It's that time of year again – the season for ghost stories. Here at Saint Mary's College in Moraga students get into the spirit of Halloween by sharing spooky tales of hauntings, escaped convicts and mysterious madmen. The College's Brother Michael Meister, the master of ghost stories, hosts an annual haunted tour filled with hair-raising, spine-tingling tales frightening enough to scare even the most hardened nonbelievers.

My heart began to thump stronger against my chest, like an anxious mourner awaiting the arrival of a hearse, as Meister began his tales.

Late on a dark, foggy night sometime in the early 60s, he began, three Saint Mary's students ventured to the catacombs underneath Oliver Hall. Dark, cluttered and full of dirt and debris, the tunnels soon swallowed the students whole, leaving them lost and
alone, their imaginations swimming with sickening ideas of dying. Two students managed to crawl back to the entrance, disoriented and terrified. However, the third student was still locked deep inside the heart of the catacombs. A blood-curdling "AAAAAAAAAHHHHH" reached the ears of the freed students, draining the color from their faces.

Instantly, panic settled in and the students began screaming back, hoping their friend would hear them. After many failed attempts, public safety was called. Together the officers and students searched for the lost student. Though the high pitched shrieks
continued, the student remained trapped. After many futile attempts, the search was called off. The lost student remained in the catacombs for two days and nights, wandering in pitch blackness.

On the third day, the guards searched again, and this time they were successful. However, the student they found was not the same student who paraded into the catacombs three days earlier. Curled in a tight ball, eyes bloodshot, shivering and shoving dirt in his mouth lay a madman, he was unrecognizable to his friends. Unfortunately, the student who entered the catacombs with his friends never actually returned and instead
spent the next 10 years of his life in a mental hospital in Napa.

Another of Meister’s tales was the story of a student who lost her life in a tragic accident in Aquinas Hall. An unreliable elevator, a faulty move made by a firefighter, and a girl was smashed to death.

Late in the evening a Saint Mary's student left her friend's dorm in Aquinas Hall. Upon reaching the elevator, she pushed the button and turned around to say goodnight to her friend.

"BEEEEPPP" rang the elevator as it reached the third floor, declaring its presence. Thinking the elevator was behind her, the student took a step backward –  and fell straight down, dropping three stories to the first floor. The door had stayed open even though the elevator had passed up beyond the third floor.

The fall, although quite gruesome and painful, only managed to break both her legs. The girl fought back shock and panic attacks as the fire department was called. Once the
firefighters reached Aquinas Hall, however, they made an unforgivable mistake. Instead of crawling into the elevator shaft, they pressed the  button, sending the elevator straight down onto the girl's body, crushing her immediately. No one ever heard her scream.

Brother Meister's haunted tour reminds students of the true spirit of Halloween. If any of these tales spooked, frightened or unnerved you, remember that its up to you to determine if they are true or not. Just watch out for yourself after dusk. Nonbelievers tend to aggravate ghosts.

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