(Editor’s Note: This anonymous submission appeared in our inboxes last week. The author refuses to provide a name out of a fear of appearing “insane.” We decided to run with it anyway, because the protagonist of this story is probably just going to end up being “a friend of a friend” when we tell it to our grandkids someday, right?)
Are ghosts real?
If you’d asked me that question last week, I would have sighed and said no.
Now, I’m not so sure.
I don’t expect you to believe the story I’m about to tell you. I wouldn’t, if it hadn’t happened to me.
I was in the student union building the other evening, on the second floor next to that set of wooden tables near the stairs. Other people were still around, but the building was quiet compared to how it is during the day. I was going to meet a friend who’d just texted me, and I’d stopped to text him back.
Have you ever felt like something is off? Like, you can’t put your finger on it, and there is nothing obviously wrong going on, but something isn’t quite right.
I had that feeling in my stomach the minute I pulled out my phone. The whole area felt a little off. It wasn’t really something I was thinking about consciously. I just kept looking back behind me at that temporary wall with the door on it, like in the back of my head I was convinced that someone was going to come walking out of the empty construction site.
As I was texting my friend, I started to smell cigarette smoke. It was slowly invading my space, like when you’re trapped inside a bus shelter with a smoker on a rainy day. I was alone in the area, and there didn’t seem to be anyone in any of the rooms nearby. I figured maybe it had something to do with the renovations, since I often see the workers out on smoke breaks. That smell can travel with you. That didn’t explain why the smell was increasing, but I was too distracted to think about that. I kept texting.
A plastic “Caution: Wet Floor” sign that was propped up against a pillar behind me fell over. This was a little strange, since I wasn’t touching it or moving in any way that would’ve shaken the floor or created a breeze. Still, it wasn’t that weird. I think it was folded up beforehand since it wasn’t in use, so it probably wasn’t super stable. The construction probably vibrates things loose all day anyway, so I didn’t think about it much. I just propped it back up against the pillar and went back to texting.
About five seconds later, something slapped me on the back.
When I say slapped, I mean slapped. Someone hit me hard on the back, like you would if you were trying to dislodge something from someone’s throat. I was pushed forward so hard that my phone went flying out of my hand. If I’d been facing a few degrees more to the left, it probably would have fallen out into the atrium on the floor below.
I turned around, but no one was there. No one was in the room at all, and there was nowhere for anyone to hide. I didn’t hear any footsteps before or after the slap.
I decided to leave the building and wait out front.
I don’t know what to say about this experience. I haven’t told my friends, because it sounds insane. I’ve never believed in anything supernatural. I’m not even religious. If someone else told this story to me, I’d roll my eyes and think they needed medication. The skeptic in me wants to say that everything that happened was just a coincidence, like maybe I just had a back spasm. Then I think back on the feeling of something with weight behind it physically pushing me forwards. There was a bruise on my back right where I felt the impact.
I’ve got nothing.
Maybe crowdsourcing this can help fill in some of the blanks—has anyone else noticed or heard of anything weird going on at the SUB?