The modern role of the occult in society. By Brent MacDonald Page 2 Introduction The themes of Halloween deserve more than a once a year cursory look. Topics many people feel are only worth examining in the few weeks prior to Halloween have grown in popularity year round — within the entertainment industry and in growing segments of the population. The last number of decades have seen a rise in Satanism, witchcraft, and even vampirism. Beyond these blatant categories, societies' growing craving for the occult has prompted us to create this new publication entitled "Hell-o-ween All Year Round." Our three previous versions of the booklet entitled "Hell-o-ween: A Christian Perspective" were our most requested publication for a six year period. While these earlier booklets grew in completeness with each revision, they failed to provide comprehensive details on Satanism, witchcraft and other areas. Perhaps this additional information was unnecessary in a mere examination of the popular celebration of Halloween — but not within the context of a detailed look at the growth of the occult. The diversity we found, in occultic beliefs and practices, have required individual sections for each of a number of topics. These sections at times may appear to totally unrelated. While some ties to Halloween may be addressed in each section, the overall significance and celebration of Halloween has been reserved for the final segments. While some may question the quantity of details provided, we feel it is important to accurately represent the practices discussed. One of the greatest complaints, by occult practitioners of virtually all stripes, is the 2 Page 3 perceived and often very real misrepresentation of their beliefs by others — especially Christians. During our research we have viewed some of these mistruths. A few, perhaps, have been perpetuated inadvertently. Others have been caused by following unreliable sources. A common practice, within the Christian world, of citing other "Christian experts" or authors – without examining their sources – is at the heart of a number of these Christianized myths. Inadvertent errors are excusable, and happen to just about everyone (includingus), but the worst errors are intentionally promoted fallacies perpetuated for a supposedly "good cause". Wrongly vilifying anyone is always wrong. We believe that Christians should always be on the side of truth. Besides... a correct understanding of others' real beliefs enable a Christian to better witness and share Biblical truth with them. There's more than enough real problems, biblically speaking, with these occultic trends. Be sure to examine all scriptures presented. All beliefs and occultic practices opposed to the revealed God of the Bible will fall in the light of His Holy Word. Brent MacDonald Be sober, be vigilant; because your adversary the devil walks about like a roaringlion, seekingwhom he may devour. 1 Peter 5:8 3 Page 4 Witchcraft The popular caricature of witches, who are often featured flying on their broomsticks, or as the old hag stirring her foul cauldron (i.e. Shakespeare's MacBeth), have misled the public. In reality, witches are found in all walks of life and for the most part look like regular everyday individuals — male and female. We have had a practicing witch sell us books, another serve us tacos at a national chain, and one even provide us a tour at a museum. Without some offering up the fact that this was their chosen belief system, or the occasional jewelry item pointing to this fact, we would have never known them to be witches. The Bible speaks directly about witchcraft and sorcery — the Old Testament Hebrew word primarily meaning "the practice of magic through spells or incantations". Today, the terms referencingthe practitioners of witchcraft have diversified. Rival groups have claimed the title witch, others have abandoned it completely in favor of terms like Wiccan, Pagan, or Druid. Even many Satanists would profess to hold the title witch, but we have chosen to examine them as a separate classification. Because of the very independent nature of many forms of witchcraft and the variations even within more organized branches, the following composite has been drawn from a number of sources. We feel it to be a fair and balanced portrayal of their craft. One of the largest formal organizations, representing witches in the United States and Canada, is called "The Covenant of the Goddess (COG)". Founded in California on October 31 (Halloween), 1975, this non-profit religious organization has all the rights and privileges of any church. They are an active part of 4 Page 5 the Berkeley Area Interfaith Council and through it, the North American Interfaith Network. One of their expressed goals is to further educate the public about witchcraft and promote themselves within the ecumenical religious community. An annual national festival is held which is open to all pagans and witches, members or not. The most wide-reaching term encompassing witchcraft is Pagan. While all witches are pagans, not all pagans profess to be witches. By their definition, a pagan is a practitioner of an Earth Religion — meaning "a religion whose main tenant is that the worshipper is in harmony with the Earth and with all life." In effect, nature itself is worshipped. The term Neo-Pagan is perhaps a better definingterm, as a majority of modern practitioners draw upon ancient pagan practices of numerous traditions, intermingled with additions from contemporary sources and thinkers. Paganism's emphasis on nature has placed many of them at the forefront of the modern environmentalism movement. 1 All pagans would be opposed to 5 1 Times - Transcript, "Canadian witches are prepared for Halloween", October 31/92. "We have a reverence to nature and to earth," said Anne Bertrand, a Halifax witch. "Most of us are avid recyclers and composters." Witch Terms Magic -- defined by witches as "a conscious direction of will to accomplish a goal." Coven -- a congregation of witches, usually limited to 13 members or less. Sabbat -- one of eight festivals equally spaced during the year (linked to seasons), celebrated by individuals and covens of witches. Esbat -- a monthly meeting of a coven, usually held at each of the thirteen full moons each year. Additionally, some traditions require the meeting to take place at the dark of the moon. Page 6 any perceived "subduing" or "exploiting" of natural resources or the planet ("mother earth"). In more radical forms, some actually view mankind as a parasitical infestation upon the earth. With our focus narrowed from the whole of paganism to witchcraft (or The Craft), many modern traditions have come into existence. The following provides distinguishingdetails for a few major branches. Alexandrian This Wiccan tradition was established in the 1960s by Alex & Maxine Sanders. Alex (died April 1988) was originally initiated into a regular Gardnerian coven. When he began to publicize Wicca, he encountered strong opposition from more traditional members of the Craft. Alex and his wife initiated a lot of people in the 1960s and 1970s, including Stewart Farrar and Janet Owen. This pair have gone on to published several books about Wicca 2 . Covens in this tradition are diverse. Generally though, Alexandrian covens focus strongly upon training, which includes areas more generally associated with ceremonial magic, such as Qabalah (Jewish mysticism), Angelic Magic, and Enochian. A typical Alexandrian coven has a hierarchical structure, and generally meets weekly, or at least on full moons, new moons and festivals. Most Alexandrian covens will allow non-initiates to attend circles (gatherings), although some require basic training in circle craft prior. Alexandrian Wicca uses essentially the same tools and rituals as Gardnerian Wicca, though in some cases, the tools are used differently, and the rituals have been adapted. 6 2 What Witches Do (1971) by Stewart Farrar, is a primary guide to the way a typical Alexandrian coven operates. Page 7 Another common change is found in the names of the deities and (spirit) guardians of the quarters (directions). The two traditions have moved together in philosophy and practice in recent years. Reclaiming As one of the more modern traditions it continues to change in ritual and tradition. The values of the Reclaiming tradition come from their belief that the Earth is alive and all of life is sacred and interconnected. They see the Goddess in the Earth's cycles of birth, growth, death, decay and regeneration. Their practices arises from a deep, spiritual commitment to the Earth, to healing and to the linking of magic with political action. As such, many of their beliefs are identical to the core teachings of what has been called "The New Age Movement." Reclaiming witches believe each person embodies (or is part of) the divine, with all spiritual authority resting on each individual. They worship (what they call "honoring") both a Goddess and a God (what they call the female and male images of divinity). Group rituals are "participatory and ecstatic", during which they celebrate the cycles of the seasons and their lives, and attempt to raise energy for personal, collective and earth healing. They 7 Witch Symbol The Pentacle is perhaps the most common symbol associated with modern witchcraft. The (inverted or horned) Pentagram is used in a few branches of witchcraft as well, but is most common within Satanism. The Ankh, an ancient Egyptian mystic symbol, is used to represent the spirit and it's properties, including illumination and eternity. Page 8 believe everyone can do "the life-changing, world-renewing work of magic" – the art of changing consciousness at will. As such, this tradition is a strongly feminist movement with a New Age agenda, although they welcome "all genders, all races, all ages and sexual orientations and all those differences of life situation, background, and ability that increase our diversity." Many events are held as public rituals and information is distributed through a quarterly magazine. Much of their belief and goal is expressed in their Reclaiming Mission Statement... Reclaiming is a community of women and men working to unify spirit and politics. Our vision is rooted in the religion and magic of the Goddess - the Immanent Life Force. We see our work as teaching and making magic - the art of empowering ourselves and each other. In our classes, workshops, and public rituals, we train our voices, bodies, energy, intuition, and minds. We use the skills we learn to deepen our strength, both as individuals and as community, to voice our concerns about the world in which we live, and bring to birth a vision of a new culture. 3 8 3 Reclaiming Home Page, WWW, January 4, 1999 Page 9 Faery This tradition draws from a multitude of older and diverse traditions. Among the distinguishing features of the Faery tradition is the use of a "Faery Power". Strongemphasis is placed on sensual experience and awareness, including sexual mysticism, which is not limited to heterosexual expression. In this, as in a general spirit of spiritual exploration, there is more risk-taking encouraged than in other Wiccan traditions. These witches see themselves as being outside social definitions, heading to Faeryland, either as mad or poetical. As with all witches Nature is revered. Where some traditions use the goddess and god as symbols, this tradition believes in them as literal. They believe in trying to establish direct contact with these supernatural beings. In their own words... The Faery Tradition, in common with initiatory lineages of the Craft which practice possession, is a mystery tradition of power, mystery, danger, ecstasy, and direct communication with divinity... The negative side of this style of working is that we have a lot of initiates who did not return unscathed from between the worlds. The tradition is not for everybody, and it is not amenable to mass attendance, like many Pagan paths. 4 Much of their practice and ritual comes from Victor Anderson and Gwydion Pendderwen. The magical practices of the Faery (or Feri, as Victor spells it) Tradition are to summon spirits and to encourage possession. Secret names, using pentacles to control energy, visualization, believed "shape-shifting" and even the use of the horned (sometimes called "inverted") pentagram are all possible elements of their ceremony. 9 4 Covenant Of The Goddess (COG) WWW, November 4, 1997 Page 10 New Reformed Orthodox Order of the Golden Dawn (NROOGD) NROOGD started from a ritual created for a San Francisco university class in 1968-69 (drawn from published sources) by Robert Graves, Margaret Murray and Gerald Gardner. In 1976 it's formal governing body was dissolved and it was decided that it should become a Tradition. Any group tracingitself back to the original, or following after it's ritual, is consider to be a part of NROOGD Tradition. They no longer have a central authority or spokesperson. Esbats in NROOGD covens usually focus on the working of magic, or on celebration of the divinity of each participant, "recognizing and greeting the force of the Goddess and God". And yes, they do consider themselves to be personally divine as gods and goddesses. After practicing magic, which varies in form and content, sharing food and drink (called a Love Feast) usually concludes the meeting. Names of the gods worshipped vary per each group and are considered to be secret by some. Differing (even by coven) gods, demigods, or spirits referenced at each of the cardinal directions (i.e. north, south, etc.) are believed to be the Guardians of their Circle and of the Elements. The Elements are the earth substances used in performingtheir magic spells. A priest and priestess usually preside over their ritual, though sometimes larger public gatherings have three priestesses and one priest. NROOGD hold large public ritual celebrations at each of the eight Sabbats. Three initiations are utilized in this Tradition. The first, called the White Cord, marks entrance into their community or coven. The second, called the Red Cord, is held to be full initiation into the Mysteries of Witchcraft. Red Cord initiates are elders of the 10 Page 11 tradition, and are empowered to lead their own covens, as well as train and initiate. The third initiation is believed to be bestowed directly by the gods and called either the Black Cord or Taking the Garter. While there is a greater concentration of this type of coven within the San Francisco Bay Area, elders may be found across California, the Pacific Northwest and on the East Coast. An official quarterly magazine, The Witches Trine, helps disseminate their beliefs. 1734 The 1734 Tradition is based on the teachings of a British witch, Robert Cochrane (born in 1931). The groups in this tradition draw from Celtic roots combined with British tradition and much more. After doing much research into witchcraft he formed (1953?) what he believed to be a recreation of "The Old Religion." Letters Cochrane wrote duringthe mid-1960's to an American, Joseph Wilson (and a few others), form the primary basis for this Tradition. Cochrane encouraged research and as a result different Covens formed, no two exactly alike, and "Lines" developed. Each Line today is completely autonomous and there is no central authority. The Covens do not share a common Book of Shadows (B.O.S.), but Cochrane's letters serve the same purpose and are passed from teacher to student in a similar fashion to the B.O.S. in other Traditions. In addition to these letters, most groups have created a personal B.O.S. and continue to evolve in format. Initiates (who study for at least a year) are usually required to decipher the 11 TV's Sabrina & B.O.S. Page 12 cryptograms 1734 and 1737, to discover the names of the High Goddess and God. Although this Tradition was quite obscure until the 1980's, in the last decade it appears to be growing rapidly in a multitude of locations. Many current Covens appear to rely heavily on meditation and vision. Most work outdoors whenever possible, use dance and chant to raise energy and regularly use "Aspecting" (a form of channeling). Some coven's once used hallucinogen and narcotic drugs to aid ritual or vision, but all now profess to no longer need them. Gardnerian Gerald Gardner (whose influence is also seen in the Alexandrian tradition) believed Wicca began in prehistory and that Wiccans worshipped a fertility goddess and a horned god of the hunt. Gardner (a British civil servant) was accepted into a coven of witches (traditionally 13) in 1939. His influence grew to the point where he shaped the views of witchcraft after him by adding rituals, symbols, and concepts that draw on other traditions includingFreemasonry. 12 The Circle Witches designate, physically or imaginatively, a circle at their gatherings, for the twin purposes of celebrating their beliefs and practicing magic (which may include summoning spirits.) A pentagram may also be cast within this circle. It is believed that the circle is a reservoir for energy raised in the ritual, which may then be redirected at will (magic). The Athame Most witches own an athame or ritual knife (usually a small sword or dagger). Ritually the knife is said to manipulate energy and is used in the casting of the nine-foot magical circle. Sword or Wand A full size sword or wand may be used to symbolize some of the earth elements used in the casting of spells. Some use a broom for the same purpose. Page 13 Etceteras Other formal and semi-formal traditions include Shamanic, Isian, Celtic (see also 1734 above), Egyptian, Circle, and Dianic (primarily for lesbians). While each is different, similar elements pervade all forms of witchcraft, even the more informal alternatives... Other more personalized varieties. Some witches scorn all "formal" types of witchcraft, holding passionately to the belief that witchcraft must be an unorganized personal expression of worship. These individuals or covens may tend to be quite secretive, yet their beliefs and practice often echo the more formal branches; drawing on multiple traditions to create their own. Speaking of the area in which he lives, one witch claims a stronger presence for these more informal personalized forms... "And there is the free-form witch, for example the Celtic and Egyptian traditions. This would be the majority of people. Finally, there are the witch wannabes – the teenagers who think it's trendy, it's different." 5 13 5 Scott Agnew, NB, Canada, from an interview in the New Brunswick Reader, March 1/97. "Neo-Pagan religions are coming back," Agnew says. "In the Greater Moncton area I would say that there are 50 or 60 people who Headlines While headlines like the following are still considered by many to be an oddity, they testify to the growing acceptance of witches around the world... Witches And Wizards To Take On Weather (Reuters Dec. 31/98) A coven of witches and wizards will try to use their supernatural powers on New Year's Eve to change Moscow's unseasonably mild weather. ... The sorcerers would gather on Red Square in front of the Kremlin with barrels of ice-cold water which they plan to whack with their broomsticks. The flying water is then supposed to turn into snow with the help of various arcane rituals and spells... RIA (news agency) said the witches had the backing of the Moscow city government... Page 14 Common beliefs and practices. Within all their diversity there are some typically universal beliefs and practices. Virtually all witches hold to a primary tenant or belief. Known as the Wiccan Rede, or merely the Rede, it's modern wording is "Harm none, and do what you will." In other words, "do what you want to do" 6 . Self is the focus. Witches profess to believe that all living beings are worthy of respect and not to be harmed (a concept more often applied to plants and animals than people. For example: abortion is widely accepted, but don't cut down trees). The deities (guardian spirits) behind the four cardinal points of the circle (north, south, east, and west) are commonly worshipped. Circles are cast for worship, ritual, power and protection. A few covens practice ritual sex within the circle to supposedly intensify the magical power in the circle. 7 Also the ("Aristotelian") elements of Air, Fire, Water and Earth are considered to be sacred and used in the practice of magic (a few traditions add a fifth, "Spirit"). "Coven" is the name commonly given to a group of witches. At a coven's meeting participants may be robed, while others are held "skyclad" (or naked) – some coven's allow for either at the same gathering. 8 All traditions focus on the "goddess" (of the moon 9 or nature) with a few addinga male counterpart "god". This god is 14 9 This is where the witches' phrase "drawing down the moon" comes from. 8 A History of Witchcraft, by Jeffrey B. Russell, 1980 (pg. 168, '89 edition). 7 A History of Witchcraft, by Jeffrey B. Russell, 1980 (pg. 170, '89 edition) 6 Some traditional witches, who point to a separation between Wicca and Witchcraft, claim to have no Rede. They describe their belief as follows... "Witchcraft teaches that you should follow your heart and take responsibility for your actions. There is no good or evil." – House Shadow Drake's Traditional Witchcraft FAQ, WWW November 4/97. are actively involved in the Craft, and about 200 or so dabbling in the pagan/earth or pre-Christian religions." Page 15 often in the form of the Horned God (of the sun or nature). A Book of Shadows (B.O.S., sometimes called a "grimoire") is kept by the coven or the individual witch to record spells, ritual, lore, etc. A neo-pagan concept of marriage has been growing in popularity, called "Handfasting". Many variations exist: most invokingthe goddess (or elementals) and casting a circle, some jumpingover a broom, and possibly even intermingling blood from a pin-prick 10 . Citing an 19th century book, some consider handfasting to be a trial marriage good for only a year and a day 11 . The witches' belief system completely ignores the God of the Bible. Unlike Satanists, who often mock God, witches (and pagans in general) merely profess to have an older and better religion. They oppose Christianity primarily on the ground that Christians believe followingJesus Christ is the only true religion. While witches profess to not proselytize, in fact their writings and positive press, together with public appearances, effectively provide a forum for their beliefs and a means to attract initiates. Additionally, witches do not allow themselves to be classed a cult, citing primary definitions of the word "cult" as needing a central leader who requires blind allegiance. 12 Their individualistic approach to their craft, in fact, does not exclude them from a cultic label. Many other cults hold a loose allegiance to teachings from long dead leaders which are now only loosely interpreted by present participants. Hidden knowledge and ritual is often a characteristic of these cults – with or without a distinct livinghead. 