The hacking community at MIT has a history of unusual and creative hacks dating back to the turn of the century. These range from a living cow on the roof of the East Campus dormitory (did you know that cows are quite willing to climb stairs, but refuse to go back down them?) in the 1920s to an elaborate cathedral set up in Lobby 7 in the mid-1990s, and there are almost as many stories as there have been hacks. The best of these stories are told to the new students every year during Orange Tours, and there is a lively oral tradition. There have also been two books written on the topic: Journal of the Institute for Hacks, TomFoolery and Pranks at MIT and Is This the Way to Baker House?, both published by the MIT Press.

Some of the stories available on E2:

The police car on the dome
The Cathedral of Our Lady of the All-Night Tool
The Tomb of the Unknown Tool
Infinity = 47.2 rods
U.S.S. Tetazoo
No Knife
No Toad Sexing
The Harvard Plate Story
The Hartley Rogers Fencing Story
Bexley vs. the FBI
Fred the Dorm
Al Gore Buzzword Bingo
The CIA Meets MIT
The Helmut Schmidt Story
Disney to Acquire MIT
Britney Spears to Speak at MIT
The Wheel of Tuition

Topics with several associated hacking stories:

Art at MIT
Hacks on the Green Building
Hacks on the Great Dome
Hacks on the Little Dome
Hacks in Killian Court
Harvard vs. MIT

There are also a few stories which are not actually about hacks, but which are part of the repertoire of the hacking community storytellers, such as the Story of the Fifth East Frosh and the LarvNet story.

Disclaimer: These stories come from an oral tradition, and each telling is a little different. If you're familiar with the stories, don't be surprised if there is some variation, and if you have the opportunity to hear them told properly later, please don't try to correct the storyteller on the basis of these.

If you have writeups of hacking stories and you'd like them linked in, please feel free to drop me a line; if they're of decent quality and fairly accurate, I'll add them to the list.

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