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October 30, 2014 - Image 10

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The Michigan Daily, 2014-10-30

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the b-side

The Michigan Daily - michigandaily.com

4B - Thursday, October 30, 2014

From Page 1B
At the request of the sources, all
names have been changed.
It's aperfect afternoon,theideal
convergence of early fall sunshine
and sweater weather. There's
somethingunexplainableinthe air
- a definite, palpable excitement.
Halloween night (or, for most col-
lege students, the whole stretch of
weeks between when the leaves
start falling to the early days of
Novemberfmarks the one time of
year when we embrace dark capes,
masks and lurid makeup. Dressing
up as someone else, costuming our
true identities in a Nicki Minaj wig
or cat ears, is a universally appeal-
ing idea, the closest that actual
American society gets to the plot of
the"Purge"movies - theonetime
of year when we can be anything,
and anythingcanhappen.
But underneath that party store
mask, there's a darker side to Hal-
loween. Besides being the one
night a year for consequence-free
party fun, Halloween is a night to
remember the dead. It's a night for
avoiding ouija boards, jumping at
mysterious taps on your ceiling
and a whisper coming from the
graveyard across the street. It's a
night to put aside skepticism and
honor tradition - to heed that
unexplainable feeling in the air
that might be something power-
ful and terrifying, feeding off the
chilly autumn wind and crack-
ling leaves like the blood of an
unsuspecting victim.
Halloween is a night for
ghost stories. But the follow-
ing accounts are not just stories.
These are the actual experi-
ences of University of Michigan
students who have had unex-
plainable encounters with the
supernatural. They have request-
ed to remain anonymous, but
though their names have been
changed, the mysteries they
recounted are 100 percent true.
Knocking, knocking at my
hotelroom door
LSA freshman Lily McConnell
is an only child. One night, on
vacation in South Carolina, Mr.
and Mrs. McConnell left their
(then) 12-yearnold daughter by
herself in the hotel room, lea-
ing little Lily with a bunch of cool
movies to entertain her in their
"I was watching a movie when
I heard knocking on the door. I
was like, 'What the heck?,' so I
got up and looked through the
peephole," McConnell said.
She tiptoed to the door.
Through the peephole, Lily saw
nothing but the empty hallway,
an expanse of identical closed
doors on either side of hers. Lily
shut the door, but upon doing
so, the knocking immediately
resumed. The door rattled from
the sheer force of the person
knocking at it, and McConnell
began to become afraid. She hid
behind the bed, hoping the noise
would stop before she had to call
her parents at the hotel restau-
rant downstairs.
Her prayers were answered
when the rattling finally stopped.
"Andthen, like any other scary
movie, what does the girl do? She

goes and opens the door," McCo-
nnell recounted.
Lily went to the door right
after the tapping stopped, but
again there was no one in the
long and empty hallway. No reg-
ular human could possibly have
run from the McConnells' door
to the end of the hallway in so
short a time. She resigned to go
back to watching her movie.
"A little while later, the knock-
ing started again. But this time,
it was more violent and more
intense, and I was like, 'Oh my
God, this is scary. And I called my
parents, crying and screaming,"'
McConnell said.
Mr. and Mrs. McConnell left
their dinner in panic as their
young daughter sobbed on the
phone upstairs. They hurried to
find a shortcut to the second floor
of the hotel, where Lily was stuck
in the room terrified as some
stranger beat down her door. The
McConnells ran through the res-
taurant's kitchen, and the chef
pointed them in the direction of a
staircase that would lead to their
As they raced to her rescue,
Lily's parents stayed on the line
and tried to coax their daughter
from her hysteria.
"The whole time I'm talk-
ing with them on the phone, the
knocking is happening and they
can hear it through the phone,"
McConnell remembered.

