The Ghosts of Rose Hall: A Jamaican Haunting

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Rose Hall, Montego Bay, Jamaica

As an author of all things paranormal or supernatural, my enthusiasm for unexplained mysteries has spanned more than three decades and included visits to some of America’s most haunted places.  But when I found out that Jamaica was one of the ports of call on the cruise that I took last summer, I knew that I had to see the famously haunted Rose Hall in Montego Bay.  As a clairvoyant/medium, my excitement raged as I anxiously waited to get inside this historic mansion.  Tales of a white witch who practiced voodoo and tortured slaves on this sugar plantation filled my internet search.  I scoured through page after page as I researched Rose Hall before my arrival, but as I continued to study numerous articles, I was somewhat disappointed to discover that the legend of the white witch was most likely fictional.  And yet numerous reports of the mansion’s haunting still continued to mount as I searched.  I wondered whose spirit was lingering there.  If Annie Palmer was not guilty of the horrific acts associated with her name at Rose Hall, then who could be haunting the mansion and why?

Upon arriving, I was stunned by the Georgian style mansion’s grandeur as it was more splendid than its online pictures.  The house was built in the 1770’s by Fulke Rose and later became the property of John Palmer in the 1800’s, but suffered serious damage from a fire during the late 19th century.  The mansion was restored twice during the mid to late 20th century and finally purchased by the former Miss USA World, Michele Rollins and her husband, John Rollins.

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Rose Hall before restoration.

As we were led up the path to the mansion, I focused on the energy of the place while recalling what I had read before my arrival.  Legend has it that the ghost of Annie Palmer haunts the grounds and mansion.  According to the story, Annie was born in Haiti and spent much of her life there but when both of her parents died of yellow fever, she was adopted by the family’s nanny who introduced her to witchcraft and taught the young girl Voodoo.

Years later Annie Palmer, now seventeen years old, moved to Jamaica and married John Palmer, owner of Rose Hall Plantation.  As the new mistress of Rose Hall, the legend has it that Annie soon tired of her husband and began taking slave lovers.  When she was discovered in the bed with one of her lovers, John beat her but days later met his death when he was strangled to death at the hands of his wife.  The story continues with Annie marrying twice more and murdering those husbands as well by stabbing the second husband to death and poisoning the third.  But in 1821, Annie met her final demise when her slave lover, Takoo climbed the basement stairs during the middle of the night and entered the main house.  He then crept up the main staircase and into Annie’s bedroom where he assaulted the sleeping white witch and strangled her to death.  The next morning the slaves burned her clothes and personal belongings and then buried her body a short distance from the mansion.

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Basement stairs leading into the main house.  This is where Takoo reportedly entered the house and killed Annie Palmer by strangulation.

Researchers have found that the legend was most likely born from a Jamaican novel, The White Witch of Rose Hall, written by Herbert G. De Lisser in 1929.  Findings have now concluded that Annie Palmer was a fictional character and not to be confused with the plantation’s former mistress, Rosa Palmer who reportedly had four husbands during her lifetime but was always known as a faithful and devoted wife.  I will admit that I was somewhat disappointed to discover that the legend was purely fictional, but if Rose Hall’s past still lingered beneath its walls in the form of ghostly apparitions, I was about to find out as soon as my feet crossed the threshold.

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Was the woman in red a young Annie Palmer or the mansion’s real life mistress?  No one was for certain, but tour guides seem to believe the painting might be authentic.

I took a deep breath and stepped inside the front room of Rose Hall.  My eyes immediately lifted to the ceiling and corners of the room as I admired the interior’s high ceilings and dark, rich wood along the walls.  Our tour guide introduced us to the mansion by giving us a few details of the home’s history before leading us into the dining hall, but I was somewhat discouraged because I did not feel a spiritual presence upon entering the house.  Until…

As the guide moved our group into the dining room, I noticed a female apparition wearing a long, light blue dress with a tiny flower pattern.  I guessed that she was probably in her early thirties and had lived during the early 19th century.  She had dark hair that was pulled into a tight bun.  She seemed to be oblivious to us as she walked around the dining room before disappearing at the corner of the table.  It was if she stepped into a doorway to the other side!

