- The "scientific" method of identifying a witch used to be that they would float in water – if they were innocent, they sank.
- Samhainophobia is the fear of Halloween.
- Many people couldn't afford a coffin, so they were buried in a white sheet instead – which is why ghosts are shown as having sheets over them.
5 things you didn't know
Scared of Halloween
1. If someone has samhainophobia (SAH-win-uh-FO-bee-uh), it means that they have a crippling fear of Halloween.
2. Centuries ago, the “scientific” method of identifying a witch was to tie them up and throw them into water – if they were guilty of witchcraft, they floated; if they were innocent, they sank.
3. Elizabeth Bathory, a Hungarian countess, lived like a real vampire back in the 16th century – she killed hundreds of young girls to drink their blood and even bathed in it as part of her beauty routine!
Ghosts and sheets
4. A wooden coffin used to be too expensive for most people to buy, so the dead were wrapped in white cloth instead – and this is why ghosts are often shown as human shapes with a sheet draped over them!
Parasites can cause zombies
5. Some parasites create zombie-like animals – the Cordyceps parasite causes its victims to drag themselves to die in a place surrounded by lots of other animals so that the infection can spread!
Spark a discussion
- What was the method once used to identify a witch?
- What is samhainophobia?
- Why do we often see ghosts shown as having white sheets over them?