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In The Zone . .Emotional Chaos . ..Number 9. . .September 11


Emotional Chaos
Weekly Column by Brian Codagnone

October 15, 2006



After the Salem witch hysteria of the 1690s, a lot of other towns learned a valuable lesson in religious tolerance and the true meaning of justice. The nearby hamlet of Unstable, Massachusetts, however, saw it as an opportunity. Not being as prosperous or well situated as Salem Village, the people of Unstable were always scrambling for ways to make money and attract new settlers. Cheap land, free kine with every plot of land purchased (which would have been more successful if they said "livestock"), nothing worked. Maybe because Unstable was situated on both a swamp and an Indian burial ground made it unlucky, no one knew. Then one day, the Reverend Decrease Witherspoon was reading the stories of the goings on in Salem and had an idea: what if Unstable had it's own witch trials? They could turn a travesty into a tourist attraction! First, of course, they needed witches. That was the easy part, being accused of witchcraft in Colonial New England was as easy as falling off a log. In fact, one could be proven a witch by the inability to stay on a log. The obvious choice as the first to be accused was Whippet Goode, a curious and eccentric young woman. Still unmarried at the age of 14, and still possessing all her teeth at the age of 25, she had always attracted the suspicion and envy of her neighbors. The fact that she made her living as a door to door broom and black cat peddler sealed the deal. After a well publicized trial, she was asked to name names. Not of witches, just names. She eventually named Thaddeus Stark, a greengrocer, Anesthesia Hutchinson, a housewife, Lassie Bidwell, a midwife, Charity Hasp, a housemaid and Clapper Hoarfrost, a ne'er-do-well. She also named all of the judges, as they were in the room, but that testimony ended up on the cutting room floor. The accused were hanged in the public square. Despite the great injustice, the tactic worked and soon Unstable was a thriving town. To this day they say the ghost of Whippet Goode haunts the town, usually showing up at the local Dairy Queen.


Everyone knows about Johnny Appleseed, born John Chapman, near Leominster, Massachusetts. Little is known of the man called "Josie Turnipseed", except that he was born Josiah Turner in Chelsea, Massachusetts in 1821. Seeing the good work that Johnny Appleseed did in his travels across America, he changed his name to Josie Turnipseed and embarked on a journey to bring turnips to the nation. Even though no one actually likes turnips, he was successful enough to spawn a host of imitators, including Peter Pumpkinseed, Cedric Celerystalk, Rudy Rutabegacrowns and Arthur Artichokeheart, as well as Mortimer Manure, Comstock Compost and Waldo Weedbegone. Soon there were so many barefoot eccentrics migrating west that the shortage became noticeable in New England, leading to laws being passed.


Even though people have enjoyed the spectacular New England foliage since the days the Indians roamed the land, not many people realize that it was once illegal to do so in Stockbroth, Vermont. In 1924, Hamish Pillock Newelpost, mayor of Stockbroth, passed a law "prohibiting travel for the purpose of gawking at trees just because it's fall". Because foliage tours were very popular and added much to the town coffers, the citizens were baffled. "What's the big deal with trees?" Newelpost would ask if pressed on the issue, "You see one you've seen 'em all". When it was discovered that he was color-blind he was run out of town on a rail.


All New Englanders have enjoyed such regional favorites as brown bread, boiled dinner, fried clams, Indian pudding, blueberry muffins, etc. But a recently unearthed cookbook (Literally. It was found buried under the midden heap of what was once the farm of Constant Hornblower in Upwind, New Hampshire during a recent archeological dig) showed that early settlers enjoyed such delicacies as: roast cauliflower in huckleberry sauce, quahog pudding with nutmeg syrup, pinecone gravy, grape duff, suet candy and fishbone fritters. Culinary scholars have concluded that it comes as no surprise that the book was buried under a midden heap where it belonged.


New Englanders have long made their living from the bounty of the sea. Hutchinson Wheelwright, of Unctuous Cove, Maine was known far and wide as "The Fish Whisperer". It was said he could stick his head underwater and convince fish to surrender willingly to the nets of the local fisherman. He died tragically when, in a deep philosophical conversation with a haddock, he stayed underwater too long and drowned.




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©2003 Brian Codagnone
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2 Courthouse Lane, Chelmsford, MA, USA 01824


Surf Our Site

Home ... Misfits . Rafferty .. . S1019 .. . Star Crossed....
. .
Ginger & Shadow. ..Writer's Block.. ..Cool Links . ..More Cool Links .
Oddities ..Link To Us... Guest Comics . Online Store..
In The Zone. ..Number 9. . .September 11