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The Mass Media

2-26-24 PDF
February 26, 2024
An inside look at Bobby B. Beacon’s insides. Illustrated by Bianca Oppedisano/ Mass Media Staff.
Bobby's Inside Story
February 26, 2024

Wheatley Horror: The phantom architect

Bianca Oppedisano
A cloaked man writes a building schematic for Phillis Wheatley Hall. Illustration by Bianca Oppedisano / Mass Media Staff.

If humanity had one weakness, it would be its tendency to become completely swept away by the allure of a good mystery. There seems to be something about the nature of the unknown that captivates our minds, impregnating our psyches with the parasitic tapeworm of wonder and rendering all other thoughts secondary. With only one week left until Wheatley Horror reaches its terrifying conclusion, the mystery of what truly lurks in those dingy halls has never been so alluring. 

This week, I spoke with a reputable source above all others, UMass Boston professor of Folk Music About Rivers circa 1969, Pablo Underdog, a man who has recently come to believe that Wheatley’s construction could be responsible for its paranormal activity. Is there merit to this scholar’s claims, or is he just another crackpot conspiracy theorist adrift in delusion? Only time will tell.  

Joe DiPersio: Professor Underdog, many have derided your claims linking Wheatley’s construction to the supernatural as, and I quote, “Completely f—ing insane.” Would you like to speak to that? 

Pablo Underdog: Over my countless years teaching at this university, I’ve watched many of my peers fall victim to what those of authority consider madness. For Edgar, it was his butts. For Alan, it was his lust. I’m well aware that people are eyeing me as the next addition to the funny farm, and maybe they’re correct. However, what these doubters have failed to realize is that maybe there’s a reason for this school’s constant outbreaks of insanity. 

JD: And that’s the fact that it’s been built atop spectral ley lines, right? 

PU: I’ve spent many hours deep in the dusty treasure troves of Healey’s most forgotten book stacks, scouring over the little material that exists on UMass Boston’s hidden history. Yes, the school has been built atop ley lines. These are lines that connect some of the most notoriously mysterious locations in the world including the likes of Stonehenge, the Leaning Tower of Pisa, Barrett’s Haunted Mansion and for whatever reason, my ex-girlfriend’s house. Anyways, curiously enough, UMass Bostonand specifically Wheatley Halllies smack-dab at the crossroads of these lines.   

JD: So, you believe these ley lines are the reason why people have been experiencing strange events? 

PU: Yes! Yes! A thousand times, yes! You see, the architecture of Wheatley Hall was designed by a warlock named Marcellus Saruman-Orozgon who knew how to tap into the energy of the ley lines to forge a pathway between our world and the Ghost World, a pathway that one bold enough could theoretically traverse. Every brick that went into Wheatley’s construction was delicately and deliberately placed to achieve this goal. Essentially, the whole building is designed to act as one big ghost door.   

JD: So it’s kind of like in “Ghostbusters” then? Like how that building was designed to summon Gozer with the keymaster and gatekeeper. Do you remember that?  

PU: Oh, you sound just like all the rest of them! Spewing verbal turds out of your rotten mouth! “Ghostbusters” is nothing more than a stupid, silly film for stupid, silly babies! This is real life! The Stay Puft Marshmallow Man isn’t going to come and stick you up all sticky with his white goop!

JD: Okay, geez louise! Someone woke up on the wrong side of the bed today. Anyways, what you were saying about that warlock—Marcellus is what you called him? Yeah, does that name sound familiar to you?

PU: Don’t get witty with me, child! Obviously, his name is similar to that of our Chancellor, Marcelo Suárez-Orozco, and that is no coincidence. Yes, our Chancellor is the warlock spoken of in the myths of old.

JD: Look, prof, I really don’t see how that’s possible.  

 PU: Answer me this, with the constant construction and renovations going on around campus, why is it that Wheatley Hall has never been touched? It’s because it can’t be! It must remain the way it is or the pathway will be unable to open! Marcellus knows how the faculty and board members clamor for Wheatley’s improvement, so he creates years upon years of unnecessary work elsewhere to distract from Wheatley’s inadequacies. Tearing down the old Science Center? Putting grassy hills in its place? Please! It’s called a misdirection and thus far, it’s worked without a hitch. 

JD: But what would his motivation be in doing all of this?

PU: Unlimited power far beyond mortal comprehension. Dark warlock, Marcellus Saruman-Orozgon seeks to become an immortal god, tapping into the energy of the Ghost World to bend the fabric of time. He will see all, both past and future, influencing events at his leisure. He’s already tapped into some of it, which is why he’s been able to maintain his boyish good looks for as long as he has. The warlock is a vile man on the quest for dominance, as cunning as a fox. He’s waited all these years, concealing his true identity like a phantom for the day of destiny when the pathway finally reveals itself. 

JD: Which is when?

PU: October 31st, 2023!

JD: Halloween. Convenient, huh? 

PU: Have your doubts all you want. When the day of reckoning arrives, I shall be spared the warlock’s wrath while you and the rest of this pitiful school wallow in a misery like you’ve… oh, I’m sorry, you wouldn’t happen to have a tissue, would you? It appears I have a nosebleed. 

JD: Oh, sure? Yeah, I got one right here. 

PU: Thanks, friend! *Violent, disgusting nose blowing sounds.* Oh God, I feel like I’ve been sick with something for the past month. Nose bleeds, headaches, fever; I took a COVID test a few days ago and it came back negative, thank God! It’s just that time of the year, you know. Anyways, what was I saying? Oh yeah. I shall be spared his wrath while you and the rest of this pitiful school wallow in a misery like you’ve never seen!   

JD: Oh, okay? So, wrapping up real quick, I just wanted to bring something to your attention, professor. I’ve reached out to some of your students who claim you’ve been so preoccupied and obsessive about this “Ghost World” theory that you haven’t bothered teaching class in three weeks. Is this true? And if so, those students have been wondering if this means they’ll still receive credit for the course. 

PU: No further questions. 

JD: Professor Underdog, your students would really appreciate knowing where they stand. They’d also appreciate being taught the material they paid to be taught. 

PU: No further questions! 

JD: Professor? Professor! Where are you going? Hey! I wasn’t done talking to you! Come… ah, whatever. I don’t get paid enough to put up with these nutjobs. 

Note: After completing this interview, Professor Pablo Underdog disappeared. UMass Boston, as per usual, declined to comment. 

About the Contributors
Joe DiPersio, Humor Editor
Bianca Oppedisano, Illustrator