I'm the cobwebbed stairs, the ancient bones
I'm the shadow rippling cobblestones,
I'm the stagnant swamp, the black lagoon
I'm the branches scratching at the moon
I'm the funeral service, the unknown mourner
I'm the demon cowering in the corner
I'm the sexton's spade, the new thrown clay
I'm what's left when they walk away
I'm the ebony coffin, satin lining
Pale thin lips in the back room dying
Pale thin lips in the back room dying
I'm the walking dead, the fly by night
I'm the last of the fading light
In the unbarred door, the open encasement
I'm the stairs leading down to the basement
The four post bed, the let down hair
I'm the cross that you forgot to wear
I'm the highest voltage, the shining slab
The crack of midnight in the doctor's lab
I'm the night before, the morning after
Echoing of the baron's laughter
Echoing of the baron's laughter
I'm Jonathan Harker, I'm Lucy's trance
Elegant count's hypnotic glance
I'm the wooden mallet, the sharpened stake
I'm the precautions you forgot to take
I'm the mummy's curse, the passing bell
I'm the fortune they wouldn't tell
I'm pyromania, Transylvania
I'm out of breath, I'm worse than death
I'm the late night air, exhilarating
I'm with you in the darkness, waiting
In August of 1913, Adler Westfield’s Traveling Circus of Oddities and Abnormalities embarked on their first tour of the well-heeled carnival circuit of the American West and Deep South, bringing with it a variety of unusual performers including Petula the Bearded Lady, Balthazar the Strong Man, trapeze daredevils The Flying Zambonis, Shayna the Snake Charmer, Lupe the Wolf Boy, Pip and Topper (the pinhead twins), and Sygmund the Sword Swallower.
As the troupe toured east from California and through the desert Southwest, rumors of bootlegging, theft and prostitution became rampant. And the further they traveled, the more heinous the stories became. Whispers and rumors even began to tell of ritual occultism and witchcraft, and an unfortunate notoriety began to envelope the small band of performers. Townsfolk all along the carnival route began to refer to Adler Westfield’s by its new and more sinister moniker: The Devil’s Circus.
Unofficial records show that Adler Westfield’s made it all the way to the small, secluded town of Highbury, Mississippi (“Ol’ Haw-barry” as the locals called it) sometime in late October of 1913. It was on the early morning of October 29 that local children happened upon the abandoned caravan on an old, desolate road on the outskirts of town. Each of the trailers had been maliciously ransacked, some even appeared to have been burned. Peculiar markings were found in some of the trailers, including that of Adler Westfield himself (witnesses claimed that the markings appeared to be “ritual pagan” and “of the unholy”). There were signs of struggle throughout the caravan and some reported seeing spatters of what was thought to be blood. But not a person was found.
Authorities were baffled, and again the rumors quickly began to swirl. Had some of the townsfolk had enough of The Devil’s Circus and decided to take righteous law into their own hands, or was there something more evil involved? Had the black arts practitioners conjured something beyond their control? Had punishment been handed down from the underworld with a swift descent into the very bowels of Hell itself?
Speculation continued at a fevered pace, but the case went cold in the winter of 1914 after no new leads turned up. No sign of any of the circus performers ever emerged and the incident was simply registered as a “disappearance.” In 1916, the case was closed due to “lack of evidence.” Some say that the town’s authorities never wanted to find them anyway.
Months turned into years and the horrifying case of Adler Westfield’s Traveling Circus of Oddities and Abnormalities was forever resigned to local legend...
That is, until October of 2013. On the cold, dark autumn night of October 29, reports came in of “strange, muted lights” and “warbling sounds” that had been emanating near an old, desolate road on the outskirts of town. A few of the witnesses swear that they had heard “carnival music,” but the notes were somehow off. Distorted and low. Menacing. Almost evil. At daybreak, investigators noticed peculiar markings that had been scratched into the old, worn dirt of the road...
Soon, the dark legend of Adler Westfield’s was cautiously revived in hushed tones among the townsfolk. Could it be? One hundred years to the day, had this evil returned to “Ol’ Haw-barry”? A curse straight from the mouth of Hell itself? And what was to become of the people of the town if the rumors were true??
The character of Adler Westfield came about after a conversation I had with a fellow haunter and his idea of doing a carnival-themed yard haunt for 2014. The photos above are from the first makeup test I did, along with most of the final costume. I still have one important prop to finish fabricating and will have more photos when it is completed. This is the character that I will be bringing to the Midwest Haunters Convention's Saturday Night Masquerade Party. Look for me, come say hello and let's get down!!
So I decided to play a fast one yesterday for April Fools and it looks like I caught a few of my fellow bloggers off guard. Ha-HAA!! To let everyone know, we are NOT calling it quits, and no, you CAN NOT buy my props. Things at Highbury Cemetery are moving along at their normal pace (behind schedule!) with a lot of new pieces in production for Halloween, 2014. I ran my first makeup test for this year's MHC Masquerade Party and will be revealing the results very soon. Just have to finish up the back story and build one more costume prop and it will be ready to get down. And only two short months until the Midwest Haunters Convention! Ready to come party with us?? Stop back soon, as I have quite a few new posts to roll out in the coming weeks. And thanks again everyone for playing along with my April Fools joke. I don't always play a joke on April Fools - just kidding, I do!!
It truly pains me to have to make this decision, but after many months of thinking this over, I have decided to close the doors to Highbury Cemetery. This isn't a decision I take lightly, but I do feel that is it the right time to do it. Let me explain... We've been doing this yard haunt for 10 long years, and as they say, all good things must end. We had a great run, but the time is right to put this to bed. I would rather go out on top than to drag this along, making things miserable for all who were involved.
Over the past year, many of the important people who made this yard haunt work have moved on to other interests and could no longer give the time and attention needed to keep the show at a level that I thought was worthy for the trick-or-treaters of our neighborhood and to everyone who visited this blog. Alone, I can't possibly continue to produce new props, set everything up on Halloween and then somehow run the entire show. The excitement seems to have subsided and I always said that if I wasn't having fun doing this, I would call it a day. I just never knew that day would actually arrive so soon. I want to thank everyone who stopped by and commented on our posts. I hope that we have at the very least inspired others to create something amazing in their own haunts. I had so much fun creating every single prop that I made for the yard (which makes it very difficult), but have decided that I don't want to keep anything lying around the house taking up valuable space. Therefore, I am going to part with everything. If I'm not going to use it, I would rather have someone else utilize it in their haunt. Please visit the link below for a preliminary list of things that I am putting up for sale. Everything will be priced reasonably, as I would like to get rid of everything quickly and be done with this. At some point, I may return to the home haunt world, but I think some time away will probably do me some good in the mean time. Please click here to see the list of my cemetery props that are currently for sale. Thank you to everyone who helped make this yard haunt what it was. Without you, I could have never given the neighborhood kids the show that they got for 10 years.
And thank you to all of the neighborhood children who bestowed upon us the name of "The Halloween House." You are the reason we did what we did. And finally, thank you again to all of the blog followers and friends who stopped by. I am very lucky to have made friends with, and exchanged ideas with, you all. I hope to cross paths with you all again somewhere down the line. Good night and April Fools... --Highbury
A cold, weathered hand pierces the rust-laden earth of a late autumn night. Reanimated decay becomes the evening's guide. Masked faces bask in the fiery glow of a jack-o-lantern's illumination. A lifeless finger points the direction toward the next porch-lit house. For this is the night of ghouls and goblins and tricks and treats. This is the night of Hallowe'en...