We’re right on the brink of All Hallows Eve and I couldn’t resist sharing a few more spooky facts with you. Check out my Spooky Facts and More Spooky Facts posts if you want to discover more chilling truths to get you in spirit of the season.
- Consider the coconut – In Spanish, Hispanic and Portuguese cultures, there is a figure called El Coco or El Cuco, a kind of boogeyman figure used to scare children. As the story goes, El Coco eats children who misbehave so he is often used by parents to get children to do as they’re told. The slightly odd part of this story is the theory on his name. The word “coco” seems to have its roots in the Portuguese and Spanish words relating to the head and skull. When Portuguese explorers found coconuts they decided the three dots on the top resembled a human face and so the name was born. There are also some who believe that El Coco’s name comes from the humble coconut due to the linguistic connections but this has never been proven for certain.
- The body of William Burke – William Burke is best known for being part of the murdering duo Burke and Hare in 1820s Edinburgh. These two committed 16 murders and sold the bodies to Robert Knox, a physician, to dissect. The last of their victims was of Margaret or Marjory Docherty, murdered on the 31st October 1828. Witnesses that had seen Docherty with Burke and Hare the night before found her body under a bed where Burke was staying and went straight to the police. After Burke, Hare and both of their wives were caught, Hare entered a deal with the police whereby he revealed the details of all the murders to get both him and his wife off the crime. This led to Burke taking the fall for pretty much everything. If the story wasn’t dark enough, Burke’s body was sent to the same fate as his victims but with some particularly gruesome extras. A letter was written in Burke’s blood which now lives in the University of Edinburgh archives, his skin was used to make a book and a calling card holder and his skeleton is still on display at the Anatomical Museum at Edinburgh University to this day. Hare’s fate is unknown.
- Once in a blue moon – Did you know that Halloween 2020 falls on a blue moon? A blue moon is the second full moon in a calendar month. As the saying suggests, they are quite rare, they usually only occur every couple of years. Sadly though, blue moons aren’t actually blue, they just look like a regular full moon – still great to howl at on Halloween though!
- Unlucky number 13 – The number 13 is recognised as an unlucky number all the time, there are even hotels that won’t have a 13th floor or room because of the association. The classic reasoning as to why 13 is the unluckiest number or, at least, the reason I’d heard before is that in the Bible, the 13th person to take a seat at the Last Supper table is Judas Iscariot, the one to betray Jesus. Turns out there’s another theory. 13 is an awkward prime number which follows 12, considered a “perfect” number. This might sound a bit odd but if you think about how our whole world runs on the number 12, you might not roll your eyes at this idea. There are 12 months in a calendar year and our days are broken into two sets of 12 hour chunks. There were 12 Olympians, 12 Tribes of Israel, 12 Days of Christmas, 12 sons of Odin, 12 signs in both the astrological and Chinese zodiacs, 12 Christian apostles… the list goes on. We seem to be obsessed! Maybe 13 is just unlucky itself since it has such a tough act to follow.
- The Brown Lady of Raynham Hall – One of the most famous ghost photos ever taken is supposed to show the Brown Lady of Raynham Hall, though some claim it’s a fake. However, the Brown Lady has been spotted for three centuries and is believed to be the spirit of Dorothy Townsend. She was married to Viscount Townsend and rumour has it, he locked up her in Raynham Hall after discovering that she had been having an affair with Thomas Wharton. Another little tidbit of interesting info here is that Dorothy was the sister of Robert Walpole, the first official prime minister of the UK and the aunt of Horace Walpole who, arguably, invented the horror genre which you can read more about in an earlier Blogtober post!
I hope you found these facts interesting, I’ll be back for the final Blogtober post tomorrow! Bye for now!