Bibliography by W.J. Bethancourt III
Editor's Note: Starting about 1994, W.J. Bethancourt III began keeping detailed records of sources and purported sources of information about Halloween, including the spurious "sources" that are often quoted as proof that Halloween has satanic origins. We are keeping that list available because other sources frequently refer to it. That said, many of the documents mentioned are either out of print or more or less impossible to find Sadly, this works to the benefit of folks who want to make outrageous claims about Halloween, because they can cite a book or magazine article that no one can ever cross-check. On the other hand, I DID cross-check Jacob Grimm's "Teutonic Mythology" to see what it says about Halloween, Samdhain (in any spelling) or Beltane (in any spelling), and it says nothing at all about any of those "key words." This is significant, because it's the only thing approaching a scholarly work that the 1911 Encyclopedia Britannica cites as a reference for the whole "Celtic holiday stolen by the Church" myth. (The others are collections of fairy stories and myths.) Yet hundreds, if not thousands of articles, tracts, books, and web articles have cited the 1911 Encyclopedia Britannica (or other works that cited the 1911 Encyclopedia Britannica) as "proof" of those claims.
In other words, the so-called Celtic holiday called Samdhain (by any number of spellings) was apparently invented in the 18th (or perhaps even the 19th) century, which would have made it pretty hard for the Catholic church to usurp it in the 6th.
The remainder of this page links to documents of all kinds, including New Age groups, so I'm not recommending that you turn this into a "reading list," but if you doubt Bethancourt did his "homework," this should help fill in any blanks.
Except for other "editor's note" sections, and some formatting corrections, the following text is from Bethancourt - Paul
Mrs. Phillips, and the anonymous author of Tract 2, attach bibliographies to their articles. Unfortunately, many of the sources must be regarded as suspect (as in "biased") because of their author's occasional (or not so occasional) extreme Fundamentalist Christian agendas ( marked with ).
I have done the same with the neo-pagan references ( marked with ) in my own bibliography, using those so marked as references for modern Pagan and Wiccan beliefs only, and have checked any historical information taken from them against other references.
Many of these tracts seem to use each other as references ....... I find the same mis-information repeated over and over again, sometimes almost word for word. You will notice this in many of the anti-Halloween references listed further down on this page.
I must also point out that bibliographies such as Phillips' and that of Tract 2 (Margadonna and Tract 1 had none) would be laughed out of a freshman High School English class. They just give names of publications, with no publishers and few dates, making it difficult to check the references for oneself. I have been able to check most of the magazine references, and the results of that check are noted below.
When these books and pamphlets cite sources at all, they usually list the Encyclopaedia Brittannica, Encyclopedia Americana, and the World Book Encyclopedia. The Brittannica and the Americana ..... do, indeed list Samhain as the Lord of Death, contrary to Celtic scholars, and list no references. The World Book ..... lists as its sources several children's books (hardly what one could consider scholarly texts, and, of course, themselves citing no references).
The 1911 Britannica (done before the excavations and serious research) DOES list its references for Halloween, with the
same "Samhain = god of the dead" mistake.
But no page numbers or footnote marks. and they don't mention
sacrifices or going from house to house.
Editor's Note: The current online version of the Encyclopedia Britannica adds more of the urban legends about Halloween, including the spurious "history" of many customs, but has no references at all, though it does have many advertisements for unrelated products you can buy online. Since the scholastic value of the EB has gone downhill since ceasing paper publication, this is hardly surprising. But, hey, it's on the Internet, so it has to be true, right? - Paul