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Tuesday, 23 October 2012 15:13 Jennifer Devore
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In the spirit of the holiday and being the Hallowe'en freak I am, it occurred to Moi it was time to read one of the essentials of Western literature, one of the earliest titles ever printed, a book, at the height of its popularity, outsold only by The Bible. Whilst I knew well of this tome and do ever so enjoy speaking its mellifluous name, I had not ever read The Malleus Maleficarum. "What, pray tell, is the Malia Whatch-a-ma-callit?, you may ponder. Well, 'tis really more of a Witch-a-ma-callit. Ha!

No laughing matter when it was written by Heinrich Kramer & James Sprenger and first published in 1486, it served as a guidebook and reference source for the Christian community, church leaders, nosy neighbors, municipal courts and the official Inquisitors of the Inquisition. Nobody expects the Spanish Inquisition!

The Malleus Maleficarum was written as a guide to seeking, identifying and prosecuting, thus vanquishing and dispatching of, witches. Didn't believe in witches? No worries, disbelief itself was at best heresy, at worst a sign of a witch. Being a redhead (Well, we all know my feelings on those Redheads! Ha!), having moles or birthmarks (Oft sought by town elders, always male, upon the nude bodies, usually female, of suspected witches for hours and hours of probing, poking and pinching.), possessing a quiet nature, possessing a rambunctious nature or cultivating a belief in the burgeoning fields of science were all excellent, possible signs of a witch. I highly suspect Gladys Kravitz, beauteous and spirited Samantha Stevens' crotchety old neighbor on Bewitched, had a copy on her windowsill. Something other than Heaven help you if you were found guilty.

Whilst the final, waning days of the witch trials peaked here in America with our very own Salem Witch Trials in 1692, the two and a half centuries previous ran Amok, amok, amok! across Europe with figures, dazzlingly varied but horrific even on the lightest-end, numbering 600K - 9Million men, women and children burned alive, drowned, stoned, hanged or tortured to death as witches. With too many specifications to sift through, sometimes the Inquisitors could simply rely on the time-tested generalizations of those "who did not fit within the contemporary view of pieous Christians", "old", "Jewish", "gypsy", "outcast" or the old standby, "a woman".

With such a verifiable and terrible history of inhumanity around which to wrap our modern brains, all one can do four-hundred-plus years later is make a joke or two, produce quirky films about the period (Hocus Pocus, for one, rocks!) or, like yours truly, travel to Salem, Mass. to celebrate Hallowe'en, dress up like Abby Sciuto or Bellatrix Lestrange , stay in the Hawthorne Hotel and blog about it all in November! (I could also work it into a future Savannah of Williamsburg title: maybe a 1600s prequel to the series?)

As a good friend stated sagely upon learning My Viking and I were headed to Salem with the Parental Units for the holiday: Salem Witch Trials? Oh, yeah? Might as well capitalize on that shit, right? True dat, pal.

On the jokey side of this vile and embarrassing era of Western civilization, I came across this "review" of The Malleus Maleficarum on Goodreads. It was such an out-of-the-box review, I couldn't believe Moi didn't write it first. Damn. Oh well, credit where credit is due, I had to share!

 

A Review by R:

"Why is your son dressed like a pilgrim?"

"Oh, it's a phase he's going through."

"Why is he piling up all that wood?"

"Oh, it's a...a phase. We're pretty certain it's a phase. You know kids, ha-ha."

"Ha-ha. Why is he tying your youngest, his brother, to a pole? And...a gasoline can? Matches??! Is that a phase, too?"

"No. Witches. You can't suffer them to live."

"I suppose you're right. You can't."

"No. You really can't."

"For a second there..."

"Yeah, I know. But, no. Witch. Well, warlock, to get technical about it."

"Your youngest, though..."

"Yes, I...I know. Don't think it didn't surprise me."

"Thank God your oldest is going through that phase."

"Tell me about it. Saves me the job, you know."

"Ha-ha!"

"Ha-ha! Ha!"

Review by R, just R. Head on over to Goodreads and give his review, your review!

