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Recounting a College Prank that Nearly Went Wrong in Georgetown University in 1900

In 1900, a college prank in Georgetown University nearly went wrong. Students attempted to scare a stable attendant, but a horse was stolen and the police were called. Read more about this bizarre incident on Ghosts of DC.
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This is a bizarre piece that we found in The Washington Post from January 12th, 1900.

Considerable excitement was aroused in the corridors of Georgetown University about 7:30 last night by the sound of a pistol shot and shouting in the rear of the buildings. Students stuck their heads from the windows and peered out into the blackness, enlivening things occasionally by a college yell or a whistle. The sound of a pistol shot came from the direction of the stables, situated in the little valley in the rear of the college and dormitory buildings. Both students and instructors ran to the scene of the disturbance, and found one of the colored attendants, Frank Smakum, greatly excited. He declared with a considerable show of fear that a horse thief had entered the stable and managed to steal one of the horses. Smakum claimed that when he discovered the man he shouted, whereupon the thief turned and fired a revolver directly at him.

In the stables are kept five horses, used in the work about the campus and college grounds. When the stable was entered it was found that one of the animals was missing. The police were at once notified, and Offices Wheeler and Burrows, in company with members of the college faculty, made a search of the extensive grounds. The missing horse was discovered in the extreme southwestern portion of the grounds. The horse was neither bridled nor saddled, and it has not even a halter around its neck. There were apparently no signs of an attempt at horse stealing, and the officers failed to find any trace of a thief.

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It was the general impression of both the officers and the faculty after the excitement had somewhat cooled that the whole affair was the result of a prank of some students who, it is believed, had tried to frighten Smakum, who had charge of the stable.

A terrible prank to pull on the poor man, who was probably scared to death. We wrote about another college prank a little while back that went horribly wrong.

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