The Scream Theme is SKULLS

No, it can't be--not AGAIN!!!

Can you believe it’s that time of year again? I have to admit, it really caught me unaware and totally unprepared. It seems like just yesterday I was writing about…HALLOWEEN!!!!!

Haunted window at the Phillips Library

Having the very good fortune of living close to but not in Salem during the month of October makes for some fun excursions. We went on a Haunted Night Walking Tour. We figured after living here for nearly 20 years, it was about time. It was actually a mosey through and around the downtown Salem homes and buildings. I was really hoping to get a tour through a the haunted historical houses but the we were limited to standing outside the creepy buildings while our Ghoul regaled us with the history of the building we were standing in front of in a semi-British accent he used only when talking about the buildings. Directions and traffic alerts were barked out in a very precise Massachusetts accent. I think we were quite a sight–a large group of tourists craning our necks at the windows to see if the curtains shifted or if there was anything like this peering out:

Good Evening Mrs. Crowninshield. Aaahh yes a cup of tea would be lovely!

Howard Street Cemetery with the Old Salem Jail in the background

We walked past two notorious cemeteries. Howard Street Cemetery is famous for the grisly murder of Giles Corey during the Salem Witch hysteria in 1692. Poor Mr. Corey was the only person to be “pressed” to death–a gruesome ordeal of death by being sandwiched between two wooden boards while the prosecutors pile on boulders until the accused confesses. Mr. Corey never confessed nor begged for mercy because either action would forfeit his property to the city. Instead, his only utterance when repeatedly questioned of witchcraft was, “More weight!” until, after three days and several hundred pounds of rocks, he died. Rumor has it that Giles Corey placed a curse on the town with his last breath and there have been many reports of seeing his ghost travel up and down Howard Street. I asked this fellow if he’d ever heard of such a thing, but he disappeared before I could hear his answer.

Hey buddy, have you ever heard of such a ghastly thing as pressing?

The Burying Point

One of the most famous cemeteries in Salem is The Old Burying Point. It is the oldest cemetery in Salem and the second oldest known cemetery in the United States. “Witch Hanging Judges” Jonathan Corwin and John Hathorne (relative to Nathaniel Hawthorne–who changed his name to distance himself from his relative) are buried here along with Governor Simon Bradstreet, two passengers on the Mayflower, a few of the accused, a small pox victim and a poor fellow who was thrown from a horse to name a few of the inhabitants. From the cemetery you can walk into the Witch Trials Memorial, an area designated for reflection on the horrors of the hysteria when in 1692, 14 women and 6 men were tried, convicted and executed for witchcraft. The names and quotes of the accused are carved into 20 granite benches and the site is a harsh reminder of a regrettable time. I returned to The Burying Point during daylight because it was impossible to see the gravestones at night. All of the grave markers are hand-carved and believe me, they are creepier in daylight because you can see the etchings on the tops of the stones.

Grave Stone at The Burying Point, Salem MA

They certainly didn’t believe in sugar-coating the afterlife back in the 1700s. I mean, you have a pretty clear image of what’s going on by looking at this marker.

Skull with wings grave stone

These grave stones are a form of art and, unfortunately, some are breaking apart or crumbling away after almost 400 years.

This is even creepier than a skull stone because it seems to be a portrait of the young girl who died.

I decided to walk around more cheerful venues after spending an evening and the following day in the old cemeteries of Salem. It is certainly lively but this time of year I am loathe to find any cheerfulness unless you find yourself smiling happily about skulls.
It is definitely The Year of The Skull for Halloween 2011.

There's Angry Skull

and Really Creepy Skull

Wow! It's Surprised Skull!

Blue Skull! There's a friggin' spider on your head!

Girl! You are workin' that hat!

Creepy! Walking away quickly from this little horror...

Cute little lighted floating skull

Hey gals, what's happening?

Watch out for the skulls without noses that fall from the trees! The horror!

Skulls on Books

Blurry skulls on big backs

Skull door decals--very cool

Plush skulls to toss in your baby's crib

Twin skulls...and a hand.

BLING skull! I think it has a grille!

Jolly Roger

Last but certainly not least,

Happy Halloween! Come on in!

About EF Sweetman

bees, baseball, beverly, ma, culture, manners, society, writing
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6 Responses to The Scream Theme is SKULLS

  1. Me thinks you has a thing for skulls….. I don’t know what it is…..and I really can’t put my finger on it….. but I sense you have a rather disturbing skull fetish…… It must be rough to live in an area with so much history. My community was not even built until the freaking 1970’s!….. History to these bumpkins is watching reruns of “That 70’s Show”…… I know it’s early Liz, but are you doing the Polar Bear Dip again this year?

  2. sweetman says:

    It’s not MY thing, it’s the THEME of the year. You can’t turn around in Salem without knocking into at least 3 skulls. Interesting about your neck of the woods Maaaaaaaahhhhhk, I’m picturing Brady Bunch-like pioneers, swathed in polyester…roughing it in split-level with orange streptalon shag carpeting…living on Fruit Float… That is frightening!
    If I’m not working, I will take the plunge again! How about you?

    • I’m in! After a year of rounding up friends and family to take the lake plunge with me, I can proudly report that I will again be doing the chilly dip….solo……. everyone else, I mean EVERYONE else thinks I am totally crazy…………… I would just go in the back yard and jump in our own pool…. but really don’t want to become part of the Lobster Bisque that is bubbling in there with all the winterizing chemicals…… so…..stinky, smelly lake here I come! …….. If I remember right, you guys were in the balmy 50’s while I had temps in the 30’s…… it’s time to switch that around!…… I want to read of you and the family chopping your way through ice in order to find water! 🙂

  3. sweetman says:

    Maaaahhhhk, your ARE totally crazy, that’s a moot point in your plunge into the freezing lake of Disco Bay (named by the 1970’s Pioneers if my memory serves me well). You do show some promise by not boiling yourself in an acid chemical bath so good work there. And the likelihood of needing ice axes to get to the water are pretty good, last year was a fluke that I’m sure won’t happen again in about 100 years. What fun!

  4. I showed this post to my 17 year old. She went nuts over all the skulls.

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