Almanac – October 31

HALLOWEEN / SAMHAIN

‘Anyone who bleeds on this day will not live long thereafter.’

‘Anyone who sits in the church porch at midnight will see the forms of those who will die in the next 12 months  entering the building as midnight strikes.

A Scottish variation says that the names of the doomed will actually be called out, and the watcher in the porch can save  at least some of them , temporarily at least, by throwing off one item of clothing as each is called.’

1795 – John Keats born.   English Romantic poet, he was one of the main figures of the second generation of romantic poets along with Lord Byron and Percy Bysshe Shelley, despite his work only having been in publication for four years before his death.

Although his poems were not generally well-received by critics during his life, his reputation grew after his death, so that by the end of the 19th century he had become one of the most beloved of all English poets. He had a significant influence on a diverse range of poets and writers – Jorge Luis Borges stated that his first encounter with Keats was the most significant literary experience of his life. The poetry of Keats is characterized by sensual imagery, most notably in the series of odes.

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1879 – Joseph Hooker, American General, died.

There is a popular legend that “hooker” as a slang term for a prostitute is derived from his last name because of parties and a lack of military discipline at his headquarters. Some versions of the legend claim that the band of prostitutes that followed his division were derisively referred to as “General Hooker’s Army” or “Hooker’s Brigade.”

However, the term “hooker” was used in print as early as 1845, years before Hooker was a public figure.

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1926 – Harry Houdini died of gangrene and peritonitis that developed after his appendix ruptured.

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