Since 1959, with only a few exception including incarceration, he has waited. 62 year old Linus Van Pelt sits patiently in the pumpkin patch he assumes to be worthy of a gift bearing pumpkin that will only appear in the “most sincere” pumpkin patch, which will then fly around and grant gifts to the children of the world. Clutching the same blue blanket he has owned since birth, threadbare and stained by countless bed wetting incidents, Linus waits. He slowly rocks back and forth, sign held in the air as high as his arthritic back will allow. Linus is tired, but a look of fervent resolve still fills his eyes.
We checked in on Linus at his Great Pumpkin patch this past week, where he was spotted at 3am, soaked by the rain and mumbling uncontrollably. When approached by our reporter, he simply stated:
There are three things I have learned never to discuss with people: religion, politics, and the Great Pumpkin.
“I don’t want to suggest we’ve given up on him,” states his sister Lucy, “but Linus is beyond approach at this point. He’s been waiting for that pumpkin for over fifty years, in fact the last time he thought he saw it was a full 12 years ago, and it turned out to be Snoopy on a zamboni.”
“It was cute for the first few years, you know?” Lucy takes a drag of her More 100 and wipes her nose. “But we were kids. Now I have grandkids, and they laugh at him. He’s living in our basement, he doesn’t have a job and we don’t know what to do with him. We thought after he got out of the institute it would be all better. It hasn’t gotten any better.”
From 1985 until 1995, Linus sat in a cell in a Hennepin County mental institute after pleading guilty to killing a man in a fit of rage for claiming that The Great Pumpkin didn’t exist. Linus plead insanity and spent ten hard years in therapy, surrounded by doctors attempting to decipher why and how The Great Pumpkin became such an obsession to Van Pelt as to lead him to murder.
“Our first breakthrough was probably regarding his authority figures growing up,” his primary therapist, Dr. McPeebles. “As a child Linus had an inner ear disfigurement which caused anyone with an adult vocal wavelength to sound very similar to a muted trombone. It made growing up very difficult for him, to the point that he only knew how to communicate with children his own age. The Great Pumpkin, as was later revealed in therapy, is the embodiment of loving care for all children that he could never receive verbally. It took us three years just to get him to talk about The Great Pumpkin – he just kept repeating that thing about religion and politics. At any rate, as he continued year after year in waiting, his frustration grew and grew. I suppose he finally snapped in 1985.”
After ten long years, Linus was finally released from custody after his therapists reported no repeat mentions of The Great Pumpkin, even around Halloween. For three more years, Linus was a productive member of society with a steady, menial job. But then tragedy struck.