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Cutlery holder for knives.  Notice the keyhole lock.  The container was kept locked for fear that someone might steal a knife for the purpose of murder!

I gave instructions to my son and daughter, who were traveling with me, specifics of what to notice (bodily sensations) as we toured the house.  I told them to let me know if they felt anything unusual.  Since neither of them has ever been on a paranormal investigation with me nor do they know much about being an empath, I was curious to see if either of them had the “gift”.  As I expected, my son was first to inform me of the crushing sensation that he felt on his chest as we began entering the second floor where the “reported” murders had occurred.  But as we walked from room to room, I again sensed that the energy just wasn’t matching the story that I was hearing as the tour guide led us into each of the rooms where Annie Palmer supposedly murdered her husbands.  If there were ghosts on the 2nd floor, I assumed that they were hiding, but as I entered the red bedroom that supposedly belonged to Annie, I felt a strong presence that had been there for almost two hundred years.

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Rosa Palmer, aka Annie Palmer’s bed.

I stood still near the foot of the bed and gazed all around the room.  As a pair of ghostly eyes studied me, I began snapping pictures of Annie’s bed and the candelabras that seemed to light up each time I took a picture.  Although the candelabras were not lit, a flame appeared in the photographs.  I lingered in Annie’s room for a few minutes, satisfied that I had discovered where the ghost of Rose Hall likely resided until we passed into another room.  My body jerked as I turned to see a man sitting at a small desk inside the next room.  He was writing something on a tablet and as my mouth hung open in stunned silence, my eyes fell to the floor where I noticed one of his feet turned on its side.  His shoes were cream colored loafers with a black buckle.

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Corner of Annie Palmer’s bedroom.  Notice the candelabras.  They appear lit, but were not.
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Who is this woman?  Is she the real Rosa Palmer aka Annie Palmer?  The tour guides believe so.

I then became distracted by my son taking pictures of Annie’s favorite mirror.  He continued to snap pictures hoping to catch Annie’s reflection, but his efforts seemed pointless until we later reviewed his pictures and were amazed by a reflection that showed up in the mirror.  Could this be the corpse of one of Annie’s husbands?

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Annie Palmer’s favorite mirror.  My son is taking the picture, but notice the image over his shoulder and to the left of the picture.  Unexplained phenomena.

Perhaps one of the most convincing paranormal encounters that I experienced while touring Rose Hall was the energy that still lingered in the downstairs basement, now a gift shop and snack bar.  Orbs and light portals seemed to burst forth in every picture, and I suspect that these spirits are not just confined to the basement but may roam about the mansion.

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Basement of Rose Hall, now a snack bar and gift shop.

If you decide to visit Montego Bay, Jamaica and love a good ghost story, put this place on the MUST SEE list.  The spirits are here.  Although I did not sense anything malevolent from the entities, I was aware of at least two intelligent hauntings in the mansion, and I believe that the basement has a portal where souls are entering and exiting the house.  If I could spend the night at Rose Hall with a team of paranormal investigators, I believe that the spirits would eagerly tell me their side of the story.  And what a story it would be!  I’m going back…someday.

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Tomb of Annie Palmer.  According to the legend, her bones are buried deep below the ground.

Learn more about L. Sydney Fisher’s paranormal research and book projects based on TRUE EVENTS!

The Haunted Volume 3 Book Transparent

PARA Team (2)

The Para Files, A Paranormal Investigation at The Oren Dunn Museum

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This Thanksgiving…

Cozy up after dinner with a good ghost story!

 

 

From the #1 Amazon Bestselling Author comes a series that ghost hunters are sure to love!

A TRUE HAUNTED PAST…

I want to tell you a story……about a place once called The Devil’s Furnace. A place that dates its beginnings in prehistoric times. Where Indigenous people once lived and hunted.

A place that’s known massive bloodshed……This bloodshed has stained the soil of the landscape and created a portal to another world. It’s a world where the souls of the deceased enter and exit at will.

