.
Mysteriously, after the fact, they were revived thanks to some strange spells.
However, when they came back to life, they had no control over their actions, so they were easily subdued and used for the hardest jobs in the field.
It is chilling to think of a corpse perfectly preserved for centuries.
The fear of death and the idea that a person who died two millennia ago will come back to life is a recurring fantasy within the horror genre.
The first mummies of which there is reference date from the Neolithic, when the inhabitants of Egypt buried their dead under the sands of the desert, so as not to waste fertile land. They realized that the climatic conditions and the sand acted as a natural dryer, absorbing body fluids and preserving it naturally, practically intact.
Also known as a werewolf, the werewolf is a legendary creature that has the form of a human being, but changes into a monstrous wolf affected by the rays of the full moon. But where does this well-known horror myth come from? We must go back to the year 1 BC, when the Roman poet Ovid wrote the collection of poems called ‘The Metamorphoses’. In the first book he tells the story of King Lycaon, a religious man who took his devotion to the extreme.
He ended up taking part in sacrifices that led to anthropophagy. Eventually, Lycaon offended the gods by serving them human flesh for dinner.
He was then punished, becoming a werewolf.
The first reference to witches in history is located in the North American town of Salem (near Boston), where in 1692 a trial began against several of its neighbors accused of practicing witchcraft.
The complaint had been made by two girls aged 9 and 11, who claimed to have been bewitched by local women who created doubles of themselves at night. There were up to 141 defendants: 20 of them were executed and 5 of them died in prison.
Although clowns are elements related to sympathy, fun and the children’s world, originally created to make people laugh, they have recently been associated in the social imagination with the feeling of terror.
In fact, the writer Stephen King published a novel called ‘It’ in 1986, about an ancient creature that was dedicated to terrorizing human beings, and that took the form of a clown.
This well-known horror character has no real basis, but is entirely fictional: ‘Frankenstein or the Modern Prometheus’ is a novel by Mary Shelley that was published in 1818.
It is considered a classic within the gothic novel genre and the first science fiction text in literature. Although it is conceived as a work of horror, it raises moral dilemmas, such as man’s right to create artificial life, and the consequences that this would entail.
In the social imagination, it is chilling to imagine a living creature as the result of mixing different parts of other corpses; but it is especially difficult to imagine how it would behave.
The events that most terrify the human mind are those that have to do with the paranormal, that is, what has implications with the afterlife, which we cannot understand.
The first documented ghost in history is found in the letters of Pliny the Younger, a lawyer, writer and scientist from ancient Rome, who lived between 61 and 112 AD. In his letters he documents a ghostly apparition in the so-called haunted house of Athens.
The enemy of the Christian God dates back to the scriptures of the Bible, and is the figure that embodies evil par excellence. But the good/evil duality does not appear in the ancient Hebrew scriptures, but is a later concept of Christianity.
Although he is usually represented with the appearance of a ram, with horns and a tail, in the first references to the demon he is represented in multiple ways, which indicates that he did not have a defined appearance.
In the imagination of terror, Satan is the current representation resulting from generations of artists and writers, who reinvented his image over time based on the few data that the Bible provides about his appearance.