Title: S&S track down.
Genre: Verbal Lore; Urban Legend
Informant info: Jamie Billings. Dartmouth ’16. Attended Groton. From Groton, Mass.
Type of lore: Verbal; Subgenre: Urban Legend
Country of Origin: USA
Social / Cultural Context: Every year incoming Dartmouth freshman build a massive bonfire in the center of campus and run laps around it (the number of laps correspond to their class year. i.e. 2019- 19 laps). While the students run around the fire upperclassmen, alumni, and members of the community taunt them and scream “touch the fire,” “worst class ever,” and other expressions similar to these. It is common superstition that if no student from the class touches the fire then this class will be cursed and dubbed the worst class ever.
Associated file: audio clip.Jamie Guy Gets Fined
Collector: “So you mentioned a second item, do you mind sharing this item, that is similar to the first?”
Informant: “Yeah, um, so one of the other stories that gets circulated a lot around homecoming is that a guy who touched the fire and I guess successfully evaded S&S, several years ago. And then you know I guess he thought he was fine, and then, uh, a few days later he was notified that he’d actually been caught on camera, um, touching the fire. And they identified his face, and he was fined like a thousand dollars or something outrageous…..” Informant then said: “yeah that’s all I know.”
Informant’s comments: Similar to the first story about homecoming, the informant did not know who the guy was or when this event occurred. However, the informant did state that he believed that this must have actually happened at some point.
Collector’s comments: This is one of those items that we collected when we had to be careful to discern between actual accounts of oral history and true folklore. For this item, we determined that it must be actual folklore because the story lacked key details like when this event occurred and who the guy might have been. Additionally, a large number of people we asked knew about this story and gave similar accounts like the one our informant provided.
Collected by: Luke Hudspeth ’19