The Washington Pavilion Maintenance Ghost

Background: My informant was young Caucasian man who was born and raised in Sioux Falls, South Dakota. He currently attends the University of Sioux Falls for Biology and History.

Main Piece: This story originates from the youth of Sioux Falls during the early 2000s. Washington High School used to be near downtown Sioux Falls. However, in 1992, a new school area was build near Sertoma Avenue on the east side of town where new developments were being built. As such, the old high school was going to be rebuilt as an Arts pavilion, where today it is used for the local science museum, local play/musical productions, and even movies. It is called the Washington Pavilion. However, in the early 2000s, many kids and young adults began discussing the story of the maintenance worker that supposedly died during the time of renovation. They say he worked on the elevators and potentially fell down the shaft while working. Because of this, they say that his ghost haunts the elevator at any given time of day. Considering how large the pavilion is, it is very easy for you to get lost, or find yourself in long empty hallways. The informant doesn’t really believe in it, but it was fun for him to talk about during his middle school days. It is in their opinion that this is mainly just to freak people out in the elevator. They said that elevators are a place where people are already vulnerable, because they can fail at any time and kill the occupants.

Performance Context: According to my informant, the informant’s mom was an aficionado of the occult, so she would tell her son (the informant) stories like this.

My Thoughts: I think it is interesting because elevators are another scene as the informant mentions that are of vulnerability. It is similar to the bathroom in the horror genre at large as a place that symbolically is confined and intimate. In an elevator, the occupants have very little control over the mechanism and it is often the source of inspiration for many different horror genres. The easiest example that comes to mine is the film Devil, which tells the story of a group of people who are trapped within an elevator as one by one they are killed, making them believe that it is one of the members inside. In the end, however, it turns out the Devil themselves is acting out the crime. Even so, the idea that you could be stuck in a small confined space with little control of the situation and the horror stories that you hear about people who get stuck in elevators in terrifying for many, including myself.