Title: Trip-Cest

General Information about Item:

  • Genre: Customary Folklore: Superstition
  • Language: English
  • Country where Item is from: USA

Informant Data:

This student is currently 23 years of age. He is currently in his fifth year at Dartmouth College. As a freshman at Dartmouth College, this student went on a hiking DOC Trip. Due to the lewd details of this interview, this student wished to remain anonymous.

Contextual Data:

This is customary superstition. As participants on the DOC Trips, students are informed that any sexual activity will not be tolerated. Should students participate in sexual activity, they will be asked to go home. That being said, a taboo exists in which many students do engage in sexual activity, however they do not tell anyone about it. The superstition that speaking of the sexual activity will get the student in trouble is exactly the reason why this anonymous ’16 wished to remain unnamed.


“Trip-cest is very real. Obviously I feel like I am violating a certain code of conduct by telling this story, but I am fine remaining anonymous. Coming into my trip I had heard stories of how it is not uncommon for kids to hook up with one another on trips. Before the trip started my group leader explained that sexual activity would not be tolerated. I remember meeting the different students in my group and it was all I could think about. On the last night of my trip, we were staying in a cabin. There was a girl in my group who obviously I will not name, that I had started to like and flirt with. I was alone in bed and the rest of my group had fallen asleep. I heard something and it happen to be this girl climbing into my bed. I couldn’t believe it was happening, but it did. We got naked and engaged in some sexual activity. She then snuck back into her bed and we woke up the next morning and didn’t tell a soul.”

Informant’s Comments:

Upon actively participating in the act of “trip-cest” this anonymous ’16 explained to me that he fully believed in the customary superstition of not telling anyone in fear of getting in trouble. He said that he didn’t tell anyone of the story until he was a sophomore. He also said that he always wanted to take part in “trip-cest” and after it happened he couldn’t believe it.

Collector’s Comments:

I believe the informant’s customary superstitions of being afraid to tell anyone of the story is a testament to the verbal lore of “trip-cest” being regarded as illegal by so many in the past. I now see why “trip-cest” is taboo in the fact that every student wants to participate, however no student wants to be known as the student that participated in “trip-cest”.

Collector’s Name: John McCormick


  • Customary Lore, Superstition

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