Tag Archives: school ghost

Mad Bess: A Ghost-Story

The informant heard this ghost legend in elementary school, particularly from the older middle schoolers and the old principal. It was a legend to give the campus character and teach the kids some history as well through talking about the mines and buildings around campus. It was an entertaining story from childhood intended to scare young kids as well. Now, the informant tells it to reminisce on childhood and to entertain friends, usually around a campfire or during other such story-telling times.

“The school I went to for elementary through middle school had a lot of old buildings that used to be people’s houses, like people used to live there because they’re super old old mining houses. There’re a little, like, I don’t know, like, kind of like victorian-ish era and from mining times. This family lived in the old lunchroom because the old buildings that the campus was made of were originally old mining homes. Her father worked in the mines that are located around campus and her mother was a stay-at-home mother, doing the cooking and cleaning. There was that collapse in the mine, that like 10 other ghost stories are about, that killed her father. Her mother was, like, older and got very sick and also died. So the young girl was left as an orphan and lived in the house still, but because she was so young couldn’t take care of herself and she just died a bit later because she couldn’t provide for herself but she still stayed in the house after all those years and now she haunts it and protects the house in a wrathful, mean way.”

Although this story teller did not really tell a story so much as a recount of the story, one can still get the general idea of what the story was supposed to be. The story was likely intended to entertain children as well as teach them about the history of the school campus. Being a mining town, the campus is surrounded by mine shafts (safely covered for the children) and all the school buildings are old houses from the mining days. Ghost stories are a good way to teach children about the place they inhabit as the legends reinforce that there were times before the kids got here. They will certainly remember history if it has an exciting story that goes with it. Thus, this culture values remembrance of place and times before. They value history, especially of the relevant place in which they reside. The culture values teaching children about said history, which is unsurprising considering that it is a school, and they realize that stories help knowledge stick. If nothing else, the culture values entertainment for children and thus created the story to do just that.

The Hidden Floor of the Middle School

Nationality: China
Primary Language: Mandarin
Other language(s): English, French
Age: 18
Occupation: Student
Residence: Beijing
Performance Date: Nov.28, 2023

Tags: #Schoolghost #teenagers #Suicide #Legendquest

One of my friend told me about the north building of his middle school. The North Building has eight floors above ground and three below ground. However, it is said that there is a haunted B4 that is permanently closed. It is said that in the 2000s, a student fell from an upper floor, crashed through the ventilation shaft on the ground, fell to the B4 level, and died. So the school sealed B4 forever. In the stairwell leading to the basement, down to B3, there is still a staircase to go down, but it is locked by a huge iron fence. People are said to have broken in, heard cries and screams in the area, and seen bloody handprints on the walls.

Context: This is a story told by my friend. This story is usually told to freshmen by senior students when they first enter the school. These teenagers often have a curious mindset and explore in school, telling and boasting about their adventures and original supernatural stories in an exaggerated tone

Personal Thought: The tragedy of the students falling from the building should be real. I have read about it in the local newspapers and media. However B4’s ghost stories may have been concocted by students seeking excitement and boldness. I’m not sure about the existence of that floor, but if it exists, it’s probably just a regular equipment room and storage room. However, the ghost story has become a part of campus culture, inspiring generations of students to run stairwell expeditions and legend quests. This kind of exploration also made me know many new classmates and formed deep friendship with them. The story itself, to a certain extent, also reminds students not to climb outside the window mischievously to prevent the danger of falling.

