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  • Collegian staff

The Ghost in the Machine: An overview of which printers on campus can sense your fear

Updated: Oct 31, 2021

Clara Nithiaparan

Staff Writer

Editor’s Note: This piece is a parody in the spirit of the season and not intended as sincere paranormal investigation or speculation.

Fishbowl Printer: Home to Casper the friendly ghost.

Edited photo of the printer in the Fishbowl in the Hatfield Library. Photo by Rebecca May.

Picture this. You are lying in bed quite blissfully at 2:50 am when suddenly you sit up straight, remembering your presentation in the morning at 11:30 am. You run fast towards Hatfield, your winter jacket quite successfully covering your pajama top, but your bulky track pants struggling to contain your pajama bottoms. You probably look ridiculous, but you don’t care because nobody will see you. Once you get there, instead of entering the massive entrance doors, you turn left into a locked room off to the side with a sign above it reading “fishbowl.” You swipe your ID card, and there you are at 2:58 am, ready to start the printing process.. And so it begins. It makes a constant series of clicking, beeping, and whirring noises, not necessarily in that sequence, in fact it kind of seems to have a mind of its own. Once it gets its innards activated and ready to either chew your readings or get them printed, you hear the very fast-paced riff-raff that is your beloved printer shooting your papers out onto the tray. A minute goes by and all hundred pages of your reading have been printed. How on earth did that happen? You could have sworn you only printed pages 1-3. It’s surely possessed, only a ghost could have made this work. You smile at the printer, hoping that the ghost smiles back at you. You can’t even call the police for help, because they don’t have WU access to the building. Maybe they could break their way in? But actually, it seems that the ghost in the fishbowl’s printer isn’t too bad. It lets you go with your readings unscathed, pitying your delirious self at 3 a.m.. It has to be Casper.

Ford 1st Printer: Home to the ghost that just loves to eat up the letters.

Edited photo of the printer in on the first floor of Ford. Photo by Rebecca May.

It’s broad daylight now, and the sun is shining as much as it can in Oregon. It’s 1:30 p.m. and you need to urgently print ten pages so that you can quickly skim through the essay that your classmate has written and make it to class by 2:00 p.m. with amazing comments that will make you look like you were at it all night. Your laptop is almost dead, grasping for life like a member of the undead. Time is crucial. You can’t use your laptop and you can’t go back to your room and recharge it. You need to stay put in Ford. You’ve sent the pages to the first floor printer, and eagerly await until the person before you has finished. He finally walks away with at least a hundred pages in his hand. Initially, you take this to mean that the printer is working again, and this is music to your ears. But then you hear another sound: the sound of him cursing and shuffling through his papers. Now you’re worried. You rush towards the printer and stand right in front of it, shifting from foot to foot impatiently, nervously looking down at the tray. The first page comes out. It looks good. The second and third pages follow, looking equally good. The fourth page comes out, also looking good. Okay, maybe the stress was for nothing. But then you turn the pages over, and it seems like someone had suddenly got hungry and decided to devour the letters of the page. What is that word? Where did all of the black ink go? . You can almost hear the ghost of the first floor printer laughing cheekily at you. “Very funny,” you say out loud. The person behind you stares.

Kaneko Lobby printer: Home to the ghost that loves to be educated.

Oh, you poor, lost souls of Kaneko. You just cannot cross the sky bridge again. Certainly not just for your printouts; you’d have to immediately walk back. Walking to all your classes at the other end of the world is hard enough already, isn’t it? Well, thankfully the Kaneko Lobby has exactly what you need: a beautiful printer. After a nice shower, you change into your pajamas, kick your feet back, and put a happy smile on your face as you feed it all of your readings for the next day. You say a silent thank you to the heavens. All ten of your readings have been successfully sent in through the website, so you proceed downstairs, admiring your fluffy bunny slippers along the way. You expect to see a hundred pages on the paper output tray. But when you get there, you see none. Cursing to yourself, you look at the printer and stare in disbelief at the “printer not working, WHEMS has been called'' sign taped to the side. Not again. You turn the power button off and then on again. Still nothing. Well, it was worth a shot. Then, the printer grunts and whirrs in frustration, trying to tell you something. It doesn’t sound scary like you would have expected. You suddenly realize that the ghost inside simply wanted to get educated and doesn’t want to let go of the information. It wasn’t trying to be mean. You roll your eyes, head upstairs, and remind yourself that the readings are much more important than your comfort. You send them to the fishbowl printer. Hopefully, Casper will help you out. Somehow you have a feeling that he and the Kaneko lobby ghost are friends. They definitely don’t interact with the Ford printer though. You head to the doors leading outside and open them. It’s pouring cats and dogs out there. You must persevere. Your bunny slippers start to cry.

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