October 12, 2011

Lost in a Maize Maze & What Happened at the Salem Zombie Walk?

(Photo credit: Lucid Light)

This year's Zombie Walk was supposed to meet at Collins Cove Park at 3pm and start marching at 5pm, but many people were disappointed to show up closer to five and find they had missed the group leaving. The march itself less resembled a horde of zombies and was more like many disorganized wandering bands snaking through and around the downtown area pretty aimlessly.

I finished my 3pm tour, threw on some make up, splattered some blood on myself, and joined in as the groups were passing Crow Haven Corner on Essex st. My zombie ballerina wife and I had a great time, but the disorganization confused me. I asked a group of fellow zombies "Where is the leader?" to which I recieved shrugs, "You know, the guy with the top hat and megaphone? The guy who organizes the walk?" No one had seen him.

Checking online later it seemed a lot of people were angry about their perceived failures of the walk, but then I discovered what had happened -  the leader had been arrested! Was this an anti-zombie conspiracy? How did this happen? We all know the city thought the walk was weird at first, but over the years has warmed up to it, with local business getting involved, and the Zombie Walk even being listed in this years tourist guide.

Speaking to the man himself I learned that the city had, for an unknown reason, revoked his permit(s) and only notified him via email. He doesn't really check his email too often so he had no idea. Because he had not cancelled the walk it seems the police wanted to check him out and when they ran his name they found he had a random unrelated bench warrant for something stupid like not paying court fines in time or something. They showed up to his work an hour before the walk and arrested him there. Thing is, the warrant was from 2007 and he has been processed since then so it makes no sense it would just come up now. The people at the police station made sure not to post his bail until after the walk had ended, so regardless of what they say, it's clear they simply didn't want him to be there. I don't think we are ever going to find out what exactly the motivations of the police were here.

Either way, the event was an overall success and gets bigger every year. Even if the police target the leader, we will still continue do it. It's good for the city and good clean (albeit bloody) fun. Every year I see families, babies, and kids having a good time -

and that's what Salem is all about. (photo: Peppered Productions)

[EDIT 10/13/11 12.30pm: It appears the city is also trying to ban the Zombie Walk by making it a crimnal offense. A meeting is scheduled for tonight at 6:30 at city Hall. Will update when I find out what happens.
EDIT 10/16/11: False alarm.]

Quick news roundup -

--Rocky Horror at Cinema Salem sold out last week so they added another midnight showing this Friday. See you there.

--I forget to mention earlier that two of my favorite street performers, illusionists, and local personalities, Vlad the vampire and Dan the bard of Theatre of the Night found a venue for their magic show this year! Good for tourists and locals alike, it's a family friendly magic show that is still dark, twisted, and evil. One of the few things in Salem where you get EXACTLY what you pay for. Go give them all your money because they are hilarious.

Here's a random video I found with them in it.

--If you missed last week's Haunted Happenings grand parade you can watch it online thanks to Salem Access Television even if you aren't from Salem. It's a pretty budget operation, but still fun. My favorite part is about three and a half minutes in when they cut to the man on the street and keep talking not knowing their microphones are still on, haha.

--The biggest Salem related story around right now is definitely the one about the family that got stuck in the Salem Village corn maze at Connors Farm in Danvers.

 Their incredibly apt slogan is "GET LOST!"

About half an hour after closing time a frightened family who was out with their three week old baby for the first time called 911 which responded with a K9 unit in order to find them within the 7-acre maze - ended up they were about 25 feet from the exit and it took the cops less than five minutes to find them. A part of me feels bad for them, but most of me finds this hilarious - kudos to the maze creators for actually making it difficult enough to get people lost! This story will get bigger as it has already been covered by LA Times, NPR, USA Today, and The New York Post, but has also been picked up by CNN, Jay Leno, and Good Morning America.

[edit: Associated Press video here: LOL

--Count Orlok's Nightmare Gallery reports having a great turnout to meet Jason of Friday the 13th VII-X and stuntman extraordinaire Kane Hodder. Here's a picture of him murdering gallery owner James.

