NPR's coverage of The Witching Hour's American Professional Quidditch Association Tournament for "It's Only a Game" will air on Ocotber 29. For more information about the broadcast, go here. And GO (muddy) TEAMS!
A few communities and mailing lists have sprung up in the wake of The Witching Hour, and we're pleased to pass on the information. Remember that these, like the others we've let you know about in the past, are unofficial and The Witching Hour is not responsible for the content within. Please check out the community or mailing list for rules.
Also, Kieran of McSwiggin's Irish Pub wishes all those who spent time there for music and camaraderie this weekend the best, and invites those with pictures of meetups and gatherings held there to send pictures to Kieran.ONeill@ibtco.com for a collage to be displayed in the pub.
Please click here for a complete listing of known unofficial communities. Thanks!
Sorry this took a few days, everyone! We had lots of last-minute things
to take care of, and lots of sleeping to catch up on. As usual, our photo gallery has been updated. And we want photos from you! Please send them to firstname.lastname@example.org.
A final report will be posted in a few days.
[Also: Our photo gallery will be available once this account's paid status expires here.]
Muggle fashions on display
Emeline Walker Oracle Correspondent
The evening began in a fury of feathers at Madam Evangeline’s
Muggle Fashion Show in The Boys and Girls Club Gym. Both the Green
Fairy and Madam Evangeline sported the black and lime green feather boa
over simple, yet elegant black dresses. The fasionistas put their
hearts and souls into finding the perfect Muggle outfit.
“It was hard work, tracking muggles all
day, stalking them by night. After much study on these Muggles, we were
able to compile these outfits,” Candy Cane Rose said. She was sporting
a fabulous pink tutu, suspenders and brightly coloured rainbow
There were a total of 19 participants
wearing a variety of apparel. The audience was simply captivated with
everyone’s personal style and creativity.
“It was indescribable.” Jessica Ahearn said.
There was the PTA mom, Amy
Tenbrink, wearing practically nothing except a black mini skirt and
tights, and the wizard who prepared for every holiday in a Hawaiian
shirt, sandals, toe socks and a ski cap. All the stars were out as the
stage was graced by Rita Skeeter in head-to-toe hot pink, Harry Potter
in his Quidditch robes, Tonks and her ever-changing hair and Luna
Lovegood with her radish earrings and her Griffyndor lion atop her
Narcissa Malfoy looked stunning in
midnight blue velvet robes, red bodice and pearls. She was joined by
her house elf, Twinkie draped in a fairly clean black trash bag, Draco,
who was sporting his Quidditch robes and her menacing husband, Lucius
dressed to the nines as usual. When asked what they thought about the
fashion show, they were quick to respond, “Toujours pur.”
Overall, the evening was a huge success.
There was fun fashion and the experience was an educational one for
“I loved it. They showed us just how to
dress like muggles. I never knew muggles could be so colorful,” Yolanda
Attendees get dolled up for ball
Rosalind McClure Oracle Correspondent
The Hallowe’en Ball, the last Special Event of The
Witching Hour, commenced Sunday night at 8 p.m. in the atrium of the
Peabody Essex Museum. Despite the many stunning Harry Potter-related
outfits that have been on display this weekend, the event was black-tie
only, due to a museum policy of no costumes.
The first part of the ball was sparsely populated,
because many of the dancers were at a pre-dance event. “A Thinning of
the Veil,” a panel discussion of the afterlife as portrayed in the
Potter series, was moderated by Annette Doblix Klemp and was made up of
Rose Earhart, Barabra Purdon, and Shannon White.
The panelists discussed how J.K. Rowling is
confronting issues of death and spirituality more directly in recent
books. From thestrals to ghosts to dementors to talking portraits – all
bring up dark and deadly issues.
Audience members were particularly interested in
what portion of a wizard’s personality or soul is trapped in a portrait
after he or she dies.
“It’s almost as though the headmasters don’t get to
rest in peace,” Purdom said in reference to their duty to serve
Hogwarts after death.
After the Ball, those who retired to the Sheraton
Ferncroft Resort for the late-night showing of Prisoner of Azkaban were
treated to a live-action recreation of a scene from Order of the
Phoenix. Several attendees, dressed with varying degrees of
elaborateness as the characters from the book, reenacted the climactic
battle at the Ministry of Magic to laughter and applause.
Duel breaks out at information desk
Genii Grimsley Oracle Correspondent
At about 5 p.m. Sunday, there was a commotion caused
at the Salem Waterfront Hotel as the Malfoys came storming in and drew wands upon Professor Tony Toledo,
Gryffindor’s head of house. The Malfoys claimed that the professor was
the cause of the commotion. An innocent bystander confirmed the story
stating that Professor Toledo, in a very Slytherin-esque move, tried to
free the Malfoy’s house elf, Twinkie, by handing her a book with a
Gryffindor handkerchief. Professor Tony Toledo mentioned, “… the house
elf was total unappreciative [of my efforts to free her], which just
shows how brainwashed she is. After all, a dog that’s beaten will still
come when her master calls for her.”
This, of course, upset Narcissa Malfoy
deeply and both Lucius and Draco Malfoy took offense, coming to her
rescue. The argument quickly turned into a wizarding duel when
wands were drawn by the entire Malfoy family. Somehow, during the
course of this duel, Tony Toledo’s wand was taken. In an interview,
Lucius admitted that he’d given the wand to Twinkie for safe keeping,
who had then entrusted the Professor’s wand to an undisclosed but
trusted family friend. In retaliation, Professor Toledo stole Lucius
Malfoy’s wand. Finally after an hour of the stand-off and great
dispute, Professor Toledo relinquished Lucius’ wand. Lucius was quoted
as having said, “Tony is a dirty rotten cheater that makes third world
The greatest issue remains as the
International Code for Wizarding Secrecy was broken when the Muggle
news filmed a portion of this confrontation. At a press conference
today at 6:30 pm, Minister of Magic Lacy Lovegood was quoted, “all
parties involved in the duel at the Muggle establishment, The Salem
Waterfront Hotel, will be severely fined. Currently, Obliviators have
their hands full as they scour to undo the damage done this evening.
“This is a sad day for the wizarding world. One hopes both parties can
learn to work together through their conflicts without resorting to
crude forms of resolution.”
