Darkening Doors: Macabre Pittsfield Walking Tours

The October offerings in the Berkshires have gained a formidable addition with Macabre Pittsfield Walking Tours, created and lead by writer and historian (and friend of the blog) Joe Durwin.

Because I couldn’t write it better myself, here’s the Durwinian description of the experience: “Embark on a journey through a downtown Pittsfield far removed from what we know today. A place of desecrated graves and skeletons in church basements, of rumsellers shacks, opium dens, and murders most foul…”

Indeed, the tour in its October 18 form (no two tours are the same) began on the Pittsfield Common, which was once a cemetery with a serious grave-robbing problem, and crept its way through the heart of the city.

Stops along the route included the site of the former courthouse, alleys that once led to houses of ill-repute, and the spot where the old rail-station delivered some of Pittsfield’s most colorful visitors — all brought back to life through impeccably researched stories of both fact and folklore. For one, medical students were apparently ruthless in the 1800s, particularly when it came to cadavers.

An added bonus of the tour is multiple stops also showcase the Berkshire Lightscapes project, which aims to illuminate downtown buildings and spaces in downtown Pittsfield through animated LED light systems. It’s a nice touch, especially when the topic turns to UFO sightings and alien encounters.

Word on the street is some kid-friendly tours are in the works for next season… though I’m also personally hopeful that these tours will continue in the warmer months. There’s nothing quite like scaring groups of tourists by the dozen.

Photo Hunt: Find the Horror Scene

(c) jcs 2021

“Your mum and I were hiding in a house. A wee cottage. There was an old couple that owned it. And they were there, too. Three other people. And we were, uh… just trying to stay alive, I suppose. We were doing okay for a while. And then we were attacked. They came in through the kitchen window. They were really fast, you know? Chased us. Chased your mum. And we were trapped. Trapped in the bedroom. I… I seen them… biting. I couldn’t do anything. I tried to go back. She was already gone. She was already gone.” ~ 28 Weeks Later, 2007

(c) jcs 2021

“My asshole brother bought her back in September ’57. That’s when you got your new model year, in September. Brand-new, she was. She had the smell of a brand-new car. That’s just about the finest smell in the world.” ~ Christine, 1983

(c) jcs 2021

“In October of 1994, three student filmmakers disappeared in the woods near Burkittsville, Maryland while shooting a documentary. A year later their footage was found.” ~ The Blair Witch Project, 1999

October Food Trends: Baby, I Can See Your Food Glow

Following in the damp footsteps of 2021’s first weird food trend of blood-bag cocktails comes that of glow-in-the-dark food — an oddity that’s been picking up steam since this summer.

Unsurprisingly, the trend comes in tandem with glow parties, but since most of these fetes have been of the at-home, small-crowd variety in recent years the food and drinks have moved to center stage, as opposed to things like glow raves, luminescent treasure hunts, and neon body-painting.

The good news about glowing food is that it need not contain frankengredients to achieve the desired effect. Adding tonic water to gelatin creates glowing frosting for cupcakes, cookies, and other treats when paired with a black light, for instance (it’s the quinine). The same goes for open-faced sliders slathered with a little mustard or a glow-in-the-dark salad with eggs (which cast a yellow glow under black light), lettuce (red), and olive oil (orange). So-called Kryptonite Candy is a little more complicated, but follows the same premise, and could serve as the piece de resistance at any kick-back.

Foods that glow without UV light are harder to find, but do exist; Indian food manufacturer Rexofa has developed lollipops and ice cream that glows when licked, thanks to bioluminescence technology.

And for the time-pressed, there are countless glow-on-the-go options: dozens of brands have jumped on the glow-wagon through their packaging, including Hershey’s, Pringles, Dogfish Head, and Yoplait — I spotted “GloGurt” at Stop & Shop earlier this month.

Share your glowed-up goodies in the comments!

The 2021 Cringe-binge Line-up

I’m so, so pleased to see that other people are starting their October viewing early this year, and that the networks are providing what we need.

Every year, the horror, harvest, and hazy-evening programming seems to edge back a little more into September, thus lengthening the Blogtoberfest season by a few more degrees. To keep everyone abreast, I’ve compiled an early guide to the best binges television currently has to threaten.

Let’s ghoul.

Freeform’s 31 Nights of Halloween Highlights include Hocus Pocus, Decorating Disney: Halloween Magic, The Craft, and more.

Shudder’s 61 Days of Halloween Highlights include the premiere of V/H/S/94, the fourth installment in the franchise; Invasion of the Body Snatchers, Carrie, and more.

Turner Classic Movies (TCM) October Horror Highlights include The Bad Seed, Whatever Happened to Baby Jane, Freaks, and more black-and-white psychological terror.

AMC Fearfest Highlights include the month-long ability to watch the Halloween, Scream, and Final Destination franchises in their entirety, and a Stephen King marathon on October 9.

Netflix and Chills Highlights include the premier of a new installment to The Texas Chainsaw Massacre, Jaws 1-4, newly released There’s Someone Inside Your House, and more.

Huluween Highlights include the Into the Dark holiday-themed horror anthology, new Nic Cage romp Willy’s Wonderland, and horror-shorts Bite-sized Halloween.

SyFy’s 31 Days of Halloween Highlights include a new 10-episode run of Day of the Dead, inspired by George A. Romero; a Slumber Party Massacre remake, and a new Chucky tv show.