360 Degrees: MYSTERY ISSUE

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THE MYSTERY ISSUE :: SPRING 2013 :: ISSUE #29

TAKE YOUR TASTE BUDS ON A TRIP :: TALES FROM THE CRYPT :: JOURNEYING TO THE CENTER OF THE EARTH :: UNEARTHING HISTORY AT THE REMEMBRANCE WALL :: THE SPOOKIEST SPOTS IN SYRACUSE

MYSTERY :: SPRING 2013


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Otto is doing what he does best, bringing the Syracuse fans to their feet. He’s somewhere on this page, but can you find him?

Otto loves the spotlight, look for a camera crew and he will be close by!

NEED A HINT?

MYSTERY :: SPRING 2013

photo :: Michael Quagliana


Editor’s Note Editor-in-Chief

Victoria Pruitt Managing Editors Jill Comoletti Erica Murphy Creative Directors Zuly Beltre Sean Danz Long Features Shayna Miller Christina Ferraro SENIOR EDITOR

ASSISTANT EDITOR

Short Features Meredith Jeffers Linda Gorman SENIOR EDITOR

ASSISTANT EDITOR

Front of Book Nicole Vas Hayden Willing SENIOR EDITOR

ASSISTANT EDITOR

Art Production Trevor Zalkind

I don’t know about you, but I’ve always loved a good mystery. All growing up, I would watch Scooby-Doo and Mystery Inc. and try to figure out who the ghost witch doctor was. I owned every copy of the New Adventures of Mary-Kate and Ashley and read each one cover to cover the day I got it. They gave me a chance to discover and learn without having to leave my house. And, no matter what, I would find out whodunit by the end of the story. Mysteries were the only thing that could hold my attention. When I was trying to pick the theme for this issue, I went through a lot of ideas and none of them really seemed right. I wanted something that I would want to read and something that all of you would want to read. Once the idea of Mystery popped into my head, I knew I had found our theme. With this issue, we looked into some things you’ve always wanted to know, and some things you never knew you wanted to know. Ever wonder who rings the bells we hear coming from Crouse? We tell you about them on page 17. Find out what your classmates said when we asked them what they think Scholarship in Action is on page 6. Also, check out what happened when a time capsule was found at the Remembrance Wall on page 14. If you want to find out about more things off campus, check out our map of the best foods in Syracuse on page 8. And if you’re interested in writing, check out our piece on mystery writer David Cole on page 20. We hope you enjoy our stories as they satisfy the mystery seeker in you. So, get out your magnifying glass, bring along your mystery-solving dog if you have one, and break into 360’s Mystery issue.

PHOTO DIRECTOR DIGITAL MEDIA DIRECTOR Juile Anne Dellinger ASSISTANT WEB EDITOR Shannon Hazlitt COPY EDITORS Courtney Haupt

DESIGNERS

CONTRIBUTORS

ILLUSTATORS

PHOTOGRAPHERS

Alexis McDonell Alexa O’Connell Lisa Prywes Meghan Rimol Kelley Rowland Cheryl Seligman Trevor Zalkind Roswelle Barleta Nataija Bush Kaitilin Juchniewicz David Manzler Alex Perle Alexis Quarles Jeremiah Shalo Abby Starobin Lucy Tomkiewicz Nina Reichenberg Katrina Bartocillo Talia Haviv Eden Lapsley Dee Lockett Nikelle Snader Dan Blaushild Andrew Colaprete Andrew Greif Anna Paterno Robert Sack Mary Anne Quill Alicia Zyburt Nicole Vas Jennifer Hale Jennifer Jakubowski Sarah Kearns Svitlana Lymar Maryangel Rodriguez

It’s been real,

Victoria Pruitt

mission statement :: Since its debut at Syracuse University in 1998, 360 Degrees has always strived to achieve a balance between tradition and change. Founded by Lanre Mayen Gaba as a new lens to view culture, 360 Degrees has a different focus, format, and feel than its predecessors. Through the years, the magazine has become a general interest publication with a cultural twist, dedicated to informing students about issues on campus, in the community, and in the whole world at large. disclaimer :: The views expressed in 360 Degrees are not necessarily those of the entire staff. 360 Degrees welcomes contributions from all members of the Syracuse University and SUNY-ESF community but retains the right to publish only material 360 Degrees deems acceptable to the publication’s editorial purpose.


FRONT OF BOOK

6 TOP TEN INTERPRETATIONS OF SCHOLARHSIP IN ACTION 360 asked the campus what it thought about “Scholarship in Action.”

7 LIKE MY STATUS

Facebook updates chronicle the life of Catherine Schur.

8 DESTINATION DELICIOUS

Some of the best places to find food in Syracuse

10 SCARYCUSE

We checked out four of the eeriest and most mysterious places in Syracuse. Enter if you dare.

32 COMING FULL CIRCLE

In honor of our fifteenth anniversary, we revisit old issues for a glimpse into 360’s past

34 GOIN’ GHOST

FEATURES

Scientific Paranormal Question & Answer

12 THE FATHER THING

One of 360’s own shares her story of growing up with a single mom

13 CEMENTING HISTORY

The story behind Margaret Olivia Slocum Sage, one of Syracuse’s most beloved benefactors

14 TIMELESS TREASURES

After remaining hidden for over two decades, an old time capsule resurfaces and provides answers to age-old questions

15 DINNER WITH A SIDE OF DOOM

With murder, clues, and off-the-wall actors, the ACME Mystery Dinner Theater serves up an evening full of eerie entertainment

16 LAMBDA LEGACY

After the closing of Alpha Chi Omega, members still feel the effects of losing their sorority three years later.

17 BRASS SANCTUARY

Venture into the world of the Crouse bell tower, where the bells loom and the chime masters reign

20 MAN OF MYSTERY

Local writer opens up about his writing process and the inspiration behind his novels

22 SKELETONS ON SPRING STREET

Syracuse University professor Shannon Novak examines the remains of a lost community

24 THE STORM

A fiction piece by Talia Haviv

26 CAVERS TO THE CORE

Braving icy footholds, cramped spaces, and muddy waters, 360’s photo director explores the mysteries of a nearby cavern

30 PASSION OFF THE PAGE

Members of SU’s comic book club form a community based on their shared love of stories told across illustrated panels

MYSTERY :: SPRING 2013


TOP TEN INTERPRETATIONS OF SCHOLARSHIP IN ACTION compiled by :: Katrina Bartocillo art :: Mary Anne Quill

It’s no question that the students of Syracuse bleed orange. Orange culture, from rowdy tradition to raging school spirit, makes our campus community close. If asked for our campus motto, many will shout, “Let’s Go Orange!” But there is another three-word phrase that defines SU, one that leaves many students dumbfounded. 360 asked the campus what it thought about “Scholarship in Action.”

1 2 3 4 5 6

The Most Popular Response “I have no idea what that means.” –Will Roth, S.I. Newhouse School of Public Communications ‘16

Makin’ Bank “It’s obviously got to be a scholarship… It’s some scholarship that helps students that can’t afford to go here.” –David Manzler, College of Visual and Performing Arts ‘14

Senioritis “To me, Scholarship in Action represents the Cuse Is Cray video and $3 cover at Chucks.” –Lauren Ottaviano, College of Arts and Sciences ‘13

A Right of Passage “I think of the Common App and how I had to do a question on that when I applied here and how I completely made something up”. –Jenna Kielar, College of Arts and Sciences, ‘16

The Classic ‘Chuck Norris’ Response “It’s when Chuck Norris reads a book, or when a book reads Chuck Norris.” –Sean Cotter, S.I. Newhouse School of Public Communications ‘13

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“It’s how Harry Potter quit and If Syracuse Turned Intoschool Hogwarts “It’s how Harry Potter quit school and then defeated Lord Voldemort.” –Brianna Smith, School of Education ‘13

Hurrying Hunchbacks “Scholarship in Action is kids rushing around with their backpacks on, looking stupid.” –Kris Murray, College of Arts and Sciences ‘15

Bounced Right Back “Do you actually know what it is?” –Evan Krentzel, L.C. Smith College of Engineering & Computer Science ‘16

The Gold Medal Goes To... ‘I think Scholarship in Action is students running around competing for scholarships, kind of like the Olympics.” –Kelley Simon, S.I. Newhouse School of Public Communications ‘16

