PETTY PONDERING - Ghastly Guising


By Teresa Starcher

Halloween, or All Hallows Eve as it was dubbed by the early Church, is certainly different now than from its origin. The Church could be commended for its dogged determination to distance this day of celebration from its roots as a Celtic religious ritual, wherein the Druid priests lit bonfires in commemoration of the dead.

It's recorded that these ancients attempted to copy or placate the spirits by masquerading about in costumes to disguise themselves from evil spirits.

In latter years this was called guising, which was probably the inception of what we adhere to today.

Yet as this mode of practice implied trickery and deceit, its tradition of merry-making began to include high jinks and treachery, much to the dismay of the Church and community leaders, who have strove through the centuries to temper the observance of this red letter day.

Some scholars now believe that the Druids not only practiced animal sacrifices but human as well.

So was the character of the cunning knavery perpetrated upon one of our household at the stroke of this midnight hour. It was premeditated, cold blooded and extremely well executed. While the family lay peacefully asleep, unaware of the shadowy figures creeping about the front lawn, carrying out their mission of destruction.

I must pause to ponder the question of who may have done this to my brother and why?

Perhaps this stemmed from spending their nights in cemeteries as was their custom when out fox-hunting. Motive as always is moot upon such occasion.

Poor harmless Billy (tongue in cheek) who does naught but sit in his wheelchair day after day aboard his pony cart waiting hopefully for one of his pals to drop by. Through the years Billy has had many cronies tooling the reins of Dagwood, his pony.

He lived to go hunting and fishing with his buddies. From the Blankenship boys of Annamoriah to the Starcher brothers on Hardman's Fork.

While on Little Creek there were the Shrader and Sears boys. Since the Starcher and the Shrader boys were his more constant companions that narrows the field and since the Starcher brothers had never committed any misdeeds at all; unless one would want to count the snatching of a water melon or two, then that leaves one or all of the Shrader boys as the culprits.

I awoke the next morning to my parent's voices speaking in loud and then hushed tones so I knew something was amiss. I hurried to look outside. There, hung in a tree in the front lawn, was a piece of Billy's legs; dangling there, on a limb, removed from their sockets.

The very bodily supports swaying uselessly upon a branch. Close by, tossed carelessly against another tree trunk was another body part, it had been ripped apart, dark goo oozed from the gaping hole. Other body parts once alive with air was now deformed and laying flat.

Vital internal organs covered with gooey slime lay piled in a round puddle upon the sidewalk. It was shocking! I couldn't believe my eyes.

Of all the audacity, the neighborhood boys showed up later. Acting all innocence and piety. Each declaring himself absolved from last night's maylay. Since none but the victim could be sure of their guilt and nobody but the victim could point a cold finger at the accused and pronounce…

"Alright boys, get your hind ends in gear and put this wagon right back together like you found it." Billy bellowed out.

So they happily took the shafts from the tree, reassembled the wagon and pumped the tires back up. Then loaded Billy onto his rebuilt "legs" and merrily went upon their way.

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