Celebrating both Halloweens

In my part of the world, Halloween is the most schizophrenic of holidays: To some it’s a carnival of candy and costumes; but to others it’s a festival of the macabre. In an effort to be ecumenical, tonight HBlog will celebrate both Halloweens.

Catacombs 1020213 BLOG

Let’s start with the Dark Side. (Because, really, don’t you love a good ghost story?) Mine isn’t really a story, so much as a single image:

Ghost 2 1050486 BLOG

I shot this in Paris’ catacombs in January, 2009, but ignored this frame when I chose the photos for my article in the Star Tribune. In fact, it wasn’t until I was working on my book about the catacombs that I noticed something strange:

Ghost 2 detail 1050486

What the heck is it? I have no idea, but if I let my imagination wander I could swear it’s a … well, I’m sure there’s a rational scientific explanation.

Alright, then. On to the hyperglycemia!

Alas, I have no candy. But instead I offer you the Official 2013 Halloween Census Tally Sheet, courtesy of my friend Craig. (It’s missing a category titled “dinosaurs,” as I pointed out to Craig’s dismay. So if you’re visited by Barney — or the Loch Ness Monster — just tally them as a “mythical creature.” Or “non-specific royalty,” I suppose, if you think monarchies are an anachronism.)

Halloween Census

Happy Halloween!


    • I think the profiles on the wall may be shadows, cast by the reflection of another tourist’s camera flash. But maybe I’m missing something because I’m so mystified by the *other* floating shadow, near the middle of the frame. 🙂

    • Ha ha, Xpat! What can I say, except that you *do* have a gift for seeing things from a different perspective? This is probably one of the reasons you’re a great photographer.

  1. I’m surprised that pirates wasn’t on that list– that’s what my son was and he wasn’t the only one. I did see a lot of others on there, though, but there definitely wasn’t a hobo, haha.

  2. Ah, Sincerely Kate! You are so correct … pirates really should be on the list. Arrrr! Well, we’ll add it for next year. (Along with medical professionals, as another reader pointed out.) Hope your little pirate had a great time and got lots of loot!

    • I think the catacombs would be a fascinating sonic experience! To that end, please check your email. I wish to propose an idea, if it would intrigue …

  3. Fascinating! Somewhere around here I have a photo of my parents flower shop in Seaforth. My sister and I thought it was “haunted” as you can see the reflection of a woman in front of the window as she walked by. We loved scaring ourselves as kids. Now I’m a big baby who refuses to watch horror movies.

    • What a wonderful memory, Alys! My sisters and I used to also take great delight in scaring each too other when we were young, but now I join you in being a big baby who won’t watch horror movies. I do still love a good ghost story, though … 🙂

  4. I love your article in the tribune. What a fascinating place. I knew very little about the catacombs before reading your piece. What a terrible shame to hear it’s been vandalized, a crime I’ve never understood. What great luck that you could visit when you did.

    • I was very lucky indeed to visit the Catacombs before they got vandalized, Alys. Since then the city of Paris has also cut entire sections out of the tour to move more tourists through per hour (and therefore collect more revenue). As a result of all the extra carbon dioxide in the enclosed spaces, the bones are becoming increasingly obscured by green moss. It’s a pity, but it’s just one of thousands of places we humans are “loving to death.”

        • Sadly, it probably is too late to turn back time — and ironically, I realize I bear some of the guilt for visiting so often myself, and for promoting this place with such enthusiasm. Sigh.

          • HeideBee, promise me you will park your sense of guilt at the curb and leave it there. Promoting travel and appreciating culture are gifts to us all. Many people will never make it to these wonderful places, but they get the chance to enjoy it through your amazing words and pictures. It’s a gift, truly.

          • Well … ok, then. Thank you for your lovely words, dear Alys. Guilt officially left at curb! 🙂

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