Controversial tradition sees ten students burned alive inside homecoming corn monument.
IOWA CITY, IA- “Swarm! Swarm! Swarm!”– that was the chant heard echoing throughout the pentacrest last night as Kirk Ferentz led students in setting fire to this year’s harvest idol. The coach said he felt relieved everything went as planned. “It’s our hope that this sacrifice of twenty-one hundred ears of corn– and ten eighteen year old boys– will sate Herky’s lust for corn and blood.”
This year’s Corn Monument, a near hundred-year old tradition on campus, stood 24-feet high. This was just large enough to fit the ten young men sealed inside without food or water 48 hours prior to the ritual. Eugene Smithy, the senior engineer on the project, said he was proud of the limited materials used to construct the monolith. “The structure is made of only wood and corn, unless you count The Offerings. Even then, it’s only wood, corn, and flesh and bones.”
The tradition was first started in 1919 by veterans returning from the trenches of World War One, but was banned for many years. Still, the ceremony has come under fire even since its recent resurrection just last year.
However, Smithy thinks the fiery ritual is here to stay. “I understand why the whole ordeal might be alarming to some folks, and why I get why they banned it for so long. But it’s important to recognize the facts: it’s very rare that The Offerings actually do escape. Sure, it’s happened in the past. But that’s no reason to ban something that makes our university so unique.”
Robert Flanagan is co-founder and frequent performer at The Little Village Comedy Hour, a local Iowa City stand-up showcase. You can follow him on Twitter at @notrobertK.