Gordon Graham and Eliza Smith take home prizes from Scary Stories Night

With a full moon filling the nighttime sky and the recent cold beginning to set in everyone’s bones, it was an oddly appropriate night for hot chocolate and horrific tales last Thursday. A short trudge across campus to the Van Etten-Lacey House found several students gathered round to share their favorite paranormal plights, ectoplasmic anecdotes, and serial killer stories. Hosted by the Student Literary Advisory Board (SLAB), the event allowed students to either simply recount a favorite scary story or give voice to an original fiction of their own.

The night started out with eerie undertones when, during introductions which included the scariest thing about each individual, Eliza Smith (17) discussed some of Cornell’s most spectral places. Smith told of the Old Music Practice House, a former funeral home which was declared to play host to 67 spirits at one point, and Bowman Basement, host to a local haunt, among other spectres. The Cornell junior provided an enraptured circle with much food for thought and an excellent platform for both old scary stories and a few original, spine-tingling tales.

One original author was Gordon Graham (18), the host of a program on Cornell’s KRNL station which delivers creative works of Cornellians on-air. The first of his two tales, a second-person account of a serial killer brought into the police station for questioning regarding several murders, displayed evocative imagery and suspense. The second played with the audience’s perception of sounds and appreciation for the paranormal elements audible through radio.

However, Graham was not the only original author of the night. Smith, who set the tone of the night earlier when she described local legends of the supernatural, provided an original fiction piece as well. As Smith is a member of Lyrically Inclined, it should not come as a surprise that her haunting piece easily enthralled the audience with its melodic delivery.

Other individuals in attendance included Helen Rubenstein, the current Robert P. Dana Emerging Writer Fellow, and SLAB president Leena Kaye (17). The two presented Graham and Smith each with a book of Halloween-worthy tales for enjoyment, and perhaps future inspiration, at the conclusion of the night. On a final note, despite the tales of the night, no serial killers or axe murders prevented Cornellians from reaching home or continuing in later Halloween festivities.
Elizabeth Flick, Staff writer