Read about the stringy haired ghost woman…… She still roams the streets of this southern town. Find out where ghost sightings are a regular occurrence in haunted buildings and homes.

Explore the history of the city known as the Cradle of Rock-n-Roll, Elvis Presley’s birthplace…… Discover the many reasons why ghost hunters love the hills of the North Mississippi landscape.

If you love history and ghosts, you’ll love the first book in this series. Like The Haunted America series by The History Press, L. Sydney Fisher’s The Haunted is a historical narrative that explores southern sites with a paranormal past. Let’s begin…in Tupelo, Mississippi.

And remember… SLEEP WITH THE LIGHTS ON!

____________________________________________________

A note from the author:  This series is a haunted history narrative.  It includes local history and lore that has been thoroughly researched.  Often times, this research includes interviews, visits to haunted locations, and paranormal investigations.  I have spent months and even years researching a project before publication.  If you like history and ghosts, you will probably enjoy The Haunted.

Follow L. Sydney Fisher’s On the Haunted Trail at Facebook each month and get a first look at the stories in The Haunted Series.

Ghosts, Unexplained Mysteries, & The Supernatural

THE DEVIL’S DEN

Being a paranormal researcher means that I am often contacted by people who are experiencing the paranormal.  So what’s the scariest project that I’ve ever been involved in?  Without a doubt, it’s the chapter in Volume II of my Haunted Series.  The chapter is called The Devil’s Den and after visiting here, I knew the title would be fitting for the story.

Several months before the book’s publication, I was contacted by a woman who had abandoned her home after her husband committed suicide.  I was immediately drawn to her story as she described her husband’s bizarre behavioral changes after moving into the house.   Since I am an empath and clairvoyant, I absorbed the woman’s story and could feel her grief each time that I spoke with her.  She told me that she and her husband had ten wonderful years of marriage until moving into the house located on a dead end road in Rural Mississippi.  She said that they didn’t know much about the land surrounding the home, but they had heard about a murder that had happened there.

The family brushed aside any uneasy feelings about the home’s past and instead focused on getting moved into their new spacious home.  Each of their children could now have their own bedroom, unlike having to share a room in the mobile home where they had lived before.  But within two weeks, strange noises began to haunt the family.  Thumping noises from the basement, footsteps, and running water (no one could find its source) were the first signs that something was wrong here.  Weeks progressed as the woman’s husband battled a growing rage.  He seemed to snap over trivial things and began having conversations with invisible entities.

One day when she was in the kitchen preparing dinner, her husband came up behind her with a knife and told her “I ought to slice your f—ing throat”.  She immediately ran out of the house and didn’t return until hours later when her husband was gone.  This family’s horror climaxed on the morning that her husband committed suicide, but the weeks leading up to the final hour was unlike anything I had ever heard.  The story reminded me of The Amityville Horror, not the fictional accounts, but the part that included the DeFeo murders of 1974.  Ronnie DeFeo was charged on the same day that I am writing this now–44 years ago! (November 14, 1974)  And I believe that the same type of possession that entered Ronnie DeFeo’s body is also what caused this family’s demise.

I scheduled a time to go out to the property and have a look around.  If the energy was as strong as she told me, then I knew I would sense it as soon as I arrived.  A local neighbor and family friend met me at the house.  At first, I didn’t feel anything unusual or sinister as I walked around the property looking into the windows, but as I made my way around the left side of the house, I began to feel overwhelmed with dread.  I stopped and peered inside another window, but then jerked back.  Whatever had been at that house before was still there and I realized that it was now watching me from inside the house.  I hurried around to the front door, but before I could thank the neighbor for showing me the property, my eyes locked straight ahead on the front door side light window where an old hag with hollow eyes stood watching me.  She was humpback, her eyes void of color and hollow without even an iris.  Her skin was pasty white and cheekbones protruded from a sunken face.  I began to breathe fast and tried to keep my composure.  What if the neighbor didn’t see what I was seeing?  I knew that I needed to get out of there.

