Paranormal Residency: King Hall
This week, Jackalope Magazine kicks off a Halloween inspired series that focuses on the supernatural occurrences throughout the SFUAD campus.
If you live or have ever lived in King Hall, you may have at one point questioned your sanity. Belongings aggressively flying off stable surfaces. Things become displaced or missing altogether. Roommate’s faces distorting in the dark. Surreal shadows on the walls at night. The feeling of being watched, followed, stalked by something subhuman. Don’t chalk it up to procrastination hallucinations just yet. You’re in the abundant company of paranormal witnesses since the school was established as an institution in 1859.
Before the campus was legitimized as a college, the site on which it now sits belonged to the United States Army hospital during World War II. Some of the original barracks and buildings still remain relatively intact, but it is the spirits of the war time that are arguably the most present remnants of the war time era.
According to Richard McCord’s book No Halls of Ivy: The Gritty Story of The College of Santa Fe, “when the campus was still Bruns Army Hospital, a berserk mental patient had murdered and beheaded a nurse named Medina, then tried to flush her severed head down a toilet.” Though this is only folklore, unauthenticated by historians, news articles or official records, students attending the college have, for some time now, reported with regularity inexplicable occurrences like toilets flushing in buildings without plumbing, and doors slamming enigmatically on still nights.
Among the school’s current enrollment, there is no shortage of eye witness accounts of these activities. Last year, Jacinda Smith and Christina Marshall began to notice unusual peculiarities around their dorm room, A313. “Christina was looking through her cupboard, and as she was scrambling to find something, we saw a tape dispenser fly out and she had to move her head away,” Smith says. The girls looked at each other for an affirmation of sanity. More than the question of who or what threw the tape dispenser, was why was the tape dispenser amongst her snacks? Smith and Marshall also witnessed a soda bottle flying off of the bed with force, “with distance as if someone had hit it,” and after attempts to recreate the situation, the bottle didn’t even come close to tipping. “At first I always try and debunk it, and I always try and figure out, ‘well maybe it was this, maybe it was that,’ and then if I don’t find anything then I’ll start to think, ok maybe it is something paranormal,” Smith says.
Vic Bell, now a junior, was a freshman when she was having the most encounters in D200, a room said to be particularly active, enough to cause some students to move off campus. Bell says she saw her sleeping roommate’s face swirled and distorted when she came into the room one night. “I blinked for a second and was like ‘OK I’m seeing things’ and then I heard a weird sound like a weird, guttural growl and I went and hid in my friend’s room.” She recounted smaller events like shoes moving on their own, and an ambiguous figure sitting in the dark lounge one second, gone the next, but the most captivating story was that of a shadow and a weight in a dreamlike state in the middle of the night. “I was sleeping with the light on at this point because I was so creeped out by my room,” Bell says. “I really hope this one was a dream.” She describes her awareness as that of sleep paralysis, minus the paralysis. “It wasn’t like sleep paralysis where you can’t move while these terrifying things are happening. I was moving and this terrifying thing was still happening,” she says. Bell “wakes up,” feels a weight on her chest. The blanket is bunched up, she assumes. She throws it off but the weight persists, pressing down on her lungs. She sits up. It falls onto her lap. “I looked over at my shadow on the wall and I looked perfectly normal until my head got chopped off by something. I looked away and there was a figure standing in my room,” a three dimensional shadow as she describes it, “and like any normal adult I grabbed my teddy bear and threw my blankets over my head and called my friend in total panic.” The most chilling aspect of this story, dream or not, is the correlation with the legend of the decapitation of Nurse Medina.
When it comes to the intentions of the energy itself, Bell and Smith offer different viewpoints. “I don’t think it was malicious,” Smith says, “but it was definitely very uncomfortable.” Bell disagrees. “I was scared for my life in my room some days.”
Photos by Kim Jones