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Legendary Locations, Laughs, And Horrors

Legendary Locations, Laughs, And Horrors

(p.277) 8 Chapter Legendary Locations, Laughs, And Horrors
Campus Traditions
Simon J. Bronner
University Press of Mississippi

Almost every campus features a pantheon of distinctive images as well as markers like statues, columns, obelisks, friezes, clock and bell towers, and quadrangles. Imposing schools and buildings are given nicknames, and stories about them can either elicit laughter or tears. Campus folklore provides a special imaginative frame that translates fears and joys into symbols and telling events. Legends and jokes find favor among students because they invite participation or response. These stories tell of ghosts that reside in dormitories, libraries, fraternity and sorority houses, computer laboratories, or the campus theater. Students also hear about unsolved murders on campus and what folklorists call “The Cadaver Arm,” which is often embedded in a cycle of stories about fatal initiations. The campus library is often the subject of rumors of a murder about to happen or having just happened. On the other hand, students express their humor by writing graffiti in restrooms.

Keywords:   buildings, nicknames, folklore, legends, jokes, ghosts, dormitories, libraries, murder, Cadaver Arm

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