Maybe it's... performance art?

Maybe it’s… performance art?

In the latest investigation into WTF the first years are doing now, we present to you: the Furnald Screamers. Known campus-wide as the tamer, more peaceful dorm, Furnald has largely lived up to expectations as a place where the less-wild things are—save for, of course, the screamers. In time, we will need a better term for the Furnaldian wildlings (Note: we’re working on it), but for now, such is the term for those responsible for this dorm’s bizarre yell-fest.

It all started late last semester, when students began to sporadically scream in the Furnald elevator in the hopes of (supposedly) alleviating the immense amount of stress plaguing their lives. What started as a humorous exercise in anxiety management soon devolved into a larger, weirder problem. As time went by, the screams got more and more frequent, and began to target the seventh floor; every once in a whilst, bursts of emotionally repressed save-me-from-myself shrieks would be heard as the elevators would pass the seventh floor and day-to-day scream routines could be heard coming from one of the rooms. Naturally, the response from most was a resounding WTF, partially because there’s still a fair amount of disbelief that of all places, this is happening in Furnald. Having myself given into some spontaneous stress-yells last semester, I decided to ask some other Furnald residents about what was happening, in the hopes of understanding how a haphazard game between friends turned into a bizarre staple. How had the cult of screamers grown? (We definitely need to find some other name for them).

One of the residents on Furnald 8 jokingly posted on the dorm’s Facebook page asking about a possible haunting (though jests aside, the screams I’ve been hearing sound like something out of Psycho). I interviewed said resident, who described the origins of this insoluble situation as such; “Sometime around late October I just started hearing these high-pitched screams; they sounded like a 5-year-old girl’s screams, but sometimes there’ll be a masculine voice as well. Some people in the rooms next door still didn’t hear it though, and I’m just like, what the hell is going on?” At one point both he and I took a measured pause to appreciate the sheer weirdness of this interview, but as it turned out, the story still had a lot more to it. Introspective pause finished, he recalled; “I posted about it on Facebook and I got responses from people saying they felt my pain. The screams are still happening this semester; 90% of the time it’s a girl, 10% of the time it sounds like a guy. It’s just bursts of screaming; apparently they do it for stress relief or something.”

Half-amused and half-concerned, I made my way to the 7th floor (apparently the designated hall for anxiety-fueled Furnaldians) to hear the harrowing stories from those who lived closest to the scream-scene. One of the residents reported hearing sounds almost daily; “There have been random ‘screamings’; at first it was just words, sometimes it would be numbers, but then in november they became like dying, bird-like sounds? People started noticing, it could be a stress thing. It happens in the bathroom too, the guys have heard it. It happens almost every day, like if you’re here for long enough you’ll probably hear it. We’re not entirely sure what to do, one of the guys who is doing it plays dead when we knock on his door.”

After all of this, there was nothing left to do but to make up my mind—fight the monster or surrender to its wiles. Don’t bash it till you try it, right? So, naturally, I got on to the elevator and decided to have my own stress-scream, in front of two mortified residents and a leftover can of red-bull. I screamed at the 5th floor, breaking tradition a tad, experiencing (for the first time in a while) the relaxing properties of a high-frequency, god-save-us-all, is-it-really-only-Tuesday scream. Having done this, there are many mysteries left unsolved: who are these Furnald screamers? Is it really for stress-relief or are they out to ruin lives? Is someone just an intolerable singer? and perhaps, the biggest mystery; why in the holy hell was Furnald the locale of choice for this?

That’s the latest report on WTF are Freshmen Doing Now; stay tuned for more updates on questionable antics and more inexplicable first-year exploits.

The Scream via Wikimedia Commons