It is a not-so-beautiful day in the neighborhood here at Rollins College as student-reported sightings of the late Mr. Rogers pop up across campus. The sightings allegedly began over the course of Alumni Weekend—an event that, apparently, welcomed living and nonliving alumni alike.
The first reported sighting was by Mary B. Lud ‘18 on the evening of Friday, March 23, the first day of Alumni Weekend. Lud claimed that as she passed Mr. Rogers’ stone on the Walk of Fame, she “felt a bone-chilling wind that seemed to pass through her body.”
“I stopped and shivered, and next thing I knew I felt the pressure of a hand clasped on my shoulder. I turned around, but no one was there. Then I heard, ‘It’s a wonderful day in the neighborhood,’ whispered in my ear. I ran like hell,” she said.
Ever since the encounter, Lud has felt the compulsive urge to wear cable-knit sweaters and red sneakers. Given the Florida heat, this has not boded well for Lud. “I’ve passed out five different times in the past week due to heat,” she said. Lud is currently consulting Rev. Katrina Jenkins about exorcists in the Winter Park area.
Sylvester Mann ‘19 had a different, although equally haunting, experience with the alleged ghost of Mr. Rogers. Just before midnight on Saturday, March 24, Mann was practicing “Welcome to the Black Parade” by My Chemical Romance on the piano in Keene Hall.
Just as the clock struck midnight, Mann reported “suddenly losing control of my hands and they just started playing the theme song for Mr. Rogers’ Neighborhood,” the children’s television show that Mr. Rogers continues to be famous for.
“I tried everything I could to resist, but it was like they weren’t even my hands. I couldn’t even feel them pressing the keys, I just watched helplessly. My hands stopped playing and I look up and there’s the portrait of Mr.Rogers staring right at me.”
Mann continues to be haunted by the spirit of Mr. Rogers. He claimed to constantly feel a warm, fatherly presence behind him accompanied by the laughter of children. He also reported that his hands will turn into hand puppets at random.
“Whenever my hands aren’t puppets, I can feel them watching me and can see out of the corner of my eye, but if I turn my head, they’re gone,” stated Mann.
Several students from the Department of Theater and Dance claimed that they saw Mr. Rogers and Annie Russell dancing in the rose garden during the Festival of Light. One of these students was Ben D. Rowen ‘21.
“They looked pretty happy so I just let them be. I think I believe in love again after what I saw. Really powerful stuff, dead love. Poetic,” stated Rowen, taking a deep drag from his JUUL vaporizer pen.
The Slandspur brought in paranormal expert and medium Norman Blates to measure spiritual activity on campus. Using a device Blates described as an “ectoplasm metal detector,” he was able to trace the source of the spiritual activity to the fourth floor common room in Ward Hall.
Blates was then able to conduct a seance so that Slandspur staff members would be able to interview the spirit of Mr. Rogers. Mr. Rogers, through the mouth of Blates, greeted us warmly and then proceeded to let out an unholy screech for half an hour.
Afterwards, Mr. Rogers apologized for the “interference” and explained that he had been summoned. When asked by who, he (through the body of Norman Blates) pointed to the room of Fred Krunger ‘21.
Krunger admitted to the act, claiming that he “was trying to use black magic to summon Fox Day.” Whether or not Krunger’s actions count as a violation of the Code of Community Standards is currently being debated.
In the meantime, Campus Safety is currently advising all students to avoid Keene Hall and the fourth floor of Ward Hall. If students must enter those areas, bring a jar of salt and a bundle of sage leaves to ward off spirts.
Please report any paranormal activity to the Office of Residential Life and Explorations and Campus Safety. The Wellness Center is also offering services for anyone physically or mentally harmed by the ghostly presence.
April Fools!! The content in this article is meant to be read in satire and does not represent the opinions of The Sandspur, its staff, or Rollins College.