The trivia question for this week is: In 1962 Bobby Boris Picket had a hit song called “Monster Mash.” Someone who became a very famous performer and producer as well as part of the 1970 Mad Dogs and Englishmen tour, among many other accomplishments, was also on the song. Who was that?
Boston, Massachusetts, one of the oldest cities in the United States, was founded on the Shawmut Peninsula in 1630 by Puritan settlers from England. Just north of Boston along the jagged coastline and unpredictable currents of the Atlantic Ocean, hidden some place between the old Boston lighthouse and your imagination, is a place called Rambling Harbor. It’s late October in Rambling Harbor as blue skies and mild temperatures disappear quickly into cold gray and harsh winds begin to wail, fashioning a perfect atmosphere for the coming of the witch.
Fall colors are gone, and bare branches dance around under the moonlight, casting shadows. Long contorted in pain, they stretch out across the bogs and open fields. They taunt you, daring you to come close. Come in, if you have the nerve. You can hear the whisper of some diabolical laughter coming from their tortured trunks. No longer hidden by deceiving coats of colors, the boughs are twisted arms, grasping out to wrap themselves around you and bring you down to their shadowy world forever. The harbor almost always has a wind blowing, favorable for both sailors and one’s imagination. What was that sound? Was it just the wind, or the cry of some lost spirit?
So many things in old New England remain unknown, hidden behind centuries-old houses that hide—secrets? The jagged unforgiving coastline and unpredictable storms that roam the North Atlantic have sent many ships to rest forever at the bottom of the sea. Do they rest? Perhaps that was not the wind.
One particular story says that in 1851, a lighthouse located just off Minot’s Ledge in a particularly turbulent part of New England waters was destroyed by a storm, killing two lighthouse-keeper’s assistants who were trapped inside. The lighthouse became automated in 1977, and now no one goes there except the Coast Guard, on occasion, for general checks of the lights. But boaters and fishermen have reported spotting two men who appear to be hanging over the side of the lighthouse, clinging to it for their lives.
Not too far from the entrance to Rambling Harbor, there is Hangman Island. According to legend, many a pirate felt the rope of the executioner and was left there to dangle in the wind as a warning to others to avoid the same fate.
Nathaniel Hawthorne’s novel The House of the Seven Gables, it is agreed, was written because of ancestral guilt. Hawthorne’s great-grandfather was one of the main perpetrators of the Salem Witch Trials, and the house and property where Nathaniel grew up are said to be cursed.
There are so many mysteries in the air, in the sea, and on the ground. Rambling Harbor, a small piece of land located somewhere off the coast of New England in the Atlantic Ocean, is inhabited by the real, the unreal, and the unanswered.
In the podcast on the shores of Rambling Harbor will be the answer to the trivia question, some rock and roll news and history, and who knows what else. I hope you’ll join me there.