(appeared in 111 "Scarecrow" episode)
Scarecrows as evil or scary figures probably arise from two contributing factors. Scarecrows link to the planting and protection of crops and the changing of the seasons. In agrarian societies, Spring was celebrated as a time of resurrection – of life reborn after the dark winter. Sacrifice is bound up in this cycle. Winter kills that which grows, and breeds, until it is reborn in Spring. And for many societies existed the idea that some deity or power needed a gift to ensure the prosperity of the new season. The Vanir were a group of Norse gods connected with fertility that were associated with ritual sacrifice. Effigies representing the gods were erected, and is possibly where scarecrows originated. Scarecrows also possess attributes that lend themselves to being scary. They look human but are expressionless. As is the case with clowns, for us the inability to interpret facial expressions provokes fear – think also of horror villains from the Phantom of the Opera to Michael Myers from Halloween or Leatherface from The Texas Chainsaw Massacre movies.
In 111 Scarecrow, a pagan god resides in an ancient tree immigrants bought to the US from Scandinavia. Each year the people of Burkitsville present it with a young man and woman as a sacrifice to ensure the prosperity of their crops. The god kills the couple by inhabiting the form of a scarecrow. The god is vanquished when the sacred tree is destroyed.
- see also Vanir