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Primary School Scare


Back in the early 1990s my primary school in Benoni, Gauteng province, like virtually every other school out there, had its fair share of ghost stories. Nothing really stuck around for more than six months, however, since older stories would be changed considerably or replaced by something brand new by kids with vivid (if at times completely silly) imaginations. The story I am about to relay to you here does not align with any of these stories, however.

In the early 80s our school decided to expand due to a larger number of students, and built a few more classrooms, and during this time several prefab rooms were also assembled as temporary classrooms. Once the permanent classrooms were ready for use, the school kept the prefabs as storage rooms, where old broken desks, chairs and the like were stored. Others were used for the music room, a science lab and a wood workshop.

The actual event happened in 1992. It was my last year of primary school, and we were taking part in a school play on a Friday night. My friend, Charles, myself and three other students were finished with our scenes in the play, but couldn't go home yet since all of us were obligated to stay until it was finished. We had changed out of our costumes and decided to walk around the school grounds and chat until we could go home.

We were walking, chatting and joking around as kids tend to do, crossing the sports field towards some of the prefab buildings at the back of the school grounds. We came to a stop in front of one of the storage units, chatting about a television series we missed due to the play.

I was slightly distracted by the strange clutter in the one window of this unit, though. Several old desks and chairs were haphazardly stacked up against the dusty, grimy window, along with some old textbooks. I couldn't recall ever seeing this clutter before, but eventually brushed it off, thinking that someone might have moved stuff around to use some of the things stored in there as props for the play.

I turned my back on the window and rejoined the conversation, Charles standing beside me, also facing away from the window. The boy in front of me was in the middle of a sentence when he abruptly stopped talking. His face drained of all colour, and he had a look of sheer terror. He was staring at something behind me.

I apprehensively turned around, looking towards the window. At first it didn't register what I was looking at exactly. Then it became all too clear.

Pressed up against the window was a grotesque, bloated, yellowish face. Its eyes were swollen shut and its mouth was slightly open. It felt like my heart jumped into my throat. Then I chuckled, thinking that it was just a mask left in the window that I hadn't noticed before. Then it opened its mouth wide. This was no mask.

We got out of there as quickly as our legs could carry us. I can safely say I was screaming like a five year old girl as we were running, but luckily I was not the only one.

We nearly gave our poor music teacher a heart attack as we almost barreled into her in the dark of the sports field, but to be fair, she scared the heck out of us as well. She had been on her way to the music room to fetch something when she heard our screams, and came to investigate. She demanded to know what was going on. We all started talking at once, but eventually got the message through to her that we had seen a face in the window. She told us to take her to the prefab building and show her, even though she also looked pretty frightened at that moment.

We reluctantly approached the building with our teacher in tow, but found that things were not as we remembered them. The clutter in the window was gone, there were no smudges on the inside of the window, and there definitely was no yellow face in the window either.

Our teacher was extremely mad at us, and actually burst into tears, scolding us for playing such a mean trick on her. She said that we would definitely get quite the talking to on Monday when we were back at school, and she stormed off.

We were all in quite a state at that point. Not only had we been scared out of our wits, but also got into trouble with a teacher. We hurried towards the classrooms where the other students were gathered, and none of us spoke about it further that night.

On Monday we didn't get the stern talking to that we dreaded, luckily. During recess I spoke to Charles and one of the other boys about what happened that night. Charles had actually not seen what the rest of us had seen and only got spooked because we got spooked.

By the end of the school day the story had somehow spread, starting new school 'legends' about the ghost in the prefab, each back story more ridiculous than the previous one.

Many times I have wondered if this was just a very elaborate prank, but if it was, the pranksters had some skills worthy of Scare Tactics.

Firstly, the door was securely padlocked, and the music teacher was the only one who had the keys for those units that night.

Secondly, the face was in an area where no person in a mask could possibly be, since the clutter in the window was far too tightly packed to allow anyone to crawl into such a small space without any of us hearing or noticing it.

Thirdly, said pranksters only had about three to four minutes to remove the clutter, pack everything back in its place, and get away before we returned with the teacher.

All I can say is that it was not a fun experience, prank or not!

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Comments about this paranormal experience

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, Hexotericka, has the following expectation about your feedback: I will read the comments and participate in the discussion.

Hexotericka (6 stories) (45 posts)
7 years ago (2017-03-31)
Val: It has become clear to me over the years that a prank would have been pretty unlikely, but I constantly tried to come up with alternate explanations for what four of us saw that night. Hehehe. I suppose my mind just refused to accept what we saw was anything more than something physical. I had had some other experiences as a child before this that I never questioned, but this was just something on a different level altogether.
Hexotericka (6 stories) (45 posts)
7 years ago (2017-03-31)
Sheld: It's a bit hard to say how tall it actually was, because of the desks, chairs and the like in the window. It was slightly wedged inbetween some of the furniture in there, giving the impression that it was lying down on the desk instead of standing upright. That's just the extent of how I remember it, however.

Melda: I definitely do not blame our music teacher for the way she reacted. She was really freaked out. Perhaps she was a bit too embarrassed to bring it up again hehehehe
valkricry (49 stories) (3275 posts) mod
7 years ago (2017-03-31)
Now that was one spooky encounter! I agree the prank theory just doesn't make sense. All of you were together when it happened, and from the sounds of it ending up there wasn't planned. So how would some 3rd party know you would? Add into that the time allowed to clear things up prior to the teacher's arrival. (Again how would they know you'd be back?)
As for not getting into trouble... Maybe on reflection the teacher had a change of heart. Perhaps she realized you were all as scared as she was.
Melda (10 stories) (1363 posts)
7 years ago (2017-03-31)
Hexotericka - I think anybody would have been scared out of their wits, let alone a bunch of young kids!

