Anthropologists once again are stunned by a phenomenon found in North Carolina. More specifically, in the city of Durham. More specifically, on the campus of Duke University. Various anthropologists traveled to Duke’s campus in the hopes of finding out what lies behind one of the most unexplainable events in human history.

The “Countdown to Craziness” ceremony that takes place on Duke’s campus is a modern marvel. Over the years, researchers have observed that hundreds and thousands of people travel to Cameron Indoor Stadium, simply known as “Cameron” to most, to pay tribute to the sport of basketball. But after close observation, there is something beneath the surface. Over the past few years, anthropologists have observed these so called “fans” go in as their normal selves and exit in a mentally altered state.

The ceremony is an elaborate call for fans to “count” “down” “to” “craziness.” “Craziness”, researchers have found, refers to the fandom that surrounds Duke basketball, but it is now known that it is some kind of cover for something much darker and much more complicated.

The so-called countdown begins as dance groups perform to outdated music and people cheer as someone stacks cups and clap as balls are dunked. Hours pass. All of a sudden, as the countdown to Craziness comes to a close, something starts to go awry.

The countdown clock strikes 10. A dozen adolescent boys rush out to the court and form a pentagram.

The clock strikes 9.  The crowd begins to chant “everytime we touch, everytime we touch, everytime we touch.”

The clock strikes 8. The crowd starts to chant those same words, but this time, in pig latin. “Everyway imetay eway ouchtay, everytimeway eway ouchtay, everytimeway eway ouchtay.”

The clock strikes 7. Frogs begin to rain down on the crowd, and the sound of ribbits consumes the room.

The clock strikes 6. An enormous frog, perhaps the Conraua goliath or the Rhinella marina, hits an oversized man directly in the head, and he is knocked unconscious. As he falls to the group, he hits the woman next to him, who then proceeds to hit the woman next her, and so on and so forth.

The clock strikes 5. The boys on the court raise a pig into the air and sacrifice it to the god Nationalibus Patrocinium.

The clock strikes 4. A crowd of fans help pour the blood into a empty Gatorade cooler.

The clock strikes 3. One by one, athletes and spectators alike take sips from the cooler.

The clock strikes 2. The lights go out, and an alarm begins to sound.

The clock strikes 1. The countdown is complete, and havoc ensues. All at once, men, women, and children undergo a semi-permanent state of “craziness.” Frogs are being thrown across the room, a blood pong tournament has begun in one corner of the court, and slices of Papa John’s pizza are being smeared on every surface imaginable. For a moment, it seems, any sense of reason has vacated the premise. This state of “craziness” is unexplainable. It cannot be simply waved away as the passion of fandom or as mental incapacitation.

But as quickly as it occurs, the spell of “craziness” fades away, and anthropologists are back to square one. The ritual ends, and another year of feigned normalcy begins.

 

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