Black Squirrels and the Miskatonic University

Not exactly Cthulu..

Black Squirrels and Universities

The first black squirrel I had seen was at Princeton University. Later that year we travelled to another university in NJ and there was another. So I have always associated black squirrels with university life.

Now the first Black Squirrel I had seen in Salem appeared the same year that Salem State became a university. But it was not introduced at the university but another institute of learning, the Essex Institute or someone once called it the Miskatonic University.

In 1923 and 1929 H.P. Lovecraft came to Salem and then later created the fictional town Arkham based on it. One of the institutes he borrowed from was the Essex Institute which he renamed Miskatonic University first in Herbert West-Reanimator. It would be in 5 other stories and be described as a university on par with Harvard University. The Essex Institute was behind the lecture series at the Salem Lyceum where Alexander Graham Bell first introduced the phone at.

Here is a history of melanistic squirrels being released in universities. In the United States, the city of Kent, Ohio developed a significant black squirrel population after ten were legally imported from Canada in February 1961 by Larry Woodell, the head groundskeeper at Kent State University.

Another relating to the founder of Kellogg Cereal company. Black squirrels are abundant in Battle Creek, Michigan, and, according to legend, were first introduced there by Will Keith Kellogg, founder of the Kellogg Company, in an effort to destroy the local population of red squirrels. The story continues that this same population of squirrels was further introduced to the campus of Michigan State University by John Harvey Kellogg for the same purpose.[16] This story was corrected by Wilbur C. “Joe” Johnson, the late chief wildlife biologist at M.S.U.’s Kellogg Biological Station near Battle Creek which includes W.K. Kellogg’s former 32-acre estate at Gull Lake. Johnson, who worked at K.B.S. for 48 years, credited Dr. John Harvey Kellogg for introducing the black squirrel to the Kellogg estate during the 1930s. Johnson said he himself trapped 20 black squirrels at Gull Lake during the early 1960s at the specific request of former MSU president John A. Hannah and released them on the East Lansing campus.

Then, Eastern black squirrels were introduced at Stanford University and can be found on adjoining property in Palo Alto and Menlo Park. Now beyond universities, there seem to be some colleges as well that have them as mascots:

  • Haverford College where the black squirrel is the official mascot of varsity athletics[37]
  • Kent State University[10] which each year holds a Black Squirrel Festival (located in the Risman Plaza during the second week of September) to honor the university’s growing black squirrel population.[35] It features live music, vendors and an overall tribute to the black squirrels seen throughout the campus. Beyond the festival, other businesses and organizations in Kent are named for the black squirrel, including Black Squirrel Brewing Company, Black Squirrel Radio[38] and Black Squirrel Books, an imprint of the Kent State University Press.[39]
  • Albion College where the black squirrel has become a significant symbol on campus[40]
    Sarah Lawrence College where the campus coffee shop is named for the black squirrel.[41] The black squirrel is also used as an unofficial mascot, with the bookstore selling plush squirrels.
  • The College of Wooster where a student on the official website describes an “obsession over black squirrels” [42] and there is a bed and breakfast nearby campus which is named after the animal.[43]
  • Augustana College (Illinois) in the Quad Cities, where ten bronze squirrels are hidden atop buildings around campus[44] and a student film production group, Black Squirrel Productions, is named after the animal.[45]

The black squirrel seemed to be the dominant squirrel when forests were thicker and darker in North America, but as the woods grew thinner and more light came in grey became a better choice for survival. Many people have imported the black squirrel to areas, and at other times there is stories about them escaping zoos. So what is the story for Salem State University or the Miskatonic University; who brought them here?

Read about Ratatoskr who lives in front of the Essex Institute in A Walk Through Salem the fairy tale set in the whimsical magical side of Salem in which you are the main character. Available at Remember Salem, Wicked Good Books, Barnes & Noble, and Amazon.com Or you can buy it directly from www.salemhousepress.com and give more of the profit to the author.

Remember, support local artists!

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How an Illustration is Made

Below you will see the steps from sketches to comps. Graphite drawings are done on separate pieces of paper, scanned, and then painted. They are scanned again and composed like Colorforms on Photoshop until the final illustration is created.

That is how the illustration for Ratatoskr and Charlie Bumpus in front of the Essex Institute from A walk Through Salem.

Join the fun today and enter the magical whimsical side of Salem MA by opening the pages of A Walk Through Salem Today!

Do You Know This Salem Local From the Salem Trilogy?

Can You Guess the Name of This Salem Local…

Mike Naimo illustrated by Chris Dowgin from the book A Walk Through Salem published by Salem House Press

Photographer extraordinaire. A tad bawdy. Owner of several  galleries on the North Shore. The Most Famous was the N Gallery. Lover of lingerie..

