This Tuesday, emails leaked to the Carletonian revealed Res Life’s awareness of previously-unconfirmed reports of Burton Hall being haunted. These confidential emails between Res Life staff are the first, but likely not the last, confirmation since the phenomenon began a number of years ago (reports vary as to the exact date, ranging from the late 2000s to last Fall Term).
The Carletonian tip line has been flooded this term with reports of suspicious happenings in Burton Hall, but reporters had previously been unable to verify the cause of these seemingly-random issues.
“My lights flicker every time I turn them on,” one student told the tip line. “I don’t really mind it, but I’d kind of like to know why. I thought this was happening in all of the dorms, and then I learned it wasn’t, but it happens to my neighbor too.”
“Have you noticed that the doors in Burton rattle when the windows are open?” asked one Burton resident in an interview. “Someone told me it’s just the wind, but honestly, I don’t think that’s true.”
A third student reported issues with their doorknob: “It just doesn’t turn! I go to open my door, and it won’t open. It keeps making me late for things. I mean, it’s one thing to forget your key and be locked out of your room, but it’s an entirely different thing to be locked out because your doorknob is temperamental.”
The Carletonian was able to independently confirm this report through analysis of the doorknob in question and interviews with visitors to that dorm room.
When asked for comment, Res Life released a statement saying that “Res Life has no reason to believe there are issues with any residence halls, and further questions should be directed towards Resident Assistants.”
Leaked emails, however, reveal that Res Life may have had more knowledge than previously known. The message of an email forwarding a student email reporting a suspected ghostly visitor read: “I’m still hearing questions about Burton, I thought we had handled that. Can we meet to discuss strategies for reassuring students that the dorm isn’t haunted?”
The Carletonian was not able to obtain a copy of the minutes from that meeting, but later emails reveal that Area Directors have been aware of this issue since at least the start of Fall Term.
“Just following up on our meeting last week — do we have a plan for getting rid of the ghost? It’s been a while, and I’m starting to worry that students will notice we haven’t done anything,” read one of the emails.
“I think this is a great opportunity to delegate!” said a Director of Res Life who the source could not name due to fear of retaliation. “I’ve reached out to security to ask them to remove the ghost’s OneCard access to Burton Residence Hall for the next month. They’ll be doing that tomorrow, although the ghost will still have access to Davis and Sevy. Please coordinate with RAs to make sure they’re consistently telling the ghost to leave and submitting Duty Logs to report its presence.”
“I feel our response is sufficient as long as we maintain that there is no ghost,” the email continued. “Even when speaking with RAs, don’t admit that it’s there. We can definitely convince the students that they’re wrong about it, we just have to keep denying that it exists and that any of the things are happening at all. A lot of students don’t get enough sleep, we can just chalk the incidents up to that. Maybe we can refer students with concerns to OHP or SHAC?”
Most students reported feelings of fear, confusion, curiosity and bewilderment as a result of these seemingly-inexplicable occurrences. Others, however, felt less negatively about the happenings: “I’m kind of oblivious sometimes, I’m like ope! I thought the lights were on in here, but I guess they’re not,” said one student who now suspects their room is haunted. “It’s kind of cool though, isn’t it?”
“Look, I get that other people might not be a huge fan of Glaucon, but I’m flattered that a ghost wanted to hang out with me,” one student explained, referring to the ghost in question. “Glaucon can go wherever, so I think it really says something about the warm feeling in our room that Glaucon joins us so frequently. I think it also reflects really well on Carleton’s campus culture that Glaucon feels so welcomed by admin.”
When asked, the student clarified that they and their friends “decided if we have a third roommate, just calling them ‘Ghostie’ felt rude.” The ghost is named after Glaucon, a character in Plato’s Republic: “the name fits — in the book, Glaucon is characterized as being too focused on enjoyment of life rather than justice, and that felt representative of our interpretation of Ghostie’s philosophy.”
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