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DECK THE HOLIDAY'S: 07/20/14

Sunday, July 20, 2014

THE FEAR OF CLOWNS IS NO LAUGHING MATTER, ESPECIALLY IF THEY ARE KILLER CLOWNS THAT HAVE ENTERED YOUR DREAMS!!!






   Clowns to the left of me, jokers to the right! Here I  am stuck in the middle of them! (a little verse from a Gerry Rafferty song).  Clowns could be a nightmare to someone suffering from Coulrophobia.  It is estimated that as many as 1 out of 7 people suffers from a fear of clowns.
   For those suffering from Courophobia, Bozo and his red-nosed brethren are anything but funny or amusing.  Surprisingly, the fear of clowns is one of the top ten most common phobias.  While it may seem funny that grown men and women alike may shirk in fear from seemingly harmless, albeit doofy characters with over-sized shoes and rainbow suspenders, for them it is no laughing matter. While the cause of Courophobia isn't necessarily known and is different for everyone, one common theory holds that the root cause most likely stems fro a traumatic childhood experience.  Maybe you were squirted by one too many trick flowers while a white faced clown laughed in your face; or perhaps you had a coat rack in your room growing up that resembled an evil menacing bozo-like character when the lights were off.








 The image of the evil clown has become a cliche' in today's society.  From Bart Simpson's "Can't sleep clowns will eat me" to The Joker of Batman fame, clowns are not always the picture of fun.  Whatever the case, I'm sure the release of "It", The Steven King novel and movie that had a clown named Pennywise in it.  He had razor sharp teeth and drug children into the sewer.








  John Wayne Gacy, an American serial killer, convicted and executed for the rape and murder of 33 boys and men, between 1972 and the time of his arrest in 1978, was known as the "Killer Clown" because he attended many block parties dressed in a clown suit and makeup under the name of Pogo the Clown.  Koko the Killer Clown appears in a sideshow at Coney Island.  Homey D. Clown from the comedy show "In Living Color", was an ex-con drug addict with a penchant for violence.  Not to mention the 1988 movie "Killer Clowns from Outer Space", and the nasty clown doll in the movie "Poltergeist".





 


 As phobias are no laughing matter, the same with all mental health problems, it is worth noting that there are steps for overcoming such aversions if you are one of the poor people facing such a crippling and debilitating fear that it impedes your life.  There are sufferers who are so petrified of clowns that they are sent into panic attacks at the mere sight of an outfitted clown.  There are treatment methods that include hypnotherapy, medications, and immersion therapy; where the patient is forced to face the very crux of their phobia.  Luckily, as it isn't everyday that the circus comes to town and you're forced to be faced with those bizarre polka-dot painted clowns everyday, most people re likely to simply avoid them when they can and get on with their perfectly productive lives!









 Still, it leads one to question what a particularly evil posse of clowns could be capable of and what sort of havoc they could incur.  Hollywood has given us a few possible ideas, and if you aren't a Courophobic yet, you may be after viewing one of these clown horror movies!


  • Fear of Clowns
  • IT
  • The Clown Murders
  • Secrets of the Clown
  • Dead Clowns
  • We All Scream for Ice Cream
  • Final Draft
  • Killer Clowns From Outer Space



   You don't have to be a kid to be sent crawling under your bedsheets for safety.  If the creepy little clown mobile hanging in your room sends you crying to mama, you may want to switch that nightlight on for safety!!!














SORRY TO BREAK UP THE HALLOWEEN PARTY!! BUT HERE'S ARE A FEW CHRISTMAS FACTS AND FOLKLORE FOR ALL OF YOU'S BA! HUMBUGGERS!!!!!







     I know that Halloween is closer than Christmas is but I think it's time for a little change up (It's my favorite, right next to Halloween).  Let us not forget about Thanksgiving, the holiday that gets hardly any praise at all by most people.  Here's a list of some Christmas trivia and folklore for all of us to enjoy!
   Let's take a look back at the origins of Christmas and some of the lesser known facts involving one of my favorite holiday's.



  • While the Pilgrims may have been responsible for beginning the tradition of Thanksgiving, they did not celebrate Christmas--it was against their Puritan belief and in fact, it was illegal.

  • It was once believed that whoever (husband or wife) first brings holly into the house will rule the home all year. (wishful thinking on the mans part these days.)

  • Young men of the 1700's believe that if they saw a redheaded girl at Christmastime, he would be pursued by flame-haired vixens throughout the coming year. (MORE wishful thinking on the mans part again!!)

  • A meowing cat on Christmas Day used to portend bad luck.  Consequently, their owners would leave a full saucer of milk out that night to pacify the feline. (or throw a size ten shoe at it!)

  • Women stayed indoors on Christmas Day because they believed their neighbors would experience bad luck if the first person they saw was a woman. Or else their first visitor afterward would be a harlot.

  • Abraham Lincoln one received the city of Savannah, Georgia as a Christmas gift from General Sherman.

  • Dolly Madison introduced eggnog at a Christmas party at the White House in 1811.(at least it wasn't fruit cake!!)

  • It was not until 1836 that Alabama was the first state to recognize Christmas.  Oklahoma was the last, in 1890.

  • Neiman Marcus started their "Gift of the Year" promotion in 1960 featuring his and hers airplanes.  In 1967 the most coveted gift was his and hears camels flown from California to anywhere in the U.S.

