Teens share spooky stories

SPRINGFIELD – A group of over 20 teenagers huddled together around a fake campfire, s’mores in hand as they shared scary stories in a dark room behind the library, preparing for Halloween.
The event, on Oct. 15, was the latest for the Teen Program at the Springfield Library, put on by the Teen Advisory Board.
“The teens asked for this one,” Teen Services Librarian Cara Kinsey said. “We had on the schedule a board game day, but right as we were going to press in August someone asked for spooky stories. I was like, ‘Really? That’s something you want to do? Okay!’ I’m not going to say ‘no’ to that.”
The program was open mic – as long as the stories were appropriate – but Kinsey said she came prepared in case she was the only one who would be telling stories.
It turned out, however, that the group had a few stories they wanted to share themselves.
Springfield teen Liv Fooks captured the room’s attention as she read a story from internet page Reddit’s No Sleep tag, called “My friend is a plastic surgery monster.” The story played with the idea of unattainable Korean beauty standards, and talked about how the main character’s best friend became obsessed with becoming more beautiful – to the point that everything she was putting into her body to make her more beautiful, was in fact making her look waxy and fake, and the toll it took in making her body rot from the inside out. The story had touches of gore that made Kinsey check in that it wasn’t going to get more graphic, and afterwards Fooks commented on how much she loved horror. She even read a description of her own story, which is on Wattpad.
Other teens, including Maggie Britton, shared stories that they wrote – or classics such as Edgar Allen Poe’s “The Tell-Tale Heart.” Kinsey commented on the variety of stories that ranged from modern to classical. One teen even read brief newspaper articles about scary things found in fast food restaurants, citing the horse burger, finger in the sandwich and a fried chicken head.
Another Springfield teen, Ellie Sloan, shared a conspiracy theory about the Man from Taured. In 1954 a man claimed to be from the nonexistent country of Taured and was trying to travel to Japan. His passport was legitimate and showed that he had flown to Japan multiple times that year, but the airport staff was baffled by the country of origin. He was detained and put in a hotel, where he disappeared the following day. The case has been used as proof of parallel dimensions.
Kinsey also took a moment to share how graphic novels and horror have a history together, and recommended a few scary graphic novels that the library owned.
Spooky Stories is only one example of the programming the Youth Advisory Board comes up with for teenagers. Kinsey said the board is made up of teenagers over 13 years old, and they help contribute ideas or give Kinsey feedback about what would be fun for them to do.
One event they had was a cake decorating class, which Kinsey didn’t expect teenagers to be interested in. “They came up with it independently,” she said. “I love it when teens come to the table with things they think will be fun, and I have the fun of trying to implement that.



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