Trick or treat?
JK in this spooky mag you get both! Welcome to Opus’s Issue 19: Halloweeeeeen *insert ghost voice*.
This year, our Halloween magazine is chokers full - we’ve had so many talented student artists and writers show their scary side within these pages. There’s something for everyone to enjoy - whether you’re planning your own witchy gathering and need some tunes, or looking for a horror series movie marathon for little to extreme spookiness, we’ve got you covered. Not sure what to do this Halloween? Flip to our bingo page for some extra activities and things to keep your eyes out for this season. There’s also some terrifying artworks in this issue that we think you’ll enjoy.
As we’re scarily speeding to the end of 2022, consider contributing to Opus on a regular basis next year as one of our volunteer writers and send us an email if you’re interested. Opus contributors are very cool people in our opinion.
For now kick back and relax, or don’t, and rip into this bloody good magazine.
Creep it real y’all, Melanie JenkinsEditor
What gives Mel the creepy crawlies? Old men at the club
Ah, Halloween—how my skeleton’s bones rattle with anticipation. Even the horror adverse have to admit that the spooky season has a certain ethereal atmosphere about it. While I’m still yet to embody my lifelong dream of becoming the scary witch in a children’s story, the carved pumpkins and spooky Netflix specials help me pretend I’ve made it, once every year.
So, take a flip through this issue and get a taste of what’s giving us all goosebumps this month. We’ve got spooky, we’ve got scary, we’ve got skeletons; and we’re hurling them all your way this month. Look out!
All hail to the Pumpkin King,
Stephanie JenkinsJunior Editor
What gives Steph the creepy crawlies? Whenever another leaf falls off my plant
Well, we’re at the pointy end of the year now, but we’ve almost made it! Not long now until we get the sweet freedom of end-of-year break. As to the right now, I hope your assessments aren’t piling up too high, and you managed to have somewhat of a restful break.
UNSA has had a busy year to say the least! We’ve hired more students, handed out 1000’s of sausages, supported NTEU strikes, held parties and trivias, and, most importantly, we’ve played a key role in supporting the 37,000 students enrolled at UoN. It’s been a massive year but I couldn’t be more proud of the UNSA team and the resilience of UoN students.
In exciting news, UNSA held its Student Representative Council elections and I am thrilled to welcome our 2023 SRC. Congratulations to the successful candidates, I am sure you will make your fellow students proud!
In other news, UNSA, in collaboration with UoN, have opened a new student space at Callaghan Campus called The House. You can find it next to the Shortland Building. It comes equipped with a kitchen, lounges,
multilevel study spaces, standing desks, private & bookable rooms, and PowerPoints everywhere! It’s also available 7 days a week, 6am-1am, so you can make the most of it during exams!
Finally, here’s a quick look ahead for the rest of the year at UNSA. Some of our large scale events for the remainder of the year include our Hallo-Week and, drum roll please…
UNSA’s Annual Ball in November!
We’ve been working tirelessly to bring you amazing end-of-year festivities and we think you’re going to love what we have in store. Keep an eye out on our socials for more details and a few surprises along the way.
Best of luck with your exams and getting those assessments in!
Until next time,
What gives you the creepy crawlies?
Tiana Williams Graphic Designer Cockaroaches....and when they suddenly decide to fly at you, I’m outta there
Angus Hobba Cover Artist See Artist Q&A Page
Amber Kelleher Stingrays!
The thought of being alone in the middle of the ocean
Daisy Peachman Sea Creatures, I don’t trust them.
Emily Coles Any small critter that can fly
Hannah Coles Music that has a tempo of 45-55 bpm - not slow but not fast, freaks me out every time!
Hannah Quilty Ghosts, absolutely. Give me an axe-wielding maniac any day, but a ghost? No thank you
Tan Rege Corpses, but I can’t wait to be one so I can have worms in my mouth :)
Too many things but blood is always a winnerHarman Burgess Publishing deadlines Ivy-Rose Laidler Horror films with a lot of suspense Samuel Cox Squeaky whiteboards Joe Matheson
Artist Q&A with Angus Hobba
Opus has been the voice of students at the University of Newcastle for over 70 years, supporting and amplifying each student’s unique perspective and work. Halloween is a chance for students to let their hair down, be a bit kooky and crazy, and get in touch with their creative side. This month, we’ve teamed up with a local student artist to design the cover of our Halloween themed magazine.
Say hello to Angus Hobba, and his artwork: Funny Little Creature Poses in Empty Room
Introduce yourself: (Name, pronouns, area of study, fun fact, etc!)
Hi, my name is Angus, He/Him. I’m a second year Viscom student majoring in illustration and animation. I enjoy drawing creatures and characters as well as stop motion animation.
What does Halloween mean to you?
As I moved around a lot growing up, Halloween has meant a lot of different things: sometimes trick or treating, sometimes carving lanterns, sometimes hiding under my bed because gremlins ARE real and could be anywhere. For me now though, Halloween is just a great time to spend with friends watching a combination of great and terrible horror movies and enjoying both equally.
What gives you the creepy crawlies?
What truly gives me the creepiest of crawlies is the unending abyss that lies just beyond consciousness, as uncaring as it is infinite, it whispers to us in our sleep and watches, waiting patiently for the perfect moment to reach out and remind us just how fragile we truly are. This is all in reference to centipedes (they are very scary).
Can you tell us a little bit about your creative process?
My creative process often starts with mindlessly sketching shapes and faces with a rough idea of what I want to create until something stands out. From here, I’ll do a second sketch and begin laying down base colours and areas of light and shadow. I spend a large amount of my process iterating and changing small parts of an illustration right up to the end.
What went into the creation of our cover this month? For this cover I was inspired by psychedelic sequences in movies like Pinocchio as well as neon raves. A good part of the time put into the piece was spent on the posing of the creature and experimenting with textures for its skin. Once those were down though, all I remember is a caffeine fueled fugue state as it came together.
Do you have any advice for students starting their creative journey?
I think the best advice I ever got was to allow yourself time to develop and improve without self-criticism. Far worse than creating something bad is not creating anything at all because you’re afraid it won’t be perfect. I also think it's important to not lock yourself into a set style, and allow yourself to experiment.
Where can people find you?
