Monsters take over Old Main: onlookers terrified
At first, students, faculty, and staff assumed that some sort of Halloween prank was taking place when a gorilla approximately 40 feet tall emerged from the cornfields across the street from Lakeland College and made his way toward Old Main on Oct. 1 around 4:15 p.m.
“I thought it was some other students in a big gorilla suit,” said Brandon Rooker, who was among the first of the students to notice the lumbering beast. “But as it got closer, I realized that there was no way they could be operating a costume that huge.”
According to those who were present at the time, the gorilla— which Lakelanders are now calling King Kong—emerged from among the corn very cautiously and sniffed the bridge leading to campus before walking across it and leaping right over the brick wall with Lakeland’s new lighted sign on it. King Kong then made his way across the grassy courtyard and began lapping out of the fountain in front of Old Main.
“I wasn’t too scared,” said Rooker. “I’ve always been fascinated with monsters, and King Kong didn’t seem too dangerous when he was just drinking out of the fountain like that. He reminded me of a person at a bubbler.”
Meanwhile, some witnesses say that another creature was emerging from the pond behind the president’s house.
Stephanie Rebek, who was on her way to WAK from the apartments at the time, says she noticed that the earth seemed to tremble beneath her.
“It felt like an earthquake, only smaller,” said Rebek. “Then this huge shadow fell across me, and I looked up and screamed!”
And Rebek had good reason to scream. The shadow, as it turns out, came from a dragon-like creature estimated to be around 60 feet tall. It snorted a stream of fire towards the ground, narrowly missing Rebek and cooking six geese that had been resting on the edge of the pond, which the dining staff later served at dinner, explaining that the feathers had been burned off and that the geese had been thoroughly cooked; students later complimented the freshness of the meat being served.
At any rate, Rebek quickly dialed security on her cell phone to ask them to deal with the creature, fearing that it would breath fire on students and bring them to the same fate as the geese that had sat on the edge of the pond.
The dragon-like creature trudged toward Old Main and roared when it spotted King Kong sipping from the fountain. By this time security had arrived on the scene. The full staff was there frantically taping off the area to keep students away from the dangerous creatures.
“I got pretty scared then,” said Rooker. “Godzilla [the dragon] seemed pretty angry with Kong, and I didn’t know what that would mean for us onlookers.”
But King Kong swiftly climbed up the front of newly-renovated Old Main and perched himself on the steeple where Godzilla couldn’t reach him. Godzilla tried repeatedly to swat at King Kong, but his tiny forearms prevented him from scratching King Kong, who remained at the top of the steeple.
The two monsters stayed focused on their quarrel until finally a helicopter arrived from Animal Control Headquarters to detain the two. The Animal Control officers came prepared with tranquilizer darts and various ropes and nets, all of which made quick work of capturing Godzilla. They were able to set up a trap that tripped Godzilla and kept him still long enough to be tranquilized.
King Kong had to be coaxed off of the steeple with roasted corn on the cob before he could be tranquilized. Additional helicopters had to be called to carry off the monsters.
Animal Control officer Amy Borntrager told the Mirror, “When we got the call, we made sure to come up with a plan that wouldn’t permanently harm them. While that is usually our goal, it was especially important in this case because of the scientific importance of both animals involved.”
Borntrager says that both King Kong and Godzilla will be taken to a secure lab at an undisclosed location for further investigation into how these anomalies of nature came to be. Borntrager had no comment regarding when or if further information would be released to the public, but was willing to say that “we [Animal Control] will do all we can to protect the public from threats like this in the future.
Concept for this story by Brandon Rooker, Sports Editor