This needs much more work to be written as a real story – as it is now, it is raw material only. But sometimes that’s what you’re gonna get, when time is short and discoveries are made at the last minute. I wanted to post something about this today, since most of you won’t be reading Keepa on Halloween itself.
The church bought the Lion House – one of Brigham Young’s residences, where most of his smaller families and the wives without children generally had their apartments – from the Young family in 1900. The Lion House later served as a dormitory for the women of LDS University which stood on the same block, as the home economics department for the same institution, as a social center, as auxiliary offices, and as the home to other such organizations and services over the years. I have not yet discovered how it was being used in 1903, but since it was owned by the church this activity must have been sanctioned, perhaps sponsored, by a church organization.
Eva Dehlin also needs to be identified – paging John Dehlin.
And we need a report of the event after the fact, not merely this preliminary account.
But incomplete as it is, maybe you’ll enjoy reading this account of plans for a Halloween party in 1903:
It is safe to predict that no such elaborate Hallowe’en celebration will take place in the state as that which the walls of the Lion House will witness tonight. The entire edifice from attic to basement has been converted into a maze of mystery, and not a room in the many comprised in the historic house, but will hold its uncanny secret for the mystification of the guests who will throng them.
In every nook and cranny of the long halls skeletons, corpses, and imps will lurk, and witches will brew caldrons while chanting incantations of eerie import at their tasks. A real fortune teller will reveal secrets of past and future; in a mystic pool will be reflected the features of guests’ future partners; refreshments will be served from a table lit with jack o’lanterns and decorated with scorpions and snakes. There will be priestesses of night and day, with costumes, carrying emblems of sun, moon and stars; and in a room decorated with weird draperies, and having uncanny sentinels set as watch, the guests will dance in robes suggestive of ghostly habiliments.
The very entrance is wrapped in mystery. The guests will present their invitations at a basement door, and will enter a room where they will be permitted to don costumes, or doff wraps; then they will be shown outside to seek the real entrance to the house, where weird pleasures await them.
Once inside, they will find every pathway beset with barriers impeding their way, and only by finding the cord of fate, which will form a network from top to bottom of the labyrinthine mansion will they be able to gaze upon the mysteries in store for them.
The entire affair, in fact, promises to be the most complete that can be imagined, and exceptional credit belongs to the
hostess, Mrs. Eva Dehlin, whose mind conceived, and whose deft hands have carried out the intricate details. The following verses composed by Mrs. Dehlin will form the separate passports at the two places of entrance.
Full blythe the night on Hallowe’en
When imps and goblins will be seen;
Your aid we ask in charm and spell,
In merry game and feast as well.
The ghosts admit no revelers here,
Unless they with a sheet appear;
To find the entrance to the Hall,
We send a challenge to you all.
Solemnly we greet you.
Joyfully we meet you.
Enter now the spirit’s den;
Fill your hearts with mirth and fun,
Whether you to depths descend
Or heights above explore,
All requests must be obeyed,
Or peace you’ll have no more;
Earthly robes must not appear,
Only ghosts may enter here.
Hooks you’ll find, O, use them well!
Your hosts you’ll find way down in —
Excuse me, please, take the enchanted cord
And follow it without a word.
What would Brigham Young say? What would Catherine Hurst say? What do YOU say?