Halloween 👻 💀🎃

Halloween or Hallowe’en (a contraction of “All Hallows’ Evening”), also known as All Hallows’ Eve, is celebrated annually on October 31, the eve of the Western Christian feast of All Hallows (or All Saints Day). According to many scholars, it was originally influenced by western European harvest festivals and festivals of the dead with possible pagan roots, particularly the Celtic Samhain. Others maintain that it originated independently of Samhain and has Christian roots. Typical festive Halloween activities include trick-or-treating (also known as “guising”), attending costume parties, carving pumpkins into jack-o’-lanterns, lighting bonfires, apple bobbing, visiting haunted attractions, playing pranks, telling scary stories, and watching horror films. Though the origin of the word Halloween is Christian, the holiday is commonly thought to have pagan roots – some folklorists have detected its origins in Roman feast of Pomona, the goddess of fruits and seeds, or in the festival of the dead called Parentalia, it is more typically linked to the Celtic festival of Samhain”, which comes from the Old Irish for “summer’s end”.

Samhain (pronounced sah-win or sow-in) was the first and most important of the four quarter days in the medieval Gaelic (Irish, Scottish and Manx) calendar. It was held on or about October 31 – November 1 and kindred festivals were held at the same time of year in other Celtic lands; for example the Brythonic Calan Gaeaf (in Wales), Kalan Gwav (in Cornwall) and Kalan Goañv (in Brittany). Samhain is mentioned in some of the earliest Irish literature and many important events in Irish mythology happen or begin on Samhain. It marked the end of the harvest season and the beginning of winter or the ‘darker half’ of the year This was a time for stock-taking and preparing for the cold winter ahead; cattle were brought back down from the summer pastures and livestock were slaughtered. In much of the Gaelic world, bonfires were lit and there were rituals involving them. Some of these rituals hint that they may once have involved human sacrifice. Divination games or rituals were also done at Samhain.

Samhain (like Beltane) was seen as a time when the ‘door’ to the Otherworld opened enough for the souls of the dead, and other beings such as fairies, to come into our world. The souls of the dead were said to revisit their homes on Samhain. Feasts were had, at which the souls of dead kin were beckoned to attend and a place set at the table for them. Lewis Spence described it as a “feast of the dead” and “festival of the fairies”. However, harmful spirits and fairies were also thought to be active at Samhain. People took steps to allay or ward-off these harmful spirits/fairies, which is thought to have influenced today’s Halloween customs. Before the 20th century, wearing costumes at Samhain was done in parts of Ireland, Mann, the Scottish Highlands and islands, and Wales. Wearing costumes may have originated as a means of disguising oneself from these harmful spirits/fairies, although some suggest that the custom comes from a Christian belief. In Ireland, people went about before nightfall collecting for Samhain feasts and sometimes wore costumes while doing so. In the 19th century on Ireland’s southern coast, a man dressed as a white mare would lead youths door-to-door collecting food; by giving them food, the household could expect good fortune from the ‘Muck Olla’ In Moray during the 18th century, boys called at each house in their village asking for fuel for the Samhain bonfire. The modern custom of trick-or-treating may have come from these practices. Alternatively, it may come from the Christian custom of souling . Making jack-o’-lanterns at Halloween may also have sprung from Samhain and Celtic beliefs. Turnip lanterns, sometimes with faces carved into them, were made on Samhain in the 19th century in parts of Ireland and the Scottish Highlands. As well as being used to light one’s way while outside on Samhain night, they may also have been used to represent the spirits/fairies and/or to protect oneself and one’s home from them.

Halloween is also thought to have been influenced by the Christian holy days of All Saints’ Day (also known as All Hallows, Hallowmas or Hallowtide) on November 1 and All Souls’ Day on November 2.They are a time for honoring the saints and praying for the recently departed who had yet to reach Heaven. All Saints was introduced in the year 609, but was originally celebrated on May 13. In 835, it was switched to November 1 (the same date as Samhain) at the behest of Pope Gregory IV.By the end of the 12th century they had become holy days of obligation across Europe and involved such traditions as ringing bells for the souls in purgatory. “Souling”, the custom of baking and sharing soul cakes for “all crysten christened souls”, has been suggested as the origin of trick-or-treating. Groups of poor people, often children, would go door-to-door on All Saints/All Souls collecting soul cakes, originally as a means of praying for souls in purgatory. Similar practices for the souls of the dead were found as far south as Italy. Shakespeare mentions the practice in his comedy The Two Gentlemen of Verona (1593), when Speed accuses his master of whimpering like a beggar at Hallowmas.”

