Emergency Smart Phone Preparedness In the Urban Landscape

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It was this cold! That was falling water in the summer!

Thought I’d diverge from the Geeky Faith stuff for a while. Stuff depresses me sometimes. Get back to good old geeky electronics and techno-survivalism. Thought I’d relate a story that my fiance and I went through about a year ago in Edmonton, Alberta.

I was up there visiting during the winter and we decided to go out to eat one really cold evening. It was about -20 C outside, which is a respectable 0 to -2 or -3 in non-heathen units. Might have been colder, once it starts getting down that cold in Canada you cease caring about actual degrees and just start gauging temperatures in “Negative Jesus’s”. Which is basically when you get up in the morning, look at the weather to see how much coat you need and say, “Oh it’s negative.. Jesus Christ that’s cold.” The more expletives between Jesus and Christ is roughly how many layers a non-Canadian will feel like they need to wear.

So we finally decide to go to Famosa’s, which is a really great pizza place in the Alberta area. Have us some great pizza and realize it’s pretty late, and aren’t sure if the bus runs at one in the morning, and we’re on the other side of town. We can’t check the cell phone because mine doesn’t work in Canada and hers is almost dead, and screws up sometimes anyway. I figure no problem  because my tablet is in her backpack and has a USB port and she carries a spare cable. No luck, because no cable. Can’t use the restaurant phone to call a taxi because they are jerks, so we’re about half freaking out. Can’t swap SIM cards because different sizes, and the aggravation goes on and on. Just to add to the annoyance, no payphones anymore that we can find. So we figure we’re basically stranded in a cold, unforgiving Canadian parking lot with half drunk Edmontonians doing donuts on the ice in their gigantic pickup trucks if the public transit isn’t running.

The story has a happy ending because the buses ran for a few more hours and we caught one back to where we needed to go. There was a good fifteen minutes of utter uncertainty though. I made it a point to make sure neither of us were in that position again. Getting stuck either in the extreme cold of Canada or the heat of the Texas Panhandle sucks, and if you have  your smart phone it might not be a survival situation so much as a find the information you need situation. It’s really the little things that cause the problems, not the big things.

First thing I did was came up with some protocol to avoid the situation in the first place.

Smart Phone Protocol

  1. Make sure cell phones are at least mostly charged before heading out for more than a few hours, especially somewhere using public transportation.
  2. ALWAYS carry a cable and a means of charging in purse, backpack, pocket, coat, wherever.
  3. Make sure any information that’s needed is pulled up on the web browser or written down somewhere just in case there’s no signal before it becomes a problem. A little piece of paper in the case is pretty handy.
  4. Know basically how long your cell battery lasts from a full charge until dead under normal use.

The Tech

The second thing is that we had a way to charge the phone if we had a cable but what it was pretty bulky and we might not have always had that tablet with us. If we had just a cable and a wall charger it might not have helped much because there weren’t any outlets anywhere convenient. So having an alternative energy source would have been super handy. The very first thing I did when I got home was research external USB batteries. What I found is that there are a few types.

The simple kind are just a battery with two ports. One charges the battery up, and the other charges the device. The other kinds have two means of charging. They can either be charged through the USB port or through some other means like solar, or mechanical energy. I like this type the best.

Either kind of these batteries can be carried in a purse or backpack. Most of us guys tend to walk out the door with just what we have in our pockets so maybe this isn’t super practical if all you’re wearing is jeans and a white Hane’s t-shirt. However, in the dead of winter, you’re probably wearing a jacket, I’ve carried mine in my Scottevest hoodie.

Opteka BP-SC4000

This one has pretty good reviews, comes with a TON of different charger tips, including a lot I don’t recognize, and you can put any cable you want in it. It charges with a regular mini-USB so if you have any gear that uses those, it can use that cable. It also charges solar as well. I’ve tested this thing with all kinds of light conditions, it will charge slowly in dim light indoors, sunlight, and by shining a bright flashlight on it. It does take a long time to charge via solar (something like ten hours), but you can attach a lanyard to it, put it on the outside of your backpack on a sunny day or whatever and let nature take its course.

It’s 4000mAh, though I’ve seen a tear down somewhere showing at least a few have bigger batteries. My HTC One gets almost a complete charge from it. My Windows Tablet won’t charge, but will run off it and my camera will charge from it just fine. I got about two charges from it on my Galaxy S2 and an iPhone 4 seemed to charge about once from it. I was also able to charge it from my tablet.

Basically it works a bit better than the manufacturer advertises. The only problem I’ve had with it is the power button on mine doesn’t always seem to turn it off when you hold it down. I’m not sure why. But it might be because I’ve dropped it. The other one we got works flawlessly. Both have charged to 100% or very close to it off of solar in the sun.

The “Lipstick Battery”

This is the other style battery I’ve seen that might be better for people who don’t carry around a bag. Like I mentioned before, most guys just go out with almost nothing on them but a wallet, keys and a phone. I personally take more crap with me if I’m going out a while, especially if I’m somewhere my car isn’t available. While these things aren’t super small, they’re a lot smaller than the solar charger above.

Anker® 2nd Gen Astro Mini

This one seems to be fairly small, and charges with a micro USB cable, which it comes with. This is probably what your devices use anyway. It looks like it’ll charge a few of the more popular phones today to 100% capacity and the Galaxy S4 to about 80%. Not bad for something so small. The same company makes a few higher capacity battery packs too that might be worth looking into. I’ll probably be purchasing one of these very soon to stick in my ScotteVest hoodie for an EDC during the  fall/winter months since my solar one is a bit big for that.

Thoughts on Recent News Stories in the Middle East

(Photo: Reuters/Ahmed Jadallah)

I read a story this week where a group of people from a foreign country invaded their neighbors and started killing the infants and children because they felt God had commanded them to do so, for no other reason than they had an opposing religion. It’s was widely posted all over the internet and practically every Christian heard the story. They didn’t stop at just one city, but killed hundreds, if not thousands of innocent victims all over the Middle East.

After these invaders would crush the military resistance they’d go in and kill all the women, children and livestock before occupying the city. Sometimes, they’d keep all the young, virgin girls and force them into marriage to their unmarried men if their weren’t enough of their own women to go around.

Fortunately recent journalism, satellite photography and digging around in the Middle East has brought forth some strong evidence that none of this actually happened and it was just made  up for whatever purpose, probably propaganda.

Unfortunately, a lot of people were  upset at the news and did everything they could to discredit everyone involved and prove that, in fact the mass murder of infants in the Middle East did happen.

