In March 2010, The Menagerie released an article entitled, “Overnight at DLSU: Searching the haunted halls.” An article, risky as it was, that covered an overnight stay of three staffers in the University. In search of the paranormal and what lurks within the grounds during the grim hours of darkness. Sadly, the expedition failed to collect results that prove the existence of entities beyond our physical realm.
This time around, we return. A newer, broader exploration of the campus was conducted. This October, let The Menagerie take you on an adventure through our well-known school in a perspective not seen by many. This Halloween, may you sit comfy with this paper and read it to your fellows – because we assure you, we found something.
First leg: Empty halls and SJ madness
There are eight people on this bold adventure, six writers and two photographers. The day is September 20, 2013, we gather at the office of The LaSallian (TLS) at the fifth floor of Br. Connon Hall (colloquially known as SPS), the adventure begins at the strike of closing time, 10:00 PM. Questions such as, “What if something possesses us?”, “What if we suddenly have to pee?”, “What if we die?” start to inhibit the minds of the eight while going down the eerie staircases of SPS, the feeling of fear mixed with adrenaline obvious in their voices.
The group begins with a simple stroll from SPS to the Corazon Aquino Democratic Space (CADS). The tension and fear slowly eases, thanks to the presence of the roaming guards and the still brightly-lit campus; though the growing rain and rushing wind still leave a hair-raising tingle inside everyone’s minds.
The first stop is Miguel Hall, where rumors of haunted computers and ghostly figures in hallways are made home to. Sadly, not one shadow nor a bang of a door. They proceed to the “Warpzone” at the north end of the building that connects Miguel Hall to Gokongwei Hall. They venture through the long corridors of Gokongwei casually, as of 10:27 PM, no sign of ghostly activity. With two buildings down and still no unusual occurrence, they return to Miguel, through the warpzone, and proceed to their third building, St. Joseph Hall (SJ).
The group enters SJ through the “Skywalk,” the bridge connecting SJ’s third floor to Miguel’s mezzanine between its third and fourth floor. The dark, long, empty hallway seems quiet and uninhabited. Instead of trekking down the hall the group goes up a floor, after recalling that SJ’s upper floors are more known for “odd” happenings. 10:40 PM, they reach the fourth floor and survey its dark hall; the rain had grown stronger, but thanks to the windows being closed, the hall is dry and the air was too still for comfort’s sake. The group decides to walk down the hall to get a better inspection of the floor, but before they could, a call from one member makes them look back to see the door of the girls’ comfort room ajar, swinging in a repetitive motion, as if shaking.
The group walks closer to the door, wondering why it was moving so rapidly. One member, April, walks a little closer as the others stop; she stares directly at the door waiting for something that would come out. The door still shaking, April’s face swiftly changes from calm to greatly fearful and starts to run away from the door. The aim to inspect any paranormal occurrences fades and the natural instinct to run takes over them. They run to the opposite end of the building; sprinting through the long hallway with screams and camera flashes. Being a group of non-athletic writers, they rest at the end of the hallway. But before they can even catch their breath or think about what just happened, a door slams shut from the boys’ comfort room. With yet another shock, the group already in a panic, they hastily run down the stairs and out of SJ. Back up SPS, the group makes their way back to their home base inside the TLS office.
After having enough time to rest from the tiring run, April shares that it was a black figure that seemed to be lurking around the girl’s restroom. She explains that her trigger to run was when the figure seemed to move out of the door (this was also seen by some of the members) so out of fear that it might come after them, she ran. It is unclear whether it is the same entity that caused the boy’s restroom door to shut close before they all ran down the stairs.
Second leg: Kindly guards and unwelcoming winds
After a quick rest in the office, the group heads down for the second leg of their journey. Going down the stairs again, the group peeks through the windows to see that more lights have been turned off since their first leg and the school seems scarier than ever. At 11:19 PM, the group meets a mild-mannered guard at Yuchengco Lobby. The group asks him on any weird activity he has experienced inside the Yuchengco Hall. Though the guard denies any paranormal presence during his patrol, the curiosity leads the group to investigate Yuchengco’s upper floors.
With the intention to go up to the seventh floor, the elevator glitches and stops at the sixth floor; the group is given no choice but to explore the sixth floor and use the stairs to go up further. They go up the pitch dark staircase, only the light of their flashlights leading their way. They reach the door to floor 7A, sadly the door stayed shut and the group proceeded to floor 7B. Alas, even door 7B could not open. The group leaves Yuchengco unscathed and a bit bored.
