Making History: Mass Memories Road Show Comes to Provincetown

September 18, 2013 7:00 am0 comments

We all make history everyday. While textbooks and museums may be filled with artifacts about monumental events, it’s the day to day life of ordinary people that create and shape culture, government, and knowledge, and thus the future. This is especially true in the extraordinary community of Provincetown, a tiny [...]

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Celebrating Edie Windsor and Mary Bonauto

August 14, 2013 7:00 am0 comments

by Steve Desroches It was a beautiful day. The sun was shining, the air warm, but cooled by a steady breeze, particularly comfortable atop High Pole Hill at the foot of the Pilgrim Monument. But despite the spectacular view the hundreds assembled for the annual GLAD (Gay and Lesbian Advocates [...]

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The History of Wellfleet: By Land, Sea…and Screen

August 7, 2013 7:00 am0 comments

by Don Wilding According to Wampanoag legend, “In the beginning there was nothing but sea-water. Kehteam reached down to the bottom of the sea, took a grain of sand, and of that made the earth.” Both the land and the sea play prominently in Wellfleet’s history, dating back the 250 [...]

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Embrace your inner Epicure

April 20, 2013 10:57 am0 comments

by Rebecca M. Alvin “I believe that any food you eat should be eaten without any regrets. It shouldn’t bring with it one ounce of regret,” says Paul Kearins, a Dutch chocolatier who will be coming to Provincetown this year as part of the Sixth Annual Chocolate Festival organized by [...]

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Hail to the Chief: Presidential Visits to Provincetown

October 24, 2012 6:52 pm0 comments

by Steve Desroches The 1942 comedy George Washington Slept Here follows two New Yorkers who buy a dilapidated farmhouse in Pennsylvania. As they struggle to renovate, they hope that the rumor that President Washington once spent the night there might help them raise the money to save their new home [...]

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Burning Their Bras and Their Brooms…The Fabulous Witches of Outer Cape Cod

5:00 am0 comments

Long ago, when Provincetown was a thriving whaling port and the town and harbor were full of the hustle and bustle of commerce, there lived an old woman in a decrepit shack in the dunes. A mysterious woman, the townsfolk feared her and referred to her in hushed tones as Old Mother Melt. Stories abounded that late at night strange noises and lights came from her cabin. Others said they saw her dancing in the moonlight on the beach, surely casting a spell or conjuring evil spirits. Anytime misfortune fell upon Provincetown, be it a storm or an outbreak of illness, townspeople blamed her and called her a witch. An unruly child of the day might be scolded with the warning, “Old Mother Melt will get you!” prompting them to obey their parents. Most everyone believed in the powers of this witch, and lived in fear of her, running indoors whenever she made an infrequent trip into town. The sailors prone to superstition made extra efforts to avoid her gaze, fearing she’d put a hex on their next voyage, damning them to a watery grave – all but Captain Samuel Collins.

Collins considered himself a man of science and reason, and scoffed at the claims of witches, potions, and spells. While the story goes that Old Mother Melt lived a solitary life, she must have had a visitor at least once, as she had a teenaged son.  Hoping to change their lot in life, Old Mother Melt asked all the whaling captains to take her son on as a cabin boy, but they all refused, fearful of her magical powers. Collins, however, accepted. But on the day of sail, the ship left earlier than scheduled and sailed away without the boy. Old Mother Melt was seen screaming and shrieking at the end of the wharf, placing a “curse” on the ship and all who sail upon her. Just a few weeks into their voyage a freak storm struck, washing half the crew overboard to their deaths.  Captain Collins had no choice but to return to Provincetown. And on the journey back to homeport he recalled the curse laid upon the ship by Old Mother Melt and vowed to kill her himself for her wicked ways.  Bursting through the door of her cottage, Captain Collins was thwarted in his attempts to rid Provincetown of this wicked witch by Old Mother Melt’s plea for mercy and a promise to never again use her powers. Upon that promise Captain Collins took her son on as an apprentice, and his ship encountered no more ill winds thereafter.

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