Dark Moons, like wombs, stir creation.
Dark Moons, like wombs, stir creation.
April 20 through May 20 marks the astrological sun sign of Taurus.
I have always loved Taurus. Represented by the bull, individuals born under this sign bring in the best of both worlds. They have a powerful (and stubborn!) earth sign ruled by the beautiful and feminine planet Venus. These people are go-getters, manifesters, and serious goal setters. But they do it all with such a lovely artistic flair you will scarcely notice how driven they actually are.
Prone to sensual pleasures, they are experts in culinary delights. Some of the best chefs are Taureans. They are great artists, animal lovers and fashion trend setters. They often have musical ability. Taureans are great with designs, decorating and fabrics.
They are also sexy! Although Scorpio (the polar opposite, or inverted Taurus) usually gets credit for being the “most sexual” of all the signs, it is the horned men and women who really stand out in compelling ways. The bull is a spellbinding presence, full of quiet charisma and unusual traits.
If you don’t believe me, take a look at a few famous Taureans.
Michelle Pfeiffer, born April 29, 1958.
She was Madame Marie de Tourvel of Dangerous Liaisons. Also Catwoman, among other things. She claimed playing the cat was natural for her, as she was very athletic.
Film Critic Roger Ebert said of her: “She is not just a beautiful woman, but an actress with the ability to make you care about her, to make you feel what she feels.”
In her film The Fabulous Baker Boys, Michelle performed the song “Makin’ Whoopie” while strewn on top of a piano. Ebert said of it: “Whatever she’s doing while she performs that song isn’t merely singing; it’s whatever Rita Hayworth did in Gilda and Marilyn Monroe did in Some Like It Hot, and I didn’t want her to stop.”
Audrey Hepburn, born May 4, 1929.
Audiences fell in love with her sweet, unassuming presence and her sense of style. To this day she is a fashion icon. She is best known for her performance as the street wise but vulnerable Holly Golighty in Breakfast at Tiffany’s.
She sang and played a ukulele too!
Jessica Lange, born April 29, 1949.
This Minnesota native has been wowing audiences ever since King Kong swept her off her feet in 1976. She received two Academy Awards and several Emmys. Her roles include Frances Farmer, Blanche DuBois and Joan Crawford. Most recently she played several notorious femme fatales on the series American Horror Story, including a psychotic nun, a freak show emcee and a New Orleans witch.
Elusive and wispy, yet strong, Jessica seems forever young.
Henry Cavill, born May 5, 1983.
He was the Man of Steel, the Man From U.N.C.L.E, and King Henry VIII’s bestie, Charles Brandon. Entertainment Weekly named him the “Most Dashing Duke” and praised his work on The Tudors for displaying “charm, depth and a killer bod”. In December 2013, Cavill was named “World’s Sexiest Man” by British Glamour magazine. The same year, Empire magazine placed him third on their list of “The 100 Sexiest Movie Stars 2013”.
I can see why.
Jack Nicholson, born April 22, 1937.
He played a werewolf, a Joker, a madman, a serial killer and a concert pianist. No one can deny the sinister power of Jack “you can’t handle the truth” Nicholson. He is the recipient of several awards including Academy, Grammy and Golden Globe. He has had one marriage, several affairs, and five children.
Film critic David Thompson said of him: “Nicholson is the Hollywood celebrity who is almost like a character in some ongoing novel of our times. He is also the most beloved of stars—not even his huge wealth, his reckless aging, and the public disasters of his private life can detract from this … For he is still a touchstone, someone we value for the way he helps us see ourselves.”
But remember when he asked the waitress to hold the chicken? And he clarified, “I want you to hold it between your knees.” She threw him out of the restaurant.
Cher, born May 20, 1946.
She was once half of Sonny and Cher, but she quickly surpassed Sonny and carved a solo career for herself. She is a singer, an Academy Award winning actress and of course — a fashion icon! Cher is quick witted, multidimensional, and a beautiful chameleon.
And don’t forget, she basically put dress designer Bob Mackie on the map.
James MacAvoy, born April 21, 1979.
This Scottish lad first captured hearts as the faun known as Mr. Tumnus, in The Chronicles of Narnia. Before fame and fortune came his way, he considered becoming a priest and worked in a Glasgow bakery. With a brogue to die for and his intense blue eyes, he quickly caught the attention of critics. James starred in several movies including The Last King of Scotland, Atonement and Macbeth. He has won several prestigious awards including a Golden Globe.
But I like James best as Mr. Tumnus. The horns are a natural.
William Shakespeare, born April 23, 1564.
In addition to being a great writer, the Bard must have been a pretty great lover as well. At the tender age of 17 he impregnated 26 year old Anne Hathaway. He married her and fathered two more children before making his way to London where he wrote and acted in plays.
Some historians believe he had numerous affairs with numerous people, including the elusive “dark lady” and “fair youth” of his sonnets. The Dark Lady (who may or may not have been Venetian poet Emilia Bassano) is portrayed as an older and temperamental woman.
The Fair Youth (who may or may not have been Henry Wriothesley, 3rd Earl of Southampton) is portrayed as a handsome younger man.
No one will ever know the truth. But the Bard had an intimate knowledge of human relationships, a penchant for crossdressers, and a real knack for tales of forbidden love.
Fred Astaire, born May 10, 1899.
He was possibly the most influential dancer in history. Astaire had a career in Broadway, television and the Silver Screen that spanned over 70 years. Michael Jackson claimed to emulate him and copied several of his dance steps, including the flexibility that led to the “Moon Walk”. He is best known for his partnership with fellow dancer Ginger Rogers and movies they made in the 1930’s and 40’s.
What is sexier than knowing all the right moves? And Fred could really pull off a top hat!
Bettie Page, born April 22, 1923.
A native of Nashville, Tennessee, Bettie was an actress, model and Playboy centerfold. She gained a significant profile in the 1950s for her pin-up photos which often portrayed BDSM. (Bettie claimed she had to pose for at least one hour of BDSM or the photographer would not pay her.) Paradoxically, she was also an evangelical Christian, and worked for the Reverend Billy Graham.
Historians say she was best known for her bangs and vivid blue eyes. (I suspect folks were looking at other things as well…)
Apparently, Bettie played the ukulele too!
Tonight, April 22, at approximately 10 pm Eastern Standard Time, the new moon will enter Taurus. Any new moon is a good time to set intentions, but this particular new moon is rife with meaning.
