Ben Franklin: the man who can't leave well enough alone.

Ben Franklin is everywhere.

He is in old libraries and older cemeteries. He's even in random windows of houses in Olde City and might even be walking around a park if the light is right.

It's awesome that he did so much for Philadelphia, let alone the country as a whole. But he's dead and needs to leave us alone and let us get on with our lives.

We went on one of the walking ghost tours Saturday night and learned two things. The first was the overwhelming presence of ol' Benny Franklin in the spirit world of Philly and the second was that there are apparently enough ghost stories kicking around Olde City to warrant not one, but two ghost tours. We learned that Washington Square Park, the park on the northwest edge of Olde City is actually a mass graveyard presided over by the ghost of some old crazy lady who walks the parks' edges every night, something she did when she was alive and seemed to have too much time on her hand. The Bishop White house is so goddamn creepy that members of the Park Service refuse to go in there alone and that the White's maid inadvertently poisoned the entire family because the family's shitter stream ran a little too close to the families' well.

But in all fairness, that was a mistake that could happen to anyone.

The Old City Tavern, the oldest bar in the city, is actually a second take because the original bar burned down in the 1850's...with a bride and bridesmaids inside. The lesson there is that ladies, keep those trains on your wedding gown under fifteen feet in case of emergency. Another fun fact was that the Tavern was one of a thousand drinking establishments in the city around the time of the revolution. This is fun not because drinking is fun, but because it proves that ideas formed while drinking are both fun and productive.

It was an entertaining way to spend a Saturday night on Halloween weekend, especially since we passed on costumes this year. I will say that I had a decent idea for a costume, if the right situation had presented itself. I was going to cover myself in caution tape and maybe a few blinking lights. If I was feeling ambitious, I was going to incorporate a traffic cone. Then, when asked what I was, I would simply say-

"I'm dangerous."

But that might be shelved until next year. Unless of course Kim and I can borrow the costumes we saw on a couple of little kids in the neighborhood, while they were out trying to trick or treat early Sunday afternoon- a duck and a lady bug. If only it was socially acceptable to take pictures of complete strangers' young kids because those little kiddos were frickin' adorable, especially when they both tried to walk through a door and got stuck.

"One at a time," their dad said.

They were the best costumes we saw- the two kids dressed up as Phillies' rally towels came in second. Kim and I had enough candy to get us through a good half hour run of candy-giving out and Smuttynose Pumpkin Ale moved ahead of Sam Adams' Octoberfest as my favorite fall beer. Our neighborhood came alive Sunday night- kids wandered the streets, looking for candy, and parents followed behind, nursing solo cups of wine. Some of the smaller side streets were closed to traffic and the freaky building a block down gave ramshackle performances of Phantom of the Opera a couple times an hour. And while there were no sightings of our good friend Ben Franklin, we can't help but think that somewhere, around a corner or on a roof top, he was watching us- being all creepy and lurking, just waiting for the lights to go out so that again, he can remind us that everything we see in this town, is thanks to him.

Talk about ego.

Happy Halloween.

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