Tuesday, May 25, 2010

The 'She's there!' Witch Project.

Welcome, welcome.

I'm glad to see the usual suspects hanging around... and a few new faces! Suzie and John C., you two get drinks and snacks all night long.

I'll put it on Fester's tab.

In fact, let me get myself a glass... there.

So... how many of you have read Stephen King's IT? Not just seen the movie, but really read the book?

Oh, we're not about to discuss IT or King's other works all night long (though we certainly could!).

No, I was just recently reminded of a very cool, spooky part of that book -- the way Pennywise the Clown (when it's evil, you spell it with big uppercase C) kept showing up over the years at horrific events in Derry, and especially in those pictures Mike Hanlon's dad had collected in that dusty old photo album.

What reminded me?

Vintage Hallowe'en postcards.

I know, there's nothing as inherently evil and outright screw-you-up-for-life scary in vintage Hallowe'en postcards as Pennywise certainly is. I was just reminded of it (and IT).

Let me get them from the shelf... okay, see this postcard here?

By the way, that's NOT a one-eyed owl. He's just turned sideways. Creeped me out too.  

This witch, name unknown, keeps popping up in other postcards. The same black hat with red ribbon lacing, the combination black dress and red capelet (the colors alternate but they're ever present), the cat familiar, and so on.

I think, like Mikey Hanlon, I've figured out a bit of her history, or at least a kind of chronology of her witchy, witchy life, in these remarkable cards.

This seems to be the oldest image -- at any rate it's the earliest picture I can find. She seems like a happy child, actually. Having an enormous pumpkin and a very cute little black kitty would give any young witch that smile.

It does look, though, as if Kitty's life is starting out a little painfully.

Now, we have to jump forward a bit in her age, because I couldn't find any postcards of her at any intervening age; besides, no one knows how old witches really are anyway. 
Her hair is quite white but she's beginning to experiment and create her spells, so it must be earlier in her life than later. She's traded the long ribbon ends of the young witch's hat for a more grown up bow atop the cone.
Also, you'll notice her kitty, now a full-grown Familiar, likes candles. Apparently he used to have a girlfriend kitty... yet she doesn't show up in later images, just this one, and I think this may explain Black Kitty's progressively odd look and behaviour as time goes on.

Okay, a few years later (at most). She's old enough now to need spectacles, and this is causing her no end of age anxiety. To compensate, she returns to the youthful long ribbons on her hat, and adds ribbons to her shoes.
Black Kitty has been drowning his lamentation for Lost Grey Kitty in steroids and aggressive body building -- that he's carrying the broom shows his 'roid rage/need for control, and his eyes are just whacked. Even the Moon is like 'Dude, what is your deal?'
This image is the first I've found displaying her friendship with the feared Vegetable Man of the Forbidden Forest, known to the natives only as 'Sasquash'.
Regardless of what ritual dance or simple lark this image shows, they all seem happy.

Some years later still, and she's lost the long ribbons on her hat and shoes, and is no longer wearing her specs. Perhaps she only needs them for reading now.
Also, we see another Sasquash has become part of her circle. If this has caused any hard feelings for the first Veggie Man it does not show; they both seem pleased as punch here. 
Also, Black Kitty appears to have calmed down and stopped working out as much (though he apparently still pays inordinate attention to his glutes).

Now apparently living in Salem, Massachusetts, our nameless witch has cruelly ended whatever happiness her Veggie friends had enjoyed by turning one of them into her personal conveyance.
She appears stern-faced and bitter, and not ready for any more nonsense. The ribbons are back, but now seem merely like a desperate attempt to appear normal -- it only adds to the absurdity, like a tux on a monkey.
Or maybe her look is only because she's sitting on fresh watermelon and it's seeping into her skirt.
It is not clear if the driver is the first or second Sasquash, but the nervous 'what me worry?' look on his face tells us all we need to know about how things are now.
Black Kitty has returned to normal kitty-like shape, but his eyes are damaged, possibly permanently, by his emotional ennui.

A slightly damaged print, but it's clear that her days of Veggie love are long over.
The spectacles are back (though this might be just for safe flight), and there's a softer smile on her face, and whatever events ended her relationship with Sasquash, she's over it now.
Black Kitty is quite back to old Familiar status, but an injury to his spine seems to have caused an unnatural arcing.
The damage to the print around his face precludes any speculation about his mood here.

I was given this picture from the granddaughter of the youngest girl shown.
At first glance, it appears to be another view of the same midnight ride from the previous image, but the lunar cycle is not the same, though it's possible that the steeple below is the same church in both images.
From this distance, Black Kitty's feelings cannot be ascertained, though his spinal injury is just as apparent.

Another image from the same girl... though who 'took' this picture she could not recall. My guess is an adventurous brother.
It seems our witch has landed, and is checking in on the girls (and a friend?) as they bob for apples.

The Moon seems pleased enough that nothing terrible is happening.
Black Kitty, bad spine, so it goes.

A peaceful moment. Here, she's thinking about fixing a run in her support hose. Black Kitty seems to have gotten over his back injury, but only for a moment, because in the very next image from the same night:
... it is tragically clear that Black Kitty's finally lost it.
His broken back and wonky eyes are proof of his utter madness.
Also, it is not at all clear if our witch is happy or sad about it. Either way, she's completely absorbed, and seems totally oblivious to the spirit of her old Sasquash friend being chased by the freaking Devil in the smoke from her cauldron.

This is the last known (so far) image of our nameless witch.
It would seem that Black Kitty has either left the picture or aged dramatically -- a white kitty, with the same broken back and wonky eyes, has taken his place on the straws of her broom.
She seems happy at this point in her life, but I wonder if it's the smile of the lunatic -- does she know that she rides a broom bearing the head of the Easter Bunny?
Does she even care?

We may never have the answers.

Well, I told you.

It's a weird thing to see all these images of the same witch and think that they're not somehow related, the merits of my speculations notwithstanding.

I mean, it's not like there are more images of her flying about --

What? There are? You have?

Show me!




  1. Such a long, adventurous life. Too bad black kitty didn't make it to the end . . .

    I love vintage Halloween postcards. The perfect combination of innocence and creepiness.

  2. Me too! I wish I had more in my collection, but like most vintage Hallowe'en, it is hard to find, and often quite dodgy when you do (the endless struggle between repros and water damage and so on)... but they are a treasure, for sure.
    And at this moment I'm wondering if Black Kitty actually left the scene -- it is quite possible that White Kitty is just Black Kitty having gone so stark-raving mad that all his hair turned white... so much to research, so few clues...

  3. I believe the cat pronounced his name "eye-gore.