In the northern hemisphere we are celebrating spring and it is a great time for planting. In the southern hemisphere they are celebrating the autumn harvest. Whether we are planting or harvesting, it is a day closely related to the Earth. April 22nd is also International Earth Day. With Taurus as an Earth sign, we should set intentions for manifesting things to benefit the Earth.
The past few weeks have been stressful for all of us. The Covid virus has brought our planet to her knees. We have been locked up, hospitalized, laid off from our jobs, quarantined and kept from our loved ones. Many have suffered illness and even death. It is an unprecedented tragedy in human history.
But somethings gotta give. And soon.
Regardless of where anyone stands politically on the matters, we can all agree on one thing. We want the Earth and her people to be happy, healthy and prosperous.
Let’s set that intention today! Imagine how powerful it will be if we all do it.
Have a blessed New Moon Day. And Happy Birthday to Taureans everywhere!
And so. Another Yuletide ends. But not so fast! Before we take down the mistletoe and finish off the sugar plums, there is one more celebration which should be recognized. This is the legend of Frau Perchta, Witch of Twelfth Night.
Perhaps you have never heard of this obscure character. But if you happened to be living in Bavaria or Austria during the Middle Ages, you might have been quite troubled as the Christmas season came to an end. During this time Frau Perchta would be on the loose, doling out punishments and rewards for the naughty and nice, respectively.
The “official end” of Yuletide in many traditions is January 6th, also known as Twelfth Night or Feast of the Epiphany. It was on this night that Frau Perchta would drop in for a visit. If you had been good over the past year, you would be rewarded with a piece of silver. But if you had been bad – watch out! Frau Perchta was a stern distributor of justice. In fact, she was also called “the belly slitter” because punishment for bad behavior consisted of Frau Perchta cutting open the offender’s stomach, removing the inner organs, and replacing them with straw and pebbles. Ouch!
In Christian traditions, January 6th is Feast of the Epiphany. It commemorates the visit of the Magi to the manger where Christ was born. According to the Bible, three mages from Persia, following a bright star, made their way to Bethlehem to greet and bestow gifts upon the baby Jesus. Webster defines “epiphany” as “an appearance or manifestation especially of a divine being.”
The Twelfth Night is a time of great wonder and revelation. So why all the terror and judgement associated with Perchta? I wondered how Frau Perchta got such a bad rap.
The True Goddess
I did some sleuthing and found out that Perchta has a very interesting story. She wasn’t always an evil witch. In fact, she was at one time a greatly loved Germanic goddess. She is also called Berchta or Bertha. The name Bertha literally means “bright” or “shining one”. In ancient, pre-Christian times, Berchta was a powerful figure, worshiped by both Celtic and Germanic tribes. It was her job to protect babies, women and children. She was associated with birch trees (in Old High German birch is birka which also means “bright”.) She was a protector of forests and wildlife. She was also a “psychopomp” – that is, a spirit who guides the dead into the Afterlife.
Pretty impressive stuff.
Berchta was associated with the cycle of life, death and rebirth. She was depicted as a beautiful woman with long hair. She wore a white gown and was often called the White Woman or the Lady in White. She was considered a triple goddess (perhaps because of her association with life’s cycles) and was able to take on forms of the maiden, mother and crone.
As a guide into the Afterlife, Berchta was a tender and caring figure that helped souls in their transition. There is one tale in which a grieving mother sees an apparition of her recently deceased little son. He is with a group of children along a hillside. The children are following a woman in a white gown. The little boy breaks away to speak to his sorrowful mother. The boy tells his mother not to weep, for he is safe and under the watch of the White Lady.
Berchta also had shapeshifting abilities. She was described as sometimes having the feet of a goose, and she also took on the form of a swan. As the protector of animals, she was called “Guardian of Beasts”.
A Tainted Image
In the later, scary tales of Perchta, she is represented exclusively as a crone – more specifically, a scary old hag. She wears a disheveled dress, has a face made of iron and a nose like a beak.
She carries a knife beneath her cloak (in case she needs to slice open someone’s belly!) And of course, she has those strange looking goose feet.
So how did Berchta become Perchta? How did this benevolent goddess get demonized and transformed into an evil witch? Three words: The Medieval Church.
Christianity became powerful in Bavaria in around the 6th century. The Pagan cults that had evolved around Berchta were pretty strong and set in their ways. Worshippers of Berchta refused to be absorbed into the new Christian traditions. And so, for conversion purposes, the Church resorted to fear.
Her name was changed, among other things. The word “perchten” means scary monsters, so Berchta became “Perchta, leader of the Perchten.” Berchta, the wise white lady, was thereafter known as Perchta, a crooked-nosed, belly-stabbing hag.
As centuries went on, the worshippers of Berchta proved a stubborn lot. They were not willing to give up their goddess. The Church took further action. According to a religious document known as the Thesaurus Pauperum, the cult of Berchta was outlawed in 1468. This document specifically condemned the practice of leaving food and drink offerings for Berchta during the Christmas season.
You might be wondering, as I did, what the heck is a Thesaurus Paupernaum?
Well, it had nothing to do with a thesaurus as we know it. Rather, it was a collection of recipes and natural medicinal cures, presumably for the benefit of poor people (paupers/ paupernaum) who could not afford expensive doctors. Interestingly, this document is cited as containing such information as: medicinal values of precious stones, herbal medicines for childbirth, astrological charts and a table for the uses of precious metals.
Hmmm. Magical crystals, herbal medicines and astrology. Sounds kinda Pagany to me…
The Thesaurus Paupernaum was written by prominent church officials such as Pope John XXI and Saint Albertus Magnus, with contributions from mineralogist George Frederick Kunz. Its recordings span a period of about seven centuries, and it is included in the Library of Congress Medieval and Renaissance Manuscripts Collection.
So, for Medieval folks it was a big deal. Something they had to pay attention to.
Yuletide was her special time and Frau Perchta became a figure akin to Krampus, the evil counterpart of Saint Nicholas.
Propaganda and the Burning Times
There were tales of Frau Perchta capturing children and eating them. There were tales of Frau Perchta as the Christmas hag, who would stuff the bad kids into her giant sack. She would visit on Twelfth Night expecting food as an offering, but if she was displeased with what someone left, she would slit the person’s belly open and stuff him or her with garbage. She was also a stickler for clean homes, and the completion of spinning. So if women had neglected their housework or their flax, they could expect the belly slitting as well.
