For someone who hates winter as much as I do, it may seem odd that all of my favorite holidays are clustered in the run-up to it. I'm a confirmed Halloween freak; as several of the readers of this blog are aware, Mr. T and I used to hold an annual Halloween costume party that seemed to become more elaborate every year before the tradition basically spluttered out when we moved to Oregon. My friends and family were all good sports about it and we had nearly 100% costume participation every year. So every year when the breeze gets a cool tinge, my thoughts turn lightly to jack-o-lanterns, skeletons and kettles full of dry ice.
And today I spotted the first Halloween-related news item. Apparently Salem, Massachusetts has eased its regulations on fortune tellers. Or, as the ordinance reads,
those locals who are engaged in "the telling of fortunes, forecasting of futures, or reading the past, by means of any occult, psychic power, faculty, force, clairvoyance, cartomancy, psychometry, phrenology, spirits, tea leaves, tarot cards, scrying, coins, sticks, dice, coffee grounds, crystal gazing or other such reading, or through mediumship, seership, prophecy, augury, astrology, palmistry, necromancy, mind-reading, telepathy or other craft, art, science, talisman, charm, potion, magnetism, magnetized article or substance, or by any such similar thing or act."
Since the dark arts have now been deregulated, concerns abound over letting just anyone practice them. I swear, if you can't get a quality phrenologist in Salem, then where, I ask you, is one to be found?
Cartomancy? Scrying? Anyone got a dictionary? Because I'm too lazy to click over and look those up.
Given my Halloween fixation, I've often wondered whether I ought to hoof it on up to Salem one year. But I hate tourist traps, and Salem on Halloween can't possibly be anything but a tourist trap. Has anyone been?