Bring Back the Bat
"We wake up when the bat goes to bed,
Don't ban the bat, don't ban the bat,
He sleeps with his feet up over his head.
Oh, bring back the bat."
Nancy Schimmel and Fran Avni
How can something so cute as the bat, yes, the bat - invoke terror? Seen close up, these flying mammals are actually rather sweet - not terrifying as depicted in the movies. Long associated with vampires, they are also associated with Halloween.
How did they enter the Halloween Hall of Fame? It is believed that early pictures of witches revealed them worshipping a horned figure (bat's ears?) that sometimes had the wings of a bat. Furthermore, bat blood was an ingredient was an ingredient in their "flying" ointment rubbed on before attending Sabbath.
During their assault on pagan religions, the Christian church became very wary of bats due to the association with witches.
What's a poor bat to do? Well, these resourceful creatures fly at night avoiding notice - not really - they are nocturnal animals. Blind as a bat? Bats actually have excellent eyesight. They take cover in areas not easily seen. You can find them sleeping upside down in caves, under bridges, attics (!), and barns.
These creatures, once feared are amazing animals and helpful to man. Please visit the following link to learn more about the adorable bat!
The Vampire Bat?
"That night, Lucy spends the night with the Sewards. As she sleeps, a large bat flies into her room that transforms into Dracula. He leans over her sleeping body to bite Lucy on the neck and drink her blood." - Bram Stoker's Dracula
Bats have become somewhat synonymous with the image and idea of the vampire. In countless movies and cartoons, we see Dracula transform himself into a bat.
How did bats become associated with vampires?
During the 16th century the Spanish conquistadors first came into contact with them and recognized the similarity between the feeding habits of the bats (vampire species) and those of their mythical vampires. It wasn't long before they began to associate bats with their vampire legends. Over the following centuries the association became stronger and was used by various people, including James Malcom Rhymer who wrote Varney the Vampyre in the 1840's. Stoker cemented the linkage of bats and vampires in the minds of the general public.
Witches, Pumpkins, and Grinning Ghosts - The Story of the Halloween Symbols
by Edna Barth