Section: Arts

Searching for the Campus Riddler: Part 2

Searching for the Campus Riddler: Part 2

In the previous issue of the Collegian, we followed last semester’s series of bizarre installation art pieces by a certain unknown CR: the Campus Riddler. After word puzzles found their way into unsuspecting students’ pockets, cans of Pabst Blue Ribbon beer turned up in trees and strange CDs hidden across campus mystified listeners, students attempted to get to the bottom of this mystery.

In the last few days of the Spring 2016 semester, the Campus Riddler struck twice more.

First, vials of powder appeared hanging from rough twine nailed into trees along Middle Path. Then, on the last day of school, a formation of cattails materialized by the front door of Peirce Dining Hall, each with excerpts of transcendentalist prose tied to their stalks. Both featured the telltale CR mark.

Brent Matheny ’19 and former Collegian Arts Editor Bailey Blaker ’18 collected the Middle Path vials hanging from the trees. “They all had different things,” Matheny said. “One was crushed up Doritos. There was sand. There were some herbs. Coffee grounds. There were ones that had something like a weird white paste that smelled really strongly alcoholic, like cleaning solution almost? I don’t know, it was pretty caustic. Some had marijuana in them.”

Blaker had collected 20 vials by the end of the week. “The weird thing was that I would collect them in the morning, and then they would be replaced by mid-afternoon,” she said. “Whoever was doing it, I think, had to be involved in a group of some sort.”

No large installation of a similar nature has appeared on campus since last spring, but the Campus Riddler continues to act nonetheless. This fall, the CR stamp mark continues to pop up across Gambier. One of them marks the wall of the patio outside the Alumni Dining Room in Peirce. Another one has appeared on a College Park Street stop sign.

Yet so far, suspects have stood in firm denial of any accusation. After Hannah Wendlandt ’19 found a CR stamp on Professor of Philosophy Joel Richeimer’s door at the end of last year, she emailed him a picture of the stamp and asked if he knew about it.

“Hannah, I don’t see a CR symbol on my door or in the picture,” read Richeimer’s reply, “And I am not aware of any boxes with CR symbols on the campus. I am sorry I can’t help you.”

Kayla Rogers ’18 faced a similarly abrupt denial from students — whom she chose not to name — living at the Kenyon Farm. She heard about a CR stamp on the farm’s stove and asked them if they were responsible for it. “They were like, ‘No! Of course not!’” Rogers said.

Is Professor Richeimer the Campus Riddler? “Philosophy of perception, epistemology,” Matheny joked, listing Richeimer’s areas of focus. “It could be up his alley.” Or is it someone associated with the Farm?

Last semester, Rogers heard a rumor that Collegian cartoonist Henry Uhrik ’18 was the Campus Riddler, but in an email to the Collegian, Uhrik seemed perplexed by the accusation. “I know this might sound like exactly what the Campus Riddler might say, but I honestly have no idea what that is,” Uhrik wrote. “Maybe I did something unintentionally?”

For now, Blaker’s suspicions rest on Peter Wear ’16, who graduated last year but might have collaborated with others. Wear co-hosted the Old Kenyon party in February, after which Matheny and others discovered word puzzles in their pockets. Wear was also a member of the WKCO radio station, which could explain the high production value on the Campus Riddler CDs scattered around campus. “He said he didn’t know [who it was] when I asked him last year, but he could have been lying to me,” Blaker said.

Is it Wear? Or is it someone else entirely? For now, students will have to keep looking.

Article by Frances Saux, Arts Editor

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