EPISODE XXXIV: HALLOWEEN THROUGH THE AGES
Halloween, or All Hallows Eve, is something that evokes primordial senses, an evening that allows one to let go of the conventional bounds of the day and give in to something darker… essences of the underworld, the realm of the dead which defines our present and tells of our future…
Into The Portal Podcast’s Halloween Special: Halloween Through The Ages, explores the history of the holiday and the origins of some of the most popular symbols and practices of Halloween. Be sure to listen to the Podcast for a fun walk through of this most auspicious day of the year!
The following is a stylized retelling of three Classic Halloween Urban Legends. Artistic license has been exercised to the extreme, so, please, enjoy these harrowing tales of legendary horror!
The Buckley Family Horror
One halloween eve, long long ago, in a distant part of rural America, a group of youngsters thought up a ghoulish halloween prank. It began in whispers in school halls, on the playgrounds and the basements of family homes. A most wicked deed to scare even the adults. The plan? To dress up a dummy for each household and execute it by beheading on All Hallows Eve. The body was to be left for all to see and to give trick or treaters a nasty little surprise…
The Buckley kids were thrilled at the macabre plan, but decided to put an even nastier twist on it. The Buckleys’ were a strange family. Living on the edge of town, they kept to themselves, their business unknown to the rest of the town folk. Siblings Susan and John Buckley were even stranger. Both donned clothes noticeably out of date, Susan with a severe victorian era high collared dress, John with his signature black overcoat and a pocket watch that looked older than time itself to the country kids they lived amongst.
The Buckley pair seemed to keep to themselves, never opening up to outside friendships. It was a topic of gossip amongst town folk, even beyond the scope of the playground - whisperings of the Buckleys seemed always on the lips of one local or another.
That Halloween, the whispers would turn into something else… an unspeakable horror would befall the rural community, an evil so great that the townsfolk forever ceased their gossip in order to forget the horror of the Buckley’s memory.
October 31st, dusk. Susan and John had completed the daily chores. Tired and sweaty, they returned to their family home with evil on their minds. Instead of placing the axe in its usual spot, wedged securely in its chopping block, John leaned it against the side of the house as he entered the family kitchen. Susan remained outside, lingering near the barn.
The children glanced at each other through the kitchen window, exchanging a stare that would send chills up the spine of any passerby. Mrs. Buckley stood at the counter, scrubbing potatoes for their evening meal, unawares of any evil lurking in her household. She heard her daughter calling out to her from the barn, and wiping her hands on her apron, she glanced outside before stepping into her shoes to see what was the matter with Susan.
As Mrs. Buckley exited the house, John followed behind, silently retrieving the axe from beside the doorway. A strong young man of fourteen years, he was sure of his aim from years of cutting firewood. Mrs. Buckley was unaware of John as she approached the darkened barn. The entrance was a jar, and as their mother stepped through the threshold a sickening thud landing the axe square in the back of the neck, her spine instantly crushed by the force of her son’s blow. As her knees buckled, eyes open wide with shock, the deathblow was repeated, the bloody axe wrenched out of the cartilage and brought down again, the force of it partially separating the head from the shoulders, the sinewy connective tissues stretching and snapping as spurts of blood began gushing from the gaping wound.
As her mother lay dying on the straw floor of the barn, Susan emerged from the shadows, her eyes distinctly black with a red glow emanating from depths of them. She looked at her brother, whose eyes had similarly transformed into gaping black holes. Both were grinning fiendishly as they stood over their slain mother.
A ritual of the darkest nature took place in the barn that eve, and what remained of the souls of those two damned children were lost in the evil… Trick or Treaters who would later show up at the property got the scare of their lives when they encountered the very real bloody remains of Mrs Buckley, partially eaten, her head placed neatly in her lap as she sat in repose on the front porch rocking chair.
The Buckley children disappeared into the night that Halloween, never to be seen by their neighbours ever again...
