After beginning my teaching career in the basement, I was moved up to the third floor the following year. It might sound like a nice move—getting away from the morgue and the chair-moving ghosts. Rumor had it, though, that if any part of the school was more haunted than the basement, it was the third floor. Eventually, this would be where I was to have my own paranormal experience.
Why was the top floor of the building the most haunted? While the basement may have housed the morgue, the third floor housed the mental patients. Of course, in the days when the school used to be a hospital, people lived in a less enlightened age. Many patients they thought to be mentally ill and in need of institutionalization in actuality had a variety of physical or psychological ailments, and did not deserve to live out the rest of their days on the third floor of a hospital. As such, the third floor was a very sad place, and is today a very paranormally active.
One of the first stories I heard after moving up to the third floor was from a teacher that I worked very closely with. She was a mentor and friend.
One day, she found herself having to stay very late after school. Her son needed a ride from a nearby location, but not until 7:00. As such, it didn’t make sense for her to go home and then come back; instead, she decided to stay late and get work done at school.
She didn’t really fancy staying that late. She had been at the school for quite a number of years and had of course heard the school might be haunted. The notion of ghosts was lurking at the back of her mind that night, but she knew she wasn’t in the building alone. The custodial engineer stayed until at least 7:00. This was at least a small comfort.
It was winter, and as it does in the wintertime, it got dark very early. It wasn’t long before she didn’t see or hear anyone else in the building—though the custodian was still around somewhere. She kept her head down and kept at her work, watching the clock, only slightly anxious.
As 7:00 neared, she gratefully began to get her things ready to go. She wasn’t sure the building was haunted—she didn’t believe or disbelieve it—but she was nonetheless glad not to experience anything personally. When the clock hit 7:00, she was out her classroom door.
As she shut the door, however, she heard an announcement over the PA system. It sounded muffled and indistinct, but it clearly came from the overhead speakers in the rooms and in the hallways. It was a man’s voice; that much she could tell. She figured it must be the custodian. Perhaps her son had called the office in order to tell his mom he was ready to be picked up. The custodian was probably making the announcement for her. She was probably the last one in the building, and he was trying to locate her. She’d simply stop in the office on her way out and see the custodian to make sure.
It took only a minute or two to reach the office on the first floor from her room on the third floor. It was common for teachers to cut through the office and go out the back door to the parking lot. As she neared the office, however, it was plain to see that all the lights were turned off and everything was dark. She tried the office door, but it was locked.
There was no one around that could have made that announcement. She began to get a very bad feeling, the hairs on her neck standing up.
She quickened her pace to go out the exit. As she went over what she had heard in her head, she began to piece the words together. Have you ever listened to someone’s words, and then asked “what?” while in the meantime your mind was filling in the blanks? It’s kind of like you didn’t hear it too well but if you stop to think about it, you can figure out the clear meaning.
As she stepped outside the building, the door closing behind her, she realized what it was she heard, and she also realized why it wasn’t immediately clear to her.
Her mind had been expecting a certain announcement; at the very least, it would have been an announcement for a school environment. But she realized that’s not what she had heard at all. What she had heard was an announcement to call a doctor and other hospital staff to help with an immediate emergency.
She hadn’t heard an announcement for a school; she had heard an announcement for a hospital.