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The Five Scariest Traditional Halloween Stories

The Five Scariest Traditional Halloween Stories

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Published by Lisa Morton
An expanded version of the "Five Scary Traditional Halloween Stories" from the BOOK OF LISTS: HORROR, by Halloween expert Lisa Morton
An expanded version of the "Five Scary Traditional Halloween Stories" from the BOOK OF LISTS: HORROR, by Halloween expert Lisa Morton

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Published by: Lisa Morton on Oct 13, 2009
Copyright:Attribution Non-commercial

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01/29/2013

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 About These Stories...
 An abbreviated version of this list appeared in the
, edited by ScottBradley, Del Howison and Amy Wallace; however, these are the full versions of the stories. Thesestories previously appeared (along with many others) in my book 
 
, published in 2008 by McFarland. The five stories presented here are traditional fairy tales and folklore, and although they wereall collected and published in the 1800s and 1900s, they probably date back considerably before that. They're still creepy, hundreds of years later, and prove that Halloween has always been a time fortelling the enjoyable scary story that sends that certain chill racing along your spine. The first tale, about the Celtic hero Nera, is taken from Lady Gregory's 1902 collection of Celtic lore,
Cuchulain of Muirthemne: The Story of the Men of the Red Branch of Ulster 
. Not only is it an eerielittle story about dead people coming back to life and hordes of malicious fairies, but it's also one of the best stories still in existence about Samhain, the Celtic year-end celebration that eventually became our modern-day Halloween."Tamlane" is a classic poem that's appeared in many forms. It's one of the first works tomake use of Hallowe'en (as compared to the earlier holiday of Samhain), and remains haunting centuries after its first appearance in 1548. The version presented here is Sir Walter Scott's, with my own footnotes."The Young Man in the Fairy Knoll" is a short Scottish tale taken from John GregorsonCampbell's 1900 classic
 
Superstitions of the Highlands & Islands of Scotland Collected Entirely From Oral Sources.
"Red Mike's Rest" is an excerpt from an amazing article called "Halloween: A ThreefoldChronicle", which originally appeared in an 1888 issue of 
Harper's 
magazine. The article by WilliamSharp also included descriptions of a Scottish Hallowe'en celebration, and a Hallowe'en celebrationat sea. The final story, "November Eve", was collected by Lady Wilde (mother of Oscar) in her1887 book 
 Ancient Legends, Mystic Charms, and Superstitions of Ireland 
. The illustrations are either taken from the original source materials (i.e., the illustration of "Red Mike's Rest") or from vintage Halloween postcards. You can find more Halloween tricks 'n' treats athttp://halloween.lisamorton.com.Happy Halloween!- Lisa Morton 
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Excerpt from Cuchulain of Muirthemne: “Cruachan”
 
One night at Samhain, Ailell and Maeve were in Cruachan with their whole household, andthe food was being made ready. Two prisoners had been hanged by them the day before, and Ailell said: "Whoever will put agad round the foot of either of the two men on the gallows, will get a prize from me."It was a very dark night, and bad things would always appear on that night of Samhain, andevery man that went out to try came back very quickly into the house. "I will go if I will get a prize,"said Nera, then. "I will give you this gold-hilted sword," said Ailell.So Nera went out and he put a gad round the foot of one of the men that had been hanged. Then the man spoke to him. "It is good courage you have," he said, "and bring me with you where Ican get a drink, for I was very thirsty when I was hanged." So Nera brought him where he would geta drink, and then he put him on the gallows again, and went back to Cruachan.But what he saw was the whole of the palace as if on fire before him, and the heads of thepeople of it lying on the ground, and then he thought he saw an army going into the Hill of Cruachan, and he followed after the army. "There is a man on our track," the last man said. "Thetrack is the heavier," said the next to him, and each said that word to the other from the last to thefirst. Then they went into the Hill of Cruachan. And they said to their king: "What shall be done tothe man that is come in?" "Let him come here till I speak with him," said the king. So Nera came,and the king asked him who it was had brought him in. "I came in with your army," said Nera. "Goto that house beyond," said the king: "there is a woman there will make you welcome. Tell her it is Imyself sent you to her. And come every day," he said, "to this house with a load of firing."So Nera went where he was told, and the woman said: "A welcome before you, if it is theking sent you." So he stopped there, and took the woman for his wife. And every day for three dayshe brought a load of firing to the king's house, and on each day he saw a blind man, and a lame manon his back, coming out of the house before him. They would go on till they were at the brink of a well before the Hill. "Is it there?" the blind man would say. "It is, indeed," the lame man would say."Let us go away," the lame man would say then. And at the end of three days, as he thought, Nera asked the Woman about this. "Why do theblind man and the lame man go every day to the well?" he said. "They go to know is the crown safethat is in the well. It is there the king's crown is kept." "Why do these two go?" said Nera. "It is easy to tell that," she said; "they are trusted by the king to visit the crown, and one of them was blindedby him, and the other was lamed. And another thing," she said, "go now and give a warning to yourpeople to mind themselves next Samhain night, unless they will come to attack the hill, for it is only at Samhain," she said, "the army of the Sidhe can go out, for it is at that time all the hills of the Sidheof Ireland are opened. But if they will come, I will promise them this, the crown of Briun to becarried off by Ailell and by Maeve.""How can I give them that message," said Nera, "when I saw the whole dun of Cruachanburned and destroyed, and all the people destroyed with it?" "You did not see that, indeed," she said"It was the host of the Sidhe came and put that appearance before your eyes. And go back to themnow," she said, "and you will find them sitting round the same great pot, and the meat has not yetbeen taken off the fire.""How will it be believed that I have gone into the Hill?" said Nera. "Bring flowers of summer with you," said the woman. So he brought wild garlic with him, and primroses and goldenfern.
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Qing Cai added this note
Brilliant stories you have there. Loved every one of them especially "November Eve" and thank you so much for uploading this!
Nurhidayah Mat Sarit added this note
love it!
Geise Amoras Miranda added this note
Very good ! A option for teens who dont like read too much in class!!!!
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