Ghost stories on an October evening

Abby Stevens, Staff writer

“Ghost stories give voice to the marginalized,” Christy Rieger, PhD, said during her introduction to the second Reading at the Roost on Oct. 14.
This month’s Reading featured Irish Ghost stories performed by various faculty: Ben Friesen, Matt Weaver, PhD, Alice Edwards, PhD, Rob von Thaden, PhD, and Christina Riley-Brown, PhD.
Ghost stories were shared under appropriately dim lighting, contributing to an even more eerie atmosphere.
The evening was equal parts spooky and light-hearted, with some stories that were creepy and chilling and some with more humorous elements.
One story featured a schoolmaster who decided to stay the night in his own schoolhouse.
He received the fright of his life, accented by appropriately chilling sound effects from a very reliable sound effects coordinator, Weaver’s young son.
Another story featured the unfortunate mishaps of a carpenter lodging in a house inhabited by a poltergeist, a nasty spirit with a propensity for shaking things in the house up.
The stresses of living there made him lose three quarters stone in weight, but some of the hauntings elicited chuckles, like when the poltergeist knocked everyone out of bed one night.
Edwards’ reading featured banshees, wild, spectral women whose screams mean death, just not to the person they manifest before.
Another reading featured a shape-shifting ghost tricked into his own capture after getting drunk and crawling into the whiskey jar for the last drops, only to be locked inside the jar by a priest.
The evening closed with a reading about the Woman in White, and some music.
The reading also featured three instrumentalists from a group called The Celtic Hooligans.
They regaled the audience between readings with songs about dead Irish people.
One song, very much in the Irish tradition of making fun of the British, invited audience members to sing along in a chorus about Anne Boleyn, running about the countryside “with her head tucked underneath her arm at the midnight hour.”
The event was very enjoyable and spooky, perfect to get everyone in the Halloween mood.
This month’s reading was so well-attended that there was a shortage of seating.
If you would like to attend the next reading, which will take place on Nov. 11 and feature readings from Oscar Wilde, it is a good idea to arrive early so you will get a good seat when the doors open at 6:30.