Spooky stories thrill students at Impressions bonfire

Just two days before Halloween, on Oct. 29, the staff of Maryville College’s literary magazine, Impressions, invited students to join them in the McArthur Pavilion to share spooky stories and poetry. 

Students were free to share any experience or piece of writing they found to be spooky, eerie or merely uncanny, while the McArthur fireplace blazed and hot chocolate and s’mores were served.

Since 1974, Impressions has been in print, encouraging students to think and work creatively alongside their academic studies. The bonfire only perpetuated this idea. 

“I think events like this help students share their creativity, and it also helps people gain awareness of what Impressions is doing on campus,” said senior Brinley Knowles, the current editor-in-chief of Impressions. 

Junior Coleman Bomar shares stories about his family’s relation to the Tennessee legend of the “Bell Witch” as well as the eerie experiences he’s had refurbishing homes with his father. Photo by Savannah Stewart

“I think story-telling or reading events benefit the student community because they give a space for creative expression and sharing,” said professor Christina Seymour, the Impressions faculty supervisor who also brought her dog Gracie to the event. 

“Sharing candy, snacks, and the warmth of a fire is useful for relaxation from the stress of being college students,” Seymour said.

One storyteller at the event shared her experience with what she believed to be a haunted room in her family’s home, where voices and other unexplainable sounds could be heard. 

A family plaque that was hung on the wall even found its way beneath a table with no explainable way of getting there. Another student read aloud a passage from Vladimir Nabokov’s infamously creepy novel “Lolita.”  

“I think my favorite thing about this event was that so many people came and shared their own stories,” Knowles said. “We even had a good handful of freshmen. It’s so good to see them getting involved on campus.”

“I always hope that we have fun, enjoy each other’s company, and that the stories are scary, which they were,” Seymour said. “The lore of ghosts at the college or within family traditions is especially fun.”

Students also participated in a guessing game where they were prompted to guess the literary-themed costumes of the Impressions staff members and other students. 

Winning guesses included Katniss Everdeen from the “Hunger Games” trilogy, Buffy the Vampire Slayer, Ginny Weasley from the “Harry Potter” novels, and even Maryville College’s very own Dr. Will Phillips of the Languages and Literature department. 

“Impressions hosts the Bonfire yearly,” Knowles said. “It’s one of my favorite events. We really wanted to make this year special and a little different.”

The next scheduled event Impressions will be hosting is a submission drive on Nov. 18 and 19, where they will be answering questions about the magazine and how students can submit their works.

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