Residents in 'unlucky' rooms cope with eerie oddities

There's something strange in the neighborhood

The unidentified arsonist on South Side, the mystery groper in the amphitheater and now, the politically motivated banner-burner on the Quad. Could these be the acts of nefarious students? Or perhaps, just maybe, a demonic spirit has taken possession of AU, hell-bent on waging a supernatural war upon campus. If ghosts do exist, the residents of Anderson 666, Anderson T-13 and Letts T-13 would know best. They live in the unluckiest rooms on campus, and their stories might turn you into a believer.

Anderson 666

"Hi, you've reached Deanna and Whitney in Anderson 666, the Satan room. Leave a message."

Sophomores Deanna Niles and Whitney Gisvold live in what some might call the most evil room on campus. A number associated with a beastly Antichrist in the Bible, 666 is commonly avoided or feared by the superstitious. The residents of Anderson 666 chose their address specifically for its historically cursed qualities.

"My roommate and I are both from fairly religious families," Niles said. "We thought it would be funny to have all our mail sent to room 666."

Anderson is the only dorm with a room 666. Satan-fearing or not, the room has not proved to be the most desirable place to call home. Campus calamities have plagued the room since last semester.

"Last semester was horrible in this room," Niles said. "There was a fire on this floor down the hall in the bathroom, and then the room flooded because of the sprinkler system."

Maybe 666 wasn't the only room affected by the infamous Letts-Anderson arsonist, but the streak of mysterious ill-fortune continues for the fearless residents.

"We've had tons of problems with furniture and housing because this room is smaller than all the rest for some reason," Niles said. "It's hard to move things around. The first month we were here, both of us woke up with bug bites all over our bodies. We couldn't figure out where they came from."

Living in the "Satan room" does have its perks. Finding the door to room 666 after a late night

of God-fearing fun is less challenging when there is only one digit to remember. No one else forgets the room either.

"Everyone remembers where we live," Niles said. "It gets such a shocked reaction out of people. People always ask if we chose to live in this room."

Anderson T-13

When it comes to unlucky places to live, there is no denying that T-13 seems like it would be one of the worst. Tucked away at the far south end of Anderson - on a dank, sub-ground floor that residents have been trained to refer to as a "terrace" - ominous room T-13 is home to sophomores Emily Klotzman and Melissa Abrahams.

Despite the creepy connotations of the number 13, Klotzman has deemed the room perfectly livable, so much so that she has stayed in the room since last school year. Could a room numbered 13 actually be the perfect place to live? Seems almost ... unnatural. In fact, T-13 is plagued by its very own mystery caller, known only to the residents as "Joe."

"Last year, we would get random phone calls at all hours," Klotzman said. "A guy would call and talk in funny voices, saying his name was Joe, and that he used to live in the room."

The phone calls continued into the next school year, and their frequency started to agitate the wary students.

"He started calling this year too, and finally he called once in the middle of the night and Ijust blew up at him," Klotzman said. "I wanted to know why he called so much, and why he wouldn't leave us alone."

Fortunately, the tale of the terrace telephone terror ends happily, and Klotzman has made a new friend.

"We called him 'the T-13 stalker,' but basically I found out that he is just a lonely guy with our phone number, looking for someone to talk to," Klotzman said. "I told him he could call back anytime, just not to freak us out in the middle of the night."

Klotzman's roommate, Melissa, agrees there is nothing notable about their room, and the two live in relative peace, despite their telephone friend.

"Thirteen is not an unlucky number in my book," Klotzman added.

Letts T-13

Perhaps it's because of some supernatural force possessing the terrace of Letts Hall. Or maybe it's just because junior Dana Langguth has really bad luck. But since moving into T-13 two years ago, she has been cursed with roommates from hell.

"My first two roommates have hated me," Langguth said. "The first one moved out after a month and a half. The second one stayed but abhorred me ... Maybe that's supernatural," she added with a laugh.

Langguth and her current roommate get along swimmingly, so perhaps the curse of the disagreeable roomie has been lifted. Very little happens in T-13 that would imply the presence of ghostly spirits, according to Langguth.

"There's no supernatural thing in this room," Langguth said. "It's not like I wake up to shimmering orbs."

Langguth may not wake up to orbs, but she has been disturbed by the sound of frightening moans and screams - which emanated not from the great beyond, but through the thin wall that separates her room from her neighbor, who has since moved.

"I don't know what he was doing, but he would moan and the bed would squeak, and there was no girl there," Langguth said, sounding genuinely disturbed. "So I spoke to him about it, and then he made a mix."

The "masturbation mix," to be exact - a peculiar compilation of Enya, "Eye of the Tiger" and the theme from "Mortal Combat" designed to deaden the sound.

"This room has really thin walls, so I can hear everything my neighbor is doing," Langguth said. "I was glad when the mix replaced the moaning."

Still, a randy neighbor who engaged in acts of self-love hardly constitutes a haunting.

"We've never had flooding, we've never had anything stolen, nothing bad has happened to our room," Langguth said. "But our posters do fall down a lot."

Ah, the act of a vengeful spirit if there ever was one!

The truth is out there

  • The term superstition comes from the Latin word "superstitio," which means "to stand over," but with a sense of menace or threat. In practice, it refers to any irrational belief that something (often bad) will happen as a consequence of something else, even though there is no physical or logical connection between the two.

  • Common superstitions include the idea that breaking a mirror will result in seven years of bad luck, or that carrying a four-leaf clover will result in good luck. These beliefs are sometimes remnants of ancient religious beliefs that have survived long after the supporting theological structures have fallen away.

  • There were 13 people in attendance at the Last Supper, held on a Thursday. The following day - a Friday - Jesus was crucified.

  • Any month with a Friday the 13th must begin with a Sunday the 1st. Some say it is odd that a month beginning with a holy day of rest can yield a day of such supposed evil and misfortune.

  • The number 13 is considered lucky in Italy, home of the Roman Catholic church.

  • It has been speculated that 13 is the maximum number of people that can fit comfortably in a traditional Wiccan ceremonial circle 9 feet in diameter, with six couples and a priest or priestess.

  • The following serial killers have 13 letters in their names: Jack the Ripper, John Wayne Gacy, Charles Manson, Jeffrey Dahmer and Theodore (Ted) Bundy.

  • The Guardian reported that one in 10 people are afflicted by triskaidekaphobia, the fear of the number 13.

  • Some say the first major persecutor of Christians was Caesar Nero, and the Christians used the underground code "666" to refer to him. When "Caesar Nero" is translated into Hebrew and is "coded" - using the traditional Hebrew numerical values assigned to the letters of the alphabet - the numbers supposedly sum to 666.

  • Others claim the number 666 is referred to in the Bible as the number of man as well as the beast. ("Here is wisdom. Let him that hath understanding count the number of the beast: for it is the number of a man; and his number is Six hundred threescore and six" Revelations 13:18.)

    Sources: www.theguardian.co.uk, www.churches.com, www.alt.satanism.com

    DO YOU HAVE ANY PHOBIAS OR SUPERSTITIONS?

    "I always have good luck on Friday the 13th, which probably means I'm the Antichrist." - Seth Graham, sophomore, SIS

    "I think crazy s--- happens during full moons." - Carla Beddard, sophomore, CAS

    "I add up and divide numbers until they are either 9 or 18. Those are my lucky numbers." - Blair Bryant Nichols, freshman, SPA/CAS

    "I have recurring nightmares of being kidnapped, but I don't have any real phobias or superstitions." - Shira Goldberg, junior, Washington Semester Program

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