Tuesday, 28 October 2014

What is a Ghost?

I find it sad that these days the shops are filled with so many ugly masks and skeletons, must haves for Hallowe’en.  Who now remembers that Hallowe’en means the evening before All Saints day?   When I was a child the night before All Saints Day was party time when we had toffee apples and other goodies and if one of the grownups was good at telling stories we gathered round the fire and shivered with pretend apprehension remembering the Cornish Litany ‘From ghoulies and ghosties and long leggedy beasties, good Lord deliver us.’  And here I have to confess I'd got it wrong, in my memory I had confused  Hallowe'en with All Souls Day celebrated on 2nd November when those who have gone before us are remembered, hence this editing.  Hallowe'en was originally the pagan festival of Samhain marking the death of summer. The spirits came out, the elves and goblins, good fairies and bad fairies. People dressed up so as to blend in with the occult creatures astir. Food was left outside, on one side of the door for the good spirits, on the other side of the door for the bad spirits, that is the origin of treat or treat and the tradition of handing over food to those who come to your door.  Thank you Jude - it is wonderful to have a well informed friend.
        For years I wondered whether there really are ghosts, certainly there are buildings and particular places where some will say that they feel uncomfortable, claiming they sense past evil while there are other places which seem filled with a sense of peace and well being.  Perhaps we really do leave something of ourselves behind which others who come after may sense if they pause as they pass by. 

Unseen Reality
What is a ghost?
A thought – a song – a sigh
Upon the wings of time
That echoes down the passages
Where you and I first met
And others who pass by
Will wonder why they pause and smile
Unknowing that the peace they feel
Was born in our content. 

© Carenza Hayhoe 1974

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