Welcome to the Halloween edition of the monthly links round up! Curated by Erstwhile editor Caroline Grego, these links are bound by theme: Halloween.
From Florida to Indonesia to the Himalayas to Cascadia, humans persist in seeing that which is not there: the Sasquatch. Ed Simon, a Ph.D. candidate at Lehigh University, explores the history of the myth of the Sasquatch, all the way from the ancient Sumerian Epic of Gilgamesh to the comedic movie Harry and the Hendersons (1987). Ultimately, Simon argues that humans are so universally intrigued by the Sasquatch because it represents an “evolutionary middle between humanity’s past and present,” a “Sasquatch Pastoral where our desires and fears concerning the animal nature of humanity are projected onto” those mysterious hairy creatures in the forests.
The Tragic, Forgotten History of Zombies by Mike Mariani
Mariani traces the history of the zombie from our own pop culture deployment of the monsters to its roots in Haitian voodoo and slave resistance; he finds a “bleak asymmetry of the zombie then and the zombie now,” in which the zombie then comes from a context of chattel slavery, in which death was an escape, and the zombie now, the provenance of horror movies and hit TV shows, represents Hollywood escapism.
Regular contributor Travis May digs into Robert Eggers’s The VVitch (2015), analyzing the film’s depiction of an early modern world beset by paranoia and fears of the unknown. See the movie if you haven’t, and read Travis’s review afterwards!
The Secret, Steamy History Of Halloween Apples by Alison Richards
Halloween apple bobs, fortune-telling, and pre-Christian rituals: British apple expert and fruit historian Joan Morgan delves into the apple’s ancient connections to Halloween and other harvest festivals.
To finish up, a playlist of Halloween tunes from Smithsonian Folkways!