Tag Archives: school ghost

The Haunted Third Floor

--Informant Info--
Nationality: Japanese & Chinese
Age: 20
Occupation: student
Residence: Hawaii
Date of Performance/Collection: 3/30
Primary Language: English
Other Language(s): Japanese

When I was in 5th grade, the school that I went to was really old. It was founded in 1841 and had a long history, and a lot of ghost stories. This one building that used to be dormitories, the third floor of it was supposed to be really haunted. My class was on the 2nd floor, but we could charge our laptops in this one room on the 3rd floor. It was always locked since people’s laptops were in there. One day we went up there to put our laptops away, but our teacher forgot to come meet us and unlock the door. So we were standing in the hallway and there wasn’t anyone inside the room. But then the doorknob to the room started shaking a lot. At first we thought someone was in there, but then we realized no one would be in there if it was locked. We got really freaked out and went and got the teacher, and went back up with her. She opened the locked room and no one was in there. It was eerie”

My roommate told me this story about her school back in Hawaii. She does believe in ghosts, so she obviously thinks that is what the cause was. It is interesting to hear this, as it is not such an overt siting, so someone more skeptical on the subject would probably write it off as nothing. While collecting this story from her, we began to talk about Hawaiian ghosts and how they relates to their culture. She said that ghost belief is very prevalent in Hawaii- more so than the rest of America- and intertwined with the native culture. She observed that Hawaii has had a large influence from Asian immigrants from many different countries, especially Japan, which has a more pronounced belief in ghosts. Since she is of Japanese and Chinese descent, we talked about how those cultures have also influenced her beliefs and led her to be more open-minded to ghost belief.

Math Classroom Ghost

--Informant Info--
Nationality: American
Age: 50s
Occupation: High school teacher
Residence:
Date of Performance/Collection: April 9th, 2014
Primary Language: English
Other Language(s):

Information about the Informant

My informant is an English teacher at a high school in Southern California, and has been teaching for over twenty-five years. She has been featured as an Influential Teacher of the Month within the last five years, and has received great reviews and praise from her former students as a teacher who cares about and motivates her students to succeed. I met her next to Tommy Trojan when she brought her class to USC campus on a college visit and she gave me this school ghost story in the short time before she had to collect her class.

Transcript

“I teach at the oldest high school in [school name and location removed]. And there is a common story that, um, circulates. And that is that one of the math classes is haunted. And so everyone goes in, I–usually on a Thursday morning, and you can note the differences in air temperature. Um, on a Thursday morning, you can, at any other time, on any other day. So, we really believe that something is going on in that school, or in that room, or something occurred there that–and that is an ongoing reminder to us that something negative occurred in there, because it’s always cold.”

Collector: “Is there any, like, theory as to what it might be?”

“From my kids? No, we’ve no theory. We have no idea because we cannot, um, there’s no accounting of anything had ever happened in there. So it could be that prior to the building being built, that some violent occurrence was there. Maybe, you know, some, uh, early settlers or maybe some of the indigenous people, or something like that that was in–that was, gave that piece of land or that little area kind of a negative quality.”

Analysis

When asked how this possibly haunted classroom affected people at the school, whether staff members or students, my informant told me that all it seemed to do was reaffirm the beliefs that the students or staff members already had. For those students (and possibly members of the staff) who already believed in an afterlife that included ghosts or some sort of spiritual remnant left in the world after death, the story “gives credence” to that belief. But for those who did not believe in ghosts, they simply believed the unnatural cold was due to “wind pattern or something.”

This is an interesting example as it’s an instance of a ghost story where there is no actual ghost, but merely an unnatural phenomenon that could easily be attributed to a natural cause. It’s interesting to observe because, rather than attribute the cold to a problem with the cooling system or weather patterns, it seems like people at the school are more than willing to try to find a “supernatural” explanation for the cold, even undertaking, it sounds like, research into the history of the school to find out if anything violent had ever occurred on the school’s property. It’s an interesting example because it provides a look at how an experience may turn into a memorate, the process by which an experience can become a memorate, where the experience is something strange but explainable and those involved instead search for a way to incorporate it into the genre of ghost stories, using the tropes about ghost stories that they already know (e.g. that if there is a ghost, there must have been some violent incident in the past; that settlers or indigenous people may have cursed the ground long ago).