Festival of the Dead host Shawn Poirier is interviewed by the Boston Herald regarding one scantily-clad Countess Bathoria, hostess of the Vampires' Masquerade Ball in Salem, Massachusetts!

Vampires seek teeth into Salem brew-haha
Boston Herald, Saturday, September 11, 2004

Posters of a scantily clad busty blonde "vampire'' have popped up in Salem, and some Witch City residents and officials are less than amused.

"I consider this a big trick-or-treat on the city of Salem,'' said Shawn Poirier, who claims to be a witch. "This is stirring up the hotbed of sex in Salem.''

The posters—promoting the Oct. 29 Masquerade Ball, a vampire's dance that includes a burlesque show and flogging - features "Countess Bathoria,'' a voluptuous Canadian vamp starlet who is shown with her neck and chest covered in blood.

Deborah Greel, head of Salem Main Streets, said a shop owner pulled her aside Wednesday and was "quite concerned'' about the full-color ads.

' "That doesn't reflect well on the city,'' ' Greel said the woman told her. "She said, `It's going to give us a bad name.' ''

Other shocked residents called City Hall to complain about the sexed-up posters that surfaced this week.

So city workers—with Poirier's help—tore the ads down. Poirier claims he gave the posters to friends and had nothing to do with them being publicly posted.

Poirier said he co-hosts the ball with fellow witch Christian Day as a part of their Festival of the Dead.

 Salem is best known for its witches, but Poirier, who claims not to be a vampire, said there is a thriving subculture of 1,000 vampires from Salem to Cambridge.

Some said Salem is reluctant to embrace that subculture.

"Part of the city still thinks they are in Colonial times,'' said Sharon Fagley, who runs The Magic Parlor, where you can get a pair of custom-fit fake fangs for $25.

Erik Verlaan, a 32-year-old visiting from Holland, was not offended by the vampire poster tacked briefly on a downtown kiosk.

"It's a vampire party,'' Verlaan said. "You clearly get the message.''

Poirier pointed out that next to the poster of Countess Bathoria was an anti-President Bush flier using a derogatory word to describe the president.

Poirier found that flier, which no one tore down, more offensive.

"It's just so hypocritical,'' he said.