You can find me on Instagram at @anguhs on LinkedIn at Angus Hobba, or right behind you as you are reading this right now!
BathBy Amber Kelleher
This isn’t my usual tone of writing, but I’ve been reworking this story since I found it in the back of my high-school English book. To me, it’s a story about a ghost. A real ghost; not the ones with a white towel over their heads, or the ones hiding the walls, moving things, whispering and making rooms go cold. This is a story about the ghosts we make up when our emotions aren’t enough to hold all of our guilt.
Ella closed her eyes… dusk; dark; door; dead; dead; develop… dead. If she said the words enough times, they’d lose their meaning and just sound pretty instead. She could taste the alliteration slide across the rough surface of her tongue and feel her lips flatten against her front teeth for the echo of the sound of the fourth letter.
It had only been four hours. She bent down to pick up the white towel off the chequered tile floor. In the firm grasp of her fist, the brittle tassels that had been washed and drip-dried in the sun too many times were crushed. She wiped the clots of snot from the soft skin between her nose and top lip before throwing the towel hard against the inside wall of the clawfoot bath. She flinched at the sound of the hollow crack… like the hollow crack of bone beneath metal.
“Have a bath,” they’d said. If they had said, “go drown yourself in the God-damn bath!” it would not have made any difference. Ella
choked on the thought. Shut up. Shut up— Silence.
A buzz. No, not a buzz, a rumble. Getting louder. An engine, filling Ella’s ears with more and more sound. The thunder filled her body; she could feel the revolutions of the engine beating against her chest as if she were standing in front of a loudspeaker, letting the waves of sound beat her chest–beat the air out of her lungs.
Gasping for breath, Ella opened her eyes to the bathroom and the silence rushed back in a nauseating wave.
She reached out her hand to hold the door frame… she slid her hand up the wood, almost as if it was his arm– no. Her cold fingers found the switch and the room went dark, the same colour she had seen this morning at breakfast when she closed her eyes against the dark fabric of his shirt wrapping warm and soft around her– no.
Four hours… only four hours.
Ella turned her back against the door and slid to the tiles. She stretched out her legs and pressed the souls of her feet into the grate of the drain as she tilted her head up to the window above the copper bath.
“Hello there, Mr Moon. The same Mr Moon.”
The bright white light became one headlight. Two headlights. Faster! Wrong pedal! Headlights – “Stop!”
– No! Headlights, coming. Bigger. Closer. No!
Shut up! Shut up.
The same moon, it hasn’t changed. It’s the same moon.
Only four hours.
Ella’s feet were red as she lifted them off the drain; drew them up with her hands so she could inspect them– see the dents she had made in her own flesh. The dent in the car door, the bigger dent in the roof–the dent so deep it crushed… she pressed her head into the door and screamed.
Ella tore at her suffocating clothes. She pulled at the fabric of her shirt, her skirt. Broke the clips of her bra and ripped out the band holding back her frizzy hair. She turned the hot taps on hard, letting them blast hot water into the bath, splashing up the sides like the blood on the passenger-side door. She stood naked in the hot steam, felt it bead in droplets as it touched her skin, breathed it in and let it burn a path to her lungs.
The white towel floated to the top of the rising water. Ella plunged her hand in to grab it – whimpered, and tossed it to the floor. She stepped into the bath. Sunk down. Pictured her skin going a sharp red, as if the fire inside her were making her skin translucent.
She held her breath. She went under. She saw him standing in front of her. Smiling– then crying–screaming in pain. Ella screamed under the water. Let it rush into her throat. The hot air was nothing
compared to this… She broke the surface and she sat still. So still, for such a long time.
The water dripped out from the wet towel and down the slope of the floor before sliding between the bars of the drain to an inevitable, dark fate.
Finally, as four hours passed, the water in the bath went cold and Mr Moon drifted out of the window frame to spy on those with happier fates.
Throwing A Halloween Party?
Your Playlist InspoWords: Emily coles
It’s that spooky, slutty, and scary time of year again –HALLOWEEN!
Whether you're hosting or attending a Halloween party, or just the designated aux-holder of your friend group, here’s your playlist.
In no particular order: Formation by Beyonce: enough said.
Monster Mash from The Original Monster Mash: it would be a holiday crime to miss this one.
Sweet Transvestite from The Rocky Horror Picture Show: this is when we serve, serve, serve.
Magic Dance by David Bowie: from Labyrinth, this tune will transport you straight into the vibrant 80s; if you’re not already hallucinating, this will get you there.
Thriller by Michael Jackson: the ultimate Halloween spooky dance combo.
Do I Wanna Know by Arctic Monkeys: score a dance with the person you’ve been wanting to get with the whole night when this song comes on.
Bury A Friend by Billie Eilish: spooky undertones with a good beat – could you ask for more?
Hallucinate by Dua Lipa: vibes vibes vibes, this is the song where you’re jump-dancing.
Heart of Glass (cover) by Miley Cyrus: the sing-along everyone knows, with a rocky edge.
Do You Wanna Touch Me (oh yeah) by Joan Jett & The Blackhearts: every good party needs a call and response with a sexy edge.
Take It Off by Kesha: dust the cobwebs off for this one, a hit is always a hit.
There Will Be Blood by Kim Petras: a pop-y one to get everyone onto their feet and dancing.
Boss Bitch by Doja Cat: there will never be a party, nay, any occasion where you can’t play Doja Cat.
FOMO by Amber Mark: if you haven’t strutted around in your 7-inch heels yet, you will to this one.
Alien Superstar by Beyonce: but ultimately, I could put her whole discography on this list and the perfect party vibes would be created.
Untouched by The Veronicas: just incase you forgot about the classics.
Don’t You Want Me by Human League: the 70s disco robot called and we answered with this banger.
Sissy That Walk by RuPaul: okay if you seriously haven’t strutted your stuff or death dropped yet, what are you doing?.
I’m Every Woman by Chaka Khan: just to round out the icons.
Pair these tunes with your ultimate favourites, like Whitney, George Michael, and even more Dua Lipa (because who doesn’t love Dua Lipa) and you’re in tune to have the best Halloween party yet!
Happy Hallowitches xx
ChewBy Hannah Quilty
Content Warning: Readers are advised that the following story contains mention of fictionalised violence and cannibalism.
