Editors’ Picks: Halloween

Jack O Lantern

BOO! Are you scared yet?

Get into the Halloween spirit with our best stories on the holiday, which include a look into the Salem witch trials and the obsession with Satanism in nineteenth-century France.

No tricks, only treats: all stories contain free links to the supporting academic research on JSTOR.

Happy Halloween!

The Origins of Halloween

By Matthew Wills

Anthropologists dig their fangs into the history and ritual of the holiday—a blend of Celtic festival, Christian holiday, and modern consumerism.



Cuisine des sorcières

What Caused the Salem Witch Trials?

By Vicki Saxon

A look into the economic and physiological theories behind the mass hysteria, false accusations, and lapses in due process.



The Mummy movie poster

Why We Love to be Scared

By Erin Blakemore

It all comes down to a careful balance between hedonism and control.




Ghostly road

A Belief in Ghosts: Poetry and the Shared Imagination

By Dorothea Lasky

An essay from poet Dorothea Lasky, featuring Hall & Oates, Emily Dickinson, The Shining, and Kierkegaard.




Satanism and Magic in the Age of Moulin Rouge

By Tara Isabella Burton

How some of the most illustrious names of fin de siècle French literature ended up in a newspaper battle over witchcraft and evil spirits.



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