The repression of Berchta and subsequent scary tales of Perchta took place during an interesting period. In Europe, the years between 1450 and 1700 are known as The Burning Times. During these years, Protestant Reformations began, splitting the Christian Church into various factions. Instability caused even more paranoia. It is estimated that around 100,000 men and women were put to death for witchcraft, many of them burned at the stake.
Germany, a major proponent of the Reformations, was one of the worst offenders. Historians report that entire populations of women in towns and villages were sometimes eliminated.
Keeping Berchta Alive
Despite the church’s attempts to get rid of Berchta, she lives on. A Halloween like celebration in which children would dress as demons (Perchten) during Yuletide was observed in some parts of Europe during the 18th and 19th centuries. Some families would prepare a porridge called “Perchtenmilch.” Part of the porridge would be consumed by the family, with a portion set aside as an offering for Perchta and her Perchten.
In the 19th century, even the Brothers Grimm had their say about Perchta. According to Jacob Grimm, who translated texts from Old High German, she was spoken of as Frau Berchta, a white-robed goddess who oversaw spinning and weaving and was sometimes the leader of the Wild Hunt.
By honoring her as a scary witch, we keep the name of Perchta alive. She, along with Krampus and other monsters have enjoyed a rejuvenation in recent years. Some folks prefer a bit of horror in their Christmas.
The goddess Berchta will never be forgotten. Her bright beauty is evident in Yule’s return of the sun, in the new fallen snow, in white swans and in the magnificence of the Alpine Mountains she hails from.
This Twelfth Night, you may want to take some time out to honor Berchta/ Perchta. An altar could include white candles, birch branches, or white feathers. You can meditate on loved ones who have crossed over and ask Berchta for a safe passage. You may want to leave her an offering of cake or porridge. And – it might be wise to keep the house clean – just in case!
The spooky season is upon us, and you greatly deprive yourself if you do not take the time to watch some scary movies! I love horror, and here are some of my favorites — the fun, the freaky and the forgotten. In no particular order.
Crow Haven Farm – When a distant relative dies and leaves a generous will, New Yorker Maggie (played by Hope Lange) inherits a farm in Massachusetts. She and her husband are delighted to leave the big city and move into their new digs. However, upon entering the new house, Maggie has the strangest feeling she has lived there before. Is reincarnation possible?
Of course it is! But matters get complicated when Maggie and her husband adopt a witchy ten year old girl. Through the child, Maggie discovers her previous life involved the betrayal of a 17th century coven. They now plan to exact their revenge…
The Howling II “Your sister is a werewolf.” – Ben’s sister is transformed into a werewolf and killed. Determined to find answers and justice, Ben and his girlfriend Jenny travel to Transylvania with werewolf hunter Stefan (played by Christopher Lee) to investigate. There they find themselves in the midst of the Wolf Festival. A strange tribe of werewolves are led by immortal Queen Stirba who, as it turns out, is Stefan’s sister. There are plenty of chills and thrills (plus a great Goth wardrobe!) in this borderline erotic story.
Let’s Scare Jessica To Death – After suffering a nervous breakdown, Jessica has just been released from treatment in a mental institution. What she needs most is fresh air and a fresh start. Jessica and her husband decide to purchase a country house in upstate New York where they can get some peace and quiet to help Jessica’s recovery. Or so they think. When they discover a young hippy squatter on the premises, Jessica decides to invite the girl to move in rather than banish her. Bad decision!
This woman strangely resembles old photographs left in the house… Is the young woman really an immortal vampire? Or is Jessica simply going insane?
An American Werewolf in London – American college students David and Jack are backpacking through northern England.
They stop at a pub for some hot food, but unfortunately, the locals are none too friendly. In fact they are downright rude, except for their simple advice. “Stay to the road and beware the moon.”
Realizing they are unwanted, the boys head out to the moors, amidst fog and cries of a howling wolf. They are, of course, attacked. Jack is killed, but David is merely wounded — and therefore left to carry on the curse of the werewolf. This truly classic film manages to be funny, likable and shocking all at the same time.
The Witches of Eastwick – Three dissatisfied women (played by Cher, Michelle Pheifer and Susan Sarandon) live in a sleepy New England town. There, they bide their time with hobbies and gossip, not really fitting in with the locals, and longing for excitement. One night they fantasize their perfect man and invite him to the neighborhood. When Darryl Van Horn (played by Jack Nicholson) arrives on the scene, he is intriguing, a bit repugnant, and weirdly irresistible. Van Horn trains the women for a witchy life — including teaching them to fly, all the while keeping them under his seductive power. Then one day, the ladies become more powerful than Darryl…
Practical Magic – The Owens women, witches by birth, suffer a curse. No man should ever fall in love with them or he is fated to die — young and way before his time. When sisters Jill and Sally (played by Nicole Kidman and Sandra Bullock) both fall in love, fate takes its toll. Can the curse be broken? While it is not really “scary” this movie is great fun and perfect for Halloween, when the Owens women fly off the roof!
The Witch: A New England Folk Tale – Journey back to 17th century New England for some spine tingling dealings with real witches and a goat named Black Phillip. A family of English settlers are banished from Plymouth Colony for being “too devout.” In other words, they out-Puritan the Puritans, and the community sends them away.
The family’s luck gets worse as crops spoil and their baby is kidnapped. To make matters worse, something strange is going on in the woods… This involves unction oils, naked witches, and signing of the book in blood. Plus Black Phillip is more than a mere goat…
Kudos to director Robert Eggers for keeping it Puritanical. Eggers went to great efforts to replicate the speech and costumes of the era. He also claimed he wanted to make his “childhood witch terrors” come to life. I know people who are so scared of this movie, they will not watch it alone!
Interview With The Vampire – I have mentioned this gem before, but no Halloween would be complete without a visit to New Orleans with the infamous Lestat, and the innocent Louis, the vampire he created to keep him company. When Louis can no longer live with the existential crises of having to kill to stay undead, all hell breaks loose. Anne Rice’s masterpiece brought to the big screen.
The Salem Witch Trials – Originally filmed as a made for TV mini series, this six hour presentation is a must see. Most folks take Arthur Miller’s Crucible as fact – it was, however, heavily fabricated to meet Miller’s dramatic goals. This mini series offers a more historic (and scary!) view of the witch trials, with great performances by Kirstie Alley and Shirley Maclaine.
