The Crum Woods have started to come forth in beautiful shades of red and gold, and there is a distinct crispness in the air. Around campus, students sip on chai lattes and pumpkin spice coffee. First years from the West Coast frantically scramble to buy their first winter coats. That’s right: it’s finally fall. And hidden among all the sweaters, seasonally flavored oreos, and crunchy leaves, the shadows are stirring with the creepy and supernatural. Halloween, the most haunted day of the year, has arrived.
This time of year, strange(r than usual) and spooky happenings occur all around campus. Maybe you think Halloween is for kids; maybe it’s your favorite holiday and you wait eagerly for it all year long; maybe you just really love free candy — I’m not here to judge. But whatever your personal opinion of the day is, it never hurts to be prepared to face any eerie events Swarthmore might have in store. Use the following however you will — as a warning, a checklist, a travel guide. But use it well. It contains valuable information that may just save your life.
The lower level of Sci Center is always a maze, no matter the time of year. However, as Halloween approaches, its nonsensical twists and turns tend to go wild. If a student is caught unaware, they will have no chance of ever escaping the labyrinth that the building has created. Chances are, if you are in a class in Sci lower level and see someone walking past, that is the ghost of a poor Swattie who got stuck in the endless passages with their weird half-ramps and random turns, and has never left. These lost souls wander the building, still searching for their professors’ offices. If you or a loved one are directionally challenged, stay alert this year in order to avoid such a fate. We here at Campus Journal would like to recommend tying a string to a banister in the Commons, and using it Ariadne-style to find your way back. Google Maps may also come in handy.
We all received the news on Oct. 21 that the heating system would be turned on for the winter. This was cause for celebration for those of us who had been shivering through our classes for the past days (weeks). But why the suspicious reluctance to make this transition? It does not come from nostalgia and refusal to admit that summer is over. The heating system provides needed warmth, but it also awakens troublemaking ghosts who travel through the air ducts and cause homeostatic chaos. They are responsible for the random and drastic temperature changes from room to room, the unexplained drafts of wind that whistle through McCabe Library, and the strange and spooky noises that come from the pipes and vents.
What is worse, these ghouls have psychological powers too. They like nothing better than making sure students wear exactly the wrong clothes for the weather; if you have forgotten your raincoat on a wet day, worn a T-shirt when it was cloudy and cold, or thrown on a sweatshirt and then melted, you can blame these tricksters (in combination with your own poor, poor judgment). While these ghosts may appear once in a while throughout the year, the turning on of the heating system brings them out in full force, and Halloween only spurs them on more. It seems our maintenance team was trying to save us all from this terrible fate — but alas, we must brace ourselves for the inevitable.
We can just about weather the storm of ghosts floating through our heating ducts, but this year a new phantom has appeared even more terrible than these: something is attacking the Wi-Fi! Students came back after Fall Break well-rested, refreshed, and ready to dive back into their work, when to their horror they found they had no internet. It is said that this mysterious occurrence was caused by the ghost of a former Swarthmore student whose eduroam never once connected for all four years of their college life. This student was so salty that their spirit has come back to wreak havoc on the internet of all current Swatties this Halloween. While the Wi-Fi seems stable for now, be warned: it could crash at any minute. As the spooky season comes to its peak, make sure you are triple-saving all those important papers and labs, lest you are caught unaware by this horrible, otherworldly visitor.
Of course the list goes on, from the goblin that likes to steal salt shakers from the tables at Sharples to the poltergeist who pushes back when you try to open the doors of the Science Center, making them feel even heavier and making you feel extraordinarily foolish. There is the benevolent zombie who roams about the Crum Woods searching for brains (many students have more than they need or use, so he can usually find some) and good conversation. If you notice any supplies missing from the chemistry or biology labs, blame the college’s vegan vampire, who is always trying out some new formula or other to get the proper nutrition.
As Halloween approaches, and Swarthmore becomes spookier by the minute, watch out for these seasonal guests and any other creepy happenings that may occur around you. And if you get into a sticky situation with any ghouls, goblins, or ghosts, do not despair. Long ago, the Ghostbusters secretly trained select groups and spread them across the world, to better protect against the supernatural — and because their phone was ringing too much. Fortunately for us, we have a hub right here on campus. They walk among us every day, though we don’t realize it, as they keep their true purpose a secret. Instead, they go by another name, a disguise. But they are always prepared to combat ectoplasm and ghostly destruction. So, who are you going to call? Your EVS tech!