Halloween and the Paranormal

Halloween’s origins date back to the ancient Celtic festival of Samhain, where people would ignite bonfires and adorn themselves in costumes to forbid ghostly energies.  In America, Halloween wasn’t always celebrated.  By the mid 19th century, yearly revelries around autumn were typical but not everyone observed Halloween.  The large amounts of Irish immigrants in the latter part of the 19th century popularized the holiday on a national scale.   As the years progressed, the yearly celebration  has evolved to include carving jack-o-lanterns, trick-or-treating, scary mazes and carnival rides and gorging on enough sugar for an elephant.  These are fun times that both adults and kids of all ages look forward to.  Of course, this depends on cultural affiliation as some don’t celebrate the day.

There’s Just Something About Halloween

There’s just something about Halloween that brings a smile to my face.  It’s a time to celebrate mystery, magic and superstition.  Maybe it also has to do with my love for autumn and the soothing colors of orange, yellow and brown trees that come with the summertime going in slumber mode.  As October rears its head, I have always looked forward to the spooky decorations of pumpkins, ghosts, goblins, black cats and witches; decorating my house with purple and orange lights, fake headstones and fog machines.  Certainly, an honorable mention goes to the plethora of fun costumes to choose from; as Garfield would say, there’s the “…candy, candy, candy, candy, CANDY.”  Then, there’s the night sky coming earlier in the day, which gives the moon center stage at night.  All of these combine to produce Halloween’s enchanting setting. 

Yes, the whole ambience Halloween creates ignites an enjoyable fire in my belly.  Each year, I prep in anticipation for it only to be disappointed once it leaves.  With as fast as time goes by, it won’t be too much longer until the next Halloween adventure.  I remind myself that Thanksgiving and Christmas are popular contenders that follow pumpkin season; two of my favorite holidays.

Although I love Halloween and the unique setting it brings, there’s one aspect about it that I have to contend with each year:  it brings about peoples’ curiosity in what goes bump in the night or day.  However, this is not always a good thing.  Many individuals seem to correlate the fictional characters of Halloween with the real-life spirit realm.  In other words, the ghosts and spirits we come across in our daily lives have nothing in common with Halloween’s central cast members.  It’s like oil and water.  They really don’t mix nor should they. 

Halloween’s Influence on the Paranormal

The San Diego Paranormal Research Society receives a preponderance of e-mails from those requesting a paranormal case study this time of year.  This happens every single year.  There’s no coincidence to this.  Furthermore, we receive e-mails from people with unusual, bizarre paranormal encounters that aren’t typical during other months.  There’s also an influx of people expressing fear and anxiety related to their ghostly experiences during Halloween season.  As researchers of the unknown, we need to examine the origins of this phenomenon.  I offer a few theories that can potentially explain why this occurs. 

Pagan belief says that the veil between our world and the afterlife is thinner during Halloween season.  The full moon around October 31st also thins the shroud separating the two worlds.  Obviously, people are more sensitive to and susceptible of experiencing a paranormal event. 

Along with that, the subliminal messages via mainstream media this time of year also contribute to this.  People are tuning into horror-themed movies and television shows that portray the ghostly world as evil and something to be feared.  It’s at this point when individuals need to remind themselves that these entertainment pieces are illusory and fictitious. 

Certainly, Halloween coupled with the thinned veil partner up to influence the gullable and naïve.  Those who are already predisposed to certain negative beliefs in the supernatural and spirit world will be adversely affected around this time.  The same goes for those experiencing physical and/or mental disorders; around Halloween, these individuals could experience more delusions and  psychoses related to perceived anomalous encounters stemming from the various influences derived from Halloween.  I am not saying that certain occurrences aren’t truly anomalous in nature during the month of October.  I am making the point that power of suggestion and unconscious manipulation can confuse certain people, making them associate the events of October with that of real-life spirit phenomena.     I have always vocalized the importance of spirit realm advocacy and ongoing education about genuine paranormal research methods.  Engaging in this around October is no exception.  It’s sorely needed.

As a veteran paranormal researcher, I do feel that there’s a benefit to Halloween exposing the field of supernatural study.  Many researchers, including myself, give presentations and lectures about paranormal research this time of year.  Whether it’s education about the classifications of ghosts, hauntings and other energies or the foundations of paranormal study, people are given a fun platform to learn this time of the year.  As mentioned, that’s a huge benefit all around.