Thursday, October 29, 2015

Ghosts, Goblins, Gremlins and Ghouls

On this year’s All Hallows Eve, I’ll be on the lookout for any or all of the four G’s, ghosts, goblins, gremlins and ghouls (not to mention witches, wraiths, warlocks and the like).

Just in case I happen to happen upon one or more of these spooky creatures I want to be able to recognize one and all, so I looked them up in The Encarta Dictionary.

Ghost: The supposed spirit of somebody who has died, believed to appear as a shadowy form or to cause sounds, the movement of objects, or a frightening atmosphere in a place.

Goblin: An imaginary being resembling a small man of unpleasant appearance, usually evil or mischievous.

Gremlin: A tiny mischievous imaginary being that is blamed for faults in tools, machinery, and electronic equipment.

Ghoul: Somebody who is morbidly fascinated with death, disaster, or repulsive things.

Just between us, I’m really hoping I don’t run into any of the above-mentioned creatures of Halloween before, on the night of, or after the fun is all said and done. Those crazy Celts are the ones who started it all when they decided to celebrate the harvest and the changing of the seasons from fall to winter. Over the years the church thought the idea of celebrating those who have gone before us into the great mystery that lies beyond death’s doorway seemed like a good idea at this otherwise uninspiring time of year.

Whatever the reason, we might all agree that it doesn’t take much of an excuse to promote the idea of a celebration. Personally, I like the idea of celebrating our ancestors better than scaring ourselves with the four G’s and/or any of the other letters that begin the names of those dark-alley types we’re all afraid of meeting.

However, I will say that writing stories about the four G’s and their kin really appeals to me. How fascinating to think up stories about shadowy characters floating around causing mischief. When I was a girl growing up in Kokomo, Indiana, my big brother, our neighborhood friends, and I used to sit out in the backyard in gathering darkness and tell ghost stories. It’s mighty fun to be scared in a group, but not so much while out somewhere on a bleak and lonely road on a stormy night all on your own.

I’ll leave you with a scary piece I heard as a child and well, it scared the S_ _ _ out of me! It was written by Indiana’s so-called Hoosier poet, James Whitcomb Riley and made a great night-time yarn to share out in the backyard with the kids gathered ‘round.

Little Orphant Annie (written in Hoosier dialect)

Little Orphant Annie’s come to our house to stay,
An’ wash the cups an’ saucers up, an’ brush the crumbs away,
An’ shoo the chickens off the porch, an’ dust the hearth, an’ sweep,
An’ make the fire, an’ bake the bread, an’ earn her board-an’-keep;
An’ all us other childern, when the supper things is done,
We set around the kitchen fire an’ has the mostest fun
A-list’nin’ to the witch-tales ‘at Annie tells about,
An’ the Gobble-uns ‘at gits you
             Ef you
Onc’t they was a little boy wouldn’t say his prayers,--
So when he went to bed at night, away up stairs,
His Mammy heerd him holler, an’ his Daddy heerd him bawl,
An’ when they turn’t the kivvers down, he wasn’t there at all!
An’ they seeked him in the rafter-room, an’ cubby-hole, an’ press,
An’ seeked him up the chimbly-flue, an’ ever’wheres, I guess;
But all they ever found was thist his pants an’ roundabout--
An’ the Gobble-uns’ll git you
             Ef you
An’ one time a little girl ‘ud allus laugh an’ grin,
An’ make fun of ever’one, an’ all her blood an’ kin;
An’ onc’t, when they was “company," an’ ole folks was there,
She mocked ‘em an’ shocked ‘em, an’ said she didn’t care!
An’ thist as she kicked her heels, an’ turn’t to run an’ hide,
They was two great big Black Things a-standin’ by her side,
An’ they snatched her through the ceilin’ ‘fore she knowed what she’s about!
An’ the Gobble-uns’ll git you
             Ef you
An’ little Orphant Annie says when the blaze is blue,
An’ the lamp-wick sputters, an’ the wind goes woo-oo!
An’ you hear the crickets quit, an’ the moon is gray,
An’ the lightnin’-bugs in dew is all squenched away,--
You better mind yer parents, an’ yer teachers fond an’ dear,
An’ churish them ‘at loves you, an’ dry the orphant’s tear,
An’ he’p the pore an’ needy ones ‘at clusters all about,
Er the Gobble-uns’ll git you
             Ef you

Happy Halloween!

Author of the Arrowstar Series

“Take a chance, amaze yourself.”

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