Misty Vapors Arising in Womens’ Bathroom in Hardenbergh Hall

By Jessica Teal

Having taken many, many undergraduate classes in the subterranean levels of Hardenbergh Hall, I became very familiar with the lower level vending machines and ultimately, the ladies room (to this day I cannot even look at a pack of "Andy Capp Pub Fries"). During my pit stops to the very small one-stall bathrooms on the 2nd & 3rd lower levels, I encountered a strange atmospheric phenomenon that still intrigues me to this day. Often at night, after 9:00 PM, misty, smoke-like vapors would start forming in the center of the restrooms, seeming to originate from no general direction. There were no odors associated with these occurrences (thank god!) and when you would open the door to the ladies room you would see what looked like a general sort of fog just condensing in the room. It was such an innocuous fog that I think most people just ignored it, but to me, it seemed evil (alright, at least mischievous) in intent.

Now, as anybody who takes night time summer sessions in Hardenbergh Hall knows, the air conditioning system is out of whack, and if you are not dripping sweat during your 6:10 Women, Culture & Society class, then you are either dead or merely chilled to the bone by the feminist march war rally. Is this outrageous heat the answer to the mist phenomena? Well, according to "Mr. Wizard", fog is made of warm air condensing into water droplets when it meets with cold. So unless a draft of chilly air is blowing directly under the Ladies room floor, with all that heat in the summer, your average temperature-related fog is not the culprit here! We will have to investigate this phenomena further.

©Rutgers Rarities and Unexplained Phenomena, 2005