Thanks in large part to the conventions established by Gothic literature, it is our natural inclination to associate ghosts with locations such as ancient castles and abandoned cemeteries. To those who believe that the spirits of the dead sometimes remain to haunt the world of the living, it seems obvious that they should inhabit places which possess a dark history and a forbidding atmosphere.
However, if the stories are to be believed, it seems that these restless souls are not confined exclusively to sites straight out of a story by Poe. Throughout the world, there are schools, colleges and academies in which students and faculty have reported bizarre occurrences rivaling anything that one might expect to encounter in an abandoned manor or hidden catacombs. For some spirits, it looks like class never let out.
United States Military Academy
West Point, home to the United States Military Academy, is the most esteemed institution of learning for young American men and women striving to serve their country in the Army. The location has played a pivotal role in historical events for centuries, and, as such, it makes sense that there should be a few spirits roaming around.
Although a number of spirits have been encountered on the grounds, the most notorious ghost wandering the academy belongs to Room 4714 in the 47th Division barracks. It’s here in the early 1970s that a series of strange and, as of yet, unexplained incidents occurred. The barracks are the West Point equivalent of college dormitories, and the trouble began when two young cadets who were occupying the room at the time began to notice pronounced drops in temperature at random times. Although this was easy enough for them to dismiss, what followed was much more troubling. One night, the two cadets awoke simultaneously, both seeing the apparition of a soldier wearing a Civil War-era Union uniform standing in the room.
Understandably shaken, the two reported the experience to a pair of their superior officers, who decided that they would take the room for one night and see if they had any strange experiences. Although neither man saw a distinct entity, as with the cadets, they both awoke at the same hour and observed a strange, shadowy form on the ceiling that vanished before any details of its appearance could be discerned.
In the weeks that followed, the stories circulated, and a number of different individuals stayed on the room, trying to determine just what was actually happening. Some, like the first two cadets, witnessed the appearance of the Union soldier; one man who tested out the room even began screaming frantically in terror at what he saw.
Tests were conducted which proved that the room was subject to substantial temperature shifts of unknown cause. However, no rational explanation could be put forth to explain the ghost. Too many credible and high-ranking officers confirmed that something bizarre truly did inhabit that room for it to be written off as a hoax, and no evidence of an elaborate prank was ever found. Regardless of whether or not the being was real, the stern military officials at West Point seem to take it seriously enough. At the present time, Room 4714 is locked up, and no cadet has resided there for decades.
Asheville High School, North Carolina
Built in 1929 in Asheville, North Carolina, Asheville High School isn’t exactly the most modern educational institution in the United States. As such, it’s not too far-fetched to imagine that the building may be inhabited by a restless spirit from the past, and as it turns out, a surveillance video captured in 2008 suggests that may indeed be the case.
At 2:51 AM on August 1, when the school building was closed, the motion-detectors activated the security cameras, which picked up a bizarre, dark shape which crossed from one side of the hall to another, at one point even appearing to take on the shape of a young girl. School officials admitted that they were unable to explain exactly what the image was but insisted that they did not believe it to be a ghost. Paranormal investigators who looked at the video were very impressed with the footage and feel that a legitimate spirit may have been captured.
To add to the mystery, a custodian at the school claims that he has seen the spirit of the young girl before. As of yet, no one has been able to identify the true nature of what appeared on camera. You be the judge.