Symbolism can be found in several of K-State’s buildings. Nichols Hall and Hale Library house murals on the walls of their upper-stories, while a fork sculpture stands outside of the Leadership Studies Building.
While tracking down some of these art displays may require more or less exploration into the interior passages of the buildings, Willard Hall is different. A 12-by-12-foot floor design lies in the center of the building’s main entry area.
The design is a circular array of symbols centered around a six-point star, lined by four outer triangles. The symbolism has sparked rumors pertaining to the meaning behind its purpose in the hall.
“I think it’s really creepy,” Allison Olsen, junior in fine arts, said. “It looks like somebody drew it on the floor as a satanic sacrifice circle, like there should be a large star hand-drawn in the middle of it. I’ve heard that it’s related to the Illuminati because of the triangles.”
The Illuminati, believed to be a secret society, is rumored to be linked to the symbolism by several students who take classes in the building.
“It gets associated with the Illuminati a lot because there are a lot of triangles in it (and) I think there’s eyes in it, too,” Emily Webb, junior in secondary education, said. “All of my classes are in Willard, so I see the symbols every day, and hear different things about it.”
The Illuminati may not be the story behind the symbolism after all, according to Katelin Schmedemann, art administrative assistant and senior in hospitality management. Schmedemann works in Willard’s main office just several yards away from the symbol display.
Schmedemann linked the building’s symbols to its past as the university’s chemistry department.
“Willard used to be the chemistry building,” Schmedemann said. “The symbols all pertain to chemistry because Willard Hall used to be home to the chemistry department, but they’ve since moved across the street to another building.”
A comparison of the symbols to the traditional astronomical symbols classified by Universe Today reveals that the markings in Willard actually represent the elements of the planets and parts of the solar system.
In fact, each of the symbols in the structure are symbols of astrology, including the Globus Cruciger, or symbol for Venus, Jupiter’s thunderbolt, Saturn’s scythe, the shield and spear of Mars, the sun, Mercury’s winged helmet and caduceus and the waxing moon. The four triangles on the outside of the circle traditionally represent the four cardinal points of a compass.
While Schmedemann finds the rumors to be imaginative, she said she thinks they are harmless.
“It’s not surprising to find that sort of imaginative story in an art department; the people here are very creative and the idea that the symbols might have more meaning behind them is what drives the stories,” Schmedemann said.
Imagination and creativity aside, it looks like the Illuminati rumors can officially be put to rest.