The Haunting of Maricopa Hall

"Are we not Spirits, that are shaped into a body, into an Appearance; and that fade away again into air and invisibility? Oh Heaven, it is mysterious, it is awful to consider that we not only carry a future Ghost within us, but are, in very deed, Ghosts!"

─ Thomas Carlyle Sartor Resartus: Natural Supernaturalism.

"Zoinks! It's a gh-gh-gh-gh-ghost!"

─ Shaggy of "Scooby Doo" fame.

Forty-eight hours. One Maricopa Residence Hall resident could not sleep for 48 hours. She tried sleeping with her Bible but that did not help. She became so desperate that she stole holy water from her church and blessed various parts of the hall.

"I figured the only way to combat the ghost was with God," said the resident, who requested that her name not be used. "If it was evil, I figured we could get rid of it using holy water."

The Maricopa hall ghost has been seen or "felt" by more than a half-dozen residents since the beginning of the school year. A female apparition reportedly roams the all-women's residence hall in the wee hours of the night.

The holy water did not work. Only priests have the power to "bless." The resident continued to sleep with her Bible.

"For two to three weeks, it was mass hysteria around here (Maricopa hall)," said resident Brandi Hopkins, a freshman French major. "One thing happened right after another. People were really flipping out."

"Scary monsters and supercreeps keep me running running scared."

─David Bowie "Scary Monsters"

Hopkins is not afraid to

sleep at night, she's just

a night owl ─ one of

those people who stays

up all night and sleeps during the day. She said sometimes she pulls consecutive "all-nighters" for upwards to a week. On one October all-nighter, Hopkins said she had a brush with the supernatural.

She said she was walking around the first floor of the hall in the early morning hours when she felt a "presence" ─ as if someone were watching her. The hair on the back of her neck stood up on end. From the corner of her eye she saw a young woman in a gray cloak, she said.

"I thought that she probably doesn't mean any harm, but she was scaring the piss out of me," said Hopkins. "I just wanted her to please go away."

Seconds later, the hairs on the back of her neck went down. Hopkins told a friend about the experience, but did not mention it again until an eerie residence hall meeting on the creepiest of holidays.

Rebecca Robinson, a Maricopa resident assistant, said, "At the Halloween program everyone was telling ghost stories and that's when people came out and said they saw or felt the ghost."

Hall director Tammy Gantt said four to five residents came forth and said they have seen or heard the ghost late at night.

Ever Goodie, an anthropology freshman, said she has not seen the ghost, but has felt its presence.

"She'll call your name at night and you can feel her in the hall as you're walking to the kitchen," Goodie said.

Jeanette Croy, a pre-education junior, said, "It's very eerie here because the hall is so old. I sometimes get a weird feeling that someone is watching me."

She said that for awhile during the fall, her and a group of fellow residents would have at least one person stay up during the night on the lookout for the spirit.

Robinson said she has received reports from her residents of the female ghost, a male ghost by a stairwell and a ghostly couple dancing in the fireplace.

Residents' descriptions of the encounters are usually the same ─ they see figures out of the corner of their eyes or feel as if they are being watched.

Robinson said there is a core group of seven residents who have seen, heard or felt the ghosts.

Gantt said that when the residents see or feel the ghost they tend to run to the hall's kitchen.

"They run to the kitchen because that's the area of the hall where there is usually the most hustle and bustle," she said.

Hopkins said that in the weeks following the Halloween revelations, several of her friends were noticeably shaken ─ including the one who stole the holy water.

"She didn't sleep for weeks," she said. "It was a real pain."

When asked whether she believed in the ghosts, Hopkins said, "I try not to considering the circumstances."

"Even in the seemingly most aimless haunting, however, there may yet be an underlying cause or purpose."

─Elliott O'Donnell Ghosts with a Purpose

Maricopa Residence Hall is one of the oldest standing structures on the University of Arizona campus. And over the past three years, there have been whispers about encounters of the spiritual kind.

The hall was first proposed by UA President Arthur Herbert Wilde in 1914 and constructed between 1918 and 1921.

