Friday, October 19, 2018

October 19th, 2018

Greeting friends and fiends...

Here's a little story for you...


The History of the Jack O'Lantern
The Irish brought the tradition of the Jack O'Lantern to America. But, the original Jack O'Lantern was not a pumpkin.The Jack O'Lantern legend goes back hundreds of years in Irish History. As the story goes, Stingy Jack was a miserable, old drunk who liked to play tricks on everyone: family, friends, his mother and even the Devil himself. One day, he tricked the Devil into climbing up an apple tree. Once the Devil climbed up the apple tree, Stingy Jack hurriedly placed crosses around the trunk of the tree. The Devil was then unable to get down the tree. Stingy Jack made the Devil promise him not to take his soul when he died. Once the devil promised not to take his soul, Stingy Jack removed the crosses and let the Devil down.
Many years later, when Jack finally died, he went to the pearly gates of Heaven and was told by Saint Peter that he was too mean and too cruel and had led a miserable and worthless life on earth. He was not allowed to enter heaven. He then went down to Hell and the Devil. The Devil kept his promise and would not allow him to enter Hell. Now Jack was scared and had nowhere to go but to wander about forever in the darkness between heaven and hell. He asked the Devil how he could leave as there was no light. The Devil tossed him an ember from the flames of Hell to help him light his way. Jack placed the ember in a hollowed out Turnip, one of his favorite foods which he always carried around with him whenever he could steal one. For that day onward, Stingy Jack roamed the earth without a resting place, lighting his way as he went with his "Jack O'Lantern".
On all Hallow's eve, the Irish hollowed out Turnips, rutabagas, gourds, potatoes and beets. They placed a light in them to ward off evil spirits and keep Stingy Jack away. These were the original Jack O'Lanterns. In the 1800's a couple of waves of Irish immigrants came to America. The Irish immigrants quickly discovered that Pumpkins were bigger and easier to carve out. So they used pumpkins for Jack O'Lanterns.

Happy Haunting,

Mark Harvey

Thursday, October 18, 2018

October 18th, 2018

Halloween's origins date back to the ancient Celtic festival of Samhain (pronounced sow-in). The Celts, who lived 2,000 years ago in the area that is now Ireland, the United Kingdom, and northern France, celebrated their new year on November 1. This day marked the end of the summer, the harvest, and the beginning of the dark, cold winter, a time of year that was often associated with human death. Celts believed that on the night before the new year, the boundary between the worlds of the living and the dead became blurred. On the night of October 31, they celebrated Samhain, when it was believed that the ghosts of the dead returned to earth. In addition to causing trouble and damaging crops, Celts thought that the presence of the otherworldly spirits made it easier for the Druids, or Celtic priests, to make predictions about the future. For a people entirely dependent on the volatile natural world, these prophecies were an important source of comfort and direction during the long, dark winter.

To commemorate the event, Druids built huge sacred bonfires, where the people gathered to burn crops and animals as sacrifices to the Celtic deities. During the celebration, the Celts wore costumes, typically consisting of animal heads and skins, and attempted to tell each other's fortunes. When the celebration was over, they re-lit their hearth fires, which they had extinguished earlier that evening, from the sacred bonfire to help protect them during the coming winter.

By A.D. 43, Romans had conquered the majority of Celtic territory. In the course of the four hundred years that they ruled the Celtic lands, two festivals of Roman origin were combined with the traditional Celtic celebration of Samhain. The first was Feralia, a day in late October when the Romans traditionally commemorated the passing of the dead. The second was a day to honor Pomona, the Roman goddess of fruit and trees. The symbol of Pomona is the apple and the incorporation of this celebration into Samhain probably explains the tradition of "bobbing" for apples that is practiced today on Halloween.

