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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. In the Western Christian tradition, the hour between 3 and 4 a.m. was considered a period of peak supernatural activity, due to the absence of prayers in the canonical hours during this period.[citation needed] The phrase "witching hour" was first recorded in 1793.[1]

The New Zealand Oxford Dictionary identifies midnight as the time when witches are supposedly active.[2] Psychological literature suggests 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.[3]

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.[4][5] 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), which can be characterized by higher-than-average volatility.[6]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ 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)
  2. ^ The New Zealand Oxford Dictionary. p. 1298. ISBN 0-19-558451-1.
  3. ^ 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.
  4. ^ Manning-Schaffel, Vivian. "Cry, Cry, Cry: The latest (not entirely reassuring) research on colic".
  5. ^ Little, Ken. "Beware of Stock's Witching Hour".
  6. ^ "Witching Hour Definition". Investopedia. Retrieved 2011-10-01.