The Halloween we celebrate today is a mix of ancient Celtic traditions, Catholic and Roman rituals, and European folk practices blended over time. It began with the ancient Celts who considered 1 November to be New Year’s Day, which they called Samhain. The Celts believed that the night before Samhain, or 31 October, spirits, fairies, and demons trod the earth.


This October HISTORY is celebrating Halloween with the following programming:

Haunted History – Ghosts of Gettysburg

Thursday 26 at 11:30pm AEDT

Hundreds of witnesses have encountered the paranormal in Gettysburg, Pennsylvania making it one of the most haunted towns in America; but who are these spirits, and what do they want us to know?


Haunted History – Salem Witch Trials

Sunday 29 at 11:30pm AEDT


Haunted History – Lost Souls Of Pennhurst

Saturday 28 at 11:30pm AEDT

in 1908 Pennhurst Asylum was built to house and care for epileptic, disabled and feeble-minded patients, but after a few years Pennhurst became dangerously overcrowded.


The Plague

Friday 27 at 8:30pm AEDT

Today we live with the threat of infectious diseases like SARS, AIDS, Anthrax and strains of Flu. But from 1330 to 1350, nearly 25% of the world’s population was wiped out by Plague. It is one of the worst catastrophes in human history.


The Magic of Houdini With Alan Davies

Saturday 28 at 12:30pm AEDT

Alan Davies explores the extraordinary life of illusionist and stunt performer, Harry Houdini, the man who against the odds became one of the most successful entertainers in the world.


New Hidden Killers: The Victorian Home

Saturday 28 at 1:30pm AEDT

Suzannah Lipscomb takes us back to the Victorian era when cities were expanding, mass consumerism took hold and the Victorians were surrounding themselves with killers. 


Hidden Killers Of The Tudor Home

Saturday 28 at 6:30pm AEDT

Dr Suzannah Lipscomb ventures into the Tudor home in search of the household killers of the era. It was a time of radical evolution in the very idea of ‘the home’ which gave rise to new possibilities for activities within the home.


Witches – A Century Of Murder

Sunday 29 & Monday 30 at 8:30pm AEDT

In this two part drama-documentary series, Dr Suzannah Lipscomb goes in search of the origins of the gruesome mass witch hunts and trials that infested the British Isles 400 years ago.


Great British Ghosts Halloween Special

Monday 30 at 11:30pm AEDT

The Halloween Special sets out to explore one of the most haunted properties in the country, Derbyshire’s Carnfield Hall near Alfreton. The 15th century property has a long and rich history with stories dating back to the time of Mary Queen of Scots right through to the Second World War. Carnfield Hall is at the forefront of local history with many individuals having personal experiences of paranormal activities or others who relay stories passed down through the centuries. With many unexplained noises, thumps and bumps and the sounds of harpsichord music from the upstairs parlour (where there was once a music room in the 1700s) Carnfield Hall has many secrets and this Halloween special reveals some of its most infamous horrors.


Jack The Ripper

Saturday 28 & Sunday 29 at 5:30pm AEDT

Taking you back to 1888, this extraordinary two part series goes back to basics, dispelling the myths and misconceptions that have surrounded this case for so long. Reconstructing in 3D virtual environments this special shows the original buildings and lighting and, using real actors, reconstructs what actually happened on the night of each murder as never seen before. Including witness statements and the coroner’s reports, we take a closer look at the original police investigation. This will change forever everything you thought you knew about the Jack the Ripper murders. This is the definitive story.


The Pilgrims

Sunday 29 at 1:30pm AEDT

The Pilgrims’ narrative has been shrouded in myth, embedded in Thanksgiving Day feasts, football and parades. Who were the men and women who constituted this multifarious band of English Protestants whom we call ‘the Pilgrims’? Why did their religious beliefs make the old world so intolerable to them? How did they plant the seeds of American democracy? This film chronicles the deep history, origins and critical first decade of the first permanent English colony in New England. The Pilgrims embraces an extraordinary 70-year arc in the history of Renaissance England and colonial New England, from 1560 to 1630.


Vampire Legend

Tuesday 31 at 6:30pm AEDT

Bram Stoker penned his gothic horror Dracula in 1887 and popularised the modern vampire myth. We explore evidence that now points to those myths originating in England, not Eastern Europe as many believe.

Halloween: The Feast Of The Dying Sun

Tuesday 31 at 5:30pm AEDT

This special delves into the ancient Celtic origins and the dark fun of Halloween with an eerie journey back in time to experience the ancient beliefs and practices. Millennia have passed since the druids first celebrated Samhain, the feast of the dying sun; almost a thousand years have elapsed since the Christian church renamed the feast as Halloween; centuries have gone by since Halloween first left the shores of the Celtic lands in which it originated.

Mysteries at the Museum – Halloween Special

Monday 30 at 5:30pm AEDT