Aired: October 25, 2019

Stories to Tell in the Dark

A woman's ghostly face appears in the forest. Image credit: Claudia Dea / Flickr. Licensed by CC by 2.0.

  • The Politics of Horror (12 min.)

    With: Todd Platts (Piedmont Virginia Community College)

    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 Platts says the latest box office horror films like “Get Out” and “It” are a reflection of the political climate of the Trump presidency.

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  • The Ghost Stories of Bengali Culture (8 min.)

    With: Suchitra Samanta (Virginia Tech)

    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 says Bengali culture is filled with stories like these of ghostly women who wield supernatural powers after death.

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  • Haunting the Playhouse (4 min.)

    With: Ben Mays (University of Virginia College at Wise)

    This year, theater professor Ben Mays 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.

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  • Saving Songbirds (19 min.)

    With: Dan Cristol (William & Mary)

    Biologist Dan Cristol 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.

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  • Autumnal Foliage, Explained (9 min.)

    With: John Seiler (Virginia Tech)

    Despite what many people believe, fall leaf color is remarkably consistent every year. Dendrologist John Seiler has been studying fall leaf color for decades.

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