So where is Professor Toledo’s wand? At this hour,
missing. The Malfoys did not comment the location of the wand, but have
been know to be open to bribery. Tony reported that he will “give 1,000
house points, four galleons, and a bushel of Cockroach Clusters with
double legs” as a reward for his nine and three quarters length ebony
and ivory handled wand.
Back again! Below are the fabulous results of Saturday's Quidditch tournament, plus lots and lots of photos from the games and more.
Mud and Blood: Quidditch Comes to Salem
Malissa Hendrix and Genii Grimsley Oracle Correspondents
arrived in Salem on Saturday morning with teams from the American Professional
Quidditch Association (APQA) taking the pitches and thus marking the first time
in recent memory that the sport has been allowed to be watched by Muggles.
Aside from the ceaseless rain, soggy ground, and muddy
pitches, Quidditch, the Wizarding World’s most popular sport, was a rousing
success. After the
first few matches, it became quite apparent that the rain would not dampen the
moods of fans nor would it keep the players from giving their all. Some
players were bloodied and bruised, others drenched in rain, sweat and mud.
While the constant rains quickly turned the pitches into slippery
marshes, the teams continued to strive for the glory of winning. Even film
actor Chris Rankin stopped by the pitches to watch the sport in action.
He was met with fans and excited APQA teams and then proceeded to watch
the matches that followed. The Effortless Edibles Fizzing Whizbees beat the Salem Ghost Tours Ghosts in the final game.
APQA games was the House tournament.Like their professional counterparts, the House teams, while soaked with
sweat, rain and muck, played the game they love no matter how bloody or muddy they became. In the final
match between Gryffindor and Hufflepuff, Gryffindor was victorious after
outscoring the opposition and capturing the Snitch, making the final score 140
to 20 and giving Gryffindor 400 house points. Head of House Professor
Tony Toledo said he thought Dumbledore would be proud of his team, saying the
headmaster would feel that they were “the best Gryffindor team [he’s] seen in
86 years.” “The first
game,” said Toledo, “was nip and tuck. Slytherin had out scored us but we caught
the snitch.I played in the first game
as Head of House because we were short a player. The Slytherins put a
Breath-o-rama curse on me [which] caused me to be short of breath.” Toledo said
he was proud of the way his team played and was most impressed with the star of
game two, a first year named Kendal, who, Toledo thinks, would have given first
year Harry Potter a “run for his money.” “There will
be years of discussion at the Leaky Cauldron over who was the better first year
player,” he said. Toledo also said his team meshed well and had
“lightening passes.” The
Hufflepuff team was quite proud of their performance as well. Team members
Cathy and Leia Weiss, and Draconis Leona all agreed that their team gave “as
good a game as we could give.” They agreed that the Gryffindors had
impressive sportsmanship, yet both Leia Weiss and Draconis Leona
informedTthe Oracle that Head of House Tony Toledo may have shouted out a
dreaded Wizarding World obscenity, one which this paper will not publish.
Tea participants get cards read
Genii Grimsley and Rosalind McClure
Hour's most popular special event, the Tea With Trelawney, took place Saturday
afternoon in the gardens of the historic House of Seven Gables. The
much-anticipated event, which has been sold out for more than a year, featured
Tarot readers Amy Davis, Cat Tosenberger, Kathryn Loup, Vivienne D'Avalon and
Mariella Bozzuto, as well as special guest artist Laura Freeman, whose Harry
Potter Tarot art (on the web at www.nasubionna.net) is very popular in the
fandom. Bozzuto, the lead organizer for the event, was very excited about the
turn out. “It's great
that it's been so popular!” she exclaimed. “Many of the participants have never
been to Salem before, and the witchy atmosphere is perfect for this sort of
thing.” Bozzuto set
the scene by asking the attendees to imagine they were students at Hogwarts,
traveling from the Great Hall up to Trelawney’s class room in the North Tower.
Participants sipped their tea while hearing about the differences between
Divination in the canon and "the real deal," as well as an in-depth
discussion of Trelawney's Tarot reading from Half-Blood Prince. In addition,
real-life Divination was explained. “Everyone has the ability to use Divination,”
she said, because it’s mainly based on intuition. The Divination experts
explained some of the tools of the trade, such as tarot cards, pendulums, and
runes. The readers
then moved among the tables for individual demonstrations of the experts’ arts.
Divinatory tools were laid out for participants to explore on their own,
including, rune stones, crystal balls, books on different augural methods, and
a scrying mirror (a dark mirror used for gazing or “scrying”). Inclement
weather only added to the magical mood, and like Trelawney's dark,
incense-suffused classroom, it seemed rather appropriate. One almost expected
Emma Thompson to materialize out of the fog with her huge glasses and trailing
scarves, saying, “Ah! It was as I foretold with the Inner Eye! Gloom and doom,
my friends!” Far from gloomy, participants seemed to be very much enjoying
themselves, and went away glad to have purchased an early ticket all those
Jenkins talks 'Potter Wars'
Beckie Campbell Oracle Correspondent
Massachusetts Institute of Technology professor Dr. Henry Jenkins continued the
keynote speaker series with his talk on Harry Potter and the convergence of
media in the gardens of the House of Seven Gables. Despite the
constant rain, participants to the sold out event crowded into a tent to listen
as Jenkins, director for the Comparative Media Studies Program, discussed in
overview the topic of his book Convergence Culture. His topic focused on the
"Potter Wars," both the conflict that fans face having to stand
behind a book others feel should be banned and the conflict fans have with
Warner Brothers studio. Through his
research Jenkins has been impressed with the way young fans have embraced Harry
Potter and developed valuable skills through their fervor to be a part of the
fandom community. Not only has he noticed that they develop writing skills in
greater depth than they would at school, they learn social skills and how to
fight for and protect something they believe in. The keynote
series will end with the Sunday Brunch. The topic is "Sirens, Furies and
Heroes: The Development of the Fantasy Woman" and will be held from 10
a.m. to 12 noon at the Salem Waterfront Ballroom. This event will be a panel
discussion with Dr. Eliza T. Dresang, Dr. Marleen S. Barr, Vicky Dann, Charles
de Lint, and Tamora Pierce.
