If you’re passing on Halloween parties or ditching the annual trick-or-treating tradition, try a sleepover. We never outgrow the minute-long terror or sleepless nights that follow a succession of tales about the otherworldly, and all the more if these stories are just lurking around the nearest hallway.
Legends and monsters have been passed on for centuries, appearing in folklore, living on in between the pages of Poe, King, and Gaiman, and becoming the stuff of horror movies and nightmares. Likewise, in the 100 years or so of our University’s history are paranormal occurrences—a few questionable, others infamous, and some downright eerie.
Elevator malfunctions in campus happen all the time. The abandoned shaft in SPS, home to many student orgs, is especially infamous because of its story: A girl’s dead body was found there after being stuck over the weekend. Could she be the one roaming the third and fourth floors when nobody’s there?
Among the frequent late dwellers of the SPS building are the dancers of LSDC Street who rehearse sometimes up until 10 pm. As the ones tasked to switch off all the lights in the building on their way down, they sometimes catch glimpses of things that cannot be explained. “Akala ko kasama ko sa training,” Lucas* recalls. He remembers seeing a black haired girl enter the bathroom past the drinking fountain along the supposedly empty third floor one night. “Sabi ko, ‘uyy, tara na!’” There was no response. He tries to grasp the memory of what he saw that night—rather, what he’ll never be able to fully explain.
From the staff themselves
The cries of a baby echoing in Miguel, then the scent of sampaguita wafting through late-night graduate classrooms… Are these occurrences nothing but mere figments of our imagination? Even the most logical of professors can’t deny some experiences in the old faculty center at William Hall—a professor from the Political Science Department shares how he once heard some rasping whispers early one morning on the 6th floor. “They were somewhat audible, but incoherent voices,” the professor describes, recalling the time he ran out of there like a madman.
A faculty secretary claims to have once heard typing on a computer keyboard. “Makikilabutan ka talaga,” she adds. From then on, she kept the office door open until other staff would arrive in the morning. “Tapos may maririnig kang parang may nagbabasa,” she adds, mimicking the sound of rummaging through piles of papers. “May naririnig din akong nagtutulak ng office chair sa 3rd floor kahit wala namang tao. Tapos may nakakitang umiikot nalang yung upuan.”
Although the Andrew Gonzalez Building is one of the newer buildings on campus, cleaning ladies who have taken naps in the towering structure have had similar nightmares with each other. “Nabangungot ako,” admits Ate Roxanne*, as she recalls dozing off by the platform of A1402 taking a short break from cleaning the speech lab with her co-janitor. “May nakita akong babae sa panaginip ko. Nakaputi siya, may suot na veil tapos nakatingin lang siya sa amin ng kasama ko. Sumisigaw na ako sa panaginip ko pero hindi parin ako makabangon,” she continues. Her companion told her she didn’t hear any of her screaming and asked, “Binuksan mo ba yung aircon? Biglang ang lamig [kasi].” As it turns out, a number of the janitors have seen the same girl in bangungot episodes in Andrew. Could it have been the nun who vanished into thin air after she was chased by guards in the 18th floor? The decapitated figure of a man sitting nonchalantly in his barong, also on the 14th floor, is just another one of the spirits waiting to be discovered in the building.
Rich in the history of its tragic past, the damned LS Chapel was where the good Brothers helped civilians seek refuge during the Japanese occupation. “The soldiers came in and raided the chapel, bayoneting the people [inside], including our relative who was holding her baby sister in her arms,” an Advertising major explains. “The bayonet stabbed straight into the sister and hit our relative in the torso. She thought she was a goner but her baby sister actually stopped the blade, so she fainted and laid in the chapel surrounded by lifeless bodies of priests and children until help came.”
February marks the death anniversary of all the victims of the tragic event, and their ghosts certainly don’t let us forget. “Nagpaparamdam sila,” confirms one of the faculty secretaries. During finals week, a girl was praying the Holy Mary in the ominous chapel when she heard footsteps as she recited on. She brushed it off and continued until she heard a voice grow louder and nearer, chanting along with her. When she opened her eyes, a Japanese soldier cupped her face with his blood stained hands, spewing out blood in a cry for help. This is similar to what a graduate met during her Baccalaureate mass. Instead of culminating her college experience in peace, she encountered the ghost of a soldier who accompanied her in prayer. So the next time you stop by the chapel, try including the dead in your prayers—it looks like they haven’t stopped asking for yours.
