The Ghost of Java

The interviewer’s comments are denoted through initials GM, while the interviewee’s responses are denoted by a BH.


GM: Has anything happened to you or your family that you can tell me about regarding a weird text or something cyber-related that you couldn’t explain – like an anomaly?


BH: I was in my sophomore year of high school doing my computer science homework. I had to write a program for an assignment that we were given.  I had naturally started on it late at night being the procrastinator that I am. Around midnight, when I was about done with my program, I noticed something strange. I had failed to make my program run several times before this instance, but this time was different: it didn’t even compile.  I went back up to look carefully through the entire program and suddenly almost got a heart attack. One line of code that I had never written had somehow turned up in the Dr. Java program.


Normally when coding, you put two backward slashes before phrases not actually intended to be in the program. However, because these slashes were not placed in front of them, the program read them as actual code and therefore my program was not working. The haunting line said: “Geno is watching you.” Now, obviously I thought this had been a prank, and felt at ease for a second – before realizing that both my parents were fast asleep, and I had never left the computer since I began writing the program. I immediately shut down my computer and went off to sleep – I knew that I would be less scared to deal with this in the morning. Somehow, the next morning the line had vanished, and my program worked flawlessly – but that sentenced never left my mind. I asked my parents, my friends, and my cousins all about this name. No one could tell me anything, until my grandfather told me he had a long-deceased uncle with the name, who he barely remembered. I still have no clue how that line showed up, but if it was the ghost of my great Uncle, maybe I shouldn’t be a computer science major anymore.


Conclusion, written by the interviewer:


This story seems very unbelievable – how could such a random ancestor appear in his code. The natural assumption is that in his tired state, he miswrote some code. However, when he told me that the name Geno actually meant something, I was absolutely stunned. This is yet another example of the “cyber” ghost in our modern age – instead of chilly winds and flickering candles, these supernatural characters can find home in the screens that we spend our entire life around. My friend very genuinely believed that this was the work of a ghost, and was deeply nervous to tell me this story. The past themes of ancestors and late nights shows its evolution in this modern experience, and yet again, the only force to push away the ghost was the light of the following morning.


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