Haasch: “Areas one and three” is the local creepypasta we deserve

As the tall tale spreads on r/UofM — the University of Minnesota subreddit — will never forget the 23 who were disposed of in Keller Hall.

by Palmer Haasch

Unspeakable horrors have occurred in Keller Hall “areas one and three,” or so suggests Reddit user u/SouthTop, who posted the following on the University of Minnesota subredddit nearly two weeks ago:

“Both Dr. Antoli and Dr. Armstrong may rot in the deepest pits of hell for the human experimentation that has occurred in these rooms for the past 4 years. You successfully brainwashed division 12, but I have broken free from these shackles of thought. I know what you have done to us scientists and all 23 of the human subjects you’ve disposed of. Their souls will not be forgotten.”

To break this down a bit: Dr. Antoli and Dr. Armstrong aren’t professors with offices in Keller Hall. “Areas one and three” aren’t real locations. SouthTop’s account seems to be a burner — they’ve made no further contributions to any subreddit since the original post.

Soon after, Reddit users began invoking “areas one and three” on nearly every one out of four r/UofMN (the University’s subreddit) posts. Well-meaning and innocent users inquired about found glasses or an unusual smell in Stadium Village only to be told stinky smells are probably a result of waste from previous experiments, or that the glasses probably belonged to a lost subject in area one or three.

“Areas one and three” is absolutely hilarious and also contributes to campus culture. While the original post is textbook shitposting (publishing nonsensical content without proper context), it’s also reminiscent of classic creepypastas, or brief, repeated horror legends that find their way around the internet. This one is locally specific, which is what makes it even funnier. Last Friday, I got out on the ground and visited Keller Hall in an effort to suss out the truth. The lower levels of the building are devoid of human life — except for chatter behind closed doors. The corridors twist around in a way that conjures up images of the kind of laboratory you’d be likely to explore in “Stranger Things.”

However, it’s unlikely the meme itself will make it past r/UofMN, no matter how spooky Keller Hall felt late on a Friday afternoon. I had hoped “areas one and three” would have potentially made it past Reddit, but when I asked several students if they had heard of “areas one and three” or of any human experimentation in Keller, they looked at me like I had grown a third head — like I had come from “areas one and three.”

This meme is the perfect example of a local creepypasta that will likely stay confined to r/UofMN. Geographically specific but still playing into current trends in internet humor, it addresses the Reddit community in which it began while playing into campus myth. Even if it doesn’t make it into mainstream campus discussions, it’s a valuable example of how online spaces foster the creation of potentially long-lasting memes and myths centered around campus. While we will never rescue the 23 fallen subjects, we can keep their souls alive by celebrating “areas one and three” on r/UofMN and in the terror-inspiring nooks and crannies of Keller Hall.