It made me very happy that so many people responded to my Boston Halloween Quiz and had a good time answering its questions. I had at least as much fun putting the quiz together as folks did in choosing their answers.
SPOILER ALERT: If you haven’t taken the Boston Halloween Quiz yet and would like to do so, click here first. Then come back and read this post when you know your score.
My Formidable Forms software analyzes quiz results so I can show you how some of them.
As you can see from the overall scores, most folks scored between 10 and 25, between Tourist and Resident levels. (For some weird reason, no one scored 35.) That means either I made the multiple-choice questions wicked hahd or folks need to know more about Boston history. Or perhaps you enjoy the more challenging questions. A few friends admitted to guessing all the way through and one didn’t make it to Tourist level.
I did try to make the multiple-choice selections plausible. The trickiest answer, for example, was the one for the question on the Boston Strangler. While his last victim was found on Charles Street, one of the Strangler’s victims was found on every street mentioned.
For verisimilitude, other choices referred to locations that people would know (Blinstrub’s Village, the Cocoanut Grove, the Old Howard) or things that actually happened. They weren’t the correct answers, but you might well think they were. For example: The communion silver from King’s Chapel was taken on Evacuation Day to Halifax, Nova Scotia, by the Tory minister, Rev. Henry Caner, where it remained. It was not found under Boylston Street.
The Lowest Scores
Folks got the lowest scores on Question 1: What John Winthrop saw over the Charles River. (Hee, hee) This is a true story, however, and he documented the UFO sighting in his journal. Gov. Winthrop did not use that term, however as it has only been around since 1947, I did make an error, however, in that he saw the UFO over the Muddy River, not the Charles River.
The other answer with the most wrong responses was the “Dance of Death.” This happened in the Pickwick Club, which was located at 6 Beach Street in the Chinatown district. You can get more information on Episode 91 of the HubHistory podcast. It was the deadliest building collapse in Boston history, killing 44 people.
The Highest Scores
The most correct answers came for the “Bell and Bones” tour at King’s Chapel, the Dickens Mirror at the Omni Parker House hotel, and Edgar Allan Poe’s inspiration for “The Cask of Amontillado.” the mass grave of British soldiers and the Skin Book at the Boston Athenaeum. I think some of my ghost tour buddies influenced that result.
The number of people who thought Jolly Jane Toppan was the madame of a Beacon Hill brothel gave me a chuckle. But then, I really had fun with those choices. “Serial killer” came in second, though. I had expected “Fan dancer at the Old Howard” to take those honors.
It also made me smile that so many people thought “Hic Liber Waltonis Cute Compactus Est” was the motto of the Boston Public Library. It means, “this book is bound in Walton’s skin.” The BPL’s actual motto is “Free to All.”
Boston, with its anti-Catholic, anti-ritual Puritan roots has never been a really big Christmas city. It was illegal to be Catholic here until 1780 and only the influx of Irish Catholics from the Great Starvation beginning in 1842 turned things around.
But there’s lots of Boston history to draw from and I can easily come up with other quizzes. In fact, I have one almost done and ready to go. If you have any ideas for a quiz, whether related to a holiday or not, please let me know. It would be fun.