Eventually, Lily's parents
made it down the hall and stood
at the door where Lily waited,
paralyzed with fear but stillhold-
ing the phone with mom and dad
on the line.
When they approached the
door, the phone fell silent. The
knocking had stopped. When her
parents came back to the room,
the McConnells didn't hear any-
thing again from the mysterious
stranger who'd rapped so intent-
ly at the door earlier that night.
Today, Lily looks back on that
night as an unequivocally super-
natural encounter. She affirms
that she believed in ghosts before
her stay at the hotel, and keeps
her faith that beings other than
humans exist. As for character-
izing the creature that visited
her that night, Lily's experience
emulates that of the paradigmat-
ic scary story.
"It exemplified my belief in
(the supernatural), so that kind
of changed my perspective. I
was like, 'I definitely believe in it'
instead of, 'Eh, there might be."'
Humans have a natural aver-
sion to being alone. Something
about the absence of another
person's warmth creates an ideal
environment for the demons
haunting us to come alive, for
voices to leap from our minds and
translate into strange noises that
we try and convince ourselves
we didn't hear. Many times, the
fear is a trick of the mind. But on
other occasions, the spirits of the
darkness prey when we are most
Spirited away
LSA sophomore Grace Holden
has always believed in ghosts.
Well, not exactly ghosts, per se
- Holden grew up in a religious
family, where she was raised
with the belief that intangible,
often benevolent spirits share the
earth with us humans. Usually,
mediums (people with the spe-
cial gift of being able to decipher
the presence of the spirits) and
young children are more percep-
tive than the general population,
and are more likely to encounter
the supernatural. But sometimes,
when the connection of the dead
is strong enough, they take the
initiative to make themselves
JtnTown. .
"It's common for spirits to use
technology or leave little signals
or signsajust to send positive mes-
sages and tell you that they're
OK," Holden said.
When Grace was 16 years old,
her grandmother passed away.
Nan, as Grace calls her, was also a
strong believer in the supernatu-
ral. After her death, Grace looked
for a sign from her nan, maybe a
glass of water moved to the other
table or a lucky penny on the
ground. Sure enough, the lights
started flickering, and Grace
knew it was a message from her
"I went to the washroom, buttI
asked one ofthe guys who worked
at the funeral home if they'd been
having electricity problems, and
he said that it was just that day
- that morning - that the lights
started flickering. They said that
the lights actually started flicker-
ing pretty much the same time

that they brought my nan in to
prepare for the funeral," Holden
Echoing in Grace's head was
her mother's advice not to be
afraid to talk to spirits. So she
went into the bathroom, asking
for another clear sign.
"Nan, if this is you, flick the
lights twice right now, just so I
know it's you."
The lights flashed on and off
twice, quickly but noticeably.
She also felt a pressure on her
forehead, a reassuring kiss come
straight from thin air as Grace
stood at the bathroom sink. Grace
experienced a rush of conflicting
"I fell down, started crying
and all that stuff, but it was a kind
of reassurance, a good thing,"
Holden said.
Since Holden is so open with
her beliefs, her friends often con-
fess times they've encountered
signs or images of the supernatu-
ral. She says that most of the sto-
ries she's heard have been similar
to her own - benign spirits who
don't mean to haunt their loved
ones, but just let them know that
they're still watching.
"I believe that there are good
spirits and bad spirits, but I
believe that the majority of them
are good spirits," Holden said.
Holden's experiences shed
light on a powerful misconcep-
tion about ghosts. Not all spirits
are so mean-spirited as popular

