By Noah Lopez
Arizona Daily Wildcat
As Jon Burstein and I walked through the halls of Maricopa Residence Hall, it was hard not to recall Stanley Kubrick's 1978 film "The Shining."
With the early 1900s decor, the wide open areas and high ceilings of the hall's piano room, one can easily revive the supernatural imagery from the film and place it as the phenomenon that has been haunting Maricopa's residents since October.
Indeed, as Jon and I entered the piano room with our photographer, it was as if a cold wind whipped across our bodies. "Did you feel that?" Jon asked. I let the backs of my hands, the hair standing straight up, answer the question for me.
As we approached our hall escort, Rebecca, I half expected her to swing around a flesh deficient face to greet us. Or for the homework she was working on to be filled with various patterns of "All work and no play makes Jack a dull boy."
Unfortunately, Rebecca turned out to be a normal person. She was calm, and shrugged off our zeal for finding the ghost as the childish behavior it was.
It would take more than that to discourage Jon and I, however, and we quickly demanded to be taken to the scariest part of the hall . the basement.
When we arrived at the lower level of the hall, Rebecca turned off most of the lights for us so as to create the proper haunting atmosphere. With its maze of locked doors, dim lighting, and mysterious din from the underground tunnels emanating through the concrete
walls, the basement was indeed spooky. However there was no shaking the fact that the holy water the residents had used to bless the hall's dungeon had rid this part of its spirits.
Sensing this, we decided we had been virtually denied a chance encounter with the ghost, and instead we set about trying to communicate with the ghost.
As Jon and I sat at the piano hall's large dining table, it was hard to stifle our nervous giggles. This had more to do with the uncomfortable feeling of meditating with our eyes closed in front of the photographer and Rebecca, however, and once we settled down the conjuring began.
Soon after my meditation began, I started receiving a pretty clear picture of the woman that had been seen floating through the Maricopa halls. I pictured her standing near the fireplace in the front waiting room. I knew this was good, because that's where her picture had once been hanging. I pictured her wearing a grey dress suit also . and indeed most of the residents had pictured the ghost as a "grey ghost." Unfortunately, the image that kept springing up in my state of trance, was the image of a young professional women, whose attire and hairstyle more closely resembled someone from the early 1940s. I decided this was probably too late of a period for the ghost, but I opted to keep that to myself. It was decided, as Jon had received no image whatsoever, that I would be the medium.
I tried to hide my discomfort at the realization that I would be responsible for conveying the words of some dead person. As I closed my eyes again, my image of the ghost was disrupted by a vision of the midget psychic from "Poltergeist." "Run to the light, Carol Ann!" I screamed in a high pitched nasal voice.
The feeling of Jon's hands on my shoulders brought me out of my trance. "It's okay," he offered. "Just, walk it off. We'll try again in a second."
The second time worked out better. I closed my eyes, met my spirit, gave her a soul handshake and we were ready to begin. Jon and I had thought of a bunch of serious and humorous questions to ask our guest from the netherworld, but for some reason we had forgotten them all. Embarrassingly, Jon blurted out the question we had agreed to save for last.
"Will the 49'ers win the Super Bowl?" Jon exclaimed. Before I could admonish him, the pendulum we were using for the ghost to convey the answers swung abruptly to the "yes" region of the table. We sat stunned.
At this point, Rebecca felt it necessary to reaffirm elements of the situation. "What are you again?" she asked me as our photographer slowly shut his mouth and wiped the drool from its corners.
Sheepishly I tried to explain that I was just the music editor of the paper, but Jon quickly noted that I'd had some psychic experience. Rather than argue, I threw
myself back into the interdimensional communication.
Sadly, the situation grew increasingly anticlimactic. Jon and I were anticipating wildly frenetic ghost fearers, not the couple of placid escorts we were given. Over the past week we'd had frenzied visions of entering the hall wearing swami hats, our faces dripping with fake ectoplasm as we asked the front desk worker to "buzz the ghost for us." Ouija boards in hand, we would enter the bathroom at midnight, close the door and turn the lights off. "Bloody mary, bloody mary, bloody mary" we would chant, thereby summoning the evil spirit of childhood.
Sadly, not only were we dealing with competent people, but a ghost who was, well, quite boring. We lost our fire for asking questions, especially since the ghosts ancient history left it unable to answer such modern questions as "Do you think it's a good sign that Jack (from Jack in the Box) is Back" or "Will there be another Rocky flick?" We found ourselves blathering wildly to the girls about how nice their hall was. When Jon suggested that we ask the ghost whether or not she wanted Maricopa to become a coed residence hall, I knew it was time to leave. Our boyish enthusiasm squashed, we hung our heads, walked out the door and headed over the Gentle Ben's for a couple of beers. Afterwards, our photographer got so drunk he went and got a Casper tattoo.
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