Registration notice: As of Sunday, Oct. 9, at 2 p.m., all registration items will be for sale to all attendees and the public for $5. These items include:
-Fall Festival bags
-Black conference T-shirts
Welcome to the second edition of The Oracle, Salem edition! Our photo gallery has been updated
with lots of great photos. Also, if you would like to send us photos to
post, please sent them to email@example.com. Tell us who you are
and where/when you took the picture, and you might see it featured in
*************************** Voldemort can't stop the rock! Or can he?
Genii Grimsley Oracle Correspondent
rock!" said Leslie Farmer. Sarah Bierce commented that "they're
excellent!" Who are these people talking about? Why, the Harry and the
Potters concert on Friday night. This three-man band that rocked the Sheraton
Ferncroft's Grand Ballroom comes from Boston, MA,
and plays humorous songs about various themes from the Harry Potter books.
The band started roughly at and were absolutely fantastic. There
were lots of people dancing and having a great time while the Potters played
on. The crowd was completely enthusiastic and the energy was high during such
songs as "Save Ginny," and they even participated during
"S.P.E.W." and "Gryffindor." However,
not long after they played "Voldie Can't Stop the Rock," You-Know-Who
and his cohorts of Death Eaters appeared as if called by a summoning charm.
There was chaos as they appeared, carrying a struggling Harry Potter. Also in
the custody of two mysterious Death Eaters' grasp was film actor Chris Rankin.
An intense duel between Harry Potter and You-Know-Who underneath a banner of
the Dark Mark interrupted the show for a few minutes. As the band played on,
the crowd started chanting, "Harry!," and the boy wizard managed to
escape, but Chris was left to the tender mercy of You-Know-Who and the Death
thought that maybe Voldie would stop the rock. But we knew that with the power
of love and music that he would be stopped and explode due to the power of
love." said Joe DeGeorge, Harry Potter year four in the band. Though the
attackers didn't explode, it may be the overwhelming power of love in the room
that caused You-Know-Who and the Death Eaters to disappear so quickly.
almost wet myself," said Karley Adney when asked about her reaction to the
Death Eaters' appearance. "At
first I was afraid, but I knew that good would triumph," said Carolyn
Hartman. In an
interview later, Paul DeGeorge said that he and Joe decided to start their band
because it was a goofy band name and took off with the idea of playing a rock
show in a library, specifically the Boston Public Library. Within the first two
months of starting the band, they were able to play there. Ernie Kim, the
drummer, said "it was fun to work with the band especially since they have
fun and exciting energy while other bands concentrate on angry or frustrated
energy. This is enjoyable." The band mentioned that the response was
"Flattering, better than any response from the wizarding world. This has
been the most enthusiastic crowd we've every seen." The band
mentioned they were currently working on new songs and that they even played a
couple of new songs such as, "Horcruxes." "We've
been looking forward to this when we were contacted a year and a half
ago." When asked what messages they would like to tell the fans, they
said, "It's never too loud to read! Turn up the volume!" and
"All wizards read on 10 or 11 for Spinal Tap."
Dr. John Cech kicks off keynote series
Jessica Daggett Oracle Correspondent
rapt and responsive crowd in the Hawthorne Hotel’s Grand Ballroom, Dr. John
Cech, award-winning author and children’s literature professor at the
University of Florida, kicked off The Witching Hour’s keynote speaker series
Friday, praising the conference as “an Order of the Phoenix on the North
Shore.” “I’m more
than a little cowed to be in your presence,” Cech said, quickly endearing
himself to luncheon attendees as he expressed admiration for J.K. Rowling’s
novels and the fan culture that has sprung up around them. “You know much,
much, much more about Harry Potter than I do.” Cech, also a
children’s literature professor at the University of Florida and book reviewer
for the Journal of Children’s Literature, spoke about “The Hero’s Journey:
Folklore and Beyond,” sprinkling his literary analysis with generous servings
of humor and pop culture references. In addition
to discussing Harry’s development in the archetypal hero vein, such as that of
Hermes, Odysseus, and even Jesus, Cech emphasized the singular success of
Rowling’s novels as far more than financial wizardry and marketing genius. “You can’t
manufacture another Harry Potter,” he said, adding later that the books are
“firmly planted in our collective imaginations – you can’t get them out of your
From 'hippie days' to 'writing buddies': A writer's panel
Rosalind McClure Oracle Correspondent
well-known fantasy authors convened in the Sheraton Ballroom on Friday
afternoon to discuss their journey “from scribbles to autographs.” Holly Black,
Charles de Lint,Nancy Farmer, and
Patricia McKillip made up a panel moderated by Charles Brown. The panel
began with each participant giving a brief account of their rise to success.
Black told of her success through use of a “writing buddy” (kissing cousin to
the fannish “beta reader”) and shared her experience of reading several
now-published authors who got their start writing fanfiction. De Lint gave
his history of working in a record company, spending off-days writing and sketching
with an artist co-worker until being published in a fanzine gave him the
courage to “finally quit [his] day job.” After
enduring a few jokes from the other panelists about her “hippie days at
Berkeley,” Farmer told the story of a writer friend of hers named Antoinette.
Feeling the itch to write, Antoinette made time at small newspapers and
magazines before being swept into the glamorous would of tourism writing and
eventually penning her first fiction novel. McKillip read
a prepared speech on her 43-year writing history, from her reading journal at
age 14 to her present projects. When each
author had spoken on their histories, the moderator took questions from the
audience. Topics ranged from the authors’ personal inspirations to the eternal
character versus plot story-creation debate. Finally, one
audience member asked if the panel were optimistic or pessimistic about the
future of the publishing industry. “The future, I think, is bright, if the
human race survives,” answered Brown with a laugh. But
conferences like The Witching Hour give de Lint hope. “I always
love it when a Stephen King, or a J.K. Rowling comes along, because they’re
creating a whole new generation of readers,” he said. “I’m very optimistic.”
