Today in NC State History: Harrelson gets spaced out

November 16, 2013
By Chris Saunders

historyIconE.T. hit movie theaters in 1982, chronicling a boy’s friendship with an kind alien from outer space.

But on this day almost two decades earlier, NC State was home to its own alien invasion. According to a 1961 article in The Technician, a crowd gathered to see — and welcome — the extraterrestrial, which had landed his spacecraft on top of Harrelson Hall.

alien“Hundreds of students, mistaking him for the Great Pumpkin, surrounded the flying saucer where they knelt in silent reverence and presented offerings of candy, popcorn, and one unfortunate professor,” the article read.

But, according to The Technician‘s report, once students realized it was an alien, he was vaporized: “It was not until the invader said, ‘Take me to the College Union’ that the students realized he was from outer space. He was immediately disintegrated by an [electrical engineering] major with a modified slide rule.”

We weren’t there, but we’re guessing this was an “unreal” experience for the students who saw it.


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