Student Experience Blog

Quieting Blatchley's Ghost

I survived my finals, but there was a moment at about 11:45 on Tuesday night of finals week when I wasn't so sure I would. I was sitting at the round table by the front door in Blatchley, studying chemistry. I was alone. Being alone was by my own design: I wanted a quiet, empty space to study. I got to Blatchley at about 9 that night, my third night in a row, but this was the first night that I had it all to myself. At least I thought I had it all to myself ... (DUN DUN DUUNNNNN).

Aside from the wooden chair squeaking every time I shifted my weight and the occasional pop of the wall or floor that old buildings sometimes make, it was completely silent, which was very refreshing. After awhile, the quiet was a little too heavy, so I put on some Pandora, and spent a few very productive hours reviewing enthalpy and making covalent bonding into a love story. it was around 11:30 that the heater started making noise in the next room. This is something that had happened every night I'd spent in Blatchley that week.

For anyone that has never been in Blatchley to hear it, it sounds like a ball peen hammer tapping the inside of the metal grate of the heater. I'm not really sure how the heating system is set up in Blatchley, but I chalked it up as a loose part being blown around by a change in air flow when the temperature dropped or something. I don't know. But it was just a slow, irregular tapping.

The song ended. The tapping stopped in the pause. The first notes of the next song were accompanied by furious pounding in the heater. My heartrate took the same pace. Somehow all I could think of was that there was something/someone in the heater that was tired of my music and was about to unleash its wrath on me. I'm not quite sure what I was thinking here, but there was a moment of unhesitating panic in which I hastily swept everything into my backpack and stumbled down the steps, looking over my shoulder, half-expecting Moaning Myrtle to come floating out after me.

I don't belive in ghosts. I do believe in Google. 

I did a little bit of research, and found this on howstuffworks.com:

"Several experiments have demonstrated that low-frequency sound waves, known as infrasound, can cause phenomena that people typically associate with ghosts. This includes feelings of nervousness and discomfort as well as a sense of a presence in the room... Usually, these waves have frequencies of less than 20 Hz, so they are too low-pitched for people to actually perceive. Rather than noticing the sound itself, people notice its effects."

While it may not be a scholarly source, this article is also interesting:

http://www.cracked.com/article_18828_the-creepy-scientific-explanation-behind-ghost-sightings_p2.html

I think all of this is very interesting, and I will certainly be back in Blatchley. 

--Claire Cushing

Claire is a freshman pre-engineering major from Sandy, Oregon.