Housemates meet up in Rooms of Requirement
Melissa Metro Oracle Correspondent
heard of the rooms of requirement.You
stand at a certain place and you wish really hard for the room you need.So far, few outsiders have been able to sneak
past the wards keeping “others” from entering the Rooms for the Gryffindor
House Party and the Hufflepuff House Party. But on Friday, all it took for this
correspondent was a special Polyjuice Potion to sneak by. Most of those
attending the house parties had never met before, though several in Gryffindor
have chatted online.Those in said
houses have traveled as far as Hawaii and as close as Boston to be here for the
symposium.As such, they were all quite
excited to meet, and luckily the Rooms of Requirement provide
soundproofing. At the
Witches’ Brew Café, the Gryffindors of Professor Tony Toledo’s house spoke of
shopping, their “cool” shirts: “Muggle-born Squib,” how they got their scars,
and the community feeling. They also took a vote and decided Lupin was their
favorite with Luna coming in a close second. The
Hufflepuffs of Professor Vicky Dann’s house spent a lot of time discussing
Percy, Quidditch, and Tea with Trelawney.They unanimously decided
Cedric Diggory is Hogwart’s True Champion and the “Badger Boy Toy.” They met at
Brother’s Restaurant for lunch.
For those who have not heard about the Rooms of
Requirement, they are listed on page 76 in the program book. Professor Roxanne
Conrad’s Slytherin house will meet at Brother’s Restaurant on Saturday at 6 p.m.
Headmaster Bumblebee rescued in first quest challenge
At today word reached Witching Hour attendees
that the Headmaster Bumblebee, of Salem Academy of Witches and Wizards, was
kidnapped by You Know Who. Within minutes the hunt was on, as numerous witches
and wizards took off on the quest. After a nerve-racking hour and ten minutes
Headmaster Bumblebee was rescued by Gryfferins, Anne and Kendra. Anne and
Kendra mentioned that their search took them all over Salem
where they found the clues that the Headmaster left to assist in his rescue.
We're so very proud to bring you the first edition of The Oracle live
from Salem. Here we're posting stories and photo galleries from each
day's events and all the magical goings on. A photo gallery is available here. Much, much more is to come. Enjoy!
******************************* The Witching Hour rolls into Salem
Kayla Gagnet Oracle Assitant Editor
With smiles, waves and competitive shouts of
“Gryffindor!” and “Slytherin!”, The Witching Hour rolled into Salem on
Thursday in the Haunted Happenings Hallowe’en parade.
The parade kicked off the five-day academic
symposium set in The Witch City. People from all over the globe
trickled into town to register, learning which house they had been
sorted into and meeting up with fandom friends. In the trolley packed with The Witching Hour’s Heads of House
and other costumed characters, Gryffindor head Professor Tony Toledo
was by far the loudest. He sparred with attendees dressed as Slytherins
while shouting out trolley windows.
Just in front of The Witching Hour trolley were the
parade’s grand marshals – Erin Murphy, who played Tabitha in TV’s
“Bewitched,” and Chris Rankin, who has played Percy Weasley in the
first three Harry Potter films.
Children dressed as little princesses, demons,
wizards and more walked through the city’s historic downtown district.
Perhaps in a nod to the 1,000 Potter fans in town, the Salem High
School band played “Hedwig’s Theme” and “Something Wicked This Way
Conference attendees lined the parade route,
squealing in delight at Rankin and waving enthusiastically at The
Witching Hour dignitaries. Erin Fitzpatrick, 19, and Christin Wendt,
21, were some grinning Gryffindors in red and gold, who watched the
parade with interest.
“It’s a nice way to get a feel for this community,” Wendt said.
And were the excited to see Rankin?
“He pointed at us and was like ‘Gryffindors!’ It was awesome,” Fitzpatrick said.
'Percy' visits The Witch City
Kayla Gagnet Oracle Assistant Editor
One particularly Weasley spectator will be at Saturday’s Quidditch tournament – Harry Potter film actor Chris Rankin.
Rankin is a guest of Destination Salem, the local
tourism office. Everybody’s favorite prefect was invited to ride in
Thursday’s Hallowe’en parade, and was excited to schedule the trip to
coincide with The Witching Hour.
“First and foremost, I am a Harry Potter fan,”
Rankin said in an interview. “I’m as quite as involved with the fan
world as I can be.”
Rankin is a registered attendee, but he doubts he’ll
be able to attend much programming. In fact, he said he was
disappointed that he’s flying out Sunday evening just moments before
the 4 p.m. “Percy, Politics and Pride” theme panel at the Salem
Rankin will also participate in The Leaky Cauldron’s live Pottercast on Saturday.
And no, he doesn’t think he’s crazy for coming to a conference of 1,000 Potter fans.
“It’s been great. Obviously Harry Potter fans are
very emotional people. And mostly completely mad, and I’m one of them,
really,” Rankin said.
Choice versus destiny: Tom's and Harry's beginnings
Genii Grimsley Oracle Correspondent
Two orphans growing up in separate times. Both left
to live a life in the Muggle world, completely ignorant of the
wizarding world. Both left to discover their own magical talents in the
Muggle world. Although they both lived similar lives, they became
completely different individuals. The big question is why?
This topic was discussed in great detail on Thursday evening at the Sheraton Ferncroft, during the panel,
“Tom and Harry: From Similar Beginnings.” It addressed the age-old
question of what influences a person’s outcome in life more, nature or
This panel was moderated by Emily Ann
Gilliam. Deidre Delpino, Luann McCracken-Fletcher, Gwen Tarbox, Kristi
Brownfield, Kavita Mudan and Tobey Schwartz completed the panel.
Panelists gave insights into how Harry’s and Tom’s lives were
influenced by their pasts, their own decisions to ignore parts of
themselves and even how other decisions affected their own lives. The
topic of destiny was also raised, and though no answer was ultimately
given, attendees were left with greater perspective on the topic and
more to debate.
The buses, oh the buses
Were you growling at a big yellow bus last
night? Don’t worry, we were too. The staff of The Witching Hour
apologizes deeply for Thursday’s busing woes. Be assured, we’re doing
everything in our Muggle and magical power to address the situation.
Beginning today, the buses will be running as often as possible between
the Sheraton Ferncroft and the Salem Waterfront Hotel, picking up and
dropping off in only these locations. If you have questions or concerns
about busing, please talk with the nearest prefect (marked with green
badges) or go to the information desk at the Waterfront.
