Sunday, October 7, 2012

What Halloween Mand To Me Day 3: Elizabeth Katheryn Gray

Facebook is always a place of sheer madness.  I’m not even talking about the political and religious zealotry running rampant.  I’m not even necessarily even talking about the madness that comes over me when I see so many people who have no concept of how to use their native language correctly.  No, the true indicator is that only in a truly mad place could Honey Boo Boo, that Gangnam Style dude, “That moment when…”, and every other idiotic meme that comes down the pipe become full blown phenomena!  Every October, however, a new kind of MADNESS takes over.  A MADNESS born of a love for horror movies and Halloween.  A MADNESS that rewards geekery.  A MADNESS that I am currently a judge of.  A MADNESS worthy of being typed in all caps.  Yes, the HALLOWEEN HORROR MOVIE MARATHON MADNESS is in full swing, and it’s the brainchild of the Head Hauntress herself, Elizabeth Katheryn Gray.
Elizabeth, or EKG as I call her, began the MADNESS.  It’s a contest that goes down every October.  Contestants earn points for watching horror movies.  How perfect is that?  Each year there is a theme, and bonus points are given for certain things based on that theme.  For example, this year the theme is Classic Creatures and Vamp Features.  It’s all about classic monsters and giant beasties, so bonus points are given for on screen transformations, a giant monster attacking a city, underground lairs, different kinds of ghoulish creatures, an insane asylum, etc.  You get the picture?  It’s like a scavenger hunt through great fright flicks.  It’s a hell of a lot of fun, and even yours truly always gets turned on to some new flicks I haven’t seen.  This years competitors have been chosen, but as the judge for Team Sharktopi, I cordially invite all of you to get in on the fun HERE. 
Anyway, my horror buddy EKG is responsible for the whole thing.  She’s also one of the anchors of our corner of the Facebook horror scene, as in addition to founding the MADNESS, she runs the FB Film Geek Circle where so many of the Horror Blogger All-Stars you’ll be hearing from this week hang out.  She is also a fellow contributor to as Cavepearl.  EKG, Duckboy, and the evil genius came rolling through town earlier this year on their way to Mardi gras, and we got to hang out for a while.  We endured the unholy abomination that is Beverly, and discovered the horrifying secret of Coca-Cola.  Hint: it’s the same as the horrifying secret of Soilent Green.  So Elizabeth, round out this weekend featuring some of the lovely ladies of the horror world by telling us what Halloween means to you…

“Let’s face it, all Halloween means to the young is dressing up and getting free candy…but honestly, there is nothing wrong with that. Despite living in a very bad neighborhood growing up, the immediate blocks around me had many of the original owners still living there. My hood was relatively safe. I Trick or Treated up to my 9th grade year, but still enjoy cosplay now and again.

However, in my 7th grade year, a very unusual thing happened. Halloween was suddenly not just about candy and costumes. My mother, who up to this point was raising me as an odd fusion of Evangelical Christian and Southern Baptist, suddenly converted to Paganism (a loose version of what we call Wicca).  Now Halloween became an actual religious holiday in my household.

I was worried for my mother’s soul. It scared me, this sudden change, and I even thought for a short period of time that my mother may go to Hell. After all, this is what the church had been teaching me up to this point. But when my father, who is very conservative for a man living in the San Francisco Bay Area, bought my mother a pagan book to show he was okay with the change, I knew that maybe things were alright after all.

In fact, I had always been drawn to the fantastical and the occult myself. While most children were watching Smurfs, I was watching old Universal Horror films on Saturdays (Channel 44 represent!) and the works of Ray Harryhausen as often as possible. Late night we had Creature Feature with the immortal Horror Host Bob Wilkins on KTVU. The first “real” book I ever read was The Hobbit. It was my mother who introduced this book to me, so maybe Wicca was a better fit for her after all.

I had always been drawn to Mythology as well, hence my love for Harryhausen. So later in life, I started to study Wiccan, Buddhism, Hinduism, and other non–Christian religions. I was really surprised to find that there was truth in these older systems of worship. They were no more piles of hooey than any other religion. I even learned that modern Christianity is one of the only religions to be formed in a boardroom (see the Council of Nicea). Then, in college, I too came to realize that I am not a Christian either. I do not align myself with an organized religion but I could no longer say that I follow the teachings of any church that preaches from the King James Bible.

So, Halloween was no longer Halloween, but now a holiday called Samhain (pronounced Sow-in). It is a time when the veils of the earth world and the spiritual realm are thinnest. A time when it’s allowed to contact your loved ones who have passed on. It’s a time of endings, rebirth, healing, and closure. But my love for the secular Halloween never really waned either. I should have known that it had never really for my mother either. In fact shortly after her conversion she would dress up all in black on our front porch to give out candy as a witchy manikin. When someone would take more than allowed, she would simply say “Just one” and scare the crap out of everyone. Well, everyone except this one little girl who looked at her father and said “She is a REAL witch Daddy.” And indeed she was.

Mom passed on in 2009, almost exactly nine months from the birth of my little girl.  Now I get to Trick or Treat again. It still get pleasure from watching all the people all dress up and enjoy themselves with their bags full of candy, but I also know that it’s a time when sometimes, just sometimes, I can say hello to my mother.  The veil is thinning right now as I write. My mother has only visited me once since her death, but every Samhain I hope that I may still get to glimpse my mother, who by the way is very happy and at peace.

So What Does Halloween mean to me?  Well…it means everything.”

23 days ‘til Halloween, Halloween, Halloween.  23 days ‘til Halloween, Silver Shamrock.


Maynard Morrissey said...

"What Does Halloween mean to me? Well…it means everything.”
Oh, I wish I could say the same... :-/

Blogger said...

Do you prefer Coca-Cola or Pepsi?
ANSWER THE POLL and you could get a prepaid VISA gift card!

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