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10 creepy rituals we once used to celebrate Halloween

By our best guesses, Halloween may be older than Christianity. In those days, it was a Celtic pagan festival called “Samhain,” a time when the barriers between the land of the living and the dead blurred.

The text on this list is from listverse.com. Read the full article at listverse.com.

The Ritualistic Murder Of Kings

#10 - The ritualistic murder of kings

In the bogs of Ireland, dead bodies have been found, still perfectly preserved. Their skin is covered in a thick layer of black peat that has kept the flesh from decomposing. The faces they wore in life are the same today, hundreds of years after their death, and even the hairs on their heads are still intact.

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#9 - The rise of the dead

On Samhain, it was believed that the doors holding in the world of the dead would open. Dead loved ones would wander out into the world of the living, often trying to make their way back to their homes.

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#8 - Fortune-telling

During Samhain, people would call upon spirits to tell the future. There were some strange rituals performed during the holiday, meant to let people know if prosperity or misfortune awaited them, most of which were described as “spells.”

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#7 - Fairies kidnapped people

During Samhain, fairies would leave their homes and roam the world of the mortals. That might sound like a magical moment, but these fairies weren’t Tinkerbells. They were horrific monsters, and this was one of the most terrifying parts of the holiday.

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#6 - The creatures of the cave of cats

The most dangerous place of all during Samhain was Oweynagat, the Cave of the Cats. This was a narrow hole dug into a hillside. According to legends, the Fairy Queen had stopped there centuries before, and her maidservant had been so taken with the place that she asked to live there. Since then, the place had been overrun with malevolent spirits.

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#5 - People drank heavily

A major part of Samhain was getting as drunk as humanly possible. Samhain marked the last great harvest before winter, and grain would be taken in en mass before it was ruined by the frost. The people, as a result, would have a huge surplus of alcohol, and since refrigeration didn’t exist yet, they either had to use it or waste it.

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#4 - The black sow

Fire was a major part of the festival. People around the country would light fires in their homes during Samhain, but the details of this ritual varied from place to place and in some areas involved some dangerous and dark customs.

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3 - People dressed up as the dead

Costumes were a part of Samhain, just like modern Halloween. In those days, though, nobody dressed up as a superhero—they dressed as the dead. People would paint their faces black and put on disguises made out of straw, believing the clothes would make the spirits who roamed the earth believe they were one of them.

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#2 - People cross-dressed

It wasn’t just the line between living and dead that blurred. Somewhere along the line, people started using Samhain to blur the lines between genders, too. Samhain, and later Halloween, were celebrated with men in drag wandering the streets.

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#1 - Child sacrifice

In the earliest of days, Samhain may have been a time of child sacrifice. Irish legends talk about a time when gods demanded sacrifice during the festival. One legend says that the people had to give up two-thirds of everything they owned at the beginning of winter, including their corn, their milk, and their children.

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Photo credit: Joseph Christian Leyendecker

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