Something has been walking the grounds of the abandoned River Campus, and it has been doing so backwards.

Last Saturday, corroborating reports from Public Safety, Facilities, and the student-led GhostbustURs (recently voted 2020’s “Biggest Waste of SA Money Besides College Republicans”) confirmed that ghostly figures have been seen wandering the evacuated River Campus and conducting nonexistent tours. 

Explanations for this phenomenon range from misinformed and overly zealous Meridians refusing to abandon their posts to straight-up, full-on ghosts.

“It started off as something just in the corner of my eye,” Facilities worker Paul Gethsemane told the Campus Times. “Not even a thing I noticed moving, you know? More of a thought, like, ‘Oh, I wonder if I just saw something over there or not.’ Then I looked again and saw this girl stumbling backwards, arms windmilling. Then the wind shifted, and I heard this thin voice talking about what a great upgrade iZone is over ITS.”

Gethsemane said this is when he knew something was very, very wrong. 

Further investigation by Public Safety yielded no signs of Gethsemane’s mystery girl — he claims she “basically vanished” somewhere around the “definitely strange and creepy” area between Harkness and Gavett — though a later sighting of a ghostly figure turned out to be actual Meridian Ray Halmut, who was found trying to explain various meal plans to a nonexistent tour group. Halmut, a rising junior, was then taken to Strong Memorial Hospital and diagnosed with intense dehydration and mild hallucinations. He is expected to make a full recovery. 

Halmut said via email that he can only remember “the ground, the very land itself, compelling [him] to walk across it, and to shepherd the pitter-patter of many new feet from Sue B. to the Rettner studios and back.”

If Halmut’s words strike you as having something supernatural about them, you’re not alone: UR hHistory professor Stephen Fleischman claims the River Campus may be haunted.

“You ever seen an old Civil War battlefield-turned state park at dusk, right before they close the place down?” Fleischman asked the CT. “You gone to Gettysburg? Same energy. What you need to create a haunted area, historically, are scores of young people wasting away horribly. For UR this goes way beyond corona and the school closing, maybe as far back to the start of the Orgo and the Math 160 series.”

Long-time Meridian and senior Collin Gwilt sees some possibility in this theory. He believes the wandering Meridians are in fact lost souls, severed from their social-distancing host Meridians by the unexpected trauma of being suddenly sent home. 

“What is the true weight of a future?” Gwilt asked the CT. “Can you measure how bright a dream burns in lumens? Where does that energy go when it can’t find an outlet? Does it dissipate? Does it overheat and sour one’s other emotions? Or does it become something else… a phantom?”

Gwilt then looked into the middle distance and spoke as though addressing a large crowd: “As a University of Rochester first-year, you can research all of this and more.”

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