Bearnaise. Red wine jus. Cognac sauce. Cognac sauce. Oh, the thought nearly brought her to her knees. She held it, so strong she could almost smell it, at the forefront of her mind as she paced down the darkened street of her grungy little city; blocking out the catcalls from passing cars filled with teenage tools, and the feeble mewls from the heroin addicts filed neatly down every alley.
The restaurant wasn’t busy that night. She’d had the time to concentrate, to savour every stir and examine every slice and dice. Her stomach growled throughout her shift, itching to get home and serve up something potently perfect. She hadn’t had a decent meal in weeks.
She adored the manipulation of cooking: the mutilation of an entity so nearly sentient, save for the fated twist of DNA at conception–so close to becoming anything less than a masterpiece. Her boots clicked cleanly against the sidewalk, the echo bouncing against the rows and rows of expensive apartments that now lined the roughest edge of town, per mayoral request. A way to clean up the area, he had said in an obligatory press conference two years ago. More like a way to rid the city of those bracing the edge of the poverty line–of people deemed unbecoming in a place so desperate for revival. The restaurant was one of the first to receive this transformation. Once a lonely laundromat, run down by rats the size of little dogs, and pungent fumes from excess dryer lint. Now, it was one of the most upscale
establishments of fine dining that side of the city, serving meals triple the cost and a quarter the size of the family-owned Italian bistro just a few blocks down, in a neighbourhood yet to receive the promised upgrade. Her restaurant was a place of eloquence and artistry. Edible prose.
If only her mother could see her now. The disapproving stare, the pursed lips. Wasted potential, she would say. Four years of an undergraduate medical degree down the toilet. Four years of labs and anatomy classes, all for her to gain the correct skills for slicing meat in a kitchen. She remembered standing in the lab her first year, cadavers lining sterile stainless steel, their chests flayed and ribs cracked wide. Maybe it was the friction, the pressure of the thin sharp blade against the toughened muscle of the human body that piqued her interest. Her mother would prepare the dinner table with willow crockery and stainless steel cutlery, accompanied by crisp white serviettes and a centrepiece of orchids from her garden.
She died from a brain aneurysm a few years before. She never had to witness her daughter abandon her medical degree and find short-term work at any restaurants in the area that would hire her. She didn’t see her daughter get accepted into the finest culinary school in the state, nor see her succeed so stupendously that opening her own high end restaurant was no longer a far-off dream, but a beckoning reality. Her inheritance helped, of course. With virtually no mentorship or guidance, her restaurant was doomed to crumble. Alas, to her pleasure (but not to her surprise) it thrived. She could see her building. The yellowed lights of her
up against their door, listening. Some of the things they argued about were simply absurd, but she liked listening to their droll conversations. Living alone, she felt isolated. The only thing keeping her company was often the clicking of the ceiling fan, or the occasional bird that would perch itself onto her windowsill to sing. Sometimes, though, she wished she owned a gun. Nothing big, by any means, but something big enough to knock that bird off her window for good. It only reminded her of life, and she preferred death.
Her keys were cold in her hand when she climbed up the cemented steps to the warped door of her building. It groaned as she pushed it open with her shoulder, the foyer lit by a single yellowed and dying bulb in the centre of the ceiling, attached by a bare, long cord. When she climbed the stairs, she could reach out and swing it, sending sinister shadows to torment the browning wallpaper.
Silence greeted her as she stepped inside her shoebox apartment. The only light came from the street, often reflecting on the television, but she hadn’t gotten around to purchasing curtains. Plus, she liked the idea of the people being able to see into her home. There was something thrilling about it, the possibility of getting caught.
Before anything else, she headed straight for the bathroom. She took her lavender-scented bath salts and sprinkled it across the flat steaming water of the
bathtub, watching it dissolve into a milky substance. Her tired muscles groaned in pleasure as she sank into the boiling water. She liked the feeling of her body after a steaming bath; soft and doughy, like her bones were sponge cake, her blood was ganache. The need to quench her hunger came in waves. Sudden, then meandering. Once out of the bath, she greased up her cast-iron skillet with salted olive oil, doubled over in pain. Still hunched, she tore through her refrigerator, clawing at the rows and rows of neat little zip lock bags stacked high on every shelf. Using the pads of her fingertips, she pulled out her selection for the evening; a thick cut of thigh. Female, if she remembered correctly. She ripped open the plastic bag and dried down the chunk of flesh with a paper towel, applying the seasonings before tossing it into the sizzling pan.
The aroma was quick to take to the air. Her stomach growled. Soon, she whispered down to the entity trying to claw its way out of her intestines–ravenous for human flesh.
I’ve always been into horror and the paranormal, both “real” and film, it’s always been an inspiration to both me and my art. My artwork “Paranormal Pioneers And the Sci-Fi Experience” pays homage to old Hollywood movie monsters as well as being a parody of the tacky ghost investigating shows that you always see on T.V …A guilty pleasure for sure.
In Addition to this I liked the idea to make this artwork look as if it were a poster for a new cartoon or show, something which would be inspired by the cheesiness and exaggeration of an 80’s horror movie, hence having the bright/ highlighted yellows and exaggerated colours of the characters and monsters.
A Guide for the Best Scary MoviesWords: Hannah Coles
I’m not sure why, but I love scary movies–especially psychological thrillers! Not the ones that scar you for life (or that are too reflective of this scary ass world) but the ones that make you think. The ones that scare you just enough that maybe you have to sleep with one eye open, but at least you got a giggle out of it. Here is a cool girl’s guide to the best scary movies (in my opinion) that are actually worth the watch this spooky season.
Not Too Scary, Scary Movies.
These movies will help you dip your toes into the world of scary, whilst still allowing you to sleep at night.
Scream 1–4 (slasher): The Scream franchise, although classics, are nowhere near as scary as some of the shows and movies coming out now, so are great ones to start off with. They embody the classic scary movie, where the main characters will hear a spooky noise, split up, and then the ditsy blonde girl will say some silly line that gets her attacked. The first and fourth movies of the franchise are easily the best, with the plot twists and Ghostface reveals being super strong and not overly predictable. You can skip the third movie, IMO, it sucked and was super random.