Robin Hood Rip-Off “It’s a bunch of superheroes in action. They steal scholarschips from the rich and give it to the poor.” –Audrey McNicholas, Colege of Arts and Scienes ‘16


Like mY stAtus FACEbook updAtes ChroniCLe the LiFe oF CatheRine sChuR compiled by :: Erica Murphy

Catherine Schur

Last night in the US of A. Tomorrow I’m Cairo bound. I’m really roughing it, but no camels yet. However, I will keep you posted about the camel situation. Do illiterate people get the full effect of alphabet soup? Just opened what looks like a 400-page textbook for the first time. The Amazon rainforest called, it wants its trees back. Apparently John McCain is blaming illegal immigrants for starting the fires in Arizona, because nothing says “let me sneak undetected across the border” like a blazing fire. Thanksgiving equals a holiday where you eat until you want to combust. I used to play house outside with my sister and we used acorns for currency. Oh, are my “political” posts annoying you? Sorry, I thought the future of our planet was worth discussing. By all means, show me another picture of your dinner. I’m very proud of Maine and my Maryland for approving Question 6 same-sex marriage bill! Couldn’t be prouder to be from the 301.

photo :: Jennifer Hale

Was it only this week I was telling Claire Sorrenson that I had not lost my phone or I.D. card yet and how surprised I was with my newfound responsibility? How about this morning when my phone broke and my I.D. snapped? I snapped it enough that it won’t work anywhere, but the sympathetic guards let me through the library and the bus gate because they feel so sorry for me, or they think I’m stupid. I think they feel sorry for me because I’m so stupid. “My bed is a magical place where I suddenly remember everything I was supposed to do.” I now have an iPhone so the BBM is no longer. Sadness ensues. I just want a guy that will put the toilet seat down. Insha’allah- It’s not just a phrase, it’s a lifestyle. Otto is terrifying. I have nightmares of that frightening piece of fruit. Let me tell you, the dahab kiss is pretty amazing. Go crazy. With my minimal knowledge of Arabic, I just can’t help hearing Inigo Montoya’s voice from The Princess Bride: “I do not think that word means what you think it means.”

“I was going to have a beer but then I had wine. It’s a life decision.” “The ‘people you may know’ feature on Facebook should be called ‘acquaintances you obviously dislike’.” Remember to always check the trunk/back of your car. You never know who could be hiding in there. Egypt, you have had many ups and many many downs. I’ll miss everything from Alexandria, to even, yes, Ain Soukhna, to the guy in Khan who said he would, “kill his wife for me,” I have to say, Egypt you are home. Egypt: 256 Catherine: 0 I’m a little sea slug, short and stout, here is my handle, here is my spout. A little cheese once in a while is perfectly acceptable. I failed at making Mac and cheese. I pacific oceaned my Mac and cheese. So it was a year ago today that I jetted off to Egypt on the same flight as many of my roommates and friends. I had the best experiences in Cairo and I miss you all terribly. (Yes I suck at keeping in touch). I miss ranting and stomping around the room. In exactly four months, I’ll (hopefully, insha’allah) be back in Masr in July for more adventures.

MYSTERY :: SPRING 2013

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MYSTERY :: SPRING 2013


We checked out four of the eeriest and most mysterious places in Syracuse: Enter if you dare words :: Hayden Willing art :: Andrew Colaprete and staff

The 13 Curves of Cedarvale Road

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Driving along Cedarvale Road on Onondaga Hill (nicknamed the “13 Curves”) makes for an unnerving experience. It becomes downright terrifying when glimpses of a ghostly bride appear in your rearview mirror. Supposedly, she’s the spectral remnant of a woman who, along with her new husband, died in a tragic car accident on the night of their wedding 70 years ago. The New York State Shadowchasers, contributors to the Central New York Paranormal Fest, explain that the car veered out of control on the 7th curve — also known as Dead Man’s Curve — and fell into a creek. Since the accident, many people have claimed to see the spirit. Weird U.S., a duo who travels the country seeking abnormal and spine-chilling events, has studied some legends of the ill-fated newlyweds. The most popular, according to the pair, stems from sightings of the bride wandering Cedarvale Road, desperately searching for her lost husband. People sometimes see her carrying an lantern splattered with blood, or simply wandering along the shoulder of the road. Weird U.S. also found that many believers think she only appears on Friday the 13th, the day the accident supposedly occurred. Sometimes the sightings are of a more aggressive nature. There have been reports of the bride leaping in front of passing cars, appearing in back seats dripping in blood, and then disappearing immediately, only to leave drivers speechless. The Shadowchasers describe the bride as blurry and staticky with a glowing red head, fleeing into the woods when cars draw near. Though the legends vary, one thing’s certain — when driving the 13 Curves, keep your eyes on the road and your hands on the wheel. You never know when the bride of Cedarvale Road might be feeling spiteful.


The Rock Quarry

The landmark theatre

Many people view the Split Rock Quarry, west of Syracuse, as a harmless place to visit. But for some, the legend of its tragic past deters them from wandering too close. Split Rock Quarry housed a munitions plant during World War I. On July 12, 1918, a massive explosion rocked the quarry after a machine malfunctioned and caught fire. Dangerous materials such as TNT and picric acid contributed to the spread of flames. Workers were unable to control the blaze, and 50 died that night. Of these, 15 were burned so badly that their remains couldn’t be identified. Most people attribute the strange experiences they encounter to these horrific deaths. Forgotten USA, a collection of ghostly encounters, explains that the spirits of these men stand along the quarry’s ledge, glowing in blue, green, and yellow. The color results from the picric acid that covered and burned the workers when the plant exploded. A rock crusher remains as the only piece of machinery still standing at Split Rock Quarry. Visitors report hearing voices and footsteps at the locations, and some also feel a drop in temperature. Some even say they can hear the rock crusher “humming” and making noises as if it’s still functioning. Word of advice? Stay clear of the rock crusher.

The beautiful and historic Landmark Theatre has hosted silent movies, concerts, and a multitude of talented singers and actors since its construction in 1928. However, one such starlet refuses to leave the spotlight. Since the 1930s, guests have reported numerous sightings of the “woman in white,” an actress known simply as Clarissa (or Claire, in other legends). The Central New York Ghost Hunters, who periodically lead hopeful tourists around the theater in search of Clarissa, describe her as an apparition wearing a white dress. Stacy Jones, the founder of CNY Ghost Hunters, theorizes that Clarissa’s death was a fatal accident. While standing on the balcony, she supposedly witnessed her lover, Oscar, get electrocuted by the Westinghouse (the machine controlling electricity at the time). Overcome by horror, she fainted and plummeted to the ground. The CNY Ghost Hunters also present an alternate legend, claiming her death was deliberate. Distraught over her inability to land the part in a play, Clarissa threw herself from the balcony onto the stage below. According to hauntedhouses. com, she remains trapped in the Landmark Theatre. Guests know she is near when they see a ghostly blue light and smell lilacs. CNY Ghost Hunters say that Clarissa enjoys popping up in front of theater attendees at the most unexpected times. She also enforces many of the Landmark’s rules, appearing in front of those who don’t comply and scaring them into submission. So turn your cell phone off when you go see a show, or you might find yourself faceto-face with the woman in white.

syracuse city hall Did you know that the current Syracuse City Hall was once the city jail? Prisoners resided in the basement, and according to reports from workers in City Hall, one still lingers around looking for revenge. In a Syracuse government newsletter from 2003, Elke Young, a maintenance worker at City Hall, recalls hearing the elevator in the rear of the building start to move by itself. Most people credit this to a mechanical malfunction, but Charles Cassidy, the maintenance crew leader, says nothing was wrong with the elevator. Not only does it move unexpectedly, but it also seems to have a mind of its own. When people enter, the spirit sometimes takes them to the floor of his wishes, which puzzles many mechanics and technicians. Young also remembers hearing footsteps descending the stairs into the basement, but he never saw anyone there. Various workers report feeling a presence and experiencing cold chills. Aside from the vengeful ex-con theory, there are many others that account for the mysterious haunting’s origin. Some believe the spirit belongs to an old mayor who refuses to abdicate his position of power. Others think it’s simply a deceased City Hall worker who uses the elevator to keep an eye on the place. Whatever the reason, you might want to just take the stairs.

