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September 18, 2019 / philosophermouseofthehedge

Will their scary survive?

Couple who are terrified. (Joanna Moore and Arthur Franz in Monster on the Campus, 1958/Universal Pict. traIler screenshot (USPD., artist life,

“Nooo. They never forget or forgive even if you knuckle under. They know I chewed gum in class.” (USPD/

Critical Mass for Halloween?  None such

Once a glimpse of the black outfit could spike fear and cause even adults to have flashbacks, but that may be vanishing.

What’s the point of wearing it for Halloween if the costume has no scary any more?

A fellow blogger recently remembered costumed antics at Halloween in her office. Being in HR and responsible for getting people to follow company policies and rules, she got a kick out of dressing as a Mother Superior complete with taking names and smacking offender’s hands with a ruler.

Hilariously appropriate.

The others got the joke. Then.

Woman. Nun in snowy scene. (Willem van de Poll/Dutch Nationalk Archives/USPD. released, artist life,

Now this is a little chilling, right? (Dutch Nat.Archives/USPD/

How much longer will people get it? The habit of black nun habit?

  • Now many never set foot in a church or even know who Noah, Moses, or Cain and Abel were, so the nun context might be completely MIA.
  • Somberly robed, stern nuns teaching parochial schools are much less common these days, too. The modernized updated habit is approachable, not dark and forbidding. That traditional whacking knuckles to keep order mostly abandoned. For good reason: kids today do not hesitate to scream “child abuse” and “CPS”.
  • Solid, serious nuns are far less visible now. Once they were frequently seen in communities, their roles understood everywhere – including in movies and TV
  • But it’s been years since “The Sound of Music” was performed by every secondary school.
  • “Bells of St Mary’s” underwhelms the current holiday movie viewers more interested in the glitzy, commercialized, Christmas tales.
  • Audiences chuckled at the trouble makers of a girls’ school in “The Trouble with Angels”, but in the ’60’s some could still identify with those classrooms.
  • Many laughed as Whoopie hid among nun in the comedies “Sister Act” or “Sister Act 2, Back in the Habit”.  Those nuns were so warm and fuzzy in that movie.

The legendary terrors of real nuns, a casualty of time moving on.

Now, any fear and trembling felt when seeing a nun’s black, flowing habit more likely to be connected to a horror movie than from actual classroom experience or that habit of the ruler.

The black habit is not yet extinct! You can still spot them in remaining environments. Huge list of movies with nuns here.

None gone with the wind any more. (Get the joke here)

Phil, the Philosopher Mouse of the Hedge

Sally Field as Flying Nun, 1967. (USPD. publicity pix, artist life/IMB screenshot)

Unnatural and scary. Flying, but her Rosary beads or outfit never flowed backwards.What deals did she make with whom – or what?(USPD/IMB screenshot)


  1. easyweimaraner / Sep 18 2019 7:20 am

    I was a nun once and my partner came as ALF… technically correct because the motto was Feels like Heaven, but practically a catastrophy , the idiot swooned and I had to wait 2 hours in the ER for him… nice party… ;O(


    • philosophermouseofthehedge / Sep 18 2019 8:33 am

      That not so heavenly…hmmm, you don’t suppose some payback for choosing that costume? HaHaHa
      Thanks for dressing up this party with a comment!


  2. Kate Crimmins / Sep 18 2019 7:23 am

    So true! Nuns in general have gone the way of typewriters and VHS. After spending my elementary years in a Catholic school I swore I would not terrorize my children by sending them there. However, when I got to high school, I found out that the education I had was far superior to most other schools. I got rid of my mother superior costume last year. The black gauze was deteriorating. We could have a nun who costume fell off of her now, could we?


    • philosophermouseofthehedge / Sep 18 2019 8:30 am

      Typewriters (Seriously gone to type? HaHa). Oh how I wish I’d saved my mom’s ancient black Royal typewriter from before WW II – it was the weird small pica font. What a clacker. It got traded in and the trade traded in – she loved her last electric one. Word processors were a dream come true – no more starting over again and again to be without mistakes, but those old clackers: attitude and style.
      You started me thinking about how much was thought of as “standard items” in the past are now relics. (Here. Parochial schools, with the exception of 3-4, were not as good as the public schools – kids who went there were either very sheltered, from very religious families, or trouble makers who had been kicked out of public schools. The schools almost disappeared, until the last 8 years or so. Two reasons: Cardinal DiNardo Arch Bishop of Galveston-Houston decided to make a big effort with a lot of marketing at the right time – the public schools in many areas are not doing their job (along with more social training than educating with solid facts and learning skills). There’s been quite a revival of plaid skirts. Not the black habits, though. (The state of yours humorously reminds me of one of those films listed in that list. Maybe it found a new wardrobe? HaHa) Thanks for the writing prompt and typing up a comment here

      Liked by 1 person

      • Kate Crimmins / Sep 18 2019 10:30 am

        I was lucky to be too old for the plaid skirts. We wore navy jumpers with white blouses with a round collar.

        Liked by 1 person

  3. John W. Howell / Sep 18 2019 7:57 am

    Nuns were habitual visions in years past. Lately not so much. Excellent post.


