January, 2016-Chris Friend
The Author of spring
Lights the lantern of the sun
To thaw winter’s cold heart
In the hard earth,
The hearth of nature’s fire.
Hello there, fellow soon-to-be Martians!
Pigs are not normally animals we associate with fairies or
the winter solstice, but in ancient folklore they are connected to
both. Pigs were often the animals slaughtered at Samhain (Sow-Unn) and
salted for the coming winter gloom. In this case they were seen as sacred to a
variety of gods and goddesses, most notably the Tuatha De Dannaan,
the legendary deities who ruled Ireland before the advent of
Christianity. It was believed they gained immortality from eating the
sacred flesh of magical swine.
There are many tales of fairy pigs who had magical
powers. In some folklore, pigs are associated with the dead and the
Underworld. An old English superstition is a tale of a fairy pig who
wanders the night on New Year’s Eve. Pigs also have a connection with the
winter solstice. Those Christmas werewolves known as the Callicantzari
were said to steal, Grinch fashion, the roast pork from holiday
feasts. The evil Callicantzari would slip down the chimney, unlike
Santa, to disrupt the sacred celebration.
In old Rumania there were tales of were-pigs who made
plenty of mischief at this sacred time. During these ancient times it was beef
and pork that was most available for the Celts, which might explain some
of this folklore. Even today it is considered good luck to break a peppermint
pig on New Year’s Eve. At Halloween pork was the meat of choice, mixed
with potatoes and cabbage. Known as colcannon, it was commonly prepared for the
Eve of All Saints.
I have to admit that, besides
The Bride of
Frankenstein, the other Universal horror film I love is 1935’s Dracula’s
Daughter. Obviously made on a smaller budget than its precursor, I still
loved the exotic Countess Dracula. The best scene in the film is when the lady
vampire seduces a young street walker (Nan Grey). Far ahead of its time, with
Gloria Holden as the Countess Dracula, even given its limited budget
I found it to be quite stylish.
And for a little nepotism here, my sister Susan Sheppard
has just had another book of poetry, BALEFIRE, released. There are several
excellent Halloween poems as well as a few spooky Christmas ones, published
by Crisis Chronicles Press. www.crisischroniclespress.com.
Her “Eve of All Souls” is a very creepy poem set on Halloween night in
rural West Virginia. Susan’s Haunted Parkersburg Tour is the 8th
most popular ghost tour in the nation. She also teaches poetry every Thursday
night at Sacred Way Arts, and has appeared on quite a few TV shows like
Family Channel’s Scariest Places and Haunted Canada.
The Halloween Issue of Night to Dawn #
28 is now available. For a nice little bloody valentine for Valentine’s
Day, visit www.bloodredshadow.com. See
you in the spring!
Friend, firstname.lastname@example.org, of
Parkersberg, West Virginia, who wrote BP
#72’s 2-poem set, “Ed Gein” & “Sour Puss” (and the 2008 poem “All Hallows’
Eve”), writes and illustrates our “MARS News” column. He did a cover for Black Petals back in 2000 for the fall
issue, and has been around ever since. BP
keeps up two websites for him and prints his column in the issue quarterly.
Chris has a gallery on this site: http://chris.michaelherring.net/ and was featured
artist in Kurt Newton’s Ultimate PerVersities (Naked Snake)