By: Brianna Chambo
I’ve always been one to be spooked out by creepy stories, but I had never necessarily put too much thought into the truth or falsity behind supernatural beings- they were always just stories to keep me up at night. Sure, sometimes I even have an overactive imagination, making shapes in the dark into terrifying creatures, only to turn on the light and realize it just a pile of clothes or hanging coats. I’ve never had anyone around to confirm, nor deny any of it except for one time, and I’m still not entirely sure what to make of it.
My hometown is plagued by several ‘hauntings’. Google “Garden City, Michigan” and anything about ghosts or haunting, and you’ll see that our town’s hospital, city park, and my elementary school all have a ghost story attached, and most popularly, my high school, which is haunted three times over.
The epicenter of my haunted high school however, is our auditorium- O’Leary auditorium. Naturally it is referred to as Eerie O’Leary. The story says that there was a boy walking along the catwalk above the stage, when he fell through to his death. Now, when it is dark, the tale is that you can see a pair of red glowing eyes. The stage curtains move, the lights turn on and off, and the crawl space to the catwalk is not only one of the creepiest things I’ve ever seen, but is said to open and close. I always just assumed those were just stories to scare students, because the auditorium is actually really creepy to be in alone and in the dark. That is, until my senior year.
We hosted our coming home dance every winter, so the student council usually met over Christmas break to start planning it. That specific year, we met in the wings outside of the auditorium. My best friend, Josh, and I had been working hard, and we wanted to release a little steam- we each grabbed a yard stick and hashed it out Princess Bride style. This duel of ours carried us into the auditorium, where we took a little break. At this point we realized that someone had turned a light on, to the back right on the stage. We knew it had been completely dark in there when we went in.
Then we heard footsteps- someone was walking across the stage. Only, there was no one in there, but Josh and me. We could clearly hear the footsteps, as we were both theater students and knew the sounds of the stage very well, but when we got up there, of course, no one was there. We checked the only possible exits from that side of the stage- one door that led to a hallway, and another to a classroom. If had been any real person, we would’ve seen them, as this all happened in less than a minute. When we moved back into the auditorium to look again, the light was off. The problem is, we would’ve heard someone walking on it to turn them off, but we heard nothing.
This whole experience was so unsettling to me because I have spent so much time in there, for performances, classes, and ceremonies, but I have never had another experience like so. Even when I participated in our Eerie O’Leary haunted theater (see the link above – can you spot any red eyes?), I sat in the dark theater mostly alone for hours, several nights in a row, and nothing. Did Josh and I both imagine the same sound, at the same exact time, or was it something more practical, like it being an old auditorium making sounds? Or did I actually experience something paranormal, like the little boy with the red eyes?