By Madalyn Watson | Reporter
Wednesday was a dark and rainy evening as detectives gathered together in the Fentress and Baines rooms on the second floor of the Bill Daniel Student Center to solve the disappearance of Mr. George. Hosted by Sigma Tau Delta, the English honors society, and the Baylor Literary society, the Escape Room Challenge engaged students in the mystery from 7 to 8 p.m.
Canyon senior Gordon McCormack, the treasurer of Sigma Tau Delta and a member of the event’s committee, immersed students into the story of the escape room when he greeted them at the door.
“You’ve all received strange invitations in the mail offering you to come to Mr. George’s mansion, but when you all show up, Mr. George is nowhere to be found. And you have an FBI agent on call who is telling you he’s disappeared and it is up to you guys to find him. How you find him is you solve his challenges around the room. You get the right order of different words, you put them into his safe, you open his safe and that will show you where he is,” McCormack said.
Austin senior Lexi Rima, vice-president of Sigma Tau Delta, and other members of the event planning committee hid clues around the rooms that went with the theme of the mystery.
“Mr. George sent a letter to the police basically being very, very vague and saying that he has information that is putting him and others in danger. But then when the police try to follow up, he has disappeared. Where did he go? We’re not sure, you have to find out,” Rima said.
Students who wanted to solve the mystery paid $5 at the door to Benetech’s Bookshare Initiative, which is the group’s philanthropy this year.
“There is a software company called Benetech, and they are running a program right now that helps aid in literacy among those with disabilities, such as dyslexia, who might have trouble reading as others may do. And we think that that’s a great cause. Sigma Tau Delta’s national chapter partners with a charity each year, so this year we’re promoting literacy among those technology wise,” Rima said.
Bentonville, Ark. junior Delaney Pollard, a member of Sigma Tau Delta’s event planning committee, said the price was cheap in comparison to professional escape rooms, making it a great option for college students.
“I went to an escape room with my family while I was college visiting, so it would have been like four or five years ago. But it was a lot of fun. We did not solve it in time which was sort of embarrassing. So i’ve been really interested in them ever since, but I can’t really afford them. So it’s really cool to offer one that’s actually affordable,” Pollard said.
Porter senior Kendy Richards and Magnolia sophomore Austin Sherman were among the first students to complete the puzzles and solve the mystery of the disappearance of Mr. George.
“I thought it was pretty cool. I’ve been to several other escape rooms before — I guess professional ones. So I wasn’t sure exactly how everything going to work out, but I really liked all the different puzzles and how they corresponded to the words and the colors,” Richards said.
Mystery novels by Agatha Christie were given to students as prizes for discovering the location of Mr. George.
“I’ve never read an Agatha Christie novel, and I got The Clocks, which, from reading the back [it] seems very interesting — another good mystery to hopefully solve,” Sherman said.
All students who attended the event completed the puzzles in time to have the satisfaction of solving the mystery.
Although this was the first escape room that Sigma Tau Delta hosted, they had a Murder Mystery party last spring where guests were officers asking suspects questions in order to to find out who committed the murder.
“Each of our members had certain scripts, certain details we could divulge at certain parts in the night as developments progressed. Answers changed, and it was up to the people who attended to find the killer. And he got away. No one solved it, they pointed fingers to everyone else, except for the killer. I was the killer last year, and I got away with it,” Gordon said.
For more information on Sigma Tau Delta, click here.