When not guarding the Vault, Ben can still be found in spirit guarding Sunset Lake against geese.
During the collection of sesquicentennial information this year, a small room was discovered, deep below the library, containing several unidentified objects. No record of their existence could be found in the college archives.
It soon became clear that these were not ordinary items, and the decision was made to reseal the room, with its contents, forever. This room, the Vassar Vault, contains what we believe are some of the college's most disturbing possessions.
James Taylor, Vassar's fourth president, collected this mask on a trip to Europe. The mask was designed for Swiss bank officials during their annual jousting tournaments; students nicknamed it "Uncle Jim". It was stolen several times, returning only after those responsible experienced nightmares, panic attacks, and sensations of being watched.
With concerns growing about Jim's eerie reputation (one trustee declared that he would sooner "dine on the Moon, than suffer that creature's deathly presence during Teatime") Uncle Jim entered the Vault in 1900.
Matthew Vassar's lycanthropic condition was a closely guarded secret - so closely guarded, in fact, that no one living was aware of it until this troubling portrait was uncovered. Several college records, however, do mention instances of Vassar mysteriously vanishing every so often, always at night.
We were unable to determine the origins or uses of these mysterious bottles, until it came to light that in the early 1900s, experiments had been conducted in the Vassar Brothers Laboratory with the goal of "...assessing the possibilities and benefits of Manufactured Personalities...so that those dissatisfied with the cards Nature has dealt them, may remedy their personal failings...as easily as dispatching a headache."
The similarities of these experiments to the plot of Robert Louis Stevenson's Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde is where Hyde Park, NY, got its name, after it was established that one participant in the experiment had fled there.
In the early 1880s, several visiting educators described a new focus of study in European universities: black magic. President Samuel Caldwell, concerned that European students would outperform American ones in this expanding field, immediately set about collecting a sizable library of books on the occult. The Vassar Department of Defense Against the Dark Arts enjoyed success for many years, continuing even after it was revealed that the "educators" who inspired its creation were actually book vendors trying to move poorly selling merchandise.
Matthew Vassar was widely respected for his great physical strength. According to legend, the Devil once challenged Vassar to a wrestling match, with the understanding that if Matthew won, the Devil would avoid the College for seven years. Vassar did win, and pushed the Devil into a vat of molten glass to be used for beer bottling. While it seems unlikely that the spirit in this lump of glass belongs to the Devil, there is definitely something living in here.
This marking appears in various spots around campus. Experts agree that it is probably the work of sorcerers.