Thursday, October 18, 2012


I'm back from my vacation! If you're wondering, I went to the New York City Comicon, so I might be making some posts related to that in the future. But anyway, I have a ton of seasonal profiles to get through before that.

The popularity of Jasper makes me wonder if Casper is not far behind. In fact, Casper (pronounced "KAH-sper") is a Dutch and Scandinavian form of Jasper. This name is also related to Christmas, as Casper was one of the Magi who brought gifts to the baby Jesus.

To my surprise, Casper actually used to be on the American top 1,000. It peaked in the 1880s at #400, which isn't too shabby. But it gradually faded from use until the 1930s when it dropped off completely.  It is still quite popular in Sweden and Norway. This name has recently gained some attention when Jason Lee decided to bestow it on his daughter. Can't say that I love it on a girl, but I can't say that I hate it either.

I have to admit that Casper is one of my favorite boy's names. This is probably because of the film The Red Violin, which featured a young violin prodigy named Kaspar. Of course, whenever I mention this name someone always has to bring up the ghost. Do we really have to talk about the friendly ghost? Well, I guess so, since this is for the Hallows season.

Casper the Friendly Ghost started off as an unpopular and unknown children's book made in the 1930s. The rights were sold to an animation studio, and the first cartoon "The Friendly Ghost" was released in 1945. As the title suggests, Casper is unusual in that he would rather make friends with people than scare them. There is some controversy as to whether or not Casper is the soul of a dead child, in the early cartoons it's rather vague. But his pre-ghostly identity was made more clear in the 1995 film which gave him the last name McFadden.

I still don't really understand why this name is avoided. Felix has managed to stay in the charts for as long as we've been recording baby names in this country in spite of the cat. Felix the Cat came out in 1919 and has been revived for years and years since then, so it's kind of the same scenario. And Sebastian is in the top 100 in spite of the crab. So what's the problem with Casper? There isn't one, as far as I'm concerned. I just think the general public is being arbitrary.

I would really like to see Casper used more, and I think that it's only a matter of time.


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  1. I'm already seeing more Casper about, I guess from parents who worry that Jasper is "too popular". However, I also saw an article written by a dad who wanted the name Casper for his son, but then decided that it sounded "evil". There is something very slightly uncanny about it. (They went with Kurtis).

    I really love it, bring on the Caspers!

  2. Caspar is also a character from 'Confessions of an Ugly Stepsister' by Gregory McGuire - my favorite character, in fact.

    I've never had a chance to say so before since I didn't have an account with any of the websites under which one can comment, but THANK YOU for taking the time and energy to put your blog together. I love it!


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