Tag Archives: dorm

McCarthy Ghost Stories

Within the University of Southern California’s Freshman Honors Dorm, also known as McCarthy Honors College, there are two elevators that traverse up and down between the building’s five floors. The insides have metal walls with a neat dappling texture, and they can comfortably fit around 12 people.

M is a male worker at McCarthy whose job is to ensure that its facilities are clean and that the residents are not collecting a buildup of water residue or gunk in their bathrooms. When asked if he knows any folklore, he claims that some of the workers have experienced strange, possibly paranormal activity in its elevators. 

Me: So how long have you been working in McCarthy?

X: This is my first year working in this residential building, and frankly it’s a lot better than some of the other dorms I’ve been at. 

Me: That’s great to hear. Just out of curiosity, do you know any folklore that is related to your job or to your heritage?

X: Yeah, I personally have a story about the, the elevators in this building. Particularly the right elevator. Since I’m a janitor, I have to go up and down the elevators a lot during the nights and in the early mornings, depending on my shift. Sometimes the elevator will just stop and open its doors on the second floor even when I’m going to the fourth. And so I look around, and there’s no one there. But what’s more strange is that I look down at my watch and it’s 5 A.M. It makes no sense!

Me: Wow, that seems pretty scary-

X: And that’s not even the end of it. Sometimes, the doors will start to close and then just jam, as if someone or something was physically stopping it. Then it’ll suddenly just close with a bang.

Me: Wait, I’ve witnessed that too! That used to happen a lot during the first semester and I’d also get kind of freaked out.

X: Yup, and we’ve had lots of accidents dealing with vomit in the elevators. For some reason, they say that they’re fine before, but then when they get on the elevators and overwhelming nausea causes them to throw up. Most of the time, it’s drunk kids on a Friday but it’s happened to completely sober kids too.

Me: Oh yeah, I’ve seen them air out the elevators a lot. I feel a little better about just taking the stairs haha. Do you have any suspicion of what causes these incidents?

X: Yes, a lot of the workers have had the feeling that someone was watching them or that something was a little off in the right elevator, so there has been a rumor going around that there’s a ghost. HA! I don’t really believe it myself, but it is pretty fun to think about sometimes.

Me: Yikes, I really hope it’s not a ghost! Thank you for your time X and for sharing this story with me.

X: Yeah no problem.

Personally, this story fascinates me because I have been a fan of ghost stories for years, so hearing about potentially paranormal activity in my own dorm is very intriguing. It has been speculated that elevators can sometimes act as bridges between different dimensions, as well as between the physical and spiritual worlds. Although these events in the McCarthy elevator are somewhat compelling, I also think they could all be explained in some degree by more practical means. For instance, the elevator doors could open on empty floors because somebody on the floor pressed the button to call the elevator. Only, they realized the elevator would take too long so they walked down the stairs, leaving the elevator to open onto an empty hallway. The only strange part is that this was happening at odd hours, though college students are notorious for having unconventional sleep schedules. The door getting jammed and then slamming shut could be an issue with the alignment of the doors, as a hitch in the closing could result in lots of force building up and acting on the door at once. The vomiting also, could just be a result of the motion of elevators, as the increased compression when it starts going up or the feeling of weightlessness when it goes down can induce vomiting in someone that already feels sick. In all though, this is a really cool story and I hope that if there actually was a ghost, it would be a friendly one.

“Beerio Kart”

Main Piece

The following is transcribed from a conversation between my friend, identified as SK, and myself, identified as GK.

SK: I want to tell you about a game I have been playing with my buddies at college called “Beerio Kart”. It’s a drinking game that involves the video game “Mario Kart” and is super competitive. So the basic objective of the game is to be the first player to finish the race while at the same time finishing his/her beer. However the catch is that you must completely stop driving and drop your controller while you’re drinking the beer as it is illegal to drink and drive. So the game becomes pretty strategic because of this rule.

GK: So what’s the best strategy for this game?