The custom of wearing costumes came about because itwas traditionally believed that the souls of the departed wandered the earth until All Saints’ Day, and All Hallows’ Eve provided one last chance for the dead to gain vengeance on their enemies before moving to the next world. In order to avoid being recognised by any soul that might be seeking such vengeance, people would don masks or costumes to disguise their identities”. In Halloween: From Pagan Ritual to Party Night, Nicholas Rogers explained Halloween jack-o’-lanterns as originally being representations of souls in purgatory.ln Brittany children would set candles in skulls in graveyards. ln Britain, these customs came under attack during the Reformation as Protestants berated purgatory . This, coupled with the rising popularity of Guy Fawkes Night (5 November) from 1605 onward, led to Halloween’s popularity waning in Britain, however Scotland And Ireland, have been celebrating Samhain and Halloween since at least the early Middle Ages, and the Scottish kirk took a more pragmatic approach to Halloween, seeing it as important to the life cycle and rites of passage of communities and thus ensuring its survival in the country. Halloween traditions vary greatly among countries that observe it. In Scotland and Ireland, traditional Halloween customs include children dressing up in scary costumes going “guising”, holding parties, while other practices in Ireland include lighting bonfires, and having firework displays. Surprisingly Halloween was not celebrated in North America until the Mass Irish and Scottish transatlantic immigration in the 19th century popularized it in North America. This has had a significant impact on how the event is observed in other nations too. This larger North American influence, particularly in iconic and commercial elements, has extended to places such as South America, Australia, New Zealand, (most) continental Europe, Japan, and other parts of East Asia.

A Column of Fire (The Kingsbridge Novels Book 3) by Ken Follett

I like reading epic historical fiction and Having read both The Pillars of the Earth and World Without End, I would like to read The continuing saga of Kingsbridge with Ken Follett’s magnificent, gripping new novel A Column of Fire. It begins during Christmas 1558, and sees young Ned Willard returning home to Kingsbridge to find his world has changed. The ancient stones of Kingsbridge Cathedral look down on a city torn by religious hatred.

Europe is in turmoil as high principles clash bloodily with friendship, loyalty and love, and Ned soon finds himself on the opposite side from the girl he longs to marry, Margery Fitzgerald. Then Elizabeth Tudor becomes queen and all of Europe turns against England. The shrewd, determined young monarch sets up the country’s first secret service to give her early warning of assassination plots, rebellions and invasion plans.

Elizabeth knows that alluring, headstrong Mary Queen of Scots lies in wait in Paris. Part of a brutally ambitious French family, Mary has been proclaimed the rightful ruler of England, with her own supporters scheming to get rid of the new queen. Over a turbulent half-century, the love between Ned and Margery seems doomed, as extremism sparks violence from Edinburgh to Geneva.

With Elizabeth clinging precariously to her throne and her principles, protected by a small, dedicated group of resourceful spies and courageous secret agents, it becomes clear that the real enemies – then as now – are not the rival religions. The true battle pitches those who believe in tolerance and compromise against the tyrants who would impose their ideas on everyone else – no matter the cost.

The Rooster Bar by John Grisham

I would like to read The Rooster Bar the latest exciting legal Thriller by John Grisham. The novel was inspired by an article of investigative journalism about student lending in the US. It features Law students named Mark, Todd and Zola who wanted to change the world – to make it a better place. But these days these three disillusioned friends spend a lot of time hanging out in The Rooster Bar, the place where Todd serves drinks. As third-year students, they realise they have been duped. They all borrowed heavily to attend a law school so mediocre that its graduates rarely pass the bar exam, let alone get good jobs.

