Reggie Trick or Treat

The celebration of Halloween in the United States began in colonial New England, and our particular version of All Hallows Eve arose when the different customs and beliefs of the various European ethnic groups and the Native Americans meshed together.

Yet, it wasn’t until the mass influx of Irish and Scottish immigrants came to the U.S. during the 19th century that Halloween became a major holiday.

By the 20th century, the celebration of Halloween spread from coast to coast by Americans of all social, racial and religious backgrounds.

Students at Illinois State University have already begun pumpkin carving, but did you know that Jack-O’-Lanterns originated in Ireland?

Long story short, a drunkard named Stingy Jack bargained with the devil to keep his soul out of hell, only to be cursed to haunt the world. Locals began carving frightening faces on their own gourds to ward off evil spirits such as Jack’s.

Dance with the Devil and you’ll roam the Earth forever.

Dressing up in costumes also began with the Celtic people. They would dress themselves in disguises during the Samhain festival to avoid being haunted by evil spirits.

Black cats and spookiness have long been associated with one another and we can trace that back to the Middle Ages where they were considered a symbol of the devil and dark spirits.

It also didn’t help that accused witches were found to have had black cats around them. For all the cat lovers out there, remember that your little feline friend might just be Satan’s little helper.

Now that Halloween is right around the corner, students at Illinois State might be excited for costume parties, pumpkin carving and visits to haunted houses around the county, but there’s one spooky thing about this campus many students may not know about.

Built in 1940, Williams Hall is home to the ghost of Angeline “Aunt Ange” Milner, ISU’s first librarian and now the spirit who haunts the old bookstack in the building.

She catalogued and classified over 40,000 books and her legacy of librarian instruction and material resources remains in use even to this day.

Some may question the presence of her ghost as Williams was built after she died, but for those who don’t know much about the paranormal, spirits have a tendency to attach themselves to objects.

Though most of her books have been moved, there are still remnants of a few books and missing pages lingering in Williams. As someone who loved her books, it would only make sense that she continues to linger around those remaining objects.

Another interesting fact is that Ange was the inspiration behind the ghost librarian in the classic “Ghostbusters” movie. It’s not often that an ISU ghost inspires a movie character, even if it is minor.

ANDREW DOUGHERTY is a Columnist for The Vidette. Contact him at Follow him on Twitter at @addough

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