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Serving the GW Community since 1904

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Tales from the crypt: Students share haunted campus experiences

Be afraid. Be very afraid.
Katelyn Power | Photographer
A deserted alley beckons students to trek through its sinister shortcut — if they dare.

Bone-chilling, spooky and just bad vibes may describe that midterm you just took, but it can also describe some of the seemingly haunted places around campus.

While Georgetown and Alexandria get a lot of attention for their supposedly spooky sites, Foggy Bottom has its fair share of hauntings. This Halloween, keep an eye out for these creepy places around GW.

The Basement of Building JJ

Basements of residence halls across GW are used by students as gathering places, but Spencer Wilcox, a sophomore studying political science, said the basement of his prior residence hall — Building JJ — had some peculiar occurrences in regards to its motion-activated light.

“We would always see it go on and off even if there was no one walking over there, and things would just mysteriously go missing like the TV remote,” Wilcox said.

While an inconsistent light could be chalked up to sketchy wiring, Wilcox said he had a more chilling experience there. He and his friends would mostly use the space to watch sports, but one time while exploring the basement, they stumbled upon an abandoned room right by the bottom of the basement’s stairs.

“The ceiling had collapsed and there was crazy like red — we don’t know if it was marker or paint or what — writing on the wall,” Wilcox said. “There was stuff that looked like it was left in a hurry.”

He said the writing read something like “Get out.” Wilcox said that he still doesn’t know what this room is because later it was locked without any further explanation.

“It was really spooky,” he said.

West Hall Music Rooms

From “Silence of the Lambs” to “Candyman,” many scary movies set the mood with a haunting musical score, and in the piano rooms of West Hall, residents can feel the presence of a lurking supernatural energy. Avery Frank, an undecided first-year, said she enjoys playing piano but has noticed a deeply sinister feeling while playing in these rooms. 

“It just has kinda weird energy when you go in there,” she said. “It just has bad vibes.” 

The setup consists of one empty central room with five connected rooms within. In order to enter, students need to scan their GWorld from the outside of each room. 

“The doors always lock and unlock, and you can always hear the doors locking and being weird while you are in there,” Frank said. “It is really scary. It’s also dark and all the lights turn off.” 

Indeed, one time she said she had a strange feeling something was off and looked at her phone and saw the time was 2:22. Since 222 is commonly known as one of the angel numbers — a set of repeated numbers some think signal a spiritual message — Frank said she has a feeling there is something more than GW’s music students lingering in these rooms.

Ingrid Bergman Statue

While most people notice GW’s famous hippo statue on the corner of 21st and H streets, some detect a frightening aura looming over the area. Opposite the hippo statue and attached to the blue pole of a now-retired police call box is a sculpture of the face of Ingrid Bergman, a 1940s starlet.

“There are two sides to [the sculpture] and on one side her nose is broken and she’s got this smirk on her face, and it is the scariest thing,” said first-year JJ Rozeboom.

Rozeboom said the history of the two faces without a body or any discerning features is unknown to most students on campus. With no plaque attached to the installation, he said the installation leaves students with more questions than answers.

“Who is this? Why is this here? Who is she smiling at?” Rozeboom said.

1959 E Street Rooftop

While residence hall rooftops with great views of the city may be popular spaces for GW students, not all can be considered fun-filled and relaxing. Millie Wallach, a sophomore studying human services and communications, said she experienced a bone-chilling experience one night on the 1959 E Street rooftop.

“I was on the roof of the E Street dorm and there was a chair propping open the door,” Wallach said. “It wasn’t windy or anything. We heard the door slam, and there was no one up there. And we couldn’t get back in, the door was locked.” 

She said the chair was set firmly against the door and a person would have needed to physically move it for the door to shut. But there were no signs of anyone around, adding to the inexplicable event.

“I had to call friends to let me back in, and when they came up they asked me how it happened and I felt like I couldn’t explain it at all,” Wallach said.

Ever since this potentially supernatural event, Wallach has avoided the E Street rooftop as much as she can.

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