According to some students, the University of Rhode Island has more paranormal action than some might expect. Dan Taylor, Residence Hall Director and Summer Conference Housing Manager at URI, has been working in the residence halls at URI for the past 14 years and has many ghost stories to tell. He says he believes there is indeed a “supernatural component to this world.”
He described occurrences that have repeatedly happened in Adams Hall, such as doors opening and shutting on their own, showers turning on and off as they please and “phantom footsteps” being heard on the second floor.
According to Taylor, one particular incident occurred on the fourth floor of Adams when staff were closing up the building before a break. All of the students had already left. One of the dorm room doors on the fourth floor was stuck and when staff finally got it open, they discovered that all of the furniture had been pushed up against the inside of the door.
There was also an occurrence in the basement of Adams? Years ago, the basement was split into two spaces- one side was used for storage and the other side was a classroom. Every night, the RAs had to do rounds and of course the red light of the exit signs was the only thing lighting up the basement at night. Taylor says that as he and a fellow RA walked through the classroom they felt a tingly feeling, “as if the empty seats had occupants in them,” watching as they walked by, disturbing their class. After that, they simply peeked down into the basement when doing rounds.
Allegedly, a student died in a room on Browning Hall’s fourth floor in the 1980s. A former resident advisor had reported waking up many nights to an apparition in her room, seemingly asking for help. One night, a group of RAs decided to mess around with a Ouija board. One of the RAs blacked out, ran down the hall and tried to throw himself out the window of the last room on the left.
On one dark night, Taylor and one of his peers decided to visit the same room. They entered the room and nothing significant seemed to happen. But, as they were leaving, walking towards their reflections in the full-length mirror right across the hall from this room they caught a glimpse of a shadow behind them.
For those that do not quite believe some of these stories, the URI Ghost Hunting Team gives students the opportunity to investigate for themselves. Â The team has been in existence since 2007 and despite what their title may suggest, the team is interested in more than just ghosts. They also incorporate cryptozoology, which involves the investigation of animals, like Bigfoot, whose existence has yet to be proven.
The team goes on investigations around and off campus and they aim to learn about the unknown rather than jump to conclusions and label everything as paranormal. Their main goal is to “debunk” paranormal activity. In other words, if something seems like it is paranormal, they try to justify it with every possible explanation before deeming it to be so.
The team uses their cell phones to record Electronic Voice Phenomena (EVPs). They typically go out in groups of two or three and split up across different parts of the area they are investigating. They ask questions such as, “is there anyone here? If you’re here can you give us a sign?” and listen to the recordings afterward for any unexplained sounds. The group says that if they hear something during the investigation, they try to recreate the sound in an attempt to “debunk” the phenomenon.
At their most recent meeting this week, the group played some eerie EVPs from their last investigation. One was a loud metallic bang, another was of two knocks. But the third sounded similar to a scream. Apparently, the team investigated Ranger Hall last year and a few girls were in the basement when they heard a loud screech coming from the other end of the hallway. No one else was around and they didn’t know where it came from. They hadn’t been using their EVPs at the time, so they went back this year to see if they could get the screech on recording, and they did.
In the next coming weeks, the team will be investigating one of the buildings around the quad. They meet every Tuesday at 6:30 p.m. in the Memorial Student Union Room 314.
They are in the process of creating a website but for now you can follow them on Twitter at @uriGhostHunting for updates.