MYSTERY :: SPRING 2013 11


THE FATHER THING One of 360’s own shares her story of growing up with a single mom words :: Meredith Jeffers art :: Robert Sack

My father was a pirate once. Later, that same year, he was a teacher. I can’t remember what grade he taught — first, maybe? Second? I didn’t care much for details. What mattered was that “teacher” is more believable than “pirate,” and definitely more believable than “prince.” Of all the scenarios I came up with, I had always hoped the prince one was true. I imagined myself standing onstage in this massive ballroom with gold chandeliers, surrounded by everyone who has ever asked me why I don’t have a father. I would cough the nerves out of my throat, muster my strongest voice, and say, “The reason you’ve never met my father is because he’s a prince,” and then I’d drop the mic and head off in search of my tiara. But I always knew it wasn’t true. As the years went on without inheriting the throne, the fantasies faded away, and I figured it out. Still, I couldn’t let “anonymous sperm donor” blip in my thoughts without something gnawing in my chest. I couldn’t admit to myself, I will never know him. I couldn’t admit to myself, I am not whole. Cut me in two and one side will spill out memories, history, and traceable traits. I have my mother’s curly hair, my grandmother’s hooked nose. I have a verifiable identity. The other half is empty. It’s a question mark I try to erase, but the etch is permanent. There’s this void, and I don’t know how to fill it, or if I ever will. I am not whole. I am not whole. “I’ll do anything to help you,” my mother would say when I cried about “the father thing,” about how I was pessimism incarnate — a human half-empty. Had I been a little less self-absorbed, a little less caught up in my you-will-neverunderstand-me angst, maybe I would’ve heard how all of her sentences trailed with an unspoken, why am I not enough? But I took her help, and I’m not sure I ever once said thank you. I tried therapy, big scoops of ice cream, pocket notebooks to write poems in, but nothing worked. The absence never stopped hurting. Late into fall semester of my freshman year, my mother scrounged up the last bit of help she could gather: an email address.

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“Maybe a worker from the cryobank remembers something,” she said, optimism incarnate, half-full. I don’t think I said thank you then, either. I sent out an email begging for something, anything. Bullet points would do. I didn’t need a face or a name or even an eye color. I just needed to know he was real, and that, by default, I was real, too. Within minutes, I heard my inbox ping. New message. After a brief back and forth, it had been decided: I wanted to read the donor file. I wanted to know.

For the first time, both of us knew I was telling the truth. Eighteen years I had waited, and it took only seconds for me to realize that knowing these tiny details wouldn’t change me — that he wouldn’t change me. He doesn’t have that sort of power; he’s a stranger who just so happens to be my father. Somewhere he exists, but not to me. Maybe he is a pirate or a teacher or a prince. Maybe he has a family of his own, or maybe he’s a loser with a beer belly and a bulldog. Maybe he thinks of me as often

I felt my father’s absence like a blot on my collar. Maybe it wasn’t noticeable outright, but it was there, and once it was spotted, it was impossible to look away. One last ping. Eighteen years I had waited, and there he was, right in front of me. He was a typed-up document, a number, but he was there on my computer screen. There were only the basics: dark hair, hazel eyes, family history of heart disease and depression. Gee, thanks Dad! I read the form until I had it memorized. And then I took the next natural step and called my mother. “Are you okay?” “Yeah,” I said. “I’m okay.”

as I thought of him. “Maybe” is all I’ll ever have, but that’s okay. I already have what I need. I have a mother who wore the paper ties I was forced to decorate in art class for Father’s Day, who let me discover for myself that I am no less normal than anyone else. I have a mother who has known all along that, someday, I won’t remember what it felt like to believe I was anything less than whole.


CEMENTING HISTORY The story behind Margaret Olivia Slocum Sage, one of Syracuse’s most beloved benefactors words :: Alexa O’Connell photo :: Maryangel Rodriguez In Oakwood Cemetery, 54,893 headstones lay scattered across 160 acres of land. Some look worn and weathered. Others appear well cared for, with flowers and wreaths from recent visitors. Amos Westcott, Edwin Vose Sumner, William Lawyer Hinds, and John Crouse are a few of the names that spark recognition for anyone who knows the area well. That small sense of familiarity transforms the cemetery from a place of death to a place full of history. Sue Greenhagen, an Oakwood Cemetery tour guide who is also on the board of directors for the Historic Oakwood Cemetery Preservation Association, spends much of her time strolling the grounds. While she can rattle off facts about most of the deceased, Greenhagen developed a particular interest in Margaret Olivia Slocum Sage. Sometimes during tours, she even acts out living history and dresses up as Sage. “I have the greatest respect for Ms. Sage,” Greenhagen says. “Perhaps that’s why it was so easy for me to assume her persona.” Margaret Olivia Slocum Sage, who went by Olivia, was a Syracuse native and the second wife of New York financier Russell Sage. For 37 years, her status as the wife of a Wall Street tycoon fueled her high-class reputation. After her husband passed away in 1906, she became one of the richest women in America, with a fortune worth about $75 million — the equivalent of approximately $1.5 billion today. Sage turned to philanthropy and became an advocate for women in higher education. Within months of her husband’s death, she contributed money for the Teachers’ College at her favorite institution, Syracuse University. The College was designed to provide training for teachers in secondary schools until its closure in 1934. In 1912, a few years

after her first donation, Sage gave to the university once again, this time with a far more personal motive. “She endowed Slocum Hall as a tribute to her father,” Greenhagen says. Because of her father’s interest in agriculture, Sage donated over $250,000 for the College of Agriculture and the construction of Slocum Hall. The money kept agriculture professors employed, provided more scholarships, and paid off the mortgage on

After the completion of Slocum Hall, the building housed the College of Agriculture, as well as the architecture department, the School of Home Economics, and the School of Business. When SU relocated various schools and departments in the 1950s, Slocum Hall became home solely to the School of Architecture. Olivia Sage died in 1918 and was buried in Oakwood Cemetery. Even though her husband was laid to rest in Troy, N.Y., she

“She gave considerable money to many educationl institutions, but I think she was especially fond of SU because Syracuse was her hometown.” —Sue Greenhagen the university’s farm. In September of the same year, she provided $83,000 for the university to spend as it pleased. “She gave considerable money to many educational institutions,” Greenhagen says, “but I think she was especially fond of SU because Syracuse was her hometown.”

wanted to be buried with her mother and father in Oakwood. “And, let’s face it,” Greenhagen says, “Oakwood was where the movers and shakers were.” Olivia Sage rests in section three of the cemetery, right next to her parents, and right down the street from the institution that she so generously supported.

MYSTERY :: SPRING 2013


TIMELESS TREASURES After remaining hidden for over two decades, an old time capsule resurfaces and provides answers to age-old questions words :: Meghan Rimol art :: Anna Paterno

Two years after tragedy shook the Syracuse University community in 1988, a group of workers labored tirelessly to construct a memorial honoring the 35 students on Pan Am Flight 103. The memorial, known as the Wall of Remembrance, serves as a place of reflection for all those affected and features engraved names of the students whose lives ended so abruptly. As the months of construction finally came to an end and the wall was ready for presentation, the workers quietly made a personal contribution to the historical site before unveiling it to the public. Flash forward to earlier this year — the wall was again under construction to fix damage from years of harsh weather conditions. While deconstructing the wall, workers were surprised to discover a small tube containing photos, letters, pay stubs, a driver’s license, a list of the workers involved in the original construction of the wall, and other keepsakes. The original crew hid a time capsule in the Wall of Remembrance, where it remained for 22 years before finally resurfacing last fall. Cara Howe, the assistant archivist for the Pan Am Flight 103/Lockerbie Air Disaster, has been working to examine the artifacts and determine the story behind the time capsule. She says that although the archivists don’t know who developed the idea for the capsule, it is clear that the workers left it behind to document their contributions to the memorial. “What’s most interesting from an archival standpoint is that most time capsules are meant to be found and opened at a certain point in time,” Howe

I think the workers were honored to be involved in the memorial’s construction.” As the director of the Office of Undergraduate Studies, Judy O’Rourke works closely with the Remembrance Scholar program. Coincidentally, O’Rourke says before the old capsule was discovered, this year’s scholars presented their own idea to leave a time capsule at the wall. They wanted it to be opened 26 years later, on the 50th anniversary of the tragedy. This new time capsule will include pictures and messages from current scholars that represent their time at Syracuse University and explain what

