Section: News

Students find anonymous letters slipped under their doors

Students find anonymous letters slipped under their doors

Michael Lahanas ’19 was resting in his room in Caples Residence Hall late Saturday night when someone slipped a sheet of paper under his door.

“We all know you’re [sic] sexual awakening started with that one time your mom handed you a halved papaya,” read the note. “It didn’t taste good, but it felt right. Luckily, Kenyon’s newest papaya group is here to hear you, citizen. Thank you and good evening. Sincerely, TDA.”

Initially, Lahanas was confused. “I don’t even eat papaya,” he said.

Lahanas was not the only student to receive such a letter. That evening, an anonymous performance art group known as The Damned Abracadabra (TDA) slipped hundreds of notes under doors in Caples, Mather, Manning, Bushnell, Leonard and Gund Residence Halls. The group printed 30 to 50 copies each of six different messages, which ranged from discussing bananas to disclosing a hookup between fictional students Emma and Josh.

“We have a weird sense of humor and we like messing with people, but like on the down-low,” one of the three TDA members, who requested anonymity for fear of retaliation, said. “But not personally attacking people, just confusing people.”

The members stressed that the letters were purely for fun and that the subject matters were “whatever popped into our heads.” They explained that the letters were impersonal and not targeted toward any particular person or group. Dorms were picked based on personal affiliation with the members or their friends, and the number of letters and names of subjects were completely random.

“The motivation to do it was planned, but none of the actual notes were planned,” the above-mentioned member said. “It was pretty spur-of-the-moment.”

The TDA members began writing the letters at about 12:30 a.m. on Sunday morning and distributed them within the next two hours. They signed the letters anonymously, much like the “Campus Riddler” messages featuring the letters “CR” on trees and buildings around campus. The two groups have no affiliation.

“As we were doing this, we were thinking, ‘It kind of sucks that we won’t know how people will react to it because it will be nothing — it’s just going to be funny to us and no one is going to remember anything,’” another group member said.

People did take notice, however. Jess Kusher ’19, who lives in Bushnell, woke up at 7 a.m. on Sunday to use the bathroom and found a note under her door. The letter discussed a hookup between students and spoke of violating “girl code.”

Kusher originally thought the note was related to a Greek rush event. After reading the letter, though, she felt worried. “I was really confused,” she said. “I was like, ‘Am I supposed to feel threatened?’” Kusher called Campus Safety to alert them to the situation.

Lahanas was also concerned when he received his letter. After reevaluating, he assumed the letter was a prank. “Given how absurd and unconnected to any of the people getting them [they] were, I kind of guess they had to be randomized,” he said. “I thought it was pretty funny, honestly, if a bit odd.”

The TDA members did not expect their letters to generate any controversy. “We thought there were going to be no consequences, positive or negative, whatsoever,” one member said. But within the next 24 hours, the members heard responses ranging from amusement to offense. One student accused the TDA group of promoting white feminism by placing “girl code” in quotation marks, members said.

“I think we kind of assumed that everybody else has as weird a [sense of] humor as we do, so when people got freaked out, we were kind of surprised by that,” one member said.

The members do not currently have any other projects in the works but remarked that things can change in the future. “Nothing is planned,” another member added.


Comments for this article have closed. If you'd like to send a letter to the editor for publication, please email us at