Midnight  

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Train wreck at Montparnasse (October 22, 1895) by Studio Lévy and Sons.
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Train wreck at Montparnasse (October 22, 1895) by Studio Lévy and Sons.

The middle of the night; 12:00 am; On a 12-hour clock, 12:00 at night; on a 24-hour clock, 00:00.

Cultural meanings

In traditional magical thinking, "midnight" refers to solar midnight, which is opposite solar noon. These form an axis linking the mundane world with otherworlds by being the apogee of darkness and the perigee of light. Thus, traditional midnight is associated with chaos, death, underworld and mystery. It was seen as a moment when sacrum manifests itself and epiphanies were most likely. The epiphanies expected were those associated with darkness, so it was thought that at midnight, visitation from spirits, ghosts, demons and devils were common.

All the supernatural creatures of darkness — reminiscent of feared nocturnal predators — were believed to haunt the night, their potency greatest at its central point, midnight. According to Slavic folklore, midnight was time when strzygas rose from graves to suck the blood of mortals, zmoras assailed the sleeping to steal their breath, and devils came for sinners. Polish Jews believed that it was the time when dybbuks possessed people, causing insanity.

As night's attributes are chaos and primordiality, all the acts of summoning from otherworlds were easiest to perform at the culmination of the night. Supernatural entities like demons and devils universally answered a human call — be it death wish, curse of famine, prostration or pact with the devil. All the acts of sorcery, witchcraft, necromancy were easiest then. While some beliefs stated that elaborate rituals were needed, some other folklore ascribed unholy power to such simple acts as calling the devil at crossroads at midnight. Even peeking into a mirror at night (without a reliable clock one could never be certain what time it was) was dangerous, as the devil himself could have looked back.

Midnight was also the time to gather the ingredients used in magical acts done at other times, so various herbs were thought to be most potent when harvested at midnight.

See also




Unless indicated otherwise, the text in this article is either based on Wikipedia article "Midnight" or another language Wikipedia page thereof used under the terms of the GNU Free Documentation License; or on original research by Jahsonic and friends. See Art and Popular Culture's copyright notice.

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