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November 1, 2015


So Matthew, how’d it go this year?

“Well, you know every Halloween is a good Halloween for me.  For 364 days of the year, I look kind of weird in all honesty.  You’re waiting in line somewhere somehow and a conversation strikes up and you find yourselves being asked ‘so what do you do?’ and you’d be amazed how quickly the conversation just shuts down when you say ‘witchfinding’.

And in July the enormous hat is tremendously heavy and sticky.  I really regret being contractually obligated to wear it every waking hour.  Then there’s Reginald Scot’s The Discoverie of Witchcraft that I’ve got to cart around everywhere.  Life got a lot easier after they brought out the octavo edition and I wasn’t stuck with the full folio.  But I’m really pushing for a Kindle edition.  If anyone knows anyone at Amazon?

But of course, the real issue is just not finding any witches any of the time.  You’d think that having “General” as part of your job title would boost self esteem, but compared to the daily humiliation of not being able actually do the thing that your job is meant to say you do – being a General doesn’t add up to a hill of beans.

But then there’s October 31st.   And suddenly little witches just come to your door.  Run up the drive of their own volition. These “limbs of Satan” as I like to call them ring on my doorbell and I can find them immediately. And then I shout “Witch!” at the top of my voice and my wife gives them sweets for some reason while I’m shouting and then they run off.  Now these days, I don’t get to do much with them after I’ve found them.  BUT I DO FIND THEM!  And that’s the main thing.  And I make a record in my special book of how many I’ve found.  The evening flies by.

Sometimes I wander into town to look for bigger witches.  These consorts of Beelzebub don’t seem to want sweets.  And sometimes when I shout “Witch” at them, they shout other things back.  Nowadays the bigger witches don’t seem to wear very much, and I think this brings out the puritan in everyone. There’s nothing like the spectacle of a drunken wench staggering half naked across the street carrying a shiny red pitchfork to give us all a heightened appreciation of wholesome seventeenth-century values.

And when I get back in after an evening’s shouting, I find the wife at home – still dressed as a witch.  And we have our “thing” where I shout “Witch!  I’ve found you!”

That’s “our song” now – “Baby – now that I’ve found you I won’t let you go!” by The Foundations.

It used to be “Fire” by The Crazy World of Arthur Brown – but we both agreed to change that.”


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