History of haunts: The spookiest stories from students

Have you ever felt the chill of something behind you? The feeling of being watched? Have you ever experienced a moment that could only be described as “supernatural?” If so, you’re not alone. The students of Hope College continue to find themselves in the presence of the paranormal and in the sites of a ghastly trail that follows them to their events on campus. To learn more about their most unnatural encounters and stories, I talked to Maxwell Lam (’20), Megan Clark (’19), and Timothy Embertson (’21) (featured here in order). Just be warned, their stories may keep you up in the darkness of the night.

Something rotten in the state of Michigan:

“In the woods near Phelps Mansion there’s always been a legend of people with heads augmented by diesis [who] ate people. In the early 1900s there was an asylum that existed where the present-day Phelps Mansion is for persons of not-great mental health. It was always sort of a sketchy sort of establishment, because this was before the reformation of hospitals. Unfortunately, in the early 1900s, there was a terrible fire that rendered the entire place wasted. After the fire happened, there was no accounting for the people that were [inside]. The melon heads escaped. So the melon heads are a legend about these cannibal people who escaped from the insane asylum in the early 1900s in Michigan… And now they’re back to kill people! Boo!”

Paul the Demon:

“I used to do Ouija boards all the time in high school with my best friends. It wasn’t ever the official Ouija board. It was a pizza box that we just drew the letters and pictures on. You had a sun and moon in the corner, and you would ask the demon or whoever you were talking to [questions]. Then it started telling us things about our lives that only one of us could know. Then we would ask it questions, and it would be able to answer them, even things that none of us knew the answer to. Then we would look it up and it would be right. It started getting really weird. It told us its name was Paul and that it was sitting behind me, and then I got really cold. It said it knew my best friend from her dreams. Then it talked about all of these old people that all of us knew and how he knew them when he was alive. My friend Alexis had to leave, so she broke the circle. One of the rules is you don’t break the circle, or you release the spirit you were talking to into the world. There’s a ritual thing you have to do to send it back down to the underworld. We didn’t close out the session, didn’t think anything of it, because it was a joke, right? The next night, Grace comes to school covered in scratches. She said she had this dream of this figure over her bed. She didn’t remember how she got scratches up and down her arms. Every couple months, she [still] has that dream and she wakes up covered in scratches.”

The child of the hole people:

“Me and my brother, the summer before last we were helping a man in our local town, Mr. Vanderwide. He had a string of rental homes that he would rent out (go figure). He was like, ‘I need a little help here, because the last tenants of this house were meth heads.’ The first day getting there, we had to clean out bags and bags of syringes and what you would find in the most disgusting drug den. We should have been wearing masks, but we weren’t. What was creepier was when this family was evicted, they were so… out that they [were found] in these little holes in the backyard with tarps over them. [So there was] trash everywhere. We found dead squirrels and stuff in the ceiling. However, the real creepy s— happened when we went out to the garage. Off the side of the garage, they had this little lean-to type of thing that was just like one wall and the roof, so one wall was open. We had to scrub the side and prime the side of this garage so we could paint it and make it look [better]. As I was painting, I looked down and there was the fill- ‘em-with water babies buried in the dirt, so me and my brother got a long stick and dug it up and had it sitting in the middle of this lean-to and a giant spider crawled across the head. It was like a movie, worth it for the chills.”

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