Archive | June 2015

“Turtle Boy” Sculptor Dies in Razor Suicide


Sculptor Charles Y. Harvey, who conceived of the “Turtle Boy” statue on Worcester’s Common, cut his throat with one or more razors January 28, 1912, in a Bronx park. He was convinced that the Italians were out to get him, and haunted by voices that commanded his suicide. His New York Times obituary reported that “Harvey was bitterly despondent about his work and so sensitive to the slightest criticism that any expression of adverse opinion caused him genuine suffering. His friends and fellow craftsmen, however, were most favorably impressed with the finished work that stands in his studio. It is the life-size figure of a crouching boy, holding a tortoise.”

Illustration by Bret M. Herholz. Written by Mike Benedetti. From the June 2011 issue of Happiness Pony. [PDF]

Pony Report

I’m house-sitting in Princeton, at the pony farm. There is a large, new pony named Valerie. She is in the throes of a trial period in which the other horses decide whether or not she will be welcome to stay. Her manner is demure, increasing her chances for approval.


Story by PKP, photo by JSD. From the June 2011 issue of Happiness Pony. [PDF]

“The Ghost & Mr. Chicken”: A Singular Study in Horror

Why is “The Ghost & Mr. Chicken” the most terrifying movie ever made? Why have I seen it more than 1,000 times? It begins with a house.

It’s a haunted house, of course, creepy, surrounded by legend, on the dark side of the street. It reminds me of a house I lived in. You can hear the organ play inside.

They want Don Knotts to spend a night in the house and write about it in the newspaper. It’s what he expects—unforgettable and terrifying. He goes upstairs to look at the organ and it begins to play. He has a look on his face. He runs downstairs and sees the garden shears stuck in a painting of Mrs. Simmons and the painting starts to bleed and he runs into the office and Dick Sargent says, “Tell us, Luther, tell us.” “It’s just horrible.” And that’s the opening line.

This film stands out among comedy horror. Quite a few people will like it, I would think. Make sure you’re ready for it.

From the June 2011 issue of Happiness Pony. [PDF]


Zombies: Apocalypse & Rebirth

The undead have come under fire from the living for tempting social outcasts to fantasize of a world where extensive knowledge of zombies outweighs lack of charm or good looks. Zombies, though, are much more than that. With millions looking, not with dread, but with anticipation towards the apocalypse, we must ask ourselves what it is about civilization that makes us long for its demise. We long for release but lack the language to express ourselves. So we do what people have done for ages when they encounter something they can’t explain: invent a mythos in the form of stories. Just as death is the sister of life, so apocalypse has always been the sister of any civilization built on the assumption that humanity is in control of its destiny. Global overheating, peak oil, unpayable debt, collapse of the world market, Jesus, Mayans, viruses, and cosmic rays all threaten to render governments impotent and obsolete. The message of the zombie movement is that in this age of fear and uncertainty, we must not merely watch our world crumble around us, nor resist the inevitable change, but embrace it! Rejoice in the new era of freedom and independence. Lines will be drawn between the living and the dead, but life, as it always has, will see a new birth of the soul.

From the June 2011 issue of Happiness Pony. [PDF]

The Legend of Spider Gates


There comes a day in the life of every young man growing up in Worcester’s West Side that goes something like this: A friend’s older brother tells you about a cemetery in Leicester surrounded by multiple barriers, some visible, some not. Cross the barriers in a particular order and you’ll be transported to Hades. This sounds totally reasonable to most 11-year-old boys hopped-up on Mountain Dew, so immediately upon hearing this tale, you and your friends hop on your bicycles and ride to this secret location, trudging through the woods to find a quaint, mostly forgotten resting place. Nobody gets transported to the land of the damned, but one friend accidentally startles the group and everyone runs screaming. You and your friends regroup at Hot Dog Annie’s and gorge yourselves on cheap BBQ dogs, which help soften the blow of finding out your buddies are not as tough as you thought. On the way home, in a weak attempt to reclaim your recently emasculated pre-teen manhood, you all stop at the back side of neighboring Worcester Airport and light a field on fire.

The reality of Friends Cemetery in Leicester (Spider Gates to the locals) is more a sober study of early American religious intolerance than provincial urban legend. However creepy the place may seem to visit remains a simple byproduct of location. The cemetery is mostly surrounded by old farmland, so while the woods adjacent to the cemetery are rather old, the woods surrounding that dated growth are much younger. This is something your subconscious picks up on, but unless you’re good at dating live trees, may be passed over as a peculiar sensation that something is off. Rest assured, there’s no hanging tree, no murdered lovers stuffed in a cave, and no secret portal to the final resting place of Saddam Hussein and his vast dildo collection. These silly legends are recycled in every New England town with a creepy forest—except for the dildo collection, that’s only recycled in South Park movies. But this piece of early American history should be discovered and appreciated by all. If you haven’t been there, you should change that. And if you can, take a young person with you to help demystify something they’ve certainly heard of and probably don’t fully understand. The land is private, so an advance call to the Leicester Historical Society or Leicester pd may spare you some hassle. But taking the short trip and sharing this local treasure spares us all a city full of skittish pre-teens with BBQ-scented flatulence, burning down an airport, all while trying to justify the existence of a satanic summer home in the Leicester woods. For those of you upset to hear Leicester is not a gateway to the underworld, I got a guy who told me every Tuesday at 7 in Worcester, Cthulhu can be seen rising from his lair in the realm of 455 Main St. Which makes perfect sense considering neither Worcester nor Cthulhu can be pronounced by the uninitiated. You can’t possibly think that’s coincidental.

From the June 2011 issue of Happiness Pony. Written by PV. Drawing by Grace Duffy. [PDF]