Whenever possible I seek out locations where magic still lingers, and ghost towns certainly qualify. Even among these latter, Dogtown, Massachusetts stands out as creepier than the average. Originally an offshoot community of Gloucester where the affluent settled, it degenerated into a community for the outcasts of society: criminals, social pariahs, the extremely poor, and those reputed to practice witchcraft. Lots of old women, it seems, both impoverished sailor’s widows falsely accused of being witches and some who actually laid claim to the title and used it to try to make a few dollars. Supposedly there were numerous packs of wild dogs running loose around Dogtown, which led to its name and probably gave rise to the legend that werewolves prowled the woods surrounding the settlement.
Abandoned today, visited by hikers and curiosity-seekers, Dogtown is slowly being reclaimed by nature. Trails are marked, sorta, but the area is still something of a maze. And, for some reason, a person or persons unknown has started leaving stuffed animals in the woods. It sounds very BLAIR WITCH, but why are they doing it? Is this the work of a kinder, gentler cult, meeting in the woods to sacrifice not real animals to the dark lords of the underworld but stuffed ones? Is it some sort of makeshift shrine to one of the area’s numerous suicides? Is it the work of a prankster, who went to a LOT of trouble for a joke?