From September to the beginning of December I, and a group of other writers, were lucky enough to have the opportunity to take a graduate course in Creative Writing from author Lisa Moore (Caught, February, Alligator, Flannery, & more).
One of the course’s requirements was that we contribute to a podcast. The subject was left to our choosing. Everyone came with various ideas; eventually, mine was chosen. I’d heard the story of Isaac Mercer, a man who was killed around 1860 in Bay Roberts, Newfoundland. Several days after Christmas, when Isaac and two other men were walking home from work, a bunch of men dressed as mummers attacked him. Isaac was beaten with a blown bladder and a hatchet. He died the next day from his wounds. The next year, this attack and others (mummering was often used a device of class warfare, a way for the lower class to mask themselves and wreak havoc on the upper class) prompted the Newfoundland government to pass a law prohibiting the wearing of masks in public, under the guise of it being a public nuisance. However, the practise of mummering, around Christmastime, is still a tradition all around Newfoundland and Labrador, despite the law technically remaining in the books as of this day.
On that note, here’s our podcast, Blood on the Snow; a fictionalised telling of this murderous story. Recorded by Angela Antle at CBC studios in St. John’s, Newfoundland & Labrador.