By the 800s, the influence of Christianity had spread into Celtic lands. In the seventh century, Pope Boniface IV designated November 1 All Saints' Day, a time to honor saints and martyrs. It is widely believed today that the pope was attempting to replace the Celtic festival of the dead with a related, but church-sanctioned holiday. The celebration was also called All-hallows or All-hallowmas (from Middle English Alholowmesse meaning All Saints' Day) and the night before it, the night of Samhain, began to be called All-hallows Eve and, eventually, Halloween. Even later, in A.D. 1000, the church would make November 2 All Souls' Day, a day to honor the dead. It was celebrated similarly to Samhain, with big bonfires, parades, and dressing up in costumes as saints, angels, and devils. Together, the three celebrations, the eve of All Saints', All Saints', and All Souls', were called Hallowmas.

As European immigrants came to America, they brought their varied Halloween customs with them. Because of the rigid Protestant belief systems that characterized early New England, celebration of Halloween in colonial times was extremely limited there. It was much more common in Maryland and the southern colonies. As the beliefs and customs of different European ethnic groups, as well as the American Indians, meshed, a distinctly American version of Halloween began to emerge. The first celebrations included "play parties," public events held to celebrate the harvest, where neighbors would share stories of the dead, tell each other's fortunes, dance, and sing. Colonial Halloween festivities also featured the telling of ghost stories and mischief-making of all kinds. By the middle of the nineteenth century, annual autumn festivities were common, but Halloween was not yet celebrated everywhere in the country.

In the second half of the nineteenth century, America was flooded with new immigrants. These new immigrants, especially the millions of Irish fleeing Ireland's potato famine of 1846, helped to popularize the celebration of Halloween nationally. Taking from Irish and English traditions, Americans began to dress up in costumes and go house to house asking for food or money, a practice that eventually became today's "trick-or-treat" tradition. Young women believed that, on Halloween, they could divine the name or appearance of their future husband by doing tricks with yarn, apple parings, or mirrors.

In the late 1800s, there was a move in America to mold Halloween into a holiday more about community and neighborly get-togethers, than about ghosts, pranks, and witchcraft. At the turn of the century, Halloween parties for both children and adults became the most common way to celebrate the day. Parties focused on games, foods of the season, and festive costumes. Parents were encouraged by newspapers and community leaders to take anything "frightening" or "grotesque" out of Halloween celebrations. Because of their efforts, Halloween lost most of its superstitious and religious overtones by the beginning of the twentieth century.

By the 1920s and 1930s, Halloween had become a secular, but community-centered holiday, with parades and town-wide parties as the featured entertainment. Despite the best efforts of many schools and communities, vandalism began to plague Halloween celebrations in many communities during this time. By the 1950s, town leaders had successfully limited vandalism and Halloween had evolved into a holiday directed mainly at the young. Due to the high numbers of young children during the fifties baby boom, parties moved from town civic centers into the classroom or home, where they could be more easily accommodated. Between 1920 and 1950, the centuries-old practice of trick-or-treating was also revived. Trick-or-treating was a relatively inexpensive way for an entire community to share the Halloween celebration. In theory, families could also prevent tricks being played on them by providing the neighborhood children with small treats. A new American tradition was born, and it has continued to grow. Today, Americans spend $2.5 billion annually on Halloween, making it the Country's second largest commercial holiday.

Information courtesy of the History Channel.
Visit http://www.historychannel.com/

Thanks for reading...

Mark Harvey


Wednesday, October 17, 2018

October 17th, 2018

Hey there friends,

Tonight I finally broke down and had my first pumpkin beer of the Season.  By this time of the month I'm a few six packs in, but this year (as I said in the previous post) is different.  Tonight I'm enjoying a Shipyard Brewing Company Smashed Pumpkin - a whopping 9% ABV beverage that's always worth a taste.  It isn't my favorite high ABV pumpkin beer, but it IS tasty.  I did a bunch of pumpkin (and Halloween) beer reviews years ago - here is my list.

Pictured with the first pumpkin beer of 2018 is my 1999 release - Pumpkinland.  The CD that started all this Halloween mayhem (or maybe, it was the result of a few years of mayhem prior).  Either way, have a listen - buy a CD from me...blah, blah, blah... OR enter the contest to win one of these. Why don't cha?
Happy Haunting,

Mark Harvey

Tuesday, October 16, 2018

October 16th, 2018

Oh my goodness...

