Friday, October 28, 2011

Something wicked this way comes: Scary tales 4

SFA dorms

Now as I mentioned yesterday, my college campus was not exactly a quiet place when it came to paranormal activity. The theater was expected to be haunted, but the dormitories? I suppose one could reason that over the life of a dorm, especially an old dorm, that some spirits might attach themselves to the buildings. Thoughts of suicidal finals students, and frat boys ODing come to mind. Alas those fairly typical college scenarios are not the reason for the hauntings at SFA.

SFA was founded in 1923 as a teachers college. The original building for the school was in Nacogdoches but not on the current campus. The school bought three buildings that are where the current campus stands from the state. The buildings used to belong to Rusk hospital for the criminally insane. These three buildings ended up eventually being converted into dormitories.

This portion of the hospital closed prior to 1917 and the basement portion of the buildings remained sealed until 1998. The rest of the buildings were mostly converted. The bathrooms were updated, the actual furnace for the crematorium that was under one of the three buildings was removed, and the elevator shaft to the crematorium was bricked up. The crematorium stacks are still on top of the building.

In 1998 the college decided to take one of the three now dormitories, and turn it into the new admin office. The dorm had been empty and been used for storage for some years. The college decided to hire student crews to clean out the old building, but found almost immediately that keeping a crew was near impossible as strange things were scaring away the workers. At this point the college released the history of the buildings hoping to attract a crew or the morbidly curious that would not be easily scared off.

Several of my friends were on the crew. There were reports of hearing laughter and crying from the unoccupied rooms, doors were known to suddenly slam shut for no reason, the bars on the windows would shake violently even though there was no wind, and of course there were screams. The other building had housed the crematorium and the portion of the morgue where bodies were stored in wait of being disposed of. The portion of the morgue where autopsies were performed were in this buildings basement, which had been sealed for almost 100 years.

When the crew opened up the old morgue they found all sorts of crazy stuff. It was a scene out of a horror movie. Body parts floating in jars, old rusty surgical tools, extremely out dated medical charts, and all manner of macabre items. One of my friends found the bible that they had used to administer last rights.

So knowing all of this it was easy to see why the buildings were haunted. I had a friend who kept waking up to see an old black woman rocking by the window. Another friend who roomed in those dorms kept hearing maniacal laughter coming from his closet. The male dorm reported going into the bathrooms and having them look like the bathrooms would have when it was the hospital and not the remodeled version. One day while visiting a friend I noticed that the hallway looked like an asphalt road on a hot Texas summer day. Waves of heat were rising off the floor and radiating from the walls, but the hall was ice cold.

Sometimes at night when you passed by the building that my friends helped clean out you could hear the bars on one window shaking violently and hear fists banging on the window in the still empty building. I was never really certain if the low moans that were coming from the building was from the wind or not. More than once security was called to check for a break in because people saw someone looking out of the windows.

All in all I am glad I was never housed in those dorms. I can't imagine studying with the ghost of a crazy man reading over my shoulder.

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