15 12 Covenant of the Goddess (COG), WWW, November 4/98 11 Sir Walter Scott, The Monastery (Chapter 25), 1820 10 Stefan's Florilegium: Ceremonies, traditions..., WWW November 5/97 and Selena's Guide to Planning Pagan Weddings, WWW, November 5/97 TV: Sabrina's B.O.S. Page 16 One who has studied witchcraft extensively and has written a number of books on this subject sums up the state of witchcraft today... Sorcery persists; diabolical witchcraft is almost dead; modern witches create a new religion. Witchcraft is not a concept but a term covering a variety of phenomena only loosely linked. But for good or ill, magic continues to appeal, and witchcraft will not soon vanish from this earth. 13 Witches in Entertainment The evil witches of Snow White and Hanzel and Gretel and even the comic Witch Hazel of Bugs Bunny fame, have given way to a more politically correct portrayal of the Craft. The portrayal of "good" witches in movies and television include the older, yet still popular, The Wizard of Oz and Bewitched. Interest in the concept of "good" magic over the years has led a number of people into further study and later involvement in the Craft. Some of the newer fare continues to glamorize the power 16 13 A History of Witchcraft, by Jeffrey B. Russell, 1980 (pg. 175, '89 edition). Russell tends to present witchcraft in a favorable, if not approving, light. His belief that diabolical or evil witchcraft is almost dead reflects that many diabolical witches now use only the term Satanist. Bewitched The Wizard of Oz Page 17 of witchcraft for good and for bad. And the volume of this material appears to be increasing. In the words of CNN correspondent Gloria Hillard, "Sure, Halloween is just around the corner, but the number of witches invadingprime time and movie theaters these days is downright scary." 14 Archie Comic's Sabrina the Teenage Witch has become a hit TV show. Charmed, a show about three "good" witches (as we're told over and over in the show), has also had great reviews. A quick list of recent big screen releases include; Hocus Pocus, The Craft, and the hit Practical Magic. More are sure to come. As Alyssa Milano, one of the star actresses of Charmed, said... "I think we're in the time when the metaphysical world is so interesting." 15 All this entertainment focusing on this subject helps fuel this interest. "If there's any spell to be cast by the movies and shows, it's against the negative stereotypes associated with the term 'witch.'" 16 said Phyllis Curott – a Wiccan high priestess and author of the book "Book of Shadows". She went on to say, "But what's important about 'Practical Magic' and all these shows is that they're showing witches are good." 17 16 CNN, "Bewitched by witches? You're not alone", October 27/98 15 CNN, "Bewitched by witches? You're not alone", October 27/98 14 CNN, "Bewitched by witches? You're not alone", October 27/98 The Craft Practical Magic Page 18 Books are another area being well used to promote witchcraft. The Covenant of the Goddess lists 81 recommended books for ages 1-6, 23 for ages 6-9, 34 for ages 9-12, and 22 for ages 12-14. Books for additional ages, videos and movies (including the very new age "Fern Gully") are all listed as well 17 . Most of the books are published and distributed through mainline corporations including Scholastic. 18 17 Wiccan Children & Youth Resources, COG, WWW November 4/97 October 31 November Eve - Samhain or Celtic New Year. December 21 Winter Solstice – Yule January 31 February Eve – Imbolc, Oimelc, Candlemas Briget or Brigid March 21 Vernal Equinox – Ostara April 30 May Eve – Beltane or Roodmass June 21 Summer Solstice – Litha or Midsummer July 31 August Eve – Lughnasadh or Lammas September 21 Autumnal Equinox – Mabon or Harvestide The Covenant of the Goddess (COG) provides the following description of the witches' holiday of October 31... "The night lengthens and we work with the positive aspects of darkness in the increasing star and moon light. Many Craft traditions, following the ancient Celts, consider this the eve of the New Year... It is one night when the barriers between the worlds of life and death are uncertain, allowing the ancestors to walk among the living, welcomed and feasted by their kin, bestowing the Otherworld's blessings. We may focus within ourselves... developing our divination and psychic skills." Witch Holidays Charmed Page 19 Witches on Halloween Witches, past and present, honor Halloween as one of their special holidays. Most traditions have eight holidays on their calendar, known as sabbats (four are considered greater Sabbats; including Halloween). The first yearly sabbat on their calendar (or New Year) is Halloween; the beginning of the season of death (Winter). One modern Canadian witch and fortune teller, Leanne Haze, stated that on Halloween she would "be conjuring up the spirits of the dead..." – adding that she would call up dead relatives because "the veil between earth and the other world is thinnest during Samhain." Through many branches of feminism and environmentalism the Wiccan variety of witchcraft is receiving widespread promotion and publicity. By 1992 there were an estimated 50,000 Canadians practicing the Wiccan religion -- an increase of over 400% in the last decade. 18 Halloween becomes the time of the year when newspapers seeking to find articles associated with the season publish long articles on Wicca. In one full-page article, they provide complete details of standard Wiccan practice, assure us that they're completely harmless and objects of intolerance. Their official status as a religion is always confirmed: "The Wiccan Church of Canada was founded by Tamarra and Richard James in 1979 and has since been recognized as an official church." 19 A typical startingparagraph is usually similar to the following... 19 19 Times & Transcript, "A Day in the life of a white witch", October 31/97. Articles are now commonly published at other times of the year as well. For example, that same year the New Brunswick Reader did a cover feature entitled, "The Craft: an ancient faith for modern times", March 1/97 18 Times & Transcript, "Canadian witches are prepared...", October 31/92 TV's Sabrina Page 20 Trick-or-treating children dressed as Darth Vader or Sailor Moon aren't the only Greater Moncton residents celebratingHalloween this weekend. White witches – or practitioners of Wicca, a religion rooted in ancient spiritual traditions – will be at their outdoor altars, candles and bonfires lit, meditating and communing with the dead. 20 Other related articles include themes of magic and the casting of spells. One headline for a half-page article screamed, "Halloween is a great time to spin a love spell" – going into great detail on how to cast a number of spells (complete with ingredient lists) 21 . Across North America, during the Halloween season, programs hosted by practicing witches are presented to the general public (especially school children) – often at public libraries. As one children's picture book ends... "On Halloween Night we all believe in witches!" 22 Druids The Druids are another major branch within modern and ancient paganism. Many of the modern Druid orders are based in England and surrounding countries. While most Druids would protest the description, in practice they could be virtually considered another tradition within witchcraft. A number of the same key elements exist, especially the reverence or worship of nature (and associated spirits). Many celebrate the exact same holy days as the witches, plus the concept of nature as the goddess ("Mother Earth") is also prevalent. Arch Druid Rollo 20 22 Witches and Witchcraft (1980), by Adrienne Jack, Published by Franklin Watts Limited. "An Easy – Read Fact Book" 21 Times & Transcript, "Halloween is a great time to spin a love spell" and an inset box "Love potions and hexes", October 31/97 20 Times & Transcript, "A Day in the life of a white witch", October 31/97 Page 21 Maughfling, of Britain, directly calls them a "nature-worshipping religion." 23 Oaks are considered to be sacred and oak leaves are often used in ritual. The name "Druid" itself is connected with the Celtic word for "oak tree". Druids claim to follow ancient Druidic traditions (they were the ancient priests of the Celts), yet historical data on the Druids and their practices are very sketchy. In fact, modern Druidism is an amalgam of ancient and modern traditions. Claiming rights to worship at Stonehenge – which they profess nature worshippingancestors created – these featured ceremonies have been well publicized. In fact, one of their gatherings got out of hand back in 1988 and everyone was banned from holding ceremonies at Stonehenge until 1998. 24 A BBC report perhaps best summarizes the modern concept of a Druid and their understandingof Druidic history. ... to understand truly who they are, you have to be prepared for a history surrounded by even more fantasy, myth and mystery. The origins of the Druids were as important figures or "religious professionals" among the Celts, who came to Britain in 1500 BC. In this pre-Christian era, Druids acted as judges, doctors, diviners, mages, mystics, and clerical scholars, in other words, they were the intelligentsia of the time... Another of their important functions according to Celtic tales and mythologies, was they were able to exhibit a range of magical powers, such as divination and prophesy, 21 24 BBC News, "Druids set for Stonehenge solstice", April 16, 1998 23 BBC News, "Druids celebrate solstice", June 21, 1998 Page 22 healing, levitation, shapechanging and they could even control the weather. ... There can be no discussion of Druidism however, without noting their fundamental belief in the concept of reincarnation. 25 This belief in reincarnation permeates most of paganism including the majority of witchcraft traditions. While Druids claim an unbroken lineage to the ancients, no real proof exists. Moving to modern times: In 1989 the Council of British Druid Orders was formed, giving a unified voice to three original Druid orders. By 1998 they had grown to 12 major orders all over Britain and the Celtic islands. Standard ceremonies include the forming of a circle, the wearing of robes and ancient Celtic symbols, the use of chants and gongs, and the reading of Celtic poetry. A Christian Response to the Witches & (Neo) Pagans Whether Witch, Pagan, or Druid, the statement which follows summarizes their response to anyone who would accuse them of worshipping(or following) the devil. 22 25 BBC News, "The day of the Druids", June 20, 1998 Page 23 Even today, Witchcraft is frequently misrepresented by beingconfused with Satanism. Often the word Witchcraft is used to represent two wholly opposite phenomena: the survival of ancient Paganism in one instance, and the inversion of Christianity in another. Let us make it clear: a Satanist is a renegade Christian, who, in his rebellion against the authority of the church, worships Satan rather than Christ. Such people are at times called witches and warlocks in popular books and movies but they have little to do with Pagan Witches. Satanists, for one thing, accept the Christian duality between good and evil; Pagans do not. Satanists may choose to worship evil rather than good but they have utterly bought the Christian world view. 26 While some cite the goat-horned, goat-hoofed, portrayals of the witches' god as proof they worship the devil, this logic is quite misleading. Yes, this horned god may bear some resemblance to portrayals of the devil, or even portrayals used by Satanists, but a resemblance does not make a case (nor do the portrayals necessarily reflect reality 27 ). Moreover, the goddess has always been the primary deity of these pagans, so any Christian response should start here. Pagan witches may try and say there is no distinction between good and evil, but a quick look at moral standards worldwide reflect that there is One who did instill a sense of right and wrong in all mankind 28 . While our society has tried to blur such distinctions, absolute moral standards still exist and reflect the 23 28 Read Romans 2:14-15 27 Read 2 Corinthians 11:14 26 Satanism vs. Neo-Pagan Witchcraft: Confusions and Distinctions, by Otter and Morning Glory Zell – Editors of Green Egg Magazine, From WWW November 4/97. Page 24 transcendent standard of Holiness revealed by God in the Bible 29 . For example, excepting those whose consciences are seared 30 , most can still see the evil of lies, cheating, and murder. In fact, witches themselves promote a standard of what they believe to be good and evil. Further, that a supposedly amoral goddess set any of the true moral standards comes across as absurd. Only One who is perfect, unchangeable 31 and Holy 32 – our Creator – could (and did). Also, as a perfect God, He had to reveal himself in perfect truth as He did in the Bible... I have not spoken in secret, from somewhere in a land of darkness; I have not said to Jacob's descendants, `Seek me in vain.' I, the LORD, speak the truth; I declare what is right. (Isaiah 45:19) A careful study of the Bible shows the consistency and accuracy of all that God revealed. Many who have attempted to tear down this revelation, when faced with the facts, have conceded to it's truthfulness. A number of them have subsequently become Christians. The mere fact that every tradition of paganism holds a differing view of their goddess, and of their mystic beliefs, show that no accurate revelation exists there. (And before they can accuse the Church of havingmany differingbeliefs, as shown by denominations, in fact there is only one revelation – the Bible 33 . Much of the perceived division is on matters of opinion rather than the clarity of Scriptures, or it is fully due to some who in the name of Christianity have rejected, modified, or added to, the clear revelation of Scriptures.) 24 33 Read 2 Timothy 3:16-17 32 Read Leviticus 11:45, 1 Peter 1:16 31 Read Malachi 3:6, James 1:17, Hebrews 13:8 30 Read 1 Timothy 4:2 29 The Ten Commandments are the best example: Exodus 20:1-17 Page 25 To have rebelled against God does not require "inverting" Christianity by directly opposing it. Nor does it directly require worshippingthe devil. In fact one does not even need to believe in the existence of God or the devil. Rebellion against God is to ignore His revelation – displayed for us in His creation, revealed by His Spirit and detailed in His Word. 34 For since the creation of the world God's invisible qualities-- his eternal power and divine nature-- have been clearly seen, being understood from what has been made, so that men are without excuse. (Romans 1:20) 35 In worshipping the creation (personified), instead of the Creator, all pagans have shown their rebellion against the one true God. They exchanged the truth of God for a lie, and worshipped and served created things rather than the Creator-- who is forever praised. Amen. (Romans 1:25) God himself has shown examples of this in His word. The worship of stars and the power of nature used in casting of spells 36 , and even the worship of a goddess of nature, were all shown to be acts of rebellion against God. God punished his own people for these very acts... They forsook all the commands of the LORD their God and made for themselves... an Asherah pole. They bowed down to all the starry hosts... They practiced divination 25 36 Consider Deuteronomy 18:10-12 for more on God's view of these pagan practices. "Let no one be found among you who sacrifices his son or daughter in the fire, who practices divination or sorcery, interprets omens, engages in witchcraft, or casts spells, or who is a medium or spiritist or who consults the dead. Anyone who does these things is detestable to the LORD..." 35 See also Psalms 19:1-4, Romans 10:17-18 34 Read Hebrews 2:1-3 Page 26 and sorcery and sold themselves to do evil in the eyes of the LORD, provokinghim to anger. (II Kings 17:16-17) It should be noted that the goddess "Asherah" or "Ashtoreth" is mentioned a multitude of times in the Bible. Worship of Asherah was closely associated with groves of trees (and is so translated in some versions) and was associated with fertility. While the title Ashtoreth appears to have referenced the same goddess, this title in ancient usage was applied to a "moon-goddess". It's also felt that this goddess was the one referenced as "Queen of Heaven" in Jeremiah 7:18. Modern goddess worship directly uses all these same associations within it's various branches. Ancient false beliefs are merely ancient forms of rebellion. The devil's been usingthe same lies since the beginning. Believing there is more than one God, even as a goddess, is to call our Creator a liar – for He has said there is no other. I am the LORD, and there is no other; apart from me there is no God. (Isaiah 45:5) Likewise, to say that God embodies both good and evil is to mock His perfection and purity... This is the message we have heard from Him and declare to you: God is light, and in Him there is no darkness at all. (1 John 1:5) At the next level, those who claim that the goddess is merely a name for a force of nature, truly that there is no God, have completely ignored God's revelation and shown themselves to be (spiritually speaking) fools. The fool has said in his heart, "There is no God." (Psalms 53:1) 26 Page 27 Jesus, as the fullness of the revelation of God 37 , Himself said that not beingfor Him was to be against Him. 38 Do witches worship the devil? — for the most part, no. Does this make them "good", or better than Satanists? Again the answer is no. Whether rebellion is blatantly direct or subtly concealed, it's all still rebellion and the punishment is identical. For the wages of sin is death, but the gift of God is eternal life in Christ Jesus our Lord. (Romans 6:23) 39 Also, God's word lays to rest the common pagan lie of reincarnation. People don't get multiple lives, they only have one... ... it is appointed for men to die once and after this comes judgment... (Hebrews 9:27) Witches, like Satanists and everyone else, need to find salvation through faith in Jesus Christ 40 or their end will be the same. As for God's kingdom... Outside are the dogs, those who practice magic arts, the sexually immoral, the murderers, the idolaters and everyone who loves and practices falsehood. (Revelation 22:15) 27 40 Read John 3:16, Ephesians 2:8-9, Acts 3:19 39 See also Ezekiel 18:20, this is not only a physical death but a spiritual one. 38 Read Matthew 12:30 37 Read Colossians 2:9, Colossians 1:13-20 Page 28 Satanism Modern Satanism, like witchcraft, also has many forms and concepts of Satan vary widely. One Satanist made these distinctions... (1) "Satan" is an impersonal "Dark Force in Nature." (2) "Satan is not a real entity at all but merely a symbol of human individuality, a symbol with psychological value to some people. (3) "Satan" is a real entity and is the Christian-era manifestation of some ancient deity, usually Set or Pan. (4) "Satan"/"Lucifer" is the bringer of wisdom in a form of Gnosticism with the Christian "God" cast as the Demiurge. (5) Satan is not an actual discarnate (sic), sentient being, but is more than just a symbol. Satan is, at the very least, today's most powerful magic(k)al Name of Power (energy). (6) Satan is one of many gods, all of whom are in some sense real. There is no one all-powerful "God" like the Christian idea of "God". There are many gods who are powerful, but not all-powerful. 41 Some Satanists, to the consternation of (nature) witches and pagans, freely use the term witch in reference to themselves. (To many on the outside, they are the so-called "black witches"). Virtually all Satanists, to some degree, hold allegiance to the writings of Anton Szandor LaVey (at the least on a philosophical level). LaVey formed the Church of Satan on April 30th, 1966, in San Francisco and soon after authored the Satanic Bible – a book that borrowed ideas from many earlier Satanic works and 28 41 Satanism and Me, by Diane Vera (a frequent writer on many Satanism web sites), 1996 Page 29 writers. The Nine Satanic Statements 42 which begin his book have become the basic creed of most Satanists... 1. Satan represents indulgence, instead of abstinence! 2. Satan represents vital existence, instead of spiritual pipe dreams! 3. Satan represents undefiled wisdom, instead of hypocritical self-deceit! 4. Satan represents kindness to those who deserve it, instead of love wasted on ingrates! 5. Satan represents vengeance, instead of turningthe other cheek! 6. Satan represents responsibility to the responsible, instead of concern for psychic vampires! 7. Satan represents man as just another animal, sometimes better, more often worse then those that walk on all fours, who because of his divine spiritual and intellectual development has become the most vicious of all! 8. Satan represents all of the so-called sins, as they lead to physical or mental gratification! 9. Satan has been the best friend the church has ever had, as he has kept it in business all these years! Formal or religious Satanists, like the Church of Satan, will quickly tell you that they don't kill children and animals... and 29 42 The Satanic Bible, by Anton LaVey, 1969 The Inverted Cross Most Satanists use the symbol of the inverted cross – which shows their disdain for Jesus Christ and the cross of Calvary. Many branches of Satanism make a point of mocking anything Christian. It may be used as jewelry. Page 30 strictly speaking, their teachings do prohibit this. Points 9 and 10 of The Eleven Rules of the Earth are: 9. Do not harm little children. 10. Do not kill non-human animals unless you are attacked or for food. Notice that point ten appears to allow for killing"human animals" – a fact that many self-styled Satanists have appeared to also notice. The eleventh and final point helps to clarify the previous... 11. When walking in open territory, bother no one. If someone bothers you, ask him to stop. If he does not stop, destroy him. Sadly, destruction has become all to literal (and physical) for many Satanists, even though some Satanists would say that these statements are not to be taken literally – perhaps at a spiritual (magic) level. Most Satanism is a religion of self. The focus is on you – truly worshipping yourself as the only deity. It focuses on gratifying yourself in a search for pleasure. 43 This translates as a "if it feels good, do it" type of religion. Satanism vehemently opposes any belief or teaching that would promote self-control or denial of 30 43 Satanists deny the existence of any external gods, heaven, and hell (Nemos 1). They believe that there is no afterlife. This belief is the root of their highly promoted indulgence in worldly pleasure here and now (Azazel 1). References to the Satanic Bible. Satanic Holidays While some Satanists ritually celebrate all the equinoxes and solstices of the year (see the witches' holiday chart), their primary celebration is quite different... "... one's own birthday is the highest Satanic holiday..." * Secondly, of the solstices the primary celebrated day is October 31st – Halloween. *Quoted from Satanism: The Feared Religion, by (Satanic) Magister Peter H. Gilmore, Web '97 Page 31 any pleasure. Christianity, of course, is the primary focus of their opposition. This is no accident. Satanists have long styled their religion to directly oppose, and often ritually mock, all the teachings of Jesus Christ. In point five of an article called "How to be God (or the Devil)" this type of mockery is well illustrated... 