Students speak of hair-raising experiences at Fresno State

Illustration by Daniel Avalos/The Collegian

From rumors of an unsolved murder of a student found across campus at Shakey’s Pizza, now known as Dog House Grill, to a professor guilty of killing a man with a chainsaw, there is no doubt Fresno State has links to spooky stories.

And as Halloween approaches, students shared their own reports with The Collegian of hair-raising experiences of what they believe have been paranormal activities – on campus.

Dan Waterhouse, who got his bachelor’s degree in business administration in 1978 but returned to Fresno State in 1986 to study in the city and regional planning program, said he has experienced paranormal-like activity during his time on campus. One time, he said, he experienced a spook in the previous version of the Henry Madden Library.

That portion of the building was torn down when the library was demolished and a new version made its debut in 2009. Two levels of the previous library were always filled with dimly-lit aisles among book shelves, he said.

During his time as a student in the ‘80s and ‘90s, Waterhouse said, he would study at a desk near the shelves and would often sense someone was watching him.

“There would be a strange sound and then you’d look around, and there would be nobody within sight,” he said.

Nobody was around when he stood up to search around. This happened during the day and night.

Waterhouse said he is not entirely convinced he believes in the paranormal. He said he doesn’t believe it happens as much as students may say it does.

“I’ve heard stories about some hauntings around campus, like supposedly there is a ghost over at the dorms,” Waterhouse said. He claims the latest haunt, while not in recent years, is due to a student who reportedly committed suicide in the dorms in the ‘90s.

Another haunting experience Waterhouse has heard of is about a faculty member who died of a sudden heart attack around the ‘70s or ‘80s while teaching class in the Grosse Industrial Technology Building. Might that reported death have caused a haunting of a campus building?

“Supposedly, he’s still around,” Waterhouse said. “A couple people have mentioned to me that they still feel strange vibrations over there.”

Waterhouse is not the only person on campus who has heard the rumors of ghosts or paranormal incidents. More than two dozens students responded to a Collegian question on the Fresno State Book Trade & Advice Facebook page, which asked if they have experienced or heard of paranormal activity on campus.

Mindy Xiong, a pre-child development major, commented that when she was in the women’s restroom on the third floor of the Family Food and Science Building, she heard footsteps make their way into the stall next to hers after the restroom door opened.

“Then I heard the person lock their door,” she said. “I didn’t think too much because I thought it was another student but then afterward, I came out, washed [and] dried my hands and took my time fixing my hair since I had a while before my next class.”

It only took her a few seconds to realize she had been alone the entire time.

“It was completely quiet,” Xiong remembered.

She knelt to tie her shoes and peek into the stalls to reassure herself that she was the only one in the restroom. Xiong looked through the gaps of the stalls and didn’t see anyone else.

She said she ran out of the restroom as fast as she could and even skipped her class. Two female students replied to her comment saying they too had a similar experience in that restroom.

Frightening experiences in women’s restrooms was a recurring topic after Xiong’s comment – or perhaps the men didn’t want to share.

Shong Enilorac, a public health administration major, said she was in the women’s restroom of the Engineering West Building with her earphones plugged in but the audio volume was low enough to hear two women talking as they walked in.

“I was like ‘Thank god I’m not the only one in here,’” she said. “I felt the vibration of the next two stalls on the left of me close. As I got out, I washed my [hands] and for some reason it got quiet.”

Enilorac said she looked under the stalls and no one was there. “I power walked out. Never ever used that restroom again,” she said.

In the Henry Madden Library, Sammy Vang, culinology major, said she was in the women’s restroom on the third floor when she also was certain she saw someone go into a stall.

“I looked under the stalls to see if there was anyone else in there but there was no one,” Vang said.

Waterhouse, who has been a regular on campus for more than 40 years, said he has noticed that the campus may be filled with wild or spooky stories.

However, all suspected paranormal activity may not be so spooky as it is lighthearted.

Alex Bonilla, a former Fresno State student, said when he was at the library he turned his back and his candy was gone.

He said, “most likely someone stole it but still creepy.” His comment on the post garnered 15 reactions, a majority of them laughing emojis.

Waterhouse claims that campus police have discovered bodies on campus at different times over the years – some of homeless people and some of members of the campus community.

When that happens, he said, “stories get going” and they become a part of Fresno State’s scary history.

The Fresno State Police Department could not comment on reports of deaths on campus by deadline.

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