I’m talking of course of most of the stories in the book of Joshua. Though it does sound a lot like some of the stuff being told about the so-called ISIS militant group in Iraq today. What got me thinking about this was this quote from C.S. Lewis I saw posted on Facebook. I felt the strong irony here.

Suppose one reads a story of filthy atrocities in the paper. Then suppose that something turns up suggesting that the story might not be quite true, or not quite so bad as it was made out. Is one’s first feeling, `Thank God, even they aren’t quite so bad as that,’ or is it a feeling of disappointment, and even a determination to cling to the first story for the sheer pleasure of thinking your enemies as bad as possible? If it is the second then it is, I am afraid, the first step in a process which, if followed to the end, will make us into devils. You see, one is beginning to wish that black was a little blacker. If we give that wish its head, later on we shall wish to see grey as black, and then to see white itself as black. Finally, we shall insist on seeing everything – God and our friends and ourselves included – as bad, and not be able to stop doing it: we shall be fixed for ever in a universe of pure hatred.”

– C.S. Lewis, Mere Christianity

I find it amusing that so many people’s knee jerk reaction to the claims of beheading of Christian children in Iraq by Muslim extremists today is one of shock, horror and calls for violence. They’ll slap the Arabic nun on their Facebook profile, post the same dubious articles all over social media and cry for the U.S. to go back to crush these militants. I know I took it seriously too for a while until I saw some that most of the sources were no better than internet tabloids.We then find out that ISIS isn’t really beheading children as far as anyone can find, and heck if we can find photos of anything but houses being branded with Arabic N’s.

What’s equally amusing is that these same people will read the book of Joshua, 1 Samuel and other place describing the wholesale slaughter of women, children and infants at God’s command and be just fine with that. I know, I used to be one of them! In 1 Samuel, King Saul was punished for not killing everything in Amalek. Not because he was merciful and didn’t kill the women and children, mind you, but because he didn’t kill all the animals and let the king live!

There are no stories where the Israelites were merciful to a bunch of children. When they were, it was virgin girls for wives for their unmarried sons. Which was kind of against their own laws. But we’re fine with that, because, “God commanded it of the Israelites.” Lest anyone accuse me of antisemitism here, this is from their own stories. We’ve all got our baggage.

The funny thing about this to me is that the same Christians have this huge sigh of relief that ISIS isn’t beheading Christian children in Iraq, they aren’t relieved when archaeology tells us the same thing about the ancient Israelites. One less thing to justify about a loving God and yet the fight for total Old Testament inerrancy continues.

Is this not exactly what C.S. Lewis was talking about? You find out this story in print wasn’t as bad as it said, or might not have been true at all and on the one hand you breathe a sigh of relief at the fanatics, but get angry at the archaeologist for daring to claim the genocide of the Canaanites didn’t actually happen?

Shouldn’t we be happy when we find out that genocide likely didn’t happen? That God didn’t command it, and that no one actually did it.

ISIS is doing terrible things in Iraq right now. They do need to be stopped. But, do not let your critical thinking be shut off by these events. Do not say, “This ancient genocide was excusable because God said so,” and “This modern genocide is not excusable because they only think God is saying so.” That’s hypocrisy.

Guns, Flags, and Sacred Texts

So this stupid picture has made rounds on the ol’ social media feeds lately and I can’t help but look at the sheer stupidity of it all.

who-holly-fisher-holly-hobby-lobby

I’m your average mostly libertarian Christian with HEAVY gnostic and deist leanings. I stress this because I don’t want anyone to think this is going to be the rant of some run of the mill Southern Baptist redneck from Amarillo trying to defend this whole thing. I do not like either of the mainstream political parties too much though I do tend to have more right-wing political leanings most of the time.

I do not know exactly who the woman in the right hand picture is but it’s been suggested that it might be a woman named Reem Saleh Al-Riyashi. She was a wealthy Palestinian woman who blew herself up in 2004 and killed four Israeli soldiers and wounded several more. She left behind two children. 

The woman on the left in Holly Fisher, an American woman whose husband is in the military. Apparently she’s got a kid who’s cardiologist was not covered under the new healthcare act here in the US and some other stuff. So she took that picture of herself and another one that’s been making rounds with herself outside of Hobby Lobby.

I notice something about both pictures though. They’re both doing things that their culture deems proper as methods of expressing their patriotism. But you know what I never see anymore? Pictures of people actually reading their holy books?

Used to the pictures of American life you’d see were these men sitting on their porch with the shotgun propped up against the house with a beverage of some sort on a table.  They’d have their boots off, maybe their wife just had finished cooking supper and a pie was cooling in the window. Both of them would be taking a well deserved break from the hard work of the day. Maybe both of them would be smoking a pipe, maybe just the man. There’d be a Bible alright, but it’d be open, worn and one of them would be reading it. It wouldn’t be brand new, clutched tightly and used like a talisman to ward off the liberals. The flag? It’d be on a pole, where it’s supposed to be.

Blood Moons! End of The World! Oh No!

I’ve been posting a lot of sort of religious stuff here lately and for those who read my blog and are a bit turned off by this, I apologize. Book reviews forthcoming! I am kind of a religion nerd especially where traditions, ritual and odd beliefs are concerned. I find it endlessly fascinating. Sometimes, something religious has something to do with natural phenomena and things get really weird. When English speaking people are concerned it gets weird, arrogant and just a little stupid. This whole blood moon thing that’s going around on Facebook and everywhere else shows English speaking arrogance in spades, and how dumb some people can be when they don’t think past their own noses.

What’s A Blood Moon?

For centuries in the English speaking world, possibly thousands of years, there have been creative names for celestial events. Some of them ominous sounding. I used to be pretty heavy into astronomy and never heard the term “Blood Moon” applied to a lunar eclipse (though the moon does appear red sometimes after one). There is however a “Blood Moon” that occurs every year, once a year according to folklore. When someone told me there’d be four Blood Moons in a year, my immediate question was, “So four Harvest moons? Neat.” I had mistakenly thought the Harvest Moon was just a low, full moon that appears orange or red, and usually happens late in the year. So what I had considered was that there was some weird circumstance where there would be a full or nearly full moon four days in a row. Of course this makes no sense.

The actual common lunar event called the “Blood Moon” is just another name for the “Hunter’s Moon” which is the full moon after the Harvest Moon. So it’s the second full moon after the Fall Equinox. However some preacher here in Texas has hijacked the term, and started calling all lunar eclipses “Blood Moons”, jacking up who knows how many centuries of tradition to sell books.

Why Would Lunar Eclipses Be The End of the World?

Well these lunar eclipses fall in a tetrad, meaning four total lunar eclipses in a row. They’re also fairly close together which isn’t uncommon in the grand scheme of things, it at least sounds unusual.

