October 11, 2012

Pirate Time: It's On

The Haunted Swansbrough Manor

For those of you who have been with me awhile, you know that every year we have the opportunity to help our neighbors build a couple pirate ships to haunt their Swansbrough Manor. It's great fun with visitors coming from near and far. There's lots of candy, costumes and families having a good ol' time.

Davy Jones' crew escapes.

This week I thought I'd do the annual re-post of my original article and show some pictures of what we get up to. Last year was my first time in the swamp, so if you have any interest in voodoo women hanging out in huts, you need to check out the website or browse the cool pictures on their Facebook page.

They Might Be Pirates

Treasure room within the Black Pearl
Every Halloween night at the house next door, I do more than read and write about pirates--I watch them sail again. My neighbors strut about in what I suspect is their real wardrobe of corsets and knee breeches, firing their cannons and locking captives in the brig. It is a whirlwind of celebration and spooky shivers.

I fell in love with pirates as a child. Perhaps it was a blend of Peter Pan and Robin Hood, but I always had a soft spot for those ne’er-do- wells. Sea fiction like Patrick O’Brian’s classics inspired me to create a story about a pirate turned hero, The Privateer, published in the spring of 2009 as an ebook and due out in print next February.

The Black Pearl juts out from the Manor.
 My first year in Georgia I noticed interesting habits about the folks living a stone’s throw from my new house. In late spring, they brought out queer duds: long skirts, overcoats, hats with feathers, and swords. My neighbor explained it was time for the Renaissance Festival. Ah, I said. From my back porch, I listened to strange sounds echo from their basement all summer long.

The roach-covered cake accompanies the jilted ghost bride of the manor.
That fall I watched amazed, as week by week a life-sized ship grew up in the driveway next door. Attached to the house, it had a long deck with masts, and yes, sails. A few peeks through the trees and I realized the ship was filled with skeletons and treasure chests. Good Lord, I thought. They might be pirates…

As October blew in so did a cemetery, not to mention, a pumpkin patch and a mausoleum. The pirate ship shined nightly with a soft yellow glow--just enough to see the cannons. I often wondered what kind of neighborhood I had moved into.

Last year's dreadlocks for my Voodoo gig.
It’s been two years since I mysteriously discovered the perfect home to settle down in. Now I find myself wondering if the house did not choose me. Or at least perhaps my neighbors (in some mystical voodoo way). They are enthusiastic and supportive of my piratical interests, and I am in awe of their swashbuckling lifestyle.

A sea-loving historical writer could not ask for better companions living next door. They mind their own buccaneering business, and only fire their cannons one night a year (at the hundreds of visitors who come to tour their shipyard).

Who needs a fence to look over? A pirate ship works just fine for me.

Happy Halloween Holidays!

No comments: