Random Creepy Things


The building where I teach is a monument to communist era architecture. It’s tall, blocky, gray, concrete, mundane, and removes the will to live from whomever casts their eyes upon it. It fits right in with a lot of the other monstrosities that popped up in the Czech Republic in the second half of the twentieth century. The buildings that ain’t ending up on a postcard anytime soon.

But mostly I have found it to be a reasonably innocuous building. It’s got good Wi-Fi, the static electricity is pretty low, and you’ve got a killer view of the car dealership across the street. I mean, the toilet lights are set to shut off every nine seconds, so you end up looking as though you’re in a one-person synchronized pooping competition. But overall, what else could you ask for?

Well the building does take on a more sinister feel after dark as I have done for five years each Tuesday after my evening class in the winter. When I leave the building at 7:15 pm in spring the sun is still out and, depending on how my class went, my mood is not at its most morose. In the winter, though, it’s been pitch black since 4:30 and by 7:15 there’s not a soul in the building. The students want to get home, so they run out of the place like it’s on fire. By the time I drop my books in my office and head down the stairs, the only people in the building are me and the night guard who works reception.

It’s then that I feel like Laurie Strode trying to get the hell out of Haddonfield Memorial Hospital on Halloween night. The long hallways and wide echoing stairwells take a different shape then to the lonely person trying to get out. This is buttressed by the fact that the stairwell lights are also timed to about ten seconds and only some of the hallway lights remain on. So instead of total dark or total light, the stairwell lights snap off when you’re halfway between a floor. Or I must walk down a long mostly dark hallway, at the end of which is one (often fluttering, I shit thee not) overhead light that I fully expect Michael Myers to be suddenly standing under.

It’s in these evening escapes from the building that I remember the random creepy things about the building. The stairwells have an unsettling tendency to gather human hair into clumps like creepy-ass tumbleweeds. And so at any point in the day you walking through a hallway of human hair. Also depending on the time of year, there are zillions of dead flies in the stairwells. Hello, Amityville Horror. And then of course there’s the sound effect that the wind has on the only tall building around for a mile. Several times during a class I have to jauntily explain the moaning and groaning wind rattling the windows. Depending on the class, I might do so directly. “Damn wind.” Or I might play with them a little. “The lost souls of students who didn’t do my homework.”

I’m sure there are explanations to them all. I hope.

Are there any random creepy things about the places you work, live, work out?

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