You know...this is one of the first years that I'm at a loss for what to say. October is my favorite month.  Halloween is my favorite holiday, but for some reason this year is just a mess.

Thank you for checking in on me.


Happy Haunting!

Mark Harvey

Monday, October 15, 2018

October 15th, 2018

Greetings and salutations!

It is hard to believe it is already the 15th of October.  I've not done any Halloween shopping this year - done some looking, but haven't purchased anything.  I've put myself out of commission this year due to years of overindulging on Halloween stuff.  I'm paring down what I own and am getting back into a place where what I have is REALLY what I love to have and not just a heap of stuff that I may "someday" use.

I was in the 99 Cent store the other day and took some photos.  It is tough to walk out empty handed, but I did it.  I guess I'm doing my own "12 Step" program as it relates to my Halloween addiction.  It felt good to walk out, but there are a few things that still pop up in my brain as things I "should have" gotten.



I love looking the aisles of stuff and at under a dollar so much of this stuff is really awesome. This year in particular there were a ton of really cheesy/cool masks.  There's something really spooky about the masks from these 99 Cent/Dollar stores. I'm not sure what it is about them that creeps me out, but add some of these into your space with the right lighting and sounds and you've got Halloween gold!

I have committed to NOT going shopping on November 1st this year either (which is a BIG step for me).  I love getting the half off stuff at all the local spots and thinking about next Halloween.

Not me...not this year.

The fact is, I have THE WORST Halloween house ever.  I don't decorate for the neighbors since they can't see what I'm doing where I live so I put my stuff up around the house for my kids to enjoy and for the occasional Halloween party (if I decide to have one).

Anyhow, what's your favorite place to buy Halloween wares?  Are you buying more/less/the same as last year?

As always, here's some music to creep you out...
Happy Haunting,

Mark Harvey

Sunday, October 14, 2018

October 14th, 2018

Around this time of year I get really lonely for Richard McGhee. Here is a FREE MP3 download of Witchcraft (click here) by Richard McGhee *Star Vocalist* recorded at the Rain Station's Halloween Bash that we had many years ago. This tune features Richard McGhee *Star Vocalist* (click here to check him out LIVE). The track taken from a live recording (off the board) at a Halloween party at the Rain Station. We hired Richard McGhee *Star Vocalist* to be the entertainment at our party and I got a first class recording of his show.

Such a perfect time of year to celebrate Richard's life (see what I wrote about him in a previous post by clicking here). Such a perfect song for the Halloween season. His spirit lives on in my memory and his determination to be THE *Star Vocalist* that he was inspires me everyday to live my life to the fullest.
Your comments are appreciated.

Enjoy!

Mark Harvey


Click here if you can't figure out where you're supposed to click to download the song.



Saturday, October 13, 2018

October 13th, 2018 - DARK RIDE turns 18!!!

Greetings fellow ghouls,

It is VERY hard to believe that EIGHTEEN years ago Jay and I released Rain Station's DARK RIDE and after 18 years I'm still as excited about this CD as I was when it was released.  Let's rewind the clock...here's the back story (for those who don't know).
Back in the Fall of 2000 (Due to my online presence on 13thTrack.com Halloween Radio) I was invited to The Universal Studios Hollywood Eyegore Awards. The Universal Studios Hollywood Eyegore Awards are presented for achievement in the horror and sci-fi genre. So, on Friday, October 13th Jay and I trekked down to LA to be there, interview some folks and get some station IDs for 13thTrack.com as well as interview some of the winners for an article that I wrote.  For some reason I still can't seem to find the article, but I'll keep digging so I can post it here.