“In the present, we are compiling a time capsule in memory of the Pan Am event in the past, for future Remembrance Scholars to open.” —Anna Kahkosta explains. “Since the memorial was intended to be permanent, the workers probably assumed that no one would ever find or see the time capsule.” Howe believes the crew left the capsule at the Wall of Remembrance because of the emotional connection they felt with the site. “I think time capsules are commonly found at places of significance that people feel strongly about or that have a lot of significance to the community,” Howe says. “Pan Am 103 touched many people, and

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being a Remembrance Scholar means to them. Senior biochemistry major and Remembrance Scholar Anna Kahkosta heads the Time Capsule Committee. Kahkosta says that they came up with the idea of a capsule to symbolize this year’s Remembrance Week theme of “Look Back, Act Forward.” “The best way that we could think of to tie together past, present, and future was through a time capsule,” Kahkosta says. “In the present, we are compiling a time

capsule in memory of the Pan Am event in the past, for future Remembrance Scholars to open.” The new capsule will be buried in front of the Wall of Remembrance at a ceremony in the spring, just feet away from where workers found the old capsule. Both O’Rourke and Kahkosta feel this project presents an opportunity to connect everyone affected by the tragedy. “The scholarship does a beautiful job of tying together the victims to current students, and current students to scholars before them and the generations after them,” Kahkosta says. “I think it’s really important to expose that entanglement of victims, their families, professors, and students.” Replacing the old time capsule with a new collection of keepsakes encourages the tradition of looking back and acting forward to continue. “By looking at the lives of all the people lost on Pan Am Flight 103 and what they planned to do, the scholars realize how similar they are to them,” O’Rourke says. “They look at the impact they could have had and the impact that they hope to have, and it spurs them to achieve.”


DINNER WITH A SIDE OF DOOM With murder, clues, and off-the-wall actors, the ACME Mystery Dinner Theater serves up an evening full of eerie entertainment words :: Shayna Miller photos :: Sarah Kearns

It’s Thursday night, and a crowd of dinner guests forms inside the Spaghetti Warehouse. But these eager customers aren’t just here for the pasta; they’re waiting to solve the mystery of the Deadly Inheritance. The ACME Mystery Company, founded by actor, writer, and businessman Bob Greene, has performed comedic mystery dinner shows since 1997. After buying a struggling mystery company that regularly performed at the Spaghetti Warehouse in Syracuse, Greene, who majored in theatre arts at Pennsylvania State University, gathered a

This type of audience interaction requires a crew that feels comfortable going off script and playing along with whatever gets thrown at them. Likeability is a key trait that Greene looks for in an actor. “When you are that close to the audience, people know right away if they like you,” he says. “Even the characters that are despicable in our shows still have to be likeable. People have to like to despise them.” These characters drive the show forward and have also saved the show from difficult situations. During one of Greene’s hillbillythemed shows called Homestyle Homicide,

ACME has earned a reputation for entertaining, sparking laughter, and creating a memorable experience. Greene points out that people can’t fully understand or appreciate one of his shows until witnessing it in person. “You have to be in the room with us when we have it going on to really feel what’s happening,” he says. “You really will just get swept up in it.”

“Now it’s like, what won’t the audience do? They will do anything you tell them to do. The show is really about them.” group of actors and went to work writing his first script. Today, Greene has written over 10 mystery-themed comedies, which the company brings to life in more than 100 public and private shows each year in New York state and throughout the Northeast. Greene’s company and his cast of characters take their audience through an interactive and hilarious performance to solve their latest mystery. To start, the audience members find a clue at each table along with a bio for each character in the show. During the first act, the cast encourages guests to mingle with other tables and barter for more clues. Actors then make their rounds looking for members of the audience who want to participate in the performance. Initially, Greene was unsure about whether the audience would want to be involved this much. “Now it’s like, what won’t the audience do?” he says. “They will do anything you tell them to do. The show is really about them.”

—Bob Greene

a particularly loud and obnoxious audience member threatened to disrupt the show. “You see, audiences respond to certain things,” Greene explains. “When we do a show about hillbillies, they all seem to know how to be rednecks. They really get into the character just like this guy did.” In an effort to get him under control, one of the actors jumped on top of the man’s table. He grabbed his bottle of wine, chugged it, and slammed it back down. “The audience went crazy,” Greene says, bursting into laughter. “I don’t know why, but it was right at the time, and they loved it.” Near the end of the show, the company asks audience members to fill out a “detective card” to guess how the mystery will be resolved. After the finale and the reveal, the cast holds an award ceremony for the three best guesses, along with the three worst. “We have people who come to our shows all the time and make a point not to solve the mystery,” Greene says. “But rather to give the most ridiculous answers possible. And they are good at it.”

MYSTERY :: SPRING 2013 15


LAMBDA LEGACY After the closing of Alpha Chi Omega, members still feel the effects of losing their sorority three years later words :: Alexis McDonell art :: Dan Blaushild

While walking through Walnut Park, passers-by can identify the many fraternities and sororities on Greek Row by the letters nailed to the houses. But at 705 Walnut Ave., the sign reading “Alpha Chi Omega” no longer hangs above the front window. The once bustling house looks out of place on Greek Row. A family now rents the house where chattering girls once shared stories, watched movies, and prepped for nights out. In January 2011, Alpha Chi Omega’s Lambda chapter closed as a result of severe risk management violations. The national chapter informed members of the closure on Jan. 27 and said it would go into effect the next day. Elizabeth Gamache, a finance and policy studies dual major and member of the 2010 pledge class, says it felt like a family

“We feel bad that girls who might have gained confidence, maturity, and love through our sisterhood have to miss out on that experience because we no longer exist on campus,” she says. Alpha Chi Omega completely changed Gamache’s view of Greek life. She had never considered joining a sorority until she went through rush and met the members of Alpha Chi Omega. “It showed me this group of incredible, brilliant, but very different women who just loved each other and were a family.” Gamache says that other fraternities and sororities felt for them too. “Everyone had a best friend in another house and everyone hurt for us,” she says. The Vera House, Alpha Chi Omega’s philanthropy organization, also faced hardships from the house’s closure

“Something that was a part of you and helped define who you are was abruptly taken away.”

—Elizabeth Gamache

member had died. “Something that was a part of you and helped define who you are was abruptly taken away, and it was painful to say the least.” In the weeks leading up to spring rush, Gamache and her sisters were preparing to meet potential pledges. But on the Wednesday before rush began, Gamache witnessed a scene she will never forget. “I walked into the formal sitting room and everyone was sobbing,” Gamache says. “I turned to a sister and said, ‘What now? What else can they do to us?’” Moments later, members of their executive board announced that nationals had filed to revoke their chapter. As part of the revocation, all members of the Lambda chapter transitioned to alumna status. They were still allowed to wear letters in public, and residents in the house could stay through the end of the spring semester. However, representing as an active member was prohibited. Three years after the event, some former sisters still feel uninformed about what led to the closing of their beloved chapter. “There are a lot of stories and everyone has their own opinions,” Gamache says. “And our sophomore class really wasn’t told much.” But one thing remains clear: the closure had nothing to do with the actions of the 2010 pledge class. Gamache and her sisters suffered the consequences of poor choices made by their superiors. After this class graduates, there will no longer be any Alpha Chi Omega members on campus. Many sisters wish their sorority could continue and leave a legacy at SU.

