A Season with the Witch: The Magic and Mayhem of Halloween in Salem, Massachusetts
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About the Author
J.W. Ocker is the Lowell Thomas- and Edgar Award-winning author of macabre travelogues, spooky kids' books, and horror novels. His books include Poe-Land, A Season with the Witch, Death and Douglas, and The Smashed Man of Dread End. J. W. Ocker lives in New Hampshire.
[A] lively chronicle--part travel guide, part history lesson...Ocker moves easily among the archivists, historians, and performers he interviews, and he describes the carnival atmosphere that descends upon "Witch City" with enthusiasm and vividness.--Publisher's Weekly (starred review)
What better place to celebrate Halloween than Salem, Massachusetts? Festivities begin with a parade on October 1 and end with Halloween parties and costumed celebrations on October 31. In between, Ocker, a travel writer with an Edgar Award, and family stay the entire month, exploring Salem's many attractions. Although the witch trials in 1692 only lasted for nine months, Salem has been branded "Witch City," overshadowing its maritime history. Ocker samples everything: cemeteries, museums, gift shops, performances, wax museums, and more. He talks to street performers and street preachers as he tries to understand the appeals of the city. He interviews curators, haunters, costumed tour guides, a policeman, the mayor, and cemetery caretakers. Ocker devotes whole chapters to real witches, Nathaniel Hawthorne, and TV shows and movies set in Salem. His comic asides lighten the details of haunted houses, hangings, and hysteria without disrespecting the history. The result is a fresh, fun glimpse of a town that has come to grips with its sordid history and prospered. Armchair travelers will enjoy the trip.--Booklist