on 6 November 2001
In this book, Mark Oxbrow traverses not only the earth, but also, quite literally, time and space.
Pulling together aspects of European folklore, mainly that of Scotland and a wider Celtic culture, ancient history and contemporary happenings such as the Day of the Dead in Mexico, he illustrates a wonderful tale which explains in colourful and intriguing detail, the origins of what has become Halloween. This is a far reaching and sometimes surprising investigation, featuring a cast of characters scarier than any seen at a modern halloween ball.
Many readers of traditional Celtic lore and Egyptology will find their standard cosmological fayre challenged in a way which not only makes you stop and think, but may ultimately seem to be a sensible and believable alternative. Though this work concentrates a lot on mythology and folklore, it's certainly not a book aimed purely at academics, wiccans or pagans. Its a very accesible, honest and at times openly sentimental journey which will hopefully open the minds of its readers to a world of history and mythology long since lost in a flurry of capes, fangs, pumkins and other paraphenalia of modern festive marketing.
In fact Oxbrow's evolution of this feast of plenty in days of old to trick or treat in suburbs of smalltown USA will have you looking over your shoulder next Halloween, not on the lookout for stealth attack by children sporting fireworks and cheap masks, but in the hope that maybe, just maybe, theres something much more ancient and magical lurking in the shadows.
The book is abundantly illustrated with antique postcards, medieval woodcuts and colour and black & white photographs, many of these by the author himself.
I can't wait to see what he comes up with for christmas !!