Children of the Great Pumpkin
From Aesop to the Brothers Grimm, the stories we grew up with as children had darker origins than the versions told to us at bedtime. Many of these tales also hold roots in a reality of things long forgotten. The same is true of our modern stories as well. The classic 1966 TV Peanut’s special “It’s the Great Pumpkin, Charlie Brown!” has been a holiday staple for generations of children. We watch as Linus waits faithfully in the pumpkin patch for the Great Pumpkin to arrive to receive his reward.
In Charles Schulz’s classic, the Great Pumpkin never rises from the patch, but the fallout was actually much different. In our cynical modern times, faith in what we cannot see is far from plentiful. Demigods of the past fade into obscurity as man forgets about the customs of old; instead favoring the digital age. But the belief of children can be quite palpable. Their suspension of disbelief in fantasy can thin the veil between worlds.
An Irish deity, Cromm Cruaich, latched onto the Great Pumpkin as a passage into this world. Little is known about this Great Old One, but Cromm Cruaich (translated as ‘the bloody crooked one’) was seen by the early Irish as a harvest, death and sacrificial God. It is thought human sacrifices were once made to him at Samhain in return for milk, corn and good weather that insured the fertility of cattle and crops. The god was held in horror for his terrible exactions; it was even dangerous to worship him, for the followers themselves often perished in the act.
Now in the guise of the Great Pumpkin, Cromm Cruaich comes to children to recruit them as its disciples. The phenomenon came into the spotlight during the early 1980s. As the media filled the evening news with warnings on Satanic cults and the dangers of children listening to heavy metal, so called “Pumpkin Cults” began to appear around the globe. On Halloween, children go to pumpkin patches and corn fields to perform the rituals of old in hopes to curry the favor of their Pumpkin King.
In the Woods, Cromm Cruaich is alive and well and the children of the Great Pumpkin are its cult.