They then learn that their school is one of a chain owned by a shady New York hedge-fund operator who also happens to own a bank specialising in student loans, and the three of them realise they have been caught up in The Great Law School Scam. So they begin plotting a way out. Maybe there’s a way to escape their crushing debt, expose the bank and the scam, and make a few bucks in the process. But to do so, they have to leave law school, pretend they are qualified and go into battle with a billionaire and the FBI . .

David Baldacci

The Fix by David Baldacci
Having read The Target, The Hit, The Innocent, The Guilty, Memory Man, No Man’s Land and The Last Mile, I would like to read The Fix by David Baldacci. This Exciting crime fiction novel is the latest release by David Baldacci and features Amos Decker, a special agent, who suffered a head injury that resulted in giving him the gift of a remarkable memory.

The novel concerns a chap named Walter Dabney, a family man. A loving husband and the father of four grown daughters , he’s built a life many would be proud of But then the unthinkable happens. While Standing outside the FBI Headquarters in Washington, D C, Dabney shoots school teacher Anne Berkshire in cold blood before turning the gun on himself. One of the many witnesses is Amos Decker; a man who forgets nothing and sees what most miss.

Baffled by what appears to be a seemingly senseless and random killing, Decker finds himself thrust into the investigation to determine what drove this seemingly loving family man to pull the trigger. As part of an FBI special task force, Decker and the team delve into the lives of Dabney and Berkshire to find a connection that doesn’t seem to exist. However What they do find are secrets that stretch back a lifetime and reveal a current plot of impending destruction on a worldwide scale…

End Game (Will Robie series Book 5) by David Baldacci

I would also like to read End Game by David Baldacci. End Game is The final book in the Will Robie Series by David Baldacci. This exciting crime fiction novel features CIA assassins Will Robie and Jessica Reel. Will Robie, Is the US government’s most indispensable asset, and is called to London to prevent An imminent terrorist attack which threatens the London Underground, and Robie is the perfect choice to stop it before it begins. However while returning from his previous mission overseas he discovers that his boss – codenamed Blue Man – has vanished. His last known location was in remote Colorado, and there have been no other sightings or communications since.

Meanwhile there is violence brewing and Robie  will be lucky if he makes it out alive, with or without Blue Man and he knows he has one chance to succeed. One chance to save lives. One chance to make it home safely to find out what has happened to fellow agent Jessica Reel following their last deadly mission together and soon realises that this could be his most challenging mission yet and that the next few hours could possibly be his last ones on earth.

International Orthopedic Nurses Day

International Orthopedic Nurses Day takes place annually on 30 October. Orthopedic surgery or orthopedics, also spelled orthopaedics is the branch of surgery concerned with conditions involving the musculoskeletal system. Orthopedic surgeons use both surgical and nonsurgical means to treat musculoskeletal trauma, spine diseases, sports injuries, degenerative diseases, infections, tumors, and congenital disorders. Orthopaedic issues range from acute problems such as fractures or hospitalization for joint replacement to chronic systemic disorders such as loss of bone density or lupus erythematosus. Orthopaedic nurses have specialized skills such as neurovascular status monitoring, traction, continuous passive motion therapy, casting, and care of patients with external fixation

Originally, the term orthopedics meant the correcting of musculoskeletal deformities in children. Nicolas Andry, a French professor at the University of Paris coined the term in the first textbook written on the subject in 1741. He advocated the use of exercise, manipulation and splinting to treat deformities in children. His book was directed towards parents, and while some topics would be familiar to orthopedists today, it also included ‘excessive sweating of the palms’ and freckles. Before this during the Middle Ages anybody injured during battle was treated with bandages soaked in horses’ blood which dried to form a stiff, but unsanitary, splint.

Jean-André Venel established the first orthopedic institute in 1780, which was the first hospital dedicated to the treatment of children’s skeletal deformities. He developed the club-foot shoe for children born with foot deformities and various methods to treat curvature of the spine. Advances made in surgical technique during the 18th century, such as John Hunter’s research on tendon healing and Percival Pott’s work on spinal deformity steadily increased the range of new methods available for effective treatment. Antonius Mathijsen, a Dutch military surgeon, invented the plaster of Paris cast in 1851. However, up until the 1890s, orthopedics was still a study limited to the correction of deformity in children. One of the first surgical procedures developed was percutaneous tenotomy. This involved cutting a tendon, originally the Achilles tendon, to help treat deformities alongside bracing and exercises. In the late 1800s and first decades of the 1900s, there was significant controversy about whether orthopedics should include surgical procedures at all.