5. A sense of humor is a must; a god who can't laugh at himself or find comic relief is a dull Jehovah and most definitely un-Satanic. A number of formal Satanic organizations have been governmentally recognized as non-profit "churches" in the last few decades. Satanic Variations The Church of Satan is perhaps the largest organized Satanic group. It's founder, Anton Szandor LaVey, was very much a showman which contributed to it's popularity. LaVey even played the devil in Roman Polanski's 1968 film "Rosemary's Baby". Early headlines were made across North America when LaVey performing a Satanic wedding and baptizing his daughter into the Church of Satan. He died on October 29, 1997, yet his death was kept secret for a week. The death certificate actually lists him as havingdied on October 31st – Halloween – something that his church is sure to use in the future. 44 At the disclosure of his death, his daughter Karla LaVey told a news conference: "He said his epitaph should be ... 'I only regret the times that I was too nice.'" 45 His daughter and his companion, 31 45 Reuters, "'Black Pope' of Satanic Church dies", November 10, 1997 44 The Washington Post, "Anton S. LaVey Dies at 67", November 9, 1997 The Baphomet The primary Satanic symbol — used by most Satanists and officially by the Church of Satan. Official representatives often wear it as a lapel pin. Page 32 Blanche Barton, a church high priestess, have worked to keep this Satanic church operatingsince their founder's death. LaVey's organization claims "there are no elements of Devil worship in the Church of Satan" 46 . They believe this because they consider the devil, as defined by the Bible, to be a fraud created by Christians. One member of the Church of Satan split with Anton LaVey in 1975 subsequently founding the Temple of Set (also in San Francisco) that same year. Michael A. Aquino and a group of followers claimed that Anton LaVey, for reasons of personal gain, had strayed from "pure" Satanism. In fact, this off-shoot has teachings that are somewhat similar to their parent. Perhaps the greatest difference appears to be their belief in a real summonable Devil ("Set"). Although smaller than the Church of Satan, it's publications and teachings are widely distributed; especially on the Internet. Self is always the focus. Contrasting themselves to "white" witches (what they call the "Right-Hand Path"), an official document states the following under the heading"Black Magic". 32 46 Satanism: The Feared Religion, by Magister Peter H. Gilmore, Web '97 Satanic Books These books, many of which are in common circulation, are only a few of the volumes being used to promote Satanism. Church of Satan... The Satanic Bible (1969) The Satanic Witch (1970) The Compleat Witch (1971) The Satanic Rituals (1972) The Devil's Notebook (1995) Satan Speaks (1998) The Secret Life of a Satanist The Church of Satan Temple of Set... The Book Coming Forth by Night (1975) The Crystal Tablet of Set The Jeweled Tablets of Set The Scroll of Set. Aleister Crowley(ism)... Magick (1974) 777 (1909, 1977) Magick in Theory and Practice (1929) Portable Darkness (1989) The Book of Lies (1913, 1978) The Book of Thoth (1944) and a multitude more. Many reprints and collections are Page 33 Followers of the Left-Hand Path practice what, in a very specially defined sense, we term Black Magic. Black Magic focuses on self determined goals. Its formula is "my will be done", as opposed to the White Magic of the Right-Hand Path, whose formula is "thy (the goddess') will be done" 47 . Followingthese two initial organizations a number of newer and generally smaller Satanic groups have come and gone. At the present, on the east coast (Philadelphia, Pa.), The Church of Lucifer is one such group. It has chapters in a few other locations including Europe and South America. As with many of the these organizations they are using the internet for promotion and recruiting. Their materials appear to echo those of the Church of Satan and they frequently appeal directly to LaVey's writings. Self styled Satanists are often the most dangerous. These are individuals who take what they want from many Satanic books and interpret it in whatever fashion they see fit. They seek power, sex, money, and secret knowledge. For some, sacrifices and destruction are a logical off-shoot. Many who dabble in 33 47 Temple of Set – General Information Letter, November 10/97 The Great Beast - 666 Aleister Crowley (1875-1947), who called himself "The Great Beast", was one who worked hard early this century to promote Satanism. A completely depraved man, who believed in sacrifices (including humans), his works are revered by many Satanists – especially self-styled Satanists. Echoes of his works are found in many of the writings of formal Satanists and organizations. His influence extends across a wide spectrum of society, with Crowley's picture even appearing on a Beatles' album cover. "To me, every dirty act was simply a sacrament of sin, a passionately religious protest against Christianity, which for me was the symbol of all vileness, meanness, treachery, falsehood, and oppression." Aleister Crowley Satanic Extracts Page 34 Satanism end up in this category rather than the "religious" or "church" forms of Satanism. Those who begin with animal sacrifices – believingthat they can gain power from it's life force – may take the next step into human sacrifices. A few of the sensational news stories of past years reflect how far self-styled Satanists can go... ƒMurderer Richard Ramirez, "The Night Stalker", frequently used Satanic symbols on the walls of his victim's homes and even their bodies. 48 ƒAn Iron Maiden fan who had carved 666 into his chest killed three people. Fascinated by the occult he claimed to be under the influence of Eddie, Iron Maiden's demonic mascot. 49 ƒSean Sellers, who drank blood and revered the Satanic Bible, was a classic self-styled Satanist. He and a couple of friends planned and executed ritual murder. Sean finally killed his parents. 50 ƒ"Son of Sam", the mass murder of New York, was David Berkowitz a fan of Aleister Crowley and Charles Manson. ƒA small community teen killed himself. He was reported to have become involved in Satanism at age 13 through heavy metal music. Near the end he had carved the number 666 into his hand. Satanic books, 34 50 Max Haines Crime Flashback, "Sean knew alcohol, drugs and Satan" (The murders took place Sept. 85 and March 86. 49 The Toronto Sun, November 1, 1985 (The murders took place on April 12, 1985) 48 In the words of author John Boston, "Richard started reading about Anton LaVey, the founder of the Church of Satan in San Francisco. He felt compelled to join their rituals, but eventually shunned the organized cult and preferred to be what he termed a 'lone practitioner.' This belief in Satan was not just a whimsy, but a deep-seated belief in the power of Lucifer to protect and empower his disciples." – article The Night Stalker, 1998 Dark Horse Multimedia Inc. Page 35 incarnations, pentagrams, black candles, and other devil worship paraphernalia filled his room. 51 ƒLuke Woodham testified in court that he opened fire on his Pearl High School classmates, killing two, after becoming involved in Satanism which he claimed "bestowed power over many things" 52 It should be noted that most isolated Satanists – who are inclined to kill – are just as likely, if not more so, to kill themselves. They believe it to be the ultimate sacrifice to Satan. Though formal Satanists profess all these individuals to be wackos, who have used the title Satanist as an excuse, one can't dismiss the fact that their actions are a logical offshoot of Satanic doctrine with it's inherent belief of "survival of the fittest" 53 . Most Satanists, except for a possible medallion or pin, are unrecognizable from everyday people. Some dabblers or self-styled Satanists may wear clothing that flaunts their dark ambitions. Don't be fooled into thinking that everyone who wears black lip-stick and dark attire is a Satanist. More Goths fit this description, and while some are Satanists, most are not – but that's another topic. 54 35 54 See Appendix A 53 It could be said that Satanism is a radical extension of standard secular humanism whose evolutionary philosophy also preaches survival of the fittest. 52 Fayetteville Observer-Times (NC), "Accused school shooter testifies", June 12/98. Luke was part of a self-styled Satanism group known as "the Kroth". Other members were charged with conspiracy in the 1997 murders. 51 Times-Transcript, "Seminar warned of dangers of Satanic cults", Dec. 8/90 The Law of Satanism Satanists of virtually all stripes, including Aleister Crowley and Anton LaVey, hold to one highest law. It's found in many Satanic books and documents. Do what thou wilt, shall be the whole of the law. Put simply, "do what you want to do." The heart of an ultimate religion of self. Page 36 Many other books have dedicated great amounts of space to so-called "generational Satanists" and "Satanic ritual abusers". Most serious research (that doesn't quote anecdotal or cyclical sources) has shown these to be extremely rare. There just isn't the evidence to support the many allegations (for example, where are all the bodies?). And a few true instances can't be extrapolated into tens of thousands. The stereo-typical, generational, baby killing, cultic Satanist is for the most part a myth popularized by Hollywood, the media (including talk-show hosts), and sadly several misguided Christians. (Some, like the self-proclaimed former Satanist Mike Warnke have been shown to be an outright fraud. Yet, his works are often still quoted as proofs – usually in the form of "experts say"). Not every teen with a simple interest in the occult or "darker side of life" will end up as a Satanist 55 . Some will. Often overlooked areas been used to encourage an occultic interest are fantasy role playinggames 56 , related clubs 57 , books 58 and comics. While occult books may help propagate Satanism, its – perhaps – greater promoter, in the last few decades, has been popular culture including movies and especially music. Early movies such as Invocation of My Demon Brother and Lucifer Rising feature detailed rituals and professed accuracy (– the music score was by Mick Jagger). As with later productions, this one also utilized practicingSatanists as consultants. Through the avenue of music, the Rock & Roll era has seen recurring trends of Satanism featured by a number of groups. While some claim it's all done as a show, still others proudly 36 58 R.L. Stein's series "Goosebumps" has sold more than 200 million copies in a five year period, more than all Nancy Drew & Hardy Boys in 70 years. 57 See Appendix C for more on Fantasy Role Playing Clubs 56 See Appendix E for more on FRPs like Dungeons & Dragons TM 55 Quoted studies show up to 8% of all teens have a fascination with dark occult themes. The source of these statistics are unknown. Page 37 profess their allegiance to Satan. Either way the doctrine of Satanism is promoted to their followers. Rocker Jimmy Page (Led Zeppelin) actually purchased Boleskine, Aleister Crowley's old home on the shores of Loch Ness in Scotland and had it redecorated by a renown Satanist. 59 Other groups and artists that featured Crowley images, or referencing lyrics, include: David Bowie (1971 album "Hunky Dory"), The Stiff Kittens, the Beatles (Sergeant Pepper's Lonely Hearts Club Band) – with John Lennon personally owning a number of Crowley's works, Jim Morrison and the Doors, Ozzy Osbourne (the song"Mr. Crowley"), Celtic Frost, and more. Early groups and artists that used blatantly Satanic imagery and lyrics include Slayer, AC/DC, Exodus, Alice Cooper, Motley Crue, Venom, Iron Maiden, the Beastie Boys, The Cure, and Ozzy Osbourne. This is by no means even close to a complete list. 60 Anton LaVey, himself, even released two CD's, "Satan Takes a Holiday" and "The Satanic Mass". These albums are still listed in the Black Metal genre, along with a number of the older groups. An example songfrom that era is "The Oath" by Satanist and rocker King Diamond. It's lyrics read like an unholy prayer... By the Symbol of the Creator, I swear henceforth to be A faithful Servant of his most puissant Arch-Angel The Prince Lucifer Whom the Creator designated as His Regent And Lord of this World. Amen. 37 60 For a complete examination of the subject of music and the occult, see Reel to Real Ministries' video expose "Hell's Bells - The Dangers of Rock and Roll". 59 Hammer of the Gods, by Stephen Davis, 1985 Page 38 I deny Jesus Christ, the Deceiver And I abjure the Christian Faith Holdingin contempt all of it's Works As a Beingnow possessed of a human Body In this World I swear to give my full Allegiance To it's lawful Master, to worship Him Our Lord Satan, the ruler of Earth Open wide the Gates of Hell and come forth from the Abyss By these names: Satan, Leviathan, Belial, Lucifer I will kiss the Goat I swear to give my Mind, my Body and Soul unreservedly To the Furtherance of our Lord Satan's Designs Do What Thou Wilt, Shall Be The Whole Of The Law As it was in the Beginning, is now, and ever shall be World without End. Amen Through the avenue of pop music, many teens and adults have embraced Satanism at a philosophical level. For them this is the religion of choice based completely on rebellion. The current pop-music Satanist of note is Marilyn Manson. To his followers, his message is "worship Satan" and "Satan is god". Raised in a Christian home, a former Christian school student, now he's a rock singer, and avowed Satanist. His multitudes of concert goers, and fans, get far more than a musical performance they get a message. In a screaming preaching fashion the former Brian Waters – now Marilyn Manson – teaches his followers the basics of mainline Satanism. He takes the stand of many Satanists (like those of the Church of Satan) that they're not worshipping the devil, only themselves. His lyrics are 38 Marilyn Manson Page 39 extremely offensive and laced with profanities so only a small excerpt will suffice for an example... Three lines from "Track 99" of the album Antichrist Superstar. Go ahead and date a dead messiah... God will grovel before me God will crawl at my feet. Railing at and mocking Christians is all standard fare (and not only in the music). For the record, his assumed name comes from a movie star, Marilyn Monroe, and a mass murderer, Charles Manson. A Christian Response to Satanists The following statement is the key to understanding why Satanists live like there is no tomorrow. There is no heaven of glory bright, and no hell where sinners roast. Here and now is our day of torment! Here and now is our day of joy! Here and now is our opportunity! Choose ye, this day, this hour, for no redeemer liveth! 61 Throughout Biblical history there have always been those who worshipped demonic deities. Molech and Baal are two possible examples. 39 61 The Satanic Bible, by Anton Szandor LaVey, 1969 – mocking Job 19:25 and Joshua 24:15 Manson in Concert Page 40 "'Do not give any of your children to be sacrificed to Molech, for you must not profane the name of your God. I am the LORD. (Leviticus 18:21) He (King Ahaz) walked in the ways of the kings of Israel and even sacrificed his son in the fire, following the detestable ways of the nations the LORD had driven out before the Israelites. (II Kings 16:3) Then they called on the name of Baal from morning till noon. "O Baal, answer us!" they shouted. But there was no response; no one answered. And they danced around the altar they had made... So they shouted louder and slashed themselves with swords and spears, as was their custom, until their blood flowed. (1 Kings 18:26,28 They have built the high places of Baal to burn their sons in the fire as offerings to Baal-- something I did not command or mention, nor did it enter my mind. (Jeremiah 19:5) Some Satanists are truly devil (or demon god) worshippers followingin the footsteps of these ancient religions. However, a majority of Satanist claim to not believe in any literal supernatural beings (though they might look upon them as powers of nature). The Bible tells us that Satan (or Lucifer, or the Devil) is a real spiritual being. 62 Whether or not they believe in a literal Satan – or even that there is a God – they have all chosen to live like there is no God. Some shake their fist in the face of God believing Satan has triumphed over Him (or will in the future). Many more believe themselves to be the only god that matters. For all of them, what God has said to be good they call evil and what God has said to be evil they call good. God's answer to them is clear... 40 62 See John 8:44, Genesis 3:1-5, Luke 4:1-13 Page 41 Woe to those who call evil good and good evil, who put darkness for light and light for darkness, who put bitter for sweet and sweet for bitter. Woe to those who are wise in their own eyes and clever in their own sight. (Isaiah 5:20-21) The Bible speaks often of Satanists (and truly anyone who lives like there is no God), except God knows them by a different title, "a fool"... The fool has said in his heart, "There is no God." (Psalms 14:1) He who trusts in himself is a fool... (Proverbs 28:26) A fool finds pleasure in evil conduct (Proverbs 10:23) For the fool speaks folly, his mind is busy with evil: He practices ungodliness and spreads error concerning the LORD... (Isaiah 32:6) Even if a Satanist never summons a spirit, rebellion alone is cause for God's wrath... For rebellion is like the sin of divination, and arrogance like the evil of idolatry. (1 Samuel 15:23) Any Satanist who questions God's right to judge sin needs to understand that Jesus Christ has already defeated Satan on the cross of Calvary. He who does what is sinful is of the devil, because the devil has been sinningfrom the beginning. The reason the Son of God appeared was to destroy the devil's work. (1 John 3:8) 41 Page 42 The Devil and all his demons are reserved for a final day of judgement. And the devil, who deceived them, was thrown into the lake of burning sulfur, where the beast and the false prophet had been thrown. They will be tormented day and night for ever and ever. (Revelation 20:10) All who remain in rebellion against God, who won't turn from their sin and put their faith and trust in Jesus Christ, will have the same destination. If anyone's name was not found written in the book of life, he was thrown into the lake of fire. (Revelation 20:15) All who would believe that the Devil wants followers should understand that he knows he has been defeated. He also knows that he awaits final judgement. His entire goal is to destroy as much as he can before then. The great dragon was hurled down-- that ancient serpent called the devil, or Satan, who leads the whole world astray. He was hurled to the earth, and his angels with him. (Revelation 12:9) Therefore rejoice, you heavens and you who dwell in them! But woe to the earth and the sea, because the devil has gone down to you! He is filled with fury, because he knows that his time is short." (Revelation 12:12) 42 Page 43 Modern Vampires The news report screamed, "Slasher suspect claims to be [a] vampire". 63 From the front page of a supermarket tabloid? No, from a mainline news article. Many professed vampires would take offense to that type of negative portrayal... of course they don't do anything illegal. They merely have a fascination with blood. Yet the focus of the news report, a man who slashed the throats of at least four homeless people (killing one), is still by definition a vampire. His claims to be a 2,000 year-old vampire, who thrives on drinking blood, notwithstanding — the fact is, his fascination with blood, shown by his reported attempt to drink their blood, makes him a modern vampire. By definition a vampire is anyone that has a blood or flesh fetish. There's a growing sub-culture who practice vampirism year round. They often dress the part, sometimes have teeth shaped as vampire type fangs, and willingly drink blood. Primarily a phenomena within teen and young adult circles, their appearance is often similar to the Goths (the ones into dark music and everythingGothic in style – see Appendix A). Not every Goth is into blood drinking, most are not. As a smaller yet significant part of the Goth scene though, this news clippingwill give a taste of their style. A lithe young man and his lanky girlfriend, long hair swaying in time with the driving beat, suddenly squat to the floor, weavingarms and wavinghands in front of their faces. First the boy, then the girl, lurch to their feet and pirouette on the dance floor of the Sanctuary Vampire Sex 43 63 Reuters, "Slasher suspect claims to be vampire". Nov. 12/98 Page 44 Bar. The words of Type O Negative blare on the sound system: She's in love with herself. She likes the dark. On her milk white neck. The devil's mark. Everyone is dressed in black - velvet gowns, capes, elaborately embroidered shirts, or skirts too short to measure. They dance next to a coffin as mist rises from the floor. Welcome to the lusty underground of Goth, where vampires are in and all things dark and dead are chic. 64 Beyond the Goths, another vampire sub-group exists within Satanism. These Ritual Vampires invoke Dracula (or other vampires) as spirits, and are perhaps the most dangerous. This is an excerpt from one of their ritual invocations... "Vampyre!! Dracula!! I seize upon and manifest the power of the Vampyre. Come forth Dracula, that I may use your form to execute my most Exalted and Daimonic Will! Color my imagination with stirring legend and folklore! Cloak me in layers of invisibility and secrecy. Bestow upon me stalk and flight - the form of wolf and bat! Enable me with sharp fang that I may pierce deep, sucking hard and rich, fresh warm blood of my chosen sacrifice!" 65 Much like self-styled Satanism, the news testifies to the worst of what can be done with a vampirism fantasy... 44 65 The Art of Vampyrism, by Daimon Egan, WWW January 10/99 64 USA Today, "Hip Children of the Dark", November 10/94 Page 45 Teen in 'vampire' killings pleads guilty The leader of a coven of self-professed teen "vampires" abruptly changed his plea to guilty Thursday before the start of testimony in his trial for the crowbar slayings of a Florida couple. (Rod) Ferrell, 17, led a group of self-professed vampires in rural Kentucky -- teenagers who said they were inspired by Ann Rice novels and role-playing vampire games 66 , drank each other's blood, engaged in ritual sex and mutilated animals duringsacrifices. 67 Leaving the extreme, a majority of vampires are involved in lighter forms. Their fascination usually begins with vampire movies and books, plus many start collecting vampire paraphernalia. Specialty vampire stores now exist in larger centers catering to the demand for such materials and clothing. Sexual themes are often intermingled with the blood letting – some consider the drinkingof blood "sexy and appealing" 68 . The entertainment that fuels this trend has come a longway from the early horror films of this century. The first talkie horror film (black and white), was the 1931 release of Dracula 69 , based on Bram Stoker's novel written in 1888. It played mostly on an imaged fear and morbidity related to death. In the ninety's, we now have Francis Ford Coppola's most recent version of this novel. His movie is filled with graphic details and the obligatory sexual tie-in. 45 69 Starring the most famous Dracula, Bela Lugosi. 