Halloween of Old

Creepy ‘100 Year Old’ Halloween Photography

Halloween of Old
Is this Michael Myers Grandmother?

These really creepy photographs are from artist/musician Ossian Brown‘s book Haunted Air and really provide quite an extraordinary glimpse into the traditions of our macabre Halloween festival from ages past. Some of these photographs are over 100 years old, dating back between 1875 and 1955.

I don’t know if you’re like me, but I get quite a weird feeling looking at these, it must be the fact that you can’t see most of their eyes, just those black soulless voids… Spooky

Halloween of Old
I’m sure one of these grew up to be Leatherface from Texas Chainsaw Massacre
Halloween of Old
Call me CHUCKY
Halloween of Old
The Wizard of Oz Massacre

The History of Halloween

The roots of Halloween lie in the ancient pre–Christian Celtic festival of Samhain, a feast to mark the death of the old year and the birth of the new. It was believed that on this night the veil separating the worlds of the living and the dead grew thin and ruptured, allowing spirits to pass through and walk unseen but not unheard amongst men. The advent of Christianity saw the pagan festival subsumed in All Souls’ Day, when across Europe the dead were mourned and venerated. Children and the poor, often masked or in outlandish costume, wandered the night begging “soul cakes” in exchange for prayers, and fires burned to keep malevolent phantoms at bay. From Europe, the haunted tradition would quickly take root and flourish in the fertile soil of the New World. Feeding hungrily on fresh lore, consuming half–remembered tales of its own shadowy origins and rituals, Halloween was reborn in America. The pumpkin supplanted the carved turnip; costumes grew ever stranger, and celebrants both rural and urban seized gleefully on the festival’s intoxicating, lawless spirit. For one wild night, the dead stared into the faces of the living, and the living, ghoulishly masked and clad in tattered backwoods baroque, stared back.

27 thoughts on “Halloween of Old”

  1. Incredible photographs, Carl. Are those your own or can you share the title of the book they may come from? I also agree with Anita, shame that everything now has to be store bought – papier mache indeed was a lot of fun. Ciao, Carina

    1. I’m with you Joseph, I have such an affection for that old medium, none of this 100 shots to get the right one like now, you had to have the craft and skill to get it right first time.

  2. It’s very interesting how these people managed to scare the hell out of us without any elaborate costumes that sold today..And yea, those black holes for eyes are the main scare-factor 🙂
    Great picture ! Thanks for sharing the history of halloween 🙂

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