lore would suggest, but could
also simply be trapped between
this world and another and wait-
ing for the closure necessary for
them to pass. Any room could
be populated by a number of
them - evidently, their scope of
movement isn't just limited to the
house they died in. The possibil-
ity that deceased grandparents,
neighbors and friends could be
watching at any moment isn't ter-
rifying as much as it is powerful
and haunting. There could very
well be shadows lurking invis-
ibly behind us without our ever
The witching hour
LSA senior Dan Wyatt has
always been a huge fan of horror
movies. He's always been drawn
to the dark and unexplainable,
getting his fix through watch-
ing it onscreen instead of risk-
ing peril with a ouija board or
a nighttime cemetery trip. Like
many young teens, Wyatt's favor-
ite sleepover activity was to pop
in a scary DVD and let his imagi-
nation take over.
Late one night, 12-year-old
Dan and his best friend Omar
watched "The Exorcism of Emily
Rose." The movie was scary, but
nothing Dan hadn't seen before.
It was a typical movie night -
until the television screen went
"Our power was on - the
lights were working, everything
was still working - but the TV
just went out. Just, randomly,"
Wyatt said.
Dan and Omar grabbed the
remote, assuming maybe one of
them had sat on it or pressed a
button in the dark. The TV stayed
mysteriously dark.
Dan tried taking pictures with
his phone, thinking maybe the
photos would expose something
he couldn't see with his eyes
alone. There were no mysterious
shadows, no orbs or ghostly glow.
A few minutes later, the screen
flashed back to life, and Dan
and Omar finished watching the
movie without a hitch.
The two boys went to bed
around 3 a.m. According to
"Emily Rose," this is the "witch-
ing hour," a time that mocks the
Christian concept of the Holy
Trinity and when malevolent
spirits can wreak havoc. At the
exact moment Dan's digital clock
struck three, they heard a loud
banging noise from apstairs.
"We both heard it, too. It's not
like one of us was going crazy or
The boys went completely
quiet, listening for any other out-
standing noise. There was only
silence - until 3:15.
Bam bam bam bam bam bam
bam. Dan and Omar heard heavy
feet running upstairs. Dan tried
to think of an explanation this
time, but the logic just didn't line
"My mom slept upstairs, but it
was running, and loud, and she
definitely wasn't awake then,"
Wyatt said.
At 3:30, the sound inched clos-
er to the boys in the basement.
They heard a loud bang from
somewhere downstairs. Dan
tried to explain it, whispering to
his friend about what the sound

could be, but the symmetry of the
noises with the clock were too
conspicuous to be a coincidence.
Fifteen minutes later, the toi-
let in the basement bathroom
flushed. Dan and Omar wonder
if it could be Dan's sister, who
also had a room downstairs. But
Dan's sister claimed that she slept
through the entire night; she
missed all the noise and certainly
didn't flush the toilet at 3:45 a.m.
"Nothing happened at 4:00,
but it's just maybe ironic that all
this happened at 3:00, 3:15, 3:30,
3:45," Wyatt laughs.
Stories like these can't be eas-
ily attributed to an overactive
imagination, the sounds they
heard sheer coincidence veiled
in post-'Emily Rose" terror.
Those who actively engage with
the paranormal, whether it be
through the tradition of religious
belief or of enjoying horror mov-
ies, are more attuned to the spiri-
tual world around them. People
who know what signs to look
for - who listen in the night for
strange sounds and have a rever-
ence for the echoing unknown
- are more often the ones who
actually hear something.
Yes, Halloween is a time for
dressing up and eating cheap
candy. But it's an unequivocal
opportunity to become attuned
to the vibrant world of spirits,
and maybe even connect with the
world beyond our own.


LSA sophomore Maher Hachem raps under the stage name Munch.

SeniorArts Editor
All genres of music carry
with them a certain persona
expected of its musicians.
There's the somber, tormented
jazz artist, the hedonistic rock
star and the effortlessly cool
rapper. The persona feeds the
music, and the music feeds the
persona - but both avenues can
be dangerous. Too much of the
first and your music becomes
generic and forced. Too much
of the second, and you might
spend more time tuning an image
than an instrument. So for LSA
sophomore Maher Hachem,
who raps under the stage name
Munch, it's all about keeping
things focused on the music.
Hachem, like so many aspiring
artists, is in that anxious limbo
period between making music
as a hobby and making music
to make a living. However, he
claims to not stress out about it.
"In the music industry, when
you make it, you're headlining
shows, you're all over the blogs,
everyone knows who you are,"
Hachem said. "But my main goal
is not exactly to make it, but just
to get my music out there."
"I'm not making music to make
money so that I can buy a huge
house and a nice car," he added.
To put it simply, Hachem is a
rapper, with an EP under his belt
appropriately titled The New Kid.
But Hachem is still hungry to
"I consider myself a musician.
I would love to get outside the
realm of hip-hop into producing,
engineering, mixing and
mastering, but as of right now yes
I do consider myself a rapper," he