What’s special about these is that they fall on the Jewish holidays of Passover and Tabernacles. There’s also some solar event happening on another Jewish holiday in between somewhere that a few of these prophets of doom have stuck in there. They have a lot to say about how, “God controls the earth and moon and has made this all line up. In the past five hundred years this has only happened a few times and when it has it’s been important for the Jews.” Well, OK. Let’s look at this objectively before we start getting all scared because of a few lunar eclipses. Here’s some data points.

  • The Jewish Calendar is a Lunar Calendar. Each day starts and ends at night.
  • Each month begins and ends on the New Moon.
  • There’s a special 13th month every so often to ‘reset the calendar’ (all lunar calendars have to do this).
  • Total Lunar Eclipses always occur during full moons.
  • Passover starts on the fourteen day of the Jewish month of Nisan. Tabernacles starts on the 15th day of Tishri.
  • The fourteenth and fifteenth day of any lunar month in the Jewish calendar falls on the full moon.
  • Passover and Tabernacles, always, always, always start on a full moon. On purpose.
  • Thus, a lunar eclipse is bound to happen on Passover and Tabernacles at some point.

So when you have a lunar tetrad the Jewish holiday cycle is just set up begging to have lunar eclipses on their holidays, since they practically all start on the night of a full moon. So is it God manipulating the orbit of the moon and planet? Simple coincidence? Or is it when you set up a lunar calendar and put all your holidays on full moons it’s inevitable this is going to happen?

Spoiler alert: It’s the last one. It’s inevitable. These lunar cycles are predictable. You can predict them far into the future, and far into the past.

This eclipse cycle falling on Passover and Tabernacles has happened eight times in the past two thousand years. And regular one off eclipses falling on Jewish holy days has happened hundreds of times since they’ve been celebrating them.

So It’s Inevitable, It’s Happened Before, And Every Time It’s Been Bad For The Jews.

It’s happened before, eight times in the last two thousand years. It’s happened quite a lot before that too, but I can’t be bothered to look at NASA’s charts and try to figure it all out pre-1AD. I think the past two millennial is enough to make my point. So let’s look at these grand omens that happened in the past and how it related to the Jews and how precise God was with warning them.

1492 – Queen Isabella and King Ferdinand tell Jews to get out of Spain if they don’t convert to Roman Catholicism. Forty thousand to two hundred thousand Jews not wanting to convert to Roman Catholicism get the hell out of Spain. Learning of their hardship Sultan Bayezid II (A name they should be teaching in school) of the Ottoman Empire sends out his Navy to make sure they get safely to the lands he rules. They end up mostly in Greece and Turkey.

Columbus “discovers” the New World.

1493 – 1494 – God manipulates the orbit of the moon and earth warning the Jews of their expulsion from Spain a year earlier by making four lunar eclipses in a row on their holy days. Thank goodness!

1948 – Israel basically becomes an independent country! They kick the British out! USA! I mean ISRAEL! This is widely regarded as a mistake and makes a lot of people very angry. Kicks off the Arab-Israeli war. Also sometime in here kicks off a war with Syria. Israel also gets its first President, sadly he won’t start his term for a while.

1949-1950 – God manipulates the orbit of the moon and earth warning the Jews of the bad times they’re about to have with their neighbors a full year after the fact by making some lunar eclipses occur on their holy days four times in a row. Thank goodness for that. Fortunately they end the war with Syria after nineteen months, so there is that.

1967 – The famed six day war in Israel. A bunch of crap happens between Egypt, Jordan, Syria and Israel. A war that lasts six days starts. Israel basically wins.

1967-1968 – God manipulates the orbit of the moon and earth warning the Jews of the bad times they’re about to have with their neighbors. Well actually it’s right on time this time, and the main conflict lasts six days. It actually didn’t suck too bad for them this time. It’s mostly over before the eclipses are though.

So that’s what happened the last three times. Yeah there were some things that happened to some populations of Jews,  but as you can see it didn’t actually happen the years the tetrads happened. Except in 1967. So what about the four times before 1493?

162-163 – Nothing of note seems to have happened to any significant Jewish population. The Armenians did get stomped by the Romans though. The Armenian Jews were probably not super happy about this.

795-796 – Nothing of note seems to have happened to any significant Jewish population. Some Vikings did invade Ireland though. Not sure of any significant Jewish population in Ireland at the time.

842-843 – Nothing of note seems to have happened to any significant  Jewish population. There was a big fire in China, and the Saracens on Crete kicked the crap out of a Byzantine army though. Might have been some Jews on Crete? Maybe there were some Byzantine Jews getting stomped by the Saracens?

860-861 – Nothing of note seems to have happened to any significant  Jewish population. Some Proto-Russians laid seige to Constantinople though. I’m sure some Jews were affected.

This is an example of cherry picking your data. The reason the fear mongers only went back five hundred years, is because the previous 1500 years had nothing of any note happen to any significant Jewish population on years with lunar tetrads on their holy days. There were a lot of times between 1 A.D. and 1492 that Jewish populations got royally screwed, just with no astrological signs matching up. Yeah, 70 A.D., not a good year, no lunar tetrad, at least not on the dates required though. So you just ignore all the times nothing happened, even though there were more tetrads before 1493 where nothing happened than after.

Since you know most people listening to you and buying your book won’t even look this up you just say, “This has happened several times in the last five hundred years and every time it’s coincided with something terrible  happening to the Jews.” As if five centuries is a terribly long time in the grand scheme of things.

But, The Tetrads Have Occurred on these Holidays Three Times in the Last Hundred Years! This must mean something!

This is just sheer coincidence. How many times before 1 A.D. did this happen? Probably a lot. It’s utterly predictable. Complex but predictable. It seems like it will happen again in 2033 and 2061 if I’m reading things correctly. After this it will lengthen out and the tetrads will only match up with the holidays every several hundred years or so.

It’s cyclical. Like just about everything else in astronomy.

So Is the World Going to End Or Not?

These same people have had a different world ending scenario every few years since basically forever. Go look at their track record. There’s no reason to think so. Its the problem with these prophecy things, they never work out. I assume the world will end one day or something bad will happen at some point, and one of these guys will have made some prediction and say, “Look, see! I was right! My asteroid flyby in 2019 was totally predicted by some obscure Bulgarian prophet and the Bible. World’s gonna end!”

Reality is for every time they throw something at the wall and something sort of sticks, there’s a thousand things that don’t. But hey, they’ll sell a ton of books and make money in the process. So I will reveal the formula on how to do this so you too can get rich off of end of the world scenarios.

