Sam Hane

Halloween, which is the witches’ New Year, originated among the ancient Druid priests from Britain and France. This pagan holiday is held to celebrate the end of summer and the beginning of the Celtic year. The festival is named after Samhain (sah-ween), the God of the dead. The druids believed that on this night the spirits of the dead would come back and walk amongst the living to terrorize and harass them, some even possessing the bodies of animals. Also, during this time human and animal sacrifices are common, the blood spilled believed to open the gates to the dead, releasing them. To ward off these evil spirits the druids dress up as witches, demons or in other evil costumes, some participating in satanic rituals.

— newspaper quote reprinted in

I have just returned from a Druidic Gorsedd where we discussed our sinister plans for our upcoming Samhain rite. For those who are unaware, a Gorsedd is a dark and secretive gathering of Druids in which we ritually sacrifice one or more food groups. Tonight we took the sharpened blade to a nicely-ripened virgin Brie, covered with an evil sauce (brewed by my wife) that contained unborn Pecan Trees and other vegetarian sacrifice. We also had popcorn. Salted popcorn. Bwaaa-haa-haa![1]

George, the eldest Druid present, set me straight on this confusing matter of Samhain, Celtic Lord of the Dead.

Pagans have been deliberately mispronouncing his name for centuries as “Sah-wen,” mostly to confuse Christians. I think this is mean. So I will reveal to the world the truth as George revealed it to me: it is pronounced Sam Hane. Actually, it is more correctly pronounced SAH-yum HAYN (just as Jesus is correctly pronounced jah-EEE-zuss.)

Sam Hane is not, however, the Celtic Lord of the Dead. He is not even the Celtic Lord of Darkness. He is the Celtic Lord of Dark Underwear, and was popular among the Celts for many of the same reasons he is still popular today, only more so, since they did not have automatic washing machines with bleach. His chief rival in the Celtic pantheon was Frugh Tuatha Lughm. Their wet-towel duels were legendary as far away as Carthage.

His beloved consort, Belle Tayne, broke his heart when she abandoned him, claiming that she could never love a god who did not wear tightie-whities. She ran off with a Persian God named Mithras, a matter that was quickly hushed up by her family, but not soon enough. Her festival on May 2 was thereafter ritually celebrated by a quick shag in the bushes accompanied by much winking and nudging — a cruel reminder that enraged Sam every year and caused him to get drunk and fight to the death with the Oak King, who had nothing to do with anything other than bearing a passing resemblance to Mithras.

Sam left the lands of the Celts for the New World in 1421, hitching a ride on the Chinese ships sailing by on their mission to map the world. He ended up in what is now Texas, where he paired up with Quetzalcoatl, Lord of the Living. As a team, “Lords of the Living and the Dark Underwear” simply didn’t work, so Sam took on the title of Lord of the Dead. It was never more than a stage name, and he never personally used it outside the Americas.

In 1845, after the team broke up and Quetz took off for parts unknown, Sam boarded a steamship bound for Belgium with a brief stopover in Ireland. Potatoes transported in the hold of the ship carried the dreaded potato blight, Phytophthora infestans. Sam debarked in Dublin, carrying a sackful of infected potatoes that he hoped to make into a stew that evening, and thus caused the Great Potato Famine of 1845-1852. As a direct result, his American stage name, Lord of the Dead, stuck (most of the Irish referred to him as Laird o’ the Fokkin’ Dead[2]). His career never quite recovered in Ireland.

Modern Celtic scholars have recovered Sam Hane’s original role as Lord of Dark Underwear, and it is in this mode that he is worshiped by modern Druids.[3]

— Themon the Bard, 27 Oct 2009

(Please feel free to circulate this article as you see fit. Do not circulate if this does not fit; check your bleach levels. The scholarship in this article is highly suspect, as all facts were drawn from questionable Internet sources and/or a bottle of cheap Merlot.)

[1] It is a fact documented on film that witches melt when they eat salt. Druids, however, are totally immune to salt. How cool is that?

[2] According to astute reader Karen Marsh, this should be “Laird o’ the Feckin’ Dead,” citing as reference the book The Feckin’ Book of Everything Irish. I stand corrected.

[3] Wiccans do not worship Sam Hane; they instead follow his one-time consort’s preference for tightie-whities. Darn them all to heck, anyway.