The following stories are absolutely true.
My old school was haunted.
It was a lot like this school, where we are right now, in that the main building used to be a house. It had a big staircase that went up one flight of stairs before coming to a wide landing, where the music teacher’s desk resided, and splitting into two staircases that both led to the second floor. The third floor of the building was accessible only by a cramped, narrow back staircase that wound around from the first floor up. Only the teachers were allowed to use the main stairway for some reason.
The landing with the music teacher’s desk used to house an organ. Not a body part, the kind that you play in a church. It was a good spot for one, since the grand doors of the school opened directly in front of it. In the old days, when the Scripps family actually lived there, you would have walked in and immediately seen the organ, if no one was playing it. If someone was playing it, you would have heard it before you even got into the building.
That organ could be heard from halfway down the block, apparently.
At least, that’s what the neighbors said.
Not the neighbors who lived there when the Scrippses were alive. No, these were the neighbors who habitually complained about their driveways being blocked by parents’ cars, the neighbors who walked past the sign saying Pasadena Waldorf School every day. The neighbors who still live there now.
One of the staff members was dealing with a nieghbor issue one summer day (when school was not in session) when a woman whose backyard was just over the school’s fence commented on the music. “By the way, who is it playing the organ over there? I always hear them around three o’clock when I’m gardening.”
The staff member was puzzled. “We don’t have an organ anymore…”
But the late Mr. Scripps had always practiced at three o’clock.
My eight-grade teacher told us that story once, simply to make us shiver. But my mother was the administrator of the school for several years, and she has ghost stories of her own to tell. For instance, once she and another staff member—a woman named Mrs. Ward—were in the Finance office on the third floor. They could hear a voice from the adjacent office outside, very clearly, although they couldn’t actually distinguish the words. The voice was definitely audible, but when Mom and Mrs. Ward went to see who was there…they realized that they were quite alone.
Or rather, they were the only living people there.
The neighbors weren’t even the only people to hear the organ. Mr. Baier, one of the sports teachers and a member of the administrative staff, heard it when he was down in the basement of the school, clear as anything.
But the most frightening supernatural event? That occurred at night, when the school was being readied for the coming day.
The cleaning crew always worked at night. I can’t remember ever actually seeing them; they simply weren’t there during the day. But after that night, my mother had to find someone else to clean the building, because they weren’t coming back.
They were in the main house, vacuuming, dusting, polishing, doing whatever they needed to do before heading home, when one of the men went into the handwork room to dust the windowsills.
The handwork room sat at the front of the building. The windows overlooked the lawn, and yellow shafts of light cut patterns across the darkened carpet. It had once been a bedroom, but now it was used to teach students how to sew and knit. A shelf of half-finished stuffed animals perched above a shelf of half-finished cloth dolls, casting weird, twisted shadows in what little yellow light there was.
And in the room…stood a figure.
It seemed male, the maintenance man was sure of that. It was tall, and dark, and he felt a distinct aura drifting from it. It wasn’t a nice aura like you’d get off of a kind, gentle person. No, this aura was…malevolent. Evil. Cruel.
The cleaning crew left so fast that no one bothered to turn out the lights. The doors were left unlocked in their haste to get away, the gate unbolted. It was lucky that nobody chose that night to break into the school, because they would have had an easy time of it.
The whole affair was kept rather quiet. I would not have heard about it if it wasn’t for my mother. But that cleaning crew…they never, ever came back.