Bay Area Catholic School Ghost Story


“My all girls Catholic school was founded by these nuns in the 1950s but before it was a school it was a mansion called the Cole mansion, built in like 1916 or something. It was owned by this guy, Frederick Cole, we call him Freddy. He was a young wealthy dude who’s dad made money in steel production. He’s basically a trust fund baby, so he builds a nice mansion in the Burlingame hills overlooking the San Francisco Bay. And so Freddy built his beautiful mansion, it’s pretty big with a working elevator, bunch of servants, big bedroom. He’s living there with his wife. At the time, it’s all the rage to have a maid from France. And so his wife is like, a huge entertainer at their house, and she’s like “I need to have a French maid for my parties.” And so she sends a letter to her aunt in France who’s visiting, and she’s like “While you’re in France, can you pick me up a french maid?” So when her aunt comes back she brings an 18 year old girl named Annette. Annette speaks no English, like very very little, and she works at the house. While she’s there, Freddy, the little pervert, is all creepy on her. He’s like harassing her and will not stop bugging her. She’s like not having it, but the wife of Freddy is like “Oh my god my husband is jealous of this 18 year old I brought into the house, I’m going to get her fired. And not only am I going to get her fired, I’m going to tell all the other people in the Bay Area, all the other rich people, that she had sex with my husband and she’s an adulterer.” And so the wife went around telling everyone that Annette had sex with her husband and was all like, not holy or whatever. So she fires Annette, Annette can’t get hired anywhere, so you know what she does? She files a wrongful termination lawsuit in the San Francisco court in like, early 1900s, and she wins! Which is so rare. Then Freddy takes her to court to try and overturn it, and he’s going down the elevator to the courtroom and when the elevator opens, he sees Annette. And Annette just looks at him and tells him he lied, pulls out a pistol, and shoots him in the stomach. So this man is rushed to the hospital and they stich him up, but they leave the lead bullet in him, and Annette gets deported back to France. Freddy is recovering, but the bullets’ still inside him. So he tells people that he’s started receiving these postcards, and each one says “I will see you soon, from Annette.” And each one gets closer and closer, so it starts in France, then there’s one from England, then there’s one from New York, then she goes through Canada down to Washington, then to Portland. She books herself a boat from Portland to China, but there’s a stop in San Francisco. She gets out there, and the postcards stop. And the next day Freddy is found hanging in his mansion. And so people don’t know if he killed himself because he was worried Annette was gonna get him or if she got to him or if she even was there, because he still had the lead bullet in him and lead makes you go insane. And so people think he imagined it all, it’s like totally up to interpretation, people don’t know. Anyways, Freddy is now a ghost in the mansion and my ceramics teacher has seen him multiple times, people believe he still exists in the mansion on campus. My ceramics teacher had to go to the kiln on the bottom floor right by the servants’ stairs. Freddy was renowned for hanging out in the servants chambers and hitting on them. So she was in the basement unloading the kiln for pottery class, and she was bending over the kiln and she feels someone grab her waist. She turns around and no ones there. So she thinks it was him hitting on her, cause he’s a creep.” 


B is an 18-year-old college student from the Bay Area, California. She used to go to a Catholic all girls school, where she says teachers would tell this ghost story about the campus. She doesn’t know which facts are certifiably true, but she says she was first told this story while on a campus tour by an old nun who she trusts to be reliable. Teachers share this story with the students around the school. 


This story is a legend about Freddy’s ghost. It’s told to me as a “friend of a friend” story, so the speaker has never actually had an interaction with this supposed ghost. It’s clearly a legend because it could possibly be true, or it could not. No one really knows why Freddy died. This uncertainty about his death could be the reason for his haunting. Ghost stories tend to follow people who weren’t properly buried or their death wasn’t settled, because it’s very important for communities that their community members get the proper burial and death rituals. If the ritual is done wrong, it leads to haunting. It’s particularly interesting that this story is spread around a Catholic school, as in the Christian religion killing oneself is a sin. If Freddy really did hang himself, that’s a hard conversation for Christians to have because it means he went to hell. Ghosts probably form around these figures that die in ways that Christians don’t see to be natural to serve both as a warning to others against sinning, and as a way of understanding and reconciling what happens to someone who dies in a sinful manner. Another aspect of this ghost story is the way in which it is performed. When this story was told to me it was told by a girl the same age as Annette, and the school is an all-girls school so almost everyone who tells and knows this story is a girl. By looking at the social context of the story, we see how it takes a very feminist lean. It’s almost a satisfying revenge story for women, as they watch the lying creep suffer for his actions against the young girl. If this were told by someone else, Annette may be the villain. But both the speaker and the audience receive the story as a triumph for Annette. This bias can be seen in the vocabulary the speaker uses, calling him a “little pervert” and “creep.” It makes sense that this story would circulate amongst a group of young women as a victory for them against this creepy man. It reminds me of murder ballads, which is a type of legend that often details the murder of a young woman and paints the male killer in a positive light as opposed to a condemning one. In an environment filled with young women, the same plot instead is inverted to declare Annette as the victorious hero. Looking again at the social context, the audience was a group of young women the same age as the speaker, and she was often interrupted by expletives denouncing Freddy as a pervert as well.

