Well, I meant to post this image at Hallowe'en. Having no inspiration to start off Thanksgiving week, I'll toss it out for any giggle it might bring you. And who knows? Maybe it will prompt somebody to write a holiday story—something about party ideas in a turn-of-the-century American magazine? maybe a fantasy story about a fashionable coven in an alternative universe? What's your fancy?
Picturing a World
Blog post alert: Here on All Souls' Day, a glance back at witches via Barbara Wells Sarudy's Hallowe'en post, About Those Female Witches - 1607 Jesuits Suspect Lutheran sect of Witchcraft. I first learned about dovecotes in relation to gardening history and became fond of them, while crones, witches, bats, dogs, and owls are longtime favorites. Inquisitional Jesuits? Not so much. I don't know how I'll use this (if at all) or what it may inspire, but I'm tickled to have run across it.
I'm having fun. One by one, at intervals to stretch it out, I'm reading stories in Jonathan Strahan's anthology, The Book of Dragons, illustrated by Rovina Cai. Recently, I read "Pox" by Ellen Klages, an author new to me. I loved it, and what a great pleasure to find that one of the delightful characters, Franny Travers, also appears in Klages' novella, Passing Strange.
Blog tips: Vintage Halloween postcards at the Toronto Public Library is an archived post with lots of images of Halloween cards from ca. 1910 and links to the library’s collections. Usually I’d choose a witch to offer as a treat for Hallowe’en, but there’s something weirdly imaginative about these menacing Jack-o-lanterns and their panicked cats that tickles my fancy this (and there is a witch in the upper right-hand corner). A different card at the American Antiquarian Society, moreover, makes clear that the gauzy bows could be perceived as witches’ bodies. For it and another set of vintage Hallowe’en cards, click here.
And whether you trick or treat or celebrate Samhain as the pagan new year, have a happy, safe Hallowe’en—with just a touch of the spooky or wild! Read More
It is worth noting, incidentally, that although belief in witchcraft is ubiquitous in time and across cultures, during the late middle ages and early modern period the anxieties that led to witch-hunting were specially strong in Europe and colonial America. For an interesting interview with historian John Demos on this topic, click here.
Happy Hallowe’en! Read More
For a wealth of holiday postcards from the New York Public Library, click here.
And I’ve just discovered a book that bears looking into, American Holiday Postcards, 1905–1915. Addendum: For a helpful review, click here. Read More