68 CBC Television interview 1993. 67 Reuters, "Teen in 'vampire' killings pleads guilty", February 5/98 66 See Appendix F on the Magic TM card game and Appendix E on FRPs. Page 46 While author Anne Rice's accepting portrayal 70 has helped to fuel the modern interest in vampires, the original Dracula is still the best known. This blood thirsty character is often emulated or celebrated at Halloween. But it's not just at Halloween. Vampires are beinginterwoven into all our entertainment. Movies 71 including the one based on the aforementioned Anne Rice books, 72 television shows in the vein of Forever Knight and Simpson's episodes, plus rock music videos 73 have all drawn on this character. Buffy The Vampire Slayer is another TV show that's a favorite of many teens and young adults. Their official web site provides the world view for this vampire killingseries. "This world is older than any of you know, and contrary to popular mythology, it did not begin as a paradise. For untold eons, Demons walked the earth; made it their home -- their Hell. In time they (the demons) lost their purchase on this reality, and the way was made for the mortal animals. For Man. What remains of the Old Ones are vestiges: certain magicks, certain creatures. And Vampires." 74 46 74 Buffy the Vampire Slayer, Mythology, WWW November 5/97 73 Examples include: The Cure, with Robert Smith donning a cape and fangs for the song Why Can't I Be You? Bauhaus: especially Bela Lugosi's Dead. Concrete Blonde: Bloodletting. Alice Cooper: Love It To Death. 72 Interview with the Vampire, the film – starring Tom Cruise 71 Examples: Buffy the Vampire Slayer (1992), Vampire's Kiss (1989), Tale of a Vampire (1992), The Lost Boys (1987), & John Carpenter's Vampires (1998) 70 Anne Rice's The Vampire Chronicles are long term best sellers. Titles include Interview with the Vampire, The Vampire Lestat, Queen of the Damned, Tale of the Body Thief, and Memnoch the Devil. This quote from vampire Lestat, in Interview with the Vampire, is typical of the twisted concepts of the genre. "Evil is a point of view. We are immortal. And what we have before us are rich feasts that conscience cannot appreciate and mortal men cannot know without regret. God kills, and so shall we; indiscriminately He takes the richest and the poorest, and so shall we; for no creatures under God are as we are, none so like Him as ourselves, dark angels not confined to the stinking limits of hell but wandering His earth and all it's kingdoms." Page 47 Even when shows, like Forever Knight 75 , are canceled they live on as "cult classics" through bootleg copies and reruns. Dozens of vampire fan clubs help to distribute materials, with the internet being a favorite venue. For those on-line and off, vampire fairs are held in some major centers 76 . Children have not been left out. In the growing quest for books with supernatural themes, vampires have moved in. Some get the adult oriented fare. Even vampire author Anne Rice claims she has "thousands of very young readers." 77 She also testified that she has spoken in elementary schools, and has been interviewed by school papers. Her advice on the related movie is quite revealing... I hope kids and their families disregard the R rating. I hope the youngreaders got to see the film or that they will when it comes out on videotape. I think it says important moral things, and it is enchantingand spectacular. 78 Beyond movies and television 79 , comic books are perhaps the number one venue providing vampire imagery to children. 80 Shop owners testify that vampire themed comics are "solid sellers". Today's comics have become excessively graphic in nudity, dismembering, impaling, murder and the like. A few minutes browsing in a modern comic shop would shock most adults. The blood and gore almost always has sexual overtones. 47 80 See Appendix D for more on comics and Appendix F on a related item. 79 TV vampires include SCTV's Count Floyd, host of Monster Chiller Horror Theatre for kids. And The Count on Sesame Street provides a light primer for the very young. 78 An open letter to readers and viewers by Anne Rice released in 1994. 77 An open letter to readers and viewers by Anne Rice released in 1994. 76 For example: Dracula 97 held in Los Angeles featuring celebrities like Elvira. 75 Forever Knight was a Canadian TV series based on a 1989 U.S. TV movie. It's a story of a 13th century vampire trying to pay for his sins by fighting crime. Page 48 The comic Vampirella was virtually in a category all by itself when it was introduced in 1968. Already scantily clad, Vampirella was almost tame in comparison to today. In the words of their publisher, "The new Vampirella of the 1990's is a more bloodthirsty and violent creature than her 25 year old counterpart, but she enjoys as passionate a following as her namesake did." 81 The same can be said of the multitudes of newer titles as well. Back to Dracula himself, some history. The infamous character is based on a former, 15th century, occupant of the castle Dracula in Romania. This truly blood thirsty man was named Vlad Tepes – often called "Vlad the Impaler" as he liked impaling his dinner guest on stakes and then dining in their midst while they died. Vlad was not quite like the traditional fictional vampires portrayed as Dracula today. But with a blood and flesh fetish, he and our modern characters have much in common. I must emphasize, this topic is not only for those who follow vampirism year round – these fictionalized mass murderers have become the popular heroes of Halloween. A Christian Response to Vampires Celebration of vampirism is to celebrate the lord of death, Satan, and his primary objective to kill and destroy. The thief does not come except to steal, and to kill, and to destroy. I have come that they may have life, and that they may have it more abundantly. (John 10:10) 48 81 Vampirella, history, by Harris Publications, Inc. (who bought rights to Vampirella in 1983.) Vlad (1431-1476) Page 49 In Proverbs we are told that "there are six things the Lord hates, seven that are detestable to him." The list which follows includes... "hands that shed innocent blood", "a heart that devises wicked schemes," and "feet that are quick to rush into evil." 82 Placing on a pedestal a character that is evil in portrayal (regardless of a similar historical background) is to celebrate and take pleasure in something that is an affront to God. It's not surprisingthat those who have given themselves over to the lusts of their sinful nature 83 would honor such a depraved character. Yet, a professed Christian who would do this should consider if their heart's desire is truly to please God – as it should be for all Christians 84 . 49 84 Read 1 Thessalonians 4:1, 2:4 83 Read Ephesians 2:1-3 82 Proverbs 6:16-18 Page 50 Celebrations around Halloween (Immediately before and after) The current Catholic On-line Calendar of Feast Days and Holy Days lists November 1st as All Saints Day and November 2nd as All Souls Day. 85 The background on these holidays are as follows. Pope Gregory (I) the Great was the first to make a proclamation concerninga church festival at the time of Halloween. He said of October 31st, "They are no longer to sacrifice beasts to the devil, but they may kill them for food to the praise of God, and give thanks to the giver of all gifts for His bounty." (Obviously, at this time of year, animal sacrifices appear to have been still common throughout areas of the Roman Empire). The hope of his proclamation was to get people to stop their pagan rituals and follow the church's teachings. The best date we can find as to the beginning of these church sanctioned festivals, at the time of Halloween, is 608 A.D. Yet with Pope Gregory the Great making the aforementioned proclamation (specific date unknown), it must have been initiated a few years earlier — Pope Gregory's term was from 590-604. Pope Gregory III 86 moved the church festival of October 31st to November 1st and called it "All Hallows (Allhallowmas)" or the "Day of All Saints (omnium sanctorum)". Even later, in 834 A.D., Pope Gregory IV decreed this festival day to be a universal church observance. 87 All Saints Day was to honor both canonized and unrecognized saints. 50 87 Some cite a late 11th century decree by Pope Gregory VII as establishing All Saint's Day on Nov. 1 – The Fall River Anchor, "Discovering the hallowed in Halloween", Oct. 30/92. Many earlier references to this celebration have led us to cite alternate dates. See also the Gardner News (MA) "Halloween 86 He ruled from 731-741 A.D. – his All Saint's decree was in 735. 85 Catholic Online Saints Page, Dec. 12/98 Page 51 The Day of All Souls (omnium animarum, November 2nd) was first established in 998 by the Benedictine abbot of the monastery of Cluny. While primarily an observance of the Benedictines in France, it subsequently appealed to many other areas as a Christian form of already existing celebrations. Officially the Day of All Souls became the "Day of All Souls in the Purgatory," 88 honoringfaithful departed. Masses for the dead were commonly held on All Souls Day. A response to a question on liturgical readings for this day confirm that "readings from the Masses for the Dead" are still in use today. 89 Many cultures have taken the Roman Catholic celebrations of All Saints Day and All Souls Day and have turned them into cultural holidays. In Mexico, this two day period is known as Dia de los Muertos (Day of the Dead)... ... an important Mexican holiday that merges pre-Columbian beliefs and modern Catholicism. Europe's All Saints' Day and the Aztec worship of the dead contribute to these two days that honor Mexico's dead. 90 This festival culminates on November 2 (All Souls Day) with elaborate festivities. Native cultures indigenous to Mexico (Purepecha, Nahua, Totonac and Otomi) believed that the souls of the dead returned each year to visit their living relatives – to eat, drink and be merry. These ancient beliefs were tempered 51 90 Mexico OnLINE, "Official & Religious Mexican Nat'l Holidays". Dec. 12/98 89, "All Souls Day". Dec. 12/98 88 Copyright 1998, Estonian Foreign Ministry "Come and See: Nov. 2" Ghosts...", by Close to Home columnist Donna Reck, Oct. 31/92 Page 52 through the comingof the Spaniards in the 15th century, bringing their Roman Catholic faith and traditions. The subsequent celebrations draw from both. Current practice has November 1st (All Saints Day) being used to remember children (called 'little angels') who have died – through placing toys and colorful balloons on their graves. The next day (All Souls Day) is now used to honor and summon deceased adults... Flowers... and candles, which are placed on the graves, are supposedly to guide the spirits home to their loved ones. Other symbols include the elaborately decorated pan de muerto (a rich coffee cake decorated with meringues made to look like bones), skull-shaped candies and sweets, marizpan death figures and papier mache skeletons and skulls. ... Today, these macabre symbols and other similar items fill the shops and candy stalls by mid October. Duringthis time, homes are often decorated in the same manner as the graves. 91 Candles, incense, the departed's favorite food and drink, prayers and chants are all utilized in the process. The food and drink are consumed in a party like atmosphere. From 6:00 pm until sunrise bells are rung, every 30 seconds, to summon the dead. In at least one area of Europe a similar phenomena exists... In the Estonian (and Latvian) national calendar the Souls' VisitingDay is the centerpiece of a longer autumn period of worshipping the departed, known as Souls' Visiting Time. 92 Many surrounding peoples, having cultural influence from their common Finnish roots, share similar traditions. They openly 52 92 Copyright 1998, Estonian Foreign Ministry "Come and See: Nov. 2" 91 Mexico OnLINE, "Mexican Holidays: Dia de los Muertos". Dec. 12/98 Page 53 acknowledge that "pre-Christian traces of this autumn custom were evident throughout Europe" and that it was only "at a later date (that) the Catholic Church gave this folk-tradition a Christian form." 93 In fact, much of the current celebration has more to do with the ancient folk-religion than with Christianity. In Estonia the souls of the forefathers were expected home on Soul's Visiting Day... A table was prepared for them in the sauna or some food was placed in the attic or in an auxiliary building. The host and hostess often invited souls, by name, to take the food, while at the same time asking for the protection of their cattle and harvest. ... It was considered inappropriate to work in the visiting rooms in order not to disturb the peace for the visiting souls. The souls of the forefathers were expected home in the eveningof that day... 94 It should be noted that for a number of decades much of this tradition fell into relative oblivion. This was primarily due to this nation's take-over by the Soviet Union – and their aversion to all religious practice. Since again becoming an independent nation, these traditions have marked a considerable renaissance. Back in North America, the Hispanic traditions of Latin America have come north. A Detroit News article provides details... For Detroit's Latino community... (it's) important to make time to honor the dead. This gives people participatingin Dia de los Muertos, or All Soul's Day, the largest festival of its kind to date in Mexicantown, a chance to honor their deceased loved ones. 53 94 Copyright 1998, Estonian Foreign Ministry "Come and See: Nov. 2" 93 Copyright 1998, Estonian Foreign Ministry "Come and See: Nov. 2" Page 54 The celebration comes from the Hispanic tradition of honoring the dead by erecting ofrendas (altars to the deceased), and featuring cultural artifacts like sugar skulls and pan de muerto (bread of the dead)... ... the idea came from people in the community that wanted to set up a "Calaveras y Colaciones (skulls and celebration)" mercado for the All Souls Day holiday that takes place annually Nov. 1 and 2. Originally, the observance of the holiday comes from the combining of indigenous cultures of Latin America and Spanish Catholicism. The belief is that on those two days, the souls of the dead visit the living. ... (They) said that the community is celebratingthe Catholic tradition of All Saint's Day in it's own way. 95 Notice the blurring of any delineation between All Saints and All Souls Days. In practice, both days now celebrate the exact same thing. Immediately prior to Halloween, a more modern and primarily North American phenomena has occurred. It's known as Devil's Night and sometimes as Mischief Night. Using "night", singular, is somewhat misleading as some areas include October 29th and October 30th in this title. Appearing to be a spontaneous reaction to the crackdowns on dangerous acts at Halloween, the violence (especially fires) has moved earlier. In some areas, Devil's Night has become the time where the bulk of vandalism takes place. 54 95 Detroit News, "Hispanic heritage comes alive at All Souls..." Oct. 26/95 Page 55 Camden (NJ) had its worst arson spree last Oct. 30. Instead of tossing eggs or soaping windows, as they usually do, Mischief Night pranksters set 133 fires. Devil's Night in Detroit (MI) took on its unreal aspect about a decade ago. Last year, however, rain and tens of thousands of volunteer helped cut the number of blazes to 62, down from a peak of 297 fires in 1984. 96 Some communities have now established curfews to help control this problem, joiningalready implemented curfews for Halloween itself. Efforts have caused periodic relief, although Detroit hit a new record high for fires at 354 in 1994. 97 The last few years in Detroit have required up to 35,000 volunteers to patrol the streets and help keep the arson at reasonable levels. 98 A Christian Response to All Saints and All Souls Days plus Devil's Night Devil's night speaks for itself. At least this "celebration" makes no pretense of being Christian. Regardless of their original intent, All Saints and All Souls Days have become an excuse to worship and commune with the dead. God has clearly shown that contact with the dead is expressly forbidden. 'I will set my face against the person who turns to mediums and spiritists to prostitute himself by following 55 98 Reuters, "Tinder removed for 'Devil's Night'", October 28/97 – They also towed 1,000 abandoned vehicles and destroyed 900 abandoned houses in advance. Also dispensing fuel into portable containers has been banned from Oct. 28 to 31. A City of Detroit Press Release, November 2/98 showed fires for the three day (29-31) period at 155 – considered normal levels – with more than 35,000 citizen volunteers in patrols. 97 Reuters, "Tinder removed for 'Devil's Night'", October 28/97 96 Bangor Daily News, "Cities determined to smother fiery Halloween Eve tradition", Oct. 31-Nov. 1/92 Page 56 them, and I will cut him off from his people. (Leviticus 20:6) Let no one be found among you who... consults the dead. Anyone who does these things is detestable to the LORD... (Deuteronomy 18:10-12) In application, God showed His wrath at King Saul for summoning the dead prophet Samuel. The punishment was his kingdom and ultimately his life. 99 Additionally, no one should have the idea that those who have gone before can speak to God on our behalf. There is only one mediator between God and man and it's Jesus. 100 The final word on this subject truly belongs to God... When men tell you to consult mediums and spiritists, who whisper and mutter, should not a people inquire of their God? Why consult the dead on behalf of the living? (Isaiah 8:19) 56 100 Read 1 Timothy 2:5 99 Read 1 Samuel Chapter 28 Page 57 Horror Films The refuge of the armchair vampire, the horror film has become a staple of not only Halloween, but truly year round. The advent of the rental video became the catalyst for the explosion in horror film viewership. With no longer any need to wait for a large screen release (and they do come out every year), people can quench their thirst for bloodshed, gore and horror any night of the year. Yet the Halloween season has become the primary venue. As one headline put it, "Halloween: A special day for horror fans". 101 Most major horror releases debut in the month directly precedingHalloween and video rentals of this genre skyrocket as the day approaches. Blockbuster video lists over 2,400 titles in the horror category. 102 As a perennial money maker for the movie industry, it's sure to keep on growing. (By May of 1994, the Friday the 13th series had raked in more than 221 million American dollars! 103 ) While not justifying any horror film, earlier releases such as the 1931 Dracula and even Alfred Hitchcock's 1960 Psycho have given way to a new form called the "slasher film". Most early horror films showed fewer murders, and far less gruesome detail, playing on one's imaginative sense of horror over certain subjects (for example, the original Psycho had two murders). Today's slasher films are filled with killing from start to end and the gorier the better. The technical revolution in special effects has meant that nothing is left to the imagination. 57 103 Times-Transcript, "Friday the 13th helped usher in a new era". May 13/94 102 Actual catalog count in Moncton, NB, by Brent MacDonald, Sept. 97 101 Times-Transcript, "Halloween: A special day for horror fans" Oct. 29/94 Page 58 John Carpenter's 1978 Halloween began the popularity of the cheap thrill in killing. It's host of sequels testify to their longevity and popularity. Excerpts from a review of the seventh in the series (Halloween H20) summarizes the norm of not only this series but the majority of the genre. Things can build up for 10 or 15 minutes, but the ultimate conclusion (every single time, unless it's an intentionally misleadingside-track) is that someone's goingto get their throat slashed, or their stomach split open, or their eye gouged out. The audience is not remotely interested in the elements of story-telling, of taking a trip. What they're doingis patiently awaitingthe kill. And then they get it. "Halloween H20" isn't as loaded with gore as some of these movies are, but what's there is of the "take no prisoners" type, with blood, blood, and slashing. Attractive teen-agers, in case you're worrying that the producers missed a beat, get massacred while tryingto set the table for a sexual encounter. 82 minutes. Rated R. 104 The 'R' rating should be noted. Virtually all slasher films have combined overt sexuality with violence. The desensitizingeffect of this is formulated and documented... 58 104 CNN, "Review: Same lowered standards in 'Halloween H20'. Aug. 13/98 Page 59 American film scholar Vera Dika, who wrote Games of Terror: Halloween... notes how directors Sean Cunningham and Steve Miner in parts one and two cleverly distance the viewer from the violence. "When the killer's deathblow is finally delivered, the film's formal and narrative strategies have sufficiently distanced the viewer so that he can participate in the events without the attendingfeelings of guilt or remorse," Dika writes. 105 Much more could be said (and has been elsewhere) about the effects of pairing violence and sexuality, but there's another pairing that also reoccurs with an alarming frequency — violence and the supernatural. The Halloween series clearly portray the mass murderer Michael Myers' ties to Satanism. In all nine Friday the 13th movies, the supernaturally resurrected Jason follows suit... In all he has been stabbed, punctured, slashed, knifed, shot, run over (at least twice), hanged (twice), beaten by both sharp and blunt instruments, set on fire, electrocuted (twice), drowned, doused with toxic waste, impaled and given a shave with a boat propeller. 106 59 106 Times-Transcript, " Ibid. May 13/94 105 Times-Transcript, "Friday the 13th helped usher in a new era". May 13/94 Slasher Films Page 60 Nightmare on Elm Street (Freddy Krueger and his claw), the Child's Play series (featuring the demon possessed doll, Chuckie), the Exorcist (I & II), along with the Hellraiser series 107 , all trivialize demon possession and feature a warped view of the hereafter. Large doses of the same themes abound in many additional titles including; Satan's Cheerleaders, Gourmet Zombie Chef From Hell, Highway to Hell, and so on. Human sacrifice is once again in vogue with the latest – and least tasteful – Halloween tradition: slice-and-dice horror movies. 108 Those who would never go to a theater to view such fare need only wait a few years — most end up on TV. As with rentals, mature viewer warnings and R ratings are not preventingchildren from viewing them. Fifteen is said to be the average age of the viewers and it's not uncommon for 12 and 13 year-olds to have viewed at least one. 109 Societies' bloodlust is growing. Frankenstein, while not strictly a horror film, requires special mention. This character, made from dead body parts is based on a well known novel by Mary Shelley 110 . This lady was a known drugaddict who was reported to have kept her husband's heart in 60 110 Written in 1818. 109 Observed from a LTM 1997 survey of teens. 