• W. Stendahl

Mayor's Sunday Séance for 3/1/2022 - Haunted Houses Part 1

Do you remember your first Haunted House experience? Mayor Stendahl sure does!

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Mayor's Sunday Séance for 3/1/2022 - Haunted Houses Part 1

Good Evening Dearest Sundown Citizens and Guests!

Tonight I will discuss one my earliest Halloween memories. As a child, I was visiting a haunted house around the age of 4. It was night time on a crisp October day in Michigan. The leaves were at the perfect time of “in-between” – in between casting the deepest of orange, yellow, and red hues, dangling on the waves of breezes that summoned grey clouds and howling blackness, and their last days dancing upon those same wicked winds through the airs of energy and danger, dried and prickly from dying during the greatest of their days. The perfect time of fall when there are the most moving of pictures before your eyes while at the same time you step on the victims of lost and forgotten art movements.

I could hear the screams of both teenage girl attendees and of hidden monsters that lurked behind the ominous ticket booth. The old house was purposefully transformed each autumn to attract guest for 6 weekends in a row, then left to recover for the rest of the year from the terrors that filled its halls and rooms in such quick fashion. Houses are no different from humans, as we too resonate for decades after fast-acting violence enters our vacant spaces and a few brutal words vibrate within our empty ear canals for split seconds. I often wonder these days of why overt kindness does not linger within for as long. Remembering those who have reached out their hands in time of trouble and need is a forced action, an action that requires the memory bearer to push and clear the neural pathway between neurons of fondness like a salt truck in the middle of a Michigan winter. Yet on the other hand, to remember the times of violence, force, and brutality only requires an opening of the eyes or a brush with familiar color and space.

And the color and space of this haunted house was too much for my young mind and heart to take. Waiting in line with my older cousin and my father, I could read their faces as they glanced down at me to see if I would move forward with this ominous endeavor or turn and run. I went with the latter choice, though with finesse. Gazing upward, I just shook my head “No”, too outnumbered by the echoes of screams to even try to say the actual word. As my father turned back onto the road to head to the safety of home, I remember looking out the back window, feeling as though I had said “No” when it probably wasn’t going to be that bad. I felt as though I had given up on my passion and calling for the first time, which I indeed recall as my premiere denial of my being and identity. It would not be the last, despite my cousin whispering to me, “You will get it next time.” In fact, I know now that if I would have shook my head the opposite direction, it would have been the shining moment that would have not only started me on the road earlier to my infatuation with the glorious holiday, but would have also given me further confidence in who I truly was as a writer, a poet, an artist, a radio station manager dedicated to the macabre, and a real-life monster that would soon make the echoes of screams ring through dead air by my own actions. So, it seems I would eventually “get it”, right O’ all-knowing reader? “You will get it next time,” whispered Halloween in my ear.

Goodnight to all of you, no matter where you are!

Signed Sincerely,

W. Stendahl

Mayor of Sundown

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