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because it no longer received donations from the sorority’s bi-yearly philanthropy events. The remaining sisters feel the most disappointment during rush in the spring

semester. This time of year reminds them of what they never experienced as active members of their sorority. Big-little week was Gamache’s favorite memory in the house, and she wishes freshmen girls could experience that through Alpha Chi Omega. “I felt so loved during that week,” Gamache says. “I finally felt included.” Although the sisters don’t have a house or regular meetings, the remaining members of Alpha Chi Omega still stay in touch, even with those who have already graduated. Members throw birthday parties for each other and go on a pub crawl at the end of every semester together. Gamache feels the strongest connection to Alpha Chi Omega when she hears “Build Me Up Buttercup.” The sisters created their own words and motions to the familiar tune, and always played it during parties. “I still tear up to that song,” Gamache says. “When I sing it, I feel like I’m home.”


words :: Nikelle Snader photos :: Jennifer Jakubowski

MYSTERY :: SPRING 2013


rouse College perches upon the hill, its bell tower far above the city that splays before it. Its looming presence at once beckons and chills, the warm brick exterior a contrast to the mystery that lies within. Few have access to the interior, and smaller still is the number permitted to venture beyond four flights of stairs, past locked band room doors, and into the depths of the bell tower where the 10 chimes rest. The bells, a gift from namesake John Crouse, became a part of the university culture in 1889 when Crouse College was completed. Joseph Downing, Ph.D., who has taught music theory and composition at Crouse since 1985, says the bells are technically a set of chimes. If they were only bells, there wouldn’t be enough notes to play a tune. The number of chimes allows for several musical selections. Downing says a music major in the DKE fraternity rang the bells when they were first installed. With the exception of the two world wars when a sorority played the chimes, DKE shouldered the responsibility for the bells until the 70s. The bells lay silent for several years after DKE disbanded on campus, until another student decided to form a club modeled after the Cornell chimemasters. The chimemasters at

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Syracuse continue in this tradition, led and organized by senior vocal performance major Anthony Acocella. Acocella got involved with the chimemasters as a freshman, and continued to ring the bells because it was a unique experience that he enjoyed. He also finds the bells bring an important aspect of culture to the university. “Bringing something that can be heard to everyone and using that as a way of uniting the traditions of the campus is my favorite part, and probably the most important part of what we bring to the SU campus,” he says. This past fall the chimemasters rang 26 strokes in memory of the school shooting victims in Newtown, Connecticut. Acocella also says the bells can commemorate moments, such as a peace council event that also took place in the fall semester. Though currently all music majors in some fashion, the chimemasters do not limit the privilege to majors within Crouse. The chimemasters only require that interested students can read music. Maggie Swartout, a junior music education major, adds that experience on a keyboard helps adjust to playing the notes. Plus, she adds, potential chimemasters cannot be afraid of the towering staircases to the bells. “Or you have to be willing to get over your fear of

heights,” she laughs. The stairs, some metal and grated; others wider and roughly sanded planks, create a harrowing experience for the faint of heart. The first set leads from the interior base at an angle that, from the top, makes the stairs at the bottom disappear into the incline. The crisp outside air meets a wall of musty odor upon entering the tower. The inner sanctum of the tower holds decades of band paraphernalia, file cabinets brimming with old paperwork, and rusting desks with a film of dust upon them. The room slants slightly inward as the tower narrows toward the spaces above, and hundreds of signatures coat every blank space of plaster. The signatures overlap each other, slapped up with paint, scrawled in pen or Sharpie, and tell the stories of generations past that have called the tower home. Greek letters claim ownership from the fraternity, a band shoe — called a dinkle by those who wear them — takes over prominent territory for the band legacy. The bells rest another two levels up, but this room houses the spirit within the tower. It’s easy to imagine the students who have paraded in and out of the tower with purpose: they belonged, and for a time had full reign over the notes that emanated from the brass bells.


You don’t really realize that all of campus is listening to you. Or can hear you. You’re kind of just doing your own thing.” — Maggie Swartout For Swartout, the tower began as place of intrigue for her. “The first impression is kind of scary and haunting for a lot of people, and it was for me at first,” she says. “I didn’t really want to go up by myself.” Still, entering the tower now is a bit like stepping in to her personal sanctuary. “It’s really calm,” she says. “Really peaceful. Because you don’t really realize that all of campus is listening to you. Or can hear you. You’re kind of just doing your own thing.” The chimes swing into their clappers through a pulley system, the cords suspended in the second level of the tower to a series of levers each assigned its musical note. The levers can be played as musical scales on keys, but with perhaps less fluidity than Beethoven. Especially noticeable during the tundra-like months, ice forms on the cords and requires more force than normal to play a melody. Swartout, who typically plays twice a week, says that the chimemasters prepare to use more force on the first song they play to crack the ice. Swartout and the other chimemasters choose from two binders of dampened sheet music for their songs, which they play at 15-minute segments three times a day throughout the week. Swartout loves playing quirky selections like “If I Only Had

a Brain” from The Wizard of Oz. She also enjoys “What a Wonderful World” by Louis Armstrong, which she plays by ear and to which she often adds her own variations. There is also a wide variety of Beatles songs, Disney numbers, and even some from the Harry Potter soundtrack. Swartout plays “Amazing Grace,” a classic hymn, in each of her turns in the tower. In some cases, the bells become a poignant contribution to the legacy at Syracuse in more ways than just the commute to class. Each November during Remembrance Week, the chimemasters ring the bells at the time Flight 103 crashed over Lockerbie, Scotland, killing 35 SU students returning home from a study abroad semester in London in 1988. Downing has played a stroke in memory of each student for most of his years at SU. The moment is especially meaningful for Downing, who lost one of his students in the crash. He remembers Nicole Boulanger, and the other students whose lives were cut short. “Every year that I do it I just sit there and I think, ‘She’s supposed to be 40. She’s supposed to be 45. She’s supposed to have 3 kids and be working in a theater in Kansas,’” Downing says. Downing remains confident that the tradition of ringing the bells will

continue, despite ebbs and flows of student involvement. For Acocella and Swartout, the attraction was the tower’s mystique. It lets them feel like Quasimodo in an element that few students have the chance to experience. An aura of importance surrounds the tower, perhaps because its presence marks so much campus history. For much of this semester, the bells will lie silent until the largest bell gets repaired. After decades in use, it’s not surprising that the bells require care to maintain their regal stature. If nothing else, it adds character. The tower will remain quiet until an all-clear when the chimes can clamor across the quad again. With luck they will ring in the 2013 commencement ceremonies, signaling a new beginning for the bells and the graduates who recognize them as a part of the campus tapestry.

MYSTERY :: SPRING 2013 19


Local writer opens up about his writing process and the inspiration behind his novels words :: Linda Gorman art :: Alicia Zyburt photo :: Svitlana Lymar

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collection of teapots takes up at least two shelves in David Cole’s living room. The teapots come in all shapes and sizes — round and narrow, miniature and oversized. Some of them, Cole’s wife Deborah Pellow explains, came from the year she spent teaching in China. More of Pellow’s artifacts, accumulated from years of research in Ghana, cover the walls and most of the room’s flat surfaces. Cole’s contributions to the house’s decor are harder to spot. Seven book covers bearing his name hang on the walls; three in one frame, four in another. Cole does not have much ego attached to his work, he explains. “There’s no mystique about being a writer; it’s a job.” As it turns out, writing mystery novels is just the latest in a long list of vocations. Cole went to college for aerospace engineering and kill weapons at Michigan Technological University, and took some master’s classes in drama at Stanford University. He worked for more than 30 years as a technical writer and editor before ending up at Syracuse University, where his wife already worked as an anthropology professor. Cole eventually got a job in the computing department of SU’s Maxwell School of Citizenship, where he worked for a few years. Cole remembers creating his first short story when he was 7 years old, but didn’t make a career out of writing until 30 years later. He started out with plays and then moved to short stories. A compilation of those stories became Cole’s first mystery novel, Butterfly Lost. Published in 1999 by HarperCollins, Butterfly Lost is told from the perspective of part-Hopi computer hacker Laura Winslow. She gets hired to help find a man’s missing granddaughter. She soon

finds herself out from behind the computer — hot on the trail of a criminal responsible for the mysterious disappearances of several young girls. In order to publish his book, Cole had to first secure an agent. Within days of sending the first half of Butterfly Lost to 13 agents, he heard back from one who offered to represent him. The agent then negotiated a contract with publisher HarperCollins. In the years that followed, Cole completed six more books about Laura Winslow. The entire process of getting published, Cole explains, takes about a year from turning in a first draft to his agent to actually seeing the book in print. He uses a simple but effective method to produce his books: “In the morning, I edit. At night, I create.” Each stage involves editing and rewriting, then more editing and more rewriting. “It’s a slog,” Cole says about the repetitive process. Despite the slog, Cole enjoys the work he does and is grateful to write for a living. “You’ve really got to want to read and

write,” Cole says about becoming a writer. “And you’ve got to know what kind of things you want to write.” For Cole, politics serve as an inspiration for all of his mysteries. “I’m a political animal,” he says. Though Butterfly Lost was set in northern Arizona, the next six Laura Winslow books took place in southern Arizona so Cole could include the issue of illegal immigration. The longtime Native American activist and co-founder of nonprofit Native Web, Inc. has a place with his wife in Tucson, Ariz., where he spends part of the year researching and writing. And why mysteries? Cole’s answer is simple: “The good guys win.” At 77, Cole does not see himself retiring anytime in the near future. For some writers, he says, coming up with material can be difficult. Writers focusing on family drama may eventually run out of autobiographical details. “But mysteries,” Cole begins, and then pauses. “There’s always a mystery.”