Tonught, we sent out our confirmations for those riding the Night Bus. We thought this would be a good time to remind everyone that traffic in the Boston area can be more horrifying than Voldemort at times, but we are still running the Night Bus. And, in case of delays, you're sure to have other Potter fans to wait with you.
The Witching Hour's Wicked Awesome Volunteer Team is seeking a few more helping hands for the conference. Could you spare a few hours to do something you'll mostly likely enjoy?
We are still in need of the following:
Programming Programming is seeking four volunteers to monitor rooms and introduce the speakers. Shifts are available for both presentations and author events, and this group will provide make-up training on Thursday, October 6, in the late afternoon for volunteers not arriving on Wednesday.
Registration and Information Desk/Prefects Want to be the first to welcome folks to the conference (and then, like Dobby, be free?) or chat with them about the programming at the Registration and Information Desks? Prefects are also needed to wander Salem, giving and taking points and providing helping hands with events. Make-up training for volunteers not arriving on Wednesday is available by arrangment. Five volunteers are needed.
Quidditch Support crew--referees and human Snitches!--are needed for the American Professional Quidditch Association tournament on Saturday, October 8. National Public Radio will cover the event for their program "Only a Game."
House players who want to immerse themselves in the game, (former) armchair coaches, and those willing to speak up when fair is foul and foul is fair have the necessary skills. Training is available on Saturday morning, so student registrants and weekend attendees are encouraged to join in. Eight volunteers are needed.
Your help is greatly appreciated. Interested? Please e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org.
Welcome to the final edition of The Oracle! We can't believe September is already upon us, and that in just a few short weeks - some of us are even counting in hours - The Witching Hour will be in full swing! It's been a lot of hard work for a lot of people, and we at The Oracle would like to thank everyone who has supported The Oracle and The Witching Hour until now, and we hope that you stick with us through October. We'll be bringing you daily updates on all aspects of the conference, for both those who are attending, and those who are unable.
Attendees are encouraged to head to either of the Information Desks (at the Salem Waterfront Hotel and the Salem Common) Friday, Saturday and Sunday mornings, to pick up their copy of The Oracle. We will be also be posting updates to the mailing list, Yahoo Group and Livejournal throughout the weekend, as well as photos and videos.
In the words of our Head Salem Elf, Twee: Yippee!
Record Numbers Registered!
The Witching Hour is incredibly pleased and excited to announce, at the close of registration, there are over 900 confirmed registrations! The Oracle has relayed this information to the Minister of Magic, Lacy Lovegood, who says she is sure there are at least seven people in that number who did not vote for her. She again respectfully requests your owl address so she may send you a Howler.
Registration for The Witching Hour is now officially closed, as are special event ticket sales. If you were unable to secure a registration, but still want to attend, registrations will be available at the door in limited number. If you want to make sure you get one, be at the Salem Waterfront Hotel, 225 Derby Street, Salem, at noon on Thursday, October 6.
We are still actively seeking volunteers of all descriptions to help run various events at The Witching Hour, including, but not limited to: Quidditch Referees, Prefects, Chasers and Registration Elves.
All attendees have been sent an email detailing job descriptions. If you are interested, please email email@example.com. Please note all volunteers must be registered attendees. If you plan to register onsite, please ask the Registration Staff, or at the Information Desk for volunteer opportunities.
All attendees have been sent an email regarding their food choices and registration packet pick up. Please respond as soon as possible, so that we are able to accommodate your needs.
If we do not receive your preferences, your meal choice for the Quidditch picnic will be first come, first served, and your registration packet pick up will be at the Salem Waterfront.
The Witching Hour will publish a compendium of presentations following the conference. If you'd like to receive an e-mail when the compendium is available, please write firstname.lastname@example.org and ask to be added to the notification list.
If you're a presenter, information on being included in the compendium will be e-mailed out over the next week, so keep an eye on your inbox!
Continuing Education Units
The programming team is thrilled to offer a continuing education program through Salem State College. Each hour of attendance at selected programming is equal to 0.1 hours of continuing education credit. Salem State College will issue a certificate of credit for $15. To receive an informational e-mail later this month, and to receive documentation materials in your registration packet, please e-mail email@example.com with your badge name and real name. She promises to never reveal that your real name isn't actually Araminta Runiafala Snapdraconis.
The Tournament is drawing closer, and the APQA players are working on their training schedules. We at The Oracle considered running a book to see if we could make money out of it - but then we realised we have no idea how to actually run a betting ring, let alone rig it so that we win. Instead, we've asked around, and below are the predictions of some of the TWH staff.
Madam Evangeline, Fashion Consultant says: Why, that lovely pink team, of course, darling.
Kirstee, Head Girl and editor, The Oracle says: Well, I think I have to say the team backed by the angry and bitter Quidditch playing ghosts has a clear chance - although their tactics tend to be rather transparent.
Gen, Decorations Co-Ordinator says: The Pixies, all the way. It's a little known fact that the most effective Quidditch strategies are based on the proper use of punctuation. Something about being able to understand all those little X's and O's on the diagrams.
Emeline, Prefect says: The Effortless Edibles Fizzing Whizbees will win because the bright pink uniforms are going to distract the other teams long enough for us to score a load of points!
Coach Keddle, Head Quidditch Coach says: I couldn't possibly compromise my position as an impartial leader by telling you that the Dragons are a certainty.
Laura, Prefect says: the Fighting Owls because I love getting mail. Even if the Fighting Owls tend to deliver it a little... mangled.
Hallie, Lead Event Co-Ordinator says: The Salem Silver Snakes. I hear their offense is VENOMOUS this year.
Twee, Head Salem Elf says:Twee is liking the Ravens, please. It is very easy to sort the Raven uniforms, because they are all called Murrill.
Renee, Assistant Chair Registration says: The Pixies. I'm sure they've properly documented their training schedules with the proper spreadsheets and databases.
Professor Ohm, Technomolgical Guru says: Quidditch? There's a Quidditch Tournament?
Emily, Lead Event Co-Ordinator says: It's bound to be the Punctuation Pixies. They have those kick-ass powder puff colors that will deceive the competition.
Where do I pick up my registration packet?
