The Blog Witch Project: hauntings at Brown


Haunting #1: Hope College Crawl Space

The story starts in 1987. Margaret loved to bring boys from Brown and RISD to her secret spot on top of the roof of Hope College. She had enjoyed many a night on that roof, taking in the Providence skyline, getting some action, and leading men to their deaths. She’d begin every Tuesday night holding a séance at the Pembroke Seal. The wind would whip at her hair while the candles’ flames would stay mysteriously still. “Oh Margaret,” the other students would think when they saw her. “What a dual degree-er.”

Armed with spirits and darkness, Margaret would make her way to the Sharpe Refectory, positioning herself perfectly, beautifully, at the back tables. It was still a smoking gallery in those days, and Margaret would hand-roll eight cigarettes that would somehow always summon a boy. On October 30th, 1987, the boy was Joel. Something drew him to her that night, he wasn’t sure what.


“Hello Joel,” Margaret said, offering him a puff of her last hand-rolled stoge. Conversation was easy, and eventually Margaret invited Joel to come to a secret place “where you can see the whole city.” He followed her all the way to the top floor of Hope, where Margaret popped open a trap door. She told Joel to go first—she didn’t want him seeing up her skirt. Up he went, into the crawl space between the main floor and the roof, following the fate of many boys before him, and many boys who came after him.

The first thing he noticed was the smell—rotting food from Jo’s, was it? Did Brown store manure up here? He asked Margaret what the smell was. “It’s the dead bodies,” she joked dryly. He chuckled—he should invite her to write for the Brown Noser! She followed him up, quietly pushing the trap door closed. He looked to his right and saw a pile of rotting flesh and bones, and suddenly, with a flash of light from the tip of Margaret’s finger, he was dead. Margaret threw his body on top of the others and climbed, alone, onto the roof, where she smiled, cried out maniacally, and flew off into the night. To this day, someone dies every Tuesday in the Hope College crawl space. Brown keeps it quiet, lest the Princeton Review hear.


Haunting #2: Pembroke Field House

Sometimes, walking by the Pembroke Field House on the way to the Nelson, you might feel something wet land on you. I used to think it was rain. I’d get to the Nelson and thank my lucky stars I beat the downpour of a Nor’easter. Then I’d leave the Nelson ten to fifteen minutes later after my arduous workout on the elliptical,  walk by the Pembroke Field House, feel something wet land on me, and race home, feeling grateful that I missed the rain again. It was only after this happened about eight times that I began to suspect something was up. So I drew on a mustache and did some investigative reporting.

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Slinking down Brook, I was sure to keep a low profile. I brought both a credit card and a bobby pin in case I would need to jimmy the door open like in the movies. The door was locked. My jimmying techniques both failed me—it was stuck. Luckily, I’d been going to the gym for ten to fifteen minutes at least twice monthly, and was pretty strong. I had also been consuming a lot of those Kälteen Bars from Mean Girls. I broke the door down with just a minor injury to my shoulder. As I burst through I heard a yelp. A small man in upturned elfish shoes and a beard as long as Rapunzel’s mane crouched in the corner. I knew exactly who it was.

“Is that you? Rumpelstiltskin?” I asked. I was able to identify him so quickly because I was in an elementary school production in which I played the freaky little thief himself. “MY NAAAME, NOT MY NAAAAME!” he screamed. “No, no, it’s okay!” I said. I spent all night bonding with him, practicing my lines from the play, and getting feedback on my performance. It was a night of growth for me. I asked him what he was doing there, and if he knew why I always was getting wet when I passed the field house. He hung his head. “Yes,” he said, and explained how after Clara had discovered his name and taken away her first-born child that he had been promised, he had been relegated to the Pembroke Field House, in Providence, Rhode Island. He now spends his days spitting on passersby. Poor Rumpy.


Haunting #3: EmWool Bathtubs


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If you’ve ever spent any time in EmWool, you know about the luxe, STD-filled, claw-foot bathtubs. What you might not know, however, is how to access the sub-basement of the dorms. It’s really quite easy. First, sacrifice the blood of one of the campus skunks (the ones that hang out around Grad Center are the best targets—they’re usually quite demure), by slicing into the left artery and letting the blood drip down the bathtub drain for eighteen days. It’s best if you stay there to make sure every drop of blood makes it down the pipes, but you can leave for a few of your classes if you must. As the blood drips down, work on collecting the vomit from at least three blacked-out first years. When you have completed the draining of the skunk, you must delicately fill the tub with the puke. Put Vaseline or Vicks under your nose to block some of the smell. Next, call your aunt. Thank her for sending you the iTunes gift card for your birthday, even though you illegally download all of your music anyways. Now that you have thanked her, you can cut up the card without too many bad feelings. It’s always good to keep the vibes good when accessing the EmWool sub-basement, unless you want to conjure evil spirits. Now, slip the shredded iTunes gift card down the drain and slip into the bath. The floor will shake, you’ll hear a moan, and the tub will crack open, revealing the sub-basement! It looks like the Ratty but with more options. Moaning Myrtle will be there. So will real live leprechauns. It’s really exciting.

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