Saturday, October 2, 2010

Countdown to Halloween Day 2

I was Googling for vintage Halloween cards because, you know, Halloween! Halloween Countdown! and kept running across these strange, creepy images of women peering into mirrors looking for... what? WHAT? WTF? A quick Wikipedia check yielded this tidbit of trivia:

Unmarried women were told that if they sat in a darkened room and gazed into a mirror on Halloween night, the face of their future husband would appear in the mirror. However, if they were destined to die before marriage, a skull would appear. The custom was widespread enough to be commemorated on greeting cards from the late 19th and early 20th centuries.

Huh! I did not know that.

In one variant, the ladies were advised to do this while descending a staircase backwards, which seems a bit odd to me, but then again, the whole custom seems odd... and satisfyingly spooky:

And, apparently, roaming the countryside in cowl and shroud was de rigueur at the time:

My, how times have changed:

Artwork by Matt Dixon


Turdzilla said...

descending a stairway backwards looking into a mirror would lend itself to one dying before marriage.
The sentence i typed above may not be the best,but i guess you can figure out what I was trying to say.

Cathy VanPatten said...

I love the card with the little goblins lurking!

G. W. Ferguson said...

@Turdzilla: yeah, I kinda wondered about that myself. Perhaps that was the point, a way for unhappy gentleman callers to eliminate undesirable bridal candidates!

G. W. Ferguson said...

@Cathy: Exactly! There a gazillion vintage Halloween postcards online, but I like the ones with personality!

Cynthia said...

I favor the vintage to the new one personally! ha ha. I'm so glad to be a single female of the species so I can try this experiment, though I am quite sure I will report seeing nothing other than my own face. If only I had a nice creepy staircase from which to descend..! :D