It was quiet. More quiet than usual, but the floorboards creaked just as much. I had been in the Foust building before, but never when it was this empty. The air was heavy. There were people in the building, but nowhere near. Yet, for some reason, I felt like someone was watching me from deep inside one of the rooms whose door was wide open. No. This was not a feeling. I knew someone was watching.
I am a logical thinking individual and I believe in spirits. I believe in them not because I want to, but because occurrences have personally happened to me in which there are no logical explanations for. I can deduce that the breeze I felt when I walked around the corner came from the air vent above me, or that the door closed by itself because of changing air pressure when another door was opened. Though what logical explanation can I give for dreams that tell me things I did not know, shadows that move with no windows around or recordings of voices that are not mine while I record my own music?
Some people call it the supernatural. Others call it the paranormal. Many call it superstition. There have been movies, shows, books and more dedicated to this phenomenon that oftentimes cannot be explained by logic. Those familiar with spirits believe that there are good spirits and evil spirits. The connection between religion and spirituality is so prevalent that the Catholic church has courses in Rome dedicated to teaching priests how to detect evil spirits and oust them through a practice called exorcism.
However, we do not have to go all the way to Rome to get close to spirits. You may only need to step right outside of your dorm door to feel someone that may be overstaying their welcome.
Our very own University of North Carolina at Greensboro is known for its hauntings. Before I continue, however, I should let the reader know that UNCG, from what I have deduced with stories that I have heard, personal experiences and my undoubtedly unprofessional opinion, does not have demonic spirits. I believe it has ghosts who still seek out attention from those in the physical realm.
The Mary Foust Residence Hall is known for its infamous “Mary Foust ghost.” The building is named after the daughter of the University’s second president, Julius Isaac Foust, who passed away two days after giving birth on July 8, 1925. She was 27 years old. Her spirit is said to still roam the corridors, a spirit that Abby Schleifer and Heaven Rogers both know personally.
Schleifer, a junior at UNCG, has been living in Mary Foust for two years. “Almost immediately when I moved in I started experiencing things.” Before coming to UNCG, Shleifer had had her own supernatural experiences. She does believe in the existence of spirits. Her personal experiences have ranged from family visits from the beyond to changes in the atmosphere that she feels in everyday life.
Rogers, a senior at UNCG who has lived at Mary Foust for almost four years, used to be Shleifer’s RA. “As an RA, you have to sleep by yourself. When I was on the second floor, something happened.” Rogers lived on the second floor, and Schleifer’s room was diagonally across the hall from hers. She would always feel cold breezes passing over her at night and would feel a presence in the room with her. One day, she noticed on the metal frame of the thumbtack board connected to the door, the words, “BLESS THIS ROOM” written upside down. Those words were not there before.
Collectively, Rogers and Shleifer have heard stories and have had experiences that include, but are not limited to footsteps, doors closing, cold air or the feeling of someone near them. In one very particular instance, Shleifer experienced something that felt truly supernatural.
She was showering on the third floor. She was the only one in the entire bathroom. All of a sudden, a couple showers down from her, she heard a shower turn on by itself. She listened closely, knowing for certain that she did not hear anyone come in. Then, she began hearing moaning. She had heard this happen to someone before, but it had never happened to her. She gets goosebumps recalling the story. “I immediately just grabbed my towel and my stuff and ran out.”
The picture included in this article depicts two doors, seemingly locked by maintenance, which have been dubbed the ominous “Portal of Hell.” Because of the mysterious and curious nature of such a door, what lies beyond has given rise to stories that have spread across all of Mary Foust. Allegedly, one night, maintenance left the doors unlocked and a couple of students went inside with a Ouija board in hopes of contacting Mary herself.
Nothing occurred, so they all went their separate directions. But that night, the one with the Ouija board experienced something surreal. The planchette began moving sporadically, spelling things out too quickly for them to decipher the message. From thereon out, everyone who was in the room with the Ouija board began to experience chaos, from people getting worse grades to others breaking bones from falls.
One last characteristic of Mary Foust that makes the dorm building stick out is the superstition with the painting of Mary Foust in the main lounge area. It is rumored that if one touches the painting, Mary Foust will begin to mess with you. “People have broken bones, gotten heartbroken, just overall bad things have happened to them after they touch it,” Shleifer explained. So I did what any normal person would’ve done after receiving such information: I touched it- and so far, so good.
Mary Foust is not the only place that has been rumored to have spiritual visitors. There have been stories coming out from the Reynolds dorm building, the Faculty Center, the Stone building, the now torn down McIver building, Jefferson Suites and the UNCG Auditorium off of Tate Street.
There is one thing that might indicate why there is so much activity on UNCG campus. In 1899, according to UNCG archives, there was a typhoid epidemic that ended with 3 percent of the students dying. To put that into perspective, if 3 percent of our 20,000 students were to die today, it would total out to be 600 people. This might explain why there is so much activity across UNCG, as some spirits could still feel attached to the campus.
An honorable mention is the Julius Foust Building. I have always had a certain feeling when walking into the building, its floorboards creaking and croaking. The feeling that someone is a couple feet behind me only intensifies at night. The beginning of this article begins with me in Foust, describing a feeling I get too often in that building.
The Mary Foust Residence Hall will soon hold its annual Haunted House event, having the theme revolved around the story of Frankenstein, towards the end of October.
If you have ever experienced anything out of the ordinary, something that you cannot explain on UNCG campus or have heard stories of, please do not hesitate to contact me at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Have a splendid Halloween and don’t forget to say hello to our local ghosts!