108 Times-Transcript, "Origins of Halloween date back 2,000 yrs", Oct. 31/92 107 Starring Pinhead, the demonic character with dozens of nails in his head. "Sure, Hellraiser III is a horror film with blood and gore. But it's a movie about ideas — albeit unsettling ideas." – Times-Transcript, "Pinhead likes to get his point across", November 7/92 Page 61 a box after he died from drowning. The original movie was created in 1931 111 ... There is no greater gem of harum-scarum than the granddaddy of them all, "Frankenstein". Despite an occasional arthritic creak and the lack of a musical score, the story of Dr. Frankenstein and his insane fixation to create life usingthe body parts of corpses gets better with each viewing. ...Many censored scenes were restored to "Frankenstein" in 1987, including the murder of the child, Maria... 112 Many within the Goth 113 movement have a deep fascination with Frankenstein, but they're obviously not the only ones. Web sites, comics, plays, plus hosts of new novels, television shows 114 , and movies all build on a popular demand for the Frankenstein theme. 115 Frankenstein has been a long-standing dress-up character for Halloween. 61 115 The cult classic The Rocky Horror Picture Show (1975) features Rocky as a 114 As an early series, The Munsters (1961) drew on virtually all Halloween themes including vampires and werewolves. 113 Goths like anything dark, supernatural, and gothic in style. This is why they dress in all black (or sometimes all white). See Appendix A 112 CNN, "Kidvid: Scary treats for after the sweets", Oct. 31/97 111 Starring Boris Karloff. Technically speaking it wasn't the first. A copy of Thomas Edison's 1910 Frankenstein has been recently recovered (late 90's) and is to be distributed on video. The 1931 edition is still, by far, the best known. Page 62 As with other areas in the horror arena, Frankenstein take-offs have grown ever more gruesome in recent years. One of the latest, Mary Shelley's Frankenstein (1994) earned a well deserved 'R' rating. A Christian Response to Horror Films Even secular voices are raising some concerns over all this violence. Dr. Iris Jackson-Whaley, while minimizing the overall effect of horror films, arrived at this conclusion... "There's increasing evidence to show that violence and gore serves to increase the possibility that a disturbed person will act out the violence." Jackson-Whaley says teenagers, particularly, tend to blur the distinctions between reality and fantasy. They can be emotionally distraught over a scary or violently gory movie without even knowingit, she says. 116 In the spiritual realm, it's a good time to be reminded that God has told us "... the soul of the unfaithful feeds on violence" 117 and "...the one who loves violence His soul hates." 118 Strong words? Yes! But it's a serious matter. Consider for a moment what this says about a society that has turned these fictionalized mass-murders into cultural icons. The apostle Paul spoke of those who had forgotten God... They have become filled with every kind of wickedness, evil, greed and depravity. They are full of envy, murder, 62 118 Psalms 11:5 117 Proverbs 13:2 116 Times-Transcript, "People love to scare themselves", October 31/92. Jackson-Whaley is the president of the Ontario Psychological Association. man made creation with a transvestite creator. Page 63 strife, deceit and malice. They are gossips, slanderers, God-haters, insolent, arrogant and boastful; they invent ways of doing evil; they disobey their parents; they are senseless, faithless, heartless, ruthless. (Romans 1:29-31) While this might read like a summary of any horror film script, the next verse is very revealing. Although they know God's righteous decree that those who do such things deserve death, they not only continue to do these very things but also approve of those who practice them. (Romans 1:32) As Christians we know that God has decreed the penalty of sin to be death and that these actions are clearly sin. In watchingfilms filled with these themes we not only "approve of those who practice (these actions)" but truly celebrate their depravity. What does God think of all this? 119 For all those films that portray hell as a place the Devil rules over, we can be encouraged; Satan doesn't rule over hell. He and his demonic themes will end up there. 120 I (Jesus) am the Living One; I was dead, and behold I am alive for ever and ever! And I hold the keys of death and Hades. (Revelation 1:18) 63 120 Read Revelation 20:10, 14-15 119 If you still aren't sure of the answer to this question, read Proverbs 13:2 and Psalms 11:5 again. Page 64 Animal abductions and cruelty At Halloween much hype is given to reports of animal abductions, cruelty, and sacrifices – perhaps too much emphasis. While a few occult traditions promote sacrifices – and some do carry them out on Halloween – others are involved in this type of practice year round. The self-styled Satanist would be one such example. Yes, even in smaller communities across North America, sites have been found where animals have been tortured and dismembered – but not only at Halloween. One newspaper article on cattle mutilations and killings, in a remote area in Alabama (where organs had been removed), was notably from April. 121 Another, regarding a spat of cat killings in New England, happened in May... Five cats have been found hanging by nooses in the past three days and police say they believe it's the work of "some sick deranged person," Capt. Dean Crombie said yesterday. 122 Yet, perhaps due to media hype, Halloween has become the one time of the year that many public service organizations (like local SPCA's) warn owners to keep their pets (especially cats) inside due to abnormal numbers that go missing... Keep all animals safely inside on Halloween, especially at night, to protect them from cruel pranksters. Black, orange, tortoiseshell and calico cats are particularly vulnerable at Halloween. 123 64 123 Daily Gleaner, Fredericton, NB. "SPCA pet of the week". Oct. 23/97 122 NH Union Leader, "Somersworth Police Seek Cat Killer". May 14/94 121 Nashua Telegraph, "Cattle mutilations investigated". Apr. 8/93 Page 65 And some do go missing but not always by ritual occultists and dabblers. Halloween's overall promotion of mischief, mayhem and pranks, has given venue for many other individuals. Cats may be targeted most due to Halloween's usual association with the black variety. Perhaps this is the reason for all these Halloween news bulletins... Halloween can be the unluckiest day of the year for black cats. "Duringthe Halloween period, black cats disappear," Virginia Beach police officer Don Rimer said. "We've had a number of problems with black cats missing from several neighborhoods, and later, their remains would be found. Respondingto the use of black cats for nasty pranks – or even ritual sacrifice – local animal shelters maintain a pre-Halloween moratorium on any black cat adoptions. ... Officials in neighboring cities, including Suffolk, Portsmouth and Chesapeake, have similar no-black-cat adoption rules that run through Nov. 1 or 2. 124 65 124 AP U.S. News, "Shelters Protect Black Cats", October 31/98 Page 66 Halloween The name, by itself, stirs up feelings in the mind of the reader. The foremost of these thoughts would be of ghosts, goblins, vampires, pranks, witches, malicious acts, evil, deviltry, horror-films, ouija boards, seances, and trick-or-treating. A study of Halloween must examine it's history and it's current practice. Origins History is an illusive thing, especially in lands conquered by another. Even when records exist, history is usually recorded by the victor. Rarely are two perspectives available and histories written by another culture, or people, usually have a strong bias. Compounding this, some cultures kept very few written records. This being said, we will now attempt to sort out the history of modern Halloween. First of all, we will review the popular history. A popular history is the commonly related account, normally recited in the country or region doing the examination. History tends to change over time, often colored by the social mores and political correctness of each subsequent generation. 125 Whether or not a popular history is found in a text book does not make it necessarily true, although it does shape the perspective of those to come and their interpretation of the original and related events. Popular History: More than 2000 years ago, Celts inhabited most of what is now France, Germany, England, Scotland, and Ireland. Much of this total area was known as Gaul at that time. Celtic pagan priests were known as Druids. The evening of October 31st and the first of November were considered, by the 66 125 For an examination of this phenomena, read Lies My Teacher Told Me by James W. Loewen. Page 67 Celts, to be the transition from summer into the darkness of winter (symbolically the passing of the season of life to death). At this time the Druids celebrated their "Fire Festival" with huge bonfires. 126 These fires were to protect the people from the returning spirits of the evil dead. Druid ritual included large animal and human sacrifices to honor their god, Samhain, the lord of the dead. Additionally, predictions of future events were performed using magical arts. November 1st was celebrated as the beginning of the (Celtic) New Year with a "Feast of Samhain." 127 On this day the people renewed their home fires from the altars of the Druidic priests (or from the bonfires). Accordingto the Satanic Bible, the evening before was the night that Druids believed the Lord of Death brought the souls of the evil dead to inhabit bodies of animals. Other sources vary to a small degree... On the eve of the festival, Oct. 31, Sanhaim (sic) allowed the souls of those who'd died during the year to return to their earthly homes. Until that night, the souls had been confined in the bodies of lower animals, as reparations for their sins. After this short homecoming, the souls were free to go to the Druid heaven. 128 By 43 A.D. 129 Rome had conquered most of the territory held by the Celts. The Romans disliked the Celtic human sacrifices and ultimately banned them, subsequently merging some of these earlier celebrations with their own harvest festival. This ancient 67 129 Some alternate sources cite 47 A.D. 128 Gardner News (MA), "Halloween Ghosts, Goblins Roam The Land Tonight", Oct. 31/92 127 A number of variations of the pronunciation of "Samhain" exist, including: "sow-een", "shahvin", and "sowin" [with "ow" like in glow] — Alt.Pagan FAQ Version 4.0, WWW, November 4/98 126 These bonfires were supposed to have been made with sacred oak branches. Page 68 Roman holiday was a festival honoringthe goddess of the harvest (or fruit and trees), Pomona. 130 Years later, with the conversion of the Roman Empire to Christianity 131 , the Roman Catholic church subsequently placed their alternate celebrations on these same dates. 132 With limited success a Christian framework was created, yet elements of earlier celebrations were retained or "Christianized". Replacing existing celebrations was considered necessary to appease the populace, who would have been extremely riotous to lose any of their valued feasts (and time off from work) had they merely abolished them. The practice of placingChristian celebrations on the date of pagan holidays has influenced the modern dating of numerous church holidays; includingChristmas and Easter. Even the word "holiday" is a historical contraction of the words "Holy Day". Unlike Christmas and Easter, Halloween's "Christian" holiday never really overcame it's pagan counterpart in popularity or practice. Halloween is the only widely celebrated modern holiday that still retains an almost completely pagan connotation and practice. Add regional traditions and folk-tales of goblins, fairies, ghosts, and the like, from all over Europe and you have the beginnings of Halloween type legends and celebrations. This resultant tradition, in all it's forms, was brought to North America by Irish and Scottish immigrants. Even the name Halloween came from the Scottish name for their observance - "hallow 'een". In those and other European countries, the people lived in fear of the night of October 31. It was considered a night 68 132 See the sections on All Saints and All Souls Days 131 In the reign of Constantine who lived from 274?-306 A.D. 130 Some researchers say that a second Roman festival, to honor the dead, was also held at this time. It also was merged into the new celebrations. – Times & Transcript, "Origins of Halloween date back 2,000 years", Oct. 31/92 Page 69 when evil spirits and goblins roamed the land with special powers and witches flew about. The people believed it necessary to leave food offerings on their doorsteps 133 to appease the evil spirits. In 14th century Italy, families prepared special feasts for their beloved dead. Treats had to be left or you would be tricked by the evil spirit. These tricks were traditionally believed to have included such nastiness as your livestock dying, milk dryingup -- or other suitable evil. It's felt that this practice became the basis of our modern "trick or treat". In some areas the food offering, by itself, was considered to not be enough to ward off the evil spirits. So bonfires were lit on hilltops to disperse the spirits who were said to thrive in darkness. Others (especially in Ireland) wore masks and costumes to scare spirits away (or to give the wearer special powers). Some of these dressed up "mummers" carried a "jack-o'-lantern", with a hideous face carved in it, to light their way and assist in helping to drive away the evil spirits. European All Souls Day observances may have also contributed to Halloween practices. In medieval times, English "soulers" (doing "soul-caking") would walk the streets, singing and begging for alms. These they received in return for sayingextra prayers for the dead relatives of the almsgivers. Amongthe populace, elements of pagan worship of the dead were commonly merged with the Roman Catholic observance of All Saints Day. Colors common in the commemorative mass ("Allhallowmas") began to symbolize the celebrations of this time of year. Even today, the traditional Halloween colors of orange and black have a heritage rooted in the ceremonial candles 69 133 Some areas left the food, for the returning spirits, in the house with the doors open, while they all went to church. If the food remained it was supposed to show the spirit's displeasure, which would result in evil deeds befalling the house. Usually little food was left as wandering beggars and thieves were purported to have enjoyed the fare in the families' absence. Page 70 made of un-bleached beeswax– which appeared orange in color – and the ceremonial caskets that were always draped in black. This mix of traditions and superstitions slowly became the foundation for our modern celebration of Halloween. See Appendix B for this popular history as it has appeared in many newspapers. Most of this popular account has been found for years in history books, text books, and news accounts. For the most part, beyond reasonable doubt, it's true. Today, some have begun to question certain aspects. Not surprisingly, some witches and pagans have been involved in this research for the purpose of cleaning up some of their alleged background. Regardless of who's doing the research, let's look at some known problems. We should note that the Druids were primarily an oral tradition. Two of the three following historical problems arise from this lack of self-kept records. #1. Samhain. This name is commonly said to be both a time and a name of a deity – commonly reported as "the god of the dead" or "the lord of the dead". In fact, there is no credible evidence that Samhain was a god. In fact, some branches of the Celts did have gods of the dead known by other names. 134 Almost all references to this supposed "fact" come from the 18th century and onward (with no supporting evidence). Samhain appears to be merely the name of the holiday. But as a holiday, it was still a pagan celebration filled with superstitions and myth. It still can be legitimately called "the festival of the dead". This usage came from the belief that this night was a night for the dead to roam, when the "veil between the worlds" was at it's thinnest. Many 70 134 Gwynn ap Nudd – British, Arawn – Welsh, The Irish and Gaulish, if they had one, are unknown. Page 71 other aspects of this celebration centered around these spirits and death. #2. Large scale sacrifices of humans and animals. 135 The primary basis for this belief is writings of Julius Caesar. Yet, he was writing for a purpose; to justify the conquering of the Celtic people. Even as the Romans had, at one time, written that Christians sacrificed children and drank blood – which no one believes – we have to be skeptical about any biased Roman account. It's mostly the large-scale human sacrifices that are in dispute. A majority of historians and researchers agree that the Celts, like most pagan lands at that time, offered animal sacrifices 136 and likely even human sacrifices. Some feel there may have been only individual human sacrifices, or sacrifices featuringcondemned criminals — with Caesar only exaggerating the details for effect. 137 Regardless, any sacrifices made were as part of pagan celebrations and the Druids would have presided over them. #3. Ireland. This nation is often lumped in with the rest of the Celtic lands, implying a subsequent takeover by Rome. In fact, Ireland was never occupied by Rome, so Roman traditions could 71 137 The Romans, themselves, had only banned human sacrifices a short while before Caesar's time. 136 Sacrifices of horses were known to have been offered at various times to goddesses in Wales (Rhiannon) and Gaul (Epona). 135 One anonymous account, cited on the web, goes like this... "As a part of the Druid festival, men and women had to fear not only the departed spirits, who were to return during the evening hours, they must also fear the Druid priests themselves. It was a time of mass human sacrifice. 'Men and women, young and old, criminals and innocents, were forced into huge wooden and thatch cages. Often these cages were fashioned in the shape of giants - wicker men - perhaps representations of Samhain himself. At a signal from the presiding Druids, these immense structures were torched...'" The Roman Tacitus is the apparent source for some of this material. He spoke of human remains heaped upon altars in sacred groves and people being burned in great wicker men. Page 72 not have directly mingled with local practice in that land. In regards to our modern Halloween: the Irish brought to America their folk practices, which are remnants of early Celtic observances. After all this has been said about Halloween's origins, modern Halloween can not be considered a direct descendant of all these earlier traditions. It is better to consider it an all-new tradition in the style of many earlier celebrations. Yes, some ancient practices and ideas have come to Halloween virtually unchanged, but far more are (at best) an influence on beliefs that have shaped today's holiday. Halloween is more of a spiritual heir than a historical descendant. Modern Halloween For most of our society, Halloween has become a time when evil or malicious acts and general lawlessness are expected to occur. Anything macabre, sinister, gory, supernatural or scary fits right in. The following is an attempt to examine the modern celebration of Halloween usingrelated topics as section headings. The Adult Consumer Holiday: While Halloween has traditionally been promoted as a "children's holiday", our market driven society has been working to change that. By 1997-98, news reports reflected the growing reality that "Halloween isn't just for kids anymore." 138 With sales reportedly over $2.5 billion dollars on Halloween related products, marketing is a driving force behind our modern celebration. 139 This season now produces the second largest holiday related sales, behind only the Christmas season. Tie-in merchandise includes; candy, costumes, parties, movies, festivals, and theme parks. Other year-round products and corporations also capitalize on this season — like 72 139 CNN, "Retailers target grown-up goblins for Halloween." Oct. 30/97 138 CNN, Report by correspondent Anne McDermott. Oct. 23, 1998 Page 73 Tombstone Pizza (a division of Kraft Foods) and Count Chocula cereal. Halloween is the number one candy-selling holiday. The National Confectioners Association estimated sales during this season at 1.76 billion dollars! 140 (The next closest, was Easter at 1.68 billion). In the realm of more intoxicating substances, more people in the US buy beer on Halloween than on St. Patrick's Day. 141 Adults are doing most of the buying, and not just for kid's treats and costumes. Halloween is also now second only to New Year's Eve for the number of adult parties that are thrown. 142 Us News estimated sixty-five percent of American adults would participate in Halloween activities. 143 In a growingtrend, as reported by the International Mass Retail Association, one-third of all adults will don costumes at Halloween. Cateringto this trend, of course, are the traditional costume shops and new year-round Halloween stores. One such store in Los Angeles speaks of customers spendingfrom $700 to $10,000 in a single trip... not to hard to do with some animated ghouls costing more than $2000 (US). Outfitting one's home and yard in gruesome and ghoulish decor ranks right up with Christmas in some neighborhoods. The themes are the usual: ghosts, death, vampires, and the like. For those teens and adults that want the gore-fest on a more limited budget, a growing number of horror theme parks and haunted houses have all the decor, with actors playing all the horrific parts. One city had more than 21 haunted houses listed — some 73 143 U.S. Online News, "Outlook: Database: Halloween". Nov. 03/97 142 CNN, "Retailers target grown-up goblins for Halloween." Oct. 30/97 141 U.S. Online News, "Outlook: Database: Halloween". Nov. 03/97 140 Washington Post, "More Trick, Less Treat". Oct. 31/98 Page 74 dedicated to charity. 144 One chain, alone, had more than a quater of a million people through their houses over a three year period. 145 Another adult influenced area, is in the realm of television. As a Washington Post report stated, "Like Christmas sales at the malls, the goblins seem to come out earlier every year." 146 The report noted that the Disney Channel had been celebrating all month and that Fox Family had a "13 Days of Halloween". A total of 115 Halloween specials, across all channels, were listed, excluding marathons. Most of this entertainment is targeted at adults. Television has become a home for many of the same horror films found on the bigscreen and video. One notable large screen movie has the fitting name of The Nightmare Before Christmas. Filled with animated characters like "Jack the Pumpkin King" and concepts of fright and gore, it's advertising asked, "What will your parent's think?" In answer, you could probably ask them, they've likely watched it. Trick or Treat – A Tale of Greed: An estimated seventy-eight percent of 74 146 Washington Post, "Scaring Up Tricks and Treats". October 25/98 145 There are an estimated 5,000 to 7,000 haunted houses in the US. Devil's Darkside, a 20,000 sq. ft. "temple to the macabre" has up to "1,500 visitors pay $10 each to worship the bloody and the bizarre" – Reuters, "Halloween magic, haunted houses spin terror into gold", October 29/97 144 Times & Transcript, "Halloween retail boo-ming business". Oct. 24/94 Page 75 households distribute treats at Halloween, with an average of 37 trick-or-treaters calling on each home. 147 More than eighty percent of American children, ages 12 and under, are estimated to participate in trick-or-treating. 