Intelligencer: Alum’s First Novel is Tale of Horror on Appalachian Trail

By Purnell T. Cropper | January 24, 2012

Brian Francis Smith of Glenside is an English teacher at Cheltenham High School by day and an author of horror tales, among other avocations, by night. Smith, who earned a master’s degree at Arcadia University, was profiled in the Intelligencer on Jan. 21 in an article titled “Do they have the write stuff? You can be the judge.”

The Trail, released in December 2011, is a 266-page horror novel about camping on the Appalachian Trail published by Damnation Books under Smith’s pen name, Brian Francis. “Why horror?” asks the Intelligencer‘s Stacy Briggs.

“Well, it’s really my second choice,” says Smith, a La Salle College High School graduate who also serves as a counselor for gifted students and teaches at an alternative school for at-risk students two nights a week. “I’ve dabbled in stand-up comedy and I always considered myself a comic writer … but I always liked horror novels — I grew up reading Stephen King. … I tried writing comedy first, but chose horror because horror chose me.”

Read Briggs’ story to find out how Smith turned his experiences camping with college friends into his first novel.

The Trail is available at,, Damnation Books and