  • On Christmas morning, 1876, millionaire publisher James Gordon Bennett gave his waiter at Delmonico's a tip of $6,000.(and a W-2 form to claim it on his taxes.)

  • The first Christmas stocking referenced in print was by Washington Irving in 1809.  When A New Year's Verse was published in 1821, it referenced the hanging of stocking the tradition began for children everywhere in earnest.

  • St. Nicholas is also the patron saint of pawnbrokers.

  • Our current vision of Santa Claus came from an illustration by Thomas Nast in 1863 made for Dr. Clement Moore's tale A Visit from St. Nicholas.

  • In medieval times, evergreen trees were hung with red apples on December 24th, celebrated as Adam and Eve Day, and may be the first instance of tree decorating for the holidays.

  • Icicles for the Christmas tree were first made and sold in Nuremberg, Germany in 1878; actually thin strips of silver foil that tarnished quickly were used.

  • New York was the first city to claim an electrically lighted Christmas tree, at the home of Edward Johnson, colleague to Thomas Edison at the Edison Electric Company.  The year was 1882.(until he got the first electrical bill and then he never lit them again!)

  • In medieval times it was customary to light a candle on Christmas Day that would be carefully tended and last until the Twelfth Night.

  • Mistletoe as a symbol of peace between enemies and love between friends, dates back to a Norse legend involving Freyja, goddess of love.

  • The poem Rudolf the Red-Nosed Reindeer was put in song form by Johnny Marks in 1946 and first recorded by Gene Autry.  It became the greatest hit Gene Autry ever made and Columbia Records' biggest seller ever, although Marks had to form his own recording company to get it on the air.

UNDERSTANDING WITCH LEGENDS!




    In recent years, modern witches have become more and more accepted. Some of them play on many of the old concepts of a traditional 'witch', but by and large the stereotypical image of a broom riding crone with a point hat does not match at all with the reality. So where is it that this image came from? Many of the common 'wicked witch' images are derived from periods of time when a witch was considered to be a catch-all term for a person who had a pact with demons or the devil himself. These are just a few of the origins for the iconic 'witch'.







   Conical Hats - Medieval woodcuttings showed any number of variations on what witches wore, so where did the conical black hat with the wide rim originate? The witches hat became known as it is now somewhere between Victorian times and the turn of the century. They became common in the illustration of evil witches in children's stories. Why did it become thus? That is less clear. There are a number of theories about the origin. One theory says it was a modified dunce's cap. Yet another equates it to the headgear worn by the goddess Diana who is associated with witches. Some say it is tied to the common medieval viewpoint that had Jews wearing conical hats due to rumors that they held blasphemous Sabbaths that were parallel to the Witches' Sabbaths. The Church frowned on pointed hats, because they associated them with devil's horns, so there again is another potential origin. We may never be fully certain of how the image itself was come to, possibly a combination of several of these theories is the truth.




    Black Cats -Two things have caused this associate most likely. First is that a witch was supposedly granted an impish familiar by their pact with the devil. This imp would often take a more common form such as that of a cat.  Since cats were so common on farms for controlling rodent populations, it wasn't hard to find one or more when you went after someone who was supposedly a witch. Showing too much affection towards the mouser in the barn might be an indication that it was more than a working animal. Another idea of cats was that a witch could convert herself into a black cat and go skulking about. In fact, the fear of a black cat crossing your path comes from the fear that it is a witch in disguisewho is bringing evil into your life. Bad luck indeed.







   Warts - In keeping with the idea that one had a familiar that was a gift of some da
rk entity, the common belief was that the owner of a familiar had a small growth known as a 'witches' teat' or 'witches' mark'. Any wart, mole or fleshy growth could be used as 'proof' that you were indeed practicing dark arts. This is highlighted in stories of the witch trials. In medieval times, the mark was supposed to be found on hidden areas of the body, but over time when one wanted to draw a clear picture that someone was indeed a witch, putting a visible wart on their face was meant as a symbol of their connection to the dark arts being openly displayed. Even older versions of this mark were supposed the branding of the witch by having the devil rake his claws or an iron on their skin to leave a blue or red mark. Of course, there are a number of theories about the witches' mark that range from tattoos to Lyme disease, but the wart is what has become synonymous with our perceptions of the classic witch.






   Flying Brooms - Here is where it gets odd. The flying broom concept is very sketchy and the leading theory right now is that it tied to hallucinogens that made someone feel like they were flying. Early accounts stated that a stick or similar object would be greased with a special 'flying ointment'. Witches would 'fly' in order to divine the future. This flight was actually one of the spirit, brought on through the use of specialized folk medicines that were put into the body. It was known that the body would absorb these drugs more potently if applied inside the anus or vagina, so of course the smooth rounded top of a broomstick or similar tool was the logical item in ancient times for applying the ointments. Once applied, hallucinations began and the witch would 'fly' away from his or her body. There are also notations that a 'wand' could be at times disguised as the stick of a broom, adding to the association of witches to the broom.






   These things we associate with the iconic image of the witch all have their origins in commonly held beliefs or logical extensions of the way things were in times past. Other aspects that had very real ties to the world that came before us include the use of a cauldron, the large buckled boots, black clothing and long crooked noses. I encourage you to seek out more if you find yourself interested in how these seemingly random jumbles of traits all had a starting point that makes good sense when you understand the history behind them.