Doctor Faustus – Based on Christopher Marlowe’s play. Richard Burton stars as Faustus, the occult dabbling doctor who wonders if it would be possible to summon the Devil and strike a bargain with him – a soul in exchange for worldly goods. Yes. It is possible. The movie also stars Elizabeth Taylor (Burton’s then wife) as temptress Helen of Troy.
Although it is a bit campy and the acting is over the top, I still say, Burton, Taylor and Marlowe — What’s not to love?
The Exorcist – Some folks think this is the scariest film ever made. Although it shows it’s age, there are still plenty terrors to be had in this story of Reagan, an innocent twelve year old who inexplicably finds herself possessed by the Devil. When all cures prove futile, an exorcist is called in. Not for the faint of heart, but if you have a strong stomach, it is a must see.
Hope that gives you some viewing ideas!
Have an Happy and Horrifying Halloween!
Happy Friday the 13th!
As some of you may know, today is no ordinary Friday the 13th. We are also blessed with a full moon, known as the Harvest Moon (so christened by Native Americans and coinciding with the September harvest.) The Harvest Moon is said to be so bright, farmers could actually go out at night and reap their summer harvests beneath it.
A full moon occurring on a Friday the 13th is a bit of a phenomenon in itself. We haven’t experienced this since October 13, 2000, and there will not be another one until August 13, 2049. So be sure to celebrate this rare occasion, harness this full moon power and perform whatever festivities you so choose.
September 13th is no ordinary day either. Some pretty rare and phenomenal events have happened on this day, and some significant characters share this birthday. For example:
On this day in 1224, Saint Francis of Assisi is said to have been affected with a stigmata. Forty year old Francesco went off to pray at the lonely mountain of Alvernia. He planned on undertaking a 40 day fast in order to prepare himself for the Feast of Archangel Michael, the most powerful of angels. It was during this time that Francesco received the condition known as “stigmata” — the Sacred Wounds of Christ appearing in his hands, feet and side.
According to Catholicism.org “The wounds Jesus gave him stayed in his hands, feet and side, and continually bled for two more years.” When the bleeding finally ceased, Francsco died, at the age of 42.
Speaking of famous Italians, Cesare Borgia, Italian nobleman, politician and spy, was born September 13, 1475. Cesare was the bastard son of Pope Alexander VI, child of the Pope’s long term mistress Vannozza dei Cattanei. (It was pretty common back then for popes to have children.)
Cesare grew up to be unscrupulous and terrifying in his quest for power. He was groomed by the Church and originally held a position as Cardinal of Valencia at the tender age of 18, but he abdicated to become a war strategist. He is said to have murdered his own brother Giovanni. The two men shared the same mistress, Sancha of Aragon. (Sancha was actually married to their other brother, Gioffre Borgia! You can’t make this stuff up!) It was rumored that Cesare may have been jealous Giovanni’s involvement with her, and also his military position.
Interestingly, Sancha, also known as the “Jezebel of Naples” was thought to be a witch. After being imprisoned in 1503 she somehow charmed her way out of an execution and went on to live a productive life as the guardian of her young nephew Rodrigo, son of Cesare’s sister Lucretzia.
Cesare was promoted in the military and given the title Duke of Valentinois, which led to his nickname “Valentino”. He ruthlessly commanded mercenaries and Papal armies, bloodthirsty and horrendous in his ambitions. He was the inspiration for Niccollo Macchiavelli’s novel The Prince, which has been a toolbox for power mongers ever since (including King Henry VIII!)
For his notorious spying activities, Cesare is often called James Bond of the 15th century.
Who doesn’t love Charlie and the Chocolate Factory, Fantastic Mr. Fox, James and the Giant Peach and The Witches? The author of these children’s classics, Roald Dahl, also entered our world on this day, September 13, 1916. Born in Cardiff, Wales, to Norwegian parents, young Roald was educated at the Cathedral and Repton schools. He was no stranger to the barbaric practices of canings and hazings, often receiving punishments for his pranks, or subject to bullying by upperclassmen. After graduation, he worked for the Shell Petroleum Company, and during WWII served in the Royal Air Force.
Dahl’s books are known for their unsentimental outlook, use of the macabre, and their dark comedy. They often feature villainous adults and sweet underdog children who are victorious in the end. Perhaps they are a bit reminiscent of his caning and hazing days at Repton, where he was often the victim of cruelty.
Beware the Weird Sisters and their book of spells!
Speaking of chocolate factories, today is also the birthday of Milton Hershey, the chocolate tycoon and founder of the Hershey Company. Milton was born on September 13, 1945 in Derby Pennsylvania.
Gotta love Hershey!
And don’t forget the music! Also born on this day in New Orleans, 1953, was Larry Shields, an American jazz clarinetist. Larry was one of the players in the Original Dixieland Jazz Band.
So there you have it! Today is no ordinary Friday the 13th. Tonight would be a great time to do some moon gazing, eat some chocolate, listen to jazz and read a copy of The Witches. Braver souls may want to channel the spirits of Cesare Borgia or Saint Francis. Whatever you do, have a safe, healthy and happy Friday the 13th.
“In a chariot of light,
from the region of the day,
the Goddess of Liberty came.
She brought in her hand,
as a gift of her love,
the plant she named Liberty Tree.”
— Thomas Paine, American patriot and Founding Father of the United States
“Give me liberty,
or give me death.” — Thomas Paine
Have a safe, happy, healthy and blessed Fourth of July! 🙂
Upon Walpurgis Night we dare to dance
the potent potions serving third eye sight
Black earth beneath bare feet, the ghost’s advance,
as bonfires glitter golden cleansing light.
Ancestors seen (and unseen) in a glance,
they knock the wood of oak and broomstick flight
where bluebells sprout like fingers, risking chance
of transport into faerie’s eerie plight.
The velvet dark, the Pan of necromance,
to shed mundane illusion and all fright.
Hooves hard, the thud and crash of gritty prance,
deep teeth enmeshing blood’s forbidden bite
Here lies the edge and nether world’s expanse
Upon Walpurgis Night we dare to dance.
Walpurgisnacht, the Witches’ Night, is upon us! The veils are thin on this May Eve. Use your power, spells and concoctions to make your deepest dreams come true. Blessed Be.
“WalpurgisNight when the devil was abroad— when graves opened and the dead came forth and walked. When all evil things of earth and air and water held revel.” — from Dracula’s Guest by Bram Stoker.