"Maricopa Hall is very significant historically," said Phyliss Ball, author of a Photographic History of the University of Arizona 1885-1985. "It was the first big women's dormitory and it was different architecturally from other buildings."

The 115-capacity women's residence hall has undergone two major renovations in recent history ─ in 1968 and 1992. After the 1992 renovations, rumors began circulating that there was a female ghost roaming the halls.

A former resident of Maricopa hall said she heard ghost stories during the fall semester of 1991 and she saw the ghost the next year.

She said she and a friend were in the Maricopa hall basement, which is primarily used for storage, when they saw someone down the long, primary corridor.

"Straight across the hall, we saw a figure with blond hair and a flowing nightgown," she said. "It wasn't the type of nightgown someone would wear to go to sleep on the sleeping porches and we didn't know who it was."

The former resident said she and her friend followed the figure, but it mysteriously disappeared down a dead-end.

Gantt said that in years past resident assistants have refused to go to the basement alone when they were doing their nightly round. Throughout last year, RAs would only go down into the basement in pairs.

The former resident said that before the 1992 renovations, there was picture of a young woman that hung above the fireplace.

"The girl we saw looked like the one in the picture," she said.

Sonia Molina, a resident assistant, said that the tales of the Maricopa ghost have been passed down over the years and she has never seen anything unusual.

Robinson said that she had heard from people in the past that there had been a picture of a woman above the fireplace and former residents claimed to have seen a ghost that looked like her.

Gantt unearthed the picture in question during the Wildcat's investigation. It turned out to be a reprint of the portrait titled "Pinkie" by Sir Thomas Lawrence in 1795. The original hangs in the Henry Huntington Art Gallery in San Marino, Ca.

The former resident said the ghost looked like the woman in the picture even after the origins of it were revealed to her.

Robinson said, "This place is old and has traditions and I'd like to believe in the tradition of the ghost."

Gantt said, "When you get a bunch of women together ─ sometimes there are overactive imaginations."

"Who you gonna call? Ghostbusters!"

─Ray Parker Jr.

Finding someone to comment

on ghosts, is not as easy as

just flipping through a phone

book and looking up "ghostbusters." Two local psychics referred to Reverend Howard Richards as a local expert on spirits that roam the earth.

Rev. Richards of the Blessed Trinity Spiritual Church, said that if Maricopa hall is truly haunted by a ghost, the best thing to do is to leave it alone.

"If they (ghosts) aren't mischievous, the best thing to do is to learn to live around them," he said.

Rev. Richards said the most effective way to communicate with a ghost is by meditating and trying to envision what the ghost looks like. He also recommended telepathic communication, but said using a ouija board is like playing with fire. Ouija boards are "very negative vehicles."

According to Rev. Richards, ghosts are going to do for Tucson what grunge has done for Seattle.

"Right now, Tucson is the spiritual capital of the world," he said. "We have a lot of people searching, looking for the light."

California use to be the spiritual capital, but it became polluted by money-grubbing channelers and charlatans, he said.

"I don't believe in those people saying they can channel 5,000 year old spirits," Rev. Richards said. "If the spirit is so wise, why the hell is he talking through those people?"

Rev. Richards paused when he was asked about skeptics and nonbelievers.

"Well, there will be a skeptic in every crowd," he said. "Just go back to the Bible and you'll find stories about spirits."

Several churches which advertise themselves as house of metaphysical worship refused to comment on spirits to the Wildcat.

"Anytime you're dealing with college students they tend to take the woo-woo aspect of spirits," said a secretary at one of the metaphysical churches. "They usually only take the negative aspects of spirits."

The ghost has not materialized this semester, but residents believe it is still haunting Maricopa.

"I'm sure that there is one," said family

studies sophomore Cristine Atkin, one of the residents who believes in the ghost, but has not seen or heard it.

Gantt is skeptical whether there really is a ghost.

"Sometimes when you get a bunch of women together ─ there can be overactive imaginations," she said.

Gantt said if a ghost exists, it is probably a "friendly ghost" that watches over Maricopa residents.

Rev. Richards said, "No one should ever be afraid of spirits. I've never been terrified by spirits, but some of the people who are walking around here . "

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