I am asked frequently what are some of the most haunted locations I have investigated and I have a mental list that I keep. One in particular is close to my heart because it was there I saw my first full bodied apparition during an investigation at the Idaho Normal School in Albion. The school was established by the Idaho State Legislator in 1893. The citizens of Albion actively lobbied the schools establishment, and donated the land and labor for the new campus. The school offered a two year teacher training program until 1947, when it was renamed Southern Idaho College of Education (SICE). The school was troubled by low income and lack of funding and finally closed by the state in 1951. The campus remained vacant until 1957, when the Magic Valley Christian College opened at the site, and later closed in 1969. The beautiful historic campus was locked and boarded up until the City of Albion auctioned it off in 2007. The family that now owns the school rents the grounds in the summer for all kinds of events and during Halloween they host the Haunted Mansions of Albion which I hear is a great event for all of you haunted house aficionados. See them on facebook for more info.
In July of 2010 I ventured with my paranormal group to investigate Albion. The grounds are well kept but some of the larger buildings are still largely unkempt and decrepit. You always know you’re going to have an amazing investigation when you see a ghost ten minutes after arriving. And so it was at Albion, I was still organizing plans for the equipment setup in the largest building the women’s dormitory. The building had three floors and at the time I was in the basement. It was 7pm on a hot July afternoon and there was still 2 hours before sunset but in the basement it felt and looked like midnight on a cool October evening. There seemed to be endless halls with empty rooms swathed in graffiti. The construction had placed stairways up to the outside surface every so often, but I had hardly noticed them as I mulled over the possible locations for recorders and cameras. I was not expecting anything paranormal, but as I have said before the paranormal is unpredictable and opportunistic.
It was a woman. Her eyes were black and lifeless. I remember snorkeling in the Mexican ocean and seeing a barracuda with intensely lifeless black eyes. Her eyes were black, unfeeling, and void like those of the barracuda. Her skin was white and smooth and yet it appeared hard and dry like hard plaster, cold and still. The face a long oblong shape with a pointy chin and nose that ran the length of the eyes extending to the small slit of a mouth. Her hair color was dirty blonde and was held in a medium curl down to the shoulders. The most striking feature was an enormous flat white collar that looked like it belonged to a uniform of sort, maybe from the 1930s or 40s. Later, I jokingly called her the lunch lady because in the same area were the remnants of a large industrial mixer that would have made breads and other dishes, but it could have been a uniform for anything from a nurse to a sanitation worker. I only knew, and I had no doubt, she was and enigma or a mistake in the natural world. Why would she want to remain where she was so out of place and odd? But then, I often remind myself, maybe I was the intruder and she was just curious like a questioning glance at new neighbors. Still I was over whelmed with an unnatural sensation and sense of alarm.
Our encounter was short, but as in many cases it was evermore burned into my mind. She quickly peeked at me from behind an old door way beginning one of the stairways up to ground level. As my mind scrambled to process what was happening, I was instantly snapped back into the present and felt the adrenaline inject in to my spine. I gasped for a breath only to find my lungs unable to comply and startled, stepped back against a wall. I tried to say something but had no air to make intelligible sounds.
It was unnecessary to inform the others around me that a paranormal event had occurred, the air had changed and an excitement like static electricity wafted in the air. Their only question was to what level had the paranormal been manifested. Though it seemed longer, a second after the shock I was fine and an emotional release like cold water on a hot day allowed me to catch my breath and I related what I had experienced. Everyone became alert and quiet to pause and listen for the woman in the shadows. But there was only silence.
Embarrassment was the next emotion. I was the leader and I had flinched in a big way. Inside I reproved and chastised myself for showing a reaction unlike the many paranormal investigators on TV who seem unfazed by such experiences. I could not help it, I was caught completely by surprise and I don’t care, that woman creeped me out! I walked with another investigator down the hall discussing the event. I only separated myself slightly unaware I had come to the next stairway. At this location not only was there a door way but a small window in the wall out to the stairwell and through that window she stood glaring at me. I jumped flailing my arms, knocking a camera out of the hand of my companion. I made no sound that time, but the message was clear, it was time to leave. I do not know why she was stalking me and I did not want to find out.
I did go back in the building that night, many times, but I did not see the woman again. There were many other experiences and events. Albion remains on my mental list of very haunted locations and I am happy to have had a brush with the paranormal in that place. I do wonder who the woman was and why I was able to see her when others did not at that moment. No member of the team that night saw her with their own eyes, but I will end this account by telling that three members of the team do believe to have witnessed a white figure in the original doorway and stairwell while setting up the DVR system’s flat screen. Unfortunately the DVR system was not recording yet and so it was not documented, so you will have to decide for yourselves what really happened at Albion.