The winners that night were:
* Joss Whedon
* Casts of Buffy and Angel
* Karen Black
* Gloria Stewart
* "The Undertaker"

I knew I was going to be meeting some people that night (Rob Zombie, Karen Black, Alyson Hannigan, Bill Moseley, Joss Whedon and more) and I figured it would be cool to record a Halloween CD to hand out to the folks we meet - you know, see if we can land that big record deal or get our music placed in a horror film, on TV...something. Rob Zombie had recently launched his Zombie A-Go-Go Record label (now inactive) and since I've always been a fan of HALLOWEEN and rockabilly (gothabilly) I thought it would be the perfect opportunity to push out another CD in 2000 (we had released "Stonedozer" earlier that year). So Jay and I put this together quick style and did what we set out to do. Funny how I remember working at the Gelb Music consignment shop and writing lyrics.  I had rough mixes on cassette and an old tape player. In between customers and phone calls I'd try and pen lyrics.  I remember being a bit frantic since I knew we had a deadline and I agreed to work extra shifts to cover a vacation. I'm a bit of a perfectionist when I record - or at least I try to be - and in this case DARK RIDE just wasn't going to get the time I would normally put into a CD.  Amazing enough the disc turned out despite lack of time. Once we got back to the Bay Area from the "gig" we decided that the CD was pretty good so we mastered the disc with George Horn (Chief Mastering Engineer) at Fantasy Records in Berkeley, CA.
It still amazes me that we recorded this entire CD in probably two or three weeks. The disc got some great reviews as well...and although I know I've blogged this far too many times, here goes again (the reviews):

Underground DJ from Haunted Attraction Magazine

Now it is time to run away and join the carnival. "Step right up and see the amazing, the unbelievable, the available for your attraction CD, DARK RIDE by Rain Station." A journey through a veritable midway of new music written for old pretzel rides. The use of sound effects is limited only to those that help create the feel of the piece. The styles of music range widely from Heavy Metal beats through old time Rock and Roll to the almost cutesy Trick Or Treatin'. This nostalgically fun selection, took me back to my early days as a young zombie, heading out on Halloween with the lust for candy in my heart. The CD would be great for line entertainment or a party, with a little bit for every taste and some of the beats are infectious.

Larry McKenzie HalloweenMagazine.com

DARK RIDE by Rain Station is one of the most unique Halloween music CDs I have ever heard. DARK RIDE has 13 music tracks. Each track is a good mixture for Halloween. A bit mysterious and dark, yet very fun. The DARK RIDE CD would be great for an adult Halloween party. If you are a Halloween enthusiast and are looking for more Halloween music for your collection, you should visit http://www.NobodyRecords.com/ and listen to the MP3 samples from the DARK RIDE CD. I am happy to have this CD as part of my Halloween music collection. I sincerely recommend visiting Nobody Records and listen to a track or two.

Underground Entertainment

(This) offering is more of a Halloween party CD, especially suited to be played in queue lines or on the midways of Scream Parks. It contains thirteen tracks of rock/alternative style music with Halloween themes. You'll find titles such as "Monster Hunter", "Haunted Man", "Black Lagoon", "Trick or Treatin'", and "Broom Hopping". This one is fun and is a CD that should be added to the collection of anyone interested in assembling a music anthology of Halloween related material.

Chaotic Order

Curious mix of Porno for Pyros and White Collar Crime with a penchant for Halloween. Best use would be on the soundtrack for the upcoming Scooby Doo movie.

Happy Halloween Magazine

Looking for a Halloween CD with an edge, this is the one to get. Available from Nobody Records, Rain Station's Dark Ride packs a gritty, heavy metal sound that conjures an auditory image of purgatory. While this is not normally the type of music I listen to, for Halloween...it works! The raspy vocals lend a dark, almost visceral feel to the accompanying music. Contains 13, new, original hits...

Jay made some "videos" for some of the tracks on DARK RIDE. Check all of them out here.
DARK RIDE is one of my all time favorite projects. Perhaps it is because we didn't over analyze it, we had a timeline and had to bang it out. Perhaps it was because we got to be completely goofy. Rain Station music can sometimes be awfully serious and this disc is nothing but pure fun. Perhaps it was the thrill of getting to give copies of our CD to folks like Rob Zombie and Karen Black. Perhaps it was the Halloween theme.

The road trip to Universal Studios with Jay is a very fond memory for me. It felt like we were on tour.











JackOLantern.ORG Animation from J.E.Moores on Vimeo.

HAPPY ANNIVERSARY DARK RIDE!!!

Mark Harvey




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