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The Mystery Behind Powell Library and Its Ancient Runes

Powell Library’s sacred ancient runes detail UCLA’s best-kept secrets, including the forlorn tunnels, which have haunted students the last 99 years. Nobody really knows who chose the runes, or why they chose an inscription with a clump of dog-people sacrificing books to a lion—the 19oos were wild—but Powell remains shrouded in secrecy. 

Part of its secret? Royce motherfuckin’ Hall. UCLA loves to shove a big fat Royce into every brochure, pamphlet and hype video. Tour guides get off on the 13 imperfections. Missing window on the right side? So fascinating, so sensual. Uneven brick layer? Erotic. However, most UCLA students would describe Powell as kinda meh; its bathrooms consistently smell like shit and during finals season outlets are so scarce that international students have started bartering them for swipes.

Rather than observe Powell like a hawk, most people just focus on avoiding the guy playing guitar on the stairs and trying to get dibs on the printers. In doing so, UCLA students ignore the secrets inscribed in Powell’s outer walls. Legend has it that the true tunneling at UCLA lies behind Powell’s gilded exterior. Students end up in boiler rooms across campus, just to brag to their friends that they went tunneling. What they don’t know are the rumors that the entrance to the tunnels lies behind the secret Powell runes.

According to senior Jimmy Anderson, he witnessed the truth his sophomore year. “I was a little drunk one day and I kind of stumbled against one of the shelves and it just flipped around,” Jimmy divulged to us. “At first I just thought someone had slipped something in my drink, but then I saw some shit I could never unsee.” We had to let Jimmy take a break to collect himself.  

Even years later, he seemed haunted by what he discovered. “It was him,” he told us. “Gene Block.” When Jimmy first encountered Gene, he wasn’t the public figure he is now, thanks to his meme-related fame. In fact, a long burgundy robe took the place of his usual business casual look, and his hair was grown out Dumbledore-style. Jimmy admits to not recognizing Gene at all. “He had this kind of… lair. It looked like a hoarder’s den. He was incredibly welcoming, it was as if he was expecting me,” explained Jimmy. What Gene showed him next would change Jimmy’s opinion of UCLA for the following years.  

Jimmy explained to us that in one magical night Gene guided him through the entire tunnel system. As it turns out, each inscription on Powell Library is a code for the treasures that lie within its walls. Jimmy felt uncomfortable sharing some of the things that he witnessed, but he did share with us one crucial piece of information.

“There’s another football training facility down there,” he told us. Jimmy’s discovery of the tunnel system occurred two years before the erection of the Wasserman Football Center, which makes the discovery even more shocking. Why does the football team need so much when it’s just so shitty? Is this where they did experiments with a younger Josh Rosen?

These are questions we may never be able to answer. What we do know is that Jimmy is too afraid to venture back past the Powell runes. And, that–despite the facilities–UCLA football still sucks.

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