Halloween. The word brings to mind ghosts, mummies, witches, jack o’lanterns, haunted houses and the full moon hanging above stark branches. Along with those images are the animals and insects of Halloween. Bats, black cats, ravens, owls, spiders and even toads have been part of Halloween lore. Many of our superstitions surrounding these images, date back to the Middle Ages. It was a time when people feared what they did not understand. Myths, superstitions and legends have been passed down through generations, based on religious and cultural beliefs.
Witches riding broomsticks or stirring at a caldron are a common Halloween sight. The word witch comes from the old English “Wicca” or “Wicce”. Because of the misconceptions of their knowledge of herbs and other treatments, witches became the victims of persecution that carried down throughout the years. Black cats, bats and even toads were associated with the witch.
Witches were thought to use bats in their brews. Black cats were thought to be “familiars”. (In medieval times “familiars” were thought to be a supernatural entity, believed to assist witches, often in the form of an animal.) The misunderstood toad, thought to be poisonous because of their self -defense system of excreting a skin irritant, was also believed to be a familiar of the witch.
Spiders are a big part of Halloween decorations. Most of us have an instinctive fear of spiders, helping to make this a popular part of the season. Adding to that fear is the fact that some spiders are venomous. Not to mention their draping webs that cling to our skin and clothing.
Ravens are omnivores that scavenge carcasses, including ours.
Ghosts were thought to be spirits of people who had died under violent or sudden circumstances.
Jack-o-lanterns date back to the use of lanterns carved from turnips or potatoes to ward off a myth about “Stingy Jack”. When immigrants arrived in America they brought that tradition with them. Upon discovering the pumpkin, they found it made the perfect lantern, thus the jack-o-lantern.
Luckily we have educated ourselves past the fear associated with the old legends. The ghosts, pumpkins, witches, spiders, black cats, bats and ravens now make fun additions to our Halloween festivities. These animals, we now realize, are beneficial to our environment. The bats, spiders and toads eat insects. Owls and cats consume destructive rodents. Ravens clean up carcasses, otherwise left to rot.
So have a safe, enjoyable and spooky Halloween and watch out for things that go bump in the night.
Enjoy the fall weather and if you need our services, give our office a call at 800-966-9599 or visit our website at www.worldpestonline.com.
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