Blue Vampire Santa Claus

September 14, 2020 — I meet a lot of cool weirdos when I’m writing my nonfiction books. For A Season With the Witch, I listened to tunes with a witch, shut down the Hawthorn Inn bar with a paranormal tour guide, hung out with a graveyard guard, talked to the face of the original Michael Myers outside a haunt while he sold Halloween panties. Dozens of others. I broke my cool weirdo record with that book, I think. But maybe my favorite interview was with a blue vampire.

Steve the Vampire has been haunting the Essex Street Pedestrian Mall as its most famous fanged busker since 2010. My personal history with him goes back to that same year when I shot a surreptitious pic from afar as he sank his fangs into a tourist. Since that time, I’ve almost documented my changing family with him, like he’s some kind of October Santa Claus. Unfortunately, I don’t get a photo with him every year (and apparently the last one I got was in 2016). Sometimes he’s too mobbed by people and sometimes our paths just don’t cross, but I always have my eye out for him.

I lost touch with Steve not too long after the book came out. I do that a lot. Lose touch with people I shouldn’t. But I check tourist photos on the socials every season to make sure his blue and black presence still haunts the town. If he ever retires, they need to commemorate him with a plaque on the Essex Street pedestrian mall.

But in case they don’t, here’s my personal monument to Steve the Vampire, a short series of photos covering the past decade of Halloweens.





Somehow topped off our 31-day October stay in Salem for the book
by getting on the front page of the local paper on Halloween.