A Haunted High School: Students and Staff Share Their Ghost Experiences

Jaydi Swanson, Views Editor

When she was 13-years-old, Spanish teacher Ana Harris laid in her bed, reading one of her horror books. As she put the book away and turned to flip off the lights, she saw an old woman with “salt-and-pepper hair” staring at her.

Her eyes grew wide in surprise. When she flipped the lights on and off, the woman disappeared.

But Mrs. Harris was not afraid.

For her, spirits have always been a part of her Mexican culture, especially surrounding Day of the Dead, a holiday where the dead are said to return to spend time with the living.

“They will get together with us…celebrate those days with us, and then they will go back,” Mrs. Harris said.

Though Mrs. Harris has never seen a ghost in her current home, she said her son has. When he was roller blading in the basement as a child, he came upstairs and told her he heard people laughing at him. Sure that no one was downstairs, she went with him to check.

“I went downstairs and I said, ‘Look, there’s nobody,’” Mrs. Harris said. “And he said, ‘I’m never going to come back again.’”

Still, Mrs. Harris does not feel threatened in her home.

Like Mrs. Harris’s son, history and psychology teacher Bill Herman grew up in a home he believes is haunted. The Granite City home was built in 1917, and he experienced many unexplainable happenings there.

The first incident happened when 10-year-old Mr. Herman was playing basketball alone outside his house.

“I glanced up really quickly and there was a lady in my window looking down at me,” Mr. Herman said. “I grabbed the ball, shot it, and when I looked back she was gone.”

He thought maybe he was just seeing things, and since he had no proof he kept it a secret.

A couple of weeks later, Mr. Herman was playing basketball with a friend. While the ball was hanging in the air, they both looked up—and there she was.

“Who’s that lady in your window?” Mr. Herman’s friend said to him.

With this confirmation, Mr. Herman grew increasingly curious about the woman and the strange things happening around his house. But like Mrs. Harris, he didn’t feel scared.

“I never felt threatened, but I always felt like she was trying to get my attention,” he said.

In fact, Mr. Herman believes that some people are more receptive to paranormal things, and ghosts will gravitate towards those people.

“There are some people in this world that are like lighthouses to spirits,” Mr. Herman said. “When they (the spirits) see these folks walking around, I think the spirits know they can gather their attention and they can do it easily.”

After having paranormal experiences in multiple houses, such as objects moving unexplainably and feeling unseen hands touch his shoulder, Mr. Herman thinks of himself as a flashlight. He has always been curious of the spirits’ purposes in contacting him.

For those who don’t believe, Mr. Herman thinks spirits will tend to leave them alone. Mrs. Harris says those people will find any way to justify their experiences.

“The people who just don’t believe at all can make a rational, logical explanation for everything,” Mrs. Harris says.

According to a 2013 Huffington Post poll, 45 percent of Americans believe in ghosts, leaving a large part of the population to brush off any would-be spooky scenarios.

Mr. Herman doesn’t blame these people and is not embarrassed to tell them his stories. Instead, he understands that it can be hard for someone to comprehend if they have never witnessed anything themselves.

“When I tell my story, I’m not trying to convince you. I really don’t care if you believe or not,” Mr. Herman said. “I wouldn’t believe it if I didn’t see it either.”

Despite all of their encounters, Mr. Herman and Mrs. Harris have yet to encounter what they felt was a “bad ghost.” They are more intrigued than they are intimidated by what they’ve seen.

“My grandpa always said, ‘Be afraid of the live people, not the dead,’” Mrs. Harris said. “They can harm you much more than the dead.”