Thursday: The H.H. Holmescoming Dance

Oct. 12

I'm not alone in this unsavory fascination with serial killers and brutal slayings—just look at the popularity of the podcast "My Favorite Murder," and, you know, Halloween. But despite the obsession being commonplace, I still don't feel good about it. Murder is bad, cruelty is bad, suffering should not be sensationalized. And yet I still find myself rereading the Wikipedia biographies for Albert Fish, Ted Bundy, Jeffrey Dahmer, Ted Cruz, and the like at 2 a.m., researching the real-life events that inspired slasher flicks, and so on. I don't know why, but it makes me feel a little better knowing there are other non-psychopaths out there who do the same. That's what makes gatherings like Protean Books' and Dr. Gloom's Crypt of Curiosities' gala so appealing. Among the evening's festivities: a serial killer costume contest with prizes, tarot readings, magic, free beer, and—most importantly—expert lectures on the dance's namesake, H.H. Holmes (the architect of the famed "murder castle" and America's first known serial killer) as well as Jack the Ripper (who some believed to actually be Holmes). For better or worse, our bloodthirst (of sorts) will be satiated. 7-10 p.m., Protean Books & Records, 836 Leadenhall St., (410) 227-3006, facebook.com/ProteanRecords, free. (Maura Callahan)

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