Nothing to Fear

A photo essay.

It’s hard not to have a happy Halloween in New Haven, a place that breezily subverts the motifs meant to menace us. 

The city’s pretty and pleasant graveyards, like Grove Street and Beaverdale, aren’t grave at all. Its four bodies of water tell us frequently that fog is grand, not grim. The witty grotesques dotting Yale’s neogothic architecture show us that monsters have a playful side. The bones and skeletons of the Peabody Museum amaze and enlighten us, while the city’s escalating mixological achievements have made us completely, perhaps dangerously, unafraid of potions and elixirs.

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The Yale School of Music presents Bernarda Fink

Even the city’s one enduring ghost story, involving a sunken New Haven trading vessel-turned-“phantom ship” that witnesses claimed to have seen sailing the horizon in 1647, is really about the haunting power of grief and dashed hopes. Meanwhile, today, the city’s most potent source of mythology, the Skull and Bones secret society, is also less ghastly than it appears, because however powerful it may be, the fact that it’s built on secrecy means it’s more afraid of us than we are of it.

So it’s already assured, but I’ll say it anyway: Happy Halloween, New Haven.

Photo Key:

1. Beaverdale Memorial Park.
2. Big bad wolf/lawyer on Yale’s Sterling Law Building.
3. The Great Hall of Dinosaurs at the Peabody Museum.
4. A Mumbai Manhattan at Sherkaan.
5. Jesse Talbot’s The Embarkation of the Phantom Ship (c. 1850) at the New Haven Museum.
6. Fog along City Point.
7. A concoction at Hamilton Park.
8. Skull and Bones.
9. Grove Street Cemetery.
10. Fog from the bluffs at Fort Nathan Hale Park.

Written by Dan Mims. Photographed by Dan Mims with the exception of image 6, which was photographed by Kathy Leonard Czepiel.

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Dan has worked for a couple of major media companies, but he likes Daily Nutmeg best. As DN’s editor, he writes, photographs, edits and otherwise shepherds ideas into fully realized feature stories.

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