Sorry for the length, but some background is necessary.
This is one of two “near experiences” I have had. I call them such because they happened to someone around me, or to me in such a way that I cannot be certain for myself that I experienced a “ghostly” event.
The Mary Reed Building is part of the University of Denver campus. It’s a large, stately red brick building which used to be the University’s library. Built in 1930, it’s quite lovely, with marble floors, great architectural decorations, etc. Its layout is castle-like: a base of four stories with a tower in the middle. The tower goes up to seven stories.
From the tower, you can look west toward the Rockies, and see part of the city, etc. Very nice view. The tower offices are run down and not very comfortable, and the elevator is sketchy at best (I spent an uncomfortable Saturday afternoon stuck in its cozy, claustrophobic interior), but the wonderful view and the cache’ of being “in the Tower” made up for it.
When I was in college, I worked (still do) for an academic journal whose office just happened to be on the seventh floor of the tower. It was great! I was on work study, and carrying a full class load, so I worked some very odd hours, notably 8pm-Midnight a couple of times each week.
I had heard all the rumors of the building being haunted, and the elevator did run by itself (I’ll post about that another time) occasionally, and the janitor used to regale me with tales of strange happenings, but I never really paid much attention.
Besides, I was in the Tower, and the only access was the elevator. There were stairs leading to the roof, but the access doors were locked all the time, and no one ever used them. (The thought of the elevator breaking down and trapping me in the office never occurred to me until later…)
One room on the main floor of the building was reserved for meetings for the administration, receptions, etc. It was the Dupont Room, named for long-gone alumni who left money for the Reed Library. The room was all fixed up, with high-backed leather chairs, glass bookcases, etc. Whenever I saw it open, I liked to go in and hang out there.
Most of the time, though, Security kept it locked up tight.
People told me the ghost of Mrs. Dupont liked to sit in “her”
room and read, and the janitor claimed to have seen her more than once. [ The janitor, not to belittle him in any way, was mildly retarded, and I frankly took whatever he said with a shaker of salt…] I was intrigued by the ghost tales, but gave them little thought.
Finally, The Ghost Story.
I was working late on a Friday, because I wanted my weekend free. A friend of mine, Scot, was stopping by to pick me up so we could go to a party. It was about 11:30 pm when he showed up. Anxious to get moving, and not liking the elevator, he said he would ride back down and wait on the main floor, or at his car.
I said to give me 10 minutes, and I’d be down. Well, I was just wrapping things up when, to my surprise, Scot came back up in the elevator. He was very shaky, white in the face, and extremely agitated.
I asked him what was wrong, and he wouldn’t speak for about three minutes. I was getting worried and pressed him for the answer. He finally told me that he had seen a weird woman in the Dupont Room. It was open, and while he was wandering around waiting for me, he had gone down the hallway to the room and had gone in to look around.
He turned on the light and entered the room, when suddenly an elderly woman stood up from one of the high backed chairs (the chair was facing away from him) and said: “hello”. She had a book in her hand, and was dressed in an old-style dress. (I pressed him for details on the dress – he could only say it was “old-fashioned”, black, with a high collar and long sleeves).
He apologized to her, he said, and backed out toward the door. The woman just stared at him. He was freaked out, of course, and finally turned and sped off down the hall. Looking back as he turned the corner, he saw that the light in the room was off. He had left it on.
Well, I decided to investigate. Scot would have no part in it.
(I must say right now that if Scot was lying/acting, he was doing a damn good job. And considering the fact that he told mutual friends about the encounter, and refused to take a class that was held in the Mary Reed building the next quarter, I tend to believe him).
We rode the elevator to the main floor, and Scot hit the doors and sprinted to his car. I continued down the main hall, and turned off into the hall with the Dupont Room.
I remember being quite frightened, but went on anyway. The door was ajar and the light was off. I reached the door, and (god, I’m getting chills typing this!), flung it open, hit the light and practically screamed “Hello?!” No one was in the room.
I walked around (to see all the chairs and their occupants, if any), and got a weird feeling. It was–hmmm–I wish I could articulate it–cold? uneasy? Something like that. I left the light on and got out of there. As we were driving off, I looked back at the building. The Dupont Room sits in the back of the building, overlooking the garden area of the main campus. The light was off.
So, that’s it. Perhaps to this day, Scot has been having me on, but I don’t think so. And I can swear I left the light on.
So, who knows? I still get very uneasy thinking about it. I would be interested in comments from others.