Last year I interviewed a guy who found a mummy in his bed. Meet the guy who put it there.
A little more than a year ago, I posted an interview with a guy who returned to his Nics dorm room one night in early 1990 to find a rotting, 3,000-year-old mummy occupying his bed. Both the victim, Tim Abel ’93, and the perpetrator went on to champion the incident as the “funniest prank ever.” But what happened after the prank unexpectedly revealed quite a bit about Wesleyan in the early 1990s, the interconnected campus community, disciplinary confusion, mass media, the stranger side of alumni gift-giving, and perhaps even Egyptology. (Okay, maybe not that.)
For months I’ve wanted to talk with the perpetrators of the prank, who remain unnamed in news accounts and faceless in a TV interview. When one of them posted a comment (since deleted) on the post, I managed to get in touch. Let’s call him Craig Smith ’93. Smith (not his real name) is now a professional musician and a dad. But he’s not sure he’ll ever top the prank he pulled in the Nics 23 years ago this month.
As I wrote in 2012, the Middletown Mummy Mystery was more than just a good prank. I was an intergenerational legend that has “solidified its place in the lore of early 1990s Wesleyan history, providing some semblance of levity during a turbulent academic year characterized by generally unprecedented campus unrest, including a firebombing, a week-long hunger strike, racist graffiti in Malcolm X House, and the fatal shooting of Nicholas Haddad ’92.”
Imam Adeel Zeb, Wesleyan’s Muslim Chaplain, writes in about the annual Senior Voices ceremony:
Please save the date of May 25th 6PM for an integral part of the graduation weekend.
Senior voices is a ceremony in which a faculty member elected by members of the senior class, delivers a short talk addressed directly and specifically to graduating seniors. This year, we are delighted that Professor Elvin Lim has agreed to speak. In addition, three graduating seniors (Glenn Stowell ‘13, Jacob Eichengreen ’13, and Isaiah Sypher ‘13) will share their experiences before ending their Wesleyan career and beginning a new chapter of their lives. They will reflect, share and recap some of their unique and transformative moments from their years at Wes. Olivia May ’13, will be performing as well. Seniors will receive a red rose as a parting gift.
The event will take place in Memorial Chapel and will conclude by 7PM. This event is non-ticketed.
Please share this with friends and families as they will enjoy being part of the celebration as well.”
Date: Saturday, May 25 Time: 6:00 p.m. Place: Memorial Chapel Cost: Free
Because we haven’t posted enough chalking-relatedupdates from the past few weeks, an anonymous tipster writes in to let you know about an amusing (or frightening, depending on who you are) happening on Church Street late last week:
I have a tip for Wesleying but would like to remain anonymous. Earlier today someone wrote the names of the Mystical 7 — a Wesleyan student secret society — out in chalk on the sidewalk on Church St near Olin. Later in the day, a bunch of the people whose names had been written were seen standing over the writing, looking fairly panicked, and then after that someone crossed the names out with more chalk. Here’s a photo of the names crossed out. FUCK SOCIAL HIERARCHY!!!!
According to one Wesleying staffer, “It’s intact in at least two places right now (beginning of CFA path and College Row near Zelnick).”
The tables and floor of Exley 137 are piled high with gluttonous food remnants—pretzel bags, sandwich displays, Dunkin Donuts bags, half-eaten pizza, chips and salsa, dozens of condiments and wrappers and sauces—but the eleven occupants of the room are far too busy staring at computer screens, coding feverishly behind glazed eyes, to take much notice. Tensions are high. Every once in a while someone grunts or high fives or messes something up and swears at a teammate. Evan Carmi ’13 is pacing furiously, staring at scripts and barking orders at his teammates, who remain surprisingly calm. I take a look at the screen, but it may as well be in Korean. (I don’t speak Korean.)
Meet the participants of the first ever Senior Week Hackathon, a heated, unimaginably sexy 36-hour coding competition organized by Carmi, Julian Applebaum ’13, and Anastasios Germanidis ’13. The participants, most of them Comp Sci majors, have been awake for the better part of 36 hours, camped out in this single, sweat-stained classroom on the main floor of Exley, and in a little less than an hour they will emerge into the world with the shiny, digital results of their tech-savvy soil. Basically, it is a slumber party for nerds. Naturally, they have been tweeting up a storm every step of the way (and enjoying free “swag” from their various sponsors).
“What we were doing at Wesleyan was taking place in the context of a much larger sweep of change in American history and culture.”
Sheila Tobias with NOW Founder Betty Friedan in the 1970s while Tobias was Associate Provost for Coeducation at Wesleyan. Image courtesy of Ms. Tobias.
In September of 1970, the same month Colin Campbell became Wesleyan’s youngest ever president, Sheila Tobias arrived at Wesleyan as associate provost. A noted author, scholar, and feminist activist, Tobias’ task at Wesleyan was different than that of any previous administrator—and different than any provost since then. Wesleyan had only just begun admitting women, and for the next eight years, Tobias was to oversee the inclusion of women in student life and assist the University in hiring and retaining female faculty. She was also instrumental in bringing the first women’s studies courses to Wes.
“It wasn’t a party school, but it was a school that catered to young men in all their glory,” Tobias says of the Wesleyan of the 1960s. “That was the place that I was invited to help change.”
While Tobias says that Wesleyan transitioned into coeducation more swiftly than many of its peers (“Wesleyan did it right”), she insists that the changes on campus were part of a much larger movement. “What we were doing at Wesleyan—namely, integrating a formerly men’s college—was taking place in the context of a much larger sweep of change in American history and culture,” Tobias says.
Wesleying is psyched to present an interview with Sheila Tobias, whose published books include Overcoming Math Anxiety, They’re not Dumb, They’re Different, Breaking the Science Barrier, Rethinking Science as a Career, and Faces of Feminism: An Activist’s Reflections on the Women’s Movement. For more on Sheila Tobias and her career at Wesleyan, see her website or this Special Collections blog post by Cordelia Hyland ’13.
Don’t want to lug your rusty bike back home? Does storage cost more than your bike did? Donate your bike to the Wesleyan Bike Coop! In the past, the bike coop has offered free repairs and student-led bike maintenance classes in the bike room below hi-rise. We’ll take bikes in any condition. Contact us at wesleyanbikecoop(at)gmail.com. Donations will be accepted through senior week.
Maybe you thought local funnyman and “College of Moving Image” expert Will Feinstein ’13would finally give up on combining aural and visual stimuli to generate “lighthearted,” “viral” “content” after achieving his lifelong goal of becoming a WesCeleb. You thought wrong.
You might not be as familiar with the world of non-lolcat photography, or what some people call Professional Cat Photography. Emily Moody ’15 showed me this article while we were studying in an empty classroom in Fisk, so you know it’s a bona fide procrastination destination. At first I thought it was some comedic genius on par with one of the funniest movies of all time, Best In Show. I was mistaken. This is the real deal, folks. There is a company called Chanan (less fun than Chana, but perhaps more absurd), comprised of a husband and wife team who professionally photograph cats.