Formula For Writing a Best Selling Doomsday Book

Step 1 – Pick a religion. Christianity is good because there’s a built in doomsday scenario. It doesn’t have to be Christianity, any religion with an apocalyptic scenario will work. Having over 1/3 of the world’s population as members gives you a good customer base.

Step 2 – Research it well enough to be considered an expert. Maybe go get yourself one of those doctorates in metaphysics or something.

Step 3 – Pick some world event or something and tie it in with your religion’s holy scripture. Don’t worry if it doesn’t make any sense at all. Most people in the religion haven’t read the scripture so they won’t know any better, and most prophetic texts are fairly vague and you can find a translation that will work. Heck you can use multiple translations of said texts to make it work. It can actually be something described in a completely different religion that you tie back into your picked religion. If you do that, you can make stuff up because how many Southern Baptists in Tennessee have even read the Bhagavad Ghita right?

Step 4 – Write a book on it, self publish on Amazon and market the crap out of it. Alternatively there are dozens of religious publishing houses that will gladly publish your work for you, it’s easy.

Step 5 – Pick every kind of pop culture thing that happens, write a blog article about it and tie it into your book. Use social media, religious radio shows, new media, whatever. Also a good reason to pick Christianity because there’s someone out there who will agree with you 100% with a listener base that will read what you’re writing.

 

 

Katy Perry – Satanic Grammy Performance?

So Katy Perry stirred up a storm of crap at the Grammy’s with her “Dark Horse” performance. There have been a lot of accusations about it being a “Satanic Ritual” and so forth and so on. I watched the video because as someone who gets a good laugh when the fundamentalists go off on things like this I have to see if there’s anything to it.

Not a fan of Katy Perry’s music honestly, it’s not bad, just not into pop. I do like the visuals and the geekiness of some of her music videos though. Not sure if that’s her doing or if she’s got a very interesting production team. Either way she’s got some theatrical skill going on that you just don’t see much. I do  admit to liking her gospel rock stuff in 2000 when she billed herself as Katy Hudson and I went through that really stupid phase when I pretended to like only Christian music for the sake of impressing people at my church. I can’t honestly say if I actually liked the music that much back then or if I just thought she was good looking at had good voice.

Anyway, back to the point of the blog post here. The supposed Satanic Ritual Orgy of Doom that she did at the Grammy Awards with High Satanic Priest Juicy-J is what I’m going to talk about.

So, supposedly this whole performance was some dark blessing of the prince of darkness and the song was about sex with aliens, demons and/or angels. The audience then ate it up and cheered like heathens. Then later there was some blasphemous wedding between straight, elderly, gay and possibly interspecies couples or some such and this represented a Satanic shift in American culture (I didn’t watch the wedding part, just Katy Perry). Apparently there was some more evil stuff going on and this was all part of a multi-part ritual of some kind which various sites only vaguely hinted at the meaning of. Jesus will now come back because of this and that’s a bad thing.

I watched the video a few times, read some commentary, read a few sites thoughts on this, comments, and looked at some of the symbolism. I’ve referred to some notes I took on the occult from some interviews with actual practitioners several years ago and my own reading and I will present my thoughts after I break down what I’ve read and why I do or don’t think it’s legitimate.

Note: I am by no means an expert on the occult or the esoteric. I may have missed a few things.

“Ritual Symbolism”

Templar Cross – One claim was that Perry had a Templar cross on her chest. I spent most of the video looking at her chest and can confirm the red LED cross on her chest does vaguely resemble the cross used by the Knights Templar.

500px-Templar_Flag_6.svg
Templar Flag – Supposedly a flag used by the Knights Templar. I got this from Wikipedia. Almost all examples of the Templar cross are this red cross on a white, or sometimes black background. All four arms of the cross are equal length. Only occasionally do you see the traditional cross with the longer bottom arm, usually on shields. A few examples show a red cross with a second, longer horizontal bar at the top.

 

katy-perry-grammys
Katy Perry with a red cross on her chest. This is what a few sites have called a Templar cross. I get why they’d call it that, but seriously it’s only vaguely like one in that it’s red and has the flared ends. I suppose that might be what she was going for but it might be she was just going for a red cross.

Why would they make such a fuss over a Templar cross specifically and not her dressing like a witch with a cross being the only thing covering her otherwise naked chest? Seems like that’d be the more blasphemous thing right? The connection is pretty clear. On Friday October 13, 1307 Pope Clement V of France had the Knights Templar all simultaneously arrested on charges of among other things “idolatry, heresy, and obscene rituals”. Even then most people thought this was all a load of crap. Basically the Templars were disbanded for charges of Satanism. Of course it’s widely viewed that this was made up because the Pope didn’t get his way and King Philip of France was deeply in debt to them and he wanted to not have to pay them back. The Catholic Church’s current position is that this was all completely unjust and I believe John Paul II absolved them several years ago once the Chinon document was found. Still they make popular scapegoats for the uninformed.

Templar Cross = Satan

Molech /Horned Demons – When Perry comes up from the crystal ball you can see these various horned figured behind her. Many of the articles say that this is “Molech”. Who is Molech? Molech, or more properly “Moloch” refers to an ancient Canaanite deity that, according to the Bible and other sources is thought to have demanded human sacrifices.

There’s no particular reason he’s depicted as having horns, just that there’s an 18th century depiction of Moloch as a bull god with horns. There’s some suggestion that he was related to the golden calf in Exodus but I can’t find any ancient depiction of him as a cow god. Some texts suggest he was a sun or fire god so he might have been depicted as more of a large bearded man with crown as William Blake depicted him. Check the Wikipedia article before looking at other articles, it’s pretty straightforward. There’s certainly nothing in the Bible that talks about what he looked like.

Either way the Biblical account suggests heretical Israelites burned their children alive in sacrifice to Moloch. So when someone slaps a horned god or a horned helmet in something sort of dark instead of just screaming “SATAN!” or “DEMONS!” a lot of these people like to look more sophisticated and say it’s really “Moloch” they’re showing because infant sacrifice is a lot more shocking and the former just doesn’t fly any more. A couple of searches would seem to prove them right until you read a little more about Moloch and it tends to fall apart since we don’t ACTUALLY have any depictions of Moloch from Biblical times, just modern depictions.

Frankly this should be just as insulting to your intelligence as if they were saying Perry had multiple Satans in the background. A few decades ago that would have been the tactic they would have used though as people would have bought the demon thing a lot easier.Honestly if there was any purposeful symbolism the “Molechs” are probably dark forest spirits more like Pan as that’s the usual witch symbolism.