Nick of Salem Used Furniture illustrated by Chris Dowgin from A Walk Through Salem published by Salem House Press

Can you guess his name? Place your guesses in the comment section below.

He appears in A Walk Through Salem.  Start your journey by reading this first book in the trilogy,  now in its second edition at Barnes & Noble and on Amazon.com.

You get extra credit if you know where this antique store was and who the owner is playing guitar.

Do You Know This Salem Local From the Salem Trilogy?

Can You Guess the Name of This Salem Local…Mike from Bang Boom and Cat and the Fiddle Antiques illustrated by Chris Dowgin in the book A Walk Through Salem published by Salem House Press.

Owner of Cat and the Fiddle and Bang Boom. He was gardener at the Ropes Garden and the Essex Institute. Avid collector of antiques. Master fisherman. Man of great laughter. Was fascinated by ghosts. Who is he…

Cat and the Fiddle illustrated by Chris Dowgin from the book A Walk Through Salem published by Salem House Press

Can you guess his name? Place your guesses in the comment section below.

He appears in A Walk Through Salem.  Start your journey by reading this first book in the trilogy,  now in its second edition at Barnes & Noble and on Amazon.com.

You get extra credit if you know where in Salem his antique store was.

Do You Know This Salem Local from the Salem Trilogy?

Can You Guess the Name of This Salem Local…John Flagherty Poet illustrated by Chris Dowgin in A Walk Through Salem published by Salem House Press

Once owner of the a Fool’s Mansion in Salem. Poet and songwriter. Also owned the Salem Tea House and Treasure Trove. Man of infinite jest. Lover of birds.

Do you know this man of Motley or heard his songs of Derby Light and pirates of Salem?

Can you guess his name? Place your guesses in the comment section below.

He appears in A Walk Through Salem.  Start your journey by reading this first book in the trilogy,  now in its second edition at Barnes & Noble and on Amazon.com.

Do You Know this Salem Local from the Salem Trilogy?

Can You Guess the Name of This Salem Local…

Johnny Miller illustrated by Chris Dowgin in A Walk Through Salem published by Salem House Press.

This Salem local is an expert craftsman. A real expert in wood and true lover and supporter of local and national bands alike. A truly wonderful person to know that has a little bit of that special magic. A powerful dancer who gets the groove going. A one time DJ on our local radio station.

The Record Exchange illustrated by Chris Dowgin in A Walk Through Salem published by Salem House Press.

Can you guess his name? Place your guesses in the comment section below.

He appears in A Walk Through Salem.  Start your journey by reading this first book in the trilogy,  now in its second edition at Barnes & Noble and on Amazon.com.

A Walk Through Salem is in its Second Edition!

Available from Salem to California in Barnes & Noble….

A Walk Through Salem 2nd edition cover with the Unzipping Tree.

The magical whimsical tales set in Salem that has entertained thousands is in its second edition and available at Barnes & Noble and your favorite independent booksellers throughout the country. The tale that began when Mr. Zac invited you through the Unzipping Tree to see flying fish, churches turned into rocket ships, tall ships dropping anchor next to parking meters, and Vikings storming Dead Horse Beach! A tale filled with witches, werewolves, and Frankenstein’s Monster. A tale in which you are the main character…

Vikings stormin Dead Horse Beach in Salem from A walk Through Salem

Many wonderful illustrations turn local favorite locations into something of merry and mirth.  The tale has the flavor of Willie Wonka in ire, Alice in Wonderland in absurdity, and the “..you were there, and you!” feeling of the Wizard of Oz. Because the characters in the book walk the streets of Salem for real! Just not as magical during the sunlit hours…

The goodship Friendship sailing from Salem to Neverland past the moon across the stars with the Baron Munchausen flying past on a cannonball.

A tale in which you venture through, but may never return from. In it you acquire the aid of Mr. Zac who is posthumously played by Ed Wynn. This was his final and immortal part. It follows the structure of the Journey of the Hero laid out by Joseph Campbell. A format that Lord of the Rings, Percival, King Arthur, and Star Wars follows. Truly magical!

Mr. Zac from the Salem Trilogy illustrated by Chris Dowgin and published by Salem House Press.So pick up this tale and begin the Salem Trilogy and walk through the Unzipping Tree which appears every night after dusk on the Salem Common in real life and see where it takes you. You will not regret it.

The Dream bagger from A walk Through Salem Illustrated by Chris Dowgin published by Salem House Press.Available on Amazon.com, Barnes & Noble, Wicked Good Books, and Remember Salem. If your bookseller does not carry it ask for it by name from Salem House Press. Then pick up the next two books in the trilogy.

eBooks are available direct from Salem House Press with animated extras and Amazon.com. A Walk Through Salem was twice a winner of the Mass Cultural Commision Grant.