In the spirit of All Hallow’s Eve, the city of Boston lit up seemingly of its own accord. It began sometime in early October; pumpkins suddenly appearing along sidewalks and in soups, while costume stores (fancy dress shops for all you Brits) set up shop amongst abandoned corner vacancies.
While it wasn’t exactly on par with the ghost tours of Edinburgh (the partaking of which includes torture chambers, and culminates with being locked inside one of the very real, and very well used dungeons running through the bowels of the city); one of the stranger things I did to commemorate this special day included the “Dark side of Boston Historical Walking tour.”
While there were significant doubts about the validity of any accrued seediness when compared to its European predecessors, the experience certainly highlighted the more ..dodgy elements of Bostonian antiquity.
And by antiquity, I do mean the progression of mysterious (and some not so mysterious) epidemiological onsets. On that note, have you ever turned blue and subsequently exploded? Thousands of people succumbed to this mystery ‘flu’ in the late 19th century.. what are the odds of it coming back during a hurricane?
Sporadically intersecting the freedom trail in sharp lines in the historic North End, I felt deja vu to my first visit during the Spring of 2010. My friend and I had limited time in the city; in total two nights and three days. Naturally it rained for three days straight. And yet, we somehow conquered the freedom trail.
This was a bit different – historical all the same – yet themed to get us thinking about the night call that only happens when going somewhere with a brooding history of violent deaths. Cobblestones circled narrow alleyways, while the raised perimeter of an embossed graveyard bolded the tour route and made it even creepier.
From witch hunts to smallpox outbreaks ..and a freak molasses tsunami(?), the North End doesn’t even register as being part of the New World it so originated from. Despite the modern overtures and grand Italian influx, it somehow manages to feel downright colonial. The (supposed) first witch trial West of the Atlantic took place right there on location, with the namesake bar of said “witch” Goody Glover, conveniently just down the cobbled pathway, (honorably) commemorating her execution.
Amid talk of puss, murders, grave robbing institutions of higher learning as a result of such murders (cough Harvard), and disenfranchised Italian scapegoats (whom I erroneously linked to the Alien and Sedition Acts during the tour), it ended at the site of the original Ponzi scheme – of all summons in the land of Halloween!
How do ya like them pumpkins? Eh, I’ll take Edinburgh any day.☼