Moloch =/= Satan because people won’t buy SATAN!!! anymore or DEMONS! And an old Hebrew/Canaanite god that people sacrificed babies to that artists depicted as a horned idol is more shocking. Been a lot of throwing baby sacrificing around lately. It stupid.

Satanic Hypnotic Ritual Dancers – The dancers themselves didn’t seem to be as big a deal as the rest of the performance but some of the commenters compared it to a Roman orgy. I won’t spend any time on this. They were scantily clad contortionists dressed to fit the theme.

The Lyrics – The lyrics basically boiled down to Perry’s witch character warning a man that he should not fall in love with her because that might be the last thing he would do. At the same time she wanted that. It contained themes of sex with aliens and the supernatural.This is a fairly common occult theme. I hear more of this from the evangelical side of things and not actual occultists. If you go on YouTube and look up a guy named Bill Schnoebelen and watch his video lectures on how he used to be a vampire you’ll see this theme. He talks about sex with a demon being part of becoming a vampire.

There’s another “ritual” I’ve heard of from the great satanic panic of the 80’s about having “sex in the air” with a demon being part of a bizarre rape ritual. Just about every one of these “former high priests of Satan who find Jesus” has some story about how they had sex with some supernatural entity, alien that is really a supernatural entity, possessed person, or something even grosser like a child. Why they’d admit the latter and no one called the police immediately I have no idea. Saving grace of Jesus Christ right? Immediate forgiveness for child rapists. WWJD.

Funny thing is that this all comes from Christians who say they used to be into the occult but are usually found out to be frauds later. I’ve never heard of this kind of thing from people who are practicing occultists. One could say they keep it secret but there are always people who talk. Where are the people who turn atheist who talk about that? They don’t exist, it’s always Christian evangelicals who talk about the sex with the devil thing.

Lyrics = Occult = SATAN = Save us Jesus from the devil conspiracy.

Other Themes – There was the brooms that are typically associated with witches, used as stripper poles. This seemed more mocking and sexy than any kind of symbolism.

The Well – Just a thematic/aesthetic element. Seems common for the dark forest motif.

The Stake/Burning – The end of the witch is burning at the stake. I don’t know why a Satanic rite would end with the traditional Judao-Christian/Muslim/Major Religious Way of dealing with witches way of dealing with witches but this is what happens to evil witches.

My thoughts

I would have just blown this one off entirely if my Facebook feed wasn’t entirely full of this bullcrap. At least it wasn’t as bad as the whole Easter/Ishtar thing.

I think quite simply that Katy Perry’s performance was more “Halloween” than “Satanic Ritual” and the only people who say otherwise are trying to sell something. In fact that seems to be what almost every article I read was trying to do.

One of them talked about how evil the performance was, how hypnotic the Satanic ritual was, said not to let children watch it, then had an embedded video right there. So great, evil devil ritual that entraps the minds of men, just post that sucker right on your website right? Then it talked about Molech and sounded like they knew what they were talking about. A few words about some Satanist “elites” and then it was selling a $20 book on the end times and what to do about it. I found about three of these with different books to sell. Some talked about the wedding thing, others talked about another performance, but they all talked about Satan, end times, scary stuff, and then tried to sell something.

The other type of site was Catholic. They weren’t trying to sell anything, they did have a link to, not so much the video but some clips. They commented, talked about how America and the world was going to hell in a hand basket, how Jesus was coming back soon and how we should fight this evil then provided a link to some Catholic resources and were done. I didn’t find any kind of Protestant resources like this at all, but then I didn’t search for them, this was just what was linked on my Facebook feed (oddly by Protestants).

But back to my thoughts on the performance. I didn’t find any sort of ‘evil’ in it. It was an attempt by a fairly talented performer at being ‘dark’ and sexy. She used popular imagery, not any sort of occult symbolism. This was all stuff that’s in the popular consciousness and while some of it might have some esoteric meaning, it’s unlikely that was the intent. Any religious anyone, occult or not, will tell you that intent is what matters, not the song and dance. She pulled off the dark and sexy very well, if her intent was evil, I didn’t get that.

I heard a lot of fear, a lot of talk about evil, and blasphemy and Satan. What exactly about this Grammy awards and Miss Perry’s performance was more disturbing than that of performers of the past? Or popular songs of the past?

There was a popular song in the 50’s by a guy named “Screamin’ Jay Hawkins” called “I Put a Spell On You” that’s been recorded by a LOT of popular bands. You’ve heard it. Names like Creedance Clearwater Revival, Dr. John (I think), Bett Midler, Alice Cooper and tons of others have covered it. It is blatantly about a witch doctor putting a spell on a woman and having his way with her because he’s obsessed. I’m sure there was a lot of crap about that in the 50’s but now we just look at it and say, “How quaint”. The dude dressed up like a witch doctor when he performed it and was considered the first shock rocker almost sixty years ago. I’m sure my grandparents found all this disturbing, or highly amusing, I’ll ask them and if they even remember it I’d be surprised. The song is considered one of those foundational songs of rock and roll. Think anyone will cover “Dark Horse” two years from now much less sixty?

Resetting the Maintenance Required Light On a 2007 Toyota Corolla S

Not really a computer tech subject but something I had to deal with recently. The maintenance required light came on my car and I was about to take it to the mechanic. Luckily I did not and decided to check it out on the internet to make sure it didn’t mean something else first.

Apparently with Toyota vehicles the “Maintenance Required” and “Check Engine” lights are two separate things. On some cars they are not. It’s basically just a mileage counter to let you know when it’s time to change your oil and filters. Now I know from the dealership as well as how my oil looks that it is nowhere near time to change my oil. Sometimes the maintenance people or whoever forget to reset this when they are done with the oil changes and likely that’s what happened in this case since I just bought it a few months ago. It’s typically not a big deal.

So I looked up how to reset the light. Apparently different Toyota models have different processes and mine has one that differs from the norm. So here’s how to reset mine if anyone is looking specifically for how to reset it on a 2007 Toyota Corolla S. If you are looking for other models this might be what you need. I’ve also added notes on what the differences I saw were for other Toyota’s so maybe you don’t have to go to a bajillion other sites and try other things.

How to Reset the Maintenance Required Light on a 2007 Toyota Corolla S

Step 1 – Turn the car on, but don’t start it. It has to be on, but not on the “Acc(essory)” position. NOTE: Some models need this to be on the accessory position. You can tell if the digital odometer readout comes on when you put the key in this position.

Step 2 – Push the button next to your odometer. This is the readout on your car that tells how many miles are on the engine. It needs to read “ODO”. NOTE: Some models need this set on “Trip A”.

