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This article is written by a student writer from the Her Campus at FSU chapter.

In the wild of Florida State University (FSU), it’s not uncommon to spot all sorts of extraordinary creatures on campus. But among the sea of students, there’s one elusive and enigmatic species that stands out — the legendary “Florida Man.” Now, for those unfamiliar with this peculiar breed, picture the Florida Man as our very own campus Bigfoot.

While Bigfoot might be renowned for lurking in forests and leaving mysterious footprints in his wake, Florida Man leaves behind a trail of outrageous headlines and jaw-dropping stories wherever he goes. Yes, much like how Bigfoot is a cryptid of myth and legend, Florida Man has made his mark right here at FSU, and we’re about to embark on a wild and whimsical journey through the most astonishing Florida Man sightings on our beloved campus. Buckle up, Seminoles, because this is going to be one hilarious and unpredictable adventure!


1. Bert Kreischer, “The Machine”

When it comes to historic Florida Man sightings at FSU, one name that stands out is “The Machine.” Back in 1997, while he was a student at Florida State University, Kreischer found himself in the limelight when Rolling Stone magazine crowned him “the top partyer at the No. 1 Party School in the country.” Kreischer’s boisterous reputation and penchant for unforgettable antics made him a true Florida Man legend.

Perhaps his most iconic contribution to Florida Man lore is his iconic storytelling, with the crown jewel being the tale of how he earned the nickname “The Machine” in comic stand-up routine. This extraordinary story revolves around Kreischer’s alleged involvement in helping the Russian mafia rob a train during a college trip to Russia. The sheer audacity and absurdity of the narrative have made it a favorite among fans and solidified Kreischer’s status as a Florida Man of epic proportions. In a testament to his enduring popularity, a movie adaptation of this unforgettable tale was released this past May 26.

2. Marshall Ledbetter, Psychedelics Enthusiast and Unconventional Protestor

In the annals of Florida Man history, Marshall Ledbetter’s daring escapade in 1991 at the state capitol building in Tallahassee stands out the most. With audacious determination, 22-year-old Ledbetter broke into the Florida Capitol building, barricading himself in an administrative office wing. In a bizarre twist, he phoned the police, issuing a series of eccentric demands. His demands ranged from a large Gumby’s pizza to a case of beer, $100 worth of Chinese food, and even 666 donuts as a quirky gesture for the responding police officers. The catch? Ledbetter’s demand note wasn’t sent directly to law enforcement but instead faxed to the song request line of a local rock station, Gulf 104.

Police officers, SWAT teams, and snipers soon surrounded the capitol building. Inside, Ledbetter insisted on speaking with a motley crew of celebrities, including Timothy Leary, Jello Biafra, Ice Cube, and Lemmy Kilmister. This outlandish and perplexing episode perfectly encapsulates the headline sensational activities often associated with the Florida Man phenomenon.


1. Landis Green Chronicles: The Unconventional Campus Preachers vs. Florida Man

Landis Green is not just a picturesque haven for students seeking a peaceful moment amid their academic pursuits; it’s also become an unlikely battleground between passionate “preachers” and a student population that values tolerance and diversity. While the presence of “preachers” might seem innocuous, the ones on Landis Green have stirred controversy for sneering derogatory language at students for simply walking by while wearing everyday athletic shorts. Their aggressive approach to encouraging conversions has ruffled more than a few feathers.

In response to this zealous evangelism, one Florida Man, a fifth-year senior at FSU, decided to take a stand. Armed with a water bottle, he washed away their homophobic chalk writings and drawings that bore insulting messages. Moreover, he adopted a humorous and creative approach to counter their fervor, attempting to convert the preachers to Pastafarianism, while cheekily responding to their prayers with a spirited “All hail Cthulhu!”

This Florida Man also told off the preachers during their annual pre-Valentine’s Day rant about premarital sex by boasting about being in a very happy relationship with the target of the preacher’s ire that day. “I would have loved to tell Preacher Boy a few other things too, but the last thing I wanted was for him to finally have to think of new insults, because it would’ve hurt his brain cells,” said this Florida Man when asked for comment by Her Campus at FSU.

Like many Florida Man stories, his actions fused humor, irreverence, and an unapologetic quirkiness in the face of unconventional circumstances. In the end, this student’s unique brand of protest on Landis Green showcased the resilience and unpredictability that make Florida Man legends so captivating and, at times, confounding.

2. Video of Florida man snorkeling in the Recess Nightclub pool

While FSU boasts a campus teeming with extraordinary encounters and unforgettable moments, perhaps nothing quite encapsulates the essence of Florida Man behavior as vividly as a recent viral video featuring a fearless individual snorkeling in the depths of the Recess pool. In a state known for its eccentricities, this audacious escapade takes the cake. The video showcases an unbridled spontaneity and disregard for convention that’s quintessential to Florida Man lore. It’s a testament to the fact that in the wild and whimsical world of FSU, you never know what remarkable and unexpected adventures might unfold next, whether on Landis Green or beneath the neon lights of a nightclub pool. Florida Man, it seems, knows no boundaries when it comes to leaving an indelible mark on our Sunshine State stories.

3. Florida Man Celebrates His 21st by being thrown in Westcott Fountain… from his wheelchair

The Barstool FSU video of a Florida Man celebrating his 21st birthday by willingly being thrown into Westcott Fountain from his wheelchair serves as a poignant reminder that, amidst the antics that often characterize Florida Man behavior, there are also moments of profound significance. In this act of daring and determination, we witness the powerful desire for inclusion and a celebration of life’s milestones, regardless of physical challenges. It underscores the resilience and the unyielding spirit found within the Florida Man archetype. This proves that sometimes, beneath the unconventional surface, lies a deeper story of courage and a celebration of the human experience. This heartwarming and unconventional celebration is a testament to the diverse and often surprising tapestry of stories that define FSU’s vibrant campus culture.

With its recurring and prevalent presence in everyday life, Florida Man has become more than just a character; he’s a cultural emblem and a testament to the quirks and unpredictability of life in the Sunshine State. FSU is situated in the heart of Florida and is no exception to this phenomenon. FSU’s campus is where stories of Florida Man abound, where students and locals alike have likely encountered or heard tales of these outlandish characters. Have you seen Florida Man recently?

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Ariana White is a Tallahassee native and first-generation college student majoring in Editing, Writing and Media with a minor in Museum Studies and Public Administration at The Florida State University. She is passionate about food justice, women’s rights, arts & culture, and local politics. Ariana has been a staff writer for Her Campus at FSU since January 2021. She has written 20+ articles during her time as a staff writer and leads the column on food sustainability.