… is possibly the most eerie town in New England and quite possibly in all of the United States. I suppose it depends on whom you ask. Upon stepping foot within the city limits, you get sense of being watched and you begin to feel unsettled. That feeling doesn’t leave until you do.
Of course, most of us have heard of the Salem Witch Trials in 1692 and the consequences of those accused. But just to recap, eighteen men and women were convicted of witchcraft and sentenced to hang at Gallows Hill (aka “Witch Hill,” or “Witchcraft Hill”). One man (#19) was crushed under stones when he refused to go to trial. Hundreds of others were accused of witchcraft and dozens were kept in jail without a trial. To this day, Gallows Hill is difficult to find and quite desolate, often making those who are seeking its location wonder if they are truly in the right spot. Most of the activity, however, is near Salem Commons, a park that acts as a hub of, “all things witchy.” Just being there gives you the creeps.
A friend of mine was visiting and we decided to go on a Ghost Tour of Salem after we got soaking wet on the roughest and worst Whale Watching boat excursion. That’s what we get for getting on a boat when some of the worst weather hits the New England waters, usually in October. Have you seen, “A Perfect Storm?” It was close to that. Okay, it wasn’t that bad, but still. Yeah, we saw whales, but I was drenched, freezing my ass off and not too keen to continue the evening after watching people getting sea sick and puking in the nearest trashcan. I tried to be sympathetic, but I just couldn’t do it. It’s hard to express sympathy when your teeth are chattering. I’m selfish like that.
Anyway, back to the Salem Ghost Tour. I had my camera with me, just in case of, you know…orbs and shit. With my camera in one hand and a Dunkin’ Donuts coffee in the other, we began our tour at a small cemetery. I was still freezing and my inner thighs were chafed, thanks to soaking britches. Needless to say, I was cranky and I wasn’t really paying attention to the tour guide until he mentioned that there was an abandoned prison behind us. Supposedly, this was the same prison where the Boston Strangler was serving his sentence. I turned around, but didn’t see anything except for a ratty, run down building.
My friend suggested that I take a picture and later on, we could see if any orbs appeared. I steadied the camera, careful to get it into focus, but the camera wouldn’t work. At all.
Friend: Did you get a picture?
Me: Not exactly.
Friend: What do you mean, ‘not exactly?’
Me: The camera isn’t working.
Friend: Is it turned on?
Me: Yeah. I think the green light on the top of the camera sort of gives it away.
Friend: You’re such a smart ass. Here, let me see it.
I handed her the camera, but her dumb ass couldn’t get it to work either.
Me: Well, Einstein?
Friend (hands me the camera): Shut up.
We continue our walking tour, but I’m too involved with the damn camera. I mean, what good is a ghost tour if you can’t take pictures of absolute darkness in hopes that the flash will pick up an orb? Suddenly, I turn the camera towards me to make sure the lights are working and yes, they are. While still looking into the camera, I pressed the button and took a picture of my nasal passage. Not on purpose.
Me: It works now.
Me: Yes, I just took a picture of my nasal passage. Flash works too because I can’t see shit now.
Friend: Why would you take a picture of your nasal passage?
Me: I wanted to make sure you had something to remember me by, should anything happen to me. I figured my boogers would be a good place to start, smart ass.
Friend (ignoring my wit): Let’s ditch the tour and go back to the prison.
We head back over to the prison locale. I aim the camera and wouldn’t you know it? The damn thing would not work.
Me (muttering the non-abbreviated version): WTF?
Friend: I thought you said it was working?
Me: Don’t start with me. Here, I’ll prove to you that it was working.
I changed the setting on the digital camera to the slideshow and, yep, there’s the internal passage to my nose hairs.
Me: See, I told you it was working.
Friend: Try again.
I point the camera and…nope. Nothing. Zip. Zilch. Nada. I then remove the batteries and reinsert them. I turn the camera back on and press the button. I take a snap shot of my feet. Not on purpose.
Me (showing off the pic of the tips of my shoes): See, it works now.
Friend: Well, taking pictures of your body parts won’t help.
I ignored her and pointed the camera toward the prison, trying to snap a picture. It worked that time, but when we looked back at the picture , there was nothing there. Complete blackness.
At that point, I gave up and we went back to the car to leave.
Friend: Maybe it was a ghost messing with the camera. Maybe the Boston Strangler didn’t want his picture taken.
Me (turning the heat on full blast in the car): Yeah, maybe, but at least I have some pictures that will help identify my body should anything happen to me.
Friend: True. Maybe you should send me copies so I can hand them over to the police should you ever go missing. Should we swab for DNA too?
So, what do you think? Do you think it was the Boston Strangler or some other annoying ghost?
Better yet, it could be just two idiots who couldn’t figure out how to work the damn camera.
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