Step 3 – Turn the car off.

Step 4 – Hold down the button next to the odometer.

Step 5 – Continue to hold the button down and turn the car on, but not start it. The car should beep and the readout should have a few dashes on it that will slowly decrease in number. Once the dashes count down to zero the read out will briefly display all zeros. NOTE: If your car is one that requires you to put it in the accessory position do this.

Step 6 – Release the button when the odometer returns to normal.

Success! Once you start the car, the Maintenance Required light should not be on anymore.

NOTE: If it’s the check engine light that comes on or if the Maintenance Required light comes back on pretty quick after you reset it, you should probably take it to the mechanic or back into the people who changed your oil.

Examples of Halloween Nonsense From Jack Chick

Was doing some research to prove a few of my points for my Halloween articles. Here’s one of the worst offenders for the demonization of all things entertaining and fun. Good old Jack Chick. I used to love this guy’s stuff, but it’s so full of misinformation, fabrication and outright lies you can’t really see the truth when it’s there anymore. The Muslim stuff is so bad that even when missionaries and Christian scholars on Islam gave him stuff that actually agree with, and proved the stance he wanted to take, he still went with the “Allah is a moon god” nonsense just because it was more dramatic. Continue reading “Examples of Halloween Nonsense From Jack Chick”

Origins of Christian Holidays – Halloween and Lemuria – Part 4 of Several

The Real Depaganization – Lemuria

So if in all likelihood the moving of All Saints Day to November wasn’t to Christianize Samhain, what was it for? Well it might have been to Christianize a different festival from Rome called “Lemuria”.

According to Ovid the festival was instituted by Romulus himself to appease the spirit of his dead brother Remus. You were supposed to walk around barefoot and throw black beans over your shoulder and chant “haec ego mitto; his redimo meque meosque fabis”  nine times. This would exorcise the vengeful spirits or “lemures”. It apparently turned into a huge three or four day party from May 11th to May 13th on the Julian calendar.

Supposedly Pope Boniface IV consecrated the Pantheon on the 13th of May to get rid of the holiday and replace it with All Saint’s Day. Though some link the date with St. Ephrem. I can’t find any sources in English to confirm or deny this. They’re all in Latin and I don’t read enough Latin to really tell what it’s saying one way or another. It does seem likely that the festival had at least something to do with it.

I find it odd that it took so long to do so. Constantine made Christianity the state religion of Rome in 313 and it was almost three hundred years later before Boniface did his thing in 609. Typically when Christianity takes over, pagan festivals and stuff go out the window fairly quickly, or at very least get a fairly thick coat of crosses, bread and wine painted over them. Usually doesn’t take three to five hundred years and three Popes to get rid of something not Christian. Heck, many times, the converted volunteer to abandon the old ways almost immediately. That’s the sort of thing you tend to expect when communities convert.

However, I find that there’s more to this idea than the Pope trying to supplant Samhain. The festival of Lemuria did take place in Rome, he was definitely trying to ‘cleanse’ a non-Christian temple to pagan Gods. Boniface was basically saying that instead of the Pantheon being dedicated to Jupiter, Venus, Mercury and Neptune it is now dedicated to Mary, Peter, Paul, Joseph and Andrew, thus “de-paganizing” it and making a sort of holiday to all the saints and memorializing all the dead that have gone before.

Likely as not the idea of a holiday commemorating the dead saints or martyrs was a bit older than 609, but the timely gift of the Pantheon to Boniface IV and the festival of Lemuria fit very well with the idea. The idea took hold, spread and it was celebrated in May for almost three centuries until Gregory III changed it to November.

 

Origins of Christian Holidays – Halloween and Samhain – Part 3 of Several

Samhain – The Myth, The Truth and the Bullcrap

So one of the big things we’re all told about Halloween is that it’s just a thinly veiled pagan holiday called “Samhain” that takes place on October 31st. The thought is that’s because that’s when the pagan Celts who did all kinds of horrible things thought the veil between this world and the next was the thinnest and all the Halloween traditions stem from the horrific things they did to each other on the 31st of October.

There are a few things I’ve found out about the Celts and their calendar that I feel need to be pointed out before getting too deeply into the traditions surrounding Samhain and which ones are actually ancient since there’s a lot of confusion surrounding the whole thing that need some clarification.

  1. The Celts were a vast group of more or less tribal people that inhabited a huge area that consisted of Spain, France, the British Islands, and a vast strip of land as far East as Romania. There were also some Celtic peoples in modern day Turkey. I believe the “Galatians” that Paul wrote to in the Bible were displaced Celts. They were not any sort of unified group like say the Romans, or even a semi-unified group of city states like the Greeks as far as I can tell. There are a few Celtic ethno-linguistic groups left today.
  2. The Celtic Calendar was a lunisolar calendar that attempted to synchronize the lunar and solar calendars. There is a bronze tablet called the “Coligny Calendar” preserved in the Gallo-Roman Museum in Lyon France that preserves how the Celts kept time.
  3. The Calendar starts with the month of “Samonios”. This is where the controversy starts with the whole thing. It’s always been assumed that Samonios has corresponded with the Old Irish “Samhain” but “Samon” is apparently Gaulish for “Summer”. So many scholars assumed the Celtic year started in Autumn, whereas it probably (and honestly more logically) started in the Summer. The Wikipedia entry gives the translation for “Samonios” in various Celtic languages as “midsummer” and only in Old Irish does the Samhain mean “Summer’s End” or “November”. So we might be looking down the barrel of a false cognate. In fact as you’ll see from the pronunciation of “Samhain” that’s likely the problem.

 

My point above is that I believe the Samhain connection to the Halloween festivals were somewhat coincidental now. It could be exactly as tradition says, that Pope wanted to supplant those festivals, but considering most Samhain traditions as we are familiar with were from Ireland and Scotland at the time, not the already extremely Catholic Holy Roman Empire, Spain (or whatever it was called in 600-900AD), Frankish Empire and England (the other formerly Celtic countries Rome stomped the crap out of before the Church came around) I somehow doubt the two Gregories moved the date to screw with a couple of minor islands. They had bigger fish to fry. So I think we can probably discount the evil Catholic Church trying to stomp out pagan traditions in Ireland by moving a holiday around at least for the time being.

Also considering “Samhain” and “Samonios” look like they were two different things to two different peoples. I tend to wonder if it was politically motivated at all, or if either Gregory even knew of the Irish/Scot traditions.

When Did Samhain Occur?