Ghosts just wanna have fun
Maybe some spirits lurking around are really just playful, grappling for our attention. The members of Harlequin Theater Guild are no strangers to the teasing and taunting of the spirits in the rarely used Mutien Marie (MM) building that eerily resembles an abandoned hospital. Stories tell of songs playing from speaker backtracks on their own and belongings that go missing. From the changes in temperature to sudden whiffs of flowers in the air, the actors of the annual Haunted Hall aren’t the only ones doing the scaring. Or so it seems.
“Ang dami talaga sa MM24,” the members say in agreement. The cast and crew consider MM their second home, preparing props and rehearsing in the feared building. Back when the rooms were still being used as storage, two members recall peeking through windows of padlocked doors to one of the rooms when the lights suddenly switched on. They checked with maintenance and confirmed nobody had access inside.
“Nag-re-rest lang ako so nakahiga ako sa bed (one of the props) pero nakabukas pa yung ilaw ah, kasi di pa nag-sta-start. Biglang nakita ko yung friend ko and clown costume niya that year. Tapos in-off niya yung lights,” one actor recalls. “Pero nasa kabilang kwarto pala yung friend ko. Tapos naalala ko, yung wig ng clown na nakita ko, purple, pero yung sa friend ko, orange talaga,” she adds. But that wasn’t the only time the members had mistaken one another for haunting look alikes. During a Haunted Hall run, their trainer along with an alumni made their rounds to evaluate the performance; however, they bumped into one of the actors walking past them in the hall, blank faced and, “Hindi siya namamansin kahit tinatawag nila siya. Hindi siya nangbati,” they retell. But the real actor had just been seated outside the building with the rest of the crew all along.
Although the building is blessed before every Haunted Hall season, one of the Brothers has confirmed that some playful and some notorious spirits roam the place. Little do participants who’ve enjoyed walking the Haunted Hall know that they might have already been interacting with one of the ghosts themselves. “Habang nag-a-act kami, tinatakot namin yung mga students diba? Maririnig mo nalang sila sumisigaw, ‘Bilisan mo, sinusundan tayo ng bata!’” the members recall. Some students have even asked in amusement, “Where did you get a child actor?” But there are no child actors in the cast of Haunted Hall.
Seek and you shall find
While spirits are usually the ones calling our attention, some adrenaline junkies have provoked them to come out and render themselves felt. Seek and you shall find, or so the saying goes. Indeed, the writers from The LaSallian who attempted an overnight stay in the campus a few years back caught a few sightings of black shadowy figures in SJ. Regardless of beliefs, though, it’s safe to say that it’s best not to provoke what we cannot control.
Even skeptics join in the quest to call the otherworldly, like some of the student DJs of Green Giant FM, three years ago when their booth was still in Velasco 504. They would often stay until the end of the last show, called the Green Light District, which ended at 9pm. On one night, the students suddenly had the idea to go to the empty room directly across the booth, “to speak to ghosts”, shares Rose*, one of the student DJs. Five of them placed themselves at the back of the room and called out, “If anyone’s here, give us a sign! We come in peace!” As if contacting aliens of some sort, they stifled a few giggles. “But then from the very center of the room, we heard a coin drop straight down.” Freaked out, they dashed to the booth, laughing but accusing one or the other for throwing the coin. “We were all at the back! If someone dropped the coin, it would have bounced,” one reasoned. “It fell straight down!” Shortly, a janitor knocked on the booth holding a coin, asking if it belonged to any of the students as he was certain he left the room spotless after cleaning earlier.
“Of course, being the macho skeptic that I am, I offered to take the coin to prove that it was ordinary,” Rose continued, but an older DJ cautioned her to leave it. “He explained that the devil would usually drop coins around and if someone picks it up, it means that they have accepted to deal with him.” Although none of the Green Giant members seriously believed this, “It [makes] us think of every coin we randomly saw on the floor and chose to pick up,” Rose says shivering. A few days after the incident, the Green Light District ended again and she shared the paranormal experience to another DJ on their way to the elevator of a completely empty 5th floor Velasco. “Right before the elevator door closed, I kid you not,” Rose recollects. “We heard a coin drop.”
What are you afraid of?
A little shaken up and maybe even sleepless for a while, underneath, a lot of us can’t help but love the thrill that only horror stories can give. Nothing compares to its lingering aftereffects, ripples of even bigger self-inflicted fears. Afraid to go to bathrooms alone, checking over the shoulder, avoiding mirrors, and wary of strange sounds—it’s a sort of high and a breakaway from reality.
Perhaps it’s also because horror stories bring people together. Fear is universal and our reactions to it are entirely timeless—feeling like a little kid again at night huddled under the blankets, afraid of the vast outside. It feels good to be seven all over again, even just for a story or two. Just don’t go looking for trouble.
Names with asterisks (*) are pseudonyms.