Thursday, October 22, 2020

Column: Haunted hall or Halloween deception?

October 25, 2018
Students eat in a hallway at the Haunted Mayo 2018 event at Mary Mayo Hall on Oct. 23, 2018.
Students eat in a hallway at the Haunted Mayo 2018 event at Mary Mayo Hall on Oct. 23, 2018. —
Photo by Anntaninna Biondo | The State News

In the words of Sir Arthur Conan Doyle: “Where there is no imagination, there is no horror.” 

Have you ever heard a mysterious sound behind you and turn around to find that you are alone? Or the random tapping that seems to come from the other side of the door, yet when you open it, nobody’s there? Those are just a few of the many spooky instances that have occurred on Michigan State’s campus throughout the years.

North Neighborhood is the part of campus known for its picturesque scenery, complete with its ivy-like leaves and vines crawling up the walls of the oldest residence halls on campus. Yet there are many stories of spooky instances some students have experienced over the years. At the heart of these spooky stories lies Mayo Hall. 

As you walk through the halls of Mayo Hall, you can’t help but get a spooky vibe from the antique tables and chairs — or the dark lighting and old fashioned piano in the corner — but the most eerie thing of all, the Mary Mayo portrait located in the east lobby on the first floor, is what attracts the most stories from students.

Some claim they’ve seen the eyes of Mayo’s portrait follow them around the east lounge, while others have heard music coming from the piano in the west lounge — with no one seated at the bench. Residents on the second floor have had lights flicker on and off, and closet doors have been said to open and shut on their own.

The Residential Housing Association (RHA) hosted Haunted Mayo, its largest event of the semester, Oct. 23 to help its residents get into the Halloween spirit with food, games, crafts and spooky stories. 

The Michigan State University Paranormal Society also provided tours during the event. Carly Finegan, co-president of the society, took attendees to three distinct locations within the hall that have gathered attention from students and staff over the years. The portrait and both lounges, as mentioned above, were the first stop on the tour.

The basement, another infamous location of haunted happenings, was also visited. In one instance, a girl was doing her laundry and waiting for her clothes to finish drying. Without warning, the lights shut off and the door closed.

She scrambled to the door to find that it was locked, yet there was not a spot on the door for a lock. After crying for help for a few minutes, the lights abruptly turned back on and the door opened. This also allegedly happened to another student a couple of years later, reviving the tales of Mayo’s spirit roaming the building.

The Red Room, located on the fourth floor, was the last stop of the tour. The fourth floor was closed about 15 years ago for construction, and has remained closed to the public ever since. The group was prohibited from setting foot on the floor, but got to look into the space.

This floor was rumored to serve a group of girls in calling and communicating with demonic spirits with a Ouija board in the 1970s. The room was supposedly the site of a suicide as well. All that remains of the Red Room now are pipes, vents and tales of demonic spirits once summoned there by those girls.

Whether Mayo Hall is really haunted by the spirit of Mary Mayo — or anything else — may never be evident, but those who live there will always have those spooky stories to tell. For those of us who have not had any of our own experiences, we are only left to wonder: Are these stories true, or are they simply in the spirit of Halloween?

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