The Grim Reaper is the lord of death. Death with a capital D. the black-cloaked, scythe-wielding personification of death. A black, shrouded specter who appears when your time on earth has come to an end. Although his personality and his work are as mysterious as death itself, one thing is for certain: he’s not someone you want to meet any time soon.
The Grim Reaper is perhaps the most recognized entity of all time, neither ghost nor god whose job is to conduct the souls of the recently dead into the afterlife. Wielding his razor-sharp blade, which he uses to harvest souls with, some say he only has to touch the person to eject their soul so they don’t feel pain when they die. When he moves, he seemingly glides rather than walking.
Above all else, the Reaper is a hard worker. His job is to collect souls when they reach the end of their time on earth, and he is extremely diligent about getting his work done. He always meets his deadlines, and he is rarely distracted from or persuaded not to do his job.
The origins of the Grim Reaper go back far into the past and he was known by many names. In old Celtic folklore he was known as L’Ankou, sometimes called Father Time. To the Greeks, he was known as Cronus and the Romans called him Saturn.
During the plague, artists began painting death as a horrific figure. Skeletons, armed with deadly weapons, danced among plague victims in the street or rode on white horses with wagons full of bodies attached. Eventually, a black-cloaked figure, the first recognizable Reaper, began appearing at the head of these ghastly processions. His dark costume and curved scythe may have been inspired by plague doctors, who wore dark shrouds and bird-like masks to protect themselves from breathing infected air.
According to biologists, death is the total cessation of life processes that eventually occurs in all living things. Unfortunately, that definition doesn’t paint a vivid picture. It doesn’t tell us what it’s like to die. What will it feel like? What will we see? What will we do? Where will we go?
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