Nice knowing you, pal.

Bill Johnson, Leatherface in Texas Chainsaw Massacre 2, is there this weekend and rumor has it that James found an antique puzzle box and will use it to summon Hellraiser's Pinhead the Cenobite himself, Doug Bradley, from the depths of hell for next weekend's celebrity appearance.

October 6, 2011

The Witch Trials Did Not Happen in Danvers

              With so many awesome things going on this month it's hard to keep track. Just this week we have things like today's Haunted Happenings Opening Day Parade, tomorrow's midnight showing of Rocky Horror at Cinema Salem, free movies on Salem Common at 8pm Saturdays (Oct 8-Monsters, Inc., Oct 15 Casper, Oct 22 Hocus Pocus, Oct 29 Beetlejuice), and this weekend is the first street fair of the month, so vendors and street performers will be out in droves. 

Oh, and this Saturday is the annual Salem Zombie Walk so be sure and grab some corn syrup and red food coloring.

 I like the part with the zombies.

In Lords of Salem news, Rob Zombie is posting pictures of people on his Facebook (which at the moment is the best way to keep updated about the movie) as they get cast and the last one was for Dee Wallace. The interesting things is part is of what he wrote for the caption:

"With less than 2 weeks until the start of filming the cast members are coming on board quickly. The latest addition to THE LORDS OF SALEM is our good friend DEE WALLACE. Dee plays the role of Sonny, a self-help guru."

Now two things can be surmised from this quote: firstly, that her character to will die a horrible death, as anyone described as a "self-help guru" inevitably will (and should) in a  horror movie [update: She's actually one of the witches!], but the part that really got me excited was him mentioning filming will be beginning just before the last week in October. Are we still safe to assume they will be taking shots of the crowds and filming certain scenes that might be dependent on crowds right downtown in the midst of the October excitement? It's way cheaper than paying extras! And a lot of people don't know, the way that filming permits work in Salem is that you only need to obtain one if you intend to block off streets. That means they can show up any day with no warning at all!

Boo! Imagine turning around and seeing this?

So Salem has been all over the national and international news, blogs, little local news segments around the country - everyone is getting into the spirit, but the only problem is how many journalists and bloggers are quick to add a little snarky jab about how the witch trials didn't even happen in Salem, but the next town over in Danvers. 

This has always been a pet peeve of mine - when people hear a small amount of information and run around regurgitating it as if they are an authority. So let me take a moment to explain to anyone that doesn't know: the Salem Witch Trials happened in (surprise surprise) Salem! 

What is now Salem was then called Salem Towne which was the downtown area surrounded by smaller farming communities. The small girls who made the initial accusations were from a part of Salem then known as Salem Village which is now modern Danvers starting in January. Arrests and examinations started in March (The first three victims arrested Feb 29th). Essentially, these "examinations" were insane verbally abusive arraignments where the victim was faced with the charge and given a chance to enter a plea, but not really because they would just yell at the person more and the little girls would bug out. They were not trials.

Things were getting out of hand as more and more people were being accused and arrested. The governor issued a commission for a Court of Oyer and Terminer and they chose a courthouse in what is now downtown Salem in the center of Washington st to house these, the actual trials - which started in JUNE with the trial of Bridget Bishop, first to be hanged on Gallow's Hill (also located in Salem btw) . All of the more than 150 people found guilty of witchcraft were tried in what is now modern day downtown Salem. There is even a plaque there that no one ever notices.

In addition, the site of the Witch Dungeon, where the victims were brought from other prisons and jails in order to be tortured and outside of which Giles Corey was pressed to death is in Salem.

Yes, many notable figures from the trials were from Danvers, but if you look into it you will see that there were also victims from Boxford, Andover, Ipswich, even as far as Welles Maine. On top of that, if you do the math you will find that more victims were from Salem Towne than Salem Village so if it was a contest hooray we win..., more people died from here. ...Yippie. Not really something to be proud of, but I am just sick of people spreading misinformation around.