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The Early American Room Spook


When I was in college in the 1990s I was very interested in being a tour guide for the University of Pittsburgh's Cathedral of Learning.

On some of the floors they have classrooms that are decorated in ethnic countries designs. These are called The Nationality Rooms. They are classrooms used by the school for classes but they are just a bit special in their decor. Examples: The German Room, The Hungarian Room, The English Room... Typically each room is sponsored by the country it represents by a special ethnic interest group. Items from the country are included in the design or decorations.

I was given a packet of info, memorized the information and began as a member of, Quo Vadis, the tour guides for The Nationality Rooms.

I had my favorite room. It was The Early American Room. I just thought it was super cool. It had a small secret door that went to a secret stairwell leading to a second floor only accessible by that door. Upstairs there was a bed, a cradle and a rocking chair. After seeing it, I just loved everything about it and always wanted to include this room in the tour.

But, the director of our group always tried to downplay this room without much explanation. (She was a little spooked herself of the room it turned out.) If you Google information about this place, you can learn that she had a personal connection to the room as the items had been passed down in her family. I did not know that at the time. She believed the room was haunted. But, I knew nothing about this at the time.

Each Nationality Room had keys to each of the doors. But 9 times out of 10 the key I had to the Early American Room wouldn't open the door. Sometimes this was very embarrassing as I was in charge of large school groups waiting to go inside. I just thought it was me. Dumb me didn't know how to properly use the key. So, I would go and find the director and ask her to open it. Usually, it opened for her.

Once another tour guide fellow mate got it opened for me and he said, "Well you know this room is haunted". I totally thought it was a joke and did not for one second think it true.

On another occasion, I got the door opened with difficulty. A group of kids maybe around 9 or 10 years old were my charges that day. Only small groups of a few kids each could go up to the second floor at a time. The teachers stayed with the remaining kids. So I gathered my first group to go up. Usually, I go first and they follow but this time, they ran ahead up the secret staircase and got to the top.

I heard a screaming coming from them. I ran up. The bed was disheveled as someone had just been sleeping there with an imprint in it as if it had been pushed in by the weight of a body. The rocking chair was rocking back and forth. The cradle was rocking also and the blankets inside were messed up. A few of the kids said they saw a woman in the room. An old, mean looking woman in old clothes. I immediately told them that was impossible and it was their imagination. I didn't see anyone. I thought, ehhh, kids imagine stuff. The bed, I explained, was not checked by the janitor the previous night and was *rumpelled by some other kids in a previous tour by another tour guide*. The cradle was rocking but I thought hmmmm ok. The chair I did think was weird that it was rocking but I said it was just from all the commotion of us coming up the stairs. The kids were scared and wanted out so I said, ok well let's go back downstairs.

When the other kids heard it was scary up there no one else wanted to go up. The teachers also thought it was scary and said, Time to leave! I honestly did not believe it was haunted at all. Everything seemed explained.

A few days later, I gave a night tour to a group of adults. In the main part of the room there are some display cases of artifacts. A watch I think, not sure what else. Well one lady asks me, " Is this room haunted?" I laugh it off and say of course not! But the lady just shakes her head and says "Yes it is". She said she could sense a spirit of an old woman and some others too. She calls my attention to the display case and I did have to agree with her that the items inside seemed to be giving off literally cold steam. Ice cold. I never experienced this in any of my other times there so I was very perplexed where the ice steam was coming from. At that moment, the lights started to flick on and off and everyone in the tour got creeped out. They all said, Let's get out of here. I did feel a little creeped out and was confused, but I wasn't sure what to think.

Not long after, I was asked by the director to stop going into that room. It was closed for awhile.

Years later while randomly reading stuff, I came across articles that talked of the same experiences in that room. I did not know it was reportedly haunted for real. I didn't know I had textbook experiences that others had the same stuff happen to them.

The Nationality Rooms are still open for tours by appointments. But, I'm not sure which are available to see as they do routinely close rooms for repairs. The best time to go is around Christmas when they do costumed tours.

Just thought I'd share another one of my tales. Hope you enjoyed.

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

Dar77 (10 stories) (64 posts)
5 years ago (2019-08-11)
Great story, thanks for sharing. I personally would love to go and check this place out, especially the room at the top of the stairs. But I feel certain that the best time to truly experience the hauntings would be after hours with just a couple people.
MrsRamsay (guest)
5 years ago (2019-08-03)
Really interesting. Sorry to ask, but I don't see any photos? Is there a link I'm not seeing?
Triskaideka (2 stories) (388 posts)
5 years ago (2019-07-27)
Weird. Reading this, I've re-envisioned what I've seen in dreams. I like climbing the ladder and escaping to a "secret" room where mostly only kids can go. Makes me feel like a kid too. And the fact it's somewhat forbidden makes it even better. So secluded, so quiet. Better when closed entirely. So uh, I decided to dig into this story and... I have familial connections. I don't know what to make of it but that's interesting, indeed. A quick googling shows the obvious familial ties but uhm, the O'Haras too, yes?
lady-glow (16 stories) (3163 posts)
5 years ago (2019-07-22)
It makes me wonder if all those occasions in which you weren't able to open the door, the lady was fixing the bed and making the room presentable.

Nice pictures!

Thanks for sharing.

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