Examples of people who aided the development of modern orthopedic surgery were Hugh Owen Thomas, a surgeon from Wales, and his nephew, Robert Jones. Thomas became interested in orthopedics and bone-setting at a young age and, after establishing his own practice, went on to expand the field into general treatment of fracture and other musculoskeletal problems. He advocated enforced rest as the best remedy for fractures and tuberculosis and created the so-called ‘Thomas Splint’, to stabilize a fractured femur and prevent infection. He is also responsible for numerous other medical innovations that all carry his name: ‘Thomas’s collar’ to treat tuberculosis of the cervical spine, ‘Thomas’s manoeuvre’, an orthopedic investigation for fracture of the hip joint, Thomas test, a method of detecting hip deformity by having the patient lying flat in bed, ‘Thomas’s wrench’ for reducing fractures, as well as an osteoclast to break and reset bones.

Many advances in orthopedic surgery have also occurred during wartime and it was only during the First World War that Thomas’s techniques came to be used for injured soldiers on the battlefield. His nephew, Sir Robert Jones, also made great advances in orthopedics in his position as Surgeon-Superintendent for the construction of the Manchester Ship Canal in 1888. He was responsible for the injured among the 20,000 workers, and he organized the first comprehensive accident service in the world, dividing the 36 mile site into 3 sections, and establishing a hospital and a string of first aid posts in each section. He had the medical personnel trained in fracture management. He personally managed 3,000 cases and performed 300 operations in his own hospital. This position enabled him to learn new techniques and improve the standard of fracture management. Physicians from around the world came to Jones’ clinic to learn his techniques. Along with Alfred Tubby, Jones founded the British Orthopaedic Society in 1894.

During the First World War, Jones served as a Territorial Army surgeon. He observed that treatment of fractures both at the front and in hospitals at home was inadequate, and his efforts led to the introduction of military orthopedic hospitals. He was appointed Inspector of Military Orthopaedics, with responsibility over 30,000 beds. The hospital in Ducane Road, Hammersmith became the model for both British and American military orthopedic hospitals. His advocacy of the use of Thomas splint for the initial treatment of femoral fractures reduced mortality of compound fractures of the femur from 87% to less than 8% in the period from 1916 to 1918. The use of intramedullary rods to treat fractures of the femur and tibia was pioneered by Gerhard Küntscher of Germany. This made a noticeable difference to the speed of recovery of injured German soldiers during World War II and led to more widespread adoption of intramedullary fixation of fractures in the rest of the world. However, traction was the standard method of treating thigh bone fractures until the late 1970s when the Harborview Medical Center in Seattle group popularized intramedullary fixation without opening up the fracture.

The modern total hip replacement was pioneered by Sir John Charnley, expert in tribology at Wrightington Hospital, England in the 1960s. He found that joint surfaces could be replaced by implants cemented to the bone. His design consisted of a stainless steel one-piece femoral stem and head and a polyethylene, acetabular component, both of which were fixed to the bone using PMMA (acrylic) bone cement. For over two decades, the Charnley Low Friction Arthroplasty and its derivative designs were the most-used systems in the world. This formed the basis for all modern hip implants. The Exeter hip replacement system (with a slightly different stem geometry) was developed at the same time. Since Charnley, there have been continuous improvements in the design and technique of joint replacement (arthroplasty) with many contributors, including W. H. Harris, the son of R. I. Harris, whose team at Harvard pioneered uncemented arthroplasty techniques with the bone bonding directly to the implant.

