The Boarding School Hanging

Text: “When I was in boarding school, all of the male students lived in one dorm while all the female students lived in another. I remember there were multiple nights during my 3 years of living there, where someone was walking around the hallways in the middle of the night. This was not allowed of course, because we had “lights out” at 10 pm and there was no reason to be walking around at 3am. Even the teachers lived with us, and they would do a walk through every night, 5 minutes before “lights out” to make sure we were all in bed. We also had bathrooms attached to our dorms, so nobody was ever in the hallways that late. The building was extremely old so the wooden floors creaked like no other. But one of the nights, I heard a knocking. I couldn’t tell if it was a knock on our door or someone else’s down the hall, but I got up to check. When I opened the door, nobody was there. Even though it sounded like someone was n the hallway, walking back and forth, sometimes knocking on a door. Anyways, when I woke up the next morning, I asked Mr. Q if he had knocked on our door around 3am. He said he was fast asleep and that nobody should be up and about at that hour. So I asked some of my floor-mates to see if someone was pranking us. A few of the other guys also told me about how they hear knocking sometimes and that it sounds like there is always someone walking down the hallway. And when they opened their doors, nobody was there. A little scared, I called my mom and told her about the situation. She thought it was creepy but made me feel worse about it by saying the dorm was probably haunted. I ended up doing some research, and to my surprise, one of the kids who lived in this dorm, on this floor, hung himself from the chandelier in the hallway. It happened about 15 years before, but none of the students knew about it. I’m not sure if this was the ghost of him haunting this hallway or if the building is just falling apart, but I knew from the start that something was up.” -Informant

Context: This is one of the most prestigious boarding schools in the country and has had multiple student-suicides. The informant learned that there may be a ghost haunting them when his other floor-mates had been experiencing the same thing. The school covered it up so much that he could barely find the article where the suicide was explained. This situation really scared him and he still thinks about it occasionally. He thinks it was for sure a ghost.

Analysis: This ghost legend features many common elements found in ghost stories. It takes place in an old, isolated building, where strange and unexplainable occurrences take place. The setting of the boarding school also adds to the belief in this legend, as it is a place where the students are already away from their homes and families, making them more susceptible to feeling scared and vulnerable.

The knocking sound that the informant hears is a common motif in ghost stories, as it adds to the suspense and mystery of the story. The fact that the knocking is heard at 3 am, which is often considered the “witching hour” in folklore, adds to the sense of foreboding and suggests that something supernatural is at play. The revelation that one of the students hung himself from the chandelier in the hallway is a classic element of ghost lore. Tragic deaths, particularly suicides, are often believed to leave a lingering presence behind, which can manifest as ghostly apparitions.