To celebrate the Halloween season, Lady Eaton College recently held a Haunted Drumlin walk. While fun for students, it seems that some of the drumlin’s woodland friends had trouble getting into the spirit of the season. Read on for a letter from “Dr. Toad, Ph.D.” as they share their experience accidentally being a part of this spooky event.
The drumlin behind Lady Eaton College has been a peaceful home to me for many years. The winding trails provide the perfect atmosphere for me to conduct my studies on insects and other tasty arthropods, while the sumacs conceal me from prying eyes. One might think that it gets lonely in the drumlin, but I am not completely alone. The humans of Trent University who periodically hike through my home are good company, even though they do not notice my presence. I appreciate how respectful they are towards the woods and the specimens I study. The pieces of fabric that they wear on their faces lately are a little ominous, and I wonder if it is related to the fact that there have been fewer visitors on the trails lately. Now that I think about it, the drumlin has been particularly quiet this year, almost eerily so. But on October 16 the drumlin was frightening for the opposite reason.
I was in the midst of using the knobs on my hind feet to dig a hole when I heard the first scream. It was a terrible noise, full of despair and terror. I dismissed it at first, as I have learned over the years that the changing leaves indicate that it is midterm season for the humans. I figured that the noise must have come from a student frightened by the realization that their midterm is tomorrow. But as the woods got darker, the screams intensified. Being the curious creature I am, I decided to leave the hole I was preparing for hibernation to investigate.
What I found was disturbing. Candles illuminated the pathways and signs had been posted to trees with phrases like “plague mask on” and “beware zombies.” There were humanoid beings hiding in the woods, but they were unlike any humans I had previously encountered. They were covered in blood and their flesh was rotting. When regular humans walked by, the creatures would frighten them by jumping out and showing off their grotesque features. Not wanting to be one of their victims, I hopped into the sumac plants to hide.
Luckily, the creatures did not see me. Peering through the leaves, I saw that the pieces of fabric on their faces had been transformed into terrifying masks that made some look like crows, and others appear as otherworldly beings. I nearly croaked at the sight.
The most terrifying thing about it all was that the normal humans seemed to enjoy being frightened. At first, they would scream and run, which is an appropriate response. But then I would hear them giggling amongst themselves, daring each other to lead the way. In my many years of study, I have never encountered such a ritual.
Perhaps what took place that night was simply an event that I had never seen before due to hibernation. After all, things are back to normal on the trails, and LEC students are known to gather in the drumlin for events. The peaceful atmosphere has returned, and so I will go back to digging my hole and preparing for the long winter.
However, I will not forget that my quiet home was disturbed that night. When I awake this spring for the Great Toad Hunt, I will express my dissatisfaction.
You have been warned.
Dr. Toad PhD
Curious about Dr. Toad? Learn more about Lady Eaton College and its various traditions.