At the end of Western Campus Drive sits a log cabin. On the outside, Western Lodge exhibits an inherent creepiness, even during the daytime. Inside, the stone fireplace and lofts provide a cozy feel, but only when the lights are on. On Oct. 19, the lodge provided the perfect setting for a frightful event.
The Literature Program and the English Department hosted “Fright Night,” a night of ghost stories and socialization in Western Lodge on Thursday. Complete with eerie lighting, a fog machine and Halloween snacks, the event was an opportunity to indulge in the spooky season.
First on the agenda, Dr. Patrick Murphy read an excerpt from his book of ghost stories, “Medieval Studies and the Ghost Stories of M. R. James,” adapted from the original stories of M. R. James, an English author and medieval scholar. His choice for the night was based upon James’s “Oh, Whistle, and I Will Come to You, My Lad,” about a professor who discovers a whistle during an archeological endeavor and consequently experiences an uninvited visitor.
“I got my interest in ghost stories while I was attending Denison University, when I wrote a story about a ghost that haunted one of the buildings at the University, and it ended up being extremely popular around campus,” said Dr. Murphy.
Especially during this time of year, people gravitate toward the creepy-crawly tales of ghosts and gore because they enjoy the adrenaline that comes with being truly scared.
“I think they are important because so many people believe in ghosts,” Dr. Murphy said.
Professor Katie Johnson, director of Literature, read a monologue from Caryl Churchill’s shuddersome play, “The Skriker,” about an ancient fairy who preys on two young mothers and uses clever wordplay to trap and seduce its victims.
Johnson was a large part of the manpower behind the existence of this event.
“This idea came from the students,” she said. “It was primarily a way to build community between the students in the Literature Program.”
Students were also encouraged to bring their favorite spooky tales to share with the group. Two students read from the “Scream” screenplay, acting out the movie’s startling opening telephone scene. Two more students each read their favorite ghostly poetry. All the while, the fog machine emitted a haze at every twist and scare in each story, dramatizing the eerie feeling in the room.
“This is something we will almost definitely do again next year,” Johnson said at the end of the night.
While some people prefer to celebrate the season by drinking pumpkin spice lattes non-stop or by watching “Hocus Pocus” on repeat, the literature students and faculty that participated in “Fright Night” enjoyed reading and writing bone-chilling literature that will keep you up at night.