Personally, at this time of year, I like to roll back the clock to that time before Christmas when dark and light meant something more than decor. To the time when the seasonal wheel turns and we embrace the darkness and the coming of the light at Winter Solstice. Before electricity, people who were connected to the earth, whispered stories in the dark time; stories of death and rebirth, of hungry ghosts, and nightmare creatures, of divine intervention, and justice. Read on to understand how we arrived in our current state of commercial oblivion and why we need to frighten up.
KC Redding-Gonzalez explains the evolution of Christmas in contemporary culture and introduces us to the Krampus.
It may come as a surprise, but once upon a time folks liked their Horror at Christmas. One could surmise that the increasing hours of darkness, the howling of hungry wolves, and the entrapment of inclement weather were co-conspirators to the cause; it is far too easy to become preoccupied with one’s own mortality when the temperatures send frosty ghosts to drift across candle-lit rooms and skeletal branches claw at window panes while the animals in the walls scurry ever deeper to find warmth.
In so much dark and quiet there is isolation, and the ever more loudly heard “sounds of silence” echoing in your ears. We forget how very dark and how very quiet the world once was. And maybe that is why our modern ghost stories are often found lacking the connective tissue of eerie tales of yore.
Technology changed things; we haven’t embraced so much light since…
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