By the by, as I read R's review, I instantly envisioned the scene with very specific actors: Tina Fey as Talbot's cardigan-donned Mom, those off-putting, strange little Children of the Corn twins on "Everybody Loves Raymond" and Steve Martin as the casually well-dressed, Brooks Brothers-sporting neighbor across the Marblehead, autumn leaf-laden, stone fence. Who did you envision? Tell R!

Happy Hallowe'en, all!

 

 

 
Monday, 22 October 2012 14:12 Jennifer Devore
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Because you know j'adore mes Barbies as much as j'adore Hallowe'en, voila! The first in a series of Hallowe'en Barbies! Haunted Beauty Ghost Barbie by designer Bill Greening. Oh, mais oui, SVP!

Now, as the other Holidays are fast-approaching and my long sought-after, annual, Christmas list is currently brewing amidst zee leetle grey zells ... ~ahem~

Dear Sandy Claws,

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Sunday, 30 September 2012 00:00 Jennifer Devore
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Me: What? You're nuts! Everyone knows about Disneyland at Halloween!

My Viking: No, they don't. Not everybody goes to Disneyland once a week.

Me: Okay, still. Everybody knows about The Haunted Mansion at Halloween!

My Viking: No, they don't. Hey, maybe that should be your next blog post.

A recent discourse of somewhat heated debate, the suggestion indeed made sense. I've been on a perpetual Disney mission since I could talk, so why not entreat anyone I can to experience the magnificent transformation of The Happiest Place on Earth into The Spookiest Place on Earth: Disneyland's Halloween Time?!

Photo by Loren JavierI write specifically of the Disneyland Resort in Anaheim, California. The entire park gets a bedeviling, magical, spooky, pumpkin-bedecked makeover. Nyquil trip-worthy, giant Mickey, Minnie, Donald and Goofy Jack O'Lanterns greet you at the main gate and welcome you into a fall fantasy. 'Tis best to go at night. It is still a tad warm here in sunny California to achieve a true autumnal glow, not counting that glow which comes from insisting on wearing a newsboy cap, silk breeches and woolen stripey stockings to the Park. October 1st temp this year? 100 degrees in Anaheim! Of course, maybe that's why we SoCal Disney dorks love Halloween Time so much. Disney is fantasy, after all. Weather fantasy is a beautiful thing. You know my thoughts on too much summer!

From Main Street's straw-adorned gas lampposts to Space Mountain's surprisingly heart-stopping Ghost Galaxy (I screamed with such true terror, without the ability to ever catch my breath in between banshee calls, I exited with a monster headache and a shredded, sore throat. Gnarly, awesome fun!), everything is infused with an orange-and-gold, haystacks-and-scarecrows, SpiderCider n' pumpkin muffin kind of elan. Even the popcorn boxes are anew with Gothic imagery. You'll find ghostly and spooky, seasonal offerings from Jack O'Lantern lollipop cakes at the Jolly Holiday Bakery Café on Main Street, to Jack Skellington hoodies and studded belts throughout New Orleans Square.

The Haunted Mansion, above all, receives a dressing up one simply must see in person. Whilst divine and inspiring on its most average day, the manse brings new awe to the darkly-humoured and sartorially gothic flutterbys whom tend to use the manor less as an amusement park ride and more as an interior design sketchbook. September through January, the Mansion looks like the aftermath of a Tim Burton Army's coup Photo by Loren Javierd'etat. Using "The Nightmare Before Christmas" as its seasonal overlay, the neoclassical Victorian estate recounts the tale of pauvre Jack Skellington and his empirical quest to understand himself and his raison d'etre. 'Tis a Samhain switch that would make even Kafka proud: creepy crawlies, existential confusion, brooding philosophes and all. The chateau has been overtaken and rechristened Haunted Mansion Holiday here in Anna's House (Anaheim) and Haunted Mansion Holiday Nightmare at Tokyo Disneyland for my Japanese pals, Yoshiko, Akiko and Aii. Konnichiwa, guys!

