By Alexus Brock
Halloween always comes and goes much too quickly. Many people will reminisce of this day by clutching onto their costumes from the year, watching Hocus Pocus too many times, or eating candy for breakfast for two weeks straight. Although the time of year in which we like to be frightened the most by going to spook houses or watching horror movies is over, this feeling isn’t over within McDonald County High School.
The following stories have not been tested, instead they’re testimonies from various faculty, staff, and students along with a mild backstory. The creepy thing about the “haunting” at the High School is the idea that there are actually two theories as to what these hauntings could be. First, we have the death in the small gym. This story is completely truthful as well as very unfortunate and unexpected. During the construction of our small gym in the year of 1997, a man who was working on the ceiling fell and hit the gym floor. The fall from that height killed the man, and so begins our first set of unexplainable events.
During interviews with various teachers, I asked about the spooky encounters teachers and support staff had experienced after the tragic accident. Keep in mind, I interviewed all of these teachers and students in separate rooms at separate times. They had no knowledge of other answers I had documented, but even still, They all came up with a common and extremely odd answer: roof running.
Lee Smith (one of the four teachers teaching at the time the accident occurred), Emily Wooten, Patrick Elkins, and Jeff Harrison all shared the small detail that at times when no construction work at the school was going on, it sounded as though someone was running frantically on the roof, this sound was reported in the teachers individual classrooms after school hours or on prep when there wasn’t much noise in the classroom to distract them.
Mr. Smith states that he could hear the running coming from the mezzanine located in the small gym. Both Mrs. Wooten and Mr. Harrison shared a very common answer that was a little too odd to be a coincidence. Both teachers explained to me that at times the sound of running was heard over their entire room, touching every corner. The noise stopped in the middle of the room and then nothing was heard again. Although those are the teachers that heard these mysterious footsteps, they aren’t the only ones who couldn’t explain some of the things that they’ve heard.
When I came up with the idea for the article, I needed permission to interview Mr. Leach before I interviewed the teachers. I didn’t expect anything but a simple “yes” or “no” from our busy principal; however a simple answer is not what I received. Mr. Leach shared with me the fact that when he is in the school by himself (when he has to stay and work nights) the hallways are very loud. But not just loud. Almost louder than they are when students are in their classes during the day. I jotted this note down on my notebook, but before I could decide whether my principal was crazy or not.,Mrs. Buckner corroborated Mr. Leach’s story. In fact, Mrs. Buckner and Mrs. Hanks both hate staying at the school after hours because the hallways make them feel uneasy with the sheer amount of noise that consumes them. Mrs. Buckner stated, “It doesn’t ever calm down. It sounds like there is always something happening in the hallways, and we are the only people here.”
Now, to our second theory. I’m sure almost everyone has heard about the theater ghost, commonly known as the “stage ghost.” This is much more than the Mustang Players playing tricks on students who find their way into Mrs. Wooten’s classroom. For some backstory, It is believed by the theater community that every theater has a ghost. Our theater has been believed to have a ghost even before Mrs. Wooten was here. The previous drama teacher, Mrs. Sloan, took this ghost very seriously as well. Mrs. Wooten shared the detail with me that she and Mrs. Sloan have actually had very serious conversations about the theater ghost and the way he reacts to different situations. “The job of this ghost is protect the stage. The way this is approached is up to the ghost himself. The name of the school’s theater ghost is Cory,” explained Mrs. Wooten. She exclaimed that she has had a fairly good relationship with Cory and so have her drama students. This is until his “rules” are broken. These rules are discovered based upon trial and error. Trial and error? Well, there is a pattern. For example, you must leave a light on the drama room at all times, even when there is no one in the room. This is something the maintenance crew is aware of, to the point that there is even a light on during the weekends. You must also say “Hello Cory” when you enter the room as a sign of respect, as the theater ghost takes ownership of the stage. Multiple Drama III students shared a story about a time during class when they shut off every light and gathered on the stage. The lightswitch (on the other side of the room from any of the students or Mrs. Wooten) was turned on with no explanation, and the spotlight was shining directly at the stage and the students.
Some other incidences include things being thrown onto the stage from areas in which no one was sitting, the feeling of hands on students standing by themselves during a performance, cold spots on the stage, and the flickering of lights, and even books and chairs mysteriously stackedin front of Mrs. Wooten’s door on Monday mornings, Although many people might argue that these scenarios aren’t all that strange, quite common, or even staged (imagine that), there are two encounters that struck a chord with me more than any of the others.r. One is when Mrs. Wooten and a group of her students were gathered on stage during class. Mrs. Wooten’s monitor was on on her desk and all lights were off except the stage light (which according to Mrs. Wooten is fine with Cory). This is when Mrs. Wooten looked up and realized it looked like someone was sitting in her chair upon the sight of a manly looking shadow casted onto the wall…except No one was actually there. The second unexplainable situation in the drama room is eerily similar to our previous ghost story. Something to do with the middle of a room. There are frantic footsteps on the stage all the time and unsurprisingly, they always stop in the middle of the stage, which once again, is the middle of the classroom.
When I questioned this story’s validity during my interview (because come on, it sounds crazy right?), Mrs. Wooten showed me something that made me believe her every word. Mrs. Wooten’s students from the 2015-2016 school year documented everything. They had a calendar for the whole year filled with various encounters and sightings they had had during the year. Various students wrote on the board as they saw or heard something peculiar. So many of the situations mirrored situations documented by other students. Once again there was a common theme within the habits of this ghost. The same movements, the same sounds, the same times—everything was the same.
So even if you still aren’t convinced, you think I’m crazy too, or you blame it all on superstition, don’t forget to say hello to Cory.