If you're staying at an official hotel, if you've told us which one, and if you're checking in on Thursday, then your hotel. Whew! Talk about complicated! For all other registrants, your packet will be available at the Salem Waterfront.
Can I still book the Night Bus?
Unfortunately, no. Unlike those wizarding buses in other countries, our seems to require that you wave your wand a month in advance for it to pick you up. (We’ve contacted the American Ministry about this absurdity, but they seem to be dodging our owls.)
Can I still buy special event tickets?
There will be a limited number available at the door, but online sales are closed. You can check at the Registration/Information desks on site.
What time does the Welcome Banquet start?
8:00 p.m., and will be served buffet-style for two hours. Minister Lovegood’s speech and welcome announcements will begin at 9:00 p.m.
What should I wear to the Ball
Formal, after-five wear. A prom/cocktail/formal dress or a formal skirt/pants suit is suitable for women. A suit and tie is suitable for men.
As a general guide, if you can get away with wearing it to: a wedding, a christening, high school graduation party, prom, office/work dinner, charity ball, or other such event where you're dressing to impress one of the following: your mother, your grandmother, your boss, your principal, your priest, or Neville Longbottom's grandmother, you can wear it to the ball.
WHAT: The Witching Hour Public Chat
WHEN: 9:00 am to 12:00 pm Eastern Standard Time (United States) -- Saturday, September 17, 2005
HOW TO JOIN: --You do not have to download anything.
Don't forget to check out your House communities to meet some of your LJ-ing Housemates! Please note, though, none of these communities are run by TWH staff, and we cannot be responsible for any content within.
Tomorrow--that's September 8th--at 5:00 Eastern is the last date to reserve a room for the special discounted rate at the Sheraton Ferncroft Resort. After 5:00 p.m., the Sheraton will not be holding the remainder of the room block for The Witching Hour's attendees. Since the Salem Waterfront Hotel and Hawthorne Hotel are sold out, we recommend that you contact the Sheraton right away if you're still in need of a room!
The Sheraton Hotel is a gorgeous space, home to displays of art and The Witching Hour's Common Room as well as the Welcome and Leaving Banquets, Writers' Panel (with Charles Brown, Charles de Lint, Holly Black, Nancy Farmer, and Patricia McKillip), Weird Sisters/Harry and the Potters concert, and the late-night movies. It also comes with a shuttle between the hotel and Historic Salem--where the rest of the programming will take place--during the hours of the conference.
Click [here] to be taken directly to the hotel information page and get the information you need to make a reservation.
As always, please feel free to e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org or post questions here.
For the Immediate Attention of the Members of the Tony Toledo House:
It has come to our attention that certain members of this house are becoming more and more productive as the days wear on. Setting up Livejournals (tonytoledohouse), dressing as pirates, stealing the redcurrant rum-- oh,wait, that's just me.
Moving on, Captain Red Pirate Mel and her merry band of pirates at tonytoledohouse have designed Tony Toledo House shirts and merchandise that she has organised for sale to House members. (I'm sure members of other houses could purchase them too, but please don't be defacing them. Tony's Pirates are a fearsome lot, and I'm the one that has to deduct points from them.)
The merchandise is available at a 0% markup - that's at cost prices - and is available at TwoNeptunes.com. Come check it out!
--Kirstee Head Girl The Witching Hour 29 Days To Go!
We at The Oracle like to think we're a modern bunch of witches, and The Witching Hour has asked us to try a, uh, new and interesting Muggle activity: Classified Ads!
WANTED: PREFECTS! Two enthusiastic, slightly tipsy Head Girls are desperately seeking non-bribable, power-hungry Prefects. Successful applicants must have a strong love of coffee, the ability to be fair and impartial even in the face of chocolate bribes, and lack the ambition to usurp the Head Girls from their positions. Duties will include: Deducting House Points from recalcitrent TWH attendees, offering information and answers to curious TWH attendees, locating and storing large volumes of Butterbeer for the Head Girls, working with the Super Special Security Forces and occasionally awarding House Points to outstanding TWH attendees. Please apply via email or owl to email@example.com. All applications will be considered and the Head Girls promise to try to be sober for the whole process.
SEEKING: Handsome, athletic older gentleman, professional sportsman, seeks friends and minions of all ages for fun and games. Must love the outdoors and be unafraid to call a foul. Want to be a Quidditch referee? Write to Coach Keddle at volunteers @ witchinghour.org.
Please email firstname.lastname@example.org if you have any questions about the above positions, or email@example.com if you have any other questions related to The Witching Hour. Please note only registered TWH attendees are eligble to volunteer.
And the official news is that over 900 people have registered for The Witching Hour! (We'll have a more accurate count once we track down all the people who haven't yet paid their balances.) Thank you to everyone who registered! We're going to have a blast in Salem!
And with the closing of registration comes some important dates and admin items.
1) All professional Quidditch tournament fees must be paid by Sunday, September 4. I've e-mailed the six people that this impacts. Unfortunately, our printer needs to begin printing, printing, printing on Monday.
2) All other payments by check or money order must be received by September 10. Please keep in mind that the USPS can be uncommonly slow, and remember to mail your payment immediately. We'd hate to have to return it to you.
3) Registration transfers are officially closed after today, but since we were dreadful about notifying people, if you get us your transfer information by the end of the weekend, we'll make sure it goes through.
And now that everyone has had a chance to purchase their registration and special event tickets, you can now purchase special event tickets for non-registrants. Attendees at the special events must still meet the TWH age requirements, but any registrant may purchase special event tickets for others until 11:59 p.m. Eastern on September 15.
To add special events, either to your registration or for others, just go to www.witchinghour.org/registration and scroll down to "Add to my registration." You'll need your booking code and e-mail address, which are case sensitive, to access your registration.
All tickets purchased from now until September 15 must be paid for with credit card or via PayPal. We are no longer accepting checks or money orders, except for those who registered as of 9:00 Eastern this morning, and the gift certificate program has also closed, due to October sneaking up on us.
Again, thank you to all who have registered! We can't wait to see you in Salem!
In case you're on the fence, here are 10 reasons you might not know about to register for The Witching Hour before the 9:00 am Eastern deadline tomorrow. *grin*
1. Harry and the Potters -- that famed punk wizarding band featuring Harry Year 4 and Harry Year 7 -- will be opening for the Weird Sisters.
