Halloween often brings up memories of childhood, but this year Geneseo let the youthful spirit of the holiday spread throughout campus in a series of events. After a week of fear and fun, students were well seasoned to go out last night with a bang.
A number of organizations stepped up to create the Halloween experience at Geneseo, and service fraternity Alpha Phi Omega was among the most visible and charitable in their efforts. On Monday, Tuesday and Wednesday of last week, they organized a haunted hayride for a camp of developmentally challenged children. They spent the past two weeks raising funds and candy to provide treats for children in the hospital, unable to go door to door. And on Friday, Oct. 26, they accepted voluntary donations for pumpkin carving and painting.
Also on Friday, paranormal investigator Chris Fleming spooked the Union Ballroom with stories from 35 years as a "sensitive" person who is more likely to see and interact with ghosts. Fleming has investigated over 400 cases throughout his career, and has visited 150 allegedly haunted locations searching for celebrity ghosts in his national television show Dead Famous. "These are my personal experiences," he said to preface the Supernatural Tour. "I'm not telling you that you have to believe me, because I believe you have to have your own experience."
With that in mind, Fleming began to tell stories, show photos, and play audio recordings, all while standing in front of the screen as a silhouette. He explained that "a ghost is a spirit who has left the physical body but hasn't passed to the other side." These ghosts can come in various forms, including orbs, vapors, dark fogs and figures, but all, according to Fleming, have "a mind and a consciousness no longer bound by laws of physics." And with modern technology that can go beyond the 10 percent of the electromagnetic spectrum we see, he believes we have the best chance in history of seeking them out and proving their existence.
According to junior Ashley Saltzman, who marketed the event as an intern with Geneseo Late Knight, Fleming "provided some extremely compelling evidence of the existence of ghosts. Overall, I was scared, but I loved his presentation." In the same vein of fear mixed with entertainment, hauntings all across campus drew crowds throughout the weekend. On the night of Saturday, Oct. 27, the Haunted Corner Pocket served candy, food, apple cider and hot chocolate to go with games of black light pool.
On Sunday, Oct. 28, spooky stories and fright-filled tours descended on Southside and Northside alike. The Arboretum was fully decorated in Halloween spirit, and members of Residence Life held sessions for pumpkin painting and story-telling. According to junior Jen McNulty, who was behind the organization of the event, "All the scary tales we had were true and from Geneseo or the immediate area surrounding it."
At the same time, others filtered through the halls of Ontario's haunted basement after being told the story of a construction worker who died as the residence hall was being built. According to the tale, the recent construction of Seneca Hall has awoken his spirit, leaving Ontario vulnerable to his haunting. According to Ontario Residence Director Kim Bilinski, the premise was so realistic that it attracted the attention of a well-known writer of Geneseo hauntings, who inquired if the story was true. "Everyone really enjoyed themselves and the hall council did a fabulous job," Bilinski said.
The second annual Monster Mash Bash, perhaps the most anticipated event of Halloween at Geneseo, drew 300 students to the Union Ballroom for the full experience of mummy wrap, apple on a string, pumpkin decorating, fund-raising charity, a pie-eating contest, costume awards and more. Throughout the night, limbo, face-painting, tarot reading, hula hoop and a photo corner kept the crowd busy and entertained from 8 p.m. until midnight.
According to junior Dan DeHollander, one of the Monster Mash Bash organizers, "This event was a success because we brainstormed as a group, delegated tasks to everyone involved, and then came back together to help everyone out." In that spirit of enthusiasm, Halloween upheld its reputation as a week-long and campus-wide celebration on campus.