Fresh (thriller): I loved this one! It takes the seemingly overdone theme of “the horrors of online dating” and flips it on its head. It is so well made and smart, with heaps of easter eggs and things that will make you take a second look and think ‘surely not’. The last half an hour, although super gory, left me with my jaw dropped and laughing in shock (laughing is my defence mechanism, don’t judge).
Jennifer’s Body (supernatural/thriller): Inspired by a 90s true crime case, this film comments on themes of sexuality, female empowerment, as well
as the dynamic of female best friends. This movie took a turn I was not ready for, but I honestly really loved it! The protagonist is a high-school cool girl who becomes possessed (bear with me) and goes to extreme measures to satiate her appetite. It also has Megan Fox in it, so enough said.
The Incredible, Talented Mr Ripley (psychological thriller): SOO GOOOD! This has got to be one of my favourites! It has a young Jude Law, Matt Damon, Gwyneth Paltrow, an Italy setting, creepy stalkers, and forbidden lovers–what more could you want? It does have some pretty gruesome murder scenes, so get those hands ready to cover your eyes.
The Snowman (psychological/crime thriller): Detective Hole tracks down a serial killer who, at every crime scene, leaves a snowman. It has heaps of twists and turns, with the sociopathic killer taunting the police at every corner.
The Babysitter: Killer Queen (thriller): Okay, this one is one of those silly/dumb movies, but I actually kind of loved it. It’s a fun take on the classic slasher scary movie, whilst still maintaining an element of fear through the use of gore.
Might Pee Your Pants Scary, But It’ll Be Worth It. Even as a lover of spooky films, I definitely needed to watch these with at least one other person. You know, just in case the baddie jumped out of the screen or something.
The Invisible Man (psychological thriller): This film touches on one of my worst fears–seeing and believing something that others think you’re crazy for. The plot twist/reveal in this film keeps you guessing right up until the last second. It does have some pretty violent and graphic themes, but is such an interesting and original concept.
Lights Out (supernatural-ish/thriller): In order to protect her younger brother, Rebecca must confront her childhood fear… the dark! It is pretty spooky and not too ridiculous, as they put some realism into why some people might get the chills when the lights go out.
The Babadook (supernatural/thriller): Follows a widowed mother who is haunted by the Babadook, the embodiment of her grief and depression, as she struggles to raise her young son. I watched this with a group of friends who were mocking it virtually the whole time, so I didn’t find it too scary, but it has been rated one of the spookiest movies of all time.
Hush (psychological thriller): Follows a female protagonist who is deaf and goes to do some work in a cabin in the woods (why you would do that, I have no idea), but she is not alone. The sadistic killer loves to play games and provides lots of jump scares and truly frightening, taunting moments.
Don’t Breathe: Follows three young thieves who decide to break into a blind man’s house and rob him as a seemingly easy target. It starts off as a scary ‘hold your breath’ type of movie, as the title suggests, then moves on to some real scary themes.
Prepare to Never Sleep Again Scary. The movies I would never watch again, not even if you paid me (well, actually, it probably depends on how much); you’ve been warned.
Midsommar (psychological thriller/horror): This movie f r e a k e d me out! I was so conflicted between the beautiful visuals of the film and the content of the scenes. It follows a group of college students who end up at a strange religious festival and get targeted one by one. You know when you finish a movie and you feel violated, and you have
to sit in silence for like 10 minutes? This one will do it to you. I literally had to sleep with one eye open. *Warning* This movie deals with themes of suicide and intense, realistic violence.
1922 (psychological thriller): Inspired by true events, this film is an adaptation of Stephen King’s novel of the same name. This movie follows the themes of crime, punishment, and greed, and how they can manifest into intense and real-life delusions. There was a lot of symbolism in this one that we had to google afterwards to fully understand what was going on, but the main themes we understood–that Stephen King is one spooky ass dude.
Words: Stephanie Jenkins
Whether you’re a horror fanatic or a little on the timid side, Newcastle has a wealth of creepy, kooky, or downright thrilling attractions on offer. From truecrime sleuth to ghost hunter, from green thumb to adrenaline junkie, here are a handful of things to tick off your bucket list this Halloween season.
Tin City, Stockton Beach
Hidden behind the sprawling dunes of Stockton beach lies a city like no other. Eleven tin shacks stand solitary on the sand, like something out of a futuristic dystopian. But this settlement—the last legal squatter settlement in Australia—is anything but haunted. Instead, people live there to this day in a bid to escape the hustle and bustle of the Newcastle cityscape and all that comes with it.
Planet Islington, Islington
Think: thrifting, but turned up to eleven. Planet Islington is the mother of all second-hand stores. Set up in the belly of one of Newcastle’s classic historic buildings, Planet Islington is home to dozens of
traders whose wares range from retro to vintage, from clothes to records. With a labyrinthine interior and antiques galore, the vaulted ceiling and the ancient atmosphere only adds to the goosebump-factor.
Treetops Adventure, Newcastle & Central Coast
For the thrill seekers and the fear-fighters, Treetops is the perfect experience to challenge yourself this Halloween. Set in the idyllic coastal rainforest, the huge trees and rope bridges remind you of just how small you really are. Choose from tree ropes courses, ziplining, or cowering by the sidelines, and get geared up for a fright. There are Treetops Adventure parks all across Australia, too; so, get roped in and give it a try.
The Fairy Garden, Broadmeadow
Get lost in another world at this sweet fairy garden. In the 1970s, Newcastle local Merv began to transform this plot of public land into the whimsical and picturesque snapshot of childhood that it is today. Full of plants and flowers, figurines, toadstools,
benches, and sunshine; this garden is a labour of love from one man to his community. Just watch out for the fae that might still linger there…
Dark Stories: True Crime Tours, Maitland & Newcastle
Do you ever wonder if Newcastle has some skeletons in its closet? These True Crime Tours spill all the nitty gritty details about the history of this city. As part of a walking tour, the Dark Stories team will take you through the minds of Newcastle’s most dangerous criminals and retrace the marks they left on our history.
The Lock-Up, Newcastle
This art gallery scored one of the best heritage locations when it came to spook-factor. Located in the old Newcastle Police Station and lock up, the gallery building operated as such between 1861 and 1982. Now, the space has been filled with awardwinning art and installations, right within the old cells and exercise yard. Adding to the eerie atmosphere are the remnants of inmate graffiti that still mar the walls of the cells, right alongside the artworks.
