Posted in Blogtober, History

Blogtober Day 17: Spooky History Facts

Something I’m finding really fun about Blogtober is all the historical research I’m getting to do when looking into the origins of Halloween and everything associated with it. I thought it would be interesting to share five weird and spooky Halloween-related facts from history that aren’t long enough for a post of their own today.

  1. During the Reformation, many Catholic churches were looted, especially in Germany, where the Protestant Revolution began. To make up for the lost treasures of the Catholic churches, skeletons of old Christian martyrs were retrieved from the Roman Catacombs. They were decorated with gold, jewels and lavish clothing and given the name ‘Catacomb Saints’, many can still be found in German Catholic churches to this day.
  2. During the Middle Ages, a bizarre pandemic occurred known as the ‘Medieval Dancing Mania’. This is pretty much exactly what it sounds like, someone would start dancing uncontrollably and others would end up getting the urge to join them. Some cases were so severe that some who caught the bug would literally dance until they died. Speaking of bugs though, a similar affliction caught on in Italy, specifically in the town of Taranto, where the bite of a wolf spider was said to cause a state of frenzy known as Tarantism. A strange cure was devised for this condition, a dance called the Tarantella which is still a popular style of dance now.
  3. Speaking of strange and spooky Italian history, I have to mention the particularly ferocious King Ferdinand I of Naples, also known as Ferrante. This ruler had an unusual and pretty brutal way of dealing with his enemies. After they would be tortured and executed, he would have them embalmed and mummified so he could keep them forevermore.
  4. There are a lot of spooky stories connected to the London Underground, from rumours around the lines curving around known plague pits to ghosts that are said to haunt the many stations. What is for certain is that, according to TFL, there are at least 40 disused Overground and Underground stations, many sitting empty deep deep under the streets of the city.
  5. Sherlock Holmes author, Sir Arthur Conan Doyle, is probably one of the most well-known spiritualists in history but did you know that he was also a member of The Ghost Club? This group aimed to investigate reported ghostly activity as the rise of Spiritualism (which could do with its own post!) also saw a huge amount of opportunists faking hauntings for cash. The Ghost Club is still running to this day and notable former members include Charles Dickens, Charles Babbage, W. B. Yeats, Siegfried Sassoon and Peter Cushing.

I have more spooky history facts to share but I’ll leave it here for now. Check back for another post of creepy facts from history on my blog soon. Thanks for reading!

Author:

Hey, thanks for visiting my blog. My name's Georgia and I'm a 24 year-old Brit navigating life, both in and out of the blogosphere. I share my love of musicals, books, TV, films, history and dogs (watch out for every chance I get to mention Rebel, my labradoodle!) on this blog. Enjoy!

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