“their Children and Friendes laboured a speciall meeting at Malking Tower in the Forrest of Pendle, upon Good-fryday, of all the most dangerous, wicked, and damnable Witches in the County farre and neere. Upon Good-fryday they met with great cheare, merry company, and much conference…” — From The Wonderful Discovery of Witches in Lancashire County by Thomas Potts
On Good Friday, April 10, 1612, the men and women who came to be known as the “Pendle Witches” held a feast at Malkin Tower, the home of one Elizabeth (Lizzie) Device. The group were later arrested by the local sheriff, Roger Nowell. According to Nowell, the witches at the Good Friday feast were planning and plotting — specifically — to “kill M. Cowell, and blow up Lancashire Castle [using] all their Murders, Witchcraftes, Inchauntments, Charmes, & Sorceries…”
One week before, on April 2, 1612, Lizzie’s mother, Elizabeth (Bess) Southerns (aka “Old Demdike” ) and her sixteen-year-old daughter Alison had been arrested for witchcraft. Also arrested were their neighbors, Anne Whittle (aka “Old Chattox”) and her daughter Anne Redfearne. The women were being held at the Well Tower — which was actually a dungeon — in Lancaster Castle — which was actually a medieval fortress. There they awaited trial, to be held at the August Assizes, which meant four months in prison.
According to Sheriff Roger Nowell, it was entirely plausible that Old Demdike’s daughter would carry out a plan to kill Thomas Cowell (the coroner appointed by King James to investigate the case) and blow up Lancaster Castle in order to free her loved ones.
The Pendle Witch trials are among the most famous in British history, and the only witch trials ever that had a court journalist– one Thomas Potts — who recorded the testimonies and then wrote a book, The Wonderful Discovery of Witches in Lancashire County published in 1613.
But who were the Pendle Witches, why were they so notorious, and did they even commit the crimes they were accused of?
Pendle Forest Cunning-Woman
At the time of her arrest, Bess Southerns was around eighty years old, and had been previously known as a healer and cunning-woman. Her folk magick practices had included midwifery and saving people from plagues and other ailments. She was arrested on charges of consorting with spirits and using charms to instill sickness and death. Furthermore, years earlier she had supposedly encountered a faerie named Tibb and made a bargain with him:
“Elizabeth Sowtherns confesseth, and sayth; That about twentie yeares past, as she was comming homeward from begging, there met her neere unto a Stonepit in Gouldshey in the Forrest of Pendle, a Spirit or Devill in the shape of a Boy… who bade this Examinate that if she would giue him her Soule, she should have any thing that she would request. Whereupon she asked his name? and the Spirit answered, his name was Tibb:
and so this Examinate in hope of such gaine as was promised by the sayd Devill or Tibb, was contented to give her Soule to the said Spirit: And next after, the sayd Spirit or Devill appeared at sundry times unto her alwayes bidding her stay, and asking her what she would have?”
During this time, a neighbor named Richard Baldwin had taken sick – after having had a verbal altercation with Bess in which she had somewhat flippantly told him “I will pray for you.” (It was largely believed that a witch’s prayers could bring harm…) Soon after, Baldwin’s young daughter became ill and died. Needless to say, the death was blamed on Bess and her pact with Tibb.
Anne Whittle had a similar story. Bess had allegedly been her mentor.
“Anne Whittle, alias Chattox, sayeth, that about foureteene yeares past she entered the wicked perswasions and counsell of Elizabeth Southerns, alias Demdike, and was seduced to condescend & agree to become subject unto that devilish abhominable profession of Witchcraft: Soone after which, at around Midnight, the Devill appeared unto her in the likeness of a Man…
whereupon the said wicked Spirit mooved this Examinate, that she would become his Subject, and give her Soule unto him:”
Further deaths in the Pendle Forest were blamed on the two women and their so called pact with the devil.
“… many sundry Person haue been bewitched to death, and by whom they were so bewitched: Robert Nuter, late of the Greene-head in Pendle, was bewitched by Demdike, and Widdow Lomshawe, (late of Burneley) now deceased.
And she further sayeth, that she had bewitched to death, Richard Ashton, Sonne of Richard Ashton of Downeham Esquire.”
A Black Dog and Communion Wafers
Young Alison Device had the misfortune of being in the wrong place at the wrong time. She had been walking upon a road in Colne when she saw a peddler – a man named John Law. (I am not kidding. His name was actually John Law. No offense to the Police Department 😊 )
In general, the people of Pendle Forest were poor. Many went barefoot with tattered clothes. Alison had the need for some pins to mend her crumbling kirtle. She asked John Law to “open his sack so she might purchase some.” He refused. Alison then shouted some choice words at him, upon which a black dog came running out of the forest. John Law fell to the ground (in modern times we would say he suffered a stroke.) Nonetheless, it was assumed that the black dog was Alison’s “familiar” – a spirit who arrived on the scene to do Alison’s evil bidding.
The significance of pins should be noted. Aside from holding a kirtle together, pins were seen as necessary for certain witchcraft practices (akin to voodoo) such as sticking them into dolls or “poppets” meant to represent people one wanted revenge on. John Law, perhaps knowing the reputation of Alison’s grandmother, may have hesitated to sell them to her.
James Device, the twenty-year-old grandson of Bess, confessed to stealing communion wafers for his grandmother, digging up skulls and bones, and consulting with a familiar he called “Dandy”. James Device was believed to have what we would now consider a learning disability. After being starved in prison he became so weak he could barely stand up when brought to trial.
“Being brought forth to the Barre, to receive his Triall … James Device was so insensible, weak, and unable in all thinges, as he could neither speak, hear, or stand, but was holden up when hee was brought to the place of his Arraignement, to receive his triall.”
This further leads us to believe that the prisoners received terrible, inhumane treatment in the dungeon, not to mention coerced confessions.
Out of the Mouths of Babes
To make matters worse, in court Alison’s nine-year-old sister Jennet Device testified against her own family, accusing them all of murder. The child’s stories were taken extremely seriously by the magistrate.
Little Jennet had been in the custody of Roger Nowell since her mother was hauled off to prison. He had most likely coached her to condemn her own family. Nonetheless, Jennet’s accusations became a precedent for children accusing adults of witchcraft. (This practice was later used at the Salem Witch Trials in the American colonies when a group of children accused over 200 people of witchcraft.)
To this day, the outrageous nature of the confessions is questioned by historians. Some believe that Roger Nowell embellished them. Torture was “forbidden” in England, but other practices, such as starvation and sleep deprivation were often used to coax confessions out of those accused.