Newcastle Ghost Tours
If a ghostly ambiance just isn’t enough, Newcastle Ghost Tours can help make your shadow figure a reality. The company runs tours out of a huge range of historical Newcastle sites, including the innately spooky Maitland Gaol. Combining the rich history of the land with all things paranormal (think EMF readers, silent vigils, and psychic awakenings), Newcastle Ghost Tours are the home run experience of Halloween.
Head over to the Opus Instagram (@opus.unsa) and let us know if you’ve tried any of these spooks and scares.
The Devil’s ViolinBy Harman Burgess
Before the bidding starts proper, allow me to elucidate some of the more intriguing qualities of Lot 23. Popularly referred to as the ‘Devil’s Violin,’ it is an instrument of striking craftsmanship; note the rosewood body, the gold wound strings, the tuning pegs rumoured to be made of human bone… but do stop your jeering, gentlemen. This is a house of commerce, an institution! I am not some, some ‘victualler’ parading warm bodies on chicken skewers. Some class, please.
You’ll note, friends, in your handbooks, that this violin has something of a–ah, checkered past; has acquired something of a reputation, you understand, certain groundless rumours that it’s haunted. Built by Antonio Stradivari, it’s claimed that the great craftsman ‘passed on’ at the moment of its completion, hands still wrapped around its fingerboard. A tremendous number of thefts and double-crossings followed, too sordid to describe in pleasant company; but it kept cropping up again and again in the company of the titans of music. It was with this instrument Tartini composed his delightful ode in G minor; and for this, it’s claimed, Paganini parted ways with his soul. What’s more, it was just rediscovered on an ancient Indian burial ground in Georgia… but enough, friends. We can begin with the main point of our auction.
The opening bid is 5, now, 5… oh! The gentleman in the long black coat raises it to 6, now, 6… come fiends, this is a fine lot, an—7! To the man in the lab smock… 8, from the aristocrat with the long teeth… 8, now, eight… yes, I see the placard held high by an invisible hand; 9 it is… 9… 10! For the musician with red hair and shaved eyebrows… any higher, friends? Yes? Eleven to the gentleman in the long black coat (is that a tentacle I see poking out of your shirt, sir?)… 11, now, any higher? No? No?
SOLD!!! Lot 23 goes to the thing in the long black coat for eleven human souls…
Cold Case Cards
For Forensic FanaticsWords: Tegan Stettaford
I know we all love a little bit of true crime in our lives. This area has become so popular in recent years with everyone engrossed in conversation about the next, new Netflix serial killer documentary. I myself have been a true crime lover for many years and it inspires many aspects of my life; my favourite literature genre, my underlying career passion, and my newfound love for podcasts.
I will admit, I am quite late to the podcast game, but when I first started listening to podcasts earlier this year, I became entranced–and now I am hooked. Although I have not tested out too many, it did not take me long at all to find the two that would catch the attention of my ears and become my favourites: Crime Junkie and The Deck.
Although, The Deck holds a special place in my heart and is the essence of this article, I strongly suggest you give Crime Junkie a listen as well, as this podcast led me to The Deck. Both are hosted by the incredible Ashley Flowers.
The Deck podcast is based on a really interesting true crime concept, and one in which I had never come across previously; cold case playing cards. If you are like me, and have never heard of this concept before now, you might be feeling a trill of excitement
like I was when this podcast launched in February of this year. Essentially, there is a common initiative in the US where law enforcement agencies replace traditional decks of playing cards with the images and information of missing and murdered people, in hopes inmates will have further information on these cold cases. Each episode instils hope that a listener may have more information about the case and will come forward, and there is also information provided as to how to do so. What an absolutely brilliant idea!
Frankly, I hope that this is all you needed to hear to spark your interest; but nevertheless, let me introduce you to Linda Smith, the 9 of Hearts Idaho; the first card featured on The Deck.
Linda, 14, was asleep at her home in 1981 when she awoke to an unexpected man in her bedroom. It is believed that this man took Linda from her room, carried her back through the Smith’s living room, where her 9-year-old brother Ben had fallen asleep. Ben awoke and tried to hastily follow the pair but was shoved down. He never saw his sister alive again.
To this day, the person is still unidentified.
In the early days of Linda’s disappearance, it was believed by authorities that Linda had chosen to
run away that night, and that the story provided by Ben was just the result of a child’s imagination. However, not long after, clothing showed up off a highway exit that was positively identified as Linda’s, but–would you believe it–local police still did not believe Linda was abducted. A year went by without much movement in the case until human remains were found and identified as Linda Smith. Finally, authorities announced it was believed that foul play was involved. Unfortunately, with the passing of time, the chance to collect potentially essential evidence was lost. Considering the statistics stating that it is very rare that true stranger abductions occur, alongside the Smiths’ open-door policy, there is belief that the perpetrator may not be unknown to the family. On the other hand, the remains of other young girls were found in the area sparking concerns of a different nature, with the infamous serial killer Ted Bundy being on the list of possibilities until he was ruled out due to the timeline of his stints in jail.
The mysteries surrounding Linda’s abduction and murder remain, but there is no doubt that this case may have been completely different if those first responding officers had taken Ben seriously.
The Spooky, The Weird And The Sometimes Comforting
Stories Of The Afterlife Contacting Us
So, here’s the thing, this isn’t everyone’s cup of tea. There are so many different interpretations of the afterlife: hell, heaven, and everything in between.
In my family, I grew up around death… as weird as it sounds. From an early age I was introduced to the concept of passing away and “we’ll meet again” (a very famous song by Vera Lynn). Around the age of five, my grandad passed away due to cancer. We knew he was declining, and we all expected it. It was heart-breaking, really. I remember seeing him go from walking, to being in a wheelchair, to being bed bound. While again, we expected it, it was still hard. A short time after, my grandmother’s doorbell started ringing randomly. I’m not just saying some random kids would come up and ring it. No, we checked. It would just ring on its own. We would watch our cousins walk down the driveway–we would be sitting in the living room–and before they got to the door… the doorbell would ring. It was always just a normal thing; if it rang, we would say “hello grandad” and continue on with the conversation. I know, it’s weird, right? But it was literally just normal for me, a sixyear-old.
