There is at least one late-night dark figure in Harvard Yard that freshmen need not fear. Almost without fail, a shadowy runner appears from the darkness of the North Yard at 11:50 p.m. and makes his way past Thayer and University Halls.
But the Yard’s newest nighttime marvel is less mysterious than one might think. The 11:50 Man is actually Aryt Alasti, a Widener Library security guard who makes a nightly run to work.
Alasti has only recently begun to take notice of the audience that has cropped up to catch a glimpse of him.
“It seems like the crowd has gotten bigger,” he said. “People are responding.”
Freshmen who have stumbled upon this nightly spectacle are drawn by Alasti’s regular appearance and distinctive breathing pattern, a unique characteristic that has earned him an affectionate second moniker, the “Harvard Huffer.”
Alasti doesn’t mind the cult following, as long as he can still get to work on time.
“One has to wonder where this will go. I suppose the novelty will wear off at one point,” he said.
But recent nights, when Alasti has drawn crowds of 20 or more onlookers, indicate that his appeal remains strong.
“It’s a way to bring people together over a strange and mysterious phenomenon,” said Hattie J. Bluestone ’09.
Perhaps the real sensation is the audience itself.
“I think what is different about this class is that [my running] has turned into a bit of a phenomenon which has never happened before,” said Alasti, who has been running the same route for three years without incident.
Alasti plans on continuing this routine for as long as he works here, citing cardiovascular benefits he wouldn’t get from “just walking around.”
The fan club is just a perk.