Friday on My Mind: Happy Halloween 2013!

photo by Christopher Nelson

It’s time again for Friday on My Mind. Our weekly blog post where we look at videos centered around one common theme. This is a collaborative effort between KEXP and King 5 News.

It’s Halloween season again. Time for all things spooky like witches, spiders, and bats which all tie in together. The image of the wicked witch that many of us see in our heads is the image an ugly old lady with a pointy black hat and warts originated from the story of a pagan goddess known as The Crone. The Crone was honored during Samhain, which is what the Celtic new year used to be called way back when. It’s a little Lord of the Rings-esque. The crone was also known as “the old one” and the “Earth mother,” and she actually symbolized wisdom, change, and the seasons changing. Which is a little Folklife-like.

Connected to witches and often used as symbols of bad luck, black cats grace many Halloween decorations. Seeing black cats as a bad omen started literally back in the Dark Ages. This was a time when people were hunting witches left and right. Little old and lonely elderly women were often accused of witchcraft, and their pet cats were said to be their “familiars,” or demonic animals that had been given to them by the devil. Seriously. This happened. Another medieval myth surrounding the idea of witches said that Satan turned himself into a cat when socializing with witches Medieval folklore also described bats as witches’ familiars, and seeing a bat on Halloween was considered to be bad news. One myth was that if a bat was spotted flying around a person’s house not once, or twice, but three times, it meant that someone in that house was about to die… or it meant an idiot lived there who couldn’t shut his god damn door. Another myth was that if a bat flew into your house on Halloween, it was a sign that your house was haunted because ghosts had let the bat in… oR an idiot lived there who couldn’t shut his god damn door. Another source of the heebie jeebies and a staple of Halloween is spiders. They join the ranks of bats and black cats in folklore as being evil companions of witches during medieval times. One of the ways that spiders connect to witches goes back to the superstition that said that if a spider fell into a candle-lit lamp and was burned up by the fire, it was a sign that witches were near. And if you spot a spider on Halloween, goes another superstition, it means that the spirit of a deceased loved one is watching over you. But none of that is probably true. But it doesn’t matter, spiders are evil because THEY ARE SPIDERS.

Ray Parker Jr. – Ghostbusters

The official theme song for the movie Ghostbusters hit # 1 on the charts in August of 1984. This is pretty amazing to believe considering that was one of the greatest years of music. Parker says he came up with the song while watching TV late in the night. He thought that the actual Ghostbusters would probably have a commercial like the ones he watched in the middle of the night. Parker had a lot of time on his hands before this hit. Huey Lewis and the News accused Parker of ripping off the melody from their hit song “I Want a New Drug”. Ray Parker Jr. is scheduled to receive star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame in 2014…even though he has never done anything never ever ever after that. Except Ghostbusters 2. I think. Maybe I’m thinking of Beverly Hills Cop 2.

Blue Oyster Cult – (Don’t Fear) The Reaper (live)

From the album Agents of Fortune. “(Don’t Fear) The Reaper” was blue Oyster Cult’s biggest hit. The cowbell was originally not on the track, but an overdubbed. The cowbell was suggested by the producer David Lucas. Without the cowbell we would never speak of this song never ever ever.

Warren Zevon – Werewolves of London

From the 1978 album Excitable Boy, the title song was about a teenage boy who kills his prom date, and after being locked up digs her bones to build a cage for himself. Warren has some issues. On the record the song featured accompaniment by drummer Mick Fleetwood and bassist John McVie of Fleetwood Mac who also thought this was a great idea.

Honorable Mentions:

Alice Cooper & The Muppets – Welcome To My Nightmare

During this particular episode of The Muppet Show, Alice Cooper claims to be an agent of the devil, and offers the Muppet staff “fabulous riches and worldwide fame” if they sign a contract. For the whole episode, Gonzo looks for a pen. At one point Kermit has paper in his hand, and fears it’s a signed contract. It turns out to be the bill for the special effects. At the end of the day though, its ALICE COOPER AND THE MUPPETS. Greatest thing since Ozzy on Mr Rogers. Ozzy was on Mr Rogers right?

Aphex Twin – Come To Daddy

The official video for this song was filmed at the same estate where Stanley Kubrick shot many of the scenes for the film A Clockwork Orange. Here’s the thing though, this is most evil shit ever put to music. Ever ever ever.

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