I quickly said my “good-byes” and started for the car, but just as I opened the door, I witnessed a massive black shadow zoom past me and toward the trees at the front of the property.  I literally could not believe my eyes.  I felt its supernatural power as it soared off the ground.  It seemed to put on a show, flaunting itself as it paced back and forth along the tree line.  A part of me wanted to stay and explore, but I heeded my body’s warning signs urging me to leave the property.  When I arrived home, I raced to my computer and messaged the homeowner.  I asked her to describe the spirits that they had seen while living there.  To my horror and with my mouth hung open, I watched as her words zipped across Facebook messenger as she described exactly what I had just witnessed minutes before.

Days later, I found myself unable to sleep.  Thoughts and visions tormented me about the evil that still dwells on this abandoned property.  The widow continued to contact me, and I confessed everything that I saw and felt while there.  She pleaded with me to go back to the house and go inside.  She wanted me to try and make contact with her deceased husband, but I declined.  To this day, I believe that the only energy that still resides in that house is the evil that caused a young woman to kill her baby and a man who had a loving family finally take his own life after months of demonic torment.

If you would like to read the family’s story, you can find it here~
GET THE BOOK

Sleep with the lights on,

L. Sydney Fisher
On the WEB~https://lsydneyfisher.com/

The Haunted: Legends from The Wilderness
A Haunted History Series

Audio Edition debuts at #1 on Amazon.

The Haunting of Natalie Bradford Audio Edition is now available!

Narrated by the multi-talented Robin Ericsson. Robin was a pleasure to work with on the Bradford project. Professional and dedicated to making this Amazon Bestseller just right for your listening entertainment.

And look who’s already resting at a #1 spot. Bradford Audio #1 New Release

I hope you enjoy!

Get YOURS~https://www.amazon.com/Haunting-Natalie-Bradford-Part-Book/dp/B07F24KMLY/ref=tmm_aud_swatch_0?_encoding=UTF8&qid=1530307352&sr=8-2

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I Survived The Bell Witch.

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Home of The Bell Witch, Adams, Tennessee.

I remember being mesmerized by The Bell Witch stories when I was a child.  I read at least 3 or 4 different books on the subject and vowed that I would someday travel to the small town of Adams, Tennessee where the famous Bell Witch once lived.  Now three decades later, I can now mark it off my bucket list and instead pencil it in on my “Must Return” list.

Last Saturday May 26th, 2018, a friend and I traveled to the farm located about 55 miles north of Nashville.  Upon entering the small community of Adams, Tennessee, I immediately sensed the remnants of a time past as Katy (not to be confused with Kate Batts) drove us down a rural county highway, following the Bell Witch signs strategically placed along the roadside.  The rolling hills extended for miles on what was once hundreds of acres of farmland owned by John Bell, Sr.  The lush, green grass and wooded landscape was surrounded by white fences that gave the property a warm and inviting feel unlike the memories that the Bell Witch had left behind 200 years before.  Although Katy and I reveled in the beauty of the area, we both couldn’t deny our apprehension as we approached the entrance to the site of the Bell Witch Cave.

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Part of the original Bell Farm land where the Bell Witch once roamed.

Katy followed the signs until we saw the entrance to the tour.  A bright red barn with bold white lettering on the front greeted us at the main entrance as we made our way to the gift shop.  Rain clouds loomed overhead as we hurried to park and get our tickets.

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At the entrance of The Bell Witch site.

After booking our tour, we were taken to a cabin (replica, not original Bell cabin) where we listened to an audio presentation of the Bell Witch haunting and toured a cabin that was set up with furniture and props staged to look much like what the original Bell house would have looked like at the time of the spirit’s visitations.  Although the home was not the original site, our EMF (electromagnetic field) detector started acting crazy, the lights zipping back and forth while we were in the front of the house.  When we moved to another room upstairs, the EMF detector stopped for a few minutes as if whatever had been present was suddenly gone.  At that time, I began experiencing a strange pressure on my neck/chest area near my throat that caused me to cough.  The feeling intensified a couple of times and startled me to the point that I felt the need to take deep breaths.  I knew that I was sensing something paranormal.

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Cabin (replica) at The Bell Witch Tour Site.