Hachem's love of hip-hop
started at a young age and came
from an unlikely source.
"My mom was actually the
one who got me into hip-hop. She
would put on 'All Eyes on Me' by
Tupac while driving and know
every single word," he said.
It wasn't until later that he
went beyond just listening to
"Istarted makingmusic maybe
freshman year of high school. It
was just dumb stuff, recorded in
my closet using GarageBand," he
A big break came the next year
when his cousin, having heard
and liked his music, took him to
a recording studio in Windsor.
Hachem, even now, drives back
to the same studio every single
week to record new material.
"Since I've been going there for
five years, me and my engineer
are like best friends now. I'll stay
at his house and record there," he
As he records more and listens
to more hip-hop (he favors Kanye
West, Kendrick Lamar and
Flying Lotus), Hachem is now
experienced enough to improvise
with producers when he goes to
the studio.
"I used to write before I went,
and then show it to him. Now, we
chill, we catch a vibe, we get a
beat and we write to the beat on
the spot," Hachem said.
These sessions might be chill,
but Hachem still has to hustle to
get contacts.
"The whole thing with
the music industry, it's about
networking, man," he said.
"It's so hard to build a solid
relationship solely through

social media."
What Hachem is referring
to is the uneasy balance he and
many young musicians must find
nature of social media, and old
fashioned meetings over coffee.
"I would one hundred percent
rather speak with a person face
to face and show him my music
rather than just send him a link
... you get to understand the
artist more if you sit down with
them," he said.
But because this isn't always
possible, Hachem releases all
of his music on SoundCloud,
which allows him to both track
its popularity and find other
rappers and producers.-
Either way, it seems to be
working: Hachem's music
strikes a nice balance between
being polished and personal.
For example, he recorded a song
on his first album titled "Friday
Night," which is both fun and
irreverent in and of itself, but
particularly relatable to as a
college student.
"I recorded 'Friday Night'
on a Friday night," he said. "I
pictured whatI would be doing if
I wasn't recording. The average
person would enjoy going out on
a Friday night."
of course, as a college student
from West Bloomfield, Hachem
might not seem to have the
"tred" that a successful rapper
would seem to need. Will that
matter in the future? Maybe. But
for now, Hachem makes music
because he loves to do it.
"Whenever r feel like I've
taken a long enough hiatus from
music, I want to make music,
so I'm like 'I need to go.' It's
addicting - real addicting."


After a grueling five week
competition, four of the
nation's most talented fashion
their collec- Project
tions at New
York Fash-
ion Week. Season Finale
The heat of Lifetime
the stress is
definitely palpable, as Kini,
Amanda, Charkita and Sean
race for the winning title.
However, Tim Gunn feels
the need to recap too much
for us, detailing Kini's harsh
critique to rehashing the
drama with Charkita. Regard-
less, the designers remind us
how their toil, sacrifice and
dedication are easily relatable
to viewers.
Come runway time, Aman-
da showcases her "boho chic"
style, while Char shows a
collection of more street than
luxury runway. Kini displays
his impeccable pleats and
sophisticated denim - aweing
us with his ability to recre-
ate his work in only two days,
but overwhelming us with
an excess of ideas. Finally,

Sean's fringe collection dem-
onstrates the cohesiveness the
judges asked for, in what Nina
Garcia calls the "most edito-
rial" of collections.
After the success of the
runway, the judges' cri-
tiques proceed to take up the
remaining airtime, in simply
a reiteration of comments.
After three separate rounds of
deliberation, viewers are left
more bored than excited for
the reveal. Is this their way of
creating anticipation, or sim-
ply building impatience?
The ultimate decision is
a toss-up between Amanda
and Sean, but Sean and his

fringe train emerge as the
strongest NYFW collection
combined with continuous
success throughout the sea-
son. Surprisingly though, the
celebration of the winner is
meant to be a joyous occasion
that also commends the other
final designers, this finale ends
more dismally. The other con-
testants all burst into a fit of
(happy?) tears in a damper to
what is supposed to be a happy
Regardless, Season 13 waves
"Auf Wiedersehen!" and hope-
fully a "see you soon"to next


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