(or, “Straight out of Massachusetts”)
Holy smokes, has it been a year since I last wrote something? Pretty much. Mad props to Weird Jon for keeping this undead account alive and going, even though I foolhardily put a DEAD sign on it. Blah.
How I spent Halloween 2008: handing out candy.
How I spend the day after Halloween 2008: I was in Salem, Massachusetts.
Sweet bleeding pumpkins. I haven’t had the fortune of travelings this world but damned if Salem isn’t one of the weirdest, weird-not-in-a-good-way places around. I went up to Salem to see a Crimson Ghosts show, right before a showing of ‘DIE! You Zombie Bastards!’
Being that this was a strange pilgrimage to the land of the Pilgrims, I went for the whole day, figuring I’d take in the sights. There was a planned Zombie Walk to the theater, one that would only attract three shambling corpses (the organizers of the even, a pair in a wife/groom combo that was nicely done, and this individual guy who’s use of the fake blood was impressive. At least, I thought it was fake.) The show was awesome. It was one of the best performances by the Crimson Ghosts I’ve seen. They worked their new ‘Earth E.P.’ into the set, along with references to Link Wray and Dick Dale.
But. Man, fuck Salem if you don’t have any money because that place is Disney Rides the Tall Ship to New England to an outsider like me. Pirate Museums. Witchcraft Museum. Haunted Houses everywhere. And you can’t walk twenty feet without smacking your face on a Psychic Booth, Tarot Shop or some itchy Palm Reading, cosmik debris spouter in a Sears black velvet poncho.
Of course, it makes sense that such a tourist town should amp up the spooky qualities and get every cent possible out of Halloween, its most profitable holiday. And every place was doing it – a bookstore was running a ‘Dark Shadows’ marathon with a well proclaimed ‘rumor’ that one of the Cast members would show up. It was only a rumor and expressed with a shrug from the clerk but yet he took time to say ‘Well, maybe one of them will appear.’
Salem has this conundrum of rocking the spooky at level 13 while trying to maintain a sense of reverence for the real life government sanctioned murders of those accused of witchcraft. This is a town that has walking tours with hosts in period costume but also a statue of Barbara Eden as ‘Samantha’ from TV’s ‘Bewitched.’ It was a crazy experience to see all these folks, still celebrating Halloween, walk around in costume while the cops had patches on their motorcycle jackets featuring a broom-riding witch against a full moon. If you go down to Orlando to catch a cop wearing a pair of Mickey Mouse ears, waving his full authority at you with the cartoonish stamp of the Board of Tourism in your face, how would you react? For me, I just got a headache.
This year should be even more crazy as Halloween falls on a Saturday. Tourists will flood the place and things should get crazy, I imagine. I’m sitting it out unless someone offers a ride. We can document the thing but damned if I’m going to be responsible for driving myself home after experiencing that place when it’s all dressed to the nines.