After the audio presentation that lasted about 30 minutes, we were escorted to another part of the cabin that housed artifacts and pictures of the original site.  Included in the mini-museum was a black cauldron that belonged to the Bell family when they lived in the house where the hauntings occurred.  I intentionally let myself be the last guest to leave the room so that I could stay behind and touch the large stone that sat on the floor and was reportedly a part of the original Bell house fireplace.  I placed my hand on the rock, but unfortunately, I did not pick up any residual energy.  Then just as I turned and walked out of the cabin to follow the rest of the group to the Bell Witch Cave, I was overcome by a wave of nausea that did not subside until I reached the cave entrance.

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EMF recording at the cabin area.
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Entrance to The Bell Witch Cave.

We were greeted by Kris, our tour guide who narrated the fascinating history of the cave and the land.  She informed us of the area’s known American Indian burial grounds linking parts of the area’s history to the Bell Witch legend.  But within minutes of entering the cave’s second room, I felt that our 10-person tour group was no longer alone with just our tour guide.  The distinct sound of children’s laughter filled the front room that we had just exited.

I spoke up and said, “I hear children laughing.  Are there other people coming?”

But no one else seemed to hear the children and our tour guide continued to narrate.  I looked down the long, narrow hall of the cave’s stone walls toward the cave’s entrance and saw no one, but I couldn’t shake the feeling that we were not alone.  Our guide then showed us pictures taken by guests who had captured spirits and strange orbs while on the cave tour.  Suddenly, my suspicions were validated.

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Inside the front hall of The Bell Witch Cave.
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Stone coffin/grave of an Indian girl found near the river. Her bones were stolen and never returned.

 

We finished up the tour about fifty feet inside the cave.  I marveled at its beauty and the markings that were visibly noticeable on the walls and ceilings left behind by ancient Indians.  When we exited the cave entrance, Katy and I walked several feet and were suddenly startled by the appearance of a bare-chested young man with dark hair and a long black beard.  The color of his eyes was pitch black and he wore only black gym shorts while sitting high on the heavily wooded hillside outside the cave entrance.  Directly below us was the Red River often mentioned in the Bell Witch stories as being near the original site of John Bell’s home located just two miles away.  The man studied me as I walked closer to him, his piercing dark eyes glaring at me as if I was intruding on his space.  I glanced down the hill at the river and looked around to see if he had a canoe or kayak nearby, but I saw nothing that indicated that he had been on the river that day.  He was just standing alone on the steep slope studying me as I now paused on the rocky path.  I turned and called for Katy who was several feet behind me.  She finally appeared and joined me only to feel the same creepiness as the stranger watched us pass, my eyes locked with his.  Who was he?  How did he get up that steep slope without shoes on his feet? Was he a shapeshifter placed there for us to see?  We still don’t know, but we won’t forget the unease that his sudden appearance caused.

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Hillside above The Red River as seen in the left side of picture. This is where the lone stranger appeared to me and Katy as we exited The Bell Witch Cave.
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Ancient Indian Burial Site.
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L. Sydney Fisher leaving The Bell Witch Cave.

If you dare to visit the site of the famous Bell Witch, take no souvenirs such as rocks from the cave and make sure you say a prayer as you leave.  Although I never heard The Bell Witch’s cackle that day and thank goodness, I never saw any weird animals, I still felt the remnants of her spirit and those of many others who still haunt the landscape where she once roamed.

For more of L. Sydney Fisher’s adventures, On the Haunted Trail, check out her book projects @LSydneyFisher.com or join her at the group page of @Ghosts, Unexplained Mysteries, and The Supernatural on Facebook and remember…

SLEEP WITH THE LIGHTS ON!

 

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A note from Sydney…

While doing research for The Devil’s Board, I was contacted by two different individuals who did not know each other and who did not attend Riverside at the same time.  Both of these individuals told me about personal experiences they had while a student at Riverside.  To my amazement, one of the individuals revealed that they once lived in the very same dorm room where Amber Simmons used the Ouija board in 1987.  This person disclosed that they had experienced inexplicable mood swings and depression while living in the room, but they had no knowledge of what had transpired there four years before.  And both of the people who contacted me told me that they once paid a visit to Sister Elizabeth Williams, pleading for help.

