FUN

CREEPY CORNER: The Nuns Under the Softball Field or Tales of High School Horror

What legends haunt the halls of your high school?

In my head I'm like Nancy Drew.

Whether I'm at work, at play, at school, or at the Golf Club Gala (by "golf club" I meant "Japan Denny's", and by "gala" I meant "All You Can Eat Sundae Sunday") I always sleuth out the mysteries.

And also like Nancy Drew, I can't resist a good old-fashioned spooky story.

I don't if I'm just drawn to places with a history, or if I get a whiff of old paint and decay and it triggers a need to do some digging.

The theater I worked at in Los Angeles was an old Masonic lodge with lots of bizarre symbols hidden throughout the building, and a "resident ghost."

The college I attended was the "Exorcist college."

My high school in Texas is over 140 years old, and among other mysteries and legends, had a bunch of nuns buried under our softball field.

Have I mentioned that one before?

High school is a creepy enough time without mystery nuns and the "Tale of the Girl Who Never Graduated." Hormones are splattered everywhere, drama is high, and mystery abounds, dividing what the students know and what the faculty admits to knowing.

But whenever I bring up my spooky high school, there's always someone who knows a legend that was passed down from class to class at their own school.

A few I've collected from friends far and wide are:

  • The Kamehameha School Night Marchers. My friend never heard the Night Marchers herself, but she tells me that the boarding school in Hawai'i is situated on the path where ancient Hawaiian warriors used to march. On certain nights, you can hear their drums pounding and they might knock on your door. Some of her friends claim they saw footprints.
  • The Ghost Priest. A friend of mine from the St. Louis area says that her Catholic high school was haunted by an old priest who used to check to make sure the doors were locked at night. Visit the old part of the school at midnight (of course), and you can sometimes see the light of his candle going from window to window.
  • The Secret Room. In El Paso, there's a story of a mysterious sealed off classroom in a school. Supposedly when the room was discovered by faculty and students, it was like a room lost in time. Dusty desks, books, and supplies all untouched for years. But why? My pal knows a guy, who knows a guy, whose brother knew a teacher that discovered the room. So the story goes.

Does your high school have any spooky myths, stories, or legends?

In the interest of a good spooky story tell 'n' share, here are some stories from "Ol' Lou's Vault of Scary Stories That Explain a Little More About Why I am the Way I am." So many years later, these legends still chill my good-Catholic-school-girl bones.

The Nuns Under the Softball Field

When I was in high school back in the days of America Online and Sugar Ray, my all-girls Catholic high school decided to build a softball field.

Shortly after the field was completed, rumors started circulating that during construction, the bodies of nuns were found under the grounds of the field. Apparently the softball field was the site of the campus nuns' long forgotten old burial grounds.

My suspicions were "confirmed" when after play rehearsal one night, a friend and I were skulking around the dark field when we were caught by a security guard. Perhaps to screw with a couple of creeped out and impressionable young ghost hunters, he told us that the stories about the nuns were true.

To amp up the creep factor, he told us that when patrolling the grounds at night, he heard horse's hooves and cart wheels rolling past the field. Were those the carts used to move the coffins in ye olde days?

The story continues that when the nuns' bodies were discovered, they were quietly moved to an off-campus cemetery.

Despite the exquisite creepy factor of this story, I had long since decided that it had to be false. Imagine my surprise when I learned that was indeed TRUE.

Snooping around the internet, I recently found an interview with the current head of campus security, and he claims that the story of the nuns under the softball field did actually happen. No ghost horses were mentioned in the article. I hope the nuns are resting in peace

The Girl in the Dome

"The Dome" (I slightly altered the name) is the main entrance to my high school, and one of the oldest parts of campus. Of course, it's supposed to be haunted.

Generations of students have told the tale of the senior who died in the room above the Dome. Back in the early days of the school (perhaps when students lived on campus, but I'm not sure), the girl was getting ready for the big winter formal.

Depending who tells you the story, she either tripped at the top of the steep flight of stairs leading down into the ground floor of the Dome, toppling to her death, or she hung herself.

I'm not particularly fond of the details of the story surrounding her death. If any of it is true, I find it rather sad and tragic that she is remembered that way.

What I do find interesting is the reports from teachers and students that music can be heard coming from the Dome at odd hours. Upon investigation, the music will "move" up the stairs and into the large upstairs room (what was the former ye olde times ballroom, I believe).

The few who have dared to follow the music say you'll either catch the senior girl dancing at the dance she never got to attend, or the music will abruptly stop when you get to the top of the stairs.

Maybe I'm a sap, but I find the whole thing kind of hopeful. It's probably all just a good ghost story, but if there's an iota of truth to it, perhaps the girl isn't doing so bad after all?

A little twist to this story (so I was told), is that if you're a graduating senior, you're most likely to see her the night before graduation.

Guess who tested their luck?

The Nun in the Picture

More nuns! (I honestly have a soft spot for nuns. The ones from my high school were the coolest.)

Back in the old days when the nuns lived on campus, their bedrooms were in a second floor hallway overlooking the school's courtyard.

In 1920, one of the nuns was particularly loved by the graduating class. Every year, a portrait was, and still is, taken of the graduating class and hung in the school's main hallway. That year, the nun promised that she would be there for the senior class picture.

Unfortunately, she got sick just before graduation and died in her bedroom before the class picture was taken.

On picture day, the class of 1920 assembled in the courtyard for the photograph. At the time the shot was snapped, so says the legend, there was nobody in any of the bedroom windows above the courtyard.

However, upon developing the photograph, a mysterious nun can be seen leaning out of one of the windows. No one can say for sure who she is. Supposedly this is the beloved nun keeping her promise to her graduating girls.

The picture still hangs in the hall of my high school, and everyone knows her as "the ghost nun."

I admit these stories are the shallow end of the spooky pool, but I can't help but be charmed by them. They are sort of the urban legend-pop culture-campfire stories evolution of oral tradition. In a way, such stories keep us in touch with our shared past.

But yeah, I really love that ghost nun.

Tell us any spooky stories or legends from your high school days! What was buried under your sports field?