Witching hour

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13th-century A.D. portrayal of an unclean spirit

In folklore, the witching hour or devil's hour is a time of night associated with supernatural events. Witches, demons and ghosts are thought to appear and to be at their most powerful. Black magic is thought to be most effective at this time due to the veil between worlds being thinner. [1] There are multiple times that can be considered the witching hour. Some claim the time is between 12 and 1 a.m., while others claim there is increased supernatural activity between sunset and sunrise. In the Western Christian tradition, the hour between 3 and 4 a.m. was considered a period of peak supernatural activity. This time is also referred to as the "Devil's hour" due to it being an inversion of the time in which Christ supposedly died.[1] The phrase "witching hour" was first recorded in 1793, but the term has since made it's way into popular culture and is open to interpretation.[2]

The New Zealand Oxford Dictionary identifies midnight as the time when witches are supposedly active.[3] However, during the time in which this term originated, most people had abnormal sleeping schedules which meant a lot of people were aware during the middle of the night. [1] The association with witches could have been one way in which to shame and persecute women who were believed to go against the status quo.[4] Nonetheless, there is psychological literature suggesting that apparitional experiences and sensed presences are most common between the hours of 2 and 4 a.m., corresponding with a 3 a.m. peak in the amount of melatonin in the body.[5]

The term may be used colloquially to refer to any period of bad luck, or in which something bad is seen as having a greater likelihood of occurring.[6][7] In investing, it is the last hour of stock trading between 3 pm (when the U.S. bond market closes) and 4 pm EST (when the U.S. stock market closes), a period of above-average volatility.[8] This term can also refer to a phenomenon with children in which an infant will cry for an extended period of time with no known cause. [9]

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  1. ^ a b c Sedgwick, Icy. "What time is the witching hour and does it even exist". Icy Sedgwick. Retrieved 14 November 2020.
  2. ^ Hamilton-Giles, Peter. "Witchcraft in Folk Magical and Religious Contexts": 3. Evidence of a specific witching hour means we must move forward to 1793 and Mary Robinson’s inclusion from a poem entitled, A Fragment, Supposed to be Written near the Temple, On the Night Before the Murder of Louis the Sixteenth Cite journal requires |journal= (help)
  3. ^ The New Zealand Oxford Dictionary. p. 1298. ISBN 0-19-558451-1.
  4. ^ Bosker, Bianca. "Why is Witchraft on the Rise". Atlantic. Retrieved 14 November 2020.
  5. ^ Luke, David P.; Zychowicz, Karolina (2014). "Working the graveyard shift at the witching hour: Further exploration of dreams, psi and circadian rhythms" (PDF). International Journal of Dream Research. 7 (2): 105–112. doi:10.11588/ijodr.2014.2.12000. Retrieved 2017-10-06.
  6. ^ Manning-Schaffel, Vivian. "Cry, Cry, Cry: The latest (not entirely reassuring) research on colic". Babble.com.
  7. ^ Little, Ken. "Beware of Stock's Witching Hour". About.com.
  8. ^ "Witching Hour Definition". Investopedia. Retrieved 2011-10-01.
  9. ^ Lewis, Rhona. "Witching hour is the worst-here's what you can do about it". Healthline. Retrieved 14 November 2020.