About Me

Rahel Schmitz, Rahel Sixta Schmitz, Gothic Endeavors, biography, Horror

Whether literature, film, television, video games, or roleplaying games: culture and pop culture are my specialty. To be more precise, I am especially passionate about everything related to horror, science fiction, and fantasy. The darker, the better – but I also like my pop culture weird and silly. I am especially fascinated by bizarre and grotesque stories that walk the risky line between the comical and the macabre. My passion for horror accompanies me privately as well as professionally. Learn more about me and my biography here.

Horror – A Science?

After graduating from high school in Aachen (Germany) in 2010, I enrolled at University College Maastricht (Netherlands). After a semester abroad at the University of California, Los Angeles (UCLA), I graduated cum laude in 2013 with a Bachelor of Liberal Arts, majoring in literary and cultural studies. Already during my undergraduate studies, I focused on the dark and phantastic in literature and media – Gothic fiction became my main area of study. During my two-year Research Master at Leiden Universiteit (Netherlands), also completed cum laude, I was able to further pursue this research interest.

In 2015, after completing my Masters, I moved back to Germany, where I started my studies as a PhD candidate at Justus Liebig University, Giessen, more specifically at the Graduate Centre for the Study of Culture (GCSC) as well as the International PhD Programme “Literary and Cultural Studies” (IPP). I enrolled in these programs at the age of 23 – at the time, I was the youngest PhD student in both. My dissertation explored virus and network metaphors in Gothic fiction since 1990 – research that proved to be highly topical when I finished my PhD with the highest mark in the early summer of 2020 during the Covid-19 pandemic.

During my time at Justus Liebig University of Giessen, I was a lecturer and received above-average feedback due to my teaching methods and innovative seminar topics. I was also a speaker for the AG Game Studies, seeking to advance the quite young field of video game studies.

Becoming a Freelance Journalist

Early on during my PhD, I put out my feelers outside the university. As a result, I have been doing freelance work for the publishing house raptor publishing. Among other things, I write for the horror magazine VIRUS, take on editing tasks, and maintain the magazine’s social media accounts.

As of 2022, I joined the team of the games podcast Stay Forever as a freelancer. I am responsible for the series “Die Welt von…” (‘The World of…’), which focuses on the lore and worldbuilding of a specific franchise (e.g., Dune, Star Wars, Middle-Earth, etc.) in each episode. I am not only responsible for the topics and contents of the format, but I also function as a host in each episode and pick the guests.

In 2023, I decided to use these and other building blocks to make my dream come true: I am now a freelance journalist and one of the most active voices in the German cultural landscape when it comes to my specialty: horror.

And otherwise?

I also like to do volunteer work. Since September 2019, I am a member of the Deutschen Lovecraft Gesellschaft e.V. (dLG, “German Lovecraft Society”) and since 2022 I am first chairwoman of the society. I regularly write articles for the society’s magazine Lovecrafter, podcast at the dLG-Radio, and contribute to the literature team. Furthermore, I write for the website Zauberwelten-Online since summer 2020, where I primarily write reviews for the literature section. Occasionally, I also pen games reviews.

When I am not thinking about all sorts of fantastic worlds, I am usually making music (violin) or giving my fellow human beings a friendly smack on the head (karate). I also like to dig around in the dirt (gardening) and focus on the beautiful things in life (photography).

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