One thing I have been able to take away from this eastern corner of our great land is a very solid sense of the macabre. Please don't ask me to pronounce that last word, it always comes out a little like "croissant." It's all inflection and the very specific meaning gets lost in the translation. It sounds silly coming out, so I tend not to say it. Instead I prefer to ask for one of those twisty French rolls that are so nice and flaky, or to suggest that a particular time or place was creepy, rather than, well you know.
But was my experience, tucked away on the edge of the woods. It seems like most of the streets and houses in this state sit with their backs to some vast and impenetrable forest. A forest that is simply waiting for someone to be foolish enough to wander out into them just long enough to look for that stray cat, or chase a firefly. I was immediately transported back to the first time I saw "The Blair Witch Project," and how easy it was to be sucked into the fear those kids felt as they went deeper and deeper into that tangle of branches and vines. In all the years that I wandered through the woods of Colorado, I never got the feeling that some child-eating witch was hovering just outside my view, waiting for a chance to draw me in to her trap. I was more concerned with the whereabouts of my brothers. They were a much more reliable threat. Tangible even.
I know now what drove Edgar Allan Poe to scribble furious, mad ramblings into the dead of night. Dead. Maybe that's it. There's just so much more past tense in this neck of the woods. Settlers, natives, women, children. All these spirits hanging around waiting for their chance to mess with anyone who would let them. It's downright, what's the word? Spooky.