King James and the Occult
Roger Nowell had a lot of stakes in the trials. It was to his advantage to prove witchcraft under the reign of King James. The King, a self-described “witch expert”, had an obsession with the occult and actually believed his throne was threatened by witches.
James himself had written a book about witchcraft titled Daemonologie. He also changed several witchcraft laws to make arrests and convictions easier. This lead to the deaths of many accused. Even Shakespeare’s play Macbeth was written in part as propaganda to appeal to King James, then head of the production company.
Interestingly, the spells recited by the witches in court do not seem devil-based at all, but rather adhere to teachings of the Catholic Church, with references to the angel Gabriel, the twelve apostles and the Mother Mary. Catholic (Papal) practices had been forbidden under King James, a Protestant. However, the county of Lancashire had always been a Catholic stronghold, and it was known that folks practiced the “Old Faith” in secret.
One such “Good Friday” charm, recited in court by James and Jennet Device is as follows:
Upon Good-Friday, I will fast while I may
Untill I heare them knell Our Lords owne Bell,
Lord in his messe With his twelve Apostles good
What hath he in his hand? Light in leath wand
What hath he in his other hand? Heavens doore key
Open, open Heaven doore keyes, Stuck, stuck hell doore.
Let Crizum child Goe to its Mother mild,
What is yonder that casts a light?
Mine owne deare Sonne that’s nailed to the Tree.
He is nailed sore by the heart and hand,
And holy harne Panne, Well is that man That Fryday spell can,
His Childe to learne; A Crosse of Blew, and another of Red…
Sweete Jesus our Lord, Amen.
“To Be Hung By the Neck Until You Are Dead”
Various other deaths and sicknesses were blamed on the Pendle Witches. In the end, of the twelve originally arrested, ten were sentenced to death. These were:
Anne Whittle, known as Chattox
Anne Redfearne, daughter of Chattox
Elizabeth Device, daughter of Demdyke
James Device, son of Elizabeth Device
Alison Device, daughter of Elizabeth Device
John Bulcock, son of Jane Bulcock
Katherine Hewitt, known as Mouldheels
Elizabeth Southerns died in Lancaster Gaol before the trial began. Some say she used her cunning powers to escape trial. Most likely, the hideous conditions of the prison contributed greatly to her demise. (It was quite common for accused women to die in prison of dysentery or malnutrition, especially the elderly.)
What do you think of the Pendle Witches? Let me know in the comments.
Have a blessed Good-Fryday!
March is International Women’s History Month. It also marks the beginning of the Salem Witch Trials. Since this disturbing event in American history was centered largely around women, I thought it might be fun to explore the specifics!
Witch Trials continue to fascinate and puzzle historians. Witchcraft hysteria ran rampant throughout Europe in the 15th – 17th centuries, and carried over to the American colonies, solely driven by religious beliefs and outrageous superstition. But there was much more to the Salem Witch Trials than overactive imaginations…
Don’t Have a Hissy Fit! But They Did…
In the winter of 1692, in Salem Village, nine year old Betty Parris and her eleven year old cousin Abigail Williams began to have uncontrollable fits. The girls would scream, run around and throw things. They claimed they were being hit and attacked by some unknown presence. Luckily, Betty’s father Samuel Parris happened to be a Puritan Reverend and he had a perfect explanation: the Devil was afoot in New England.
Puritans had a strong belief in the Devil. He walked among men, unseen. He needed to get his bidding done, so he would recruit humans. Sometimes he chose men, but mostly he chose women — as they were weak, vulnerable and easily persuaded. You know. Like Eve. Old Scratch would bring his book to sign – and it had to be signed in blood. Once the transaction was complete, a woman gave away her soul and body, leaving the Devil to do with them as he pleased.
As Betty and Abigail continued to have their incurable fits, doctors were brought in. After several weeks, no one could diagnose the problem, but finally the girls blurted out that it was, in fact, the witchy spirit of Tituba, the family slave, who had been harming them.
There was a thing called ‘spectral evidence’ which became very important during the witchcraft trials. Any accuser could claim that the specter or spirit of a witch was harming them, and that claim was taken seriously. It was not even necessary that another person actually see the specter.
Meanwhile, on the other side of town, a girl named Anne Putnam was experiencing the same kinds of fits. She claimed the witches attacking her were two women – the neighborhood beggars – one Sarah Goode, and one Sarah Osborne.
Sarah Osborne was what Puritans would call a ‘loose woman’. She had lived with a man out of wedlock and did not attend church services. Osborne was elderly and also known to be argumentative. Sarah Goode was married with a young daughter, but even her own husband suspected she was a witch. Both women were poor.
So, the first women accused were a slave and two social rejects. But the accusations didn’t stop there. They would go on to reach epic proportions. In order to understand the mentality of the trials, it is necessary to look at the outlying events which took place simultaneously.
Blame it on Politics
In 1692’s bleak winter, Salem Village was in bad shape. Fields were frozen and people were starving. Indians, wolves and other wild animals were a constant threat. To make matters worse, the territories of North America were engaged in a civil war.
In 1689, English rulers William and Mary had started a war with France in the American colonies. Known as ‘King William’s War’, or ‘The Second Indian War’, it ravaged regions of what is now upstate New York, Massachusetts, Nova Scotia and Quebec. Homeless refugees traipsed into the county of Essex and, specifically, into Salem Village.
The displaced people created a strain on Salem Village’s resources. The harsh terrain of New England had never been very fruitful, and there was only so much firewood and food to go around. Hunger, cold and poverty were rampant. In addition to all this trouble, the village’s two most prominent families – the Putnams and the Porters – were engaged in a power struggle.
Two Households, Both Alike in Dignity
The Putnam family had always been powerful in the Massachusetts Bay Colony. This stemmed from an English land grant given to their grandfather, way back in 1640. The Putmans were farmers. But in the rising change of fortune, new and lucrative opportunities were coming from the busy colony seaport. Commerce and trade, not farming, would be the business of the future. The Putnams were losing their stronghold. The Porter family – up and coming sea merchants – were the ‘new money’ in Salem Village.
In what was perhaps a desperate attempt to use religion to gain back his influence, Thomas Putnam enlisted the services of Reverend Samuel Parris.
