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Strange Scene At An Abandoned Schoolhouse


I like to consider myself a skeptical believer when it comes to ghosts. I have always had an interest in the paranormal, and have had a few experiences that I have an open mind on. I am always looking for a scientific, rational, or even common sense explanation. Through the careers I have had, and through my hobbies, I have had the opportunity to live, sleep, stay, camp etc in some very old, historical, and sometimes reportedly haunted buildings in the U.S. While I have never had the obvious "Ok there is a ghost, and now its walking away, and now it disappeared" experience where there is no other explanation, I have had some unexplained things happen to me. This is one of them.

This experience happened to me about this time of year in October 2011. Being on this site for a few weeks now has made me more open to sharing my few experiences.

I had moved to a suburb of Pittsburgh a couple years ago for a career change. I was renting a house in an old steel mill town that while not a dangerous neighborhood, had sadly seen better days. Nearly every night after work, I go for a run along the same route down the main street, up one of the side streets a few blocks, and take a parallel street home. On the side street on my route was an old schoolhouse that had probably been abandoned for about 30 years. This was one of your typical "they don't build them like they used to" type school houses, built anywhere from the 1920's to the 1950's in my estimate; a stately yellow brick building two stories tall shaped like a "T" with the top of the T facing the street and a long wing in the back. The first floor of the building was boarded up, covered in graffiti, and the second story windows were all broken out by vandals.

I remember very well that this happened in October, as it was getting dark at about 7:00 PM when I would go on my runs, there was a chill in the air, and the leaves had changed. As I was passing the school on my run, I noticed that the first floor on the main front wing was all lit up. It appeared that there was some type of open house going on, with a group of people in one of the rooms standing around, enjoying refreshments. I remember very vividly seeing a guy with an ugly sweater visible through one of the windows looking out, a clock on the wall, and bulletin board on the wall was decorated for Thanksgiving, which was strange because it was still over a month away. I was on my run, getting tired, and it was getting dark, so I was booking it to make it home, and really didn't pay much attention to what was going on at the school.

That is, until I made it about a block down the street. I stopped dead in my tracks and had a "HOLY $#* () @" revelation... The school is abandoned! I turned around and ran back, and the building was dark, gloomy, and boarded up just as it always is... No lights on, nobody inside the building, no Thanksgiving themed bulletin board... Just broken windows, plywood, and graffiti.

I think about this experience every time I'm out on a run this time of year after the sun sets. I since have moved, but every once in a while my job will take me to that town again. Sadly, the school was torn down. There had been rumors about it turning into apartments, or a brewery, but apparently it was too far gone and the owner was holding out thinking someone would pay him big bucks for the building. Instead, the town condemned it. No worries though, there is a boring modern school built not too far away.

This experience drives me crazy, though. I could have been daydreaming on my run, but it was so vivid. I am a healthy guy in my early 30's, in shape, no drugs, not a drinker... If I have that over active of am imagination, I've never realized it before. Nothing like this has happened since either. I will never know!

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The following comments are submitted by users of this site and are not official positions by Please read our guidelines and the previous posts before posting. The author, NorthCoastie, has the following expectation about your feedback: I will read the comments and participate in the discussion.

NorthCoastie (4 stories) (72 posts)
10 years ago (2013-11-01)
Thanks everyone! Jetson - I don't recall any foreboding feelings... The funny thing is, I didn't feel anything was out of the ordinary when I saw what I saw... I was running past and I thought "Oh, something is going on at the school tonight"... And then after I ran down the street for a block or two, I had one of those Scooby Doo moments where I did like a triple take and was like "Wait a minute!" I don't remember if the lawn was in good shape as I ran by, since it was pretty dark and I was paying more attention on not tripping. It really was just maybe one or two, maybe three rooms that were lit up.
babygoatpuller (4 stories) (432 posts)
10 years ago (2013-10-29)
You're going to have to go into my favorite poster list NorthCoastie. Great read and don't you just love those "wtf" moments after the fact?! I've had one myself but I think it's a little looney even for this crowd! 😆

I was thinking along the same lines as granny with trying to dig into old yearbooks. You may find the ugly sweater guy there.
Jetson (2 stories) (67 posts)
10 years ago (2013-10-29)
I really was interested in your story as I have experienced as you know something very similar. I wanted to ask you if you felt any sense of foreboding as you were watching the scene from the street into the school? As you looked at the guy with the ugly sweater was there any sense he was connecting with you? Was there any noise to speak of or was it absent of all sounds and deathly quiet? Did you happen to sense that outside the school things were changed as well... Lawns manicured or trees and shrubs growing where possibly on your return to see the scene none were now in existence. I have to say though that you obviously experienced some window into the past and why these things occur it's anyone's guess but it is still very intriguing and puzzling all the same. Thanks for sharing.
NorthCoastie (4 stories) (72 posts)
10 years ago (2013-10-29)
Here's a quick news article on the building from when they tore it down. Just a few quick shots of the exterior:


