A yellow-eyed witch who sucks the life from unknowing strangers; fish-obsessed ghosts who lure lone men to a watery death; and ghosts who call out in the voice of a loved-one, sealing a murderous fate. Suchitra Samanta (Virginia Tech) says Bengali culture is filled with stories like these of ghostly women who wield supernatural powers after death. And: Horror films often mirror the anxieties and concerns of the times they were produced in. For example, the “creature films’ of the 50’s mirrored the fears of the post-atomic age. Todd Patts (Piedmont Virginia Community College) says the latest box office horror films like “Get Out” and “It” are a reflection of the political climate of the Trump presidency. Plus: When you think about theater, you might think of Shakespeare or Hamilton–but what about a haunted house? This year, theater professor Ben Mays (UVA Wise) is working with his students to build an elaborate haunted house for their community, including all of the set design, costumes, and storytelling of a good stage performance.
Later in the show: Despite what many people believe, fall leaf color is remarkably consistent every year. Dendrologist John Seiler (Virginia Tech) has been studying fall leaf color for decades. Also: Biologist Dan Cristol (William & Mary) says mercury pollution in waterways is not only bad for fish-eating birds, but for songbirds as well, who are absorbing the toxin through the spiders they eat.