Stalking Moon: In an effort to distance herself from her past, Winslow hides out in the Arizona desert and attempts to fall off the grid. Any illusion of peace and quiet shatters when a call from her friend, Bobby Guinness, sets Winslow out on a quest to expose a shocking human trafficking operation.

The Killing Maze: Laura Winslow has started a new career in Tucson, Ariz., working for private detective Miguel Zepeda. Her new life is threatened when Zepeda mysteriously disappears. As Winslow to investigate an alleged pharmaceutical fraud on her own, she soon finds herself embedded in a dangerous world of online scams, border politics, and gang violence.

Scorpion Rain: After her friend gets kidnapped near the Arizona border, Winslow faces the dangerous Sonoran Desert with the help of a reporter familiar with the area. In doing so, she risks losing the safety of the cyberspace identity she created to escape her past MYSTERY :: even SPRING — and maybe her life.2013


s n o t Skele treet on Spring S Syracuse University professor Shannon Novak examines the remains of a lost community words :: Jill Comoletti art :: Sean Danz

he Spring Street Presbyterian Church breathed social revolution. Built in 1811, in what was then New York’s rural countryside, the church reflected the diversity of its surrounding residents at a time when Spring Street fostered urbanization. The church became one of the first mixed-race congregations, and its pastors and members supported radical abolitionism. But these views failed to spread throughout the state, and many New Yorkers snubbed the church because of its firm beliefs. In the race riots of 1834, a mob attacked the church, smashing its windows, destroying its interior, and eventually tearing it down to scraps. Though it was later rebuilt, a fire destroyed it again in 1966. Despite


the multiple tragedies, part of the sacred spot remained: four underground vaults containing approximately 250 bodies of past congregation members. Today, the Trump SoHo New York hotel occupies the old church site. And as for the bodies? They’re here, at Syracuse University. The remains surfaced in 2006 during construction of the Trump hotel. The 46-story building site had already caused protests from neighborhood residents, many of whom felt it wouldn’t fit with the SoHo landscape. When the remains were found, construction of the building came to a halt while archaeologists excavated bones from the underground vaults. After analyzing the remains, archaeologists transferred them to the custody of the Presbytery of New York City, a group of congregations and worshipping communities in the five boroughs of the city. Shannon Novak, a bioarchaeologist and associate professor of anthropology at SU, now works for the Presbytery and has begun piecing together the lives of these former congregation members. “We try to understand their life histories,” Novak says. “We can’t talk to them and ask them about their lives, but we can understand the way growth occurs, how the body interfaces with social and physical environments, and just really try to understand what was unique about their lives.” Most of the Spring Street churchgoers belonged to the working and middle classes, and Novak says their skeletal remains prove this. Some of the bones appeared worn, showing that those people probably spent their days laboring at the nearby docks. Other remains showed less strain, which meant the individuals belonged to an occupation that required less physical labor, like teaching. Part of analyzing the remains included identifying them, which proved difficult for Novak. Because the coffins had decomposed, bones mixed together. And during construction of Trump SoHo, a backhoe crashed through a vault, further scattering the remains. Only 29 of the coffins displayed nameplates, which were considered luxuries for wealthy members. Luckily, these plates help identify two individuals: 14-year-old Louisa Hunter and 76-year-old Rudolphus Bogart. The discovery of Louisa Hunter surprised Novak. “We don’t have that many teenagers. There are lots of little kids, lots of old people,” she says. “Back then, usually if you made it through childhood, you did okay.” Louisa, however, broke the mold. Markers on her teeth and skeleton indicated that she suffered from a chronic illness, which her obituary later supported.

Rudolphus Bogart worked as a merchant in New York City, and Novak says he looked like he had worked hard throughout his life; his knees were torn up, and other parts of his skeleton showed that he took part in some heavy lifting. To make some of her observations on the population, Novak completed a pilot study about various isotopes of 12 individuals. By using carbon and nitrogen isotopes, Novak could tell what foods the individuals ate. The oxygen isotopes told her where they were raised. Most of these revealed normal dietary patterns and places of origin for the population, but a few outliers appeared. One teenager grew up in a temperate European climate, and the only part of his body found was his head. Puzzling Novak even more, the top of his head had been removed from his body, and pins were placed in the front and back, indicating that he was a teaching specimen. “How do you explain a teaching specimen who’s buried with the abolitionists?” Novak asks with a laugh. “You know you’ve got a good project when the more analysis you do, the more questions are raised.” Novak’s students helped her immensely in studying the Spring Street remains. She taught advanced bioarchaeology courses based on the bones and encouraged students to publish papers on the subject. Novak still mentors undergraduates studying the population, and a few will pursue graduate degrees in bioarchaeology. While Novak enjoyed much of her work with the Spring Street remains, she ran into a few challenges along the way. One of the biggest obstacles occurred when the bones first surfaced in 2006. New York State law let Trump SoHo retain control of the bones since it owned the land on which they were found. SU didn’t start receiving the bones until eight months later. The Presbytery finally gained control in 2011 and sent the rest to SU. “I think if we’d had the collection all at once, I would’ve liked to have done the process differently,” Novak says. “I’ve spent a lot of time redeveloping our methods and techniques every time we get new bodies in, and I think that’s been frustrating for me and frustrating for some of the students.” The nature of the deceased community made this experience stand out to Novak. She says this collection differs from her other analyses because most of her work focuses on isolated populations. “This urban population has been maddening,” says Novak. “The patterning is all over the place, we clearly have people coming from the countryside, coming from

Europe, coming from Africa, so it’s been really interesting to me to see how much variation there is.” In the next two months, Novak will start working with morticians to transfer the remains to New York City, where they will be buried in a Brooklyn cemetery. Even though the bones are gone, the work still continues for Novak. The Presbytery has allowed her to keep a tooth and bone sample, and she hopes to gather enough funding for DNA and isotope tests on the whole population. Novak says. “The more we can learn about the diverse group of abolitionists who attended the Spring Street church, the better.”

MYSTERY :: SPRING 2013 23


M R O T S the

a fi

y Talia b e c e i p n ctio

w Greif art :: Andre

Haviv

Every hoot of an owl makes him jump. Every time a branch falls from a tree, he almost pisses his pants. The storm clouds block out the moonlight. The only reason Danny hasn’t tripped or walked into a tree is the small flashlight in his gloved hand. At least he knows these woods well. Still, as Danny walks toward his destination, goosebumps cover his body, and not from the cold. Kevin would call him a pussy if he could see him now. Danny takes a deep breath and glances at his watch. He curses to himself, picking up the pace once he realizes he has lost a couple of minutes.


When he reaches the dirt road that runs parallel to the river, he shines the flashlight up and down the path. Nothing. He crosses and keeps walking. Once he’s at the river, he follows it north toward its widest and deepest point, where the bridge is. Danny sees a figure on the other side of the river and recognizes him

She looks over at her best friend. Why can’t I be more like Harper? Harper sits in the driver’s seat, her thin knees resting against the steering wheel, eyes closed. How can she be so calm? Nothing affects her. Sometimes, Nati wishes she could just block out her feelings. But she can’t, and ever since what

SOON SHE WON’T HAVE A REASON TO BE AFRAID ANYMORE. THINGS WILL GO BACK TO NORMAL. instantly as Shawn Michaels, his best friend. Shawn is the only person Danny knows who walks like that — kind of a lazy shuffle with a slight limp. Shawn shattered his knee skateboarding a few years ago, and it healed, but left him with a bit of pain. Shawn crosses the bridge to Danny’s side of the river. “Nothing.” “Same,” Danny replies. Shawn nods and pulls out his phone to send a quick text. Now they wait. Nati sits in Harper’s Jeep, waiting for the text from Shawn and Danny. Chuck is outside, staring up at the cloudy night sky, his hood pulled up over his dark brown mohawk, even though it’s not raining yet. It’s still weird seeing Chuck without Kevin. The two of them were inseparable. Once. No one speaks. There’s nothing to say, really. This will all be over soon, and they’ll be able to move on with their lives and be happy. Nati’s so sick of being scared and miserable all the time.