To throw another monkey wrench into some of the neo-pagan claims about the holiday I’d like to point out a few things about the calendars. The Celtic calendars were apparently not uniform. The Coligny calendar as I pointed out was a solar-lunar calendar that tried to make the lunar and solar calendars match. This is for all practical purposes, impossible. There are a lot of reasons why, which I won’t go into. If you want to find out why, a good place to start is just some basic astronomy, specifically lunar and solar cycles.

The Irish/Gaelic Calendars didn’t seem to match too heavily with the Coligny Calendar and borrows from the Julian calendar for month names. It’s generally known that the month of Samhain is the month of November and most neo-pagans celebrate Samhain on All Saints Day. This, however is a bit of a mistake. The Celts seemed to place importance on dates falling in the middle of certain solar or lunar events. That’s why we have phrases like “Midsummer’s Eve”. You might have even heard the phrase associated with Halloween even. Samhain the day was one of these days. Why you would call November 1st , “Midsummer’s Day” is probably the first thing one should thing very hard about, since it is actually “Mid-Autumn day” according to every reasonable northern hemisphere reckoning, but that’s a different debate entirely.

So if you want to calculate when Samhain falls you need to find the Fall Equinox and the Winter Solstice and find the date right in the center of the two. So here’s the dates for 2013:

Fall Equinox – September 22nd

Winter Solstice – December 21st

This is exactly 90 days. So 45 days from September 22nd is November 6th. Samhain, as far as the Solar calendar is concerned is on November 6th this year, and practically every year before and since, it only changes a little due to leap years, and only by a day or two.

Now, since the Celts wanted a lunisolar calendar, this might not be particularly true with all the Celtic tribes. From what I could gather they placed some importance on full and new moons. November 3rd is a New Moon, and just three days off from the numerically correct day. The alternative date might be November 17th, but that’s probably too far off to be right most of the time. Since most lunisolar calendars had different methods of adjustments they probably had ways to account for this as the lunar got out of sync with the solar. So by whatever addition or subtraction of a week or so that they did to make this work, Samhain would have fallen anywhere between the 3rd and the 17th of November this year.

There seems to be a lot of debate as to whether the new moon or the full moon was more important to the Celts, and likely as not it depended more on the particular tribe as there wasn’t any sort of unified “Celtic Tradition” among any of them. It just so happens the Irish Celts have survived the longest so their culture is the one that is looked too when trying to decipher the rest.  Likely as not they either added a week or a month every so often to make things match up to adjust for this problem. If you want to know more just check the wikipedia page. They wouldn’t be the only culture to have come up with such a calendar.

If we were still using the Julian Calendar it would have been shifted over about 13 days, though it would have fallen during the same time of year as far as the seasons are concerned. If we were still using the Julian calender the correct date for Samhain this year would be something like October 24th as far as I can figure because of the 13 day shift. Keep in mind that it’s the same day, just that the calendar is shifted in relation to Catholic Easter somewhat. It just throws the “November 1st is Samhain” into question. Hilariously, if the British Empire hadn’t converted to the Gregorian Calender right before the U.S. gained independence, it’s likely the U.S. wouldn’t use the same calender much less the same measuring system as the rest of the world. Can you imagine convincing Americans to change their calender just because come Pope said so? Heck, the Russians and Greeks didn’t until the 20th century.

 

Samhain Traditions

So first off you need to know how to pronounce Samhain. The best pronunciation I’ve heard is “Sow-ahn”. It’s old Irish so just ignore all the letters and listen to how someone pronounces it. The ‘mh’ makes a ‘w’ sound. Why? I have no idea. British translators probably. If it were American or French translators it would be written “Sowan” or “Souin”. The word itself means “Summer’s End” or it could also mean something like “Assembly”.

The other thing is that, as any farmer can tell you, harvest is well done and over by the end of October so it’s not a harvest festival. It was a bigger deal to herdsmen by the first part of November. It was basically when you moved your livestock to the winter pastures, figured out which ones needed to be graduated to hamburgers, and take stock of your food supplies for the onset of winter.

So your churches doing some stupid “Harvest Festival” instead of Halloween or All Saints party are ignorant at best, and stupid at worst.

Guising 

The familiar dressing up in costume on Halloween may come from the Samhain tradition of “guising”. People would dress up in costumes or just masks as a way to befuddle the spirits that were supposed to be about on Samhain. This was fairly common in the Scottish highlands, parts of Ireland, Wales, and Mann (according to Wikipedia). Sometimes this was done in Ireland when they went around to collect for the Samhain feast and for a white mare procession after the 19th century.

We have stuff written about the Celts that date back to 40 BC (or so)  written by such people as Julius Caesar, Pliny the Elder, Lucan, and their contemporaries. Their festivals and traditions are well documented with varying degrees of reliability and none of the truly ancient stuff talks about the costumes that I can find. One would think Julius Caesar would have mentioned the odd tradition of running around dressed like a demon for no clear reason. So this “ancient” Samhain tradition might only be about five or six hundred years old.

Bonfires

What I can find an ancient reference to is fire. On Samhan night in the Scottish Highlands they’d make a ring of stones, one stone for each man involved,  I don’t know, and light a humongous bonfire. This is where some of the anti-Halloween propaganda comes from. The thought is that if a stone were mislaid that person wouldn’t live through the year, and might recall an earlier tradition where people were actually sacrificed on Samhain night. One interesting part of this would be that boys in some places would go to different houses collecting donations for the bonfires.

This is where we get into some very skeptical territory. See, the accounts we have of druidic/celtic human sacrifice don’t actually come from the Catholic church like some neo-pagan people claim. See, the Church didn’t wipe the druids out, Rome did a fine job of that. We don’t really know much about them at all. Most of our documentation on them comes from Julius Caesar himself (funny how he keeps coming up in my research on this). He needed a way to justify his war with the Gauls to the Roman Senate so he did what a lot of people do to horrify people, he claimed the druidic religious leaders of the Celts practiced human sacrifice, which was something that horrified the Romans. We don’t actually have any real evidence that they did this, and he conveniently doesn’t mention them ever again.  Julius got his war, and human sacrifice has been attributed to Samhain tradition, probably mistakenly, ever since. Some of them might have been head hunters, but practitioners of extensive ritual human sacrifice they were not.

Divination

One thing you read about in American history class in school is the old Halloween parties. People would gather at houses and play games. Bobbing for apples and things like that. The other thing they would do was play divination games. Women would drop egg whites in water and the shapes that formed would show children or their future husband. This very practice was what was shown getting some of the women in trouble during the Salem witch trials of the 1600’s. Other divination games included mirrors, tossing apple cores over the shoulder, and reading tea leaves in the bottom of cups I’m sure. This sort of thing does go back to ancient times.

