Downey Middle School Ghost

Karishma Nagar
ARLT 100: Ghost Stories

This interview was with a current USC student who is a local from Downey, California. She will be referred to as “A” in this interview, and I will be “K”. One of her friends will be referred to as “R”. Below is the transcript verbatim of my interview with her:

K: Hey A!

A: Hey K!

K: Okay so tell me about the ghost story from your hometown.

A: Okay, well this is in Downey, California in West Middle School. There always been rumors that the boys’ locker room was haunted all the time. So on the campus, the boys’ locker room and the girls’ locker room are in big separate buildings, and they are detached from everything else in the school. And the campus is in California so it’s an entire outdoor campus. Uh so there’s like the boys’ locker room and the girls’ locker room. And I’ve only been in the boys’ locker room a few times for like weight measurements and stuff, but once you go right in there’s a big caged area where they keep like all the balls and equipment in, and it’s like this old building, the school was actually built in the 60’s, and it hasn’t really been upgraded. And so all the lockers are very old beaten down. And there’s always, well everyone always said it was haunted. And I haven’t been in there long enough to see anything mysterious happen, but I do know some people who say the lockers constantly squeak even when no one is opening them. And the lights also will randomly turn on. Some of the rumors told me the ghost was the guy. I mean the fact that it’s the boys locker room I guess it makes sense that it would be a guy. But yeah it was just always haunted. And these were all these rumors just like always throughout.

K: Wow, okay, so is there a type of premise or backstory behind how this ghost came about?

A: Honestly it is very unclear. Most of the rumors mainly talk about the encounters they have faced in the locker room. It talked about mostly an instance when one guy was running late to soccer practice and he was the only one in the locker room and the lights would go off randomly while he was there. Another boy pointed out that he heard water running as if someone left a shower or a sink on, but there are no showers in there. My friend R also went to the boys locker room and he said that one time he went to go get sports balls and he kept hearing a clanking noise. As if someone was like clanking pots together, but no one was there and he was all alone, so he doesn’t know where the sound was coming from. But I do know that the ghost it is in fact a student that went to West Middle. But from what I heard they say this ghost either died in the locker room or possibly just trapped there. I guess that is unclear and can even be left to interpretation. But this ghost has always just been there and so I think because of the rumors it sort of branched out with like lots of different interpretations.

K: So where did you hear this ghost story from?

A: When I was, actually, when I was in 5th grade, um they bring all the fifth graders over for a tour of the campus and you just kind of walk over around. We visited the girls locker room and the girls locker room, and I think that was the first time I heard of the ghost. Someone in my group started to talk about it. And then when I came to the campus in the sixth grade that’s when I heard it from so many people there.

K: Okay, now what’s your reaction to this ghost? How do you feel about this ghost?

A: Well since I have never really been in the boys locker room too much, I haven’t had a chance to really deal with ghosts. But I have been scared at night because I used to stay back for PTA meetings and events. And it is very scary to walk around the halls it’s like very creepy. Especially when you walk alone. But I never dared ventured into the boys locker room, at all, and I mean the doors are locked too, not that I have ever attempted to go in there or anything hehe. So yeah it is a very spooky to visit at night. I definitely think this ghost exists, and the fact that so many people are talking about definitely seems to confirm it even more. But yeah that’s about it.

K: Anything else you would like to add?

A: Yeah that’s pretty much all the details. I wished I experienced the ghost myself first hand though.

K: I know that would’ve been awesome. But great, thanks A!

My reaction to this ghost story: The fact that this story takes place in a middle school makes this ghost story interesting. Is it really a ghost or a rumor made up by a bunch of middle schoolers? I guess we will not know for sure. But it is interesting that it takes place in middle school because Middle school is a liminal period itself, it is the middle of your schooling years, where you are neither a child or an adult, but a preteen, a very small period where identity is really started to develop but still more likely unknown. So a ghost appearing at such a liminal age can also make sense too. I thought the context played a perfect role for this ghost story, the fact that it is in an old middle school building that has not been upgraded and the fact that boys locker room itself is isolated from the rest of the school makes it an excellent place for a ghost to haunt. All in all, I enjoyed hearing this story, and I think it was great to be able to apply our class leanings to such a story.