Levitator turns 77, powers undiminished

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Ron Yoshida


Sunday, 19 April, Historic District.  Friends and neighbors singing Happy Birthday to Norman Giradot on his 77th birthday while practicing social distance.  Even in these times, we can mindfully celebrate life in our community.


On April 28, 1992, just a week over 28 years ago, readers of the Lehigh University Brown and White were astonished by an announcement that Professor Norman Girardot was going to levitate the newly erected Rauch Business College.

Norman Girardot, professor of religion, is planning to levitate the Rauch Business Center on May 4 to celebrate spring and the end of classes. Girardot plans to harness the ancient power of bull roarers, wooden slates that are spun around the head, because Rauch is such a heavy building. Girardot plans to supplement the bull roarers’ power with an immuexia machine, which Girardot says will rend the fabric of the time-space continuum. Girardot received permission from the highest levels of the administration after he promised that the levitation will cause no structural damage to Rauch. He has enlisted the help of over 30 faculty members, who he says will set up a battery of equipment to scientifically prove that the building actually rose. Some residual energy could be left over from the levitation, Girardot warns. He says the energy will present no physical danger but could massage some minds. Will Rauch rise? News at eleven.

Gadfly was not amused. If any building was going to be levitated, it should be venerable Drown Hall, where he chaired the Department of English. English majors were in short-supply, and the department could use the help publicizing to students where it was located.

Besides, Gadfly was fairly certain South Mountain was geologically torpid and immune to such spellbinding, for Professors Frakes and Dowling had tried to levitate the significantly less poundage’d university flagpole in the ’60s with clarinet solos by jazz great Sidney Bechet — and the project was a resounding bust.

But Gadfly was there at Rauch May 4, 1992, and, b’damned, he swears the building moved.

They say it rose B and W May 5 1992

Gadfly has been a Girardot groupie ever since.

And it’s been reliably reported that The Levitator recently moved Bruce Haines’s political views one degree to the left.

(Council watchers know the regular sensible comments on tough issues by Al Wurth. See the report on environmental awareness from Al’s course on p. 8 of the Brown and White article.)

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