Halloween is a holiday traditionally celebrated each year on October 31. The tradition dates to the ancient Celtic festival of Samhain. The Celtic new year began on November 1st, and October 31st was viewed as the dividing line between the end of the harvest season and the onset of winter. On the evening before the new year, the line between the living and the dead was blurred. Large bonfires were lit against the darkness, and people wore costumes in order to ward off ghosts.
To commemorate the Halloween holiday, Central Library is hosting an exhibit titled “All Hallows: Witches, Magic, and Things that Go Bump.” The exhibit features an array of rare items from the Special Collections Library and the History of Medicine collections. Among the treasures on exhibit will be a first American edition of Mary Shelley’s Frankenstein, grimoires and other books about magic, rare accounts of witch trials, as well as books on alchemy, tarot and divination, spiritualism, and fantastic beasts from the 16th, 17th, and 18th centuries.
The exhibit runs from October 28, 2019, to January 26, 2020.