happened with Kevin, she’s been terrified of everything. Soon she won’t have a reason to be afraid anymore. Things will go back to normal. Nati shudders as she remembers that night. Not a minute goes by that she doesn’t think about it. About him. Her cellphone vibrates suddenly, making her jump, and she hastily flips it open to see a message from Shawn: All clear. “Come on, they’re ready,” Nati calls out her window to Chuck as Harper turns on the engine. This is it. It’s nearly over. Nati can almost breathe again. After Chuck gets in thea backseat, Harper starts driving, slower than her usual reckless speed. It’s like she’s actually feeling emotions for once. “Everything okay, H?” Nati asks. Harper’s hands clench the steering wheel, and she nods, keeping her eyes on the road. “I’m fine,” she growls, and slams down on the gas pedal, making Nati yelp in surprise as the car jerks forward. Even Chuck sucks in a sharp breath, and he’s barely been responsive for hours now. Harper doesn’t slow down when it starts drizzling. Even as the rain turns from a light sprinkle to a full-on downpour, she doesn’t slow down. She’s so not fine. They make it to the river in record time. The car comes to a halt as they arrive at the spot on the road closest to the bridge. From here on, they’ll have to walk. Harper gets out first and slams her door, pulling the hood of her black jacket over her head and walking around to the back to open up the trunk. Nati makes no move to follow. She stares straight ahead, an empty look on her face, not seeming to notice the water that’s now showering her right side and slowly turning her light brown hair a darker shade. Chuck watches her, thinking that’s the way he feels inside. Empty. Shit. He really thought he’d feel better about this. “You two assholes wanna come out and help me, or what?” Harper says, snapping Chuck from his thoughts. Hell, he thought everyone would feel better about this. Nati’s twitching a lot, Harper’s being a bigger bitch than usual, and Danny was really jumpy when Chuck saw him and Shawn earlier. Shawn’s the only one who seems to be handling this well. He’s always been good in emergencies. Then again, he didn’t have as much of an

issue with Kevin as the rest of them. They need someone like Shawn to keep them on track. As he steps out of the car, Chuck realizes it’s raining harder than he thought. He pulls his hood farther down over his head and walks around to the back, where the others are taking the garbage bags out of the trunk. There are four bags, so the girls each take one, leaving Chuck to take the heavier two. Harper closes the trunk, not bothering to lock up before they head toward the river. It’s amazing how long this walk seems to take. Normally it takes about five minutes to get from the road to the river, but now Chuck swears they’ve been walking for at least half an hour. When they finally make it to the river, Chuck sees Danny and Shawn waiting for them. The two friends stand up from the fallen tree trunk they’ve been sitting on and walk toward the group, staring at what they’re carrying. “What’s with all the bags?” Shawn asks, frowning. Danny looks nauseous. “Harper decided to chop it up into smaller chunks,” Nati mutters, dropping the bag at her feet. “It makes it easier to carry.” “You’re looking a little green, Daniel,” Harper sneers, pulling a plastic bag out of her pocket and shoving it into his chest. “If you’re gonna puke, do it in here. No evidence.” Danny just stares at her in shock. It’s like she had done this before. “Let’s get this over with,” Nati says, as she quickly climbs onto the bridge. “You guys coming?” As they walk over, Shawn puts a hand on his best friend’s shoulder, saying, “You all right, man?” Danny’s freckled face still looks a little green, but he hasn’t puked. He nods his head vigorously. “I’m fine.” They can all tell he’s trying to sound strong, but there’s no way anyone misses the way his voice trembles. Suddenly, Chuck’s having second thoughts about what they’ve done, and what they’re about to do. Standing on the bridge, staring at the gushing water, he’s frozen to the spot. Chuck watches the bags float away until they’re out of sight. The others have gone back to the car already. He should be alone for this anyway. He pulls a piece of paper out of his pocket — a letter. The rain smudges the words, but he’s memorized what it says. He reads it aloud, even though no one’s around to listen. It just feels right. By the time he’s done reading, he knows that tears are streaming down his face, indistinguishable with the rain. He lays the paper on the wall of the bridge and puts a rock on it to keep it from flying away. Leaning over the edge to stare into the water, he takes a deep breath. “Goodbye.”

MYSTERY :: SPRING 2013

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CAVERS

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Braving icy footholds, cramped spaces, and muddy waters, 360’s photo director explores the mysteries of a nearby cavern words and photos :: Trevor Zalkind

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dorned in Batman pajama pants and sporting a Tarzan-like mane, Syracuse University Outing Clubtrip leader and SUNY-ESF senior Nathan Roser pulls out a CD case; from it, he retrieves a shiny, blue disc with the words “Dangerous Dick and the Duckbusters” scribbled on it. As the Subaru glides along I-90, its CD player whines and the beginning of an Irish ballad plays: “Cavers to the core me boys, we’re cavers to the core, as we play and sing don’t forget one thing, we’re cavers to the core…” A constant flow of fiddle and caving lyrics set the topic for discussion during the two-and-a-half hour drive to Bentley’s Cavern, near Berlin, N.Y. “The cave we’re going to has a lot of vandalism,” Roser says. “People signed their names all over.” “So it’s like Chuck’s?” senior Emily Dunckle asks, inciting laughter from the group. The Subaru rolls into the lot. We equip ourselves and

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begin trudging through snow banks and over downed trees. After a mile or so, we assemble at a stab wound in Mother Earth, evidently the entrance to the cavern. We pause to make final adjustments to our kneepads and fumble to find switches to turn on our headlamps.

I go in feet first and am pleased to discover footholds. I am less pleased to discover that the footholds are covered in ice. My descent is expedited after my foot slips. Incidentally, I behead a few ice formations in subconscious retribution as I attempt to stabilize myself. I’m already off to a good start.

IT WAS TIME TO ABANDON ALL PERCEPTIONS OF CLEANLINESS AND ARMY CRAWL THROUG THE CHILLED, MUDDY WATER. “Morbidly obese people can’t fit in this cave — but you’re fine,” Roser says to the group. Though seemingly a compliment on our slim physiques, we would soon learn it was simply an acknowledgement: We fit the minimum requirements for squeezing through a not-so-gaping hole in the earth.

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I chase the dancing light ahead of me, suddenly finding it reflecting down a stream. It was time to abandon all perceptions of cleanliness and army crawl through the chilled, muddy water. By the end of the 50-foot crawl, I enter a newfound, carefree state — and a smaller opening to crawl through.

“I feel like I’m being born,” senior Lia Newman says while morphing through a crack no more than two feet wide. As the echo of her voice softens and her boots disappear from the dim light ahead of me, it hits me — I’m next. My headlamp clinks against the walls of the shaft. Slick with a layer of fine clay and mud, my body warps in ways it never has before. Somehow, I turn into a right angle, half expecting a middleschooler to emerge and utilize me as a protractor. I push with my feet and rise into an open room. A cloud of steam rises from each caver. We form a powwow around the flickering flame of a carbide lamp, warming our hands. This must be what it felt like to be a caveman.


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ISSUE 1

words and art :: Nicole Vas

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A bloody showdown between John Travolta and Thomas Jane plays out on the projector. Sounds of gunshots and explosions fill the classroom, loud enough to muffle the snippets of running commentary from the small audience. The scene ends with debris set ablaze in the shape of a skull, the symbol of the movie’s eponymous character: the Punisher. The movie gets a lukewarm reception, with the highest compliment claiming, “It’s actually not bad for its time.” Sergio Talavera, a senior computer engineering student, is more forgiving. Of the three bigscreen depictions of The Punisher, he says the 2004 adaptation playing tonight is “the one that more or less works. It’s the one that’s the least terrible.” Loyalty might also have something to do with Talavera’s feelings toward the movie.

