by Julia Buckley
So in general I tend to take ghost stories with a grain of salt.
HOWEVER, I work in a school that is supposedly haunted by at least one ghost. It's a private school, and it once housed a convent, before renovations located the sisters to another building. The old convent was on the fourth floor, which has now been converted into rarely-visited classrooms; but at least two of my co-workers claim to have seen the ghost of a nun walking toward that no-longer-extant living area.
The first, a janitor, told me that he was here very late one night--close to midnight--working with a companion on a burst water pipe. He looked up to see the figure of a nun, clad in the full habit with a long rosary at her side, walking toward the stairs. He even commented to his colleague, asking what a nun was doing walking around the building at this time of night. The other man had not seen her.
One of our school counselors also says that she saw the ghost. She too was working late, preparing a standardized test. She was in the counseling office, which sits directly below the old convent, and she looked out the glass doors to see a nun walking toward the stairs; she opened the stairway door and disappeared (apparently headed for her old living quarters).
Despite the testament of two of my colleages, I still have trouble believing in the ghost (or ghosts). HOWEVER, there is always that little bit of room for belief, especially on days like today. As I type this, I am in the school alone.
If you think strange houses are spooky at night, try hanging out in a giant, deserted school for any length of time. It can be downright horrifying. And even though, on a rational level, I don't believe I will see a ghost, I have pointedly avoided the counseling area, the stairway, and, of course, the fourth floor. I also avoid going into the bathroom, because I wouldn't want to be cornered in there. So I guess I hold out a small percentage of possibility that ghosts do exist.
Why am I here alone? Well, teachers often have to come to an empty school, either because we forgot something crucial or because we have to get some work done on the school computer. In my case, I planned to meet with a group of students, but they agreed on one time, and I showed up at another (much earlier) time. Hence my blogging in a dark and silent school.
In order to type this, I am putting my back to the entrance door of the library, where I am, and which is directly across from the counseling area. Am I letting my imagination intimidate me? Yes. Am I feeling nervous every time I hear a weird sound? Yes. Sure, it could be the building "settling," or the ticking of a clock, or a furnace going on in its loud, banging way. But it's scary, and it's almost the equivalent to staying in a house that is said to be haunted. It is also freezing in here, because it's about ten degrees outside, and the heat is set lower on the weekends. :)
My school is not the only one in the area with a legendary ghost. Two noted universities in our area have their own ghost legends; one is haunted by a monk.
If you're a ghost-hunter at heart, come and visit me in Chicago. You can go to the city and take the Chicago ghost tour. Then I'll take you to a dark, silent school where people say they've seen a strange figure walking the halls.
But if you want to go to the fourth floor, you're on your own.