2. The Salem Post Office is offering a TWH cancellation just for that weekend. We may not have owls available, but you can still send wizarding postcards and letters!
3. The Broom Closet Ravens have already begun calling themselves "Murrill." This promises to be an international incident to rival the one that the Nepalese Ministry doesn't want discussed.
4. A concert by Charles de Lint and artist MaryAnn Harris.
5. The chance to buy original wizarding art, from Harry Potter fanart, to paintings of the TWH logo, to fantasy art. Not to mention some unique wizarding items, such as a copy of Book Six signed by Mary Grandpre.
6. Weird Sisters Toil and Trouble Tour concert t-shirts!
7. Patricia McKillip, two-time World Fantasy Award Winner, will be joining Charles de Lint, Holly Black, Tamora Pierce and Nancy Farmer in our special guest author line-up.
8. Owl Post! Will your owl bring a Howler, or maybe some Dragon's Blood Bubble Bath?
9. Madam Evangeline will be hosting her very own Muggle Fashion Show, in case anyone is interested in learning how to dress like a Muggle. She promises plaids and polka dots, though we do hope she's realized that putting them together was never actually a popular Muggle fashion.
10. The Deathmatch: the chance to hear TWH Heads of House and published authors Vicky Dann and Roxanne Conrad debate fanfic vs. original fic.
Online registration for The Witching Hour will close on September 1 -- that's this Thursday -- at 9:00 a.m. Eastern. All initial registrations, Quidditch tournament entries and Night Bus tickets must be purchased by then. Join the almost 900 Harry Potter fans who have already registered for five days of wizarding events and programming!
A limited number of registrations will be available on site -- either full, student or one-day passes. One-day passes will only be available for Friday, Saturday and Sunday.
Reminder: All registrations must be paid for by September 10. Any check or money order received after September 10 will be returned, and any unpaid registration at that time will be deleted. Registrants may amend their registrations to add events -- except for professional Quidditch and the Night Bus -- until September 15, but all amendments that occur after September 1 must be paid for with a credit card or via PayPal.
And September 1-15, registrants will be able to buy special event tickets for friends, family and strangers. You need not be registered to attend The Witching Hour's special events, but until October 6, 2005, you will need a registrant to purchase tickets for you. All tickets purchased during the first two weeks of September must be paid for with a credit card or via PayPal, and must be purchased and paid for by 11:59 p.m. Eastern on September 15. So make sure to bring your husband to the Friday Dinner, buy your friend a secret Saturday Lunch surprise, or purchase Ball tickets to give out as prizes during your Room of Requirement!
A limited number of special event tickets will be available for sale on site, and anyone, regardless of conference attendance, may purchase them at the door. If you want to be guaranteed a ticket, however, make sure to purchase it now!
The TWH staff received a rather interesting owl on Friday. Rather interesting, indeed, particularly for those who have been Sorted to Roxanne Conrad's House.
[Standard disclaimer: This project is being handled by attendees of The Witching Hour, and not the TWH staff. We hope you enjoy it, but all questions and difficulties should be directed to roxannes_house, please.]
I was shelving books in 641 and the cookbooks reminded me that I had announcements to make! A lovely culinary institute in Beverly, Eurostoves, will be offering a magical cooking class where you can learn to cook wizarding food the Muggle way. How innovative! Click this linking thinger right here to find out about this and other optional activities to expand your conference experience.
Next, I rattled over to 370 and found a bundle of parchment all over the floor. I suspect that Miss Tibbetts dropped her notes again. I have been nosy and read them and I am pleased to announce that The Witching Hour will partner with Salem State College to offer continuing education credits. An hour of attendance at selected programs at The Witching Hour is equal to .1 credit, and a credit certificate will be issued by Salem State College for only $15 (Muggle). If you are interested in earning continuing education credits at The Witching Hour, please e-mail hallie @ witchinghour.org with your badge name and the name under which you registered, and she will send you an e-mail in September with additional information as well as ensure that the information is included in your registration packet. Lovely girl. She must know the Kinkose Charm.
Once my shelving was done, I noticed that I had an owl in my fix machine thinger. Twee tells me that online registration for The Witching Hour ends when the clock strikes 9:00 a.m. EDT on September 1, 2005. Hurry and join 900 others in Salem for five days of too much talking, very little whispering, Quidditch, lectures, Apparating books, and authors who have never learned that books are not for writing little notes in! If you miss the registration deadline, you'll have to register at the door. Also, from September 1-15, those with a registration will be able to buy additional special event tickets for themselves and even unregistered friends and family, as a handful remain for the Halloween Ball, Friday Keynote Lunch, Friday Keynote Dinner, and Saturday Keynote Lunch.
Please let the reference desk know if you have any questions; I understand that the comment thinger below will send your question right over the interweb. Or, as always, you may e-owl help @ witchinghour.org.
The Sunday brunch - From Sirens to Furies: The Development of the Fantasy Woman is now officially sold out!
However, there is some good news - from Sept 1-15, registrants (and only registrants) will be able to buy special event tickets for anyone -- friends, family, strangers, whoever. So if you've been wanting to bring a guest along to a special event, you can! You will need to log in to your registration - http://www.witchinghour.org/registration - and click 'Add to my registration'. Between Sept 1 and 15, there will be an option to add extra tickets. Payments for extra guest tickets can only be made by paypal or credit card and extra guest tickets do not need to be for the same events as you're attending, however, guests do need to comply with our registration policy. (Attendees must be 14 years or over, and attendees under the age of 17 must have parental consent and a chaperone.
Extra guest tickets will only be available for the Friday Lunch, Friday Dinner, Saturday Lunch and Hallowe'en Ball, unless any of these events sell out between now and September 1.
