By LANDON JAMES
Last year, Chase Morgan, a freshman living in room 205 in Mason Hall, awoke early one morning to the sounds of kitchen cabinets and drawers being slammed shut in the kitchen.
Morgan’s room was next to the kitchen, so he paid little attention to the noises, but got up anyway to tell the people to be quiet.
When Morgan arrived in the kitchen, not a soul or resident was in sight and no one had been there.
“It did not freak me out at first, but as it went on I began to become suspicious,” Morgan said.
As time went on, Morgan repeatedly encountered the ghostly chefs and Morgan became accustomed to the noises.
“The kitchen was highly active at night, not per say with cooking, but more with strange activity,” Morgan said.
During the colder months of the year, the heater in Morgan’s room would also act up in strange and unexplainable ways. Morgan reported hearing knocking sounds coming from the other side of the heater and said the sounds were completely different than the clicking noises the heaters normally make when turning on.
Morgan, an RA in Russell Hall, says he believes in ghosts and knows there is one in Mason Hall.
Morgan is not the only student who lived in Mason with a story to tell. Interviews with other students on campus, many from Mason, tell of supernatural experiences ranging from weird smells filling the rooms to rustling in closest with the most extreme involving objects being moved behind locked doors. However, the stories continue.
Alyssa Dandrea, a sophomore in Randolph Hall, lived in room 227 in Mason her freshman year, and believes there may be multiple ghosts haunting the halls.
Dandrea recalled one night, her freshman year, she and her roommate were sitting in their room when the intense smell of cigarette smoke filled the entire room. Dandrea reported the intense smell vanished after five minutes. Dandrea and her suitemates did not smoke and there were no smokers outside of the building at the time.
Dandrea feels she has an inside connection to the spirit world through a friend in Fredericksburg. Her friend, who was unable to be reached, lives in a haunted house and frequently contacts her ghost through a Ouija board.
DJ, the name of the ghost, allegedly lived during the 1920s and was a heavy smoker. Dandrea asked DJ numerous times to visit her at school and she believes that the source of the cigarette smell was DJ paying a friendly visit.
DJ also told Dandrea and her friend that there are multiple ghosts in Mason and throughout the UMW campus.
This did not scare Dandrea; in fact, she was rather content to live with her very own Casper.
“I was not scared, just a little freaked out initially. Eventually I just thought it was cool. I don’t think the ghosts in Mason are scary, they are just trying to hang out and get by,” Dandrea said.
However, some are more than a little freaked out by their encounters.
An RA on the third floor of Mason, who also wished to remain anonymous, believes themselves to be on a floor prone to haunted activity.
“I never used to believe in ghosts, but I do not want to say I do not believe then be proven wrong,” the RA said.
On one occasion, the RA left her room, locked the door, and returned after a short time. When she returned and opened her door, her mini refrigerator door had been opened and a box of tacks had been thrown all over the room. At the time, there were only RAs in the building for training and the third floor RA room does not suite with any other rooms.
“I felt that I just was not alone. I got the feeling something was there, that something was watching me,” she said.
The RA said she heard scuffling and scratching come from inside her closets before and that she often receives reports from her residents that their rooms are haunted.
Ryan Montgomery, resident of Mason room 302, cannot explain some of the things that happen in his room.
“I will be sitting on my bed with my computer and the door will open and close with no one there,” Montgomery said.
A former Mason RA, who still works in Residence Life but wished to remain anonymous due to liability reasons, does not believe in ghosts but believes unexplainable things happen nonetheless.
Lowery says loud banging and creaking noises often come from inside closets on the third floor of the building.
“It has been something that has been talked about since I was an RA in Mason two years ago and I heard it from people who lived in Mason my freshman year,” he said.
The former RA lived in Jefferson Hall his freshman year and said there were no ghosts there.
The popular myth among Masonettes is that a girl hung herself in a closet on the third floor of Mason, though.
Residence Life and college officials deny ever knowing of such an occurance happening in the building.
Professor William Crawley, professor of history and american studies, is currently working on a book compiling the history of the University of Mary Washington.
“In all my research, I never found anything credible with regard to ‘ghost stories,’“ Crawley said. “There was one rumor about a suicide of a girl in Ball, but there is no evidence of it, so far as I know.”