Dozing polar bear, Indianapolis Zoo

Monday, August 20, 2007

Deregulation, Salem style

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?


Kristy said...

Salem is my home town! Oh. You meant that Massassachuessettssasts one (can't spell that to save my life). Still, I've got the proper Salem spirit too, although I've only ever been to Oregon's Salem. Scrying, by the way, is the art of peering into crystal balls (or other such surfaces)and seeing visions there. Yes, I own a crystal ball. Comes in handy as a Halloween prop since I don't scry myself.

Trailhead said...

Oh, go scry yourself. Hee.

No, you don't seriously own a crystal ball. Do you? There's obviously a reason I like you so much.

kris said...

I have a friend who's into Halloween the way you describe. Her house in October is something to behold. And we've dressed up for some darn fun parties too. Never been to Salem tho (either of them).

Trailhead said...

Halloween is awesome. I don't think I'll ever grow out of it. I'll be the weird old lady who turns her home into a haunted house every year, I swear.

Wasteland fan said...

Oddly, though I lived for three years a mere stone's throw away from Salem, I never visited. Wasteland Spouse had a class at Salem State, but I don't think ever visited for the Halloweenie type fun. I'll ask just to be sure.

I miss the costume party. I still giggle sometimes about Mr. T's Dick Cheney -- or should I say "penis chain-y" -- costume from time to time. I also still own my undecided voter costume from October 2000. Little did I realize at the time how prescient that costume was!

Trailhead said...

Ahh, I remember the undecided voter costume. That was a good one. I love how you carried a "lock box" around with you!