If you've got any questions, please email me at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Welcome to the August edition of The Oracle - we're two months down and counting! In fact, at time of writing, we're 49 days, 10 hours, 9 minutes and 11 seconds away from the Welcome Feast! (You can find downloadable countdown clocks here - http://www.witchinghour.org/merchandise/downloads2.html)
1) Online Registration
At 9:00 a.m. on September 1, the Hogwarts Express leaves King’s Cross Station, and at 9:00 a.m. Eastern time on September 1, The Witching Hour’s online registration system closes. This means several things: - No new registrations may be purchased online after 9:00 a.m. Eastern on September 1. All new registrations after that must be purchased at the door, and will cost $200 for the full five days of The Witching Hour. - Neither professional Quidditch nor the Night Bus may be added to current registrations after 9:00 a.m. Eastern on September 1, not even at the door. If you’re dying to impress Coach Keddle or need that toothbrush and hot chocolate, make sure to add these events to your registration in time. - Remaining special event tickets may be added to existing registrations until 11:59 p.m. Eastern on September 15. After that date, all additional special event tickets must be purchased at the door. - Dueling status may not be changed after 9:00 a.m. on September 1, and no one may sign up for Dueling after that date, not even at the door. Full registrations, student registrations and one-day registrations (for Friday, Saturday and Sunday only) will be available at the door, as will a handful of special event tickets. The Salem Elves would much prefer that you register now, however, as they find handwriting badge names to be dreadfully dull, particularly when compared to drinking Butterbeer.
2) Sheraton Ferncroft Resort Two of The Witching Hour’s official hotels – the Salem Waterfront Hotel and Suites and the Hawthorne Hotel – are sold out for the weekend of The Witching Hour! We strongly suggest that you reserve a room at the Sheraton Ferncroft Resort (http://www.starwoodmeeting.com/StarGroupsWeb/booking/reservation?id=0506145486&key=67BA9) as soon as you can. The Sheraton Ferncroft Resort is also going to release anything remaining in The Witching Hour’s room block at 5:00 p.m. Eastern on September 8. When they do, we can no longer promise the fabulously discounted rate that TWH attendees have received. Make sure to book your room before they release the block!
3) Special Events Tea with Trelawney has been sold out for over a year, but additional special events are coming close to selling out. There are only 5 tickets left for the Sunday Keynote Brunch, Sirens, Furies and Heroes: The Development of the Fantasy Woman and only 30 left for the Saturday Keynote Lunch, Harry Potter and the Media, presented by Dr. Henry Jenkins. The Witching Hour just sent an owl to all attendees this week with more details about the special events that are still available, so make sure to check your inboxes!
4) Official Schedule The elves have been madly working around the clock - don't worry, Twee found, well, not the Butterbeer, but a fair slab of chocolate to keep them going - and have completed the TWH Official Schedule. All five days of the conference - programming, presentations and panels - are planned out in neat little boxes, for those of you who require neat little boxes. For those of you who prefer otherwise, we suggest blindfolding yourself and jabbing it with your wand. Either way, hop along to http://www.witchinghour.org/events/schedule.html and start planning your conference!
5) Volunteers Hello, my lovely electorate! In case we haven't met yet, I'm Lacy Lovegood, Minister of Magic and Reporter Extraordinaire. I am still chasing those of you who didn't vote for me, by the way. Your Howlers are prepared, I just need your owl addresses, please. But the reason why I've popped into The Oracle offices today is to let you all know about the fabulous volunteer opportunities with The Witching Hour. Want to see all sorts of programming, be on the inside track, meet the presenters and assist with their presentations? Become a Chaser! No, not the Quidditch sort, the TWH Chasers will be responsible for getting presentations running on time, making sure the presenter has everything they need, checking fire code regulations and just generally being fantastic. Or maybe you'd rather a position of a bit more... power? The TWH Prefects will be running the Information Desks and Security - as well as all the traditional Prefect duties of House Points, chocolate bribes and a really shiny badge! The Head Girls swear they will not choose prefects on the 'hex-it-out' method, so anyone is welcome to join. If you're interested,email email@example.com. Now, I must run, I've had a secret report come in that I must attend to, but I promise to be back soon! Lacy L, MoM.
6) Important TWH Owl e-mails The Registration Team has told The Oracle that they're still waiting on a number of owls to be returned from last month's Important Owl run. We really do require these owls back as soon as possible, please, as we do need to send them to the darkest jungles of Brazil. (Please don't ask - but we do need our Minister of Magic back.) If you haven't, or don't, send this owl back with the important information attached, sadly, we won't know either your meal preferences or where you wish to pick up your registration packet.
7) American Professional Quidditch Association Finally, The Oracle is pleased to report, finally, all Quidditch team applications have been filed, in triplicate, on paper that satifies the APQA guidelines, and in the exact color ink that the original APQA Quidditch Charter was written all those years ago. And we are pleased to present to you the teams of the APQA 2005 Salem Tournament. Betas Anonymous Punctuation Pixies, Broom Closet Ravens, Effortless Edibles Fizzing Whizbees, Haunted Footsteps Ghost Tour Ghosts, Order of Merlin Dragons, Owl Appreciation Society Fighting Owls, Sage Moon Magick, Salem Silver Snakes, Salem Trolley Gargoyles, TWH Logistics Team Cats, Wachusett Wild Whinnies, and Witch School Phoenixes. All team histories, mascots and downloads are available here: http://www.witchinghour.org/events/quidditch/apqateams.html, and all registered players have been emailed to inform them of their draft results. If you are a registered player and you have not heard your draft results, please email the Quidditch Department at firstname.lastname@example.org. Quidditch Teams: Please remember to get your captain’s names to us by September 1.
8) Quibbler Queries Where in the world has my Head of House owl disappeared to? Sadly, our Heads of House are very busy people, and most of them are out trekking the world this summer – rather than answering our every whim or teaching those poor summer students. They do pop back in once a month or so to send out the requisite letters, but they are less than diligent in their pursuit of administrative duties. Believe us, it upsets us, too. You should expect your Head of House owl within a month of when you registered. If it still has not arrived by that date, please send us a Howler and we’ll pass it along to the appropriate parties. Will the Weird Sisters autograph my Atlantis Memorial Spell-O-Tape? Please, dear Merlin, don’t let Professor Plitnik hear you say that! He hasn’t been the same since rumors of that infamous Atlantis show leaked out. He knew those girls when they were wee! But yes, I’m sure they will. No, really, is Pharrell Fogg seeing anyone? We are really quite weary of answering this question. Pharrell seems to be dating everyone and no one. We’re really unsure what else we can tell you, other than that he’s probably quite happy to add you to both of those lists.