Apparently the place was filled with bats that were terrorizing the neighbor.
STARRCHiCC14 (31 posts)
10 years ago (2013-10-29)
Wow! It sounds like a time slip to me too. So intriguing. Your story is definitely going to my favorites. Thank you for sharing!
valkricry (48 stories) (3245 posts) mod
10 years ago (2013-10-28)
😕 (We really need a baffled emoticon, because this IS baffling.) I wonder if anyone around there had also witnessed that sight? It does sound like a time slip. But, I guess we'll never really know. If you can recall the name of the school, a little research MIGHT turn something up.
For what it's worth, I don't think you imagined it. It's too detailed for that. On the upside, at least what-ever the cause, you were shown something pleasant and not scary. 😊
NorthCoastie (4 stories) (72 posts)
10 years ago (2013-10-28)
Arwen: That's pretty crazy about the old time music... I lived in an old house in Oregon for a couple years where I'd faintly hear like an AM jazz radio station playing all the time when it was really quiet at night. I did some research and found sometimes old metal ductwork can actually work as a transistor radio and pickup stations. That of course, doesn't explain your experience in the car, so pretty creepy!

Granny: It seems like there are tons of old abandoned schools in Ohio waiting demolition. I pass one in Fowler often for work. All these replacement schools look like office buildings. I'd love to see how drywall and carpeted flooring is going to holdup in 20 years of use with kids, vs. The tile we had in the old buildings I went to. Hey, why spend $1,500,000 to renovate an older solid building vs building a new $12,500,000 school every 25 years.
Arwen1957 (7 stories) (47 posts)
10 years ago (2013-10-27)
I agree with the time slip idea. Years ago when I was bringing my son home from practice around 6:00 pm at a certain spot on one road we always heard this old time music almost as if from a music box. But with the car windows rolled up and no house or anyone around how could it be a music box I always thought we had driven by the site of an old time gypsy or other travelers spot and for a moment heard the music they played We only lived in that area for about a year and I have never been back in at least 18 years
zzsgranny (18 stories) (3329 posts) mod
10 years ago (2013-10-27)
NorthCoastie: Geez, something like that would definitely stick with a person. I'm wondering if it would be possible to take a look through some of the school's past yearbooks, or other pictures to see if the man you described was a teacher, or other staff member. My old high school was demolished, but the little town of Leavittsburg has retained and archived a lot of the memorabilia from the school.

Unfortunately, some of the most wonderful buildings are being torn down to make way for the stark, more modern construction. I don't know about PA, but in Ohio in order for the state to build new schools the old ones have to go. Stupid, stupid, stupid.
NorthCoastie (4 stories) (72 posts)
10 years ago (2013-10-27)
It is a pretty WTF experience. 3 years later I'm still trying to figure it out. I can't for sure call it a 100% I saw ghosts experience, since it was so fleeting, I was alone with no other witnesses to verify, and the below listed possibilities, but I vividly saw what I saw.

I have several theories on this, in order of most to least plausible:

1. People were checking out the building.

My problem with that is A.) there were lights on, and when I investigated later in daylight, I found no power connected to the building. B.) The interior that I saw looked clean, freshly painted, and like a an active school would. I doubt the inside of an abandoned school would really look that way, especially with bulletin board decorations on the wall.

2. I imagined the whole thing.

My problem with this is what I saw and remember is way too vivid. I can even describe the guy in the window with a brown, orange, and white argyle sweater, thin, middle aged, pale, with dark hair parted all the way over from one side. I was only 10-20 feet from the building, and the 2nd floor room that I saw this in was 8-10 feet off the ground (the rear wing was sunken in a little so the first floor's windows were at ground level but the floor would be about 4-5 feet below grade. Since it was getting dark and the area around the school has a lot of tall trees, it is nearly pitch black where I would run past it. I remember the lights from the room lighting up the sidewalk as I ran by. I ran past this building about 100 other times before, and 100 after I witnessed this, and never saw anything like this on another run, or anywhere else for that matter.

3. I had a psychic experience.

Possible... If I believed in that sort of thing (no offense to all the psychics on here, we all have our own worldview, that just isn't a part of mine currently).

I am strongly considering the Time Slip or Stone Tape theory... Good ideas fellow posters. I don't think there would be a room full of ghosts, plus the lights on and all. If I saw a scene from 1972, that is totally awesome.

Either way, this experience has stuck with me. Like I've said, I'm a huge skeptical believer, and I've had many other experiences that I'm sure a lot of you would say were paranormal. I've been able to debunk mostly all of those experiences. This one however, I got nothing!
BadJuuJuu (guest)
10 years ago (2013-10-27)
Well, this experience has a major wtf factor. I mean that in a good way lol. 😁
Stuff like this, I don't know what to think. On the one hand I want to say residual, because I can wrap my mind around a residual. On the other hand, something so big as this, with the school lit up, decorated, and so many people, I kind of want to say time slip? Fascinating, whatever it was.
Demonkiller (32 posts)
10 years ago (2013-10-27)
Brilliant Story NorthCoastie very thorough.
It sounds like stonetape theory or a Residual Haunting.

Thanks. 😁

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