Halloween Die-ary: October 13, 2018

Today was the day of my Salem talk, a tentpole in my Halloween Season both for what it is (a talk about Salem…in Salem…as a part of Salem Horror Fest), and for the amount of time I put into the presentation.

We decided early this morning for me to drive into Salem by myself and then have my wife and kids come in later. One reason is so that I could go early enough to completely relieve the worry I had about getting there late. I still have flashbacks from the only other time I presented in Salem, back in 2010, when there was so much traffic, I had to jump out of the deadlocked car—my wife then sliding over into the driver’s seat—and run the width of the downtown to make it on time. I was halfway through the presentation when my wife finally arrived at the bookstore.

The second reason was because it was raining and in the 50s. So pretty miserable, and navigating Salem for hours with a family can be trying when it’s not wet and cold and your wife is almost at term.

I also knew that them coming in later meant that they might not be able to make it at all, which was kind of a bummer for me because it would be the first time my whole family would get to see me speak, which is appropriate since they all figure prominently in A Season with the Witch.

So I drove in early, had no trouble getting there, and then walked around in the rain for a bit until the stomach-horrors that I talked about at my last presentation hit me.

But then showtime neared and I met up with Doug Cross, who was the person who invited me to speak as part of the events slate. He led me into PEM to see the venue (which was a lot bigger than I’d expected), and we chatted and waited (and in my case, hoped) for people to start coming in. Keep in mind that this was the first time people have ever had to pay to hear me talk, and they had to fight through Salem crowds and October now to do so.

Eventually, people trickled in…and in…and in…for a great turnout…including my family. Lindsey and my youngest sat in the back in case the youngest got restless, and my eldest wanted to sit right on the front row. The presentation was a lot of fun (for me at least), and when it was over, I got to meet a lot of cool people: Three OTIS Club members, a tour guide who went to my only other Salem talk eight years ago, friends from both real life and from the OTIS socials, and people whom I’d never met before (including one woman from my home state of Maryland who showed me photos of her conducting some oomancy (fortune telling with egg yolks), which was what got the whole Salem Hysteria started in the first place. Too great. I’d never even thought of trying it before.

I had a spectacular time, and I can’t be more happy that I got through the stomach-horrors to do it. Much thanks to Doug Cross for inviting me and shepherding me through and to everyone else at Salem Horror Fest—which is really turning into one of the big highlights of Salem in October, and to everyone who came in despite the crowds and rain and lack of marketable talent behind the podium.

Afterwards, we walked around town for a little bit. I asked my eldest if the talk bored her and she answered no, immediately after which my youngest piped up, “I was bored, though.” That kid.

My eldest wanted to hang out in Salem even more, so Lindsey took the youngest and went home, and we spent another hour wandering the streets. When we left the parking garage, the rain stopped, the sun split the clouds, and it was a glorious New England Fall day. An hour later, I learned via Twitter that all the parking garages in Salem had filled.

Back home, we watched the first couple episodes of The Curious Creations of Christine McConnell, a macabre baking show featuring monster Henson puppets and the uber-talented Christine McConnell and then, after the kids were asnooze (or at least in bed), Lindsey and I dug into a new Netflix series that I’ve been waiting eagerly for since it was first announced, The Haunting of Hill House. I’m only the first episode in (I wish I could binge it, but I think circumstances will prevent me), and I’m digging the setup so far.

Later that night, Lindsey asked me, “So is Halloween over now?”

I have to admit, it does feel that way a little bit. No more trips to Salem, no more talks, the baby ever closer to arrival, no big Halloween plans on the horizon. We’ll see, though. The Halloween Season is always full of surprises.