Written by Jonathan Wojcik
Last time, we looked at The Caterwaul
. Today, it's time for...
The farther back you delve into Halloween iconography, the more prominent the "man in the moon" becomes. In early vintage artwork, the personified satellite was often front and center, looking down upon haunted hijinks like a benevolent god of ghosts.
Today, the Moon Man is barely recognized as one of Halloween's major symbols, but certainly hasn't disappeared altogether. He still crops up from time to time, and though he's seldom intended to be outright monstrous or menacing, the inoccuous subtlety of a dapper gentleman with a huge, luminous face feels altogether even more ominous than your average zombie or skeleton.
Of all the icons we've looked at in this series, the Moon Man may be the most perplexing. It's a bit harder to fathom what sort of "monster" or "spirit" he may actually represent if he does, indeed, exist as a literal entity of some sort, but we can try.
We mentioned Moon Man taking center stage in a lot of older material, so let's first assume that the Moon Man is a completely unique being. I'd also wager that a lot
of supernatural creatures are nothing more than manifestations of the human imagination - that our myths and legends actually preceded
many of them - and the Moon Man may only exist because
humans have puzzled over and personified the moon throughout the ages.
With the sheer amount of such power projected upon the moon and its omnipresence in the night sky, it doesn't feel unreasonable to take this entity as the highest-ranking of all goblins, phantasms and bogeys, an almost god-like figure central to everything Halloween represents.
...And what DOES Halloween represent?
Many people like to say "fear," but I increasingly lean more towards thinking of Halloween as a celebration of "mystery," of things that are unknown or impossible, with "frightening" things and the inevitability of death simply being an ultimate expression of the unknown.
The Man in the Moon would be genrally benign, even kindly, but still powerful enough to command the respect of the most formidable warlocks, vampires and devils. Those attuned to the supernatural would perceive the moon itself as this entity's visage, and the Moon Man would appear simultaneously to personally observe and react to everyone capable of perceiving him.
Of course, sometimes, the Moon Man gets tired of being an imaginary-yet-sentient face kind-of-but-not-actually attached to a ball of dust a zillion miles away, and on extra-special nights - especially Halloween - he might just feel like manifesting a body to enjoy a lovely autumn stroll, and with so much raw power emanating from every pore of his weird, cheesy flesh, he wouldn't even need nefarious intentions to stir up trouble.
Wherever the Moon Man goes, the paranormal follows. Things spring to life that are no longer or never were alive, things bleed into our world that shouldn't belong, dreams and nightmares manifest into reality...and that's fine by him, because the more weirdness in the world to keep humans wondering, the stronger he becomes, and perhaps the Moon Man needs to be strong because, at the same time, his watchfulness is all that keeps either the living world or the spirit world from overtaking and destroying the other.
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