Then we took his ashes to Bar Beach, where he laid him to rest. That day, the day we truly said goodbye,
he rang the bell one final time, and we never heard it again… until 2014. We moved into a new place just around the corner from my grandma. My grandad, he was a jokester, right. He loved to give us mint slices and stage whisper about us eating them. He would also let out the deadliest farts, with all the windows wound up, and it would be so bad that my cousins would throw up. All the while he would be laughing until his stomach hurt. He absolutely loved playing tricks. So, back to 2014. We had moved into this new house which had a doorbell… and it started ringing by itself. We got it changed, thinking, it can’t be… but it was. Suddenly, one night, the doorbell started barking. I’m serious. Dead serious. The doorbell straight up was barking. We couldn’t believe it, and all we could do was laugh. It happened a couple of more times, and then Grandad gave up–he must have had his fix of playing tricks.
At age eleven, my cousin's dad passed away. He was a pretty cool dude, my cousin’s dad. So, when he passed away, obviously my cousin was devastated. It was hard, that afternoon, when we got the news. But he showed us what he wanted most: my cousin was supposed to get his dad’s watch. This is important. At the moment he passed, both my mum’s and my dad's watches stopped. My dad’s, just for 5 minutes, but
my mum’s? It stopped working completely. The day was a Thursday, I won’t give the exact date but let’s pretend it was the 13th. So, her watch stopped, it was the afternoon, say 4 o’clock. Now, keep all of that in mind. Ready?
Look at this…
The watch was at 4… my cousin’s name: Sam.
Luckily, my cousin got his dad’s watch, as intended.
At age seventeen, the year of my HSC, my pop passed away; and that, of course, again, was so hard.
A week before, I had a dream that, in the morning, brought me to tears. He was sitting in the car, next to me, while my parents were in the front, my mum crying. He looked at me, as if asking me, why? I told him, in the dream, that “you’re gone. You’re not here. She’s crying because you’re gone.” That morning, my mum called the facility he was at and, that night, we went
to see him. I remember so clearly looking into his eyes, and it was as if time stood still. He knew. He knew that I had that dream, and he knew he wasn’t going to be around for long. That week, he passed away in his sleep…
Now, I’m twenty. I have strong feelings when something might happen, dreams which have told events, or meant that I needed to check in with a person because something wasn’t sitting right in me. I have lived around death my entire life and, sometimes–my mum and I especially–get those signs from people not with us anymore. We don’t go seeking for it, we’re not mediums, or anything like that, but we keep our minds open. If there is something that really needs to be told, we will hear it.
The less scary way to get into the spooky season
Words: Melanie Jenkins
So, you think Halloween is super cool and quirky except for the fact that you’re actually terrified of blood, gore, and horror? Don’t stress, I have the solution for you: Sitcom Halloween specials! A way to get into the spooky season minus the sleep paralysis and nightmares. They’re fun, light-hearted, and best of all, you get to see your favourite characters dressed in hilarious costumes.
Brooklyn 99 - Halloween IV (Season 4, Episode 5)
Arguably one of the best continuing series traditionsthe Brooklyn 99 Halloween heists. With each season, a new twist, and a new competitor to be claimed ‘The Ultimate Detective/Genius’ or rather, ‘The Ultimate Human/Genius,’ thanks to the one and only Gina Linetti. As the unsuspecting underdog, and organiser of the heist’s plaque award, it’s about time she hijacked it; playing a prank on the entire squad with her “broken teeth” whilst creating a more inclusive award. The pairings of the teams are really fun in this episode: the classic Jake and Gina throwback, the hyper-organised Amy and Rosa, and the unlikely duo, Charles and Holt. Whilst I could give the best heist episode award to the two-parter in Season
8 - because it was pretty darn amazing - and I think it was a great way to wrap up the series, although it wasn’t for Halloween so, unfortunately, doesn’t make the cut for this list.
The Office - Halloween (Season 2, Episode 5)
* Content warning: Readers are advised that the episode of The Office discussed below makes brief reference to suicide *
Chaotic energy is probably the best term to describe The Office Halloween specials. Out of the 6 produced, the best is 100% the OG - “Halloween” in Season 2. Tasked with firing someone by the end of the day, Michael - with his paper mache second head - asks for help from his employees, who charm and convince him not to fire them. We hear the iconic Michael Scott scream “arghhh I’m going to kill myself,” when Jim turns the tables. The symbolism of Michael’s costume is well done - wanting to be friends and liked by everyone on the one hand (or head), whilst being the boss and making tough decisions on the other. Meanwhile, we see Jim and Pam continue their “will they, won’t they” relationship with the excuse to play another prank on Dwight, in an attempt to get him to accept a new job elsewhere. This episode is just chock full of classic Office vibes, with an underlying fearful tone, very suitable for the Halloween theme. The costumes, besides Jim’s of course, are worthy of a watch in themselves.
Friends - The One With The Halloween Party (Season 8, Episode 6)
Surprisingly, we don’t see much Halloween content in Friends - not properly, at least - until Season 8, where Monica and Chandler host a party for the holiday. For a mandatory costume party, Rachel justifies not dressing up because of her soon-to-be pregnant belly, and is in charge of handing out candy to the children trick or treating. This does not go well for her to say the least. Meanwhile Phoebe, who’s in a supergirl outfit, develops a crush on Eric, her twin sister’s boyfriend…yikes. A highlight of this episode is when Chandler, who’s wearing a pink bunny suit, and Ross, who’s dressed as Spudnik (or doody), have an arm wrestle to impress/prove a point to their respective partners, Monica and Mona. During this very long arm wrestle, Monica says that Chandler is pulling his “sex face” and the bloopers of this scene are absolutely hilarious, because nobody can seem to keep it together - especially David Schwimmer. All in all, a great Halloween special.
Some other favourite sitcom Halloween specials I’d recommend include Modern Family - Halloween s2 e6, How I Met Your Mother - The Slutty Pumpkin Returns s7 e8, and New Girl - Keaton s3 e6.
