The Harry Styles photo dropper: a campus mystery

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As Halloween approaches, there’s something spooky happening at UVU. Something bizarre. No one knows how or why, only that everywhere you go, there he is. That dazzling smile, that artful tattoo sleeve… the one hand perched on top of a full, pregnant belly.

It’s Pregnant Harry Styles.

These scraps of paper, barely bigger than a square inch, have been popping up all over campus– on benches and tables, bathroom counters, library desks, and even in car windows. 

My first encounter was the Wednesday before fall break. I sat outside a lecture hall in the Clarke Building waiting for class along with dozens of other students. As we stared down at our phones, we didn’t notice or just ignored the girl coming towards us. She stopped every few feet and slammed a single square of paper down on the unoccupied bench seats and was gone like the wind. I assumed it was the kind of publicity you usually see on campus for parties or events. Turning the paper over, I was greeted with a black and white image of One Direction’s Harry Styles, heavily pregnant. 

I snapped a picture of the paper, and took to Twitter to express my bemusement.

Little did I know, this was not a one-time occurrence. Over the next few hours dozens responded with other sightings of what one Twitter user called an “unholy image.”

As more people responded, it became clear that this girl wasn’t just wreaking havoc at UVU. She (or a co-conspirator?) has made her way down to BYU as well. Pictures have been found shoved under apartment doors at nearby campus housing and scattered on tables in the cafeteria.

This is the mildest of pranks and is likely more a nuisance for custodial staff than an actual problem for anyone. Taylor Steele, a part-time custodian for UVU, said the janitorial staff has definitely noticed this phenomenon.

“We started noticing them just a few at a time but it seemed like they multiplied,” said Steele. “Either whoever is leaving them keeps coming back or there were just so many we’re missing them, because we keep finding more! My coworkers and supervisor have been more annoyed than I have because as vacuumers they’re more of the ones cleaning them up. I think it’s hilarious.”

So what is the Photo Dropper’s purpose? Several people suggested that the string of numbers and letters on the side of the paper would lead to the answers. A Google search of the code leads only to a 2015 Us Weekly article, detailing the internet’s reaction to One Direction member Louis Tomlinson announcing that he was expecting a child with his then-girlfriend. One of the jokes was that Styles was the mother. A bit weird, but pretty par for the course for a boy band fandom. 

Without more information, the tracks stop there. What is motivating this agent of chaos? Is it, as some think, a social experiment for a class? Was she inspired by the recent Joker movie to cause as much random chaos as she possibly could, no matter the scale? If she wanted hundreds to see this image, couldn’t she just AirDrop it to people in the middle of the Hall of Flags like a normal person?

The day I first saw the picture, I failed to get a good look at who was leaving this gem in the Clarke Building. Twitter user @mwedergy managed to capture a photo of the alleged perpetrator in the library.

The anonymous Harry Styles Photo Dropper in the Fulton Library.
The anonymous Photo Dropper, spotted in the Fulton Library. Photo courtesy @mwedergy on Twitter.

Looking at this photo, I realized I had seen this girl just the day before, in the parking lot in front of the library. I remember because I noticed the very distinct bun and sunglasses she sports. The glasses struck me since it was pretty cloudy that day. I walked past her to my car to find another little scrap of paper, this time peeking out from the driver side window.

Screenshot of a tweet reading: "THE AGENT OF CHAOS STRIKES AGAIN! this time in the biggest parking area at UVU. every car for several rows has a picture of Harry Styles in the window.

If you have information on the Photo Dropper, or you are her, please reach out. I just have so, so many questions.

Check out our last campus mystery here!