Floating off the coast of Wilmington, North Carolina is an old World War II battleship…
As October begins to wind down, the spookiest time of the year is slowly ramping up, culminating in a festive and terrifying Halloween night.
People are running around in creative costumes and the television seems to be playing a different scary movie on every channel.
With a night as scary as Halloween, it’s only natural to assume that there are many bone-chilling stories having to do with the holiday.
Here are 13 of the spookiest Halloween facts and stories that will make the hairs on the back of your neck rise this October 31st.
#1) Halloween’s Ancient Origins
Did you know that Halloween’s origins trace back over 2,000 years? The ancient Celtic festival of Samhain was celebrated in honor of the new year beginning for the society on November 1st.
This festival marked the end of the summer months and the beginning of a period of desolate darkness and cold weather that was associated with large amounts of human death.
On this last night before the new year, it was believed that the line between death and life was blurred, allowing spirits to walk the Earth once again.
To avoid angering the spirits around them, the ancient Celts would build massive bonfires and sacrifice crops and animals to appease their gods.
They believed that by doing so, the spirits would not take them to an early grave and they would survive the long winter.
Talk about a creepy origin story for a holiday centered around avoiding death.
#2) Harry Houdini’s Tragic Death
Famed magician Harry Houdini was known by many to be an incredibly illusionist, and many still attempt to replicate his work today. However, were you aware that Houdini actually died on Halloween?
A few weeks before his tragic death, Houdini was struck in the leg by a piece of faulty equipment that left him with a fractured ankle and hobbling.
After ignoring his doctor’s advice, he continued touring and gave a talk at a Montreal University.
After inviting some students backstage to talk with him, one student asked Houdini if it were true that the magician could resist hard punches to his stomach – a claim he had made many times in public.
When Houdini claimed it was, the student abruptly punched him multiple times in the abdomen while the magician was still seated.
Although he appeared hurt by these blows, he brushed the incident off until his health suddenly began to deteriorate a few days later.
The magician seemed to be suffering from cold sweats, a rising fever, and intense abdominal pain.
After ignoring a second doctor’s orders to go to a hospital, Houdini unknowingly gave his last performance before promptly collapsing after the show.
Doctors found he was suffering from appendicitis, but by the time his appendix was removed it was too late.
His delays to go to a hospital had allowed his appendix to poison his body.
Houdini managed to cling to life for one more week, before dying on the night of October 31st, 1926.
Some theories have been stated, however, that Houdini’s death was actually a result of his crusade throughout the 20s to disprove spirits by debunking mediums and other forms of communication with the dead…
#3) A Blue Moon
Halloween is unlike any other this year due to the recent pandemic.
However, the night will be far spookier considering it is going to be a blue moon.
This means that the moon will be full for the second time during the month.
Not only that, but the full moon will be visible around the world for the first time since 1944.
This rare event has led many to wonder what kinds of ghosts and ghouls may return to walk to Earth in just under a week.
#4) Black Cat Adoption Used to be Banned on Halloween
We’re all familiar with the superstitious beliefs such as spotting a black cat or walking underneath a ladder and how they supposedly bring you bad luck.
In the past, however, animal shelters would suspend adoptions on black cats during October out of fear that they would be used by Satanic cults taking those superstitions too far and hoping to worship demons.
As time passed, adoption centers began to allow black cats to be picked up during October once again, but they put any potential adopters through a rigorous interview process to ensure that they only have the best intentions with their new pet.
#5) Real Life Zombies
Zombies are some of the most well-known Halloween monsters and a popular costume choice for people of all ages during this season. Modern television shows and literature have field days describing post-apocalyptic worlds kickstarted by a zombie virus gone out of control.
One presented origin of the myth comes from grave robbers who dug up a body in a cemetery, only to find claw marks on the inside of the coffin.
It’s been proven that a certain dose of a drug called tetrodotoxin at a sub-lethal amount can cause a temporary paralysis, as well as zombie-like symptoms, until the drug is purged from one’s system.
