“I demand that counsel define the term ‘occult practices’.”
We’re going back to court for another witchcraft trial on Dark Shadows today, and once again, people have missed the entire point of the Salem story. The witch trials that took place in Massachusetts in the late 17th century happened in the actual real world, where I don’t know if you’ve noticed, but there’s no such thing as witches. Salem 1692 is a story about a justice system perverted by superstition and mob panic, where innocent people were jailed and executed based on the claims of a pack of hysterical middle schoolers.
But in modern Salem, they’ve discovered that it’s a lot more lucrative to pretend there were real witches in the late 17th, and build a tourist trade by promoting Halloween parades and haunted house tours. Yes, they have a Witch History Museum that tells the real story, but on the whole, it’s more fun to build events around spooky fictional witches instead of focusing on the thing that’s really scary, which is putting Christians in charge of a legal system.
So there are a whole bunch of TV shows and movies that depict real witches on the scene of the Salem witch trials — Charmed, Bewitched, Hocus Pocus, Sabrina the Teenage Witch, I Married a Witch, The Vampire Diaries, that WGN Salem series with sexy versions of John Alden and Mary Sibley. This is basically like making a TV show about the Holocaust in which the Jews kind of deserved it.
Continue reading Episode 1165: In the Haze of History
“No — you can’t be who you look like!”
And I’m here to remind you
Of the mess you left when you went away
It’s not fair to deny me
Of the cross I bear that you gave to me
You, you, you oughta know
Continue reading Episode 1065: You Oughta Know
“I’ll have to live all over what happened last year.”
“Cyrus Longworth is John Yaeger, and John Yaeger is Cyrus Longworth!”
The rest is silence.
Continue reading Episode 1007: Saving Dark Shadows
“You know, I rather look forward to going to the future as Barnabas Collins.”
Some say the world will end in fire,
Some say in ice.
From what I’ve tasted of desire
I hold with those who favor fire.
But if it had to perish twice,
I think I know enough of hate
To say that for destruction ice
Is also great
And would suffice.
Continue reading Episode 883: The Tate Murders
“But why should God be angry at Judith?”
Barnabas is staked, Quentin is swapped, Charity is possessed by a woman she hardly knows. As usual, the Collins family is full of supernatural ne’er-do-wells, who scream and scheme and stay up late, desperate to save each other from their latest fate worse than death.
Meanwhile, the grown-ups in the family go to work, and manage their investments, and take care of the property. They pay servants. They sign documents. They make decisions.
Some of those decisions are terrible, of course, especially in their choice of spouses, who tend to be monsters and murderers and reincarnations of people, but at least the grown-ups don’t dabble in the dark arts. Judith wouldn’t know a dark art if it came up and bit her, which, come to think of it, it actually did.
Continue reading Episode 863: Sin and Sincerity
“If I only knew how you died, maybe I would know how to banish you!”
Order in the court! The honorable Johnny Romana — King of the Gypsies! — presiding.
In today’s episode, the accused, Magda Rakosi, stands before a jury of her peers, charged with the theft of the Legendary Hand of Count Petofi, and the murder of Julianka, a miniscule gypsy witch who came to fetch the Hand back.
Magda actually did steal the Hand, but she was only indirectly responsible for Julianka’s death, so I’d call this a draw. As a tiebreaker, I’d like to point out that Magda is a major character played by Grayson Hall, one of the all-time most interesting actors to look at, so there’s no way she’s going to be executed by a crew of day players and walk-ons.
Still, having a gypsy trial in the secret room of the mausoleum sounds like a blast, so I’ll allow it. Proceed.
Continue reading Episode 826: Hungarian Crime Story
“I don’t believe any further explanation is necessary!”
Oh, great! More of this.
It’s been three weeks since we last saw time-traveling governess Victoria Winters, currently languishing in prison. Those were three good weeks. People seemed to laugh more, then. There were concerts in the park…
And now: Vicki and Peter. Pretty much nonstop for the next five episodes.
Continue reading Episode 452: The Great Escape
“Miss Winters, it was Abigail Collins who first recognized you as being a witch, wasn’t it?”
“Gentlemen, gentlemen,” says our learned colleague in the red robe, “we have had quite enough bickering between the two of you.”
You see? It’s not just me. Today’s episode has been on for less two minutes, and already everyone seems weary and put-upon. This witchcraft trial storyline is going to kill us all.
Continue reading Episode 433: Law of the Jungle
“I should like to give the defendant one last opportunity to denounce her master, and relinquish voluntarily the powers which link her to the Prince of Darkness.”
Hear ye, hear ye! The Collinsport Imaginary Witchcraft Court is now in session, Judge Hanley and his two unnamed and non-speaking associates presiding.
Yes, it’s finally time for the trial of Victoria Winters, girl governess, who’s been in prison for the last five weeks, charged with wearing funny clothes, knowing people’s names, owning a book, and running out of the house when a guy outside was yelling something about fire. That’s a pretty chilling rap sheet.
But this is the United States of America, or however much of it there was in 1795, and an accused person has the right to a speedy trial before a jury of her peers.
Unfortunately, Vicki comes from the 1960s, which means that her peers won’t even be born for another 150 years. That would hardly be a speedy trial, so let’s just chuck her in a courtroom and hope for the best.
Continue reading Episode 427: Disorder in the Court