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Meredith Holt, Published October 28 2012

Making a Scream: Horror fan organizes 10th Halloween-themed reading

FARGO – “Ghost Stories for Grown-Ups” combines two of Karen Kohoutek’s favorite things: books and Halloween.

“I love the fact that it’s the time when people can say that there are scary things in the world and not have it bother them,” she said.

Over the years, the Fargo Public Library employee has organized nine readings with themes like gothic or séance.

“I try to kind of loosely alternate styles,” Kohoutek said. “There are so many different ‘styles’ of Halloween, it’s amazing.”

The theme for this year’s program was inspired by 1950s horror comics.

“It’s going to be more colorful and gruesome, a little bit campier,” she said.

With a plastic scythe by her side, the Fargo woman shared her thoughts on ghosts, vampires, werewolves and other things that go bump in the books.

What’s your favorite ghost story?

My personal favorite, off the top of my head, is a story called “Green Tea” by J. Sheridan Le Fanu, who was an Irish writer in the early 1800s. He pre-dated Bram Stoker.

It’s this weird psychological story about this guy who’s being plagued by a vision that’s sort of driving him mad, and then he’s seeing this doctor who’s like, “Oh, it’s all in your head.”

So in a weird way, it’s kind of modern, even though it’s so old. That’s the kind of thing I really like, because people don’t realize how much cool stuff is out there and how much cool history there is.

Do you prefer psychological horror?

Sometimes, but then I also watch a lot of crazy slasher movies, too.

Are you a Stephen King fan?

I like “The Shining” and “The Stand.” Some of them I really like, and a lot of them don’t really do it for me.

What was the first horror movie you saw?

There was a werewolf movie – I don’t even know what it was, I’ve been trying to identify it. I swear I remember the ending, and none of the werewolf movies I’ve seen from that time period have an ending anything like that.

How old were you when you started getting into horror?

Oh, probably pretty young, like elementary school.

What’s your favorite horror movie?

The original “Halloween.” It’s so simple, but it really works, it’s really effective and scary.

Do you like Bela Lugosi?

Yes, I do. The original “Dracula” is very good, even though none of the Dracula movies really have much to do with the book, except for the one with (French actor) Louis Jourdan.

What’s your favorite type of monster or villain?

Of the classics, I have always been a vampire person, which has gotten kind of tough in the “Twilight” era, because that’s not my thing, that’s not for me. I’m not the target audience for that. I like my vampires to be scary.

I think over the years I’m liking ghosts more, the idea of ghosts.

Do you watch TV shows like “Ghost Hunters”?

That doesn’t really resonate with me. I don’t want to scientifically prove that ghosts exist.

We’re in such a technological age, we think everything can be solved with technology.

Can it?

I don’t know, I don’t think so. I don’t know that I would necessarily believe in ghosts, but there are a lot of aspects to human life and the human mind that are mysterious.


If you go

What: “Ghost Stories for Grown-Ups: Eerie Crypt of Creepy Secrets”

When: 7:30 to 8:30 p.m. Tuesday

Where: Community Room, Fargo Public Library, 102 3rd St. N.

Info: The event is free but not recommended for children under 12.


Readers can reach Forum reporter Meredith Holt at (701) 241-5590