Note: the following story is fictitious. Any correlation to actual people or events is coincidental.
MISHAWAKA—Bethel has been blessed with an abundance of lovers of music and talented musicians, and as a result there is a plethora of musical instruments all over campus, including several pianos. But over the past week, a mysterious phenomenon has the campus extremely concerned.
Cliff Bayse, a junior and resident of Manges Hall, had the grave misfortune of experiencing the events firsthand after his roommate, sophomore Malcolm Tolderow, became a little too curious.
“It was just Mal and I, hanging in our room like any other Wednesday night,” said Bayse. “We heard someone playing the piano in Sailor, a real spooky tune, and Mal decided to take a break from studying to go see who it was.”
Bayse is still shaken up by the events that followed.
“He was gone, five minutes maybe, and then the music just stopped,” said Bayse. “I figured he was talking to the pianist, and I waited, like, half an hour, but when I went out there, the room was empty.”
Bayse tried texting and then calling his friend, but received no response, and when Tolderow was still missing at the 12:30 curfew, Bayse called Campus Safety.
“They came and looked around a little, had a lot of questions,” said Bayse. “They probably thought I was nuts. Maybe I am. But Mal’s still missing, and I, I just don’t know what to do.”
Bayse became too overcome with emotion to continue the interview, but we did manage to speak with another student who had a similar encounter, freshman Mira Shirley. She was spending the evening in the basement of the Everest-Rohrer building with her best friend, Josie Bary.
“We were just talking, spending a lovely evening together and trying to forget about homework,” said Shirley. “Then, we heard the grand piano—you know, the one in the practice room—anyway, we heard a real eerie song being played on it. Hauntingly beautiful.”
Shirley and Bary wanted to see who was playing the piano, so they walked over to the room.
“The door was shut, so we opened it slowly in case there was some kind of event or private lesson or something going on that we didn’t know about,” said Shirley. “But as we opened the door, the music stopped, and by the time we had it open wide enough to see inside, the person was gone.”
Shirley and Bary looked around briefly for the mysterious pianist before giving up and going back to the lounge. But then the music started again.
“We both ran to the door, but we were too late again,” said Shirley. “The music stopped, and the room was empty.”
They returned to the lounge, and when the music started again a few minutes later, Shirley didn’t want to investigate.
“I just felt like it was too weird, some joke or something, and I didn’t want to keep wasting time chasing it,” said Shirley. “But Josie wanted to know. She had this insatiable curiosity.”
Shirley stayed in the lounge as Bary crept slowly up to the door and slid silently into the room.
“I was surprised the music didn’t stop,” said Shirley. “It kept playing for about a minute after she went in before ending, right in the middle of a scale.”
As soon as the music stopped, Shirley leapt to her feet and ran into the room.
“It was empty,” said Shirley. “She was gone.”
Shirley immediately called Campus Safety, and they are investigating. They have their hands full, with a total of 17 students missing since the beginning of the month and a cascade of reports about the strange music. Currently, only Bayse’s and Shirley’s encounters have provided any direct connection between the music and the disappearances, but it is possible that there simply were not witnesses present for the other vanishings.
Campus Safety released the following comment concerning the cases:
“Campus Safety is investigating the incidences. We encourage students to avoid being alone with pianos and not to try to solve this case themselves. We hope to reach a conclusion in the matter very soon.”