The Dalhousie Student Union Building (SUB), since it was built in 1968, has been home to many bizarre and spooky phenomena. Late at night, students stumble out of the Grawood like hordes of starved zombies, and the bookstore infamously sucks students dry of money, akin to vampires sucking the blood of innocent souls. The story you are about to read is not one of living origins, however; it is a ghost story.
It all began after the editors of the Gazette received an anonymous e-mail sharing a story of paranormal activity in the SUB, followed by me accepting the task of discovering the truth of this ghostly entity — not only for my sake, but for the sake of all Dalhousie students.
I knew this would be an investigation unlike any other I have done, but even I couldn’t have prepared myself for the mysteries and terrors that awaited me as I delved into this case. The SUB is a place of constant change, like the new construction, energy, and movement, with hundreds of students passing through each and every day … surely, someone has noticed something.
The first person I spoke to about the ghost was Dalhousie Student Union (DSU) Vice President Internal, Kaitlynne Lowe. As an individual who knows the building like the back of her hand, I was hoping she would have some insight.
“I’ve slept overnight in the SUB before, and didn’t hear anything,” began Lowe, sitting adjacent from me on a plush brown chair in a DSU office room. She mentioned many of the others ghosts Dalhousie is famous for such as Penelope, the blue-dressed spirit who apparently hung herself in Shirreff Hall in the 1920s; as well as spirits in the Arts Centre and University Club buildings.
Wind howled gently outside the window, competing with the sounds of the welding being done out front, grey clouds rolled across the dreary October sky. Upon being asked if she had seen anything strange in the SUB specifically, one thing did come to Lowe’s mind … a rat.
“I’ve seen a rat the size of a cat in this building,” she said, her voice lilting as she recounted the story of her 3 a.m. encounter with the rodent fiend.
It seemed everybody else I spoke to thought I was crazy.
Construction workers, Tim Hortons employees, students, all seemingly naïve to any otherworldly events.
Responses ranged from “I haven’t seen a ghost,” “They had heat lamps once, so we thought the DSU staff might be lizard people,” to, “I wish I was more imaginative to think of something to tell you.”
They clearly didn’t realize the gravity and importance of the situation at hand. The only comment I heard on multiple occasions was an influx in mice and rats in the SUB. How could something a rodent does convince someone to believe in the paranormal? I knew I was missing something essential, but what could it be?
Then it came to me.
What if the recent construction on the building was influencing the behaviour of the rats and mice, making them produce actions and noises not usually heard, scaring someone enough to make them think it was a ghost?
I suppose, in the end, it all comes down to the fact that we are most afraid of the unknown. We will likely never know if there truly is a spirit haunting the SUB, or if it is just a ghost of our own creating.
Perhaps, some of us enjoy the bliss of not knowing.