Members of SU’s comic book club form a community out of their shared love of the stories told across those illustrated panels

After all, the Punisher is one of his all-time favorite comic book characters. “A lot of the stories are really interesting,” he explains. “He runs into Spider-Man, he runs into other superheroes. They don’t like him, but they have a begrudging respect for him because honestly, he’s just a dude with a gun.” Welcome to movie night with Illustrated Narrative Knights (INK), SU’s on-campus comic book club. Every Wednesday at 7 p.m., this small but tight-knit group of comic book lovers comes together to discuss their shared interests. Whether bouncing around ideas about how to produce their own comics or debating the merits of various incarnations of Doctor Who, club members relish the few hours they spend together each week. The club may not be widely known on campus, with an average turnout of around 10 at each meeting, but it’s no mystery that members have formed a strong sense of community. The chance to spend time with likeminded peers has made INK Shavon McKinstry’s favorite extracurricular activity by far. Her love of comic books dates back to her childhood, when she regularly spent time digging through her uncle’s and older brother’s collections of superhero comics. The College of Visual and Performing Arts


sophomore’s interest only increased as she grew older and formed attachments to stories and characters on her own. But much to McKinstry’s disappointment, her high school didn’t have a comic book club. When she discovered INK while browsing a list of SU clubs and organizations as an incoming freshman, she enthusiastically pursued the opportunity to join. “I went so far as to email the president to make sure it was still happening,” McKinstry says. The discussions aren’t always strictly about comics. “Has there ever been a good video game movie?” McKinstry muses during one meeting. The room responds with a resounding “No,” and launches into a lively debate about how video gameto-movie adaptations differ from bookto-movie adaptations. Someone cites the interactive element of video games as a key difference, while another points out that some games — Metal Gear Solid, for example — are practically movies themselves. The video game discussion segues into a question about comic books spun off from movies, coming back around to INK’s titular interest. Every other week, the club also tries to watch a comic-based movie together. Members choose movies from a range of genres — they could watch The Punisher one week and Scott Pilgrim vs. the World the next — in order to cater to the diverse reading habits of everyone in the club. “The thing is, everyone likes comics, but everyone reads different things, so it’s really the only way we can have cohesive discussions where everyone knows what we’re talking about and doesn’t feel excluded,” says Tasha Linina, a VPA senior and INK president. Several INK members also take interest in the art and production side of comic books. Many of the artists in the club harbor an interest in drawing their own comics, and some have even started Web comics. Roughly 70 percent of the members are VPA students, Linina says. Part of that stems from the club advertising mostly in the art buildings. But this year, club members tried participating in Juice Jam and the Student Activities Fair to help them expand. A comic book club has existed at SU on and off since 1991, says VPA sophomore Natalie Riess, and some past iterations only produced comics. But, that isn’t what Linina wants for INK. According to the group’s Facebook page, “It doesn’t matter if you’re a huge fan or just curious, if you make your own comics or haven’t drawn since middle school art class.” The idea behind INK is simply to create an informal space where comic book fans of all creeds can come together. A meeting in early February showed the inclusive environment that Linia tries to foster. “Welcome, new member!” someone called out the moment an unfamiliar face stepped through the door. Though

the desks in the room formed a circle, members quickly shuffled to make room for any stragglers or newbies. Meetings usually run until 9 or 10 p.m., after which the group migrates to Kimmel Food Court for a bite to eat — an unofficial tradition. After this semester, Linina will graduate and leave the club in new hands, but she wishes for INK to carry on her legacy. As she prepares to move on from a role she’s held for three years, she possesses both hopes and fears for the future of the club. “I hope that the club stays really inclusive,” she says. “I’m worried it’s going to get too focused on the art side of things, which I think would deter a lot of people who don’t necessarily draw, and I don’t want that to happen.” Luckily, Linina says there are a lot of current members who are passionate and want to see the club continue its mission. “My babies are all grown up!” she laughs.

The idea behind INK is simply to create an informal space where comic book fans of all creeds can come together.

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YEARS

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COMING FULL

CIR CL E In honor of our fifteenth aniversary, we revisit old issues for a glimpse into 360’s past

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MYSTERY :: SPRING 2013


goGihnos’t words :: Dee Lockett photo courtsey of :: Catherine Varonko

In a stranger’s house somewhere in Connecticut, Catherine Varonko stakes out overnight, looking for signs of paranormal activity: coldness in the air, sporadic bursts of electricity, muffled voices with no physical source, anything that spikes her heart rate. Working with Syracuse’s Scientific Paranormal investigators out of their Connecticut branch, Varonko, a recent Syracuse University graduate, dedicates each day to explaining the unexplained.


Q: Describe the life of a paranormal investigator.

Q: Did it look like a real figure walking through the cemetery?

A: Well, it looks glamorous on TV shows because they turn every case into an hour or 30-minute show. But a lot of it is really sitting around in the dark, so you have to be willing to stay up late. After that, the majority of it is just reviewing evidence from cameras and audio, which can take many hours over the following two-week period. So technically, it’s very boring, but you get good stuff out of it. Everyone’s in this for their own personal reasons, so when you investigate and something happens for you, it’s worth all the waiting and work.

A: No, it looked like a white shape. And for some reason, we distinctly identified it as female. We did catch female voices on our recorder. But it was just a white shape, and you couldn’t really see through it entirely or notice any definable characteristics other than the fact that it was white, even shaped, and moved very fast. It moved faster than I thought any apparition would move.

Q: Why did you decide to get involved? A: I’ve been interested in the paranormal since I was very young. I actually started my own group in Massachusetts when I was about 16, and we would just basically run around cemeteries and try to capture evidence. Then when I started college at Syracuse, I decided to either start my own group or find one. I found Scientific Paranormal and joined it against the wishes of everyone involved because they thought I was too young for it. But I did eventually make my way into it. Q: Why did Scientific Paranormal start in Syracuse? A: That’s actually where our founder went to school for his master’s. So, just a bunch of people were centered there, and we used the research facilities as our home base. Q: What do you define as paranormal phenomena? A: Well, the word “para” means above, so anything above normal. We are out to look for what mainstream society would call mysterious activity — ghosts, things like that. I’m out looking for anything that’s not natural. So, if it’s not caused by electricity, the Earth, or humans, then I consider it paranormal. And that can be anything from a door slamming to a fullblown apparition, which is a ghost. Q: Have you ever encountered a ghost? A: Yes, we all have different experiences. When I first started out with my group in Massachusetts, we saw a full-body apparition in a cemetery near my house. It was the first thing that made me go, “Oh my gosh, this is real.” I had just witnessed a ghost and so did my friends.

Q: Do you ever get scared? A: Oh, definitely. It’s sort of jolting, I guess. I get more excited than scared now, but during that first experience everyone was on edge. And then we’ll have experiences where it’s just like, “Wow, that should not be happening.” It’s hard to explain, but there are feelings you’ll get inside of houses either due to electricity or the activity going on. And sometimes the feelings that are imposed on you are scary, and that’s when you really get the most nervous: when your entire surroundings have a nervous feel to them. Q: How many ghosts have you actually found? A: I can’t really answer that because we can’t say we found a ghost unless one comes up to us and shakes our hand. We can say what’s going on, but we can’t actually say what’s creating the activity. Q: Have you seen any of the Paranormal Activity movies? A: I saw one and two, and I thought they were really well done for the mimicking of activity. That’s actually stuff that would happen, aside from people getting dragged around. Cabinets opening does happen. Q: Do you mind being called a Ghostbuster? A: Actually, yes. I don’t get rid of ghosts, I just come in and observe them. So when I tell people that I’m a ghost hunter or a paranormal investigator, they’re like, “Oh, Ghostbusters. Do you wear proton packs?” I know they’re joking, but I take some of it too seriously. Q: What’s your personal belief on the presence of ghosts? A: I used to have very strong beliefs about it, but now I have no idea what it

is. Personally, I don’t necessarily believe in dead people walking around, but I’ve seen too many things happen that I can’t explain by natural phenomena. It’s possible that after someone dies they leave an imprint behind. But I don’t know if I believe in the whole souls wandering the Earth for all eternity for some sin they’ve committed or anything. Q: What are the usual natural causes? A: Electricity and carbon monoxide poisoning can create some of the symptoms of ghostly activity. With mental illness, if it’s not the illness causing the hallucinations, it’s the mixing of medications from different doctors. We’ve had people hear footsteps in their attic and it turned out be a couple squirrels living up there. There are so many different reasons. But there’s always those couple of things that happen that we can’t figure out a reason for or re-enact. Q: What has been your most memorable case in Syracuse? A: It wasn’t an official case, but me and my roommate used to go into Oakwood Cemetery. It was very exciting and scary because humans live there, so I wouldn’t recommend this. We would see apparitions, and there was a barn there that would make us feel really bad when we went inside. It had all this satanic worship stuff inside of it that someone was using the barn for. Apparently the barn just recently fell apart for unexplained reasons. Oakwood was always a good time if we needed a bit of ghost hunting to get us through the night. But I don’t advocate it at all because it’s dangerous. Aside from tripping over a headstone, you could be attacked by humans.

we can’t say we found a ghost unless one comes up to us and shakes our hand

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YOUR STUDENT FEE