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  • Writer's pictureLisa M. Lucero

Spooky Sightings at the Haunted Farrar Schoolhouse, a short story

After attending a Halloween party, we are going back to Grinnell and entering the town of Maxwell in a Grinnell College van.

It is a dark, stormy Halloween night. Everyone is laughing and talking, that is until the vehicle starts to rattle. The vehicle squeals, then it suddenly comes to an abrupt stop. Every

one becomes annoyed for they have other Halloween activities to attend. The driver informs everyone that the vehicle has to be towed in for repairs.

We look around to see if there is a place to seek shelter. There is a building in a distance with a light on. It appears to be an old three-story building that used to be a school. People are stepping inside it.

“There is a place you can stay until the vehicle is repaired,” the driver says as he points to the old, rickety schoolhouse. The driver gives a sinister smile as if he knows something about the place.

We grudgingly get out of the vehicle. Our hearts froze in fright when we realize that we will have to cross through a cemetery to get to the old school building. The wind is howling and whipping all around us. We hear the thunder clashing overhead and feel the cold dampness of the rain. We start running through the cemetery. We jump at the sound of trees cracking as we rush toward the school building.

After we cross a street, we approach the doors to the school. We hurriedly get inside and join the group of people standing in the entranceway. We feel relieved because we are now safe. Or are we?

We hear a couple of paranormal investigators speaking to the crowd. We then discover that we are about to take part in a haunted tour of the Farrar Schoolhouse. There is a sudden eeriness in the air. What have we gotten ourselves into?

According to the school’s owners, Nancy and John Oliver, the school has been part of thousands of investigations and has seen guests including Des Moines band Slipknot’s Corey Taylor, and The Discovery Channel’s “My Ghost Story” and “Ghost Stalkers.” Tourists are additionally able to stay overnight on the property.

The investigators then start the tour. The most haunted Iowa school was built in 1921 and was rumored to have closed down in the 2000s due to paranormal activity. Before the school was built, it was nothing more than a plot of farmland. The town of Maxwell was previously named Farrar.

As we explore the lower floor, someone claims to have heard footsteps behind them. We turn and notice no one is following them. Someone shrieks as they, too, sense a presence around them. Someone reports hearing a childlike voice from nowhere. All of a sudden, we all hear childlike voices and footsteps. We began walking away frantically, but we are stopped by an apparition of a little girl running joyfully down the hall.

We then head up the steps near the gym. A ghostly figure waits for us at the top. We notice it is the apparition of a little boy. The boy smiles. We slowly continue walking up the steps in fright. The boy disappears. We then walk down the second floor hallway. Someone claims to have heard a girl giggling from the hallway. We look into a classroom and spot a ghostly figure of a young girl with a long, frilly dress and curly hair. We leave the classroom and walk further down the hall, then the sound of a slamming door stops us in our tracks.

We are now walking up the steps to the third floor. Someone screams and runs away as soon as they see a 9-foot tall shadowy figure lurking about. The paranormal investigator then leads us into a room called “The Ball Room” because balls roll around on their own inside. The investigator puts down a ball for us to observe the paranormal activity. The ball then rolls slowly around the floor.

As we head down the stairs, we notice a shadowy figure coming down the steps from the principal’s office. We shutter as we observe the ghostlike figure. We are now heading toward the gym.

We head to the center of the gym where chairs are placed in a circle. As we sit down, the paranormal team claims to have heard music in the gym during recent investigations. No one seems to know where the music is coming from.

One of the paranormal investigators invites the ghosts to play a little game of Duck Duck Goose. We sit on our chairs nervously. We then feel a slight bop on the head. We jump out of our seats with our hearts pounding. Just as we think the worst is over, we hear our names whispered softly in our ears.

Closing statement:

A trip to the Farrar Schoolhouse was not for the faint of heart, but we managed to survive. We get a phone call from the driver who managed to get a rental van to come pick us up. The storm has now passed. Things are now looking up. Congratulations for conquering your fears and helping each other get through the experience together. That’s true Grinnellian spirit!

By Lisa M. Lucero

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