Roaming Soldier


Y: Okay. So, um, I grew up in New Jersey. The town was, like, very colonial. Very like, it was like from the colonial times and like that’s when people started moving there. And just- so we had a tavern and they always find oysters and whatnot around it. But anyway, so this redcoat was staying in the tavern’s hotel room, like in one of the rooms and then he, he was murdered, they offed him. And so <laugh>, um, legend has it. They’re like still haunted and I forget what the name of the class was called, but in fifth grade we had the owner of the house come talk to us about her experience living there. And so she says like, “oh yeah, no, it’s, haunted it like homeboy comes up and down the stairs.” 

Me: So was she like a descendant or was she a whole other person? 

Y: No, just a whole other person. Okay. She just lives in the, I think they bought it like 20 something years ago, but it’s like, it’s like a historical registered, like, and so, yeah, legend has it that this murdered soldier goes around the halls and it was like right next to my elementary school. 

Me: Do you know what experiences they’ve had? 

Y: There’s like, um, she’s talked about homeboy, like on the stairs, like she’ll hear them creaking randomly, and then something with the shutters too, like closing the shutters. 

Me: Does she hear it or do the shutters actually close? 

Y: Hears it.

Me: So it’s all auditory? 

Y: Yeah. 

Background: Y is a 20 year old who was born and raised in New Jersey. She now resides in Los Angeles, California. 

Context: This story was told to me at a hangout among friends.Analysis: I liked this story because of its universality. The tavern that Y speaks of doesn’t have a specific name that sticks in the memory of the teller. She wasn’t even sure what city/town the tavern was in. Instead, the part of the story that stuck in her mind for all of these years was that a man was murdered in the building and now haunts it. The story, as it was passed around and as time moved on, was distilled into its most basic form.



K: So I grew up in Northern Virginia. Fairfax County, right? Um, I have, um, so the story is about, um, it’s based off of a series of murders that happened, uh, sometime in the mid to late 1900s. And the suspect apparently, uh, was seen to be wearing a bunnyman costume when they happened. And it’s like, one of the places that it went down was happened to be down the street from one of my childhood friends. Like in the, he lives in this wooded neighborhood, in the outskirts of Fairfax. And so, you know, the like thing to do as a kid is like, it’s, there’s a tunnel that goes from like the end of the street goes to this, like one lane tunnel. And then, um, on the other side is like a park maybe, but so the dare is to like, get your, you and your friends to get in the car, drive down the road, into the tunnel and then like, turn the car off and then wait for like a couple minutes and then see if he appears. And then, you know, so we did it one time. I’m still alive. <laugh> but yeah, that’s that’s the bunnyman is like the, um, like they never caught him. So he like still roams. 

Me: Right. Did you see, did anything happen or were you all just sitting in a car? 

K: No, I scared them though. <laugh> 

Me: Nice.

Background: K is a 22 year old from Fairfax County, Virginia. He currently resides in Los Angeles, California. 

Context: This story was told to me at a hangout among friends. 

Analysis: Although I didn’t find it as much in the stories I collected for this project, I’ve noticed a trend of dares being associated with ghost stories. The fear of the legend motivates people to go out with their friends in search of a terrifying or potentially dangerous experience. Although these experiences seem to be few and far between, that doesn’t stop the tradition from continuing with each new generation. It seems like most of the lore comes from the performance of seeking out the paranormal rather than the spirit himself.