The Castle’s Crematory

The clock in the square just chimed. As the clock chimes again one man jumps to his feet and exclaims “Put out the Fire.” This screaming man is known as John Doe, and he is back for his annual appearance.

The police began to walk the alley moving along those awakened by the clock or, the screams from John Doe. Soon the square will be full of vendor carts selling the many tourist trinkets. The square has a life of its own. People come and go, however; the buildings and cobblestone courtyard have not changed for over seven millenniums.

The John Doe character who awoke screaming “Put the Fire Out” is now talking with the tourist he seems to be a tour guide. You can hear him describing the crematory in the basement of the castle on the hill. Next, he points out the chimneys which are billowing smoke towards the clouds and tells the crowd the crematory only operates one day a year. Leaving everyone to assume this day was the day.

John Doe’s tour begins to gather more attendees it seems the mystique of his presentation is mesmerizing the tourist. John Doe comes across as an eccentric old man who can spin a tale. However, the more I listen, the more I find myself ignoring any preconceived realities, and instead, I seem lost at the border between fact and fiction. As John Doe talks of past centuries, it is easy to imagine he has lived through them.

In the year 1362, the Town Square came to life and the Clock, which awakens the street sleepers today originally was the daily signal for executions. John Doe explains that in 1362 executions were an everyday reality, and for nearly 100 years one poor soul was either hung, stoned, beheaded, or disemboweled under the clock every day at 7 AM sharp. Their remains fed to the castle’s crematory each day before noon.

This strange tour guide only known as,  John Doe went on to say, that in January 1462 the executions stopped when the new king legalized all the crime whose punishment was death. The people loved the new King, and the town square was a joyous place. Would the fires in the Castel’s Crematory stay extinguished?

Seven months later on October 31st, 1462, the earth shook, and one of the Castles walls shifted. Today one can still see the evidence of broken boulders and huge cracks on its eastern wall. The King became convinced by his advisors that the castle’s crematory must be re-lite and fed.  The king’s advisors went on to say that without the executions of the condemned the castle’s crematory was not staying hot enough to stop the earth from cracking beneath the castle.

The king then ruled that for the town’s survival the Castles Crematory must be feed. So, the King gave the town’s people a choice to volunteer one of its citizens each day, or he would change the laws back providing the crematory the easily condemned. History can only verify that on this day someone indeed volunteered to be delivered to the castle’s crematory. This, brave volunteer, had a plan that through his sacrifice the town could live in peace without the fear of daily death. No one knew the volunteer’s name. However, the rumors were he was a practicing sorcerer.

It was then that our tour guide Mr. John Doe challenged everyone listing to decide on his saneness as he said,” The first time he volunteered to be cremated alive was on October 31st, 1462. He then told the crowd the spell he would conjure up that day could only come true if he sacrificed himself. However, It seems as he spoke his magic words he missed pronounced and mistakenly added a word or two so, his spells good intentions backfired and became his living nightmare. The chant was supposed to go like this.

 “keep the town’s people safe and never feed anyone else to the castle’s crematory,  for I will be the last volunteer executed on this October 31st.”

 Instead, he explained The gods translated his spell this way.

 “Keep the town’s people safe and only feed me to the castle’s crematory for I will re-volunteer year after year on October 31st.”

As the tour was coming to its close, John Doe said he was born on October 31st, 1422 and died the first time at the age of 40 on October 31st, 1462. He ended his tour as he ends every Halloween tour, John Doe asked: “if there was anyone who wished to volunteer.” The tourists ran!!!

Happy Halloween!

Ray Stasieczko
THROUGH my creativity and passion for innovation, I help organizations navigate through needed changes. Over the past thirty years, I have had successes and faced challenges. The challenges organizations face today, I not only recognize them, I’ve experienced and navigated them firsthand. Delivering services to all marketplaces continues transforming. Competition is coming from places no one would have imagined. My innovative thinking benefits organizations who recognize change is needed, and more importantly, recognize the value of creativity fueled by experiences. The future of the business to business or business to consumers marketplace will require unique collaboration. I understand the importance of collaboration and have the imagination to bring uniqueness in delivering it. I believe successful innovation and transformation only happens “When an organizations focus is on bringing the future to the present, instead of bringing the past to the future.”
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