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What is the Witching Hour?

Some observe this on Halloween to be an hour before midnight, others adopt a 3 am time slot. Either way, the witching hour is a time zone when the supernatural forces could be at their most powerful for the departed to return. In addition, it’s when those with magical skills, clairvoyance and those into black magic could exercise or exorcise their skills.

A time to expect witches, ghosts, warlocks evil spirits demons.  A time in space when the line between the living and dead are so close that it’s possible to cross the divide.

They also know it as the Devils. Catholics controlled what people did during this time when the witch hunt era was in place.

whether it is just before midnight or 3 am one ponders the question, what about the time zone you are in. Perhaps Witching hour rolls around the globe as day turns to night. It may have also not been so remote to think Time Zones where not at the forefront of thought when old Folklores were being written.

Who first thought up the phrase Witching Hour?

Where is a manual about witchcraft when you need it?  Considering we learned that the bible was referencing witch behaviour in our part one post it seems fair to jump forward in time.  Landing on a book produced in 1989 “The Encyclopaedia of witches and witchcraft”, by Rosemary Ellen Guiley. Sheds light on this by pointing out all that we know so far about the witching hour but, with one addition, there had to be a full moon.

There are many gods associated with the Moon. Selene the Greek lunar Goddess. Celtic mythology Cerridwen the goddess of the underworld, and the cauldron of knowledge and wisdom intuition that is also connected to the full Moon. But there is more Greek Artemis and Diana of Light also are goddess connected with the full moon.

Witching Hour through the eyes of

Shakespeare in 1601

Shakespeare wrote in Hamlet Scene II

“Tis now the very witching time of night when churchyards yawn and hell itself breathes out contagion to this world.”

As well as Keats the poet “Tis the witching hour of the night”.

Mary Robinson a poet actress author refers to the Witching hour in 1793

The poem “Fragment” was written 27 Feb 1793 published in the Oracle. It was supposedly about the moments before Louis XVI was sent to the guillotine 21/jan 1793. At Square du Temple. A major part of the French Revolution this took place at Revolution Square Place de la Révolution.

The first stanza contains the reference to the Witching Hour.

“Now MIDNIGHT spreads her sable vest
With Starry Rays light tissued o’er;
Now from the Desart’s thistled breast
The chilling Dews begin to soar;
The OWL shrieks from the tott’ring Tow’r,
Dread watch-bird of the witching hour!
Spectres, from their charnel cells
Cleave the air with hideous yells!
Not a Glow-worm ventures forth,
To gild his little speck of Earth!
In wild despair Creation seems to wait,
While HORROR stalks abroad to deal the shafts of FATE!

(Spenserians. cath. vt. edu)

Mary Shelley the author of Frankenstein references Witching Hour in 1816

“Night waned upon this talk and even the witching hour had gone by before we retired to rest.”

Whilst this was in the Georgian Era Victorians would have had a copy of this book or know of the character in this gothic horror story with a touch of early science fiction.

A Scientific, rational view of what might be ‘Witching Hour’

The evolution of modern thinking has gone some way to changing the way our ancestors understood the world around them. Religion and Folklore from old have now been joined by Google, Twitter, and Facebook, and the odd scientific lecture. so one interesting twist to the 3 am Witching Hour phenomena.  At around this time, the average person goes through a deep sleep phase (REM – Rapid Eye Movement). The body cycles into this deep sleep, the heart rate lowers and body temperatures drop slightly. In the unfortunate circumstance that you wake up, right in the middle of this phase, you will not be in the best of places emotionally, feeling odd or weird even or heaven forbidden even scared, add perhaps some candlelight into the mix here. You get the picture. Weird, Superstition or is it just our own biochemistry? comment below.


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