Thursday, November 1, 2007

Haunted High School

Two years ago, I had the honor and the privilege to work the bathroom duty station during our campus-wide TAKS testing. My responsibilities entailed making sure anyone in the hall had a hall pass, to work the crossword puzzle in the paper, and most importantly, to make sure that no more than one young male student test-taker with a full bladder was in the men's room at a time--as a matter of test security. Most guys admit that it is poor urinal etiquette to have any sort of conversation while using the facilities. The exception, apparently, is when the subject of the conversation is "The answer to number three on part B."

The bathroom I was monitoring had a door lever that required lifting from the outside to enter and depressing from the inside to exit. The only problem with exiting, other than that 89% of the guys leaving never washed their hands, is that the lever always stuck. The handle had to be hit pretty hard to execute a successful exit maneuver. You could always tell which students frequented that particular washroom, as their initial efforts to exit were forcefully, deliberately successful, but these self-sufficient feats were rare. In fact, I felt like the "Hero of the Head" as I had to "rescue" several
young male student test-takers with an empty bladder and dirty hands by opening the door from the outside.

Fast forward a year to an early October morning, say 5:30am. I was arriving at school a few minutes earlier than usual to use the photocopier. The only other soul at school at this hour is the early morning custodian whose job it is to unlock the building and turn on the lights. But this morning, something was different--very different. First of all, I noticed the light in my classroom was on as I pulled into the parking lot. This was very strange, but I dismissed it as a forgetful custodian forgetting to turn it off the evening before. After dropping things off in my class, and confirming that nothing unusual had taken place in there, I headed to the copier room.

Immediately descending the stairs, staring down the main hallway clear across to the opposite end of the building, I noticed that it was black--PITCH black. Not even the security sconces were lit.
The noticeable humming of the mechanical units were missing as well. My wing of the building seemed to be the only one with power. "Did my light being on overnight sap the energy from the entire building?" I pondered? "Don't be ridiculous!" I reassured myself.

Realizing the chances were slim, I decided that I'd try the copy room anyway--I NEEDED copies of the test I was to be giving that day. As I approached the main corridor exchange in the shadowy hallway, I arrived at the bathroom door with the sticky handle.

As if choreographed by a Hollywood production crew, immediately as I was adjacent to the door, with every intention of walking straight past it, I heard the door handle jiggle three times, "click-clack, click-clack, click-clack." Without hesitating I stopped dead in my tracks, reached for the handle and lifted it forcefully like I did so many times during the TAKS test one year previously. Less than two seconds elapse between my hearing the rattle and opening the door.

As the door swung open, I expected to see a faint shadow and the warmth of the morning custodian. Not only would we have a good laugh about being stuck in the bathroom, but I'd get some information about the obvious black-out on campus. I got neither.

What I discovered on the other side of the door was empty still, quiet, blackness. To make sure it wasn't a prank, I walked into the bathroom a few steps to peer around the entry partition that blocks the view of the urinals from the hallway. As I felt my way to the end of the wall, I peered around the corner into nothingness as a blast of cold air hit my face. For one of the few times in my life, I felt an uncontrollable sensation run through my body. My instinct told my to get out of there as fast as I could.

I ran through the darkness to the copy room. No power. It didn't matter now. I raced back to the powered, well-lit sanctuary of my classroom as fast as my trembling legs would carry me. Alone in my classroom, with the lights on, I went through every possible logical explanation of the events that took place. Nothing could adequately explain it. I kept thinking that if the lever was stuck from the previous day, why would it "spring" right as I walked by? But it did more than release--it jiggled--three times. It was as if someone, or some THING, was frustrated--and wanted OUT. Then there was the cold blast of air--chilling in more ways than one.

Several strange events had just occurred. Questions raced through my mind all at once. Why was there a power outage? Why was my wing the only one with power? Why was my light on in my classroom (one of the few with windows visible from outside)? Where was the morning custodian? How on earth am I going to get my test photocopied? Did I leave the iron on at home?

Within twenty minutes, the first frantic student came into my room for tutorials. Apparently she was fearing my test that day more than any ghost she might have just encountered. When she asked how to find the second derivative of an implicitly defined function, I answered her question by telling her exactly what had just happened to me. I HAD to share with somebody. Besides, there was a good chance the test would have to be postponed, which meant there was plenty of time for math later. Right now, we had to talk about ghosts.

