The Weird and Unusual at Ohio State

Ohio State Campus

By Zack Meisel
By Zack Meisel
Unigo Campus Rep at Ohio State University
Dec. 5, 2008

Help Is On The Way 

High Street stretches along the edge of the Ohio State campus, separating classroom buildings from off-campus housing. Students can expect to step around plenty of trash when walking to their favorite High Street restaurant and encounter people asking for spare change. While needy college students easily ignore or refuse their requests, one beggar simply stands out as hard to disregard.

“Help is on the Way,” an iconic vagrant around the Buckeye boulevard, preaches to the campus choir with rhyming raps that entice others to spare a nickel or two. Rarely referred to by his real name, Don Robinson, “The Rapping Bum” often sells his own CDs and cologne on High Street. His memorable lines, including “I’m broke as hell, trying to get to Taco Bell,” “I can’t tell no lie, I’m just a guy workin’ for a burger and fry,” “Sell back your books to the bookstore crooks,” and “Lordy, lordy, what I wouldn’t do for a forty,” constantly trigger laughs from passers-by. The student newspaper, The Lantern, even persuaded Robinson to participate in a weekly college football prediction section. “Rhymer” actually fared better than the staff sports writers.

Brutus On Parade

Who knew that Brutus Buckeye, Ohio State’s lovable mascot, had so many personas? OSU started “Brutus On Parade” to raise renovations funds for the main campus library. The university hired welders and sculptors to create 40 different statues, each featuring Brutus as a different character. From Adventure Brutus to Woody Hayes Brutus, the figurines line the outside of the Schottenstein Center. Other statues include depictions of Jim Tressel, Christopher Columbus, Archie Griffin, Wendy’s founder Dave Thomas, and even university President Gordon Gee. Brutus also takes on roles as a stick of butter, cookie baker, pizza chef, astronaut, mime, reporter, hippie, Statue of Liberty, golfer, drum major, doctor, Phantom of the Opera, tin man, super hero, among others.

Haunted Houses 

Every university claims to have buildings infiltrated by ghosts. Ohio State contributes its own ghoulish lore. Pomerene Hall, home to the popular Mirror Lake Café, was the setting of a suicide of a professor who was distressed over a failed investment in the early 1900s. His wife promised never to leave him, and when she died some twenty years later, her ghost supposedly haunted the area in which the man took his life: Pomerene Hall. The professor’s ghost also has been accused of slamming doors in the eerie building.

Herbert Atkinson, a Board of Trustees member, died in the 1950s and had his ashes spread around a wall in Bricker Hall. Reports of continuous flickering lights have arisen near the area where the ashes were spread. Several people have claimed to see the Atkinson’s ghost drinking punch in the nearby hallway.

Oxley Hall serves as an office building, but years ago, the first all-women’s hall on campus was home to a suicide. Every Dec. 17, the girl’s screams are allegedly heard throughout the building.

Mirror Lake Jump

Forget about bone-chilling temperatures. Disregard the fact that the lake is more like a pond, and only a couple of feet deep. Ignore the great probability of catching pneumonia or mono. Overlook the jagged glass at the bottom of the lake. Each year, on the Thursday night during Michigan Week, thousands of Ohio State students take turns jumping into the frigid, filthy waters of Mirror Lake. Some bare the elements in nothing but a bathing suit, and come out redder than a tomato. Students sprint back to their dorms —usually with no idea of the location of their keys or ID. Despite the drawbacks, this tradition has remained an annual staple in the lives of many Buckeyes.

Oval Preachers 

When the snow melts and the sun peeks through the gray sky, the center of the OSU campus booms with activity. The Oval, a gigantic open grassy area with a labyrinth of walkways, plays home to dogs, birds, bikini-clad women, and to games of Frisbee, football — even cricket. Among the typical warm-weather Oval-goers are preachers. As the pristine weather pours laziness into students’ blood streams, class-cutters perch a seat under a shady tree and listen to screaming heads, spewing their religious views. If only students paid that much attention to their actual professors.