Knee replacements using similar technology were started by McIntosh in rheumatoid arthritis patients and later by Gunston and Marmor for osteoarthritis in the 1970s developed by Dr. John Insall in New York utilizing a fixed bearing system, and by Dr. Frederick Buechel and Dr. Michael Pappas utilizing a mobile bearing system. External fixation of fractures was refined by American surgeons during the Vietnam War but a major contribution was made by Gavril Abramovich Ilizarov in the USSR. He was sent, without much orthopedic training, to look after injured Russian soldiers in Siberia in the 1950s. With no equipment he was confronted with crippling conditions of unhealed, infected, and malaligned fractures. With the help of the local bicycle shop he devised ring external fixators tensioned like the spokes of a bicycle. With this equipment he achieved healing, realignment and lengthening to a degree unheard of elsewhere. His Ilizarov apparatus is still used today as one of the distraction osteogenesis methods. Modern orthopedic surgery and musculoskeletal research has sought to make surgery less invasive and to make implanted components better and more durable.

War of the Worlds

Orson Welles broadcast his radio play of H. G. Wells’s The War of the Worlds on 30 October 1938 as an episode of the American radio drama anthology series The Mercury Theatre on the Air. It was performed as a Halloween episode and caused widespread panic. Directed and narrated by actor and future filmmaker Orson Welles. The first two thirds of the 60-minute broadcast were presented as a series of realistic news bulletins, which suggested to many listeners that an actual alien invasion byMartians was currently in progress. Compounding the issue was the fact that the Mercury Theatre on the Air was a sustaining show (it ran without commercial breaks), adding to the program’s realism. In the days following the adaptation, however, there was widespread outrage from certain listeners, who had believed the events described in the program were real. The program’s news-bulletin format was described as cruelly deceptive by some newspapers and public figures, leading to an outcry against the perpetrators of the broadcast. Despite these complaints it secured Welles’ fame as a dramatist.

The program, starts with an introduction from the novel, describing the intentions of the aliens and noting that the adaptation is set in 1939, a year ahead of the actual broadcast date.The program continues with a weather report and a dance band “Ramon Raquello and His Orchestra” (actually the CBS orchestra under the direction of Bernard Herrmann). This is interrupted by news flashes about strange explosions on Mars. Welles makes his first appearance as the (fictional) famous astronomer and Princeton professor Richard Pierson, who dismisses speculation about life on Mars. The news grows more frequent and increasingly ominous as a cylindrical meteorite lands in Grover’s Mill, New Jersey. A crowd gathers at the site. Reporter Carl Phillips (Readick) relates the events. The meteorite unscrews, revealing itself as a rocket machine. Onlookers catch a glimpse of a tentacled, pulsating, barely mobile Martian inside before it incinerates the crowd with Heat-Rays. Phillips’s shouts about incoming flames are cut off in mid-sentence. (Later surveys indicate that many listeners heard only this portion of the show before contacting neighbors or family to inquire about the broadcast. Many contacted others in turn, leading to rumours and confusion.)Regular programming breaks down as the studio struggles with casualty updates, firefighting developments And other information.

‘A shaken Pierson speculates about Martian technology as The New Jersey state militia declares martial law and attacks the cylinder. There I s a message from their field headquarters concerning the infantry and the helplessness of the Martians in Earth’s gravity until a Tripod alien fighting machine rears up from the pit and obliterate the militia. the studio returns, now describing the Martians as an invading army. Emergency response bulletins give way to damage reports and evacuation instructions as millions of refugees clog the roads. Three Martian tripods from the cylinder destroy power stations and uproot bridges and railroads, reinforced by three others from a second cylinder as gas explosions continue. An unnamed Secretary of the Interior (Kenny Delmar) advises the nation. (The secretary was originally intended to be a portrayal of Franklin D. Roosevelt, then President, but CBS insisted this detail, among others, be changed. However Welles directed Delmar to imitate Roosevelt’s voice.)

A live connection is established to a field artillery battery. Its gun crew reports damaging one machine and a release of black smoke/poison gas before fading into the sound of coughing. The lead plane of a wing of bombers broadcasts its approach and remains on the air as their engines are burned by the Heat-Ray and the plane dives on the invaders. Radio operators go active and fall silent, after reporting the approach of the black smoke. The bombers destroy one machine, but cylinders keep falling all across the country. This section ends with A news reporter, broadcasting from atop the CBS building, describes the Martian invasion of New York City – “five great machines” wading across the Hudson River, poison smoke drifting over the city, people running and diving into the East River “like rats”, others “falling like flies” – until he, too, succumbs to the poison gas. Finally, a despairing ham radio operator is heard calling, “2X2L calling CQ. Isn’t there anyone on the air? Isn’t there anyone on the air? Isn’t there… anyone?

