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There’s more to Halloween than just candy corn

Posted on October 29, 2014 by Sunny South News

Spooky stories told by candle or fire light, small miniature chocolate bars and traditional molasses kisses soothing a sweet tooth, dressing up in sinister looking costumes to go door-to-door to shout “trick or treat” — this is Halloween. On Oct. 31 — ghouls, goblins, witches, vampires and zombies take to the streets, while others sit at home watching horror movies or TV shows to celebrate all things that go bump in the night.

Monsters, paranormal happenings and unexplained phenomena attract our undivided attention — except for when we close our eyes or look away at the scary parts. Kids and adults of all ages make the pilgrimage to haunted houses, freaky dungeons of doom and powerful vortexes for a scare. Speaking of haunted houses, Stirling’s Haunted Mansion is a frightful feast for the senses (Check out the story about the Haunted Mansion in this week’s issue). The Galt Museum in Lethbridge has a sold-out flashlight cemetery tour each fall and in Columbia Falls, Montana there’s an eerie but fascinating vortex. Over the summer I visited the Montana Vortex with my family. This was the second time I visited the natural but unknown wonder and as one family member said, “It was very interesting and informative” and the Vortex sort of explains how energy affects us and our surroundings with the strong magnetic fields in the mountains of Montana. Children of various ages said they enjoyed the crooked house that sits in the middle of the forest — with weird, cool and awesome powers. It truly is a place to visit with the whole family, leaving you with more questions than answers, which is a hoot at anytime of the year. Why are we attracted to the unknown, the paranormal and the things we fear most? It’s almost psychotic, our sick and depraved addiction to monsters and mayhem. Well, at least, those of us who are into the horror genre and like our fear to be prodded from time to time. Studies have been exhaustively completed on violence in video games and in film and TV but isn’t it dependent on the individual playing a violent video game or watching something on the TV or on the big screen. Just because he/she watches “The Walking Dead” doesn’t mean they’re going to hit the streets and eat people’s brains or maybe he/she will, if they turn into a zombie one fateful night.

Jumping in your seat and spilling your popcorn when the killer comes out from behind the drapes with his big machete and goalie mask gets the blood flowing. At least when you are a passive viewer, your blood won’t splatter like the victim’s all over her silk teddy and on the floor. We tend to enjoy, if that’s the right word, the evil-looking monster lurking in the shadows when it’s on the silver screen or on the boob tube but it would be a different story if we stumbled upon the monster on the way home from work one late, cold and dark night.

We are voyeurs — peeking safely through the window at what’s going on in someone else’s room — or a show or movie in front of us, without the consequences. Michael Myers from “Halloween,” Jason from “Friday the 13th,” Freddie from “A Nightmare on Elm Street,” Leatherface from “Texas Chainsaw Massacre” or the bogeyman, monster in the closet or the fear of ghosts and alien invasions — these are the basis of many of our fears. Orson Welles delivered “War of the Worlds” to a terrified nation on the radio, Alice Cooper welcomed fans to his nightmares and continues to this day, Vincent Price made us cringe with his sinister laugh, Bela Lugosi summoned his creatures of the night, Dr. Frankenstein madly exclaimed “It’s alive,” the Wolfman howled at a full moon, a creature crawled out from the black lagoon, a mummy unravelled from his tomb, and George W. Bush was president of the United States, twice.

Fear is something many of us crave, especially during the month of October. Many, who are not into being frightened, will wave a holy scripture and shout, “The power of so and so compels you.”

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