After an uneventful run at Yuchengco Hall, the group heads for their next building, Velasco Hall. They pass through the CADS, the rain and wind maintain the gloomy mood of the night. They stop, April raises a concern that she sees something moving in SJ walk. They discard the concern as it may just be a roaming guard, a fallen tarp or April’s overactive imagination. Still, they walk on with a bit of worry; SJ hasn’t particularly been nice to them tonight.
The group enters Velasco Hall and proceeds to explore each floor, taking the elevator to the fifth floor and trekking Velasco from top to bottom. Despite the unnerving atmosphere, nothing strange or out of the ordinary came about in Velasco, with the exception of room 305. They pass V305 with an odd chill; the inside was unnaturally cold, colder than the previous rooms they entered. Despite that, they reach the ground floor of Velasco with not much to report but the chilliness of 305. So to whoever has classes there, bring a jacket.
At 11:51 PM the group heads back to the office to finish their second leg for the night; passing by the CADS again. The group stops, this time not by April but by another member, Izzy. Izzy suggests that the group head for SJ one more time before returning to the office; since it was the only place they actually experienced something ghostly, they should check again to get a better look. Without an answer from the group, Izzy walks towards SJ. As he did, the wind blew against him, almost pushing him back. The group calls him back, saying that they should wait for the rain to calm down before exploring further. Izzy turns back to the group, and at that moment, the wind stops. Pondered by the occurrence, Izzy turns again. Facing SJ, and as he expected, the wind blows back against him. Shocked by his discovery, he runs back to the group (the wind stopping as he did) and all head back up the office.
Third leg: Of elevators and claustrophobia
At 12:40 AM the group left the office to a familiar site and some familiar emotions; the campus now pitch-black with only lightning strikes providing momentary lighting for our group of daredevils. They proceed to SJ to make a revisit to the building that caused madness in their night. They enter SJ through its entrance in Central Plaza. They planned that they would just walk through SJ’s first floor hallway leading to their real destination, Mutien Marie Hall. No one really wants to go back to SJ, but this is the best compromise between Izzy and the rest of the group.
Bundled up in two lines, with Izzy and April leading the bundle, the group begins to walk down SJ’s dark and humid hallway. Their flashlights and cameras pointed forward to anything they might meet. Slowly moving and tightly held, they stop a few feet before the walkway connecting SJ to William Hall. April sees a black figure going up the stairs (Is it the same black figure from before?). The group, scared to look at the staircase, decides not to go further. They head out to SJ walk through the connecting walkway midway of SJ. There they sit on one of the stone benches and reanalyze their situation, pulse and the decision to join this wickedly journey. April explains her concern for the group, saying that the black figure might be luring them back to the place where they first encountered it, SJ’s fourth floor girls’ comfort room. So out of fear and some long discussions, the group withholds further exploration of SJ and goes straight for Mutien Marie.
The group lines up once again as they enter what many would consider the most haunted building in the campus, Mutien Marie Hall. A bit frightening at first, the group’s fear slowly eases down when Mutien wasn’t giving much aura to be scared of. The first floor seems empty and just plain old dusty. Walking up to the second floor, their fear comes rushing back. The group stares at Mutien’s second floor double doors, taking about a minute or so to finally open them. Walking in they see a white hallway with not much sound or heaviness to the mood. The group didn’t take long before they reach the end door and out the other side of Mutien. It seems that among the buildings they’ve explored so far, Mutien seemed the most uneventful one.
Walking out of Mutien, the group now heads to the Gazebo beside William Hall to plan their next move. They start to talk about going to William since it was already right next to them. Of course, there was no better time to share ghost stories than now as well; after some hair-raising anecdotes about disappearing janitresses and wall phasing students, they proceed to William Hall. They decide to apply the same plan as they used in Velasco, exploring the building from top to botttom. Problem is that William has seven floors and some group members are starting to get more frightful after everything that had happened. So after some deliberation, they decide that they would just peek at each floor without leaving the elevator. Happy with the decision, the eight-man group squeezes in the tiny William elevator, presses for the seventh floor and up they go.
Once at the seventh floor, the elevator doors open swiftly and a darkness-filled corridor greets them. One member peeks out to see anything worth their fancy. Seeing nothing strange, the member walks back in the elevator and instructs them to continue on down. As the doors close, the group meets with a very unwelcoming beeping sound. Overload. Some of the group members begin to panic while the others think. Is it just the elevator glitching? Is the group really that heavy? Or did a ninth passenger join them in this uncomfortably tight box? No one was sure. One member, Josef, out of sheer panic starts pressing all the floor buttons just to get the elevator to move. It didn’t work. The doors split open, still at the seventh and the group exits the elevator.