To this day, students still play the mysterious board game in the campus dorms at Riverside College, and the legendary horror story of Ryan Banks lives on.

Sleep with the lights on,

Sydney

A PREVIEW

​​OUIJA~A board game used to contact the spirit world.  Developed for commercial distribution in 1891.  Named by Charles Kennard, founder of Kennard Novelty Company.  While Mr. Kennard was playing the game, a spirit spelled out the word “Ouija”.  It is an ancient Egyptian word that means “good luck”.

Chapter One

Rachel Thomas swept her long, tousled brown bangs out of her eyes.  She steadied her hands on the steering column as she raced away from the haunted house where she had grown up.  Plagued by the spirits of an unknown entity that had dwelled in her home for more than ten years, she had managed to accept her paranormal existence in a world where most people had never heard of such things.  Or maybe they just didn’t tell anybody about their experiences.  Maybe there were many more people just like her who were afraid to talk about real life hauntings.  But this was a time of new beginnings, the beginning of the rest of her life when the hopes and dreams of the past could become the realities of the future.  If she could put the hauntings to rest, she could concentrate on what was before her.  In just two weeks, she would be starting classes as a freshman at Riverside Community College.

Riverside was a small town college nestled near a centuries old river where Indigenous people once lived and played.  Riverboats filled its waters, and the Spanish explorer, Hernando De Soto once crossed its shores.  The river had a history that seemed to stretch as far as its 200 mile long waters, but it was a history of prosperity, tragedy, and death that still lived on in legendary ghost tales.

Rachel drove her silver 1983 Buick Regal into the front parking lot that faced her future home.  Kendall Hall was one of eight dormitories for housing students.  Although Rachel had been unable to secure her first choice of living arrangements in the college’s most updated facilities, she was excited and anticipating the arrival of her new suite mate whom she had never met.

She turned the ignition off, pushed the door open with her foot, and got out of the car.  She stretched her hands above her head and stood still for a moment as she surveyed the empty parking lot and vacant grounds surrounding her.  She thought about the first day of classes and how congested the campus would become. Year after year, the college’s Fall enrollment had grown.  With more than 3,500 students attending college at Riverside, the odds of finding an empty space close to classrooms would be next to impossible.

Rachel sighed and quickly turned her thoughts back to the car crammed full of clothes and personal décor taken from her room back home.  Moving in would take a couple of hours.  She slammed the car door shut and turned to look at the building’s second floor windows.  She contemplated the number of trips it would take to haul several loads of her personal belongings up the stairs.  And although the housing department had already guaranteed that the room would be ready to move in, she hesitated to unload anything before checking it out.

Rachel walked toward the glass front entrance and opened the door.  The stone gray building smelled like pine sol as she entered an empty foyer with two closet-like doors to the left and an apartment to the right that served as a residence for the Dorm Parent who oversaw the needs and security of the dormitory’s students.

Rachel slowly walked straight ahead to the stairwell entrance that led to the second floor.  The air near the stairwell was stuffy and hot causing her to cough, and the smell of fresh paint stung her nose.  The building was eerily silent, and it reminded her of the late nights at the nursing home when she had gone to her mother’s workplace after the old people had gone to bed.

She stepped forward onto the bottom steps and began to climb the stairs.  First the bottom steps and then a turn to climb the last stairwell to the top.  She stopped at the last step and pulled another door open that led to the second floor hallway.  The steel door was heavy and creaked loudly as she opened it.  The bottom of the doorplate slid across the floor, creating a long and creepy noise that echoed down an empty hall.

For a minute, Rachel felt an unease that she had often known before, but for reasons she couldn’t explain.  She glanced into the hallway before her and stepped forward letting her fingers slowly release the door as it closed shut, its spring mechanisms creating the sound of metal on metal.

Rachel stood still, her body rigid but fully aware of her surroundings.  Her bare arms were covered in goosebumps as she tried to rub them away, but just then a loud bang echoed from the right end of the hall.  She jerked around and faced the source of the noise only to observe an empty space.  Her eyes were wide as she stared down the dimly lit hall now filled with an eeriness that she couldn’t dismiss.  It never failed.  If there was an otherworldly spirit present wherever she went, it always seemed to find her.

