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Articles on Halloween

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Northern European folklore had different ways of referring to distant lights known to spontaneously appear on peatlands, including will-o’-the-wisp, and the more familiar jack-o’-lantern. (Shutterstock)

Peatland folklore lent us will-o-the-wisps and jack-o-lanterns, and can inspire climate action today

Peatlands have been central to how northern European folklore has explored fear and a sense of the supernatural for hundreds of years. Their persistence is also key to slowing down climate change.
The ‘Malleus Maleficarum,’ a medieval handbook, was used to try and execute supposed witches. Its influence lasted for centuries – including at the Salem Witch Trials. Jonathan Wiggs/The Boston Globe via Getty Images

How do you spot a witch? This notorious 15th-century book gave instructions – and helped execute thousands of women

Witch trials relied on a medieval text called the “Malleus Maleficarum” – a book this reference librarian can hold in her hands.
Witch-identified folks are sharing spells online in an act of magical resistance in advance of the U.S. election. (Shutterstock)

This Halloween, witches are casting spells to defeat Trump and #WitchTheVote in the U.S. election

As the U.S. election approaches, various groups have mobilized to vote. But witches have taken it a little further, organizing online spellcasting meet-ups to engage in magical resistance.
‘The Craft: Legacy,’ to be released this fall, is a remake of the 1996 teen witch film ‘The Craft’ and suggests the continued relevance of punk and goth influences for rebellious teens. Here, detail from the 2020 poster. (Sony Pictures/Blumhouse Productions)

Dressed to kill: 6 ways horror folklore is fashioned in the movies

Some horror films explore women’s struggles for empowerment, sexual freedom and self-fulfilment. Six movies show the ghost, bride, mother, vampiress, witch and monster as guises of vengeful women.

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