Vampires, Superstitions, and Gangs...Oh My!

October 31st marks the day known as All Hallows Eve or Halloween, where children go door-knocking in innovative costumes, dental visits become more frequent due to excessive candy consumption, and fresh eggs and toilet paper litter the streets of cities all across the United States. However, there is a little more to worry about than creepy costumes, mischievous children, and cavities.

Vampires, Superstition or Truth:
With today's books, movies, and television shows romanticizing blood-sucking, pale faces, and crucifixes, its not surprising that vampires are slowly incorporating themselves into pop culture.

It is believed that vampires are as old as man himself and have existed alongside werewolves, demons, and extraterrestrials in the superstitious mythologies of all cultures worldwide. In 1897, Bram Stoker's novel Dracula officially introduced the fictional and mythological creatures to print mediums. After a vampire victim's escape in 1985, people have become very aware of the fact that vampires really do exist, and Don Henry is living proof.

Suicide Forest, Superstition or Truth:
Following San Francisco's Golden Gate Bridge, Aokigahara is the second most popular suicide site in the world. Aokigahara, also known as the Sea of trees, is a forest found at the base of Mount Fuji in Japan. It is littered with an average of 30 dead bodies per year, with over 70 bodies in the late 1990's to present. Since the 1950's over 500 people have lost their lives in the forest. After two lovers in Seicho Matsumoto's novel, Kuroi Jukai, killed themselves in the forest, Aokigahara increased in its popularity for suicides. Japanese officials have placed signs in the forest to discourage further suicide attempts. Aokigahara is now a popular site for thrill seekers and scavengers.

Gang Initiations, Superstition or Truth:
Every year, for the past 20 years, Halloween has had a special significance among the Black and Hispanic gang circuit nationwide, that plagues major metropolitan areas with fear. As early as the late 1980's gangs have spread word that initiation begins the week of Halloween, reaching its climax on Halloween day, when several brutal killings are to occur. These murders target women, and prompt city departments, fire departments and law officials to be on guard on Halloween night. The general public has also fed into this scare by sending mass texts and emails warning their family and friends to be extremely cautious.

Examples of the texts, emails and fliers:

Best advice: Whatever you decide to do, or wherever you decide to go please be cautious on Halloween night.

Images and content background courtesy of:
New York Times
Youtube National Geographic
Must Love Japan
The Folklorist
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