EDGAR ALLAN POE

WRITER, EXPERIENCE DESIGN & CO-CREATOR

In 2011, J.C. and game designer Jordan Weisman co-created this educational project for Educurious, a nonprofit organization dedicated to reducing America’s high school dropout rates.

Tasked with creating an experience that would make classic literature relevant and fun — and in doing so, inspiring students who were reluctant readers — J.C. and Jordan crafted a three-day-long mystery that unfolded via websites, email and in the real world ... all in real time.

Students communicated with each other, and with several fictional students, via a private Facebook-like social network. There, they soon discovered that their fictional peers were being terrorized by "Griswold," a vengeful stranger obsessed with the writings of Edgar Allan Poe.

The story leapt from the web and into real life: Items described by the characters (such as defaced stuffed animal toys, straight razors, distressed notebook pages and more) were incorporated into classroom discussions. Riddles and creepy puzzles were presented, deepening the narrative and sense of dread.

Throughout this thrilling experience, the real life students read Poe's works in an attempt to anticipate the next terrifying moment unleashed by Griswold. Along the way, teachers explored the plot beats and themes of Poe's fiction with their students, ensuring  comprehension and conversation.

As Edgar Allan Poe's co-creator and writer, J.C. had a hand in nearly every aspect of the project's design and execution, from crafting its story to writing copy for hundreds of "status updates," in-world artifacts, and more.