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The Student News Site of San Francisco State University

Golden Gate Xpress

The Student News Site of San Francisco State University

Golden Gate Xpress

Haunted dorm stories spark supernatural interest

SF State Dorms
After being asked to leave the third floor of Mary Ward Hall for "scaring the residents," student Melissa Covert took her Ouija board to a friend's dorm room in another building on campus to seek further answers about the Copeland murder-suicide case with the help of friends Nov. 29, 2012. Photo by Tearsa Joy Hammock / Xpress

Not many think of SF State as the perfect setting for a horror movie or a true ghost story.

Eric Michael Jones and Catherine Anne Copeland were found dead in Copeland’s room on the third floor of Mary Ward Hall in 1994. Jones and Copeland had dated briefly, but had broken up. According to an LA Times article, Jones shot Copeland and then turned the gun on himself.

Eighteen years later, their ghosts are said to haunt the third floor.

“The first week people were telling me it’s haunted, but I haven’t noticed anything out of the ordinary. I feel normal in there,” said Alejandro Adame, 18, who lives in the infamous dorm room.

The rumors of the supernatural seem unreasonable to Adame, who is double majoring in international relations and French.

The murder-suicide that occurred in his room doesn’t bother him, but sometimes his guests become unnerved after hearing the tale.

“People are like, ‘Oh my gosh, I’m so scared being in here. What if something happens?’” Adame said.

English major Steven Tindle lives across the hall from Adame.

“I know a boyfriend shot his girlfriend there and killed himself after,” Tindle said, referring to the 1994 incident. “It sounded like there were people in our room once around 3 or 4 a.m., but when I opened the door there was nothing. I also heard knocking on the inside once or twice.”

San Francisco is the ninth most haunted city of America, according to the Huffington Post, and SF State has its fair share of stories.

During the summer before moving into Mary Park Hall, Melissa Covert read about the hauntings on Facebook. Since she was already interested in the supernatural, this post caught her attention.

“My friends had Ouija boards that we’d always mess around with,” Covert, 18, said. “I started reading more into supernatural things and bought my own (Ouija board) in my freshman year of high school. I really want to go to the third floor of Mary Ward because I heard it’s haunted.”

The board game has been traditionally used to contact spirits and has come under scrutiny due to its alleged demonic ties. Covert and a friend eventually gathered enough courage to take their Ouija board to the third floor of Mary Ward Hall. Even though Covert didn’t have any luck, she still believes it’s possible to get in touch with a ghost.

“Einstein stated that energy cannot be created or destroyed, it can only be changed from one form to another. So when people die, their energy has to go somewhere, right?” Covert said.

University student Grace Bigler is trying to assemble an occult group on campus focused on the teachings of Aleister Crowley. Crowley was a British Occultist in the 1900s. He was the inventor of a religious philosophy of occultism called Thelema, which Bigler practices.

“What I do is not supernatural,” Bigler, an English major, said. “Crowley’s idea of magic does not have to do with angels, demons and ghosts and things like that. I don’t really personally describe objective reality to supernatural phenomenon. I think that it is depending on the circumstance. I’ve definitely heard stories about ghosts haunting dorm rooms and I’ve thought like, there could be something there, but I don’t know it and I don’t have the faculties to know whether or not it’s there.”

For Bigler, the religion is a way to pause and become more like her true self.

“I talk to people about it openly because it’s part of who I am. But if it’s a Jehovah’s Witness on my doorstep, I’m not gonna really go explain what it is because they have an agenda and don’t want me to be doing what I’m doing,” Bigler said.

Not all students view the supernatural in a serious fashion.

“I think it’s silly, but cool at the same time — my room’s popular! It makes it feel special,” Adame said.

Matt Saincome contributed to this report.


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  • E

    Eu ElJul 23, 2015 at 2:21 pm

    I had resided there back in the late ’90s. The events and experiences that followed have been on my mind ever since. After encountering this article, the memories of the place has raged more questions in me. I’m currently working on a novel to describe the events in hopes to arrive at some resolution. You can follow my book at:

    My book is entitled, “The Fortune Cookie”
    My member ID to locate the book is: Cybertron1986

    Hopefully, my book will be able to shed some light.

  • D

    David EstradaOct 14, 2014 at 9:45 pm

    I was there living in my dorm room on that night that the awful tragic event took place. March 7, 1994.
    No one knew what happened after we heard gun shots, there were rumors spreading fast but we didn’t have the facts.
    It wasn’t until late that night, we found out and everyone was in shock. It stunned the residential community.
    The memories still come back to haunt me about that night every March when I am reminded about it.

    • C

      CynthisizerMar 12, 2015 at 7:59 pm

      does anyone know what room it is?

    • C

      ChrisOct 25, 2016 at 3:21 pm

      Do you know what room it was??

  • E

    Eu ElNov 21, 2013 at 9:24 pm

    I have a better story. I lived on the 1st floor of Mary Park Hall back in the Fall of 1996. I returned to the same floor of Mary Park Hall in the Fall of 1998 due to housing issues.
    I had a nightmare my first semester there. When I returned in 1998, the new resident of my old room had the same nightmare (but two years later) on the same week, the same month, the same time, but different years.
    Hit me up for more details: [email protected]

  • E

    Eric GregoryDec 5, 2012 at 5:09 pm

    Didn’t a student or two die when their Towers dorm had a toxic mold problem a few years back? You’d think that would be a good place to look for ghosts.

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Haunted dorm stories spark supernatural interest