The Reverend Parris had not always been a reverend. He was, in fact, a struggling salesman who had lived most of his life in Barbados. He came to the Massachusetts Bay Colony and took to the pulpit only after his business ventures had failed miserably. He brought with him his wife, his daughter Betty, his niece Abigail Williams and two slaves – Tituba and John Indian.
Reverend Parris was not popular. People thought he was greedy. For example, one law was imposed requiring villagers to give up their firewood as a new taxation plan that gave the wood to the Reverend. His sermons were guilt inducing, full of fire and brimstone. He strongly warned of dealings with the Devil. Many folk opted to attend a different church in Salem Town, rather than sit through Parris’ sermons. The influential Porters went to church in Salem Town.
It was as though there were two separate cities, and two separate philosophies. Salem Village was ‘Putnam-land’ – backwater, bumpkin, farm-bound and superstitious. Salem Town was ‘Porter territory’ – progressive, sophisticated, merchant-driven and logical.
Lizzie and Joseph: Forbidden Love
The story gets better!
Thomas Putnam had a half brother named Joseph. Joseph was the product of his father’s second marriage to one Mary Veren. When the father died in 1686, he left a good deal of his land holdings to young Joseph. Thomas and his brother Edmund were jealous, to say the least. They challenged their father’s will in court, but to no avail. Young Joseph Putman was known as the wealthiest man in Salem Village. And who did Joseph fall in love with? You guessed it – a Porter!
Seventeen year old Lizzie was the pride of the Porter family. Her father Israel was fond of Joseph, and also eager to wed his daughter to a rich landholder.
Twenty one year old Joseph married Lizzie on April 21, 1690. Needless to say, the wedding was much frowned upon by his half brothers. Thomas Putnam now stood to lose even more of his dwindling wealth and power.
Not coincidentally, the girls that made the first witchcraft accusations all had some tie to Thomas Putnam. These were: Betty (the Reverend’s daughter) Abigail (the Reverend’s niece) Anne Putman Jr. (Thomas’ daughter) Anne Putnam Sr. (Thomas’ wife) and Mary Walcott (Thomas’ niece).
Similarly, many of the accused had some tie to the Porter family. These were: Rebecca Nurse, Giles and Martha Corey, John and Elizabeth Proctor, and George Burroughs — all neighbors and associates of the Porters. John Proctor and Giles Corey were landholders who sat in at town council meetings and were likely to cast votes to favor Israel Porter. (Of course, once accused of witchcraft, one’s land went forfeit and they no longer held that position… ) George Burroughs had been the Reverend of the church in Salem Town.
On March 1, 1692, Tituba, Sarah Osborne and Sarah Goode were taken for questioning. Tituba confessed, telling a wild story of how the Devil had recruited her, but now she was repentant and wished forgiveness. Osborne and Goode insisted upon their innocence. On March 7, the three were jailed in Boston.
Astonishingly, Sarah Goode’s four year old daughter Dorothy was put in jail as a witch also, making her probably the youngest prisoner ever. Months later, the child was released on a 50 pound bond — the equivalent of around $10,000 in today’s money. Dorothy was referred to in court records as “it” rather than “she”.
Tituba was no fool. Puritan law at the time would allow an accused person freedom ONLY if he or she confessed. Those that would not confess would be hung. (Sarah Goode was later hung and Sarah Osborne died in prison.)
The accusers may have started by singling out the lowest of society, but eventually they made their way up the ladder. On March 19, Abigail accused a woman named Rebecca Nurse. Rebecca was considered a pillar of the community. She was kind, charitable, church-going and flawless. Fear spread like wildfire. If Rebecca could be accused, anyone could.
And anyone was! Before the trials were ended, over two hundred people were accused of witchcraft and jailed. Nineteen were hung, one was pressed to death, and at least four died in the squalid conditions of prison.
The Governor, Sir William Phipps, established a Court of Oyer and Terminer to investigate the allegations. It was presided over by all the top officials: Lieutenant Gov. William Stoughton, Nathaniel Saltonstall, Bartholomew Gedney, Peter Sergeant, Samuel Sewall, Wait Still Winthrop, John Richards, John Hathorne and Jonathan Corwin.
Interesting aside — John Hathorne was an ancestor of author Nathaniel Hawthorne of Scarlet Letter fame.
Nathaniel changed the spelling of his name to avoid association with the elder Hathorne, who was the only judge that never apologized for his part in the witch trials.
The accusing girls were at first revered by the community. They had rock-star status, traveling around pointing the finger at anyone they pleased, while onlookers begged to touch their garments. However, as the accusations accumulated and crept steadily into the elites of society, folks became suspicious. Finally, the girls went too far.
One story claims that an accusation was made against the Governor’s wife, Mary Spencer Phipps.
The Governor adored and cherished his wife. The idea of her being a witch was abominable to him. Plus, by then he may have had his doubts about the accusations — as any reasoning human being would. At any rate, in October of 1682, Governor Phipps dissolved the Court of Oyer and Terminer. In November he declared that spectral evidence would no longer be considered valid. In May of the following year, Phipps pardoned all the remaining accused witches.
Happy Women’s History Month!
As part of my February Women in Horror series, today I am featuring the fabulous actresses of American Horror Story. The most famous of these are perhaps Angela Bassett, Kathy Bates and Jessica Lange.
These three ladies did not begin, nor spend their acting careers exclusively in Horror. All three had Oscar-nominated silver screen performances in a variety of genres before they came together on the bizarre cast of AHS. Yet they make the small screen sizzle in their frightful performances. The characters they have played range from carnival freaks to asylum inmates to psychopathic killers. And of course, witches!
No season of AHS showcases women as well as Season Three: Coven.
It all begins at Miss Robichaux’s Academy in New Orleans. The resident students are modern day descendants of those who escaped Salem hundreds of years before. Current coven members include the clueless Zoe (Taiessa Farmiga) who recently discovered her dark powers cause brain hemorrhages. Zoe will uncover more talents slowly and find she can operate a chain saw well.
Queenie (Gabourey Sidibe) is a descendant of Tituba. Queenie, like a human voodoo doll, has an ability to inflict pain upon others while doing herself harm which she does not feel.
Nan (Jamie Brewer) is an autistic clairvoyant who will read your every thought.
Madison (Emma Roberts) is a spoiled actress who has seen the seamier side of life. (Madison has more rough times ahead including death and resurrection. Stay tuned.)
The girls are under the care of Ms. Cordelia Foxx (Sarah Paulsen) owner and operator of the Academy. Cordelia will be given a very interesting “sight”…
At the academy, the girls are to learn the fine arts of sorcery and magick that will help them lead their coven into the future.
