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The Black Room

September 2000

My boyfriend and I went out to Angel Island for a day to ride our bikes. For those of you who don't know what Angel Island is, I'll include a brief description:
Angel Island is a small island in the bay near San Francisco. It was used as both an Army base and Immigrant Station in the late 1800's and early 1900's.

There are many boarded up buildings along the trails on this island. We followed one that eventually led to the Hospital and nearby some residences. I quickly read the sign out front that gave a brief history about the building. It said that the original building was the main Hospital, and that later on, another wing was built that was used for an Asylum. Well, of course I thought that was cool and told my boyfriend we had to find that part. We wandered around the main hospital then looked out a back window and saw a building that still had iron bars on the windows. I got all excited and said, "That's gotta be the asylum part!" He jumped through one of the broken windows of the building we were in and headed for it. I decided to take the safer route and walked out the door and up the small hill. We searched for a way to get to the second floor from the outside, since all the stairs had been knocked down for public safety. We couldn't find a way up, so we walked into a main doorway.

He was a few feet ahead of me as we walked in the doorway. We turned right and headed into a fairly large room. Of course we made all kinds of noise in there because it echoed very nicely. :-)

We walked to the back of that room to a doorway which lead to a hallway of three rooms which were just a little bigger than an average sized closet. He quickly walked through those rooms and was in another large room. I could still see him of course, I wasn't going to let him out of my site. I was standing in the first closet-sized room reading all the things people wrote on the walls. I was laughing at something that was written there, when I got this feeling that I needed to get my butt out of that room as fast as possible. I jumped through the doorway into the next small room and immediately felt better. (mind you, I'm not the slightest bit claustrophobic and the windows are all knocked out so sunlight lights up everything. I didn't dare look back into the small room I just jumped out of.

I told my boyfriend to wait and I sprinted into the big room where he was. He walked ahead of me again (I could still see him) He walked through another doorway and was about two rooms away when I got the urge to look to my left. I saw a doorway which lead to a room that had no windows at all. I found that odd, since all the buildings' rooms had very large windows which lit up everything inside. I hollered over to my boyfriend, "Hey, come here, you gotta see this." He came over and looked in the room. I walked around him and went through the doorway. He then walked ahead of me and I saw a door in the back of this room which lead to a very dark room. He was closing in on the doorway, and I was about halfway into the room by now. For some reason I started to look at how the shadows fell on the floor, I glanced back at the door we came in from and saw that the sunlight was coming right into the room, only it stopped right in the doorway that my boyfriend was about to enter. I'm not talking, "near" the door, I mean right exactly at the point where the doorjamb meets the floor.

My boyfriend had his hand on the door frame and I was taking in a breath to yell at him, "PLEASE don't go in there!!!" Just as I took in that breath, he spun around on one foot, tiptoe-ran over to me, grabbed me by the arm and said, "We're getting the hell outta here." He pulled me out of the room and we both started sprinting out of the building. We didn't stop until we'd gotten through the main hospital building.

I asked him what stopped him from going in and he said that there was a horrible stench that was emanating from the room and something made him suddenly want to get the hell out. I then asked him if he noticed that the light stopped exactly at the doorway. He said he didn't.

I don't plan to go back there unless I'm feeling especially guarded and am also armed with a camera of some sort. I've never felt so panicked in my life. In that split second between when I was gonna yell at my boyfriend and him turning around, I truly believe that something terrible would have happened to him if he went in that room.

00:00 / 01:04
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