148 As for volume, as one parent put it, "Forget those little plastic pumpkins for collectingcandy, they're carryingpillowcases." 149 Fifty-eight percent of children report having caught at least one family member swiping one of their treats. One third fear it enough to hide some of their loot. 150 Even as ancient peoples of Europe felt hostage to evil spirits – compelled to leave gifts of food – so too North America is hostage to the "Trick or Treat". A fear of what type of tricks might be played prompts many reluctant homes to participate, regardless of their beliefs and financial ability. It appears the practice may have started for that exact reason. ... trick or treatingmay be a relatively recent phenomenon coinciding with population shifts from rural to urban and suburban environments. It is, after all, difficult to go door to door when the doors are miles apart. Despite popular laments that Halloween is no longer the holiday "it always has been," folklorist Tad Tuleja contends that trick-or-treating may have 75 150 U.S. Online News, "Outlook: Database: Halloween". Nov. 03/97 149 Washington Post, "More Trick, Less Treat". Oct. 31/98 148 Washington Post, "More Trick, Less Treat". Oct. 31/98 147 U.S. Online News, "Outlook: Database: Halloween". Nov. 03/97 Page 76 developed during the 1930s as a means to control young people's Halloween night pranks. 151 The fact that the practice caught on is a testimony to the power of bribery. The text from a The Grizzwells cartoon 152 aptly portrays the heart of this modern practice. Trick or Treat – Dressing like the Devil: Halloween is the one time each year when people do their very best to look their very worst. Young children may dress up as a devil, a witch, a fairy, or a ghost. Sure a few dress as heroes of popular culture; Ninja Turtles, Power Rangers, Batman, or even Bart Simpson. One child, taking his modern persona to the extreme, slashed the face of a 14 year-old girl 76 152 Times-Transcript, October 29/93 151 Washington Post, "What's Behind Halloween", October 14/98 — The article went on to say, "The words 'trick or treat' apparently were not in use until 1941, when they first appear in files of Merriam-Webster, Inc., after being used as the title of a poem in The Saturday Evening Post. According to the Oxford English Dictionary, the phrase 'trick-or-treating" first appeared in The Sun in Baltimore in 1950." Another article quotes a 76-year-old grandmother from Quincy (MA) say "There was no trick-or-treating back then" in the 1920's, although a James Moriarty (90), said he was involved in an early form of the practice in South Boston between 1910 and 1920. "We'd go get a big box from the supermarket and go around to our neighbors' doors, asking for goodies," he said. "We didn't dress in costumes, just our regular clothes." – The Boston Sunday Globe, October 29/95 Page 77 who answering the door. This trick-or-treater was dressed as a knife wielding Ninja Turtle. 153 Another so-called "light hearted" costume-set is the vulgar (pyromania promoting) MTV entities Beavis and Butt-Head. New possibilities aside, the "traditional" costumes are long-time favorites – even among adults. 154 Given a choice of Power Rangers or witches at a school costume party, the choice would surprise you... Many schools won't allow costumes based on violent characters such as Power Rangers. Gaudet says her daughter's school note said even standard costumes such as witches have to be "good" instead of "evil"... 155 The concept that there are "good" witches versus "evil" witches has nothingto do with a Christian world view. Regardless of any teacher's attempts to moderate what they see as being harmful, many kids are gravitatingfrom bad to worse. Not so long ago, little girls dressed up as witches for Halloween and little boys as vampires. But if you answer your door this year expecting darling demons, you're likely to be truly frightened by what passes for ghoulish... ... for something truly ghastly, take a stroll through your local costume store. "This is called the jawbreaker," said one clerk, showing a latex mask of a head with a bloody jaw torn from the face. "This is the premium horror kids mask of this year. There's no doubt about it." 156 77 156 CNN Style, "If it isn't horrible it isn't happening", October 15/95 155 Times-Transcript, "Kids should choose and design their own costumes", October 29/30, 1994. 154 A USA Today, "USA SNAPSHOTS", Oct. 31/95 showed the top adult rental costume being Dracula. 153 Times-Transcript, "Canadian news briefs", November 1/91 Page 78 As well, many of the glorified mass murderers of Hollywood's Horror Films, are available in studio licensed costume likeness. 157 It's not only the adults who are dressing like Jason, Michael Myers, and Freddie Krueger, kids want in on the action too. New York City has a home-grown Halloween party, which celebrated it's 25th anniversary in 1998. With 20,000 mostly costumed participants, it attracts upwards of a million spectators in lower Manhattan. They get to see... ... revelers dressed as giant insects, frightful monsters and fabulous dragqueens... "It used to be nothing but drag queens," (one participant) recalled of the parade's early years. 158 The same subject is raised in a report on the drivingforces behind the celebration of Halloween. For instance, the gay community has actively used the holiday to assert a new and more visible social presence and power. The fantasy elements of masquerade, which temporarily permit one to be virtually whomever he or she wants to be, can foster true personal liberation and change. 159 All this dress-up is far from the advice of the apostle Paul, who said; "imitate those who through faith and patience inherit what has been promised." 160 The apostle John, perhaps, made it even 78 160 Hebrews 6:12 159 Washington Post, "What's Behind Halloween", October 14/98 158 AP US News, "N.Y.C. Halloween Parade Turns 25", November 1/98 157 Perverted characters of any type seem to fit the bill. For example, consider some short term trends: the O.J. Simpson mask and the bloody glove, or even a leering President Clinton mask and the stained Monica dress. Page 79 more clear. "Dear friend, do not imitate what is evil but what is good." 161 A Christian who would dress up as – literally to imitate – any character whose actions God has called an abomination, must truly break the Lord's heart. A time for pranks: While pranks are generally frowned upon most of the year (April Fool's Day perhaps excluded), Halloween is the big exception. From the early roots of this North American celebration, pranks have been a cornerstone... In Hoxie, a town of 1,500 in northwest Kansas, senior community members recall that, in the old days, "a certain number of outhouses became horizontal," when loose items such as garden hoses, trash cans and lawn furniture were dragged onto Main Street to block traffic the next morning. 162 (Speaking of the 1920's in Quincy, MA, Betty) Molloy said she remembers some neighborhood children would play pranks on their neighbors, which included cutting their clotheslines or soaping windows... Other typical Halloween "tricks" included ringing doorbells and running, knocking over fence posts and banging on outhouse doors. 163 79 163 The Boston Sunday Globe, "Fond memories endure of Halloweens of 162 Washington Post, "What's Behind Halloween", October 14/98 161 3 John 1:11a Portland Press Herald, Oct. 30/95 Page 80 As society has grown progressively worse so too has Halloween. On this day, generally speaking, any thing goes – as long as no one gets hurt. Yet, property damage, injury, and even death have resulted from people not knowing where to draw the imaginary line. Examples abound... HangingJoke Goes Awry A man who pretended to hang himself during a haunted house party was in critical condition today after the ropes he had rigged malfunctioned. ... (he) was wearing a rubber monster mask and had a large rope runningfrom around his neck to the ceiling. 164 Intentionally setting fires is another common prank in many areas. Burning tires and debris block many roads on Halloween evening. Some get into the act days in advance... Drivers beware. Halloween roadblocks have already been set in the Kirkwood and Sunny Corner areas... And the bewitching night is still a week away. "The ordinary Halloween fanfare has started. We are (concerned) because of the safety factor and the damage to the highways." (The police sergeant continued,) "It's maddening to say because it's a certain time of year, people think they can break the law. I fail to understand the mentality." 165 80 165 Times-Transcript, "Miramichi braces for Halloween hijinks". Oct. 24/97 164 Times-Transcript, "Hanging Joke Goes Awry". Oct. 28/94 yore", October 29/95 U N Page 81 Firebombing a man's property is more than a mere Halloween prank, a provincial judge ruled... (The convicted had) tossed two Molotov cocktails onto Leonard Lockhart's front yard on Halloween night. One of the bombs detonated... 166 In Dieppe, someone set fire to a set of swings in a park... A firebomb was thrown by a youth near Petitcodiac... 167 In 1993, the Sunny Corner police station was set afire along with six vacant buildings on Halloween night. Police were pelted with rocks and bricks when they tried to dismantle flaming roadblocks made of bales of hay and old tires. 168 Morbid curiosity is at the heart of some more gruesome "pranks". Three teenagers (ages 18, 17, and 15) are accused of digging up a body in a graveyard (on Halloween), then cutting off the head and carrying it around... "I was kind of curious about what people looked like when they die..." one of the boys said. 169 One psychiatric social worker claims it's merely a day for repressed and frustrated young adults to release pent-up feelings. "We give children liberation one day of the year to express themselves and some of them go hog wild." 170 Yet, in the next breath, this same expert (in a non-condemningway) points to the real cause – rebellion. 81 170 T-T, "Miramichi braces for Halloween hijinks" (John Brown). Oct. 24/97 169 The crime took place in Ogdensburg, NY – Times-Transcript, "Teens cut corpse's head off for curiosity.", November 1/95 168 Times - Transcript, "Quieter Halloween all over eastern NB", Nov. 2/95 167 Times - Transcript, "Police say Halloween was quiet", November 1/95 166 Times - Transcript, "Moncton man jailed for Halloween firebombing", March 3, 1995. Page 82 "Some just do it for fun because they may never have an opportunity to be themselves at any other time, he said, notingchurches and schools expect certain standards to be met at all times." 171 Two other psychiatric workers claim behavioral problems get worse at Halloween. "Kids are going out on the edge more in general and especially during that time of year," says (Kathy) Rhodes, director of nurses for behavioral services at Tennessee Christian Medical Center. "As a general pattern, there has been an increase in hospital admissions around Halloween, particularly over the past 10 years," said Dr. Joseph Mawhinney of San Diego. 172 Pranks are so expected at Halloween that people witnessing an actual holdup figured it was a joke and ignored it. There at the entrance to the Cedar Glen Golf Course stood a masked man, gun in hand, shouting, "this is a holdup." And everybody just laughed. ...instead of giving up their wallets and lying down as ordered, they laughed at the holdup man – and one even tore his mask off. 173 Mercifully the robber then ran away and no one was hurt in this Halloween episode. 82 173 Boston Globe, "Patrons treat holdup like Halloween trick", Oct. 31/95 172 Bangor Daily News (ME), "Mischief at Halloween can become dangerous", October 30/95 171 T-T, "Miramichi braces for Halloween hijinks" (John Brown). Oct. 24/97 Page 83 Back to more standard Halloween fare, while some claim them to only be urban legends 174 , reports of possible candy tampering are reported regularly... A Tulsa child received several pieces of Halloween candy with tablets inside, sheriffs deputies said Saturday. "Evidently, it had a small white pill in the gum," said sheriff's Capt. Tim Albin. 175 And while it is true that the number of such occurrences is commonly exaggerated, there are some cases. Pamphlets and bulletins continue to warn of needed precautions year after year, perhaps keeping the quantity of such cases at a minimum. One person 176 , trying to defend Halloween and debunk all cases of candy tampering, ended her article by saying, "Have you ever found a razor blade in a Halloween apple?" Not specifically, but maybe I'm the exception. Growing up in Fredericton, NB, Canada, I found a straight pin in a box of Chicklet gum. While it was easy to spot, the fact is, it happened. Even a few of these occurrences 83 176 Robin Patterson, "Halloween The Schizophrenic Holiday" in a section on urban legends., WWW, October 28/98 175 AP US News, "Possible Candy Tampering in Tulsa", November 1/98. That some would want to hurt children shouldn't surprise us, the New York police have a special squad that patrols on Halloween to try and keep track of pedophiles and sex offenders. Part of the fear is that molesters will decorate their homes in such a way to entice children in. – reported by UPI, "NYPD eyes pedophiles on Halloween", October 31/97 174 Urban Legends are written or orally transmitted stories alleged to be true. Often they are outlandish, humiliating, humorous or even terrifying and supernatural. They frequently cite "authoritative sources" and some specific details (perhaps names). Hundreds of these circulate at any given time. Most are completely untrue. A few are based on real circumstances. Some have sounded so real as to be picked up by news media – including one about cows falling out of the sky to sink a fishing boat. Page 84 warrant precautions, for like most Halloween pranks, they thrive on opportunity. Living in a Graveyard: Halloween is now second only to Christmas as the time when people spend vast sums of money, time, and effort, to decorate their homes. While a few decades ago, a jack-o'-lantern and perhaps a few cut-outs were the extent of the decorations, today people compete to make their yards look like scenes from horror films and sadistic graveyards. With newspapers running pictures of these spectacles, on their front pages or in other key features, the drive for recognition fuels the trend. The followingare excerpts from a write-up accompanying a three page spread, on one house, in a special Halloween insert... "We usually start getting ready in September," (Marilyn) Johnston said, standing in a front yard transformed into Salem's Cemetery... Skeletons, a coffin, a three-foot spider and eerie music awaits anybody wishing to collect Halloween treats at the Johnston house. And if that isn't enough to scare them off, that's just the beginning. Torches throw flickering lights in all directions. The tombstones of Dracula, Lucifer (with a horned pentagram also adorningit), Dracula's son Alucard, and the infamous Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde litter the lawn. The trees all have ghost hanging from them, as well as strings of pumpkin lights. Spotlights adorn the lawn, casting a light that is not so comforting once the smoke machine starts laying layers of thick haze throughout the yard. ... The perimeter of the yard is encircled with a black chain adorned with signs warning people to keep out. Dead rotting – somethings – lay between tombstones, whose 84 Page 85 epitaphs read, "We shall rise again" and "To Die! To be really dead! That must be glorious!, Dracula 1890." 177 Havingbeen to see this highly decorated yard, in person, we can assure you that the write-up hardly does it justice. But they are not the only ones. My files are full of pictures of yards featuring open caskets, ax-murders, beheaded bodies, Freddy Krueger and more. A religious celebration?!: Many claim Halloween is a religious holiday. For most witches and Satanists it is. But what about everyone else... A New Jersey school board has taken the "hallowed" out of Halloween, spooked by the idea that the holiday could be construed as a religious celebration. ... "All we're doing is banningthe traditional parties." 178 Interestingly, they didn't ban it because of it's religious ties to Witchcraft or Satanism – rather it was because its’ name came from "All Hallow's Eve" which marked the day before a Christian feast of All Saints Day. How the "traditional" parties could be construed as having any thing to do with a "Christian" celebration, regardless of any name, is beyond us. If anything, the celebrations and themes of Halloween are very much a religious celebration — one that every occultic and pagan practitioner wholeheartedly promotes. Psychics and clairvoyants, alongwith occult, witchcraft, and astrology publishers, all claim a definite increase in business at this time of year – many declaring it to be their busiest time of the year. People who would have nothingto do with these themes the rest of the year use the excuse of Halloween to participate "this one night." 179 85 179 Articles running immediately following Halloween are sure to encourage some of these "one timers" to continue on. One such article, about clairvoyants and modern witches, was entitled "The supernatural doesn't end 178 Reuters, "School Board bans Halloween parties as religious", Oct. 29/97 177 Times-Transcript, "Things that go Bump in the night", Oct. 23/97 Page 86 As Halloween continues to expand in popularity and form, new traditions are sure to emerge – some religious in nature. Baltimore, Maryland, is one area that has seen a local novelty event grow in popularity. While most people used to view a wedding a something sacred, ordained by God, and usually solemnly held in a church. Here, the Halloween Wedding is gainingground... Tita Rutledge, owner of a Baltimore costume shop, says the two weeks surrounding Halloween generate one-third of her store's total annual income. ... Rutledge describes outfits she made for a Halloween wedding last year. The bride wore a red velvet dress reminiscent of Queen Isabella of Spain, and the groom wore matchingdoublet and tights. The father of the bride was festooned in a blue velvet tunic, tights and boots. The bride's mother appeared in a yellow underdress with blue brocade top... A manager at Baltimore's A&M Costume Gallery also cites increased Halloween wedding business, though she describes the typical mode as bride and groom dressed in conventional white while guests are costumed for Halloween. 180 Who knows? In a few years, the way Halloween continues to change, maybe we'll see the Halloween wedding as one of the pseudo-religious traditions of Halloween. Education - As Christians we should be concerned about the unhealthy promotion of Halloween's themes within the public 86 180 Washington Post, "What's Behind Halloween", October 14/98 on Halloween", CNN US News, Nov. 2/96 Page 87 school system. It's an appalling statement on the emphasis of our society, when Christian values and teachings are no longer being allowed in most schools, yet the pagan celebration of Halloween is avidly discussed and promoted. When surveyed, many educators felt more time was spent on Halloween than on Thanksgiving or Christmas - both of which are primarily Christian in practice. One northeastern news report emphasized one school's "whole curriculum" approach to Halloween for grade 6 students... In social studies, the students learned the history of gravestones... They learned about the epitaphs written on the stones, and had a chance to write their own. The children were fascinated to learn the origins of Halloween... In Science, students learned about E.S.P. (Extra Sensory Perception) and the important words, dates and people connected with it. They also have a chance to test their own mind-reading abilities. Listening to, and reading scary stories was the focus in reading, while in math, students learned compass and protractor skills by makinghexsigns... 181 Is this what you would want your children to be learning? Another news report shows how difficult it can be for children, in the public school system, who don't celebrate Halloween. ... a teacher asked (the boy) what he would be for Halloween, (and) he responded that he was not going to participate because he knew that it was an evil holiday. The teacher then asked his mother to squelch those types of comments. 182 87 182 Enterprise, "Singing of Halloween Songs Questioned", October 29/93 181 Middleboro Gazette (MA), "Middle school students enjoy Halloween programs", November 4, 1993 Page 88 One Christian private day care operator chose to not celebrate Halloween at her day cares. In advance she had consulted with the parents and stated that all monies normally spent would be used on other more educational activities — besides if the children wanted to celebrate Halloween at home they could. Virtually all parents supported her decision, yet the media played it as if she was a mean-spirited spoiler of kid's fun. The one family that did withdraw from the daycare was treated as if they were martyrs. Letters to the editor ran for days. 183 More than ever, parents need to take a stand for what is right and make a difference for good in their children's education. Selling a new holiday: The North American cultural phenomena known as Halloween is now being exported to other nations. While certain segments of the population may have celebrated a holiday at this time of year (i.e. Witches, Satanists, etc.), as such Halloween was not even on the calendar. Take France 184 for example... ... that didn't stop transplanted Americans, Canadians and Britons from importing it — much to the horror of the French... ... the excitement and lust for candy is strong enough to drive some to the darkened houses of French neighbors — creatinga cross-cultural comedy that plays out every year: Trick? One woman confided that she feared for her rose bushes... Treat? Desperate to end an awkward encounter, a flustered Frenchman said he once tossed a small but 88 184 France, as part of Gaul, was one of the lands of the Celts – where our Halloween traditions are supposed to have come from. How's this for a twist? 183 The Daily Gleaner, October 23/96, etc. Page 89 expensive tin of foie gras into the bag of an equally bewildered American child. ... "It's grotesque," said Bernard Ewenczyk, a Paris businessman. "To knock on the door dressed like that is very strange. It's completely against our culture." 