Pumpkin Prank Perpetrator Puzzle Persists 20 Years Later

On October 8, 1997, Cornell University students noticed a pumpkin impaled on top of the McGraw Tower spire. That's 173 feet up! How did it get up there? They couldn't get it down, so the pumpkin stayed there for 158 days. The stunt made national news, and its continued existence was watched by everyone on campus.

The campus went playfully out of its gourd. The Cornell Chorus and the Cornell Glee Club created pumpkin lyrics for the alma mater. A webcam provided 24-hour live images – a novelty at the time – from Olin Library.

In January 1998, the university built scaffolding around McGraw Tower to repoint century-old mortar. The somewhat decayed pumpkin held fast.

A class sent a remote-control balloon up to study the pumpkin. The next spring, a crane was used to finally remove it. But no one ever found out who put it up there or how. Read the story of the great pumpkin caper at the Cornell Chronicle. -via Metafilter

(Image credit: Cornell University)

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