The Mathematically BEST Halloween CostumeWords Samuel Cox
As Halloween approaches, many people around Australia will no doubt be turning to the internet for assistance as to what costume they should choose for trick-or-treating, or to stand out at their annual Halloween party. With so many good options to choose from, it can be hard to know just what costume might help you stand out from the crowd. Thankfully, dear reader, we have the power of statistics on our side! In order to prove that maths can answer anything, I’ll be looking at four fairly common examples of Halloween costumes–vampire, werewolf, zombie, and skeleton costumes–over a period of five years, back to 2017, to compare their popularity. Last year, a vampire costume was the go-to choice for Aussies when trying to find a costume on the internet. Behind that, zombie and skeleton costumes saw roughly equal levels of internet traffic, and werewolf costumes came in with the least amount of interest. The impact of COVID-19 on social events is evident from the data, as the large spikes in internet searches in October of 2020 and 2021 are a lot less
pronounced compared to previous years. Although, the increase in internet search queries for some of the costumes in October of 2021 is interesting, as more Australians were in lockdown in October 2021 compared to 2020.
You shouldn’t be embarrassed if you leave finding a costume a bit too late, as a majority of the internet searches for all of these costumes occurred in the two weeks preceding Halloween. So don’t be worried if each year you feel like you’ve left choosing a costume far too late–it appears most people do it as well! Although, that trend seems to have changed for this year, as all the costumes analysed here have seen an abnormal increase in internet search queries since June.
While it cannot be determined if this internet traffic is from people researching these costumes specifically for Halloween, when the search data for October is released it will be interesting to see if this earlier traffic causes the typical October spike to taper off earlier than other years.
It also seems that screen habits and upcoming boxoffice titles also affect which Halloween costumes are the most popular on the internet, as a possible correlation appears between interest in vampire costumes and the release of the film, Morbius.
For Halloween of 2021, vampire costumes were significantly more popular than the other three costumes. By October of 2021, a considerable amount of hype had already been created for the movie, as various trailers for the film had been released onto the internet. Despite poor reviews, Morbius went on to make $250 million (AUD) at the worldwide box office during its release in June. The data shows that around June the number of internet search queries relating to vampire costumes began to increase. In comparison to the previous five years, this substantial increase is irregular as normally searches for vampire costumes will remain quite low until right before Halloween. This suggests that for Halloween of 2022, vampire costumes will see another significant burst in popularity, possibly greater than that witnessed in 2021.
Since 2017, the number of internet search queries for zombie costumes has been slowly decreasing. From 2017 to 2019, this costume was the most popular with Aussie internet browsers, however; with the arrival of COVID-19 in 2020 the interest in zombie costumes dropped to a rate which was on par with that of vampire costumes. In Halloween of 2021, zombie costumes received a similar amount of internet attention compared to 2020, despite vampire costumes receiving a significant boost back up to prepandemic levels. In 2021, werewolf costumes also saw a greater than normal amount of internet interest right around October. While there is a clear spike
which coincides with Halloween each year, in 2021 this spike almost doubled compared to previous years. This is particularly interesting as no major werewolf blockbusters were released in 2021 which could have accounted for this anomaly.
Whilst this data only reveals how the popularity of a minor subset of Halloween costumes has changed over the years, it does offer an interesting insight into how some Aussies go about choosing a Halloween costume. If there is one key takeaway from this data, it’s that maybe it’s time to get rid of that vampire costume you wear to every Halloween party. Statistically, if you go as a werewolf, you have a much better chance of standing out in the crowd!
For this year’s Halloween zine, I decided to create a Monster House inspired illustration. As a kid I remember wanting to go on a spooky adventure with friends so bad because of this movie so it only felt right to bring it back for this Halloween featuring some of my favourite details from the film!!
SuburbiaBy Tan Rege
Each day was silently the same, with washed up sunrises and clean cut lawns. Each noise a murmur in the stagnant air. Suburbia did not induce exhilaration, the sting of a sweat stained brow unknown. No surprises, only a deafening normality.
It made us wonder, were we really living?
Were we really human?
Some said that our creation was unnatural, to be born from a tangled web of roots. Perhaps, they had said, our soul had splintered, having been grown under the surface. That the dirt in our lungs had strangled our breath, stealing the piece left behind. And maybe it was, for we were all binded to this town; escape was unknown.
Yet, the alternative was a reflection. Watching yourself age, skin sagging like a rotten pumpkin before it collapsed all together. Lost in the blandness of normality, of conformity. What was the meaning of our existence? Why did this land grow us so, just to watch us die.
But the answers were not known. So, we let our skin dull and crease, hair falling in clumps in order to feed the land around us, until one day we too would die. Each season the land would replenish its life source. Humans, fully grown, curled beneath the surface. And we, kneeling, with our hands gently digging away until they were raw and bloodied–nails no more than brown crescents. Too many times impatience would win, and a shovel would pierce through flesh and bone. The blood spilled was sulfuric, an acrid taste churning in your stomach. The corpses left behind would continue to age. Unnatural and hollow eyed. We prayed they would never awaken. But they were not fully dead either.
Suburbia stunk of repeated actions, of hands that could never be scrubbed clean. But once it had its hold on you, you could never leave.
The Spooky Side of ResearchWords: Tegan Stettaford
For many, the thought of research is ‘scary’, whether reading it or conducting it. Many degrees often involve the need to understand articles, the results they present, and the validity and reliability of these, to be able to appropriately formulate arguments within assignments. Further, degrees frequently involve conducting your own research, whether that be on a smaller level for an assignment, for an honour’s thesis, or even masters or PhD dissertations. As a PhD researcher myself, I think it is important to acknowledge and normalise these concerns and fears as they often remain no matter the stage of career or level of experience! The following is a list of some things that make the idea of research a little bit spooky.
If you are not statistically or mathematically inclined (much like myself, honestly) this might unsurprisingly be one of the most scary components to research. When it comes to deciphering research, terms like p-values, correlation coefficients, ANOVAs and the like can be overwhelming. Even when qualified to conduct research, these aspects are often still a major cause of stress, concern, and uncertainty in the field. The biggest learning point to note (and point of reassurance for me) is that it is completely acceptable, and often expected, that there will always be more to learn and develop in this space.
Statisticians and other experts play a really key role in this development and ensuring that your research is sound for publication.
Particularly relevant when you are a student researcher is the constant feeling of being an imposter in this space. This is something I am very much akin to. Lack of experience, not feeling qualified to do it, or worrying it is not high enough quality to be deemed ‘good research’ are some of the intruding thoughts. Unfortunately, these thoughts can lead to reduced work output, stress, feelings of anxiety and depression, and considerations of giving up. There are always so many facets within research and they differ constantly from project to project, or even within a project from day to day, which compounds these feelings.