As I told her my story as calmly as I could, her eyes grew large. By story was striking a nerve with her. To my further surprise, she proceeded to tell me that she had always believed the school to be haunted, and in fact, one of the teachers on campus gives her classes periodic TOURS of the haunted building! WHOA! I was hoping she could DISMISS my experience, not give it credibility. Being one of the first ones in the building every day, I would be a bit unsettling to know that I was never, nor would ever be "alone" as I roamed the empty, vacuous halls in the wee-hours of the mornings.

Together, we recounted many students that have lost their lives tragically while at NBHS, most noticeably the two who died in a car wreck in front of school, and another who died on the football field. In memory of each of these students, their pictures hang in the main hallway on campus. Could they still be roaming the halls?

Fast forward yet another year to the Halloween Happening that took place two days ago in the main hallway on campus. Setting up our Math Club fish pond booth at 5pm, I used the restroom in that main hall--the one with the sticky handle. I was very aware of the Eerie timing so much that it took me a bit longer to get things done. After washing my hands, I exited the door with a deliberate forcefulness--the handle still was not repaired.

Later, as all the young kids with their costumes filtered in, I mingled among the crowd until my wife arrived with my two crayons--that is, my son and daughter who were DRESSED as matching crayons. By this time, I had forgotten about the whole "ghost in the bathroom" experience all over again. I was concentrating on taking as many pictures as I could of my beautiful crayons--a dad's duty. When the event was over, booths were taken down, candy was counted, and we all went home--an overall great evening. I couldn't wait to look at the pictures and share them with family members, but I was too tired to look at them when I got home; it would have to wait until tomorrow.

The next day, as my wife is enjoying the many, many pictures from the evening prior, one picture in particular stood out from all the rest. It was the third picture taken at the Halloween Happening. It was a picture that was taken in the Main Hallway at the Science Club's booth, which happened to be set up RIGHT BY THE BATHROOM WITH THE STICKY HANDLE.

Now I watch Ghost Hunters, and I have seen my fair share of shows on paranormal activity. Many photos capture irregularities that some claim are evidence of ghosts, spirits, etc. while others claim as just camera errors, normal defects, etc. I'm very reluctant to truly believe something can be easily dismissed, but . . . . .

This photo was different from ALL the rest, and it was the ONLY one taken by that bathroom. In light of my personal experience there in the early, blackened morning at that same location one year ago, I couldn't dismiss the photo so readily.

The photo contained several tiny "orbs," or little perfectly round balls of light. They are of all different sizes and don't appear in any pattern. The most noticeable one appears brilliantly against my wife's black pants. Could these orbs be manifestations of spirits that live at school? Is it evidence of a haunted high school?

Here's some information on got on a website about orbs:

Orbs are believed (by many) to be ghosts in the form of balls of light. They are life forms that travel in groups and are believed to be the human soul or life force of those that once inhabited a physical body here on earth. Psychics claim to talk to them on a regular basis, and ghost hunters encounter them quite frequently. It is said that they are those spirits that have willingly stayed behind because they feel bound to their previous life or previous location for whatever reason. Because of this obsession they tend to become similar to a psychotic human beings. It should be said that the majority of us when we die proceed gladly and willingly to the next level of existence after saying our quiet good-byes, which means we're off to the spirit world. Then again, as stated, a select few elect to stay behind because of a refusal to move on. Apparently the longer they stay behind, the harder it is to find their way to the next level, which again, is the spirit world.

I've put the picture at the top of the blog for you to view. Click on it to enlarge. The original, large-resolution photo that was too large to attach show them very clearly.
But if you look very closely you will see them all over the place.

I've got to go run off some tests now in the copy room. I think I'm going to take the long way around.

2 comments:

lcaradec said...

Excellent!!! The chills ran through my body as I read this blog.

Dmac said...

I too encountered an unusual spirit in the same restroom one crisp Sunday afternoon in 2005. My experience was less a visual confirmation of the para-normal, but more of an olfactory detected spirit emanating its acrid pungency and sulfuric wrath that reminded anyone entering the latrine that eating more than one of Hannah's breakfast tacos has a lingering and disarming affect. The experience still brings tears to my eyes.