Understanding Auburn's myths and legends

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The urban legend of the seal in front of Langdon Hall, placed in the 1970s, is arguably one of Auburn’s most well-known myths. Legend has it that if any student steps on the seal, they will not graduate on time or marry an Auburn man or woman.

Hannah Burke, junior in elementary education, learned this the hard way.

“I heard that if you step on the seal you won’t graduate on time, you won’t find true love at Auburn and you will have seven generations of Bama fans,” Burke said.

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There are a few different ways to reverse the curse according to the legend, including jumping into the president’s fountain at midnight on the leap day of leap year. The next leap year is 2020.

“In order to counteract the curse, it used to be that you had to jump in the fountain but then they got rid of the fountain, so now you have to eat dirt out of the president’s garden or something like that,” Burke explained.

Burke believes the legend is true because she has experienced the consequences of stepping on the seal first-hand.

“Freshman year, my friend and I were walking home from the bars and she stepped on the seal and was distraught, so she pushed me on the seal so she wouldn’t be the only one with bad luck,” Burke said. “I believe it is so true because I’m not graduating in four years. I’m graduating in five, and I doubt I’ll find true love at Auburn.”

Burke said she doesn’t mind graduating in five years or not finding true love at Auburn, but she does care about having seven generations of Alabama fans.

“I will be devastated,” Burke said.

Regardless of Burke’s curse, she still believes having traditions like the legend of stepping on the seal is important to the Auburn family.

“Cheesy as it is, we’re rooted in our family and traditions are really important to alumni and students because it makes you feel like this is where you belong,” Burke said.

However, there is another urban legend Auburn bears that is less likely to negatively affect a student as heavily as stepping on the seal would, which is the legend of the lathe next to Samford Hall. 

The tradition of the lathe is a way to find out if a student has found their true love at Auburn.

Noah Cotton, senior in industrial engineering, explained the legend. “If you take a girl there at night and the lathe doesn’t move or something like that, then she’s an Auburn woman and you should marry her.”

Cotton also recalled a shortly lived myth about the two men in bunny costumes sculpture that reside in the pond in front of the Jules Collins Smith Museum of Fine Art.

“People thought that the statues of the guys wearing the bunny suits that are in the pond at the museum, that was just an art project, at first thought, it was pledges in the water,” Cotton explained.

Another Auburn legend is an explanation of why Auburn does not have sorority houses. Auburn sororities have dormitories in the Village for members to live in and host chapter meetings, but no houses. Prior to the Village, the Hill residence hall was used as sorority housing.

The myth most commonly states when women were first allowed to attend Auburn in the late 1890s and began to form sororities, a wealthy donor felt more than five women living together would be considered as a house of ill repute.

Ashley Moore, junior in applied mathematics, is a member of a social sorority and thinks it’s unfair they don’t have houses like the fraternities do.

“I was told on one of my tours of Auburn that some lady donated a crap ton of money to Auburn and her one request was for sororities to not have houses and to be on campus,” Moore explained.

“I also think that houses could make some sororities a lot better than others and make it more competitive than it needs to be, but it is still unfair,” Moore said.

When asked if not having houses has affected her sorority experience as compared to other schools with sorority houses, Moore said maybe.

“It is kind of unfair though that the guys get to have them and have parties in it and we don’t even have houses, but if we did, we wouldn’t be allowed to have parties in them anyways,” Moore added.

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