While a member holds the elevator door open, the others start to think of how to make their way back down. One suggests that they just take the stairs, but after the elevator incident, who knows what could be lurking in this building. Another suggests that they take the elevator in batches, but no one wants to be left behind so that doesn’t push through as well. One suggests that they let the elevator go back down and make it go back up again, like a reset. No one knew how that would work but they decide to push for it. So they let the elevator go down and back up. Once back at the seventh, the group slowly, one-by-one entered the elevator. No beep, no problem. They reach the ground floor and with no hesitation left in them, they all start running back to the TLS office. At 1:41 AM, the group takes a long needed break from this heart attack evoking expedition.
Fourth leg: Devil’s hour
For their last leg, the group decides to wait for the Devil’s Hour (3:00 AM) to strike before going out once again; reserving the most iconic building on campus, St. La Salle Hall (LS), as the pièce de résistance of their journey. Crazy as the idea may be, the urge to finish this journey with a bang is enough to get the group going for the final leg.
At the strike of 3:00 AM, the group exits the office and heads for LS. Their flashlights now flickering due to overuse, the group now walks with the faded light of their cellphones. The main target of their leg is the Most Blessed Sacrament Chapel (MBS) which is known for its dark history back in war time period. The group enters LS, the sounds of the heavy beating of the wind against the walls and the endless whirling of the trees give the group a sense of ease while walking the building’s ground floor. Though empty and dark, nothing out of the ordinary meets the group and so they proceed to the second floor.
There they meet the lit doors of the chapel, the lights shining on the crucifix across the glass doors give them some relief amidst this tiring journey. They enter in pairs to ease some tension. Nothing. It’s quiet inside the chapel. No beating of the wind, no whirling of the trees. Some group members sit down to pray for a while, some go closer to the altar. Still nothing, it’s silent in MBS; silence that comforted the group at least once in this night. After leaving the chapel, the group carried on with the exploration, reaching the third floor and entering the balcony of MBS. And as before, nothing; silence and peace only the house of God can provide. 3:12 AM and LS just proved to be uneventful.
In order to redeem at least some of their pride from the cowardly retreat in their first encounter, the group decides to go back to the fourth floor of Saint Joseph Hall for one last push. At around 3:20 AM, they reach SJ and the fear and pressure come rushing back. They go up and with every step, the fear intensifies. At the third floor, the group debates on whether they should still pursue this last push. After a long and heavy debate, they decide to go to the opposite end of the building from where the girl’s comfort room is located and just peek from afar. All agreeing to the plan, they run across the hall and slowly up the stairs to where the madness began – the fourth floor. The group stands at the hall, no one dared to look into the hall to see if the door was still moving. One member looks into the hallway. Black. The other end cannot be seen. The hallway, only lit to about halfway through, the other consumed in pitch darkness; the door cannot be seen. They then recall what April had said earlier, that the dark figure was luring them back to the place where they first encountered it. This thought starts to weigh heavy on the group. The air grows heavier and heavier, they have to decide their next action quickly. Do they go into the darkness? Or let it go? This creates a long tension and exchange of harsh words among the group members. At 3:33 AM, they choose to go back and let the darkness be. With fast beating hearts and tired bodies, they head down the stairs; but before they can even reach the third floor, one member, Arielle, notices that two of their members are missing, Rex and Izzy.
Rex and Izzy head down the hallway walking closer to the darkness, nearing half of the hallway the comfort room door still cannot not be seen. The two stop inches before the point where the light fades, contemplating if they should go further. Before they could decide on what to do, the darkness suddenly moves closer; consuming more of the walls, floor and ceiling, almost touching the feet of the two. The two give out a loud scream and start to run back to the staircase. The remaining six, after hearing the screams, run down as well. They recollect at the ground floor and together head back to the office. At 3:40 AM, they reach the office, tired and sleepy.
It is of no certainty if what the eight experienced that night was real or not. What they are sure of is what they felt. Many can debate on what truly happened that night; one can say it was all a play of the wind or the conjuring of their thoughts. Fear brings out the oddest reactions from the human brain, no one really knows what could happen if exposed by such fear. But as a collective, one thing the group is sure of, one lesson they can take from this journey – Think twice before going to the girls’ comfort room at the fourth floor of St. Joseph Hall.