  4. Curt Mekemson / Sep 18 2019 10:26 am

    I remember when all of the Catholic kids had to go to Catechism taught by nuns after school once a week. The rest of us were quite happy to use the time for play. We were especially happy when we learned nun discipline. –Curt

    Liked by 1 person

    • philosophermouseofthehedge / Sep 18 2019 12:51 pm

      So true. There were all those rumors about broken fingers and knuckle scars around the public high schools – aquiet threat to keep kids behaving so they wouldn’t get kicked out and sent to Catholic schools? Wouldn’t put it past parents….
      Here the Jewish kids went/go to “class”, too. So did/do the Chinese kids around here – every Sat. morning. Wed night was/is for Baptist kids’ Bible study. Methodist kids go sometime for confirmation study still (oh, they all get punch and cookies…bad cookies…as refreshments probably?)
      No surprise once away at college kids say “enough, already.”
      Thanks for putting down the home work for a time to chat


      • shoreacres / Sep 18 2019 6:01 pm

        Grape Koolade and graham cracker cookies with chocolate frosting filling. Standard Methodist. As it was, is now, and ever shall be — amen!


        • philosophermouseofthehedge / Sep 20 2019 12:01 pm

          Was that grape over-watered down? There were easy to read directions, so whhhhhyyyy? How many longed for full strength Welches? I can’t even remember the bland, blond, cardboard cookie brand.


      • Curt Mekemson / Sep 19 2019 10:13 am

        My brother, sister and I went to vacation bible school once. I think it may have been an excuse to get us out of the house. Anyway, at the end of the ‘school,’ the minister held a service and told us all to close our eyes and not open them till he told us to. He proceeded to tiptoe to the back of the church, knock on the door, and then tiptoe back to the front, where he told the kids they could open their eyes. He than asked the kids if they had heard the Lord knocking to get into their heart. All the kids had obeyed and were really excited, except for the three kids that watched him: the Mekemson kids. He kept us afterwards and harangued us with the many ways we were going to hell. –Curt

        Liked by 1 person

        • philosophermouseofthehedge / Sep 19 2019 11:07 am

          Yeah, sounds like the time I, in second grade, looked the Sunday school teacher right in the eye and said “Evolution is obvious.”


  5. Ally Bean / Sep 18 2019 12:11 pm

    You make a good point here about how today’s nuns don’t inspire the fear that nuns did decades ago. I’d say Sister Bertrille had something to do with it. I liked watching the Flying Nun when I was a girl. It made me laugh, of course. But the reality is that Sister wasn’t threatening. Perhaps she was prescient? 😉

    Liked by 1 person

    • philosophermouseofthehedge / Sep 18 2019 12:36 pm

      Adapt or die!
      Maybe that perky popular song had something to do with their image softening? Flying Nun was the only series ever filmed in Puerto Rico – I didn’t know that, but Gidget as a nun was something of a hoot. Talk about changing habits)
      Thanks for commenting without a single knuckle smack needed!

      Liked by 1 person

      • Ally Bean / Sep 18 2019 12:43 pm

        The soundtrack from the movie was a popular one in my home growing up. I know the words to most of the songs, programmed into my young brain while I colored. 😊

        Liked by 1 person

  6. shoreacres / Sep 18 2019 6:05 pm

    I never watched The Flying Nun, but at one point I read The Nun’s Story, and was vastly entertained. It was part of the Reader’s Digest series that my folks subscribed to. As for Catholic schools, I have a friend who has two grandkids in them: the girl at St. Agnes and the boy at Strake. They live in Pearland, mind you, and there’s a whole lot of driving going on in that family — but the kids adore the schools, uniforms and all.

    That mention of Peter Pan collars brought back a lot, including angora sweater sets and sweater clips! Oh, we were stylin’ back then!


    • philosophermouseofthehedge / Sep 20 2019 11:59 am

      I didn’t;t watch it either, but you could hardly get past the promotion about it.
      Ah, reader’s Digest – people can laugh about literature “lite”, but those stories, jokes, and articles provided many with a broader view of life than their own neighborhood offered. There was always something for everyone in each issue. (And you could submit small bits and jokes to them – that was always fun!)
      A few years ago Pearland was an easy 20 min ride but since they decided to “fix” the road…you know how well that goes…for years. You’d be surprised how many drive in to work from Magnolia/Conroe-ish/Woodlands also hauling their kid along to schools Like St John’s, Strake, Agnes – if you consider those parents who sit and talk with their kids during both commutes may actually have more conversations with their kids, know more about them, and are sure they kids get some after school sports/clubs/activities than parents who commute long distances with kids in the neighborhoods – and on the loose before and after school. Once it was explained to me, it made a bit of sense.
      Sweater clips! talk about things time swept right past. (may Peter Pan collars stay starched firmly back there.) Thanks for slipping in with a comment

      Liked by 1 person

  7. dogear6 / Sep 19 2019 7:14 pm

    You forgot “The Blues Brothers” with John Belushi and Dan Ackroyd! Kathleen Freeman’s caricature of a nun is classic.

    Liked by 1 person

    • philosophermouseofthehedge / Sep 19 2019 8:05 pm

      Oh, that is a classic. So happy you dropped the ruler on that one. Thanks!

      Liked by 1 person

      • dogear6 / Sep 19 2019 8:11 pm

        The whole movie was hilarious. Dark, foul mouthed and on the violent side, but funny.

        Being a Chicago area native, I particularly appreciated it, but the humor is so classic Belushi and Ackroyd.


        • philosophermouseofthehedge / Sep 20 2019 11:47 am

          One of my home offices was in Chicago – I can see why you’d love that one. That movie is a real winner. (Hmm, saw it in the TV guide listing recently, maybe a good movie break for this dreary rainy day. Thanks)

          Liked by 1 person

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