The 1962 Idaho Halloween Massacre
The night that Halloween in 1962 was particularly dark; the yellow harvest moon had traced its way into a sliver of a crescent that hung in the sky, cloaked in thick plumes of cloud. The celebrations were well underway in a rural Idaho town. It was a different time back then, a time when the best halloween costumes were usually homemade and strictly designed to maximize the scare factor, in an age where masks had not been banned by authorities and halloween fanfare was in its prime.
One must-stop house party was already in full swing by the time the moon appeared. An enthusiastic party-goer decided to gather everyone for a snapshot of the festivities, little did those present know this would be the very last halloween party they would ever get to take part in.
Shortly before midnight, a costumed man assumed to be part of the festivities began to unfold a sinister plot. Without anyone taking notice, the masked marauder traced the outside of the house, boarding up all exits out of the building. Slipping in through a secret entrance, the intruder chose his weapon - a regular old kitchen knife - and began ruthlessly slashing through the crowds of costumed party-goers. Screams could be heard a block away as copious amounts of blood were sprayed across the walls, splattered all over the ceiling as the panicked crowd began running for the exits, only to find them all blocked.
It is said that the masked mass murderer only got away with seven kills before disappearing into the halloween night, never to be caught by Idaho authorities…
The Babysitter and the Visitor
This frightening Halloween legend is vague, with the exactness of time and place lost, as is common over the years. Jenny, a teenage girl living in the comforts of suburban America, was tasked with babysitting her neighbour’s children while they attended a halloween party that evening. It was the first year Jenny decided to stop trick or treating - she was a big girl now, too mature to dress up and beg for Halloween goodies.
Mr. and Mrs. Smith had left for the evening, leaving Jenny with a number to call in case anything should go awry. Jenny and the Smith children had a frightfully fun evening of trick or treating followed by a showing of Beetlejuice before Jenny put the young ones to bed for the night, bellies full of Halloween sweets. The doorbell had rung more than a few times with groups of Trick or Treaters as the Smiths had gone all-out in their Halloween decorations that year, with ghosts swaying from the tree branches, hanging over top of a fully decked out graveyard, tombstones, cobwebs, jack-o-lanterns and all. Even the interior of the house was fully decorated as a house of horrors, with decorations spewing out of all corners of the home.
Strange, Jenny thought to herself, why would they go to all the trouble only to go out for the entire evening? Shrugging it off, the pre-teen microwaved herself a big bowl of popcorn before settling in to watch a horror movie of her own to cap off the halloween eve. Nestled on the sofa,Jenny couldn’t help but feel as if she was being watched by the spooky decor of the house. In particular, she felt the eyes of a life-sized clown following her as she moved around the house that night, its dramatic makeup enhanced by the shadows of the night, turning something that Jenny used to find funny into something much more sinister.
At about 11:30PM Jenny picked up a phone call, it was the Smiths. Everything is A-OK, Jenny reported, except for the spooky feeling she kept getting from the clown decoration seated in the corner of the room. Mr. Smith’s voice faltered in response after Jenny spoke the words over the phone. In a panicked voice, he asked… “What clown decoration?” Mr. Smith then frantically demanded she go wake up the children and exit the house as soon as they could… but before he could finish his sentence, the line went dead.
Fear froze the blood in Jenny’s veins as she realized all was not right.
As she dashed up the staircase, she swore she heard a soft, ominous giggling following close behind her. As she flung open the children’s bedroom door, Jenny was pushed into the room as a terrifying cackle broke out in a sing song chorus of laughter…The smiths arrived home minutes later to find the front door to their home wide open, everything in place except for their two children and the babysitter they had hired.
Investigators were later told by the inconsolable Smiths that the children had been complaining of a mysterious clown who would leer over their beds watching them sleep in the weeks before. However, their concerns were ignored by their skeptical parents, with fatal consequences. The fate of the three victims remains unknown…
Written by Amber Rae Bouchard