Pia shares Her Dark Half

Dance, Witches!

If there's ever a time I wish I was back in Germany, it's for the annual Walpurgisnacht celebrations, which start the evening of April 30th and last until the evening of May 1st.

Walpurgisnacht or "Witches' Night" is a mix of Pagan and Christian traditions that has evolved over centuries. Its Pagan roots stem from a pre-Christian Germanic festival called Beltane, which marked the beginning of summer and was a time to celebrate fertility and renewal. On this night, people believed that spirits were more active, and some might be malevolent. Hence, the big bonfires burning on top of mountains or hills!

Then, of course, the Church had to somehow associate it with Saint Walburga, an 8th-century missionary abbess who was canonized on May 1st. She was known for warding off evil spirits and illness.

I've heard some people call it some sort of springtime Halloween. People dress up in costumes, make loud noises to ward off evil spirits, and play pranks on each other. Some traditions include hanging blessed herbs for protection and leaving out offerings to mythical hounds.

In old German folklore witches meet on the Brocken Mountain and dance around a huge bonfire. Brocken is the highest of the Harz Mountains in Germany. There’s also a phenomenon called the Brocken Spectre that I would love to witness myself.

It hasn't been all fun and games for 'witches' in my home country, especially the town I come from, Bamberg, Germany. It's a beautiful city, now popular with tourists, but it has an awful and nasty history of torture and burnings during the height of the (real) witch hunts. Between 1626 and 1632 over 900 people of all ages, sexes and classes were executed after being accused of witchcraft. The executions were based on fear, a belief in demonic forces, religious and political power plays and flawed procedures, not evidence.

All it took to be the next person accused of witchcraft was a pointed finger or a forced confession during torture. No one was safe – no matter if you were rich or poor, young or old. Sometimes I wonder if I have any ancestors that were part of these trials, and if they were...what side? I'm not aware of any curses on my family, so maybe that's a good sign. Plus, my own dad has jokingly called me a witch when I was a child since I seemed to have the gift of second sight for a while. Maybe I need to dig deeper into my ancestry!

The Bamberg witch trials are a stark reminder of the dangers of religious fanaticism, mob mentality, and the abuse of power; and they left a deep scar on the city. Last time I was there, I came across a thought provoking memorial dedicated to the victims of the witch trials. I didn’t know that it lit up at night. Now I want to go back and revisit it!

Brandmal by sculpture artists Giessler and Sandmann at Schloss Geyerswörth in Bamberg

Walpurgis Night (or their local variant) is observed throughout Northern and Central Europe in the Netherlands, Germany, the Czech Republic, Slovakia, Slovenia, Sweden, Lithuania, Finland, Estonia and Austria.

I wish Walpurgisnacht were a thing over here in the States as well, but the closest thing would be Beltane celebrations, but they just don’t have that ‘dark’ feel. Sigh. Since there are no festivities in my area (that I’m aware of...I looked hard!), I plan on making my own tiny version surrounded by black cats, haha!

My "Hexe" art

There’s a pretty good article about Walpurgisnacht in Germany here if you want to do a deeper dive. Are there celebrations in your area?

So yes....honor the dead and fire it up, witches!

Moving on to my no-spoiler mini-reviews of:

Share-worthy stuff I've come across!

As usual, I put trailer links in each title.


Ohhh, this one's nothing for the squeamish... and brace yourself for one hell of an ending! I'm talking about the nun horror movie Immaculate! Holy mother....literally! Cecilia (played by Sydney Sweeney), an American nun of devout faith, arrives a remote convent in the picturesque Italian countryside. Her warm welcome quickly devolves into a nightmare as it becomes clear that there are some quite unholy things going on. Now streaming. I give it 4 out of 5 rosaries.

Now I really want to see The First Omen, which is very similar from what I hear. Weird, how some of these genre movies always come out at the same time. Like Volcano and Dante's Peak. Or The Abyss, DeepStar Six and Leviathan. Or more recently Poor Things and Lisa Frankenstein. And now I just found out about a new crop of spider themed horror movies: Infested (on Shudder) and Sting (still in theatres)! Hmmm....choices, choices...

Another movie that surprised me and truly sucked me in was Late Night with the Devil. Let me tell you, it was an experience! The tone, the sound, the look, even the trailer - all in 70's aesthetics. So much brown and orange, but in all the best way! I friggin love this movie and plan on a re-watch asap. Please, Hollywood, give David Dastmalchian more leading roles! The synopsis from their trailer: "October 31, 1977. Johnny Carson's rival Jack Delroy hosts a syndicated late-night talk show ‘Night Owls’ that has long been a trusted companion to insomniacs around the country. A year after the tragic death of Jack’s wife, ratings have plummeted. Desperate to turn his fortunes around, Jack plans a Halloween special like no other, unaware that he is about to unleash evil into the living rooms of America."

That's all you need to know. This is how it's done! Streaming on Shudder. I give this 5 out of 5 tv sets.


Shogun had its finale and it did not disappoint. I already raved about it in my March newsletter, so I'm very happy that it wrapped things up as it did. I found the show's soundtrack and was instantly yanked back into the show's feudal Japan. Who knew that Atticus Ross would bring me to tears with tender flutes?!?

One more quick worthy mention is the dystopian tv series, based on a video game, Fallout (on Amazon Prime), which surprised me with its mix of humor, gore, drama and...old timey music! From their synopsis: "200 years after the apocalypse, the gentle denizens of luxury fallout shelters are forced to return to the irradiated hellscape their ancestors left behind — and are shocked to discover an incredibly complex, gleefully weird and highly violent universe waiting for them." Starring Ella Purnell (Yellowjackets anyboy?), Aaron Moten, Walton Goggins, Michael Emerson, Kyle MacLachlan (whoa) and more. Can't wait for the next season! I give it 4 1/4 out of 5 nostrils.

Two years ago in April, I started writing my monthly newsletter Pia shares Her Dark Half and it's been a great way to hold myself accountable to writing; and hopefully giving you something to look forward to. If you hear a 'but' coming on, you're right. And it's for a really cool reason.

I've started a major art project which will take up much of my free time, so something's gotta give. No worries, though - instead of killing off my newsletter all together, I'll still post an edition every three months and make it public again, woot!

What is this big art project I speak of? It's a dark fairytale which I have tentatively titled "The Scary Ones". A sort of storybook not for kids. I've already written the story and now want to create about 30 accompanying art pieces. Yeah...I'm really challenging myself with this one, but I'm excited about it! Of course, I will share this "creation journey" with my Patreon members. It will be a new exclusive perk to enhance the membership tiers and replace the now public newsletter editions.

If you ever considered joining my Patreon family, now would be a good entry point!

That's it for today...make it a witchy week/end!

Kisses and yours darkly,


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