Paranormal Activity: UW Oshkosh Edition

Emily Reise

Halloween is right around the corner at UW Oshkosh. Students are binge watching horror movies and brainstorming costume ideas. Along with the candy wrappers comes the unnerving ghost stories. Students will be shocked to hear about the spirits that have been experienced lurking among residence halls and within the walls of off-campus housing. UWO has been around since 1871, a whole 144 years. Some of the houses around campus have been standing even longer. It is reasonable to assume that over the many years deaths have occurred in the area, and those deaths resulted in paranormal activity. Some students have experienced ghostly presences around campus and are revealing their stories in the spirit of the holiday. Jeffrey Schmid remembered his first experience with a Ouija board and paranormal activity. “Around Halloween, my friends and I went and bought a Ouija board at the store to reach spirits as a joke after we saw the movie ‘Ouija’ in the theatre,” Schmid said. He recalled playing with the Ouija board under the bridge by the river right off campus. He said the piece was moving on its own across the letters on the board, and the spirit revealed clues about itself. When they investigated the clues later, they found it linked to a murder that took place a week earlier in a motel in Omro. “That was the realest thing I have ever experienced, and I don’t want to mess with it again.” Schmid said. Some students reach out to the spiritual world because at first, like Schmid, they do not expect anything real to happen. They could be trying to communicate with the paranormal for the thrill or to try to reach a person who has passed. Other students, however, come across the spirits in their everyday routine without the intentions of ever coming across one. A group of six female students squirmed on their couch with wide eyes as they revealed their experiences in their college house. A short time after moving in they started having occurrences upstairs that happened too frequently to just be coincidence. Roommate Ashley Tikalsky, whose bedroom is upstairs, talked about her paranormal activity. “I’ll wake up to something twisting the door handle and then continuously rattling the door and then on some occasions it sounds like a fist banging on the door,” Tikalsky said. “When I open my door, though, no one is out there.” Roommate Katie Olson did her research and discovered that many of the houses built around campus were built for prestigious families of professors who taught at the University. “We think the upstairs belonged the family’s help, like the maid, and the maid still lives up there,” Olson said. “It has even taken grocery lists and picked up Jadee’s boots before.” At this point of the interview a loud bang came from the upstairs, which was empty at the time. They all exchanged glances and asked one another, “Did you hear that,” and nervously giggled like it was a normal occurrence. Some students don’t mind residing next to a spirit because they do not feel threatened. However, other students have moved out of their place of residence because they have feared for their lives. Jocelyn Hart, a junior at UWO, reflects on her experience with a dark presence in Fletcher Hall. Hart and her freshman roommate first thought things were not right when they requested their keys on move in day and learned that no one had stayed in their room for seven years prior to them. Weeks after, the two roommates started hearing noises in the night and could feel a physical presence around them. “It got really freaky when things started happening in three’s,” Hart said. “I would wake up at 3 a.m. almost every night, and it was either blazing hot or icy cold in the room.” The girls later discovered that change in temperature could be an indication of a spirit nearby. “When we started recording at night, 3 a.m. is when you could hear pencils moving on our desks and the plastic from our groceries rustling,” Hart said. “There was even a clip of the sound of nails being dragged across our desk.” The frightened roommates did research into paranormal activity and found out that the number three, which was a common theme in their experiences, was a spirit’s way of mocking the holy trinity. She reflects on the exact moment when she started to feel in danger and contemplated moving out of the dorm. “Eventually, it got to a point where we didn’t feel safe in our room because we caught a clip of the spirit watching us while we slept,” Hart said. “It was sitting at my roommate’s desk and, unlike a normal shadow that goes away when the lights turn on, it slowly disappeared as if it was dissolving.” Hart said, after having to move out of her freshman dorm with her roommate because of her traumatizing experience with the paranormal, “I 100 percent believe there are presences on campus. My CA freshmen year was telling us how I’m not the only one who has claimed to have experiences on campus and that she had heard things herself when the dorms are empty over breaks.” UWO has had its fair share of ghost stories. If students do not believe in the paranormal that is lurking all around the student body, then it is most likely only a matter of time until they experience something themselves. Whether a student is in the dorms, off-campus housing or just wandering around campus, there is a good chance that a spirit is watching.