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Beaver Stadium Squirrel Found Dead, Community Grieves During Funeral Service

Last week, tragedy struck Happy Valley.

The iconic State College squirrel, also known as Paul Bonaparte, who made his debut in Beaver Stadium by storming the field during the Penn State-West Virginia game last fall, has unexpectedly passed away.

Nearly seven months after his initial appearance, the historic legend was ripped away from the Penn State community. His remains were found by the steps of the Willard Building.

At just five-years-old, Bonaparte did the unthinkable by running for 35 yards and scoring a touchdown — something no squirrel had accomplished in the history of squirrels.

For those who didn’t know Bonaparte well, he was an avid football fan who spent most of his days in State College eating nuts and terrorizing students on campus while training every night.

After his appearance in the stadium, Bonaparte unknowingly put himself in the spotlight, attracting a swarm of fans and NIL deals. With that, the last seven months have been a lot for the little guy as he was trying to balance life as a typical squirrel and as a local celebrity.

Bonaparte appeared in many National Geographic documentaries and a few peanut butter commercials shortly after his rise to fame. He also was set to make an appearance at this year’s Met Gala.

However, as we’ve seen with many celebrities in the past, the fame started to get too much for him, causing him to go feral. During the infamous “No Nut November,” Bonaparte felt hopeless without the satisfaction of nibbling on some crunchy, nutritious nuts. He started coping with all the stress of being famous and having no nuts and resorted to psychedelic acorns and mushrooms.

Although there’s no autopsy at this time, the rumor mill has been spiraling about what led to his death, causing students to go nuts trying to solve his potential murder. Some think he got caught trying to sneak into Beaver Stadium again and was killed by either head coach James Franklin or a groundskeeper, while others think he got involved with the wrong crowd in the nut business and died due to gang violence.

Despite all of the conspiracies, the Penn State community isn’t taking his death lightly. Over the holiday weekend, some very passionate students got together and held a funeral service outside the stadium, naturally, to honor and remember the squirrel Bonaparte once was. Nearly 5,000 students stood outside Gate A to reminisce Bonaparte and reflect on his tragic passing.

One senior, Rico Gore, who had the privilege of interviewing Bonaparte last September, started off the service with a beautiful, tear-jerking performance of Dr. Dre’s “Deeez Nuuuts.” After his song, despite preparing a speech, Gore immediately ran away from the crowd in tears as the service was too emotionally overwhelming for him.

“I really felt a connection with Paul Bonaparte,” Gore said at the service. “When I interviewed him, it felt like he was the only one who truly understood me. After our interview, we went back to my place, and I will say things got a little nutty — we took hookah rips and watched our favorite movie ‘Over the Hedge’… I’ll never forget those times we shared together. I just know he’s in a better place now.”

As the service carried on, Penn State legend and alumna Mary Krupa, once known as the “Squirrel Whisperer” took the spotlight to talk about her relationship with the deceased squirrel.

“Paul was probably my favorite squirrel on campus during my time here,” Krupa said. “Although he was known for being feisty, that didn’t stop our bond one bit. Paul used to just love when I stopped by between classes to feed him cashews, almonds, and psychedelic acorns. It was like our own little tradition.”

During her powerful speech, Krupa pulled out a squirrel from her pocket almost like one of those magician tricks with the rabbits. Turns out, that squirrel was Bonaparte’s father.

“His father, Twiggy Bonaparte, the world-renowned water-skiing squirrel, who I actually picked up from the Old Main Lawn a few hours ago, is even more heartbroken than I am,” Krupa said. “Paul was his only son, and now he’s left all alone with no one to look after… It kind of felt like we raised Paul together. Between the two of them, I never felt alone on a campus this big and always knew they were there for me. When I was watching the West Virginia game and saw Paul on that field, I went absolutely nuts. I really did feel like a proud mom. Unfortunately, he got pretty busy after his grand debut, so I haven’t seen him recently besides on my TV screen.”

Twiggy didn’t handle the service well and attacked Krupa by scratching her in the cornea and ripping her hair apart, causing her speech to end a little bit early.

Penn State junior Keeley Lamm came to rescue by singing “Amazing Grace” to close out the service ahead of the burial. After her attempt to sing, Lamm went on a rampage asking everyone to share their conspiracies about his death and tell her what they know. Although Lamm didn’t have a personal connection with Bonaparte, she has been sleuthing trying to get to the bottom of his murder.

“I’m not going to lie, I only knew Paul by name and name only,” Lamm said. “I didn’t know him well at all, but ever since he pounced around Beaver Stadium, it’s all I could think about. Now that he’s no longer with us, the mystery behind his death has caused a lot of sleepless nights for me… Part of me thinks it was the Willard Preacher since what’s left of Paul was found on his turf, but honestly, it could’ve been anyone. I will do whatever it takes to get to the bottom of this investigation, and more importantly, bring Paul the justice he deserves.”

Bonaparte’s remains (just his tail) were buried outside of Beaver Stadium on Saturday evening. The thousands of students that gathered took the burial pretty hard as many were seen sobbing hysterically, especially the Krupa and Twiggy.

Krupa, Gore, and Lamm are working together to get a statue of Bonaparte built and put where the Joe Paterno statue once stood so the next generation of Penn Staters can carry on his legacy as the first ever squirrel in Beaver Stadium.

Anyone with any information regarding Bonaparte’s death should call the State College Police immediately or contact Lamm at [email protected].

Editor’s note: This story is part of Onward State’s April Fools’ Day series. It is satirical, meant for entertainment, and not to be taken literally. Any quotes were made up for the purpose of this post.

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About the Author

Evan Halfen

Evan Halfen is a junior broadcast journalism major from Newark, DE, and is one of Onward State's associate editors. Evan loves all things Penn State, tailgating, being loud, just about any beach, and his puppies, Butterscotch and Wentzy. You can direct all your tips, roasts, and jokes to his Instagram: @evan.halfen or email: [email protected]

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