Her breath seemed to hang in her throat, and she had to remind herself to breathe.  She took a long, deep breath and closed her eyes for a moment. She then turned back around, brushed off her fears as best as she could and walked straight toward the left end of the hall where her dorm room was located.

She stopped in front of the door and reached for the silver doorknob.  She twisted it to the left and pushed the door open, eager to get inside and settle in.  The room was painted a blinding white with white mini-blinds, two dull, steel gray bunk beds, and a white tile floor.  Inside the double closet was a small chest of drawers also painted white.  And against the inside wall and facing the hallway was a built-in desk with shelves.  Painted white.

Rachel let out a sigh.  The place felt like a hospital room or worse a morgue minus the cold air.  She walked over to the window beside the two bunkbeds and noticed that it was locked tight.  She fidgeted with the locks, snapping them back and forth.  She then inspected the bathroom that she would be sharing with her suitemates and found that it included a half tub/shower combination and one toilet.  Four girls with one bathroom.  That should be interesting.

Rachel’s eyes roamed the room again as she considered what it would take to liven up the place.  Color, décor, girl stuff.  As she became swept away with the thought of college life and living in a dorm with her closest friends, she forgot about her unease just minutes before.  And although her dorm room offered anything but a cozy feeling, she relished in the idea of college living.

She surveyed the room, deciding which bunkbed would be hers.  Which side of the room would be hers for decorating?  Closet space and desk space?  She was silently considering it all when the abrupt sound of a door slamming shut brought her back to the present.

“Hello.”  The raspy and friendly voice of Josie Norton echoed in the empty room, bouncing off the white cinder block walls.  She stood just inside the door that Rachel had left standing open.

Rachel whirled around and faced her new roommate who stared back at her with a bright, toothy smile and crystal blue eyes.  Her messy, dark brown hair was hanging partially out of the ponytail she had fastened earlier that morning, and her extra-large AC/DC t-shirt hung loosely over a pair of faded blue gym shorts.

Rachel smiled with a slightly startled look and responded.  “Hi, you must be Josie!”  She offered a handshake.

Josie accepted Rachel’s hand with a firm and gregarious grip after sitting her guitar case down on the floor.

“Are you getting settled in early too?  I’ve got a car full of stuff from home.”  Rachel asked with a light-hearted tone.

Josie let out a boisterous, nasal laugh and nodded.  “Yeah, I’ve got a couple of trips to make to get it all here.  Oh, this is the closet space, huh?”  She pointed to the two closets, each containing a small chest and barely enough room to hang a week’s worth of clothes and a couple of coats.

“Yes, that’s it.  I can take the one on the right if that’s okay.”  Rachel did not hesitate to designate ownership of personal space since she had to get started unloading her car.

“Oh, yeah, that works for me.  Are you a heavy sleeper?  How do you like the room temperature?  I sleep like a bear and love a cool room.”  Josie asked wanting to get to know her roommate’s compatibility.

Rachel smiled.  “We’ll get along beautifully.  I’m a light sleeper, but the cooler, the better for me.”  Rachel shoved her hands in her Calvin Klein size 5 pants pockets.

Josie gave Rachel a thumbs up.  “Cool.  I’m gonna go grab a few things.”

Rachel nodded.  “Okay, I guess I should get started too.”  She started for the door and stopped as Josie paused in the doorway.

“Hey–  You ever played Ouija?”  Josie asked.

Her eyes had a mischievous twinkle, but Rachel didn’t respond with a lighthearted demur.  Instead, her face turned pale.  She felt as if the blood had just drained out of her body as her legs became weak.  A strange silence lingered as she stared into the eyes of Josie Norton.  Pale blue eyes that now seemed to flicker with a curiosity destined for danger.  Then without warning, the same dreadful unease that slapped Rachel Thomas in the face as she entered the upstairs hall returned.  And a premonition materialized before her, seizing her in a vision of horror.