Not unlike her peers in the 1980s, the golden age of hair, heavy guitar and glam, Mary was a true rocker.
But on her 18th birthday, she became the victim of an innocent prank gone terribly wrong, and her soul became trapped in a cassette tape.
The tape was lost over time. Compact discs pushed cassette decks into obscurity, and for 25 years, Mary's soul remained captive.
Now, a group of local musicians, known as the Audio Corsette, will release her soul from its plastic prison, freeing Scary Mary to unleash a rock horror experience unlike anything the city of Salem has ever seen.
Farfetched? Maybe. But suspending disbelief and embracing the paranormal is part of what makes Halloween fun, and with the arrival of Scary Mary and the Audio Corsette, this year's Haunted Happenings celebration promises to provide more opportunities for the adult crowd to get into the Halloween spirit outside of the local bars.
"They're branding themselves as an R-rated experience, and nobody's done that in Haunted Happenings before," explained Kate Fox, executive director of Destination Salem, the city's official tourism office. "The city's been making a really conscientious effort for the last five years to brand Salem as family-friendly, and I think that Scary Mary is going to fill a really interesting gap.
"People of all ages come to Haunted Happenings, and I think that there's definitely a group that's going to be interested in an R-rated opportunity."
Scary Mary and the Audio Corsette, created and directed by Kevin Letourneau of Creative Salem, and written by Gregory Glenn, has midnight shows scheduled for the last three Saturdays of October at Cinema Salem, and a "Haunted Harbor" launch party at 8 p.m. this Sunday at Finz Seafood and Grill on Derby Wharf.
"Salem is the Halloween-capital of the world," Letourneau said in an email. "We're thrilled to be bringing something completely original and for adults back to the Witch City featuring top regional talent.
"It is our hope to bring back the fun of a sexy, smart and funny horror hostess by creating an Elvira for the YouTube generation."
The show, billed as a live 80s rock horror experience, features horror shorts by filmmakers from all over the country and the UK (see the film lineup here), and performances from the Audio Corsette, made up of Jacyn Tremblay of Jada, Peter Tentindo of Britannica, and Aaron Katz and Callie Lipton of The Dejas.
It also sets the tone for a more adult-themed Haunted Happenings, which features four other brand new events this year:
Witches Brew Musical Theatre
Colonial Hall at Rockafellas hosts Enchante Cabaret's Halloween-themed lunch/dinner production for three days this month. Cost is $39 for lunch from 1 ? 2 p.m., or $45 for dinner from 7 - 9 p.m. October 11, 12 and 13.
Not in Kansas Anymore!
From 6:30 - 9:30 p.m. on October 18, Peabody Essex Museum gives patrons a chance to learn about the special effects used in the Wizard of Oz, which at the time were groundbreaking, enjoy a chef demonstration and tasting, create their own character out of found objects (like the Tin Man!) and view the classic film in its entirety with "Not in Kansas Anymore!" The cost is $5 for Salem residents and members, and $7 for non-members. No reservations required.
Witch Hunter at Pioneer Village
Spiritways at Pioneer Village retires this year to make way for Witch Hunter, an immersion experience that plunges those who dare into the dark fears that ran rampant through 17th Century Salem. Admission every 16 minutes for $16, from 6:16 p.m. until the conquering of the witching hour. (Click here for more information and tickets)
Lady Gaga's Little Monsters
Be one of Lady Gaga's Little Monsters performing Born This Way on Salem Common! Dress up in costume and learn the dance from Salem State's Dance Ensemble. Prizes for best costumes. Saturday, Oct. 20 from 11 a.m. to noon.
Check out the official website of Haunted Happenings for more information and complete event listings.
Ryan Mooney can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org. Follow him on Twitter @mooney_ryan.