One of the more common spooky sides of research, particularly noted in earlier years of undergraduate study, is plagiarism. I am sure we have all had it drilled into us not to plagiarise in our assignments and how to cite information properly to ensure we are not doing this, but it most definitely still occurs! In my experience of marking assignments across various undergraduate levels, I have come across numerous examples of plagiarism that were quite blatant and thus referred to SACO. The gravity of this didn’t set
in until I became an author on a published article. It is quite a confronting thought to think that the ideas I helped produce might be getting used without adequate acknowledgement. Although this isn’t really a concern so much in terms of assignments, it is certainly still a possibility in more published manners.
It is quite terrifying to realise that there are people out there who attempt to publish intentionally fraudulent research. Whether this be completely making up data, changing data, establishing hypotheses following the collection of results, or anything far and in-between. It is scary to realise that this has and does happen, whether for financial gain, career progression, or anything else you could envision. You may have heard somewhere that ‘vaccines cause autism’. Anyone who knows much about statistics/research would feel a little uncomfortable just from the causal statement here, but this belief didn’t stem from thin air. The idea that vaccines cause autism was the unfortunate product of a fraudulent paper that was published and became quite a hit. Unfortunately, the main author had financially vested interests in the outcome of the paper, thus falsifying data to suit the story that would fit this goal.
From a career perspective, one the most disconcerting aspect of research is the reality of the career. Only a couple years into my PhD and I am realising how exhausting the realities of this work can be. Work is often quite persistent, never really feeling like you can tick everything off. The hours are often incredibly long and there can be unexpected components to the work that really increases workload. Within a day or less you may go from 0 to 100 emails! The teaching and marking is another component that can really drill into time (but I must admit this is a component I thoroughly enjoy) if you pursue an academic research career. Supervision, meetings, grant writing and the like all add up to commitments and result in frequent work overflow.
Despite the components that instil a little bit of fear into researchers and the consumers of it, it is such a rewarding pathway and one that I have no regrets in pursuing. If you get the opportunity to conduct research yourself, I would highly recommend it! It is such a rewarding process with such valuable skill development despite the scary moments.
Words: Stephanie Jenkins
Halloween: that eerie time of the year whence the veil between our world and the spirit realm is at its most translucent. While Mercury has moved out of retrograde, the spooky October atmosphere might still keep you from settling. Take a peek at what’s in store for you this month, and whether you should take heed of the things that go bump in the night.
Mar 21 – Apr 19
The gate that you have been waiting to open now swings upon its hinges. Cooped up, the air stuffy from your own fiery glow, you finally push forth into the fluttering wind of a new day. Take yourself by the horns and run, Aries; just don’t forget how quickly fire can spread.
Gemini May 21 – Jun 20
October is all about relationships for you, Gemini; but you must speak each word with intention. The old edict ‘you can’t love somebody else until you first love yourself’ might be baseless, but to drive towards your destiny you first need two hands on the wheel. Keep your eyes on the road.
Leo Jul 23 – Aug 22
Mercury’s incessant retrograde might have seen your mouth running faster than you could catch it this month. But, as the communication giant moves into Virgo, you should feel your feet slip back under you. With strong legs, a proud head, and nothing to lose, you’ll realise the chains that held you down were held by your own hand.
Apr 20 – May 20
The Earth may seem hazy through the fog of October ambiance, but under a Taurus’s feet it might be reinvigorated. Your roots grow twisted and deep: remember to tend to them. By the time the worms tunnel their home in your flesh, it will be too late.
Cancer Jun 21 – Jul 22
Balance is less like a silver scale and more like the tide. As the waves ebb and flow, so too should your attitude to what you giveth and what you taketh away from those around you. A little more, a little less: baking is indeed a science, but taking some liberty here and there can lead to some sweet surprises.
Virgo Aug 23 – Sep 22
Often coded as the introvert sign, you might find yourself desperate to break free from those knowing looks this month. That wall in front of you wasn’t erected from nothing, and the mud still dries on your hands. Don’t build that room too small, Virgo.
Libra Sep 23 – Oct 22
I know you’re looking forward to Halloween, Libra, and don’t look back now. Mercury retrograde is back there, and I know you’re trying to forget it. Instead, look at how far you’ve come and see how the road continues to carry onward from right under your feet—never-ending, straight to the horizon.
Nov 22 – Dec 21
Did the full moon hit you especially hard this month, Sag? Whether you spent it indoors or out, you might find yourself harkening back to that night a few more times this month. Hold on to the energy that it imbued within you, but remember that sudden epiphanies are for you, and you alone.
Aquarius Jan 20 – Feb 18
While everyone is out playing dress-up, you might find yourself locking your door instead. The full moon this month casts its silver glow on communication for you, Aquarius—don’t close your curtain to it. If you’ve been waiting for an excuse to talk; this is it.
Scorpio Oct 23 – Nov 21
Mercury might have tripped everybody up, but Pluto’s own retrograde hit you the hardest, Scorpio. The lord of the underworld finally rights herself this month, taking you with her. But, don’t let her pull you through the veil. Make sure you have a tight tether to the real world, even if it means putting down roots in the concrete.
Capricorn Dec 22 – Jan 19
This year has been tough for you, Capricorn. Never one to emote so clearly, the Mercury retrogrades that have filled your year might have sent you spiralling like a jester in a whirlpool. However, don’t cease your twirl too suddenly. Let the dizziness remind you of how far you have come, and how much farther you might yet have to go.
Feb 19 – Mar 20
You may be the elder of the zodiac, Pisces, but you actually can teach an old dog new tricks. You know what you want, don’t lie to me. Now is the time to ask for it. Use the forward dance of the planets this month to guide your steps and foxtrot your way into difficult discussions. It’s time for them.
C L U B SPOTLIGHT
University of Newcastle Law Students' Association
The UNLSA is a place for law students to expand their passion from the classroom to a variety of places.
Since 1994, we have been supporting the education and promoting the interests of Newcastle law students within the University, the legal profession, and the wider community
Social Events Education
produce a wide variety of
to cater to all interests, including social and public interest events, legal skills and advocacy
as well as career