They are among us
Published: Tuesday, October 23, 2012
Updated: Friday, May 17, 2013 12:05
Legends of ghouls, monsters and ghosts are found in every part of the world, UTEP and El Paso are no exception.
“We have a few haunted buildings on campus, one of them is Old Main in which some students have stayed overnight and have even heard footsteps, trash cans opening and lights flickering,” said Tim Bumgardner, president of the Student Alumni Association. “The same type of reports go with Cotton Memorial, the Geology Building, Hudspeth Hall and Worrell Hall.”
Christopher Rodriguez, sophomore biology major, said he has found a woman roaming the fifth floor of the UTEP Library. Although no one knows the true origin, a woman in red is said to wander this floor, but not so as to scare students. The cold atmosphere on this floor only adds an eerie feeling to this myth, according to some students.
“I was studying up here once, and since it is so quiet, sometimes you can start hearing or seeing things,” Rodriguez said. “Maybe I was tired or imagining things, but it does keep me hesitant when I come up here.”
Passed on from word of mouth, the tale of the red lady has spread between friends as a mere myth. However, eyewitness accounts like Rodriguez’ can keep students guessing whether this tale is solely myth or something more.
“I saw a flash of red pass by me. I looked up to see who it was and when I did, no one was there,” Rodriguez said. “My friends have seen the same thing, it’s kind of freaky.”
Bumgardner knows of a few ghost stories that have made their way into UTEP’s history.
“At Hudspeth Hall and Worrell Hall there was this guy that committed suicide, well not really committed suicide, he was trying to jump from one window to another and he fell to his death,” he said. “At Seamon Hall, there was this lady, a student, who got pregnant by this professor and he killed her to cover up what he had done. In the library these incidents are recorded, also by The Prospector. There are also accounts with ghosts in the Fox Fine Arts, where the dancer’s skirts are lifted up.”
Robert Nava, junior theater arts major, said any ghostly encounter would scare him.
“I’m such a chicken, I’d run out of the building,” he said. “I believe in ghosts so I definitely don’t doubt that there are ghosts in some buildings.”
Richard Pineda, professor of communications, said these ghost stories are a good part of UTEP’s legacy.
“There are lots of stories about the different ghosts and urban legends. I think it is cool and I think it’s a neat part of the legacy because of the stories and talks about it,” he said. “I’ve never experienced anything but I am not inclined to believe. I hope that the stories of the legends are enclosed. In Seamon Hall, apparently there was this kid that committed suicide or there was a murder, but the thing about that is that sometimes the story changes periodically over time.”
UTEP is not the only historically haunted location in El Paso. Throughout the city there are several legends and haunted houses.
The Ghost Investigators Team, led by Jerry Marin, has been researching homes and buildings in the El Paso area to determine if paranormal activity is actually present.
The GIT has worked alongside another paranormal-investigating group called the El Paso Ghost Tours. People can investigate paranormal activity in various buildings with certified equipment for a certain cost, which varies.
UTEP students who have been with the El Paso Ghost Tours have investigated the Palace Saloon and the De Soto Hotel, both of which are located in downtown El Paso.
“It was a good experience and I did creep out because of the situations they put you in,” said Danielle Healy, senior history major. “They put you in dark, dirty basements and I think all of us experienced paranormal activity.”
Marin is currently looking into investigating three homes in the Manhattan Historical District, both of which are claimed to have dark histories.
Marin heard about an early 20th century-style home located on 2701 Silver Ave., which is prominently notable for the third floor tower and its red brick walls. According to Marin, one of the previous owners was a woman who committed suicide.
“This home is kind of castle-like and there’s a lady that used to live there, she jumped out of that window, (she) either committed suicide or hung herself,” Marin said. “They do still see, either during the day if not at night, the spirit of a woman outside dressed up in a white-type dress.”
Another home in the same neighborhood is a 1920s style home on 2630 Richmond Ave. The home is three floors and has a Victorian mansion appeal. The home has been in possession of various owners and has served different purposes.
“(This) is a home we’re actually working on Richmond and Louisiana, we did a little bit more research on that home. One of the original builders in El Paso, his name is Robert McKee, he was a big builder in El Paso,” Marin said. “He built that as his own residence originally in the early 1920s. Other professional individuals that I’ve spoken to said that it also housed prior mayors and was a rehab center and a children’s hospital.”