Students give a scare at annual Creepy Conference

Delaney Hassell, Staff Reporter

Just two days before Halloween, the RMU Department of English and the English Honors Society, Sigma Tau Delta, held the 7th annual Creepy Conference from 7-9 p.m. in the Wheatley Center. Students, faculty, staff, and members of the community were welcome to gather for a night of Gothic Horror.

For the past three year’s event coordinator Sylvia Pamboukian, has been running the event with the help of the English Department.

“All of us in the English Department teach and work on gothic texts and we just noticed how many of them were around and how many of the students really interested them. We thought we should probably tap our students and see whether they are interested and what they want to do and give them a chance to present,” said Pamboukian.

The process to become a presenter for the conference begins with sending in a one page description of what would be talked about. After the descriptions are collected, the English department goes through each and the “best” presentations are not picked, but rather the ones that fit together into interactive panels. Once each is chosen, the presenters are informed and they have about a month to prepare their full presentation.

The event featured two panels, the first panel comprising of four students.

Sigma Tau Delta member and the first presenter of the Creepy Conference, Tanner Sebastian, was excited to return for his second year.

“The Creepy Conference is one of my favorite events. It’s one of our biggest events, as well. I just love the paranormal—anything kind of bizarre, macabre,” said Sebastian.

This year Sebastian presented on Jack the Ripper, since e was fascinated that this serial killer has gone 126 years without being identified.

Other students on the first panel and their presentations were: Carrie Hook with “Ghost Children,” James Fetterman with “Keeksburg, PA” and Taleah Scott with “Pareidolia.”

The second panel consisted of Ashley Jones’s “Poe’s House,” Dominic Flamini’s “Five Nights at Freddy’s” and visiting Italian scholar, Luca Guardabascio’s “Hitchcock” discussion.

Guardabascio is also part-time faculty here at RMU, teaching a class in media arts about aesthetics, as well as cinema, poetry, literature, and music. During his presentation, Guardabascio showed his own short film, Dismorfobia, for which he was writer, director, and actor.

“My idea was about B movies—American B movies from the 50s and the 60s…. This is the story, what do we have at home? We have this, this, and this. So the budget was about $200 to do everything from the editing to visual effects—everything,” said Guardabascio.

This was not his first time presenting at the Creepy Conference, in 2011, Sylvia Pamboukian asked Guardabascio to speak about the “Twilight Zone.” She was aware that he was returning to RMU to have a class and asked him to present once again.

To find out this year’s Creepy Conference winner and runner-up, be sure to check back on in the coming days.