The Cranky Yankee takes on "Real Life."
Oh, my faithful readers (all two of you).
You may be wondering what had become of the Ye Ole Cranky Yankee these past months. Ummm, I could go into a lot of things, but I won’t.
Let’s just say “real life” got in the way, and leave it at that.
Unfortunately, I can’t say that I’m coming back right now. More “real Life” needs to be attended to and it looks like I won’t be returning for another couple of months. Sorry, that’s the way it goes.
But I’m not giving up!! Oh, contraire…I will return! I might even revamp the blog! Who knows what will happen!? Try checking back in Spring 2013. You may be surprised.
In the meantime, I want to give a shout out to my homegirl, Chris Kullstroem. This lady is going places and doing things…and you need to follow her! Check out her most awesome website, Monsters and Books. Her latest project is teaching a New London, CT Adult Education class this winter: “Ghosts in Film: Belief through the Ages,” and it is now open for registration! Not only is her classes chock-full of info, but they are highly entertaining as well. Sign up now!
Also coming up is the annual Hygienic Art XXXIV extravaganza, Jan. 26 in New London, CT. This is a mid-winter, city-wide art and performance show that is not to be missed. And Willimantic will be doing up Valentine’s Day right with the their annual Chocolate Festival on Feb. 9.
And finally, check out some of my personal favorite locales in Connecticut such as The Windham Textile and History Museum, the Connecticut Gravestone Network, Mystic Seaport, the Connecticut Historical Society, or my new fave spot, the New London Custom House. Most likely, you will run into me at an event at one of these great places. And of course, you always see me skulking around in some Eastern Connecticut cemetery or burial ground…even in the dead of winter. Heh.
So until spring has sprung…have a great New Year!
Some of you (all two of my readers) may be wondering “What’s with the Cranky Yankee? She’s unusually quiet this Halloween season.”
It’s not from nothing. I’ve been especially busy this October, going out and doing fun things for a change, instead of working on stuff for other people.
Since the beginning of the month, I’ve played the Wicked Witch for the 8th year at the Witch’s Dungeon, toured local farms (Creamery Brook Bison Farm, Ekonk Turkey Hill Farm, Edmondson’s Farm), got lost in a corn maze (at Ekonk), attended autumn gatherings (the DownTown Country Fair at the Willimantic Food Co-op), leaf-peeped at the gorgeous Connecticut foliage, walked through a haunted trail (darkwalk.net), attended a ren faire (the Connecticut Renaissance Faire…and came in second place for best Halloween costume!), took a tour of Lovecraft’s Providence, creeped around a couple of cool burying grounds, and spent lots of time in my kitchen…carving pumpkins, roasting seeds, baking pies, and generally preparing for Halloween night.
Then Hurricane Sandy happened.
Joey and I were one of the lucky ones. We live in an area that got little impact from the storm, aside from wind and rain. We didn’t even lose power. But many of our friends, acquaintances, and fellow New Englanders were not so lucky. Here in Connecticut, the shoreline was especially hit badly with flooding and fires. Pictures from New York City and New Jersey made us cringe. We spent the day calling around to all our friends who live out that way…so far everyone is accounted for and safe, but our hearts go out to all who were caught up in the storm. This is not how anyone wants to spend Halloween.
In some spiritual traditions, Halloween (sometimes known as Samhain, All Souls Day, or Día de los Muertos in Mexico) is the time for honoring the ancestors, remembering those who died in the past year, and for reflection. This year my thoughts, meditations, and best wishes will go to those dealing with the worse of the aftermath.
As for Halloween itself, looks like the rain will sub-side for Wednesday night and Trick or Treating for the kids will be a go! Good…they need a night of fun and games after dealing with all this. Let the kids enjoy themselves. In our town, Willimantic will be having their annual Downtown Trick or Treat activities (starts at 4:30pm), and I will be there handing out candy to the kids…look for the Grim Reaper at the Windham Textile & History Museum table.
Happy Halloween and Blessed Samhain.
Those of you who follow me here know I don’t post on a regular basis (although I know I should). But I always welcome guest writers, and I am proud to present one today…
Please welcome the awesome Chris Kullstroem!
