Wednesday, July 30, 2008

Alison is finally back. Hi Alison!

Alison is back. Yay! We all missed you!

I was gone for a while too, on holiday, back East in Massachusetts and Rhode Island. I saw an unusual building that looked sort of like a little castle (I thought) and I thought of you, of course. Here are some pictures of it. This was in Salem, Mass, which had witch trials back in the 1690-somethings, so please don't take offense - it has nothing to do with you, just looks like a castle is all.
It was kind of cool though, for a tourist trap. Inside there's this big dark room and everybody sits on benches around the parameter of the dark room. And there is just this light coming down in the middle from the high ceiling that projects a pentagram on the floor. OoooooOOOOoooo! Anyway. Then the sound system comes on and tells about witches throughout history, and then they get to the Salem witch trials. Which, incidentally, one of my ancestor grandmothers was convicted and hanged as a witch. There really weren't that many hanged, though - not like in Europe during that period. But a lot were put in prison and lost their property. At least that's what the guy on the recording said. He had a really cool deep scary voice, btw.

Anyway, while the recording is going on over the sound system, they light up areas of the walls and you can see scenes from the witch trials. They are like alcoves in the wall (sort of like stages, or balconies, with statues of people dressed in old-time clothes.) One was of a courtroom scene, and another was a jail house, and another was like in the woods with a big tree where they hanged people. And several more. Too cool. And some other stuff. You would have liked the presentation.

Then they take you on a tour down various halls with pictures on the wall and displays and stuff like that. You end up in the gift shop of course. (Probably just like Castle Fraser, I'll bet. Ha!). But I didn't see the need to buy any witch hats made in China. So.

Salem is a much bigger city than I had thought it was. I thought it was just a little village. It probably was back then, huh? It's like 30 miles outside Boston, or something like that. Maybe not even that far. Also, Salem is the home of Nathaniel Hawthorne. I didn't know that. They have his statue in the middle of one of the main street medians, and also his "House of the Seven Gables" (or whatever the name of that book was) is there, too. He also wrote a book called "The Scarlet Letter" which I read the first chapter of once. And that book is about an adultress who is charged as a witch. She had to wear a big red "A" around her neck. (Just like you do sometimes, I'll bet. I mean, for "Alison" not "Adultress".) I guess that is why the book is called "The Scarlet Letter." Seems overly dramatic, though. Even for the 1600s. Hester Prynn was her name, as I recall. Maybe with only one "N". That also seems sort of a bit too much in my mind: he could just as easily named her Barbara or Nancy or something. Hester? Come ON!!

So, I guess her being tried as a witch in the book should have been a clue to me where the dude lived. (He is an American author from the 1800s.) You probably know that. (And don't really care, being British and all.) Don't blame you. Catherine might be interested in that though. Being as he was an author, I mean.

I can't think of anything else. They had a lot of of other museums and more witch stuff. But I wanted to get on to Boston. So.

Glad you are back, lady. :)


  1. I'm so glad to hear you read the first chapter of The Scarlet Letter. I did too :) I bought the book years ago thinking I should improve my woeful knowledge of American literature (even pre-Max days you see). I've started it many a time.

  2. Actually, you're closer than you know ;)

    I want to visit Salem, I'd love to see that museum. You missed me, aww. So I should think!

  3. Mandatory reading in my school for the Scarlet Letter. My advice? Read the cliff's notes. Or better yet, watch the film featuring a still fairly young Demi Moore.*

    *In no way do I recommend this film. Awful. Awful. Awful. Unless you like that sort of thing.

    **I've walked by that museum/church. Seemed very tourist trappy to me too, I was there 10 years ago to visit the maritime historical sites.

  4. a. - Yes I did read one chapter. I think all the way through. I find many so-called "classical" authors very dry to read. This is because they seem to have a need to show off their vocabulary and ability to write flowery obtuse sentences. Not all American authors of the 19th century were like this of course (I have read Mark Twain since about the 4th grade) but enough are to turn me off. I love Edgar Allen Poe, but I won't read his shit and I am secretly glad they killed his ass. I always waited for the Vincent Price versions on the screen rather than wade through his burdensome pretentious bullshit.

    Umm, Nathanial Hawthorne was of this ilk. And even Demi Moore couldn't save him. Sorry. I know Catherine teaches that one should give an author a chance, and that you should read stuff that you might not normally read, just to be fair and roundly-read. No, ma'am. They have to meet me halfway.


    Alison, I can't believe you said that. Really? You would go into a tacky place like that, just like I did? That makes me feel pretty darn good.

    Damn right I missed you. Don't care who knows it, either. :)


    Redbeard - I didn't know that used to be a church. I guess now that I look at it, it probably was. Geez...isn't that kind of sacrilegious? Turning an ex-house of God into a witch museum? Holy feckin' brimstone. That's pretty damn bodacious, even for Americans. I think I will call the Salem chamber of commerce and leave a crank call message on their answering machine Sunday morning. I will say i am God.

    And, as I told you before, I was tempted to go to a whaling museum, either there or in New Bedford, but, you probably can guess, there are only so many big jawbones, rusty harpoons, and busted up wooden boats that my easily bored shallow self can tolerate.

    But I encourage you to do it frequently. Don't mind me. :)

  5. I really like the House of The Seven Gables and the old slate gravestones.



Related Posts with Thumbnails