More Accomplishments of HARNEY UNIVERSITY
by James Rada, Jr.
During the early part of the 20th century, the highly successful Harney University was known for the many great achievements of its faculty. If it was to be believed, the reputation of the school outshone any other college in the country.
If it was to be believed. Which it wasn’t.
The faculty, as it were, consisted of Jacob Turner, Jerry Overholser, Daniel Shorb, and Bill Snyder, who met regularly at the Slagle Hotel in Emmitsburg. The staff would have also had to include Sterling Galt, editor of the Emmitsburg Chronicle.
The adventures of the Harney University faculty wasn’t an attempt to fool readers of the newspaper. The stories were too outrageous to be believed. It was a way to inject humor into the news and bring a smile to faces of readers.
Here are some of the fantastical achievements of Harney University and its faculty.
January 24, 1913: The Khedive of Egypt sent Dr. Dan Shorb a wireless message that consisted of four lines of gibberish made up of letters (some upside down) mixed with numbers (including fractions) and a few odd characters. Translated, the message was supposedly talking about how the parcel post system in Egypt was so successful and required so many camels that the manufacturing of camel-hair brushes, camel hair shawls, and “camelopards” had ceased.
July 25, 1913: Harney University now had a War College, which the federal government was consulting over how to handle tensions with Mexico. The recommendation of the War College was that seven airplanes loaded with molasses be sent to the border, along with troops from Zora, Four Points, and Poplar Ridge, who would be armed with 800,000 rounds of Limburger bullets.
According to the Emmitsburg Chronicle, the plan was simple. “The molasses will be released from the aero-planes, about 100 tons from each machine. This will have the same effect on the enemy as tangle-foot flypaper has on flies. When the opposing forces are rendered incapable of marching or standing erect, Limburger bullets will be discharged at them at a rate of 10,000 a second. Death will be instantaneous due to the smell of the cheese. An important feature of this mode of warfare is that death will be so horrible that no further recruiting will be possible—no one will enlist in the Mexican army.”
August 8, 1913: Jacob Turner was appointed the chair of snakeology at the University of Harney. He wanted to offer a correspondence course in snake charming. “The professor now has 28 snakes of different varieties fully trained and he says he has no difficulty in making them do anything he asked. In the collection, there are two copperheads which he has taught to dance the tango and a black snake taught to walk the slack wire blindfolded,” the Chronicle reported.
September 12, 1913: Twenty-seven men, under the direction of Dr. Jerry Overholser and Dr. Daniel Shorb from the University of Harney, built an airship underwater. “The main feature of the engine, which is of the complex eccentric type, is the simplicity of the duplicidentate. The meta centre articulates with the friction real and top burtons on the warping chock. This flutes the suction pipe in such a manner as to lap joint the back gear. The lubricator, connecting with a center balance spring, throws the pinch cock under the carburetor, at the same time opening the muffler cutout near the nephoscope. This feeds the silo juice through the bunghole and sparks the fifth wheel near the gunwale. The cloud anchor, which is regulated by a heliograph, is so adjusted on the pinochle deck that it releases automatically from the whiffletree, making it possible to stop and remain stationary by putting on the reverse clutch while going at the rate of 184 knots a second.”
They planned to take the ship on a test flight from the Popular Ridge standpipe to the Eiffel Tower, stopping for lunch at the Sandwich Islands.
September 27, 1913: Dr. John Glass of Harney University came out against the Federal Reserve issuing smaller bank notes. Instead, he had a formula using rubber and yeast that he wanted currency printed on. He told the Emmitsburg Chronicle, “Expandable bills will allow local residents to stretch their dollars further, allowing more to be bought with each bill.”
October 15, 1915: James Arnold and Howard Harbaugh went hunting with Shorb and brought back a Gnukokukua Hen, three Aviskovis Hawks, and a Night Heron, which were supposedly displayed in the Chronicle’s front window.
October 8, 1915: Daniel Shorb of the “Board of Strategy, of Harney University” invented a rapid-fire noodle soup gun for the French Government. The gun fired noodles to entangle the legs of enemies and feed them when they were your prisoner. The French ordered five million of them and awarded Shorb the Order of the Imperial Soup Ladle and granted him a lifetime pension of 450,000 francs annually. He was also working on a macaroni tent that would both feed and shelter prisoners.
December 12, 1918: George Sanders sued the Emmitsburg Motor Car Company because the company sold a car to Rebecca Shorb, who then proceeded to get into an accident with Sander’s horse-drawn wagon. The Chronicle reported, “Mr. Sanders, citing evidence recently published by the University of Harney that women’s brains did not have sufficient capacity to master the art of driving, feels that the Emmitsburg Motor Car Company should not have sold Miss Shorb the car. ‘By selling a car to a woman,’ Mr. Sanders said, ‘they have endangered all hard working men who have to use the roads to make a living, and thus are liable for any damage they produce. Women should stick to their proper roles—namely cooking, cleaning and taking care of youngins, and leave complex tasks that require thinking to men.’”
The building drawing is from the Emmitsburg Chronicle and supposedly showed the Harney University Science Hall that Dr. John Culp, Professor Emeritus of the Science of Pingpongology, presented the university.