This morning, on a regional radio show, the host told us – with surprise – that he recently learned the folk in Newfoundland & Labrador hollow out, and carve faces on, turnips for Halloween, instead of (or, in addition to) doing so with pumpkins. Had he pursued this knowledge further, he would have found that the ancient Celts, who created the original Samhain from which the Christian All Hallows (Halloween) comes, did this very same thing.
I don’t know if I have any direct connection to the Celts. My Scottish grandmother had an ancestor who was classed as a “Herb Doctor”, well versed in the healing ways of nature. Oddly (very oddly) I have such a character in my first published novel, A LostTale, dealing with the Celts and Druids and their supernatural ways. I wrote it long before I knew of my “Herb Doctor” ancestor. In my novel, she is just referred to as “The Old Woman”.
I have another odd connection to the Celts. During the Second World War, my father guarded Stonehenge. And he did so on Midsummer Day.
During the Second World War, it was feared that Germany would invade England. Many of the Canadian soldiers stationed in England were spread in a wide circle around London. An outright invasion would be a do-or-die situation, and Canadian soldiers had it been known to them – without direct orders – that no prisoners were to be taken.
One of the areas put under guard was Stonehenge. Though less so now, at that time Stonehenge was surrounded by vast planes. It was feared that the Germans might use these open areas for paratroopers, and also gliders full of troops. Thus the area was defended.
My father was part of this protection, and it so happened that he stood guard duty near Stonehenge itself on Midsummer Day, and watched the sun rise over the monument. He was aware of the significance of both time and place, as many of his comrades might not be. Indeed, when he informed them that the Celts, at one time, sacrificed virgins on altars at Stonehenge, they expressed – in more earthy soldier language – what a waste.
Though I have not been to Stonehenge itself, I have written three novels about Celts and Druids, one of them set during World War Two. I’m happy to believe that, in the supernatural realm, there is some ethereal connection.
With Halloween upon us, and it having become a major festival in the last few decades, let us give thanks were thanks is due. With some grudging recognition to the Christians.
I owe my life to Hitler, though I never met the man. My father was paid to stop Hitler, so there is no conflict of interest. I was given a thunk on the back o' the head by God when I was fifteen, and within a week began to write. I haven't stopped. My first novel was accepted 'over the transom'. My first editor/author luncheon in New York included a naked man with roller skates at the next table. For the sake of research I have lain on Kafka's grave, but I did not weep. I wish upon my own gravestone the phrase "Thank God He Didn't Die A Virgin". There is truth in every truth - so watch out.
My published novels include the popular fantasy A Lost Tale and the thriller The Bonner Deception. I also have two editions of humorous and spiritual short stories, The Elephant Talks to God, which are appreciated by both young and old.
My manuscripts range from stories about unicorns and druids in the 'Passing Through Trilogy' to the 9/11 destruction of New York. I have filled in the missing diaries of Franz Kafka; recounted the first person dementia of a serial killer; explored the outrageous lifestyle of the famous; and listened in while an elephant and God converse. I currently switch my attention between the saga of a family of onion farmers, from Fourth century Italy to the present day, and a contemporary NATO thriller.
I live in Canada and make Nova Scotia my home.
I prefer to travel by train, but embrace the computer age with passion. I am always on the hunt for unique onion recipes.
Leave a Reply