With the creatures of myth and lore out and about this Halloween, it can be interesting to look at the history of the various weapons and beliefs that people thought could dispel creatures such as vampires and demons. Here are the top five things to have in your arsenal this Halloween to protect against the things that go bump in the night.
- Salt. There’s an old belief that throwing salt over your left shoulder would protect you from bad luck. This comes from the belief that the devil is always standing behind you and throwing salt distracts him from interfering in your life. Salt also has traditionally been a protective agent in non-Christian religions, which postulate that its purity will repel and protect from ghosts and evil spirits.
- Silver. Everyone has heard the myth about a silver bullet being the only thing that can stop a werewolf in its tracks, but the myth and lore of silver being used against creatures of the night extends beyond werewolves. Because of the lunar association that silver has in European folklore, it’s believed to be protective against monsters such as vampires, werewolves and shapeshifters. Along with salt, it’s believed to be pure, which is probably why it has become a symbol of protection.
- Iron. This is another metal that is thought to be very important for humanity in protection against the dark and supernatural. The folklore and mythology behind its importance is varied worldwide. Horseshoes are probably the most well-known charms that originated as iron protection or providers of good luck. It is believed in many European cultures that horseshoes are good luck and that if they were made of iron, which was an available metal, it would also ward off bad spirits and prevent the visit of unwanted otherworldly guests to their homes.
- Religious relics. Most notable, the Christian ideas of holy water and the use of the crucifix have been objects that have become synonymous with protection against various creatures and things at Halloween. The Pagan use of the pentagram is also believed to have protective powers, though in most Christian societies it is seen more as a sign of evil. Holy water is water that has been blessed with a special prayer, usually by a member of the clergy or a religious figure. It has been used historically against demons in exorcisms.
- Machete. Probably the most mundane on the list but still useful, a machete can be used as a more physical protection rather than a supernatural one. Machetes can be used to decapitate monsters such as zombies, vampires and others.