Michelle Stanton thought it would be a normal trip to the library. She had a slip full of call numbers and was making her way through the dark, labyrinthine shelves of books that make up the “South Stacks.”
That’s when she saw what investigators now believe are the remains of Dennis Flanders (’78). Authorities say that the decomposing body was clutching a copy of Ayn Rand’s Atlas Shrugged.
The South Stacks are known for their maze-like layout and incomprehensible numbering system. Combined with a lack of air and light it’s the perfect storm, and can cause utter disorientation and irrational behavior.
“It’s the Bermuda triangle of the Stanford Library system,” said one employee, speaking on the condition of anonymity. “Last year a sophomore went missing for two weeks before she was discovered huddled in a dim corner of the Stacks,” said the employee. “She was searching for the elusive SL.673 section, which no one has found for years—not even librarians”
“It’s unclear whether the deceased died because of the book he was reading or because he got lost in the South Stacks and couldn’t find his way out,” said Andrew Cohn of the Stanford Police Department.
“I’ve been lost there many times and it’s scary,” said Nathaniel Sutter (‘10). “But I also almost died reading that book too.”