From the Editors: Will Everything Be Fine With So Many Axes to Grind?
There comes a time each year when election season and spooky season collide, and on occasion it can be hard to say which is more stomach-turning, the politics or the poltergeists. Walk or drive through your surrounding neighborhoods — whether built on a former graveyard or not — and you'd be hard-pressed not to notice the sudden shifts in temperature from bone-chilling cold to skin-crisping hot regarding certain candidates, agendas, and issues. Repeating "Beetlejuice" or "Bloody Mary" three times may not have any effect on your neighbor, but mentioning a disfavored political party or its platform might just as soon summon a demon.
Everyone's got an axe to grind it seems, and it can be difficult to tell who's for real and who's wearing someone else's face — and we must axe ourselves do we haft to go through this again? For some, the contentious 2020 presidential election left a stench of something not fully decomposed, of lingering animosity, distrust, and fear. Although a return to the polls might seem as appealing to some of you as venturing into an unlit catacomb, Erie Reader contributing editors Jim Wertz and Ben Speggen shine a torch on why you should take those steps in these upcoming municipal general elections, as local leadership can either resurrect or butcher a community's fortunes. Of course, we have strong opinions on whose words ring true and whose words ring hollow.
Speaking of hearsay and hollows, there has been much speculation over the decades about one of Erie County's most infamously spinetingling of sites, Axe Murder Hollow — and what actually happened there. Erin Phillips dissects fact and fiction in this issue's cover story, the accompanying illustration provided by (who else but) Monster Mark Kosobucki. Not to make a eugenics experiment out of this foreword (check Jonathan Burdick's foray into the gruesome and unsettling history of human selective breeding), but after years in cold storage, another Eerie Horror Fest is being spliced together this year, and all of us are morbidly anxious for a successful return from the dead.
Also showing out among the living again in 2021 is the Jefferson Educational Society's Global Summit, bringing together so many good brains in Erie you'd think they were catering a zombie wedding. The distinguished guests and panelists at this (lucky) 13th edition will certainly have much to comment on as our world continues to be haunted by armed conflict, social injustice, climate change, food insecurity, and disease (with COVID-19 and opioid addiction being a particularly perilous two-headed monster both locally and globally, as our Dan Schank details).
For now, we have little choice but to keep gutting it out. But we must hope that breaking our self-destructive curse is not just the stuff of legend.