Tracing back history this Halloween


The history of Halloween can be traced back 2,000 years. The ancient Celts associated the end of summer and the beginning of the dark, cold winter with death. They believed the boundary between the living and the dead was blurred.  It was a time when ghosts of the dead could visit the living. 

Would this not be wonderful to visit the dead? When asked where I went to high school, I reply Palmer High School. No one has heard of this high school. I am not a native St. Louisan. Perhaps I don’t deserve the respect of the homegrown St. Louisans!     

I read of an individual who visited the dead and who traced back her ancestors to the granddaughter of King Edward III of England. My paternal grandparents came from Sweden, a country with a monarch. Perhaps I have royal blood. That will impress any native St. Louisan who looks down upon us foreigners from another city.  

I realize that there can be shocking discoveries in visiting the dead. I went online to do some research and learn what others found when searching their family roots.   

One researcher found that a distant relative from Belgium was a thief.  He lived in the woodlands with other robbers and robbed farmers who lived in the vicinity. The robber ancestor was captured and beheaded by the guillotine.    

Another researcher learned that a distant ancestor from Salem, Massachusetts was considered a witch. This “witch” was hanged.  

Well, the St. Louis Call only has intrepid columnists writing for it. I have moved forward in learning of my Swedish ancestors. I found in a Chicago census taken in the early 20th century that my maternal grandmother was working as a servant for a wealthy couple. Yes, readers, instead of coming from royal stock I come from servant stock.  

Oh, for you readers curious about where Palmer is located, it is in Alaska, about 50 miles north of Anchorage.