Kenyon College was founded in 1824 by Bishop Philander Chase.
This much is true.
But since then, a host of irrepressible gossips and fertile minds passing through our hallowed halls have helped furnish all manner of rumor, legend, and bits of non-history that, at the very least, speak to students' boundless creativity.
How else to explain the theory that a secret subterranean Middle Path exists?
How do such notions get started?
And what, if anything, holds them up?
Sometimes, it's the fault of a daytime talk show host (really). Sometimes, in a historical game of telephone, a story is repeated and in each telling moves farther from the truth. And sometimes, it must be concluded, somebody just made the whole thing up.
Here are some of the tallest Kenyon tales, chopped down to size.
Weaver Cottage was constructed by royalty to house a privileged son who didn't want to live on campus. First off, Weaver Cottage, while boasting fancy roof tiles, isn't exactly luxurious. It sleeps eight upstairs. In bunk beds.
A series of tunnels connects buildings on south campus. File this one under wishful thinking. During the cold winter months, when even the squirrels are hiding, it would be awfully nice not to have to bundle up to get a bowl of cereal at Peirce.
A psychic once claimed the gates of hell are located in Gambier. Unlike other Kenyon legends, which seem to have sprouted among the corn from a stray kernel of truth, the Gates of Hell story can be traced directly to daytime TV.
Campus Safety has its own stash of students' stashes and disposes of the contraband with a giant bonfire each year. Dude. Campus Safety does routinely end up in possession of drugs and paraphernalia and keeps them in an evidence locker the size of a closet.
The great hall in Peirce was a second-choice location for the Harry Potter films. If you haven't been on campus for a while, this one might be new to you. But it is everywhere, most likely because the Great Hall in Peirce does vaguely resemble Hogwarts School of Witchcraft and Wizardry from the Potter films.
The hallways of Mather and McBride residence halls were designed to be "riot proof." Anyone who has ever walked through one of these north campus dorms, finished in 1969, would probably have an easy time believing that the multiple twists of the hallways—it takes seven sharp turns to navigate from one end to the open middle—were designed with some greater purpose in mind other than, say, making sleepwalking difficult.