Halloween season is here.

This weekend there will be lots of tricks and treats and the usual Halloween decor, with bats and spiders and goblins and mummies and ghosts.

Speaking of ghosts, a new book looks at the way humans depicted ghosts more than three thousand years ago.


The book is called “The First Ghosts” by Irving Finkel, a curator at the British Museum who works with ancient artifacts.

After reading a history of ghosts that dated back to the 1700s, Finkel wondered how far back humans had been depicting ghosts.

The answer is: since at least 1500 B.C.E.

There’s a Babylonian clay tablet that shows two figures trying to lead an older male ghost back to the underworld.

The Babylonians believed people who died untimely deaths might come back and haunt the people they knew in life.

The only way to break the supernatural bond was to solve the problem that caused their suffering in life.

In this tablet, the old, bearded ghost dude is lonely, so to send him on his way they have to find him a lady companion.

Hopefully one who’s also departed this life, cause I don’t know if there are a lot of living people interested in dropping everything just so they can keep a ghost company in the next world.

Also: do you think ancient ghosts could be foiled by meddling Babylonian kids and their talking dogs?


Sometimes you have to use what you have on hand to get the job done.

Today in 2013, a merchant naval officer told Metro in the UK that an effective way to deter pirates off the Somali coast was to play pop music.

In particular, he recommended Britney Spears songs!

‘As soon as the pirates get a blast of Britney,” he said, “they move on as quickly as they can.”

Boo Who? The World’s Oldest Ghost Drawing May Have Been Found on an Ancient Babylonian Tablet at the British Museum (Artnet)

Britney Spears songs used to scare off pirates in Somalia (Metro UK)

People will be talking about our Patreon backers for thousands of years too

Photo by Rajiv Sinclair via Flickr/Creative Commons