The only problem is, the academy is falling apart. Cordelia’s leadership is weak. She has always lived in the shadow of her estranged mother Fiona Goode (Jessica Lange) who happens to be the Supreme Witch – the powerful queen who is able to perform the Seven Wonders.
To make matters worse, back in the bayou, a swamp witch named Misty Day (Lily Rabe) has been burned at the stake. Luckily for Misty, she is a necromancer and is able to revive herself from death.
Fiona, worried about the new persecution, heads back the academy to take matters in her own hands. A few field trips are in order for the trainees.
But it won’t be easy.
Dark and evil happenings have long occurred in New Orleans. Back in the 1800’s Madame LaLaurie (Kathy Bates) became so sadistic toward her slaves and family members that voodoo queen Marie Laveau (Angela Bassett) decided to bury her alive! Madame LaLaurie has been living in a casket for three hundred years.
The aging Fiona, obsessed by the notion of youth and eternal life, frees Madame LaLaurie from her coffin in hopes of discovering some longevity secrets. She also makes her way into the 9th ward where the ageless Marie LaVeau has operated the same beauty shop for some three hundred years.
Her secret? Marie has made a deal with voodoo god Papa Legba. And his terms didn’t come cheap. But Marie won’t be revealing her secrets to Fiona any time soon; the voodoo priestess has been engaged in a power war with the witches for centuries.
Excitement ensues as Fiona’s powers dwindle, while she realizes that one of the young prodigies is destined to be the next Supreme. But who?
Watch the series to find out!
Fiction and Truth: Madame LaLaurie
The truth behind some of the characters of Coven is as gory as the series itself. Take, for example, Madame LaLaurie.
The real Madame Delphine LaLaurie (1787 – 1849) was a Creole socialite who spent her time hobnobbing with the upper echelon of fashionable New Orleans.
Madame LaLaurie, a three time widow, apparently kept a respected place in society until April 10, 1834, when a fire broke out in the LaLaurie residence. Police and fire marshals arrived. There in the raging flames they found Madame LaLaurie’s cook, a seventy-year-old woman, chained to the stove by her ankle. The cook later said she herself had set the fire as a suicide attempt, as living under the confines of Madame LaLaurie had become intolerable and she was afraid she might be “punished” by being sent to the “upper chamber”. Slaves taken to this chamber never came back.
Bystanders responding to the fire attempted to enter the upper chamber to ensure that everyone had been evacuated. Upon being refused the keys by Delphine, they broke down the doors.
As you may have suspected, the “upper chamber” was a real life chamber of horrors.
According to the New Orleans Bee, they found “seven slaves, horribly mutilated … suspended by the neck, with their limbs stretched and torn from one extremity to the other.”
The slaves had been imprisoned in the chamber for several months. They were “emaciated, and showed signs of having been flogged with a whip, bound in restrictive postures, and wore spiked iron collars which kept their heads in static positions.”
When the discovery of the abused slaves became widely known, the good people of New Orleans came to attack the LaLaurie residence. According to the newspaper, this angry mob “demolished and destroyed everything upon which they could lay their hands”. The sheriff intervened, but by the time the destruction was complete, “scarcely any thing remained but the walls.”
The real, restored LaLaurie Mansion can still be found on Royal Street in the French Quarter.
The real Delphine LaLaurie then reportedly high tailed it to the docks where she jumped a boat for France and was never heard from again,
In American Horror Story, Delphine does not get off so easy. Suffice it to say, she will pay for her crimes in unusual ways…
Once exhumed from her coffin, Fiona brings Delphine back to the house and decides it might be fun to make her serve as the slave of Queenie. When Marie Laveau gets involved, there is further hell to pay.
You can’t blame Marie for being angry. Among Delphine’s many crimes, perhaps the worst was when she took her houseboy Bastien – who happened to be Marie’s lover – and changed him into a real life minotaur by attaching a bull’s head to his body.
The real Marie Laveau (1801– 1881) was a highly respected Louisiana Creole practitioner of Voodoo. Her practice included rootwork, conjuring, Native American and African spiritualism, mystic Catholicism and what is known today as “New Orleans Voodoo.”
Marie Catherine Laveau was born as a free woman of color in the French Quarter of New Orleans. Her mother, Marguerite Henry, also a free woman of color, was of Native American, African and French descent. Her father, Charles Laveau Trudeau, was a white surveyor & politician who served on the New Orleans City Council and also as an interim mayor.
On August 4, 1819, Marie married Jacques Paris, a French immigrant who had fled the Haitian Revolution in the former French territory Saint-Domingue. Their marriage certificate is preserved in the St. Louis Cathedral in New Orleans. The wedding mass was performed by Father Antonio de Sedella. They had two daughters, Felicite in 1817 and Angele in 1820. Jacques died in 1820.
Marie then entered a domestic partnership with Christophe Dominick Duminy de Glapion, (a white man of French descent) with whom she lived until his death in 1855. They had 7 children according to birth and baptismal records. Apparently, two of her daughters were also named Marie — and had striking resemblances to their mother. The daughters also practiced voodoo, and may have been confused with their mother. This lead to the belief that Marie could be “in two places at one time” and also had abnormal longevity — as her daughters were seen about town after her death and may have been confused with Marie Sr.
Or were they? Many superstitions are still associated with Marie’s grave. Some folk believe she still walks the earth, and have been known to petition her for favors.
Marie is, of course, most famous for her magick. Rumors state she had a pet snake, Zombi, named after an African god. She was also a devout Catholic. Her practice mixed invocations of Roman Catholic saints with African spirits. She was known to cure mysterious ailments. She could exact revenge when justice was needed.
The real Marie Laveau did indeed own a beauty parlor. She was a hair-dresser for wealthy New Orleans women. It is said she had a network of informants she developed through her beauty shop connections. She appeared to excel at “obtaining inside information” on her wealthy patrons. (She was, after all, a politician’s daughter!)
The Marie of American Horror Story is just as slick politically. However, due to her bargain with Papa Legba she will bear no children of her own (although she may have to kidnap a few from the local hospital to keep Legba happy.)
With this much historical and horrific material, you can imagine the gore that peppers this series. If you have not yet seen it, I suggest you do so immediately! Cook up a pot of jambalaya, watch by candlelight and be transported. Appreciating the performances of these amazing women is a great way to celebrate Women in Horror Month.