These stories along with the real-life similar cases have led many to wonder if some of those buried in the past were really dead at all.
#6) Two-Sentence Horror Story
Halloween can be a frightening time, but some of the stories that are posted can send shivers down your entire spine.
It’s always been said that our pets are more in tune with the world than we are, and that perhaps they can even see things that we can’t.
The following anonymous Reddit story may be short, but it’ll make you think twice anytime you see you pet not quite focusing on you:
“I always thought my car had a staring problem – she always seemed fixated on my face. Until one day, when I realized that she was always looking just behind me.”
If you find yourself unable to ever leave the house on Halloween and the idea that strangers in costume may be knocking at your door makes you sweat, it’s possible you may suffer from Samhainophobia.
This is the intense and persistent fear of Halloween, which is completely understandable given its terrifying roots.
#8) The Original Halloween Costumes
Remember the ancient Celts and their celebrations discussed earlier? Well, they were actually also the first group to introduce the tradition of wearing a costume on Halloween.
The only difference is, they didn’t have a Spirit Halloween store right down the street, so they needed to get a little more creative.
Creepily enough, it was commonplace to wear animal skins and even cleaned animal skulls as masks during their Samhain celebration.
It was believed that calling upon these animal spirits by wearing their skins would grant the wearer strength to weather the upcoming difficult months.
Think about that the next time you throw on your animal onesie for Halloween.
#9) Jack-o’-Lanterns Come from the Legend of Stingy Jack
In an old Irish folktale, a man known as Stingy Jack decided to sit down and share a drink with the Devil. Why he decided to do this is anyone’s best guess.
However, Jack somehow managed to convince the Devil to turn himself into a coin so that they could pay for their drinks.
Jack managed to trap him in this form and didn’t release him until he promised to leave Jack alone for a whole year.
Well, the Devil kept his word and when he returned a year later, Jack struck a similar deal by trapping him in a tree so that he wouldn’t take his soul.
Jack died shortly after this deal and the Devil kept his word. Unfortunately, God would not accept Jack into heaven due to the deals he made with the Devil.
As Jack’s soul was left to wander the Earth, forever unclaimed, the Devil gifted him a piece of burning coal to light his way, which Jack put inside a carved turnip.
From that moment on, people began carving and lighting Jack-o’-Lanterns in honor of Jack’s forever lost spirit.
#10) Decorations Gone Too Far
Back in 2005, citizens of Frederica, Delaware believed one of their neighbors had taken things a little too far with one of their decorations.
What appeared to be a decoration of a human body, rather than a typical ghost, hanging from a tree in the garden of someone’s front yard left many feeling uneasy.
It was only after someone walked onto the property to confront the homeowner about the realism, that they realized the hanging form was actually the dead body of the homeowner herself.
#11) Owls Aren’t as Innocent as You May Think
One of the more popular symbols during the Halloween season is the owl.
However, in medieval times it was actually believed that owls were witches, and hearing its call was a sign that somebody around you was about to die.
Keep that in mind this Halloween night when you see an owl sitting above you in a tree…
#12) Troublesome Teenagers
The tradition of trick or treating dates back to the original Irish.
However, modern day trick or treating became organized when neighborhood children went around terrorizing houses with pranks during Halloween.
This led to the creation of Haunted Houses and trick or treating where these children could get all their energy out without damaging the property around them.
#13) A Ghostly Visitor
The Dakota is an apartment building in New York City that first opened its doors in 1884. John Lennon and Yoko Ono lived in the building beginning in 1973, before John was assassinated outside of the building in 1980.
It was reported, though, that around Halloween and the months leading up to his death, John reported seeing the crying ghost of a lady wandering the apartments halls. Following his death, Yoko reported seeing John’s ghost at his piano, and that John’s spirit comforted her with the knowledge that he would always be with her.
Whether you celebrate Halloween or not, there is no doubt that this is the spookiest time of the year for many around the world! Stay safe this Halloween and don’t be sacred if you spot any ghosts or ghouls taking advantage of the season to walk the Earth once again.