Saturday, October 25, 2008

Newspaper column

I could sense the unspoken tension in the room. There were long-standing rumors that the south wing of the third floor was haunted, but there were three beds up there and someone was going to get stuck with them for the following school year.

As one of the newest members of the sorority, I knew I had a little less say about it than some of older girls. Besides, how bad could it be? Our chapter had occupied that house for a few decades and the stories passed down from one generation to the next never included bodily harm.

I nudged the two friends I had hoped to room with and tried to get their approval. It was the only way the three of us could bunk together anyway. Most of the other rooms were only big enough for one or two.

Begrudgingly, they agreed.

As I unloaded my car on move-in day that fall, it was impossible not to notice that the old Victorian had a lot of history. Off the kitchen was a servant’s quarters with quick access to the gilded dining room that easily sat 30. It had three fireplaces, a grand staircase in the front and another, slightly less showy one in the back. There were 18 bedrooms and an off-limits section in the basement that apparently housed slaves during the Underground Railroad movement in the 1800s.

The house was practically a breeding ground for supernatural activity, but I couldn’t help but think the stories were a result of active imaginations and exaggerations from one year to the next.

Ghost, schmost.

I was the first of my roommates to move in, so I temporarily had the place to myself. Not wanting to risk someone else grabbing the biggest closet, I started unpacking my clothes.

Because we hadn’t called to get our cable hooked up yet, the coiled wire was sitting on top of a dresser waiting to be attached to my TV. I hadn’t paid much attention to it, but each time I emerged from the closet to grab more hangars, it seemed closer to the edge.

Suddenly, I became very aware how quiet it was.

I dug out my stereo and settled for the radio because I didn’t feel like searching for my CDs. The music helped settle my nerves a little, but not for long.

After a few more trips in and out of the closet, the movement of the cable was unmistakable. I darted my head around to see if one of the girls had decided to play a prank on me before saying hello. My mind was almost willing someone to giggle and come bursting out from behind the door.

Instead, the radio dial spun to static and I watched as the cable raised a foot off the table and dropped in a controlled arc to the floor.

Then I ran.

And the door slammed behind me.

That was the first of many paranormal activities my roommates and I experienced that year. Most of them were electronics related – our alarm clocks would go off in the middle of the afternoon, CDs would play tracks out of order, and the TV would inexplicably flip through the channels when the remote was in plain sight, untouched.

The door slamming became such a regular occurrence that we anchored it to the wall with a rope, and it wasn’t unusual to come home to discover our beds had been moved while we were in class.

The three of us were more than happy to leave that room to the next occupants, but one good thing did come out of it – it takes a lot to spook me this time of year.


freedomcome said...

wow. I got lucky then. My dorm wing is supposed to be haunted AND have bats but I haven't witnessed anything yet.

aj said...

That is sooo cool. How did you keep your cool and not freak out and move out? Sooo interesting...This type of thing fascinates our minds...

Kristin said...

that's sooo rad.
I wish I could experience something like that.
lucky =P


Anonymous said...

uhm, creepy much? i've experienced that. and a lot of other weird things, like, knowing what my friends are thinking, haha.

i like to call it intuitive.

i remember reading that you used to have a ferret. i just moved to a new city, and yesterday, i got my first ferret to be my roomie. :)

maria said...

I remember you mentioning this in your old blog. I'm surprised you stayed in that room for so long!

the plainsman said...

Each in itself, some (but not all) of those happenings can be simply explained, but when they all happen in the same spot...seems more than a simple coincidence. Fun to vist, but would not want to stay there, where one was not wanted. This should be in the student handbook, LOL!

bronxbombette said...

There is a dorm building on my campus that is haunted. Supposedly there was a murder on the 4th floor that was shut down and a drowning in the pool that was shut down. I actually want to live there next a single. But thats cool!!

Ray said...

Nice to see you writing about your old sorority house again. I remember an entry sort of like this on your Xanga page, around Halloween time. ;o) This was so creepy though. I would have moved out of there pronto. You are brave! Do you have any photos of your old sorority house? If so I'd love to see some. It sounds like a beautiful place. 18 bedrooms, 3 fireplaces and a dining room that seats 30, is my kind of home! Plus the fact that a place where you lived at housed the slaves from the underground railroad is very cool. Did you ever go down to the basement?

Take, care.

Jennifer said...

The skeptic in me would love to check out your electrical wiring (and for drafts) and see if anyone was rearranging your furniture while you were in class (since you left your door open). How did you come to terms with this? Did you ever try to speak to whatever presence you felt was there?