A Collection of Stories from Campus Workers and Students
By Sierra Howard
It’s been 23 years since the College of Staten Island set itself on the land where the notorious Willowbrook State School once stood. A facility that once held 6,000 residents which was originally designed to house 4,000 with mental disabilities.
A place Robert F. Kennedy called a “snake pit” because of the conditions. Of course now it’s closed largely because of the cases of child abuse, overcrowding, sexual abuse, beating, and even strangulations revealed due to the work of Geraldo Rivera. Today, some buildings still stand, if you didn’t know, so far known they are the administration buildings: 1A, 2A, and 3A (formerly a morgue). Also on the Great Lawn is where the hospital itself once resided.
There are people who believe in hauntings and there are droves of students who don’t.
Here are some lighthearted first-hand accounts of abnormalities from people who work and/or live on campus.
Voices in 5N
This anecdote was taken from a Public Safety officer, whose name has been changed to Thomas, has offered his experience of what happened to him and his witness almost 17 years ago during winter.
Thomas story starts off with him and his friend patrolling in the basement of 5N, the Physical Therapy building. In the basement, his buddy and him find small doors that looks as if they were openings to tunnels. He describes even the smell that hit his senses during this time in there as being “concrete and musty.” It was oh so quiet and empty but what happens next is nothing short of creepy.
The public safety officer recalls hearing voices of people singing terrifying words. Although he just assumed it was his partner; that was not the case as his partner denied
making any sound.
Thomas distinctly remembers the words of the people singing: “I dance with the dead in my dreams, I hear their howls and screams, the dead has taken my soul.” He told me that their laments continued for at least 5-6 minutes.
Shadows in the Cove
A senior currently dorming at Dolphin Cove, who asked to remain anonymous, has quite the tale to tell. She remembers the day she first moved into the dorms 2 years ago. It was January 2014.
After a long day of moving in her new roommate, a freshman, settled in after unpacking.
“It was around 9 o’clock we settled in, turned off all lights except the kitchen, and relaxed. We bonded for a while and found out that…. We both had a lik[ing] for American Horror Story,” she said.
Hours and episodes passed by when they heard a thump in the kitchen, specifically coming from the kitchen cabinet.
Her and her roommate just looked at each other like it was a scene out of a classic horror moving debating whether to check it out.
She remembers opening her door to the kitchen and peaking her head out to see if anyone was there, even though they already knew they were alone.
It was pretty dark except for the stove light being on, but still a little too dark. Running out into the hallway to turn on the light and open the cabinet, the CSI senior, exclaimed: “My freaking glass exploded!…Till this day, I still question why, sometimes I question what was the pressure like, but there didn’t seem to be [any]. There was room needed to accommodate everything in there.”
She also noted that this happened once more a year later, when she was drinking out of another cup and it exploded in her face right after she finished her beverage.
The Late Night Workers
Custodians around campus working late night shifts volunteered information as well. I asked five custodians on separate occasions if they noticed anything off about the buildings and they all agreed on one thing.
The elevators move up and down all night long in 4S, and in 1P they constantly creak.
A grounds worker managed to offer some helpful information to calm the haunting hysteria. He explained that since the buildings have so much traffic during the day, they tend to settle into their foundation (meaning that they shift).
From prior knowledge, buildings are made to shift and move especially with the wind so that they do not collapse on themselves.
So at night when the buildings are empty and are shifting, it is common to hear creaking.
Despite the fact that the most of the little noises heard at night can be explained, what can’t be explained are the elevators moving up and down, or the glasses spontaneously combusting, and the groans of people who do not exist–or no longer exist.