Halloween Ghouls at Ghoulie Manor!
By Chris Kullstroem
In the town of Taunton, MA lives the true terror of Halloween. A new haunted attraction has arrived at the Silver City Galleria Mall, where no rain, wind or storm can keep its creatures contained. Built for only bravest in New England, visitors don’t know the nightmares of a real haunted house until they enter the gates of Ghoulie Manor.
The dark adventure begins by stepping back to the early 19th century. Inside the Manor, visitors must face the remains of those who once lived there… some of whom have never left. They must hold onto their skin in the Sewing Room, keep their eye on summoned forces of evil in the Satanic Room, and look death in the face in the Greenhouse of the Dead. These skin sewers, demons and others may stalk, follow and chase those trying to survive. If there is any consolation in the belief that nothing will touch them, this false sense of security is of little need. The psychological damage done to those trying to escape will scar visitors quite enough.
It’s little wonder the creators of Ghoulie Manor were followed by The Chiller Channel television crew throughout the past year, and based its new hit show The American Scream on the Manor’s conception and design. Ghoulie Manor is run by professional haunt designers and actors from around New England. The result is a movie-quality show of terror that has never before been achieved.
Visitors who do survive The Manor often rush to buy a t-shirt if only as a survival trophy. They wear them with pride to prove to their friends they did in fact make it out of this nationally-acclaimed dark adventure. Survivors will also never let another Halloween go by without crawling back to Ghoulie Manor year after year – forever entranced by New England’s best new haunted attraction.
Ghoulie Manor is located across from Regal Cinemas at Silver City Galleria Mall, just 30 minutes from Providence. For online tickets and a terrifying commercial on the Manor, go to www.ghouliemanor.com.
Photo by Pam Tole
Photo by Pam Tole
Photo by Pam Tole
Photo by Pam Tole
Chris Kullstroem is the author of Making a Monstrous Halloween. She has written on haunted attractions throughout the United States, Europe and Australia and is proud to share the story of the new face of horror with Ghoulie Manor. Her website can be found at www.monstersandbooks.com.
For all you horror fans out there, boy have I got some news!
It has been 12 years since the last NecronomiCon, a convention dedicated to the life and works of H.P. Lovecraft. Let me amend that…12 years since the last one in Lovecraft’s hometown of Providence, RI. (There have been lots of Lovecraft gatherings across the country, just not here.)
Well, the Elder Gods must have noticed and finally did something about it. So next year, 2013, it will happen.
Mark it on your calendar, or carve it on your forehead, but start planning now! It will take place at the lovely Providence Biltmore, a wonderfully gothic hotel built during Lovecraft’s time.
Visit Necronomicon-Providence for more details. Special thanks to Neils Hobbs and his associates for putting this together.
Look for yours truly and hubby The joey Zone, to be part of the fun.
“Ph’nglui mglw’nafh Cthulhu R’lyeh wgah’nagl fhtagn.”
Thanks to Amos Quito for passing this along…
Last summer, Joey and I had traveled to Cape Cod for our summer vacation. While there, we visited the Edward Gorey House and met a lovely tubby tabby named Ombledroom. He was the resident kitty at the house…appropriate because Gorey was quite the cat lover (and rare example of the male species of the Crazy Cat Lady-type).
We are sadden to hear of Ombledroom’s passing…
Gorey museum’s beloved feline mourned
Cape Cod Times, July 26, 2012
According to The Cape Cod Times, he will be buried under the magnolia tree (probably next to the Gashlycrumb Tinies).
Bye, bye Ombledroom. Such a sweet kitty…
The Edward Gorey House, Yarmouth, MA
Joey and friend show off
The Gashlycrumb Tinies lie here
“The Ombledroom is vast and white, and therefore visible by night.”
Cranky pets the kitty!
Bye, bye Ombledroom
While in Providence, RI this past Saturday, we came upon this interesting gravestone in North Burial Ground.
