stay for a spell

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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.

twh_diaries: For reports from The Witching Hour

thespicerack: For stories and pictures from The Witching Hour also

twh_fanart: For sharing art created at The Witching Hour

muddy_quidditch: For MUDDY QUIDDITCH players and fans! A mailing list for discussing this and other conferences

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 for a collage to be displayed in the pub.

Please click here for a complete listing of known unofficial communities. Thanks!
stay for a spell

The Oracle - Salem edition. Part 4

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

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 Wellingtons.
      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 head.
      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 all.
      “I loved it. They showed us just how to dress like muggles. I never knew muggles could be so colorful,” Yolanda Carroll raved.

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 children cry.”
      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.
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The Oracle - Salem edition. Part 3.

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

    Quidditch 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.
    Following the 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
Oracle Correspondents

     The Witching 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 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 months ago.

Jenkins talks 'Potter Wars'

Beckie Campbell
Oracle Correspondent

    On Saturday, 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.

Special Announcement
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:
-Program books
-Fall Festival bags
-Black conference T-shirts
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The Oracle - Salem edition. Part 2

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 Tell us who you are and where/when you took the picture, and you might see it featured in our galleries!

Voldemort can't stop the rock! Or can he?

Genii Grimsley
Oracle Correspondent

     "They 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 9 p.m. 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 Eaters.
    "We 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.
    "I 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

    Addressing a 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 head.”

From 'hippie days' to 'writing buddies':  A writer's panel

Rosalind McClure
Oracle Correspondent

      Four 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

    We’ve all 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

Genii Grimsley
Oracle Correspondent

     At noon 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.

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The Oracle - Salem edition

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 Comes.”
    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 Waterfront Ballroom.
    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 nurture.
      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.

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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.

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See you in Salem!
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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 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.

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

Thanks again! See you in Salem!
come learn explore

The Oracle - September 2005

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 Closed

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 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.

Important Owls

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 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 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.

Quibbler Queries

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.


Public Notices:

Public Chat

WHAT: The Witching Hour Public Chat

WHEN: 9:00 am to 12:00 pm Eastern Standard Time (United States) --
Saturday, September 17, 2005

--You do not have to download anything.

--You do not have to add anyone.

--We will be using the chat program, Chatzy ( Please
click on the link to go to the
designated room already set up.

--If for some reason you are unable to access the chat program, try
troubleshooting it with the Help/FAQ

House Communities

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.


There are a stack of other communities that our illustrious attendees have set up - please visit for more details!
stay for a spell

Rooms With a View?


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 or post questions here.