Antelope Valley Press - AV Living (Antelope Valley)

The ghost with a sense of humor

- WRITTEN BY Pamela Krogstie | Valley Press Staff

San Francisco is a place full of history and memories. When I found out that I was accepted to a private art institute in the fall of 1996, in this incredible city, I couldn’t wait to get out of my small town and experience something new.

After waiting a few months for the first day of check-in and finding out where our dorms were, I was told that the dorms were over-booked. So I, along with the remaining students, who were temporaril­y homeless, we were put up in an old, creepy hotel that was located in a not-so-safe side of town.

After being displaced for three weeks, the university purchased a building for us to live in. It turned out to be the Folger family’s mansion. It was one of the few structures that had survived the devastatin­g earthquake of 1906. We were all in awe of such an amazing building. Running up and down the original spiral staircase and riding in the vintage elevator made you feel surrounded by history.

Once we became accustomed to our new accommodat­ions, everyone began to settle into their routines.

During the weekdays, classwork was grueling. Walking around San Francisco to the many buildings where classes were held made for a physically brutal feat, but when the weekend came, not one of us took our free time for granted. We spent a lot of our time sight seeing throughout the city.

But for the most part, we loved hanging out in our own “little mansion.”

Because the dorm had Victorian charm and so much history behind it, it wasn’t hard to get spooked here and there — especially late at night.

There were so many instances that happened during my stay, it would take too long to mention all of them. However, one in particular, always leaves a smile on my face and chills on everyone’s arms, when I tell it.

I’ve grown up seeing ghosts and apparition­s. So to see anything strange around the dorm, wasn’t going to surprise me. That being said, I was standing in the kitchen making the typical college dinner on the stove, which was Top Ramen.

For some strange reason I felt the need to look over at the stairway. At the foot of the stairs stood a little old woman, who was about to walk upstairs. I assumed that it was someone’s grandmothe­r who had come for a surprise visit. That assumption was short-lived, when I had noticed that she had no feet and was floating six inches off of the wooden floor.

I looked at her and asked if she needed help with anything. She shook her head no, put her index finger to her lips and gave me a wink. She pointed upstairs and signaled for me to wait. I giggled and said “OK.” Then she proceeded to make her way up the staircase. I had to step out of the kitchen to watch her ascend to the second floor.

I walked back to the kitchen to finish making dinner, when I suddenly heard several of my friends shrieking in pure fright. I started laughing, as I ran upstairs to the dorm room next to mine.

Several of my roommates were on the floor hugging each other. As soon as they saw me enter the room they rushed over to me, screaming. Trying not to laugh too hard, I asked “What did she do to you?”

In complete shock to my question, their faces then turned t confusion and all at once, started yelling out what had happened.

One of my roommates received a brand new art tote bin for her birthday and was showing everyone in the room all of the wonderful ways to store every little art tool in it. When the entire tote was opened, it suddenly began to close every compartmen­t shut, lower the lid and latch itself up. Apparently that little old lady at the foot of the stairs was quite the trickster.

I told them all about what happened shortly before this had all come about and said they didn’t have to worry. For some strange reason, they didn’t seem to find it amusing.

A few weeks later, we had some friends over for a movie night. Of course the main conversati­on of the evening was the little old woman who closed an art bin.

As it turns out, one of our visitors had known about the history of the mansion. After the Folger’s family moved out, the place was eventually turned into a retirement home, before it became our dorm. To this day, the mansion is still home to art students who come from around the world, to attend the institute.

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