Silvanus Hopkins, d. 1753
Silvanus Hopkins (1734-1753) was the son of Stephen Hopkins, Governor of Rhode Island and signer of the Declaration of Independence. Despite his youth (18 years old!), he was a sea captain, which I’m told was not that unusual in those days. This lovely John Stevens carved stone tells how he was shipwrecked upon Cape Breton and “inhumanly murdered by cruel savages.” As oppose to what? Nicely murdered? Ahem, I digress…
This particular event was such a big deal that someone wrote a poem about it. According to John Howland when he submitted the poem for publication, it was believed to be written by Gov. Stephen Hopkins himself. It’s a long poem, and I’ll spare you the whole thing, but reprint a few stanzas here, so you may get the feel of how Gov. Hopkins was profoundly moved by the death of his son.
I mourn a son, a hopeful youth,
(In depth of grief I sing)
Cut off; and slain by cruel hands
In prime of nature’s spring.*
At least Silvanus fared a little better (he has a gravestone) than his brother. George, also a sea captain, “sailed from Providence and was never heard from again.”**
Here’s to stories on stones…
*Greene, Albert G., ed. The Literary Journal and Weekly Register of Science and the Arts. Providence: Joseph Knowles and Co., 1833-34.
**Davenport, Charles Benedict and Mary Theresa Scudder. Naval Officers: Their Heredity and Development. Washington DC: Carnegie Institution of Washington, 1919.
Following the footsteps of the Old Gentleman of Providence.
Photo courtesy of The H. P. Lovecraft Archives.
Ok gang, I have a lot of catching up to do, so let’s get cracking…
An On-going Saga…
Suit objects to burial in Jewish cemetery in Colchester
Norwich Bulletin – May 08, 2012
Judge in Colchester cemetery lawsuit: Work it out
Norwich Bulletin – May 10, 2012
Agreement reached in Colchester Jewish cemetery case
Norwich Bulletin – May 16, 2012
Other Legal Stories…
Family sues Boston church after grandmother’s remains desecrated
NewsCore – May 15, 2012
Suit over grave secret ends
Fox 25 News – May 14, 2012
Along with More Vandalism…
Metal faucet parts stolen from Lawrence cemeteries
Boston Herald – April 4, 2012
Gravestones damaged at North End cemetery
South Coast Today.com – April 17, 2012
Vandals toppled more headstones at St. Lawrence Cemetery in West Haven.
NBCConnecticut – Apr 23, 2012
Police: Vandals strike 300-year-old NH cemetery
Boston Globe – April 25, 2012
Charges dropped in cemetery vandalism
WPRI.com – May 1, 2012
Vandals Destroy Stones at Historic Burial Ground
NBCConnecticut.com – May 2, 2012
Vt. police looking for cemetery gate thieves
Boston Globe – June 7, 2012
Holbrook cemetery gravestones toppled
Boston Globe – June 7, 2012
But a Happy Ending For This One…
Connecticut town police solve mystery of baby’s headstone
Norwich Bulletin – Jun 01, 2012
History and Cemeteries Go Hand-in-Hand…
Libraries mount photo exhibit of paupers’ cemetery
Boston Globe – April 15, 2012
Touring Bristol’s Historic Downs Street Cemetery
Hartford Courant – April 23, 2012
The Dart: Caretakers of Stamford history
Stamford Advocate – May 7, 2012
Brighton Historical Society Teaches Public How to Preserve Gravestones
Brighton Patch.com – May 22, 2012
Commentary Series – Luskin: Old Cemeteries
VPR.net – May 22, 2012
And Some Miscellaneous Items…
Dead Speak On The Green
New Haven Independent – Apr 6, 2012
Lebanon buys burial space: Purchase relieves shortage of cemetery plots
Norwich Bulletin – May 13, 2012
Device found in Hartford cemetery not hazardous
WFSB.com – May 21, 2012
Vt families still search for remains lost to Irene
WCAX.com – May 24, 2012
Tree Damages Historic Cemetery
NBCConnecticut – Jun 8, 2012
And A Tip of Ye Olde Wooded Coffin to…
Mainer who cared for Herbie the tree dies at 103
Foster Daily Democrat – May 14, 2012
That’s it for this month!
See you on this side of the grass
Yes, I know I haven’t posted in over a month, but things have been busy. I have a lot to post, but right now, I want to let you know about this weekend’s event.
