by Anna Perez, Staff Writer, October 2020
Haley Alpaugh (Class I)
One night, my twin brother, Landon, and I decided to watch Disney Channel — the superior television channel at the time. When I came back from getting food or going to the bathroom, Landon was watching a ghost hunting show on a different channel. It was honestly the most terrifying show I’ve ever seen: I didn’t want to think about the chance of encountering a ghost, and it was pointing out stories about just that. There we were, little third-graders watching a dark, creepy ghost hunting show. Landon pretended not to be scared, but I know he was scared. I know it.
In the show, there were two large, middle-aged, dark-bearded men donned with climbing equipment in case of an avalanche going into caves with night-vision cameras and saying things like, “Oh, ghosts are always behind you!” or “Ghosts are always with you!” They were trying to prove whether the caves they went into were really haunted or not. It was terrifying. I couldn’t sleep all night because I kept seeing ghosts in my room. They looked like transparent entities, though there was more a feeling of their presence than a physical appearance.
The next morning I told Landon I didn’t get any sleep, and he said, “Oh, I slept so well.” What a liar. And then we watched the same show the following Saturday night!
Don’t get me wrong, I love to watch unsolved mysteries now, but the ghost show was just horrifying. All I could do was wonder, “Why would you do this to me, Landon?” He definitely wanted me to be afraid of ghosts. I’m still afraid that I’m going to get haunted or stalked by a ghost. Good thing ghosts aren’t real. Right?
Mishara Nozea (Class I)
At the end of my Island School semester, one of the girls in the program, Cam, was talking about how she woke up one night to see a little girl standing in front of her. Seeing as we were all 17 and 18 years old, I promptly informed her that she was going crazy. She insisted she’d seen a ghost. Of course, we all thought she was lying.
Time passed, and weird things started to happen. A lot more people started to spy Cam’s “ghost” and I often heard weird noises throughout the night. My friends and I thought our classmates were pranking us, but the strange things happening made me question if ghosts were real.
We all called the ghost Threes because it always came at 3:33 a.m. One morning, one of the girls in my dorm said to me, “Mishara, last night, I saw Threes right by you.” I was sure she was lying, but the next night, I was so scared and had a bad insomnia episode. Unable to fall asleep, I lay in my bed and listened to music.
Suddenly, I felt all of the air get suctioned out of the room with a whoosh. The fans turned off, and the lights turned on. I had no idea what was happening, but I was paralyzed with fear.
Out of nowhere, I felt someone sitting on top of my chest. It was like sleep paralysis, except I could still move my arms and legs. I thought I was going to get possessed by Threes.
Then, just as quickly as the air whooshed out, it whooshed back in, and everything returned to normal.
I remember thinking to myself, “Am I crazy? Was that a dream?” The scariest part was that I distinctly remembered all of the lights turning on and off.
The next morning, I told everyone that I had almost been possessed. People didn’t believe me because I’d repeatedly told them all I didn’t believe in Threes at first. I tried to tell them I was serious. Some people eventually believed me; others didn’t.
One night, it happened again. I could hear noise coming from the common room and thought to myself, “Who’s in the common room at three in the morning?” That’s when I realized: Threes was coming.
I pulled my covers over my head because I figured my sheets would protect me from the ghost’s possession. Soon, I felt the same weight on my chest. This time, it lasted ten seconds instead of three. It felt like an elephant was sitting on top of me. I still don’t know how to explain it. But now I know ghosts are real.
Daniel Wang (Class II)
My great-grandfather died during the Chinese civil war about 80 years ago. I believe he was hanged for being the leader of an Animist cult. Chinese animism is a form of folk religion based on the idea that all objects have spiritual “essence”; my great-grandfather may have specifically participated in the Tuo religion, an exorcistic movement. Folklore religions were labeled as “superstitious activities” and “feudalist” by the Chinese Communist Party, which is why he was executed.
