Degree Name

MA (Master of Arts)



Date of Award


Committee Chair or Co-Chairs

Joseph D. Sobol

Committee Members

Delanna Kay Reed, Edward J. Dwyer


The ghost story concert is a popular modern form of presenting ghost stories to ticket buying audiences and is one of the last stomping grounds of the oral tradition. Attendees come to be scared but not terrified. Tellers employ humor to release tension during the tale. When does humor release tension while maintaining the momentum of the story? When does the humor employed deflate it into a comical tale and diffuse suspense altogether?

In an effort to answer these questions, four variants of a single story, Tailypo, were analyzed for the presence of tension and humor inducing stimuli employing Rothbart's diagram of Schematic Representation of Affective Response to Sudden, Intense, or Discrepant Stimulation. Rothbart's model has previously been applied to affective response to horror film; here it has been applied to oral storytelling.

Document Type

Thesis - unrestricted


Copyright by the authors.