I feel some pity for your teacher. I can think of two reasons you didn't get into trouble the following Monday: Firstly, the music teacher mentioned the episode to other teachers and perhaps some of them had also noticed something spooky; or she was embarrassed to have made a total dingbat of herself in front of the pupils!

Regards, Melda
sheld999 (14 stories) (74 posts)
7 years ago (2017-03-31)
Who knows it might of been intrested in what you guys were hanging around there. Could you describe how tall the face was in window like compared to your height ratio
Hexotericka (6 stories) (45 posts)
7 years ago (2017-03-29)
Tweed: Totally agreed, and good advice! I believe that gut feelings are natural warnings on a purely instinctual level. Heeding that warning is usually a pretty good idea!

Macknorton: I'm glad I could be of service (?) 😆
I wonder at times why spirits decide to show themselves to particular people. What was very unusual about this was that, of the five of us there that night, Charles was the only one who didn't see the face. So in total, four of us physically saw it before we decided to get the heck out of there. That fact is the reason why I came up with the prank theory initially, but as that become more and more unlikely, I can only wonder about this one. My thoughts on the apparition's agenda at that moment is that it simply wanted to be seen, for some reason or another, and scare the ever-loving heck out of us!
Thank you for reading and commenting.
Macknorton (5 stories) (646 posts)
7 years ago (2017-03-29)
Hi Hexotericka

Thanks for sharing, your story that left an unpleasant feeling in me, so thanks for that! 😆

I'm always fascinated as why people see certain spirits, or scenes as and when we do. I'm convinced spirits can deliberately manifest themselves to certain individuals if they are motivated to do so.

In many cases, it seems they do so in order to frighten us body-bound people, sometimes to warn us or sometimes to reassure their loved ones.

On occasions we see a "replay" on a historic event which involves no conscious act on any spirits part, simply a "recording" that appears under particular circumstances.

So it's with some fascination that something either decided to reveal itself to both you and your friend, which from what I understand is relatively unusual. Plus, not only was the face grotesque to the extreme, but there was the accompanying clutter of desks and books etc as part of the whole scene.

I always like to think of motive behind everything, so I can only assume that you both observed some kind of awful spirit just deciding to scare the living daylights out of a couple of random children for sake of sh*ts and giggles, or you both may have glimpsed a recording of an old event etched into the ether.

It would be interesting to investigate any history around that area that may help explain what terrified you that day.

Either way, a fascinating and very affecting story.


Tweed (35 stories) (2501 posts)
7 years ago (2017-03-29)
Hexotericka, shudder indeed. I rarely get spooked by submissions but this one genuinely freaked me out. I'm sort of glad the clutter spooked you too, but only in the sense that it confirmed I'd read the 'signs' right.
Good lesson in this for all of us, if you ever feel that odd spooked feeling, go with your gut!
Hexotericka (6 stories) (45 posts)
7 years ago (2017-03-29)
Thank you all for your comments on my early creepy encounter.

Ainhoa: Yes, if it was a prank it would have taken a heck of a lot of effort to pull off, but over the years I have been trying to think of possible alternative explanations for what we saw that night. As for our teacher, I don't really blame her for reacting the way she did, because, as I recall, she looked even more freaked out than we did when we told her what we saw. When no evidence was forthcoming, she naturally believed we just wanted to scare her.

AugustaM: I fully agree with your observation on my prank theory. There are just too many variables to consider to pull off something that elaborate.
As for your Yellow Fever observation, I did some quick research on it, and I do believe the symptoms described match what we saw that night. However, this part of Southern Africa is known as a low risk area for Yellow Fever, and falls outside the Yellow Fever Belt, since the carrier mosquito is not indigenous to these parts. However, anything is possible, and it fits. I'll have to do some more research! Thank you for your insights.

Sheld999: As far as I know, the prefabs were brand new when the school acquired them. But that is definitely a good theory you have.

Tweed: It definitely was horrifying at the time! The clutter, to me, was the strangest part of the experience. At the time I couldn't make much sense of why it would even be there. However, you bring up a very interesting point, about it actually being there to draw a person in..."Notice me!"
Tweed (35 stories) (2501 posts)
7 years ago (2017-03-29)
Oh my God! Hexotericka, that was completely horrifying!

There's something about all that clutter against the window which feels very creepy to me. Not clutter in itself, but that the clutter was part of this encounter. I don't know why, but that creeps me out as much as the face. Almost as if you were to 'notice' the clutter, which drew you 'in' and then the rest. Urgh!

On a much lighter note I'm glad your experience did the rounds in the playground! 😆
sheld999 (14 stories) (74 posts)
7 years ago (2017-03-29)
Spooky. Maybe ask where they got those buildings from? They could been use for sick people at some stage
AugustaM (7 stories) (996 posts)
7 years ago (2017-03-29)
That's one heck of a lot of coordinated and quick work for a prank - and how would the culprit have known that the teacher would make you come back so quickly?

The face you describe sounds like a yellow fever victim - facial swelling and jaundice are common effects of the disease and South Africa has been a known hot spot. Maybe do a bit of research on the area where the school was built or specifically where those trailers were parked.
Ainhoa (4 stories) (20 posts)
7 years ago (2017-03-29)
I don't think it was a prank. And I am a bit angry with your teacher.
Thanks for sharing this story.

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