I’ll be greeting visitors at the Albert Morse House on Saturday afternoon and leading the cemetery tour on Sunday morning. Come out and see us!
Victorian Days in Willimantic, CT
Come Visit Us during the 14th Annual Victorian Home Tour Victorian Days in Willimantic! June 1st, 2nd & 3rd, 2012.
For more info, visit: www.victorianwillimantic.org
Tour through Willimantic’s Beautiful Victorian Gems and Gardens.
Guided Tours throughout the Weekend
Victorian Homes * Elks Lodge * Windham Mills * Windham Town Hall * Historic South Windham * Garden on the Bridge * Wright’s Garden * The Old Willimantic Cemetery * Local Churches (featuring their history and stained glass)
Thurs. May 31 – Lantern Tour of Historic Main Street (including Franklin Hall Vaudeville Theater)
Fri. June 1 – Classic Brass Band Concert (free)
Sat. & Sun. June 2 & 3 – CT Eastern Railroad Museum (Museum open and featuring Train Rides)
Sat. & Sun. June 2 & 3 – 11:30, 1:00 & 2:30 pm. Sandwiches, scones, pastries, and tea served in a Victorian home. Reserve early – sells out: 860-428-7573
Advance Tickets, information and brochures are available at Potpourri Quick Copy (700 Main Street, Willimantic) or by calling the Event Manager Lynn Duval at: 860-428-7573.
Event Days: Ticket sales are located at the Kramer School Exhibit Hall, 322 Prospect Street, Willimantic. The hall opens at 9 AM. Home Tours run from 11 AM until 4 PM. House Ticket includes Complementary Gardens & Tour Program
Included with Ticket:
- Tour Programs $3.00 (complementary with purchase of a home tour ticket)
- Entrance to the Exhibit Hall at Kramer School
- Architectural Talk & Slideshow
- Free Parking
- Brass Band Concert (at First Congregational Church)
- Garden on the Bridge Tour
- Museum Cafe – where you can purchase desserts & beverages
As you may have guessed from the lack of posts, I’ve been very busy. So let’s make up for it now with a bunch of news items from around New England.
Disturbing…a large amount of vandalism going on in various places…
Illegal dumping scars cemetery
Eagle Tribune, February 1, 2012
Cemetery vandalized in West Haven
WTNH News 8, February 28, 2012
Vandalism reported at Thompson cemetery
WFSB Ch. 3, Mar 09, 2012
Repeat vandalism at daughter’s grave distresses Griswold family
Norwich Bulletin, Mar 27, 2012
Headstones vandalized at Pawtucket cemetery
Boston Globe, April 3, 2012
But there are those that try to make things right…
Bristol Boy Scout, Cemetery Commission Restore Historic Cemetery
Hartford Courant, February 5, 2012
Cemetery vandal gets 18 months in jail
Berkshire Eagle, March 28, 2012
It’s all about the history…
Cemeteries important to B.V. National Park aspirations
Valley Breeze Newspapers, February 1, 2012
Cemetery Science: Gravestones Record Acid Rain Effect
LiveScience, February 27, 2012
Distressed Graveyard Honors Our Past, Epitomizes Our Present
Hartford Courant, March 5, 2012
On going issues for many cemeteries…
Brush clearing on town property in Palmer uncovers gravestone
MassLive.com, February 20, 2012
Cemetery space is tight but selectmen, trustees disagree on expansion
Seacoastonline.com, February 28, 2012
Huge Trees Cover Cemetery for Months
NBC Connecticut, March 28, 2012
West Bridgewater cemetery needs repairs
WickedLocal.com, Apr 2, 2012
Genealogy news and cemeteries…
Hope gravestone photos available on society website
Bangor Daily News, March 18, 2012
South Hadley Falls Cemetery looking to digitize centuries of records to improve chances with National Register of Historic Places
MassLive.com, April 02, 2012
And last but not least, a follow-up from a previous story…
Remember this news piece from last year?
Murder in the time Cholera (Philadelphia Weekly)
Here’s an update…
Five Irish immigrants killed in 1832 re-buried in Pa. cemetery
MSNBC.com, March 9, 2012
That’s it for this month!
See you on this side of the grass.