Mischief Night

Mischief Night takes place annually on 30 October during which children and teens traditionally engage in pranks and minor vandalism. While its name and date vary from place to place, it is most commonly held near the end of October to coincide with Halloween. The earliest reference to Mischief Night is from 1790 when a headmaster encouraged a school play which ended in “an Ode to Fun which praises children’s tricks on Mischief Night in most approving terms”. In the United Kingdom, these pranks were originally carried out as part of May Day celebrations, but when the industrial revolution caused workers to move to urban areas, Mischief Night shifted to November 4, the night before Guy Fawkes Night. According to one historian, “May Day and the Green Man had little resonance for children in grimy cities. They looked at the opposite end of the year and found the ideal time, the night before the gunpowder plot.” In Germany, Mischief Night is still celebrated on May 1.

In the United States, Mischief Night is commonly held on October 30, the night before Halloween. The separation of Halloween tricks from treats seems to have only developed in certain areas, often appearing in one region but not at all nearby. In New Jersey’s Atlantic, Bergen, Burlington, Camden, Cape May, Cumberland, Essex, Gloucester, Hudson, Mercer, Middlesex, Monmouth, Morris, Ocean, Passaic, Somerset, Sussex, Warren, and Union counties, as well as in Philadelphia; Delaware; Westchester County, New York; and Fairfield County, Connecticut, it is referred to as “Mischief Night”. In some towns in Northern New Jersey and parts of New York State, it is also known as “Goosey Night”.

In rural Niagara Falls, Ontario, during the 1950s and 1960s, Cabbage Night referred to the custom of raiding local gardens for leftover rotting cabbages and hurling them about to create mischief in the neighborhood. Today, the night is commonly known as “Cabbage Night” in parts of Vermont; Connecticut; Bergen County, New Jersey; Upstate New York; Northern Kentucky; Newport, Rhode Island; Western Massachusetts; and Boston, Massachusetts. It is known as “Gate Night” in New Hampshire, Trail, British Columbia, Winnipeg, Manitoba, Thunder Bay, Ontario, Rockland County, New York, North Dakota and South Dakota, as “Mat Night” in Quebec, Canada, and as “Devil’s Night” in many places throughout Canada, Michigan, and western Pennsylvania. Mischief night is known in Yorkshire as “Mischievous Night”, “Miggy Night”, “Tick-Tack Night”, “Corn Night”, “Trick Night”, or “Micky Night”, and is celebrated on November 4 on the eve of Bonfire Night. In some areas of Yorkshire, it is extremely popular among teenagers as they believe it to be a sort of “coming of age ceremony”.

Mischief Night tends to include popular tricks such as toilet papering yards and buildings, powder-bombing and egging cars, people, and homes, using soap to write on windows, “forking” yards, setting off fireworks, and smashing pumpkins and jack-o’-lanterns. Local grocery stores often refuse to sell eggs to pre-teens and teens around the time of Halloween for this reason. Occasionally, the damage can escalate to include the spray-painting of buildings and homes. Less destructive is the prank known as “Knock, Knock, Ginger,” “Ding-Dong Ditch,” “knock down ginger,” or “knock-a-door-run and nicky-nicky-nine-doors (West Quebec). In some areas of Queens, New York, Cabbage Night has included throwing rotten fruit at neighbors, cars, and buses. Pre-teens and teens filled eggs with Neet and Nair and throw them at unsuspecting individuals. In the mid-1980s, garbage was set on fire and cemeteries were set ablaze. In Camden, New Jersey, Mischief Night escalated to the point that in the 1990s widespread arson was committed, with over 130 arsons on the night of October 30, 1991. In Detroit, Michigan, which was particularly hard-hit by Devil’s Night arson and vandalism throughout the 1980s, many citizens take it upon themselves to patrol the streets to deter arsonists and those who may break the law. This is known as “Angels’ Night”. Some 40,000 volunteer citizens patrol the city on Angels’ Night, which usually runs October 29 through October 31, around the time most Halloween festivities are taking place.