Jack-O-Lanterns

This is one of those traditions that may or may not actually be pagan. I was always told jack-o-lanterns were set out or carried around to ward off evil spirits or fairies but some people seem to think that this, like trick or treating, might actually be an entirely christian tradition. The original jack-o-lanterns were made from turnips and might have represented the souls of the dead in purgatory (remember a big part of the Hallowmas traditions was praying for the Church Penitent).

Trick-Or-Treating

This might not be an ancient Samhain tradition either. Apparently part of the All Saints traditions from the Church was the concept of giving children “Soul Cakes” or sending them out souling to gather said “soul cakes”. Apparently they’d go door to door and collect them. This could have also come from the boys being sent door to door gathering firewood donations for the bonfires. I don’t see why this has to be a pagan or christian tradition at all. Seems like most every culture’s holidays involve either giving children candy or some kind or sending children out to gather stuff for the celebration.

Anti-Catholic Propaganda?

It’s not entirely certain whether much of the demonizing of Halloween is anti-Catholic propaganda or not. I tend to think it’s a bit of both. Current tradition has it that the various Popes instituted Hallowmas when they did to get rid of or supplant Samhain. This has morphed into the holiday being absorbed, and then outright ‘devil worship’ by the Catholic Church, probably to covert people away from Catholicism to Protestantism. This was done with Easter, and it wouldn’t be surprising if the same tactic wasn’t used with Hallowmas.

As you can see with Samhain the celebrations weren’t really about the same thing. Hallowmas is a Christian celebration of the dead, and those who have gone before. Some other religions have some analogous traditions. Most of those are New World traditions. The Celtic traditions have a lot more to do with end of Fall festivals. From what I can tell the American Thanksgiving celebration has a bit more in common with Samhain than the Christian Hallowmas at least in intent.

 

Origin of Christian Holidays – Halloween – Part 2 of Several

A Brief History of The Origins of Halloween, or more properly Hallowmas

Hallowmas as the more or less Christian tradition is definitively traced to May 13th, 609 A.D. when Pope Boniface IV consecrated the Pantheon in Rome to the Blessed Virgin and all the martyrs. According to Wikipedia there is evidence that May 13th was celebrated as such back to the fifth century but it isn’t certain.

The date was moved to November 1st some time later between 731 and 741 A.D. by Pope Gregory III, or some time between 827 and 844 by Gregory IV. The sources are a bit confusing, probably because it was two Gregories. From what I can gather Gregory III changed the date of the celebration in Rome itself. Gregory IV actually made the change official for the entire church during his Papacy. Either way it seems most people were already celebrating Hallowmas in November by the time Gregory IV took over, he just made it official. This is an important distinction for reasons I’ll bring up in the following articles.

This is where things get a bit fuzzy in the details. I was pretty sure I had the basic idea right, just as I was pretty sure I know about the pagan origins of Easter too. The traditional view of Halloween is that it arose to replace or give Christians a substitute for pagan harvest and death festivals, most notably a replacement for the Celtic Samhain. The idea being that as these Celtic peoples were converted, a lot of their traditions were absorbed and assimilated, which invariably helped ease their conversion.

I was surprised to find that there is some scholarship that points out that this might not be the case, and that All Saints Day traditions might have arisen independently of Celtic/pagan traditions. The other view is that there might not have been any sort of universal Celtic religious festival at all. This is interesting to say the least.

Hallowmas

So there are three days of Hallowmas, and if you are a practicing Catholic you probably already know all this, if you are a Protestant like you probably know just about Halloween and that it comes before All Saints Day. So I’ll try to break down what the three days mean, and add the fourth more modern-day that’s been added just for fun.

Halloween/All Hallow’s Eve/Witch’s Night – This is the night before All Saints Day. It is October 31st and the holiday most everyone is familiar with. If you live in the U.S. you probably went Trick or Treating as a kid, dress up in costumes, and go to parties. You might have been taught that the pagans believed that the veil between the world of the living and the dead was thinnest on this night. This is actually traditional Christian belief. In many Catholic countries there would be a vigil for the dead in preparation for All Saints Day, often including a fast. In the U.S. this was a night for parties, feasting and divination games.

All Saints Day – This is November 1st. For Catholics the idea is to memorialize those saints who are being purified in Purgatory or who have already gone on to heaven. They call this the ‘church penitent’ and the ‘church triumphant’ respectively. Various traditionally Catholic countries have different traditions surrounding the day. One typical tradition many cultures share is to go to the graves of relatives and refresh the flowers, light candles and re-paint anything that needs painting at the cemetery. There’s also a Mass and feast that is held on the Sunday of November 1st, or the one following it. It’s a holy day of obligation and a national holiday in most traditional Catholic countries.

All Souls Day  – In the U.S. we probably are more familiar with the Dia De Los Muertos celebrations which take place on November 1st and 2nd due to our neighbors to the south. It’s not exactly the same thing. The day is when those dead in purgatory are commemorated especially. The tradition goes back to St. Odilo of Cluny in roughly 998 as a special day of intercession for those souls in purgatory so they could go on to heaven quicker. In some countries you go to church on this day and pray for the dead souls and others this is the day you go to the cemetery.

A Few Notable Variations

Dia De Los Muertos – As I mentioned Dia De Los Muertos is what we in the US are more properly familiar with. Some places say “Dia De Muertos”, I’m not sure what the proper way to say it is, but the former is how I’ve always heard it said. This is a primarily Mexican Holiday celebrated in place of Hallowmas. It’s properly the 1st and 2nd of November. The 1st is remembering dead children specifically, and is called something like “Day of the Little Angels” or “Day of the Innocents”, and the 2nd of November is properly “The Day of the Dead” which is when remembering your adult ancestors takes place. If you’ve seen the candy skulls, parades with skeletons, and sometimes literal moving ancestors through the streets, that’s November 2nd in Mexico. This is an Aztec celebration that was absorbed and Christianized when the Spanish colonized North America. Honestly, I don’t know why Halloween/Dia De Los Muertos isn’t a three-day celebration that puts Carnivale and Mardi Gras to shame in the southwestern U.S and Mexico. Make it happen people!

Devil’s Night – This is the night before Halloween and is specifically called this in Detroit, although it’s called that here too. In Detroit it’s called that because on October 30th all the inner city youth go out and burn the city to the ground every year for some reason. I thought this was made up for the movie “The Crow” but apparently not. Anyway, in the U.S, Canada, and UK this is when older kids, teenagers and adults who are still basically kids go out and egg your house, throw toilet paper in your trees and generally do random acts of petty vandalism and practical jokes.