Almost everyone I know gets excited about Halloween with the exception of the dourest of Christians. Halloween is fun. You get to dress up in ridiculous costumes like Slutty Witch and Strumpet from Hell and stuff yourself full of so much sugar that you rival a Domino sugar factory. And don’t get me started on the Halloween parties. One year I dressed up as Hel from Norse Mythology. (Yes, I am a dork. I am aware of this.) I woke up the next morning with a perfect blue and black Buffy face print on the floor. Not one of my finest hours, but it was one hell of a good time!
Dressing up is fun and partying is great, but I don’t I think that is what really attracts people to Halloween. People like, no love, to be scared. I love to be scared. I have since I was a kid. I think there is something in our DNA that wants to be scared. I think it’s why stories get passed down from generation to generation. Not as a deterrent for bad behavior, but for the thrill of it.
Take the Bullbeggar for example. The Bullbeggar is an English demon or bogie beast. It takes the form of an injured person lying prone on the ground. When a helpful sucker comes to its aid, the demon morphs into a huge black mass and chases after the poor bastard, its eerie laughter shrieking throughout the night air. The old adage, “No good deed goes unpunished,” pops to mind.
In Suffolk and Somerset, the Bullbeggar is called a Galley-Beggar and takes the form of a skeleton with its head tucked under its arm like a clutch purse.
In some stories the Bullbeggar takes no shape at all but is the sound of disembodied footsteps following behind on a lonely road long after dark.
These creatures, these tales, play into some of our most fundamental fears. Who hasn’t been creeped out searching for your car in a shadowy parking lot, turning a corner down a deserted street after dark, or walking down the hall of an empty building?
And what about those footsteps you could swear you hear behind you? Those are the scariest part of it all.
What scares you the most?