185 That was 1995. Fast-forward three short years and things are completely different... The French have taken up Halloween with great enthusiasm, filling shop windows with ghoulish masks and broomsticks, and turningtheir nightclubs into haunted houses. ... Instead of dressing up as movie characters or real-life celebrities, people in France stick to the basics, like witches and goblins. A few years ago, Halloween was still exotic here... This year, Halloween came fully into the daylight. In bakeries and stores all over Paris, counters have been covered with pumpkins, silky spider webs and ghosts, and children's clothingstores have been full of paraphernalia. "It's another import from America, another excuse to buy things," said Louise Delcher... One Parisian newspaper reported that the Halloween market in France increased from $1.8 million last year to $18 million this year. 186 Halloween, as practiced in North America, is truly a new Holiday – one shaped by many old traditions and modern practices. It's an unholy legacy that will be left for, and shaped by, generations to come. 89 186 AP Europe, "Parisians Hoot Up French Halloween", October 31/98 185 Times-Transcript & Bangor Daily News (ME) – same AP article with some exclusions – "Foreign trick-or-treaters horrify French", Oct. 31/95 Page 90 Other Traditions and Superstitions: Black Cats are considered by witches and Satanists to be an animal in which a "familiar spirit", or demon helper, can live. Ancient tradition holds that along with using broomsticks for flying (levitation), that on Halloween, the spirit in the black cat can transform it into a black horse as another means of transportation. Another tradition, from medieval Europe, held that black cats were witches in disguise. These cats were then burned on Halloween - even after other sacrifices had been outlawed. Jack-O'-Lantern - The traditional European "jack-o'-lantern" was usually a carved out large turnip or beet – now our North American pumpkin with a face. But perhaps that's beginning to change again... Toni DeWitt and her four children did their plucking in a pumpkin patch, and used modern-day magic to conjure up a vampire, a skull, a cat and a ghost for Halloween. Gone are the days when an old-fashioned jack-o'-lantern on the porch stared back with triangle eyes, triangle nose and a few crooked teeth. The children used templates from a $2.99 (US) kit to punch the designs onto the pumpkins, and Mrs. DeWitt used tiny saws to connect the dots, creatingtheir fanciful gourds. ... Since 1986, Pumpkin Masters has sold more than 10 million kits consisting of patterns, miniature saws and other paraphernalia like scoops for the pumpkin's innards... 187 The best known legend (Irish) concerning the "jack-o'-lantern" says it was named after a notorious man - Jack - who was well known for his insobriety. Jack entered into a pact with the devil, 90 187 CNN, "Pumpkin paraphernalia raises carving to new levels", Oct. 30/97 Page 91 which Jack subsequently broke by tricking him. In due time the man died and was turned away from heaven. Due to his trickery, the devil also turned him away from hell. As Jack started to leave, consigned to wander the earth as a spirit forever, the devil threw him a live coal from the fires of hell; which Jack is said to have placed in a carved out turnip to light his way. This myth helps perpetuate many modern spiritual misconceptions. Foremost is the belief that the devil rules over hell as God rules over heaven, and that Satan has some say into who will go there. Luke 12:5, and many other passages, make it clear that God alone judges and casts into hell. Werewolf - The concept of a man turning into an animal was possibly derived from the Biblical record of God's punishment on Nebuchadnezzar 188 . Today's werewolves are always portrayed as beingdemonically transformed – embodying evil. Some witches and Satanists believe that they can transform themselves into animal-beings by utilizing the powers of pagan gods or nature (demons). Such concepts were widely held of all witches during the middle ages in Europe. Ghosts/Haunted Houses - Disembodied spirits. All based on the idea that a man's soul can roam the earth for one purpose or another. The Bible is clear that when you die, you are either in Heaven or Hell. This leaves only demons to be doing the haunting. The contacting of, or communication with, these spiritual entities is expressly forbidden by God 189 . Flying on Broomsticks - Levitation is the belief that an individual can fly, or use an object to fly, from supernatural causes. Satanists and witches who adhere to this practice believe that spirit beings (demons) actually provide the power for 91 189 See 1 Samuel 28:6-20, Leviticus 19:31 188 See 2 Kings Chapters 24 & 25 Page 92 this feat. The broomstick also has a phallic or sexual connotation for pagan traditions who believe in sexual magic. Bobbing for Apples - This was derived from ancient practices of divining the future. The one who successfully caught an apple between his teeth, was supposed to be able to count on having a romance with the lover of his choice 190 . The ancient Roman celebration to their goddess Pomona included giving apples to gods - for she was said to be the Goddess of Fruits. The witches are proud of this heritage... Folk tradition tell us of many diviningpractices associated with Samhain. Among the most common were divinations dealing with marriage, weather, and the coming fortunes for the year. These were performed via such methods as duckingfor apples, and apple peeling. 191 As pagan ritual merged into later celebrations, "apple bobbing" in Wales and "Apple Night" in Ireland (where the apples are tied on strings to try and bite) were just two of the resultant variations. In Scotland many methods were employed to divine the future concerningrelationships... A boy and girl burned nuts together in a fire - if they burned quietly they would be happily married. Others pulled kale or cabbage to see if the dirt stuck to the roots - if it did the future mate would be wealthy. The condition of the stalk and taste supposedly divulged such things as the physical stature and temperament of the future spouse. Back to the apple, a youngwoman took an apple, a candle, a knife, and a mirror into a dark room. She cut the apple into nine pieces, ate eight of them, speared the ninth on her knife and held it over her shoulder. Her future husband would come in apparition to take the apple. 92 191 The Origins of Halloween, by Rowan Moonstone, 1998 – a practicing witch. 190 An alternate concept said the person would have good luck. Page 93 His face would be mirrored in the glass beside hers. Again, all forms of diviningthe future are contrary to the Bible. Ouija Boards & Seances - Two of the most popular "scare" activities for young people at parties. Both serve the same purpose of attempting to summon spirits to gain insight into past, present, or future events. Many new interactive "games" and "toys" are being produced utilizing the same concepts of spirit divination. As practices expressly forbidden by God 192 they are extremely dangerous as they open individuals up to contact and communication with demonic entities. Selling Fear - 'Tis the season for fright, and there's no better time than Halloween – so the news article went 193 . They were right on the mark. Fear is the number one word that characterizes all of Halloween. George Bubenik, an endocrinologist and professor, has a reason for the ever increasingdemand for fright. Bubenik believes fear and scary things – like horror movies, ghost stories, and haunted houses – can be addictive. The emotions result in the body gettingflooded with hormones that have a similar effect on the brain as the feel-good drugopium. Poof. A natural high... But be warned. "The stronger the fear, the more endorphins are released, and thrill seekers may need more and more of this stimulation," says Bubenik. 194 Theme parks, which tap into a bit of this chemical euphoria year round, go for the bigticket near Halloween. 93 194 The Chronicle Herald (NS), "Getting high on horror", October 31/98 193 CNN, "Things that go bump in your head", October 28, 1995 192 See Leviticus 19:31 Page 94 Come late October, more and more arenas and theme parks are tapping into the Halloween spirit. "The Halloween industry has gone through the roof right across the country and coinciding with that the haunted attractions industry has gone through the roof," said Lyton V. Harris, executive producer of Madison Scare Garden. Universal Studios in Florida has spared no expense in bringingto life "Halloween Horror Nights." The Orlando "Scream Park" features creatures like goblins and other spine-chilling attractions. Six Flags offers a Fright Fest, "such as a river of blood, zombie graveyard and hay ride of horror. 195 Fear has perhaps the oldest roots of all the elements of Halloween. This is due to the fact that all godless fear comes from Satan — and the Devil has been in the business of promoting fear for a long time. Those who trust in God live by faith and faith eliminates fear 196 . In contrast to Satan and his tactics, God is the author of peace, 2 Timothy 1:7 says, "For God has not given us the spirit of fear; but of power, and of love, and of a sound mind." Christian Response Each individual has to consider the whole celebration of Halloween, based on their own Christian values. The promotion of fear, as it's primary theme, clearly shows Halloween's origin and driving force. Some will say that we're being a bit extreme for speaking out against Halloween ("It's just harmless fun"). I have no doubt that to many it is fun... the Bible never said that sin and things promoted by Satan wouldn't be fun. Actually the 94 196 See also 1 John 4:18 195 CNN, "Theme parks get frightful for Halloween", October 25/96 Page 95 Bible speaks of sin as being pleasurable 197 . Suggestingthat their kids only are into the "lighter" aspects of Halloween, others raise objections like, "well they could be doing a lot worse". But remember that all evil, from the least to the worst, is still evil and equally wrong in God's sight. Next comes one of the greatest excuses, "the kids don't dress up as anythingevil, and they're only going out to get some candy". Remember that most people (young and old), who get involved in far worse, had to start somewhere. Usually starting levels look harmless or taste good 198 . Sanctioning any part of Halloween is to give your child the message that the themes, practices and promotion of Halloween are okay (so don't be surprised if they try out any of the other darker parts of Halloween when they're older). The last feeble excuses, that "every one else is doingit" and "I did it while I was young and I grew up okay" are by far the worst. More anti-biblical practices have been promoted through family tradition and peer pressure than any other means. When all is said and done, it doesn't matter if you did something when you were young, and that it appeared to have had no effect. What does matter is what the Bible has to say about it. Truly Halloween is a holiday that Satan has claimed for himself and for evil (shown by the majority of it's themes which testifying to its spiritual source). As Christians, participating in Halloween is to celebrate a holiday that is not honoring to God. While church reformers, of a few centuries ago, wrestled with whether or not to celebrate holidays like Christmas, they would be shocked to see that any Christian would even consider something like Halloween. This Bible passage gets to the heart if the matter... 95 198 Ask the rapist who started with occasional pornographic materials, or the drunk who started with the occasional drink, etc. 197 Read Hebrews 11:25 Page 96 One man considers one day more sacred than another; another man considers every day alike. Each one should be fully convinced in his own mind. He who regards one day as special, does so to the Lord. (Romans 14:5-6a) The only justification we have from Scriptures, to celebrate any holiday, is that it must be done "to the Lord." Halloween in all it's popular forms can't be remotely construed as being "to the Lord." Alternatives: Even as Christian observances (i.e. Christmas and Easter) have superseded the pagan celebrations of the dates on which they were placed, there is no reason why Christians cannot creatively author celebrations that in no way honor Satan. Our celebrations, and all we do, should be glorifying to God 199 . Why should Satan get any credit for our fun? Some ideas that have been tried 200 and work well include churches or groups having a "harvest party" (honoring God as our provider) or something alongthat theme. Others celebrate this day as "Reformation Day" — remembering it as the day that the reformer, Martin Luther, nailed his theses to the church door 201 . If you choose to have a costume party along Biblical themes, be careful to limit what 96 201 Luther's act in Germany on October 31, 1517, was a major event leading to the Protestant Reformation. 200 Things that have been tried, that we (personally) don't necessarily agree with, include: #1. Giving out tracts in place of, or with candy, to Trick-or-Treaters. We felt it was still participating in the overall celebration. #2. "Christian" jack-o'-lanterns – basically the same old thing, except a cross cut in them instead of a face. Mostly an approach of those who still welcome Trick-or-Treaters, we feel that non-Christians view it as just another of the new art available for pumpkins – crosses are so misused these days. (Reported in The Canadian Baptist, September 1995) #3. Christian "Hell Houses". Full of images of death and despair – a funeral for a gay AIDS victim, an abortion operation, a teen's suicide. All graphically acted out. Supposedly to scare people from sin, we feel it's way to close to sensationalizing the acts (not to mention blood and gore). No different than a "Christian" horror house. (CNN US News, October 28/97) 199 The principle of Matthew 22:37 Page 97 characters — the Bible includes many pagan and demonic personalities. Remember, taking pagan practices inside the church no more make them Christian than a person feeling they are a Christian because they go to church. Additional Bible References: The Bible is full of references that show God's Holiness and His requirement for all His children to be separate from the world and to be holy in thought and deed: But as He who called you is holy, you also be holy in all your conduct, because it is written, "Be holy, for I am holy." (1 Peter 1:15-16) Test all things; hold fast to what is good. Abstain from every form of evil. (1 Thessalonians 5:21-22) Thus saith the LORD, Learn not the way of the heathen... (Jeremiah 10:2) 202 Have a GOOD October 31st. "Now the God of peace be with you all. Amen" 203 97 203 Romans 15:33 202 Also read Deuteronomy 18:10-14, Galatians 5:19-21, 2 Corinthians 6:14-17, Colossians 3:15-17, 2 Corinthians 10:3-5, and Matthew 22:37 Page 98 Appendix A — Goths It would take an entire book to fully examine the Goths, their divisions, and practices. 204 Most Goth clubs are based in larger municipalities, where they can draw from a larger pool of aficionados, yet many solitary individuals act the part without large-scale formal interaction. Younger teens, who cannot gain access to clubs, often form their own Goth-type cliques. A lot of loners and kids that feel like they don't fit in at school, or in normal society, are attracted to this scene. The web has made information and trends readily available worldwide. Excerpts from a Boston Globe article provide an insider view of the Goth scene. 205 While the rest of New England prepares for its one night of ghoulish pleasure, there's a group for whom every day is Halloween. Thriving in its embrace of all things dead and dying, Boston's gothic underground is very much alive. Gothic is a world of its own, a communal aesthetic of fashion, music and the arts that shares the same fascination with the macabre as the much-maligned literary genre. Its real-life habitués move through the city streets, drawing stares and snickers for their mortician's pallor and unique garb that mark them as distinctly as uniforms do soldiers. Black is always beautiful on these souls. It is the primary hue of the flowing and fanciful garments that often 98 205 The Boston Globe, "Gothic Scene alive and well", October 28/95 204 Entire Web sites, with hundreds of pages of data, exist for this very purpose. Page 99 accentuate the style -- a wraparound cape, say, or high boots. Black hair dye, eyeliner, lipstick and nail polish tend to seal the look for either gender. There's a sublime thrill in being able to dress up in wickedly fun style at any time, not just at the insistence of a calendar or urging of silly commercials, said Benjamin Palmer, 21. "In Gothic horror story, everything about the whole reality is slightly twisted, slightly darker than you would expect. People in this scene see the darker part of their lives in nearly everythingthey do." ... Three nights each week, the club draws hundreds of goths from throughout the region. At the club, NH college student Shane Ouellette said, "you don't get stigmatized for how you look." ... this club is a haven from a world that often perceives "goths" as freaks and oddballs. They endure the taunts and looks because they say there's a freedom that non-goths will never know, that what's cause for celebration on October 31 is, for them, just as much fun on, say, July 17. They are mostly young and often well read... For the past two years, (A. Dominy) Cusraque, 27, has been overseer of "Hell," a monthly event (at the club) for kindred goth spirits who enjoy role-playing and other adult games. "It's like a carnival," he said. "People walk in and feel instantly at home." ... (Disc jockey, Chris) Ewen, explained: "In Boston, the goth scene has rejuvenated itself over the last two or three years. There have always been waves of it, even back in the late ''70s, but it's strong again." The club is the sanctuary, but the DJ booth is the altar... "I think a lot of people get afraid when they see a bunch of people walking 99 Page 100 around dressed this way," Ewen said, gesturing to the club's main dance floor. Below him, couples move in funeral garb, swaying to music from rock groups with dark visions such as Bauhaus, Sisters of Mercy, Coil, and Death in June. Occasionally. for a flash of nostalgia, Ewen might play a dance track from Ministry, a Chicago band whose song "(Everyday Is) Halloween" became somethingof a gothic anthem: Well I let their teeny minds think That they're dealing with someone who is over the brink And I dress this way just to keep them at bay 'Cause Halloween is everyday. Ten or 15 years ago, most of the people at (the club) might have been regular devotees of the midnight madness of "The Rocky Horror Picture Show," the camp film classic. Androgyny is accepted here as a pleasant change of pace, said Mimi, 31, former director and performer of the live "Rocky Horror" show in Harvard Square. "It's very forthright." ... When modern society promotes all these mystic themes as fun and harmless (and not only at Halloween) we shouldn't be surprised that people are answering the advertisements. Goth followers are visible children of the one "who (once) had the power of death." 206 Their actions and attire closely imitates their spiritual father, the devil, and his fascination with death — in contrast to the real life that is found only in Jesus Christ. Do you not know that to whom you present yourselves slaves to obey, you are that one's slaves whom you obey, whether of sin leadingto death, or of obedience leading to righteousness? (Romans 6:16) 100 206 Hebrews 2:14 Page 101 Appendix B — Popular History of Halloween (News) Quoting a source of The Halloween Book, the following brief account of Halloween's history has been published in a number of Canadian newspapers. History of Halloween 207 About 2,000 years ago, the Celts, who lived in Great Britain and Ireland, celebrated a holiday they called Samhain, named after the god of death. They believed that every year on the last day of October, when the harvest season had ended and the days were getting shorter and colder, the god Samhain allowed the souls of the dead to visit the homes they once lived in. On that one night, the Celts gathered in a field and built a bonfire to scare away all the evil spirits and ghosts, goblins or other demons that might be roaming about. this was the ancestor of our Halloween. When the Romans conquered the Celts in the first century A.D., they added parts of two of their festivals: Feralia, held to honor the dead, and Poloma (sic), named after the Roman goddess of fruit and trees. The Celt religion was eventually replaced by Christianity, and sometime around 800 A.D., the Christian church declared Nov. 1 as All Saints' Day to honor all the saints who didn't have a special day of their own. People made their old customs from Samhain and the Roman festivals part of the new All Saints' Day rituals. The church also 101 207 Distributed by the Canadian press, it has remained unchanged for many years. Copies in my possession include: Times-Transcript, Oct. 29/30, 1994 and Times-Transcript, Oct. 26-27, 1996. Page 102 made Nov. 2 All Souls' Day to honor the dead. The mass said on All Saints' Day was known as Allhallowmas. The evening before, Oct. 31, became known as All Hallow Even. Over time this was shortened to Halloween. The Celtic and English tradition of knockingon doors and askingfor charity spread and developed into what we now know as trick-or-treating. Halloween got started in North America in the 1800's, when a lot of immigrants arrived from Ireland, Scotland and England. 102 Page 103 Appendix C — Fantasy Role Playing Clubs Fantasy role playing has taken on a new aspect. Unlike earlier versions, which still enjoy a widespread popularity, this form has moved beyond the kitchen table. While they now exist under a number of names 208 , the original in this genre is The Camarilla TM . Their own published description is as follows... The Camarilla, A Vampire Fan Association, is a Gothic-Horror Fan Association of the world created in Vampire: The Masquerade and Werewolf: The Apocalypse, both published by White Wolf Game Studios. (Emphasis theirs) 209 They have called themselves a Live Action Role Play (LARP). The following account of the fantasy world where their games exist is quite revealing. The world our characters inhabit is dark, gothic, mysterious, and full of hidden horrors and the unknown. It is not a world we see around us but one more threatening and alluring. White Wolf material names and describes this world as the World of Darkness. It is a world were magic still exists, where powers beyond the mundane and unknown to human kind dwell... 210 103 210 Info On The Camarilla, WWW, November 5/97 209 Materials from the Blackened Hearth, the Atlanta Camarilla Chapter, WWW, November 5/97 – This chapter began on July 12, 1997. The Camarilla is based in Salt Lake City, UT, USA – it was founded in 1992. 