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Residence Ghost

December 2007

This is a story about a ghost in one of the dormitory residences at the University of Calgary in Alberta, Canada. I have a few other stories from other locations, but this is probably my best. (And, incidentally, is the scariest!).

I lived on the 6th floor of Rundle Hall for two years of my University career, and strange things only happened a few times... well, paranormal things... strange things happen all the time in first year Rez, ha ha!

First of all, a description of the residence: There are three wings to the dormitory buildings, each wing "spoking" off of a central common area where the elevators and TV are. Each wing has 11 rooms, and during this year (1999-2000 term), most of those rooms were double-occupancy, so nearly 60 people lived on the floor. Each wing also has a door to the common area on one end, and a door to a fire escape on the other. These doors have pneumatic hinges. I lived in the wing that if you were exiting the elevators, would be directly to your right.

Aside from the following story(ies), one strange thing that we ALL witnessed was that the elevators would often come to our floor of their own accord. We'd all be innocently watching TV, when the elevator door would open, close, then go on its merry way. We always joked about the "ghost" coming home. But getting to my real story:

The first experience I had was actually pretty funny. It was during reading break (what Americans would call Spring Break) in February, and there were very few people living on the floor at the time, since most had gone home for the break. There were four of us in our wing: myself, my roommate, the girl across the hall, and the girl at the end of the hall next to the fire escape.

One morning at 5:00am, we all received simultaneous knocks on our door. My roommate Mary (name changed) opened the door and nearly made a puddle on the floor. Her and the girl across the hall had opened their doors at the exact same time scaring them both half to death! Mary asked the girl across the hall what she was doing, when the girl at the end of the hall piped up, "Did someone just knock on your door?" Most of us that have lived in Rez have put up with a practical joke or two, but not many have had a joke pulled on them by a ghost - it couldn't have been anyone in our plane of being... we would have heard the whine of the pneumatic hinges on either of the doors, because there certainly wasn't anyone in the hallway. And how can you knock on three doors simultaneously, especially when they're at opposite ends of the hall?? I guess if you don't have a physical body, you don't have to bother with that stuff, eh?

Score: Mysterious Ghost: 1 Rez Students: 0

Now comes the "scary" part.

Only a few days later, as my roommate and I were fast asleep, I heard the door to our room open and close. I was most of the way asleep, and if you've ever lived in Rez, you know that you become so accustomed to sounds in the night that they don't really bother you.

I guess somewhere in my sleep-addled brain, it registered that we always kept the door to our room locked, as it wasn't uncommon for someone else on the floor to wander into a room in a drunken stupor, too dazed to figure out they're in the wrong place (every room looks pretty much the same, and each hallway is identical). In any case, I kind of opened my eyes, and saw a guy in our room, bent over my roommate like he was whispering something to her. I thought, "Oh, ok, that's 'Jim'." A guy from our floor that had just recently come back from a date with a girl he really liked, and I thought he was telling Mary about it. I sat up with exasperation to check the time, which happened to be 2:35am. I was about to give our friend one heck of a tongue lashing for being in our room so late, when I noticed something. Normally, when someone is whispering to someone lying in a low bed (as they are in rez), they would squat down and lean towards them. This man was standing with his legs rigidly straight, bent at 90 degrees at the waist over my roommate. His face was maybe an inch from hers, as she was sleeping on her back. By this time I was sitting up in bed with my mouth open ready to speak, and I realized this was NOT our friend Jim. In fact, this was not ANYONE I knew at all! As I was coming to this realization, he slowly turned his head towards me, staying in that same freaky position, and grinned. I say grinned, but it was more of a psychological feeling, as he really didn't have much of a distinguishable face at all.

I was frozen in not really fear, but more surprise. While our "eyes" were locked, he slowly stood up, faced towards me, and backed up to the closet on the far wall, where he folded his arms across his chest, and relaxed like he was going to take a long time to just stand there and look.

Most people say the ghosts they see move either strangely like an old "moving picture" from the '20s, or extremely fast... in any case, unnaturally. This guy didn't. He moved just like a real person. Finally, what I was seeing hit me. Like any self-respecting, mature 21-year-old, I dove for the safety of my blankie. I lay with my back towards this thing and every piece of my body covered in the invincible shield of my duvet (isn't it funny that almost every single one of us does this??) until the sun started coming up in the morning. I didn't sleep at all.

When I was finally brave enough to look over there, there was nothing there, and the door had not opened at all that night.

Score: Mysterious Ghost: 2 Rez Students: 0

Needless to say, I didn't sleep in that room with the lights off for two weeks.

After nothing else strange had happened for days, I was able to gain a little perspective.

Thinking back on this occurrence, I'm pretty sure that this guy in our residence was a prankster. He had been waiting for Mary to wake up with his face right in her face to scare the you-know-what out of her, but he was doing it in the spirit (ha ha) of a practical joke, not out of meanness. I guess his presence woke up the wrong girl! I can't really imagine a better place for a practical joke than a Rez room, though. Interestingly enough, that summer, I stayed in Calgary and worked for Housekeeping in the residences, which are rented out like a hotel during those four months. At this job, we would spend time gossiping in the laundry room as the linens were drying, waiting to do the folding. The laundry rooms were in the basements, connected through these creepy steam tunnels, and the perfect place for telling stories.

One day, one of the girls I was working with says, "Have you heard the stories from the Housekeeper on 6R (short for the 6th floor of Rundle Hall)? She sees this ghost every now and then. The other day she was cleaning one of the rooms with a garbage can propping the door open. As she was cleaning a mirror, she saw a guy poke his head in, smile at her, then he kicked the garbage can across the room and slammed the door. When she went into the hallway no one was there. She has to deal with this all the time." After talking with the housekeeper, I now know that he's quite shy, and only comes around when there are very few people on the floor.

Final Score: Mysterious Ghost: 3 Rez Students: 0

While this experience was scary to me at the time, I can look back at it and I know that this ghost was only joking around, and didn't do anything out of maliciousness. This, I hope, is reflected in the light-hearted telling of my tale. I DO take the paranormal very seriously, and mean no offence in the way I've told my story. Furthermore, I hope no one was offended that it took me so long to tell it... :)

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