Frightful and Insightful

Frightful and Insightful

Frightful and Insightful


In Georgia Tech's 130 years of existence, we've encountered plenty of stories of spirits and ghosts creeping around the Institute's grounds and halls — and not just George P. Burdell.

We've also had our fair share of faculty who have taken up some pretty creepy research. Dracula's spirit, for example, remains strong in the Ivan Allen College of Liberal Arts. That's where two experts cast a gaze on the marks left by the villain, both literarily and literally.

To celebrate the coming weekend, here are some spooky stories, frightful facts, and Halloween happenings that might have you looking over your shoulder Saturday night. 

photo - Carol Senf

Why Dracula Still Matters in 2015

More than 118 years after it was written, Dracula still commands our interest. Professor Carol Senf explains why — and why she's eagerly awaiting the monster's resurrection.

Video - click to play - Are vampires real?

Video: Are Vampires Real?

Click image to play. John Edgar Browning is a postdoctoral fellow in the Ivan Allen College of Liberal Arts. He says vampires are real. He would know; he's been interviewing them for years.

Video - click to play - Pumpkin carving in the Invention Studio

Video: Pumpkins and Power Tools

Click image to play. In the hands of a few helluva engineers, what was a simple craft project became an opportunity for Georgia Tech students to use the tools in the Invention Studio to create next-level Halloween cheer.

photo - former Georgia Tech President Lyman Hall

The Spirits of Tech

Georgia Tech’s 130-year-old grounds boast a great deal of history. And although Tech is not known as being home to numerous ghouls or goblins, a few speculative spirits have been encountered over time.

Halloween Happenings

photo - hauntech

HAUNTech Haunted Night at Tech Rec

Thursday, Oct. 29, 2015, 8 -10 p.m. Join us for a haunted night at Tech Rec. Find your way out of a haunted maze, take a picture with a zombie, impress someone with your fantastic Halloween costume, paint a pumpkin, and more.

photo - ghost under sheet

Halloween Holla 5K Costume Run

Friday, Oct. 30, 2015, 7:30 a.m. The Campus Recreation Center is hosting the annual Halloween Holla 5K. Ghosts, ghouls, and walkers are all welcome! Breakfast will be provided following the event.

photo - zombie

Nonhuman Present: Science and Fiction

Friday, Oct. 30, 2015, noon - 1:30 p.m. Room 102, Stephen C. Hall Building, 215 Bobby Dodd Way. ICLAST will host a discussion on the new AMC series Fear the Walking Dead, Dracula, and a short story by Thomas Hardy.

photo - skeleton dancer

Halloween Masquerade & Costume Ball

Saturday, Oct. 31, 2015, 7 - 11 p.m. Student Center Ballroom. The event opens with an hour-long lesson on international tango, which will be followed by dancing, contests, free food, and more.

Why Dracula Still Matters in 2015

photo - Carol Senf

Carol A. Senf, Professor, School of Literature, Media, and Communication. Photo by Ivan Allen College of Liberal Arts.

Bram Stoker was arguably a minor novelist when he wrote Dracula in 1897. His book has never been out of print and has piqued the interest of both the general public and — more recently — of scholars from a variety of critical methodologies: Marxist, psychoanalytic, feminist, cultural studies. One of them is Carol Senf, a professor in the School of Literature, Media, and Communication.

Stoker’s novel addresses the xenophobia of the times (with immigrants arriving in England from various corners of the Empire); concern over the fact that women were demanding equal rights in the professions, the universities, the streets, and the bedrooms; and the fear that this creature from the medieval past can dominate a scientific, technological, and progressive present. Seduced by Dracula, they will become — in Dr. Van Helsing’s words — “foul things of the night like him, without heart or conscience, preying on the bodies and the souls of those we love best.”

The fear of becoming like him is one of the reasons that various adaptations have emphasized slightly different aspects of Dracula. The 1931 adaptation that established Bela Lugosi as the iconic face of Dracula continues to emphasize his foreignness and his aristocracy. More recent adaptations featuring Christopher Lee, Frank Langella, Jack Palance, or Gary Oldman feature his sexual charisma and the possibility that we ordinary mortals might be seduced into becoming like the monster that retains elements of his essential humanity.

photo - image of Bela Lugosi in the 1931 film Dracula

(Left to right): Edward Van Sloan as Professor Abraham Van Helsing, and Bela Lugosi as Count Dracula, in the 1931 horror film Dracula, directed by Tod Browning for Universal Pictures.

That humanness is largely missing today, as the still human vampire has been replaced by hoards of marauding zombies driven only by a mindless desire to feed. Since monsters reflect the deepest fears of the times in which they are created, there’s a reason that humans encounter zombies not as an individualized seductive threat but as an impersonalized herd, identified only by inarticulate, animalized grunts and shambling movements. While I understand the fear of that threat, I miss Dracula, the seductive monster whose touch could bring immortality as well as death. Like many others, I await his resurrection.

Read why Senf says the Gothic is essential in the modern technological world.