You're walking through campus after a long night out. There's a stillness in the air that seems to swallow up all the noise and light; you speed up through the darkness. Then, a particularly cold wind sweeps across the path and you feel that chill start behind your temples and creep down your neck and spine; your heartbeat matches your feet as you quicken the pace toward the supposed safety of the dorms.
But this is Halloween time: the time when spirits and ghosts and ghouls rule the night, as well as some "allegedly" haunted dorm rooms. Some tales have actually gained enough legitimacy to gain publication in collections of New York haunting stories and the hire of a professional team of paranormal investigators to come check it out.
The series of hushed-toned tales surround Geneseo's Monroe and Erie Halls. Monroe was recently the sight of said paranormal investigating team. The group came in to document the hall in March of last year, prior to the massive renovation efforts currently underway. The team was brought in due to stories of recurring, off-putting happenings: a mirror suddenly crashing to the floor, pens and pencils being thrown around in unoccupied rooms, mysterious blurs and apparitions of consistent detail over long periods of time – just to name a few.
In fact, reports of similar instances have been made since the 1970s, after a period of time when a professor had been conducting "experiments" with his students – Ouija boards, séances and other attempts at contacting the spirits. Since then, tales of the little ghost Eric – as he's come to be known – have lasted as long as Monroe itself. The ghost of the six-year-old hasn't left Monroe since his unfortunate and untimely demise during the buildings initial construction. The paranormal investigators came out with reports that yielded, not surprisingly, "no conclusive results."
Erie hall has also had its long-standing history of ghosts, at least since 1985 when one harrowing event took place in room C2D1 where student Chris DiCesare resided. The C2D1 haunting tale is bone-chilling, to say the least, and detailed in the upcoming thriller Please, Talk with Me. The film details the events of DiCesare and his encounters with a spirit that resided there for a time, and very possibly still does. For those interested, DiCesare has been invited as the key speaker for a Geneseo Late Knight "Week of Horrors" event on Saturday Oct. 29 at 10 p.m.
What's the verdict? Are ghosts real? Do they haunt and possess the very halls in which we walk, laugh and sleep every night? Or are they merely psychological manifestations of an overactive imagination? The scientific studies say that it is "inconclusive," but we know better. So, when you find yourself walking through campus gawking at Monroe and Erie, and you say to yourself, "Nah, that could never happen," remember little Eric and quicken your pace. It is Halloween, after all.