Thursday, April 14, 2011

My Favorite Ghost Story

This is my favorite, true, ghost story. The events narrated here took place in 1984, in St. Francis South Dakota, at the old Girls Building. St. Francis Indian School originally began it's life as St. Francis Mission and in the eighties most of the old mission buildings were still standing.

I was working as a cop at the time and my cousin R. was working as the night watchmen for the mission. Around one or two in the morning I pulled in front of the Girls building, between the rectory and the church, and met my cousin for a cup of coffee. It was a pleasant South Dakota summer night, clear and cool, a relief from the heat of the day.

I was sitting on the hood of the patrol car, facing the building, while my cousin sat on the hood of his car and faced me. Looking over my cousins shoulder I could see the front door and the windows on both sides of the door. To the left of the door (from my vantage point) was a tall window that let into the administrators office of the school. The single door led down a fairly long hallway and then let out into a common area between the old girls playroom and the cafeteria at an L turn.

As I sat there, talking with my cousin, I saw the curtains on that window move and a dark figure peer out. It was a human shaped form, as if someone was pushing aside the curtain and then leaning over to look out the window. I didn't think anything of it. It was not terribly unusual for people to be in the buildings as odd hours. I simply asked my cousin if there was anyone in the office there.

He said no, that he had gone through there a short while ago and it was empty. I told him what I was seeing and he shifted slightly in his seat so he could watch the window as well. Sure enough, a few minutes later, the figure pushed aside the curtain again, leaned over and looked out. This spooked my cousin a bit. My cousin was a spooky guy (and having worked many a night at the mission it was certainly understandable).

We saw the figure appear twice more. It was as if there was someone inside the office and at irregular intervals they would look out to see if we were still there. My cousin handed me the key to the far door, at the L end of the hallway, and he took the key to the main door. We waited until the figure peered out one more time and then let the curtain fall back into place and we TOOK OFF RUNNING!

My cousin dashed to the front door and I dashed down the side of the building to the L door, sprinting as fast as I could - I was never a track star, but I was fast enough to be very confident that no one could have made it to the L door and gotten out before I got there - additionally, if they had come out, there was still the common area to cross through and three other, locked, doors to get out of there.

We then proceeded to search the first floor there, from the L door to the lobby and back again, because, until we had completed the search, we were both convinced there was a person in the room there. It wasn't until our search came up empty that we considered the possibility of a ghost or a supernatural being. Formerly, though I did not know it at the time, that room had been routinely used for wakes - the body would lie in state there until the funeral.

I often tell people that this is my favorite ghost story for one simple reason - it is the least "spooky" of the ghost stories I know, or the strange things I have encountered over the course of my life. It was a calm, rational, thorough search for a person - until it was realized there was no person there!

No comments: