Tonight: "The Science of Halloween" takes on the matter behind the myths

Leave it to science to ruin the magic. Like vampires? Turns out that myth was probably the result of a high incidence in Romania of porphyria, a condition that sometimes causes light sensitivity and glowing teeth. Actually, on second thought, science is pretty badass. Tonight, a couple of grad students in various forms of biology from Colorado State University come to town to lay down some of that science with a short lecture on the myths we know and love, where they come from and what the science is underneath. Plus -- why not? -- it's free.

"They're basically taking their research and putting a fun spin on it," says Paul Wolanksy, senior director of Alumni Relations at CSU, the folks putting on the night. Which is not to say that the presenters, Nick Clark and Kristopher Hite, are not engaged in serious research: Clark is in biochemistry, while Hite studies molecular biology.

At the lecture, they'll tackle a few different topics: the aforementioned Rett Syndrome, for one, in addition to a pufferfish that once put people in a zombie-like state in Haiti and a theory that posits that a hallucinogenic fungus was probably responsible for the mass hysteria that led to the Salem Witch Trials.

Space is limited, so register here if you plan to go. The lecture starts at 5:30 p.m. at Park Hill Library (4705 Montview Boulevard) and lasts about an hour and a half. And if the lecture does indeed take a little of the magic out of Halloween, there's at least one aspect of the holiday it won't kill: candy. It will be there, and it will be free.


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