My aunts and uncles always tell me the story of one night when he was cooking soup, and his candle mysteriously blew out. He lit it again, and when he looked into the soup, he saw a woman’s head at the bottom of the pot. That really freaked him out, so he got into animism and started his cult.
I think that some of the spooky experiences I’ve had could have some relationship to my great-grandfather’s death and his spirit, though I’ve always been skeptical. I live in an apartment, and, from the day I moved in, I’ve always felt like there was a strange, mysterious force watching me.
Lots of things have happened in this apartment. My backpack mysteriously falls off of chairs. Rats run into my bathroom and disappear. The lights turn on and off by themselves. The doors sometimes lock by themselves.
About three weeks ago, I thought I heard my mom come into the apartment. I looked out the open hallway door, but no one was in the entrance. I had used the deadbolt and the sliding bolt on the hallway door, so I was really scared. I think there must be some sort of logical explanation for it, but it freaked me out nonetheless.
I had another weird experience in ninth grade. I had this terrifying dream where a woman carrying a knife ran at me. I woke up right before she could stab me. When I got up in the morning and looked in the mirror, there were three long marks on my back, sort of like scratches.
I don’t think that all these experiences are tied to the apartment: it’s relatively new, and we bought it from the only previous owner, so no one has died there. I also had similar things happen when I lived in China. I heard knocking and little scratches through the walls. I saw the face of a milkmaid in the previous owner’s painting move.
Another thing that I’ve experienced is vivid dreams of my family members’ deaths, each within one week after they die. I don’t know if other people experience this, but they’re very vivid and eerie.
I think that if you look at my experiences as paranormal, you could attribute them to my great-grandfather’s death and his spirit, but I don’t believe that what I experience is paranormal. I think there’s an explanation for everything. At the same time, these are fun stories to tell.
James J. Greenough
In the forgotten hallways of the upstairs Arts Center and the Shattuck Basement I lurk, I lurk. My name may sound familiar to you, but many have forgotten me. Some refuse to recognize and honor my legacy, the school I built and the name I gave to it. These are my halls you walk through, my alcoves you sit in, my library in which you cannot seem to stay six feet apart. And yet you fail to know me.
Who am I? Of course, you ask that. I am James J. Greenough. Or did you never even know I existed? For this, you should feel ashamed. I am one of the founders of the great institution you attend, “Nobles,” as you call it; the name that erases me.
What gives you the right to your school of Nobles? George Washington Copp Noble, my dearest friend, contributed the same amount of time and energy to this school as I did. No more, no less. And just because his name comes first, you ignore mine? Where is the justice? Do you think it is “noble” to abandon me, the man who made it possible for you to go to school?
I seek vengeance. I will throw away all pulled pork in the Castle, cause the rain to go through tents… I will make Flik serve revved up mac and cheese every Monday for all of eternity.
Every Noble and Greenough School student will know my name and acknowledge my efforts. I shall steal away the students to my Chamber of Secrets. Have you ever wondered why the administration closed off the castle escape routes? Those are mine. My territory in the school that has forsaken me. Each tunnel leads to my chamber where lie the bones of former Nobles students who ignored me. I spent years and years capturing students and haunting them until one day, a headmaster closed them all off so no one could ever be caught again. I haunted these seven escapes, terrorizing students until they called their school Greenoughs.
Now, I stalk different parts of the campus. If you ever feel that your classroom in Baker is too cold, it is because I am there. If you feel someone staring at you as you watch assembly in homeroom, that is me. When you see middle schoolers running from building to building, it is because I am chasing them.
I despise these buildings. Where is the building named for me? I have been forgotten for so long, but this year, I will no longer accept the state of my legacy. This year, I demand to be recognized.
Starting on Halloween, I will return. I will make each and every one of you say my name. Your Instagram bio will say Greenough ’23. When people ask you what school you go to, you will reply “Oh, I go to Greenough, ever heard of it?” Your sports jerseys will have my name on them. Nothing will be the same. I will not rest until everyone treats my name fairly.
You shall see… you all shall see. You have been warned.