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Know Your Spooks!
Posted Wednesday, Oct 28, 2009 by Allen B. Ury
Do you know the difference between a ghost, a poltergeist, a gnome and a goblin? If not, how will you properly report your next supernatural encounter to your local Ghostbuster? With Halloween coming up fast, it’s time to KNOW YOUR SPOOKS!
BIG FOOT – Also known as “Sasquatch,” this is the giant man-ape believed to roam the forests of the Pacific Northwest. First reported in 1811, Big Foot is not exactly a “monster,” as it’s reported to be meek and reclusive—and smell like a wet shag carpet.
CHUPACABRA – This is the fabled “goat sucker” first reported in Puerto Rico in 1995, and since then believed to be terrorizing livestock in the American Southwest as well as countries as far south as Chile. Sometimes described as a large spiny-backed reptile that hops like a kangaroo and other times like a large, hairless mutant canine, Chupacabra is one of the newest members of the monster pantheon.
DEMONS – These are minions of Satan, fallen angels who, while banished to Hell, still manage to drop in on us mere mortals to wreak havoc on our lives, usually via “demonic possession.” Some believe that demons can be conjured and then controlled—but this often leads to, well, “demonic possession.” Get the pea soup ready….
GHOSTS – Traditionally, ghosts are spirits of the dead that can occasionally—and usually briefly—appear to the living. Many people who study these things believe that ghosts are the latent emotional energy or “mental fingerprint” left behind by people who suffer a sudden, unexpected or particularly traumatic death.
GNOMES – Gnomes are supernatural “little people” of Briton or perhaps the lost souls of pre-Christian pagans doomed to walk the earth.
GOBLINS – Of European origin, goblins are grotesque, disfigured, ill-tempered and mischievous supernatural beings whose main purpose appears to be to annoy us. The main component of their blood is hemogoblin. (Sorry about that.)
GREMLINS – Gremlins were mischievous little creatures blamed by Army Air Force mechanics for airplane failures during WWII. Don’t expose them to bright lights, get them wet or feed them after midnight? That’s just made up.
POLTERGEIST – The difference between a poltergeist and a ghost is that a ghost just stands there while a poltergeist, usually unseen, makes noises, opens doors, slams windows, throws things and even attacks people. Many paranormalists believe that, while ghosts are troubled spirits of the dead, poltergeists are actually psychic projections of living people, usually girls just entering adolescence.
VAMPIRES – Virtually all cultures have myths about people who attempt to live forever by sucking the life from others. These tales were particularly prevalent in Eastern Europe during the late Middle Ages. In 1897, Irish author Bram Stoker melded these folk tales with the nickname of real-life 15th century Romanian tyrant Vladimir “The Impaler” Tepes to create “Dracula.”
WITCHES – Throughout history, drought, disease, famine and just plain old bad luck have been blamed on “witches,” usually not-so-popular members of a community (usually female) believed to be dabbling in the supernatural. “Witch hunts” reached their zenith in North America in the late 1600s in Colonial Massachusetts when mass hysteria led several young women to be prosecuted for witchcraft.
WEREWOLVES – Like vampires, werewolves—people who can shape-shift into violent wolf-like creatures—can be found in folktales from cultures all over the world, including North America. The idea that you can cure “lycanthropy” with a silver bullet didn’t enter the literature until the early 20th century.
ZOMBIES – In Haiti, voodoo priests have traditionally used a combination of powerful psychotropic drugs to make victims appear dead and then bring them “back to life” as mindless slaves. Since George Romero’s NIGHT OF THE LIVING DEAD (1968), zombies have morphed (culturally speaking) into mindless but virtually unstoppable flesh eaters who are victims of any number of super-viruses. Hmmmm, brainsssss…….
And that said, HAPPY HALLOWEEN!