Episode 49: Death Becomes Her

Halloween is often described as the one night of the year when spirits can return to the earth and interact with the living. That’s a very simplified version of a vast, multicultural tradition that has existed, in one form or another, since the earliest written records. Spirits, vague ideas of otherworldly intruders, have been visiting for centuries, and over the years they’ve been understood as ancestors, demons, eerie informants, and hostile haunts. Join us this week as we explore Halloween rituals through the ages and the evolution of the otherworldly visitors they invited to join. We conclude the episode by shifting our focus from the living’s relationships with the dead, to their relationships with Death itself, as we discuss Santa Muerte.

Listen on iTunes

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Sources:

The Rise of Demon Exorcism in Mexico and Santa Muerte – VICE

Smithsonian Latino Center’s Theater of the Dead

Santa Muerte: Inspired and Ritualistic Killings – FBI

Mexican border family suspected of Human Sacrifice – NBC News

The Santa Muerte: The Origins, History, and Secrets of the Mexican Folk Saint by Gustavo Vázquez Lozano

The Romance of Halloween in Turn-of-the-Century Ocean Grove – Historical Society of Ocean Grove

Cemeteries – Historical New Orleans

Field Notes on All Saints’ Day, 1985 and 1986

The living and dead come together for candlelight ceremonies in La. cemeteries – Tuscaloosa News

 

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