Across from Fowler’s Pond, there is a shining spectacle of the senior class: the senior barn. Every year it is painted by the graduating class from Orcas Island High School, with each student painting their name on the side. It is a tradition that has existed for many years, but not always on such a sturdy structure. In the corner of the lot lurks a remnant of the past: the old senior barn. What once was a strong building whose sole use was to hold the legacies of past classes in the many layers of paint has now turned into a sagging, decrepit mess. Yet nobody has decided to remove the potentially dangerous pile of wood and paint, causing many people in the community to question whether it has another purpose. Did we switch to a new barn because of safety concerns, or is there a more mysterious reason for its abandonment?
There have been many theories floating around. Some say it is a secret vault for the United States Treasury, others believe it is hiding a portal to the other side of the earth, and still others claim that it could be the meeting place for a group of civilian spies, gaining access through an underground tunnel. However, all of these theories are completely unfounded, and have absolutely no credible evidence.
My curiosity was sparked by these crazy ideas, so I decided to do my own investigations. Under the cover of night, I set up cameras in the cracks of the barn to get videos from all angles. I climbed precariously onto the roof and fitted a small, dim lightbulb into a hole so it would illuminate the space. I then ran all of the cords to a battery pack in the bushes behind the barn to keep them hidden. I also connected all of the cameras to a large memory bank so that I could look through the video afterwards. I left the cameras running for almost three months, starting on Jan. 14, 2021, and ending on April 3.
Once I had removed the equipment from the barn, it was time to peruse the film for any unusual events. After hours of watching the recording at four times the regular speed, I noticed a curious phenomenon. At first all I saw were small shapes moving across the floor of the barn, with strange, glowing orbs on the walls and ceiling of the barn, but as I took a closer look, I discovered the truth. It turns out that the moving shapes are small lizards. They are grey and covered by purple and beige spots, and appear to be about three inches long. The glowing orbs are a kind of luminescent mushroom. All of this was observed on one night, and then the barn remained empty until about a month later when the same process was repeated. After scouring a calendar to find a pattern, I realized that the three occurrences I had recorded all took place exactly three days after each full moon.
I hypothesize that the mushrooms are in tune with the lunar phases, and only glow for one night three days after every full moon. The light from the mushrooms attracts bugs into the barn, and the lizards crawl up from the floor to enjoy their monthly snack. While this may seem bizarre, and it does require more investigation from someone other than a random high school student, this is the truth in why the barn has not been torn down. It is a home to a fragile and unique ecosystem the likes of which have never been seen before.