Our Salem Saturday

October 4, 2014 — All us Halloween obsessives have fantasized about it. What would it be like to live in a world dedicated to Halloween, a world where it's always Halloween, a world in which the very infrastructure is built on Halloween? Well, you just need to head to the New England coast to see what that’s like.

Salem, Massachusetts, in October is that place. When people ask me, “Why are you so obsessed with Halloween,” I want to walk them down the Essex Street Pedestrian Mall at this time of year, let them breath in the scent of fog machines and fried dough, know what it’s like to see monsters walking down the street and people running in excitement to get their pictures taken with them instead of running away in terror, knowing that every store, museum, and attraction is a wonderland of strangeness and every bend in the sidewalk a portal to the unknown.

Sure, it took the deaths of a couple dozen innocents three centuries ago to lay the foundation for such a magical place, but…ok, I have no but. Although I do wonder if, given the choice, the victims of the witch hysteria would rather live immortal as courageous victims celebrated every year by pointy hats and jack-o-lanterns or die in harsh colonial obscurity.

But that’s too deep a thought for a fun Saturday in Salem. And it was a perfect Salem day yesterday. Perhaps the best I’ve had so far of many, many Autumn days spent in the Witch City. It was overcast, with just enough light rain to set a mood and control the crowds without being miserable or disturbing the Halloween party atmosphere. Water can’t make these witches melt.

We did Salem the way we always do Salem, with a bunch of things to cross off our list, museums and attractions we haven’t yet experienced, historical sites we’ve yet to visit, stores we’ve yet to shop at. But, on stepping one foot outside the parking garage we, as usual, got caught up in the atmosphere of it all and wafted without itinerary on the scents of incense and rubber masks, tossed to and fro on the tides of ghoulish decorations and enthusiastic street performers, wended here and there wherever we saw black and orange. Sam Hain on a crutch, what a day.

One year, I’m going to move to Salem for the entire month of October. That would be a Halloween Season blog for the ages.

We started out in the Willows, an ancient amusement park about a mile from downtown. We weren't there for the carvnival foods and antique games, though. I wanted to see a Lords of Salem site that I missed when I sought out that movie's filming locations last year. It was a minor site, where the character played by Jeff Daniel Phillips takes a call from Sherri Moon Zombie's character, but a pretty great one on this foggy, damp day.

Obviuosly, we re-re-re-re-re-re-re-visited James Lurgio and his Count Orlok's Nightmare Gallery. One of my favorite sites in Salem.

Tombstone of a Mayflower pilgrim

Tombstone of Judge Hathorne, one of the main judges at the Salem Witch Trials.

H.P.Lovecraft used this decrepit old house adjacent to Salem's Old Burying Point (that was once home to Nathaniel Hawthorne's fiance) as the inspiration for the setting of his story, "The Unnameable."

A Poe-inspired art show at The Scarlet Letter Press. Closed when I dropped by, hence the window shot.

Around every corner, strange scenes like this one play out in Salem.

This year we went home with two bottles of mead and some witchery for spellcasting.

Go back in time to our past Salem October jaunts:

Salem 2013

Salem 2012

Salem 2011

Salem 2010