Jack and Sally, Zero, the mayor of Hallowe'en Town and his loyal citizens, evil Oogie Boogie and his miniature minions Lock, Shock and Barrel and, of course, Sandy Claws have made the palace their own. Doom Buggies carry Nightmare devotees whom will not only spy favourite replications and vignettes from the holiday mainstay film, but whom will search over and over, enduring sadistically long and serpentine lines to get inside, for details and surprises hidden nicely in plain sight for the more obsessive fans. (Moi? I found a creepy Christmas cadeau laid out and tagged For: Jennifer!) Haven't had a chance to get inside, yet? No worries. Allow Moi to offer a wee Holiday Haunted Mansion slideshow!

Apropos to those devilish lines, there are plenty of visual stimuli outside the Neoclassical Italianate dwelling to keep one's creative centers electrified as you shuffle forward at an imperceptible speed: impaled Jack O'Lanterns on an ivy-laden hillside, scores of flickering candles, skull-festooned, black-ribboned Christmas wreaths and a plethora of tombstones, cemetery statuary and goofy epitaph puns. (Crave an archivist's details about the original architectural impetus for the manse: the 1803 Shipley-Lydecker House in Baltimore? Voila ... Disneyland Nomenclature.)

Should you be fortunate enough to live near Disneyland and even more fortunate to be an annual passholder, get thee to The Spookiest Place on Earth forthwith. Plan on long lines, especially at Space Mountain's Ghost Galaxy and The Haunted Mansion, buy some popcorn to kill time and take some pictures whilst you wait. I do! Pirates of the Caribbean is usually a pretty mellow wait and though it's not got a Hallowe'en rework, it's still pirates. You have to do pirates for Hallowe'en!

If you're not a passholder, expect a terrifying ticket price into the park. Of course, you can always put that admission toward said-pass and imbue yourself with the heady incense that is Disney all year long. They'll apply the ticket-price to your new pass and for just a minor monthly stipend, Disney will own your ass forev ... I mean, offer you endless entertainment for years to come, plus parking. (Fair warning: If you plan to have a pass for the long term, it is best to renew your pass every year, prior to the expiration date. You can upgrade easily, with a slightly higher, modified, monthly fee; but there are often renewal discounts. Also, you maintain your monthly debits, keeping cost management of the pass pretty regular, minus upgrade costs. If it expires, even by a day, you will be required to buy anew; that means a one-day ticket price/down payment of about $80.00.)

Photo by Loren JavierIf you do have a pass, besides the useful 10% to 20% dining and merchandise discounts you'll receive, depending on the pass, you'll get $18.00 off most nights to Mickey's Halloween Party, excepting Oct. 30th & 31st. What? You don't know of Mickey's Halloween Party?! It's a special, ticketed event ($54.00-$69.00) throughout the month of October. The park closes early to make way for a fab, private-ish party! You may dress up if you like (within guidelines) and experience a whole new Hallowe'en overlay throughout the place: a spooky, blue, ghostly Mark Twain and Pirate Ship Columbia drift atop the fog-laden Rivers of America; costumed Disney characters pose for pictures; safe and healthy trick-or-treating stations await your little ones; and Halloween Screams Fireworks explode over a multi-hued Sleeping Beauty's Castle! Dates are plentiful, but tickets sell out fast! Learn more here: Mickey's Halloween Party!

Fun fact? Did you know The Haunted Mansion opened on my birthday when I was just a wee, wailing babe? That might explain an existential thing or two!

Hurry back and don't forget to bring your, death certificate. There's always room for one more.

 

 

All slideshow Disneyland photos courtesy of fellow Disney dork, Loren Javier

 
Wednesday, 26 September 2012 15:32 Jennifer Devore
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When the moon glows full and the brisk wind howls strong,

The night for all spirits, faeries and fiends comes alive.

The party is set, the festivities draw near.


Witches, pirates, werewolves and beasts prepare themselves fierce,

For an o’ernight feast and fete, they’ve been awaiting all the year.

Spiced pumpkin lattes, caramel apples, black witchy shoes and stripey socks appear.


Cinnamon, nutmeg and spiders fill the creaks and corners

Of haunted houses and mansions, from Old Salem to the California shores.

Samhain, Hallowe’en, All Hallows’ Eve, Harvest Moon or Mischief Night.


Whatever you may call it, set your senses high.

For amidst the purple, the black, the red and the orange,

The goblins, ghouls, ghosties and gremlins are out and about and waiting for you!

 

Happy October, Everyone!

 
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