9 Theories on How a 60 Lb Pumpkin Landed on Top of the Cornell Clocktower

Released: 10/09/2017

In October of 1997, an unusual thing happened at Cornell. Students awoke to spot the perfect fall surprise… A giant pumpkin perched on the tip of the spire of the Cornell clocktower, nearly 200 feet in the air. But it seemed an impossibility. There were no construction cranes and the roof of the tower was steep and totally inaccessible. It was difficult for anyone to imagine how a heavy pumpkin could have possibly gotten up there the night before.

On the 20-year anniversary of this strange happening, the mystery remains unsolved. Was it a student prank? A feat of stealth rock-climbing? A helicopter fly-by no one noticed?

Here are a few theories—and we want to hear yours! Tweet your theories to @ecornell_online.

Pumpkin Catapult

It was a Pumpkin Catapult with really, really good aim.



It was a PhD thesis project to develop an early precursor to drones.


Flying Squirrels

A fleet of flying squirrels helped, obviously…


Helicopter Top Secret Mission

Those pesky black helicopters dropped it there on a top secret mission.


UFO Beam

Clearly it had to have been beamed down via UFO….


Magical Underground Tunnel

Didn’t you know about the magical underground tunnel?


King Kong

Someone decided the clocktower needed a signal to warn low-flying planes.


Halloween tricks

The broomstick bear couldn’t contain his excitement for Halloween’s tricks and treats!


Super Bear!

SU-U-PER-MAN returned to Cornell!


Don’t forget to tweet your theories to @ecornell_online.