I am a high school teacher. I teach Culinary Arts and because I was formally trained and have industry experience, I always wear chef's whites (complete with toque and black trousers) while at work.
During this past summer I transferred within my district from the Las Vegas area to a small rural school. Aside from the fact that I like living in small rural communities, I especially liked the fact that my class sizes dropped from having 54 students per class to as few as 12. My kitchen is much larger than it was at my last school and my building administration has basically given me carte blanche to do whatever it is I need to do to transform a former home economics classroom into a viable Culinary Arts program.
For the last few months, I've been having some odd experiences. On four separate occasions - either early in the morning around 5 AM or at mid-evening around 8 PM, I've heard a young voice addressing me. The voice has always come from behind me and the voice always says the same thing; "Hello Chef!"
Each time I've turned around, there has been no one there. The kitchen or adjacent classroom has been empty. There has been no one in the hallway. During each occurrence, the exterior doors to the school have been firmly locked. In one instance, the exterior doors leading to the school hallway from my kitchen and adjoining classroom were also locked.
I have no explanation for why I have been hearing voices.
A few weeks ago while passing through the administrative offices, the school psychologist waved at me and after stopping to say hello, she asked me how I was doing.
I thought about it and finally blurted out something that the psychologist probably hadn't expected to hear.
"Am I crazy? Do I need professional help?" I looked up and down the corridor, leaned forward and whispered, "I've been hearing voices."
The psychologist raised an eyebrow. I told her about the voice that has been saying, "Hello Chef."
She laughed and told me that I wasn't reporting anything that she hadn't heard before. She then told me that our school was haunted. The theater in particular, which is directly across the hallway from my kitchen and classroom is reputedly a center for paranormal activities.
In talking to her and other staff members, I've learned about some very odd occurrences at my school.
- One custodian reports having seen a shadow walking down the hallway. The shadow was not on a wall the way you might expect a shadow to be ... but was rather a dark cloudy figure walking in the center of the hallway as though it was a person. The custodian said that he was with another staff member when this happened. The shadow came striding down the hallway, flitted BETWEEN the two people, and continued down the hallway.
- The drama club teacher told me that the lighting system, stage lights, and sound system for the theater has come on by itself.
- At least one custodian and one teacher have reported seeing figures moving across the stage in the theater ... but when they turned on the lights and checked out the stage, there was no one there.
- Teachers have told me that their laptops, desk top computers, smart boards, and AV projectors have turned themselves on for no apparent reason.
I HAVE learned that although no one has actually died at our school, our building is sited on what used to be a Native American burial ground. How much of a cliche is this? I feel like I'm in a remake of the movie Poltergeist and I most definitely DO NOT want to be in any such movie.
Although we have not had any deaths on campus, I have been told that we've had some memorials for students who have died. We have also had a memorial for an elementary school teacher who died at the hands of an abusive drunken husband. In point of fact, one of the custodians told me that he thinks one of the ghosts may be the spirit of this dead teacher. He said he once tried addressing this person in the school theater. When he said, "Hello Mrs. X, is that you?" there was a sudden burst of static from the sound system which was supposed to have been turned off. After the custodian metaphorically pulled himself from the ceiling, he mustered his courage to say, "God Bless you Mrs. X and I'm mightily sorry for what happened to you, but ma'am, you need to move on." There was another burst of static from the sound system and the custodian fled from the room.
I am 55 years old and have previously had about a half dozen different paranormal experiences in three different states and one foreign country. I know that in some instances, what some people have experienced have been like sounds or images caught on an old 16 mm. film. They play over and over again, always doing the same thing like walking down the hall but they're benign and non-interactive.
The fact that a voice has been saying, "Hello Chef" is source of concern for me because this suggests some degree of awareness. Instead of a generic, "Hello" which could apply to anyone, the voice has been saying, "Hello Chef" which is person specific since I'm the only instructor at my school who wears chef whites.
I wrote about this in my introductory post, "Hello from Nevada" and one respondent suggested that I might look for a local investigative team. I was advised to "do my homework" and to find a legitimate team and not a group of thrill seekers.It was also suggested that I might care to investigate this myself but I am NOT a thrill seeker and I would just as soon as not disturb anything that goes "bump in the night." I'm perfectly happy with peaceful coexistence.
With this being said, it would be nice to confirm that I'm not going senile, that I'm not hearing things, and that my colleagues really have had the experiences they've reported.
QUESTION: I know I can google paranormal teams for my local area ... but how do I research them to find out if they're legitimate and not thrill seekers?
QUESTION: Since I am not aware of any bad things having happened to faculty, staff, or students as the result of paranormal activity, should I just leave well enough alone?
I must admit that I'm now a bit nervous being at school really early or staying rather late. I don't want to have a conversation with whoever has been saying, "Hello Chef." Although I have enjoyed watching TV series like the Ghost Whisperer and Medium, I really don't want to interact with any spirits.
Interacting with ghosts is far, far, far beyond my realm of training or expertise. I have as previously stated, had other paranormal experiences at other locations and in every single instance, the experience has just happened. I didn't go looking for it and given a choice, I would rather not have had it in the first place.
Is there an otherwordly realm out there? Yes, I believe there is. Do I want to know more about it? No, not really.
I estimate that perhaps half of the faculty and staff at my school have had some sort of paranormal experience at work. The other half remain blissfully unaware of any unusual activities. I really wish I could be blissfully unaware as well.
With this being said, sticking my head in the sand and wishing that these experiences hadn't happened would be an exercise in futility.
I think my school is haunted but as to who and why and what they may want, I really don't know nor do I want to personally have to delve into this mystery because I'm afraid of what I might find .... or what I may awaken.
I would be happy to hear any constructive thoughts or suggestions.