208 A local one is called "Nero". Page 104 Camarilla now claims to operate in ten countries and on five continents. Excerpts from an article in Swing Magazine 211 , entitled Necking in the '90s: The new 20-somethingsocial scene, provide an overview of the game. A new breed of vampires has invaded over 100 US cites (and an unknown number in Canada). Is it more than just a game?... Part Goth-club and part geek-fest, Camarilla is the latest incarnation of the Dungeon & Dragons-style fantasy role-playinggame, where players create characters using a complex system of rules, and then act out scenarios with one another as each works toward a personal quest. Traditionally, this was all done with dice and number crunching, almost exclusively by nerds. The main skill was creating a strong "character sheet" -- the list of numbers defining one's strengths and weaknesses that is used by the "storyteller" (or Dungeon Master), the game's referee, to determine the outcome of conflicts. Characters can succeed at their quests or die trying, but no one really wins or loses -- the story just goes on. The object of the game is to make it all as excitingas possible. But Dungeon & Dragons took place around a table. Players simply spoke about what they were doing: "I walk up to Lord Julius and plant my feet firmly in front of him." In Camarilla, this is all acted out -- sometimes with very real results. ... (Camarilla is) perhaps the most bizarre expression of the current vampire craze, bookended by Anne Rice on one side and the AIDS crisis on the other, the game is one of the fastest growing alternative social scenes since the rave, spurred on by the growth of the Internet and the 104 211 Swing Magazine, April 1995 Page 105 popularity of Goth-clubs and drawing participants from groups as diverse as Deadheads, computer nerds, theater jocks, high-school students, trust-fund kids, (and) gay cliques. ... From the surface, this looks more like a Goth-club than a fantasy game. Small clusters of over-dressed vampires lurk in every corner, smirking, arguing, whispering, or simply observing the others. It's fun-house theater with no audience — a kind of livinghaunted house. ... Whereas at a gathering of D&D, the geeks would get to talk about kissing girls or having sex, at the Elysium (Camarilla gathering) everything is acted out in glorious flesh and blood. ... (One player explains,) "It's one of the things we get off on in the game. The heightened eroticism." ... (Player alias) Julius' knowledge of the occult and skill at crowd manipulation often give him the upper hand in forgingalliances and instillingfear. While this article reflects the realism with which everything is played out, it only hints at the magnitude of the supernatural elements within. The Bible answers all fantasy role playing games in one verse. The night is nearly over; the day is almost here. So let us put aside the deeds of darkness and put on the armor of light. Let us behave decently, as in the daytime, not in orgies and drunkenness, not in sexual immorality and debauchery, not in dissension and jealousy. Rather, clothe yourselves with the Lord Jesus Christ, and do not think about how to gratify the desires of the sinful nature. (Romans 13:12-14) 105 Page 106 Appendix D — Comics Younger children almost always begin the slide to D&D, Goth or Camarilla type fantasy with the so-called innocent medium of comic books. Comic books are to younger readers what often horror and goth novels are to older teens and adults. This is not to say that only young children are reading today's comic books. An increasing number of titles are now being produced annually for more "mature" readers — but the easy accessibility and relatively lower cost of this medium provide younger viewers with a readily assessable supply of these marketed fantasies. Comic books provide the information, themes and images needed to create a private fantasy world. No matter how graphic novels are in text (and some are very graphic), ultimately the imagination is required to provide the visual images. Modern comic books assure a uniform visual image, with nothingleft out. If it's been years since you've scanned the host of comics at your local corner store, the following summary of a few titles will provide a brief overview. Marvel Comics is the home of numerous titles and characters including the Silver Surfer (a super powered superhero) and Warlock (a cosmic sorcerer 212 ). In the episode entitled Resurrection: For the Soul of ShallaBal the story line has Warlock and the others fighting with the devil, in person, for the soul of one he has captured. Warlock and his magic (of course) overcomes the devil. Lines include such fantasy classics as, "As longas life goes on there are no happy endings." This one issue includes 10 full page ads for Dungeon & Dragons (TSR) products including The New Easy to Master Dungeons & Dragons Game, The Advanced D&D Tome of Magic, Dragon Lance, Dark Sun, Forgotten Realms (manual and novels), The Interactive 106 212 Warlock is also the feature character in The Infinity Crusade and The Warlock Chronicles. Page 107 Multimedia Dragon Strike Game and more. After a few more pages of Marvel Comic ads (so you can buy more of the like), you are left with only 23 actual story pages of mysticism and mayhem. Just another average comic book. Marvel Comics' The Infinity Crusade (featuring a host of super heroes, mutants & magic users) begins on the first page with a New Age goddess surrounded by religious symbols including a cross. Her words are "Greet the second coming, the dawn of the goddess! From this temple we will cleanse the spirit of the universe, my chosen ones! The sins of the past will be purged, and once again the supreme one will smile on this reality. My children prepare yourself for enlightenment!" Throughout The Infinity Crusade mini-series Biblical parallels are repeatedly associated with this New Age goddess — spiritual themes are very common amongmost titles. Magic is always presented as a desired spiritual power. One Warlock Infinity Watch comic had Adam Warlock (the sorcerer) crucified on an Egyptian mystic cross (the ankh). Portraying him as then rising from the dead three days later, he proclaims these final words "And so with my good works complete... I returned to the stars. Ego assured me that all would now be well... I was a fool". The thinly veiled mockingof Jesus Christ is quite evident. Other titles include: Dr. Strange - Sorcerer Supreme, X-men, Ghost Rider, Horror novelist Clive Barker's three comic endeavors; Saint Sinner, EctoKid and Hokum & Hex, Samuree: Mistress of the Martial Arts 213 , Morbius: The Living Vampire, The Wedding of Dracula: Blood Rites, The Scarlet Witch, Urth4 -- Elementals vs. Machines 214 , and don't forget Dragon Strike by D&D's parent company TSR — "Quest with me then! To this den of evil where we will find Teraptus and drive a stake through his heart!" 107 214 The elementals are used in the casting of spells, see witchcraft. 213 One episode is titled "Kill the child and you can save the whole world" Page 108 Excerpts from a news article help to illustrate the growing influence of these comic books. When comic book giant Stan Lee first put pen to paper and created the X-men in the early 1960s, he had no idea that the adventures of mutant super-heroes would become a cult classic. Now Marvel Comics' the X-Men have surged again, with U.S. sales of about 50 million copies a year and two million in Canada. The X-Men have turned into big business for Marvel, with some 16 comic titles (Generation X is the latest), licensed products including dolls, trading cards, video games, an animated TV show and a Hollywood movie in the works. (Beyond adolescents and pre-teens,) the X-Men are also big with the nursery school set and elementary school children, thanks to the popular TV show on the Fox network. For children, these dark, powerful anti-heroes strike a compelling and vivid chord. Fantasy play and power are big issues for eight to 10 year-old children says Joseph Byrne, a child psychologist at Izaak Walton Killam Children's Hospital in Halifax 215 . Stories about superheroes essentially help children deal will all kinds of internal struggles, says Dr. Norman Doidge, head of psychotherapy at Toronto's Clarke Institute of Psychiatry. "Children are drawn to them with gusto because they deal with the facts of life, many frightening... also they deal with the fact of death, and children's sense that only god-like superpowers might save them or those they love from finality." 108 215 Located in Nova Scotia, Canada Page 109 For parents who worry about the impact on their children of the X-Men's dark, violent nature, Doidge points out that it's because children are aware of "their relative powerlessness" that they focus on aggression. That aggression can be used for both good and bad, and children have to learn to master that, he says. 216 Remember that a parent's scriptural mandate is to "train up a child in the way he should go, and when he is old he will not depart from it." 217 This stands in complete contrast to society's fantasy that we can expose children to all these things and hope they can determine the way they should go as they grow-up." Since most of these titles are now available at corner and grocery stores, children don't have to look hard to find them. Once they have gained an interest, the next step is often the local comic shop — where hundreds of additional titles and back issues await. The vast majority of comic shops across North America are also the same shops carrying specialized Fantasy Role Playing games and accessories. 109 217 Proverbs 22:6 216 Times-Transcript, "Comics are helping children to adapt", October 7/95 Page 110 Appendix E — Dungeons & Dragons TM Children and young teens comprise the majority of D&D players. Many were introduced to it by comic books, reruns of the television cartoon by the same name, or even movies. 218 As far back as 1980, Geoffrey Smith in Forbes cited 10 to 14 year-olds as 46% of games sold and ages 15 to 17 accounting for a further 26%. While the trend towards younger players continues, it's often those who have played it longer that become the most intensely involved. The multitude of spin-offs, competing products, and more advanced versions, testify to the money-makingpotential of these "games". This material is being promoted through unlikely sources. Due to the memorization and calculation employed in these fantasy role playing games (FRPs), some schools have authorized or promoted their use for advanced students. Although D&D is played in the mind – with the roles and action left mostly to the imagination – a flood of guide books and manuals try and guarantee that certain elements always remain. Why? As an official Dungeon Masters Guide, by creator Gary Gygax, informs us... If Advanced Dungeons & Dragons is to survive and grow, it must have some degree of uniformity, a familiarity of method and procedure from campaign to campaign within the whole. 219 Gygax continues on to tell Dungeon Masters that though they create their respective worlds and reality, they are bound by the "set of boundaries for all the 'worlds'" as defined by him. This 110 219 Official Advanced Dungeons & Dragons Dungeon Masters Guide, by Gary Gygax, 1979 – Preface 218 One such movie is The Dungeonmaster (1983) Page 111 assures that torture, dismemberment, murder, mysticism, dualistic white and black magic, twisted values of "good" thieves and assassins, and even "evil" clerics, will remain the norm. Every "good" Advanced Dungeon & Dragons player can rest assured that their learned "Magic spells will function in a certain manner regardless of which world the player is functioning in. Magic devices will certainly vary, but their principles will be similar." 220 Magic is a virtual necessity of these games. With good, evil, and neutral players all capable of drawing upon the same energy and spells – authenticity is desired. New Spells might pose a small problem, as it will require some study on your part, but most of the burden can be shifted to the player. When desire to research a new spell is stated, inform the player that his or her character must carefully draft the details of the spell, i.e., you must have a typed copy of the spell in the same format as used in the Players Handbook. Only when this is in your hands should you consider the power of the spell... Once you have the details of the spell, compare and contrast it with and to existing spells in order to determine its level and any modifications and additions you find necessary in order to have it conform to 'known' magic principles." 221 It's this research that has led numerous players into occultic materials and practice. As for the spells, players are encouraged to memorize all utilized incantations as they must be recited upon use. Whether themes of rebellion, or the blatant practice and 111 221 Official Advanced Dungeons & Dragons Dungeon Masters Guide, by Gary Gygax, 1979 – Page 115 220 Official Advanced Dungeons & Dragons Dungeon Masters Guide, by Gary Gygax, 1979 – Preface Page 112 imitation of witchcraft, FRPs like these are clearly leadingpeople the wrongway. 222 When God created man he wanted us to imitate Him. From the Old to the New Testament, God tells us to "be holy, because I am holy." 223 This is the highest role God has for man to play in life. But our Creator didn't stop with telling us to imitate Him. God directed the apostle Paul to tell his readers to imitate him; as he imitated Christ 224 . In Hebrews we are instructed to "imitate those who through faith and patience inherit what has been promised." 225 To further point out our need to imitate these men and women of faith, we are told to "Consider the outcome of their way of life and imitate their faith." 226 Elsewhere God even implies that we imitate some of His animal creations, like the ant. 227 With God ordaining this type of role playing for our betterment — and knowing that we need to study, learn and research the roles we are to play — He not surprisingly left us guidelines. Our highest form of study is to mediate on God's Word "day and night, so that (we) may be careful to do everything written in it." 228 In a broader sense, we are told to restrict our study to "whatever is true, whatever is noble, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is admirable – if anything is excellent or praiseworthy – think about such things." 229 We can have an open mind but not an empty mind. These truths are the basis of God's ordained role playingand they give us the standard by which to test all roles we seek in life. 112 229 Philippians 4:8 228 Joshua 1:8 227 Proverbs 6:6 226 Hebrews 13:7 225 Hebrews 6:12 224 1 Corinthians 4:16; 11:1, Philippians 3:17; 4:9 223 Leviticus 11:44-45, 1 Peter 1:16 222 "For rebellion is as the sin of witchcraft..." (1 Samuel 15:23) Page 113 Appendix F — Magic TM , The Game A card game. Collect the cards, play the game. The more cards you have, potentially the better your game. Some cards are rare enough they are considered an investment; like collecting old baseball cards. Yet these are anything but sports cards — unless you consider destruction, death, magic, and mayhem to be a sport. The game is called Magic: The Gathering (M:TG). A Seattle-based company called Wizards of the Coast Inc. virtually created the concept of collectible card games. Since 1993, the company has internationally sold more than two billion M:TG cards in eight different languages – with more scheduled to follow. The privately owned company has made creator Richard Garfield a millionaire many times over. This game has become extremely popular. Judging from the requests made for information by youth workers and pastors, it also appears to have gained extensive popularity among church goingteens. As with any popular item, there are competitors and take-offs all clamoringfor a piece of the success. With names like Vampire: The Eternal Struggle and Vampire: Dark Sovereigns, it's easy to see that the same concepts of mysticism and magic are likewise integral. For the purpose of this examination we will focus primarily on the original. Like it's ancestor and close relative Dungeons & Dragons, M:TG incorporates random elements and strategy. To understand the game some background is necessary. If the following detailed description seems elaborate and potentially confusing, welcome to the world of fantasy role playing games. As players of most forms of FRP's will tell you... "It's not that hard once you've played it a few times." First a general overview of the decks: The full colored, illustrated, cards are divided into two basic types: lands and spells. The lands cards are swamp, forest, mountain, plains and islands. By using – called tapping – a land, a player 113 Page 114 gets a point of "manna" which can be spent to cast a "spell" card of the corresponding color. Swamps provide black manna, forests green, mountains red, plains white, and islands blue. Each spell color has a certain primary characteristic as well. Black cards are good anti-creature cards, green contains lots of natural creatures but few direct damage cards. Red has mystical creatures and features like dragons and fireballs for direct damage. Blue distorts or alters other kinds of magic but has few creatures or direct damage spells. White is mostly for protection or healing. The more powerful the spell the more manna is needed to cast it. Additionally there are artifact cards requiring no specific manna color and legend cards, which are extremely powerful, requiring multiple manna colors. The order in which the cards are played may be completely random or "tuned" using specifically selected cards. Each player has 20 life points. The goal of the game is to eliminate the other's life points (i.e. the loser dies). Unlike prolonged and ongoing D&D games, Magic games may last only 15 to 30 minutes. Some prefer big decks of 100 to 120 cards, while others smaller and faster decks of 60 to 80 cards. The game's portability and popularity mean an opponent is never hard to find and it's easy to strike up a game anywhere. Starter decks are approximately $12 (Canadian). Numerous expansion decks are now available and one can't forget the numerous specialty add-on cards, like the extremely rare Black Lotus which now sells for up to $250 (US). Other cards sell for $20 to $50 each. While researching this article, we purchased a card together with it's accompanying comic book on clearance at Kay-Bee toys for 47¢ (regularly $1.50 US). Fancier hard cover comics, which feature digitally merged cartoon drawings and realistic images, plus (don't forget) the card, sell for almost $9 (Canadian). 114 Page 115 Local tournaments are regularly posted. The tournament allows you to try your deck against many others. Past tournaments that we've heard about include; an eighty persons gathering at the University of New Brunswick, and one that makes that look like peanuts – a $200,000 world tournament in Seattle. The world tournament featured players from 28 countries with a 1st place prize of $26,000 (US). A burgeoning support industry includes numerous magazines, a promised computer version, and the ultimate world-wide promotional tool — internet web sites. Things only appear to be growing. A 1996 Pro Tour, sponsored by MCI Telecommunications, was to award more than $1 million in prize money and scholarships at various events. So what's the problem with this game? Carrie Thearle, a company spokesperson, insists that the game avoids most of the concerns about Satanic or demonic influence that have been attached to other role-playing games like D&D. 230 "We've heard things here and there," said Ms. Thearle, about such controversies. "Most comments are short lived." While noting that this game enjoys popularity among many young players, and also acknowledging that there may be a few scary looking dark cards, she downplays stories of schools banning this game. She relegates these accounts to all being schools and parents just trying to get their kids to do their homework. So is this true? How about the name Magic? We didn't set out to find the worst, or the best, in this game — merely to sample it from a number of perspectives. Here's what we found. The expensive comic book and card we picked up was entitled Fallen Angel: A Magic Legend. The enclosed card, also entitled Fallen Angel, with an action sub-title of Summon Angel, states "Sacrifice a creature to give Fallen Angel +2/+1 (power) until end of turn." The comic book makes sure the player is 115 230 Published Interview August 31, 1996 Page 116 aware that this fallen Angel was only unwittingly tricked into falling and is capable of being restored to it's original demi-god status. All fallen angels are graphically shown to require regular blood sacrifices. Angels, fallen or otherwise, are shown to be summoned by people with the proper spells and incantations. Speaking of graphic, this comic is filled with images of blood, swords (including two close-up portrayals of bloody swords pierced through torsos), skulls, magic spells, and the standard fare of many modern comics. 231 The cheaper comic, we picked up, happened to be issue #1, Ice Age On the World of Magic: The Gathering. It's supporting card was called Bone Shaman with an ascribed action of Summon Giant. This evil looking creature is portrayed on the card holdinga human skull. The comic featured much of the same fare... Death, spells, and summoning demonic creatures as primary themes. The themes we have talked about thus far are not just incidental or occasional imagery within Magic – they are the heart and soul of this game. Without the mystic elements the game could not operate. Perhaps company spokesperson Carrie Thearle has never read the game description provided by Assistant Editor, Jeof Vita, in issue #1... "Players who favor manipulative and deceptive game play can use blue magic to frustrate opponents... The black magic, a popular choice, is the magic of death and decay – not for the squeamish!" Elsewhere Vita clearly stated, "The game itself is a duel between two players who represent the most powerful magicians on the fantastic world of Dominara. Both players are Planeswalkers (mast magicians) who take turns castingspells that will both defend their ground and defeat their opponent." 116 231 Females of disbelieving proportions, in scantily clad attire, seem to be consistently used as enticement for boys (who are a majority of the readers). Page 117 Some of these card spells even have prescribed literal actions (we would hope, delineated from fantasy actions like "sacrifice a creature" as previously mentioned). The Chaos Orb card, a "mono artifact" tells the user to "Flip Chaos Orb onto the playing area from a height of at least one foot. Chaos Orb must turn completely over at least once or it is discarded with no effect. When Chaos Orb lands, any cards in play that it touches are destroyed, as is the Chaos Orb ." When examined in it's entirety, this card game is no more than a new packagingfor the exact same themes as utilized within D&D and other fantasy role-playing games. Where FRPs were played almost exclusively as mind games, M:TG has followed the style of more recent incarnations to become a more visual game. The pictures and descriptions on the cards, combined with comics and support magazines 232 , leave little or nothingto the imagination. It takes little Bible knowledge to understand there is everything wrongwith a game whose core themes and imagery focus on... Power & Manipulation Spells, Magic, Sorcery SummoningSpirits Maiming& Killing Death & Destruction Sexual Imagery "Good" versus "Evil" magic. When any individual's fascination, focus, and fun, are based on these things, the result has to be harmful. Once again, the door these topics open is one that may lead many into the world of occultic dabblingand experimentation. 233 117