Friday, 7 October 2011

Salem, and a book

So we're in Salem, MA right now. It's kind of a depressing town - entirely given over to new-age quacks simply because a few poor women were killed for having mild medical knowledge. And we were walking down a street when, passing a bookstore, Natalie looked the the side, lept backwards into Roland, and let out a shriek. Everyone whirled around on their heels.

HE was right there, in the bookstore window, inches from our faces, looking out over the display of books.

Just standing there.

Not moving.

And way too small.

It was a cardboard cut-out. At the bottom of a stand, was a big red title. "The Better Angels of Our Nature" and the compulsory post-colon "The True Story of a Cult of Death and Angels on Earth". A furious look on her face, Shannon shoved me aside and barged into the store. We followed suit.

Inside, we found a display case, almost empty, devoted entirely to this book. A large hardback, with a photograph on the cover, of a number of adults and children posing for a group photograph. They all have what looks like a small pillowcase in their hands, except for one woman, who stands at the centre of the group, with this cloth object pulled over her head as a mask, hiding her expression. Despite the obvious connection, it seemed more reminiscent of this:

(Magritte's The Lovers)

The cutout in the window, however, was pretty unquestionably him, however. I walked over to the bookshop's assistant and asked what this whole thing was about.

"That's a new book by a local author, a Marcus Stonehall. It's about this cult in the town he grew up in, a totally insane Christian sect. Supposedly they'd put on those masks and kill people, including his cousin. I got an advance copy a few months ago, couldn't put it down."

"And who's the tall guy?"

"He's what they thought angels looked like. They'd put on masks to become like them, and kill people in a meditative state of religious ecstacy."


So we bought a copy each and are reading them now. I'll keep you updated.

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