Tuesday, January 22, 2013
Finding Chico, California's real haunted locals.
While the town is hardly a place that could be categorized as spooky, it is hard to point in any direction without finding some place with an allegedly ghostly resident.
Strange experiences have been reported on the Chico State University campus. Students, faculty, staff and administrators have little contact with the campus' non-corporeal residents. However, the custodians who walk and scrub the empty halls of the campus buildings long after the last student has fled tell tales of things that literally go "bump in the night."
While blood-curdling screams in the darkness and the rattling of chains aren't part of these collegiate spooks routine, they can still be disconcerting.
One custodian who asked that his name not be used was working in Butte Hall one evening. He was taking a break, sitting on a padded bench in the ground-floor lobby, when he had a sudden sense he was not alone. He turned and saw a woman sitting at the opposite end of the bench he was on. The custodian gasped when he saw her.
She responded to his gaze and gasp by fading out of sight. She never spoke a word or made a gesture. Another custodian reported a meeting with a spirit of the night who was less visual but a whole lot more demonstrative.
Trinity Hall, the building with the bell tower and one of the oldest structures on campus, has gone through various mutations in its history. The second floor, which overlooks what is now an art gallery but once served as the campus library, is devoted to offices. The custodian strolled onto the office gallery when he was working one night.
He recalled the rest of the building was a comfortable temperature, but he was startled by the sudden chill in the gallery. Reportedly a series of carefully unlocked doors had locked themselves again without apparent human help. Just north of campus, the home of Chico's founder Gen. John Bidwell allegedly houses more than historic relics.
A local couple who claimed to be psychic researchers heard rumors of disembodied voices and other strange goings-on in the building that is now a state historic park. After visiting the mansion in daylight and "sensing" that something out of the ordinary was going on, the pair made a formal request to state park officials for a "special use" permit. The couple wanted to spend the night in the mansion with recording equipment in the hopes of catching something bumping.
However, the state turned them down in a letter that said if there were ghosts in the mansion they certainly qualified as an endangered species and should not be disturbed.
Local legend also claims a "woman in white" has been sighted on West Sacramento Avenue. Dressed in turn-of-the-century — the last one — garb, the apparition reportedly wanders the night with no apparent goal.
At least two ghosts have reportedly visited the Senator Theatre on Main Street, near East Fifth Street. The venerable old theater reportedly has housed the specter of a little Indian boy, dressed in 1890s clothing.
A former manager of the theater claimed to see the boy on a regular basis and other theater staff said they sometimes saw a locked door jump as if some unseen person tried to push it open. The couple with the interest in the paranormal said they once were involved in the redirecting of the spirit of a young man who had died in one of the apartments in the theater building. Allegedly the young man had died in his room and was wandering around the theater because he didn't realize he was dead. These events all took place before the theater was renovated into its current configuration and no apparitions have been reported since.
Source: The ChicoER