Debra M. Dudek
Summer is the Surprising Season of the Witch
I sent out my first handout for an upcoming presentation of 'Discovering Witches: The Real Records and Manuscripts Seen in Movies, Books, and TV Shows' for the Omaha Public Library on June 22. I had anticipated this program would be picked up in the fall, mostly around September or October, so I was really pleased Omaha Public wanted my lecture to coincide with the Summer Solstice. I had not expected my lecture would be used to celebrate the longest day of the year and to kick off the official first day of summer.
While the shadows and darkness of autumn is a popular time for witch-related topics, there is a growing movement to celebrate the pagan roots of our film and movie witches throughout the summer. Stonehenge hosts a huge Summer Solstice gathering which attracts thousands of attendees each year. On a normal visit, you would be regulated to a gravel walking path near the site, unless you pay for a private small group tour. However, every Summer and Winter Solstice the site hosts a hybrid religious festival and open-field party where you can observe religious rituals and watch the sunrise unimpeded. I forked over the cash for the small group tour in May 2022 and it was amazing. I am adding the Stonehenge Summer Solstice event to my bucket list.
The Spring Solstice in late April marks the halfway point to Halloween, so this is a busy season for haunted house enthusiasts, prop makers, costume enthusiasts, and supernatural groups to organize their plans for the fall. Trade shows are common, as they are a good place to sell discontinued or retired Halloween gear.
This is also a great time to pick up special sales of Halloween digital decorations on AtmosFX. You don't need a projector to use digital decorations. I purchased a bunch of their items to create my own cultivated playlist and had it running on my television when I had guests over. AtmosFX has a digital decoration for everyone - family friendly, atmospheric, to gory. The Hall of Haunts, Halloween Windows, and Jack-O'-Lantern Jamboree were my favorites from last year. Yes, they have a witch, I just haven't found a way to display her properly yet.
The Midwest Haunters Convention is scheduled for June 10-11 in Rosemont, and offers
exhibitors, seminars, and displays of new merchandise and equipment. I have made a point to attend this year, as I am looking for guidance for decorating my very small outdoor deck space. I have also contemplated hosting booth at the Haunters Convention, however, the price is pretty steep. I may need to write a book first. Something else to add to my 'to do list'.
If your society or organization is looking for in-depth genealogy program, take a look at my new lecture 'Maleficarum and Misfortune- Records and Resources for Tracing Accused Witches'. This lecture focuses researching ancestors in the UK and Ireland and provides some fantastic resources you may not have explored before. You can book this session anytime of the year, without the need for a solstice!
Wishing you a lovely early May Day!