A spiritual re-reading of Lord of the Rings
The relics of St. Jude, Apostle of the Impossible

Fort Fright: a new Halloween tradition?

Once again, I spent the first weekend of October in Mackinaw City, savoring the fall color and the fun of Fort Fright, an annual two day event at historic Fort Michilimackinac.

Last year's event was big, but this was even bigger.

The staff seems aware of it, and it is now possible to pre-pay for tickets, which cut the lines down considerably.  Another interesting development is that more people are showing up in period costumes, adding to the historical flavor.

For the park, the event is a big deal, likely the biggest weekend of the year.  While it has its amusing aspect (the entrance to the Demon Walk has signs pointing to "Demons" and "No Demons" so folks don't wander into the scare by accident.

Halloween is second only the Christmas in retail sales, and over the years it has been heavily secularized.  I think that is changing as people become more aware of the spirit world, which increasingly becomes the only way to explain what is going on in our world.  Other than the haunted walks, much of the event is simply sitting around the fire hearing the ghost stories told there centuries ago, many of which originated in rural France.

Just as last year, there was a presentation in the reconstructed church about funeral customs, though this year the priest (or person dressed as one, it wasn't clear), seemed to stress the changes in the liturgy from present practices.  I notice a lot of that lately, and certainly Pope Francis seems worried about it, all but banning the Latin Rite.

At any rate, next year I will be sure to book my hotel weeks in advance, as I sense word is spreading and accommodations may be harder to come by.


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I used to be partial to going "up north" and that sounds like a great time.

This summer kid1 took the family to Mackinac Island and had a lot of fun except for the smell of horse crap. Serves them right for not going to Beaver Island instead. Of course there's nothing there that matches the Grand Hotel, and kid2 had given it such a great build up after a GOP trip there in 2021. And on the way home they did go to Ft Michilimackinac and their French side thrilled to the story of the Indians only killing the Brits.

I get what you mean by increased interest in the spiritual, and quite frankly the more demonic influences on our lives. There seems no other explanation for the lies and actions of so many governments all at once. I see a lot of this on twitter, too, with many openly speculating about the identity of the anti-Christ who nearly everyone believes is here among us.

The idea of a spiritual rereading of the Lord of the Rings sounds like a good plan. I was under the impression that a saint would need to have brought about a miracle or two. Has anyone suggested what Tolkien's might be?

A.H. Lloyd

There are different types of saints. Not all of them are like St. Padre Pio, flying alongside bombers or suffering Stigmata. As Tolkien himself might put it, the reason no one has found miracles attributable to him is that no one is looking for them.

Sainthood is conferred on people whose writings healed and strengthened the faith. This was no apparent until fairly recently, but it is undeniable. He has opened a path to God for a new generation of people who might otherwise have never found it. We know that his family life was wholesome, steeped in faith, and the fact that one of his sons became a priest is also evidence of his holiness. At some point they will likely exhume his body, and if it is found to be without corruption, that will be very strong evidence in favor of canonization.

As word spreads and as the inquiry becomes more serious, I expect people will come forward to describe their conversion experiences. While our secular age is more impressed by healing, raising from the dead, etc., conversion is the greatest of all miracles because it is eternal. For example, both of my parents raised me to despise organized religion, and I was raised to mock people who went to church. My grandparents were people of faith, however, and they taught me prayers and 'enforced' church attendance at Christmas and Easter, insisted on grace before meals.

I don't think that would have been enough to convert me, and Tolkien's writings played a huge part of my moral and spiritual development. They still do. That's why I'm comfortable with Tolkien as a saint, because through my conversion, my children also came to know Christ, and now my grandchildren can as well. One of the tools to teach faith for my kids was Tolkien and I suspect it won't be long before Gen X bishops push for the works' use in teaching the Catechism.

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