By Farwah Rizvi
The myths of tarantulas, owls, wolves and bats were exposed at the Creepy Critters Event hosted outside of the Coal Ben.
On Oct. 22, Jurica-Suchy Nature Museum curator and Adjunct Biology Professor, Joni Marin, took the audience through four real-life stories exemplifying the horror people have felt because of these creatures.
With the help of Dr. Marin, a professor at BenU and some voluntary actors, each story was acted out for the audience to see. Then Marin led the audience through a descriptive narrative of each critter.
“The reason for this event was to take animals or bugs that are usually associated with Halloween and showing people that they are not as scary as they seem,” Marin stated. “We used historical fiction to teach the kids about some history and just have some fun.”
The first act was the story of the tarantula. In the 16th and 17th century, the venom of a spider related to the tarantula was believed to cause death.
People thought that if they danced convulsively, the bite would not kill them. Then two encased tarantulas were passed around to the audience.
“The creepy tarantula story was my favorite because of the tarantula dance that the actors did,” commented attendee Martin Johnson.
The second act involved a 16th century tale of conquistadors finding a bat and thinking it was a vampire. The sound effects of a bat were played, candy was distributed and bat skeletons were passed around.
The third act was about the owl. The story was about a man who ran in fear when confronted with an owl. Two stuffed owls and an owl skull were shown to the audience and the children in the audience were able to get involved with answering questions.
Finally, the wolf was discussed. The story was about a man dressing up as a wolf to scare the town’s people; he was eventually captured and executed. A wolf skull was passed around to the audience.
BenU senior and actor in the event, Bob Horsley added, “I found this event to be a lot of fun and I hope it happens again next year.”