SK: It really depends. I usually do all the driving first, so I know how much time I have to chug the beer. However, I have friends who will chug at the very beginning so they could play from behind the whole race and get the best items in the game because of it. There are also people who will take stops after each lap to drink the beer at a steady pace while keeping up with the other opponents in the Mario Kart race. I would say my strategy is the best, but to each their own. 

Background: The informant knows of this game from college. He says that his roommate during his freshman year taught him the game, and that they would often play with the other guys in his dorm. Due to the fact that the new Mario Kart is on the Nitendo Switch, up to eight people could play at once. The game serves as a fun way for the informant and his friends to compete with one another while drinking. 

Context: The informant and I discussed this game over Face Time. 

My Thoughts: This game, in my opinion, serves as a great way to compete with friends while at the same time expanding the entertainment of Mario Kart even further. The courses start to get boring after a while, so adding a whole new aspect to the game really spices things up. It also illustrates the rise in popularity that video games have taken amongst the college demographic. For the longest time, I always thought video games were mainly played by children, and when they were played by adults, that those people were weird. However, with the creation of platforms such as Twitch, video games being played by older people have become more acceptable in society. I also believe that the multiplayer aspect that the Nintendo Switch offers makes the game more appealing to college students living in a dorm because they can compete with one another easily. 

Kilachand Hall is Haunted

Informant – “Kilachand Hall is supposedly haunted. That’s where the honor students live. It used to be a hotel. The most famous resident was a playwright named Eugene O’Neill. There was also another famous writer there who won a Nobel Prize and Pulitzer or something. I don’t know. But anyways, O’Neill died in this hotel. And BU bought the building and turned it into a dormitory. Strange things have been going on on the fourth floor ever since, cause that’s where he lived. Apparently he died there. Lights inexplicably dim. Elevators stop working and open on the fourth floor for no reason. There are knocks on the door when no one is outside.”

Informant – “I heard it on my college tour. It makes me not what to live there haha.”

Eugene O’Neill did in fact die in Kilachand Hall (formerly known as Shelton Hall). I think this legend is popular because it is a reminder that a famous person died in the building. It adds panache to the idiosyncrasies of an old building.

Moki Hana – the Haunted Dormitory

The informant is an 18-year-old college student attending university in Hawaii. She was born and raised in the Bay Area, California, but has a great deal of family living in Hawaii who she visited frequently when growing up. While I was on a hike with the informant in San Ramon, California over spring break, she was describing her dorm to me and began to tell the story of how it came to be haunted.

“I live in a dorm called Moki Hana on campus. I first heard of the ghost from my RA, he told us about it on the first day we moved in. There’s a closet on my floor on the side of the bathroom with a sink in it that is used as a janitor’s closet. In the 80s a freshman hung himself in that closet, on my floor, and his ghost haunts the tower. The Resident Assistants have to stay in the dorms over the summer and one night one of them felt a really sharp pain on her chest and couldn’t get up, and she refused to sleep in the dorms for a few weeks. You’re not supposed to sleep with your feet to the door because it’s a way for spirits to enter your body. Also nobody will go to the bathroom during witching hour because they don’t want to encounter him. I just try to be respectful when I’m talking about it, especially if I’m in the dorms. Anywhere on campus or in the local vicinity they call the dorm ‘Moki Haunted.’”

In this ghost story, a tragic event that actually took place in the Moki Hana dormitory, the suicide of a freshman student, is transformed into a persistent haunting that affects any student who lives in the dorms. Upon hearing of this, I was reminded of previous conversations that I have had with the informant in which she has emphasized that Hawaii has an extensive history of spirituality, and I believe that this coupled to the sense of isolation and unfamiliarity that many college freshman face when moving to an island away from home serves to amplify the fear instilled within the students who are placed in Moki Hana dorm. The informant’s Resident Adviser may or may not believe in the ghost, but I think that his purpose in informing the freshman who live in the haunted dorm about it is in part to make them aware, but moreso to provide a sense of unity among the residents and as a way of initiating them into the dorm, as for the year they live in Moki Hana the common fear of encountering or upsetting the ghost of the student who committed suicide there will function to bring the residents together.