12 October, 2012 (All day)
If you believe in ghosts or not, there seems to be something haunting Morgan High School.
Betty was enrolled in a drama class at Morgan High School years ago. While up on the cat walk above the high school auditorium, she fell and ultimately died. When she fell, she bounced down the aisle and earned the nickname “Bouncing Betty.”
“She supposedly haunts the auditorium. I know that when you went into the auditorium and it was dark, you could hear noises of her like bouncing,” said Sydnie Oliver. “You could hear these creepy noises like someone was there, but no one was really there.”
That is one version of the story.
Brandy Lloyd, once a high school drama student herself years ago, said Betty worked the tech booth in the auditorium and fell while checking the lights, bouncing on one of the auditorium seats when she fell.
“There was a green mist figure that haunted the auditorium and moved closer every time you closed your eyes or looked away hoping it would disappear,” Lloyd said.
A girl in white likes to hang out in the tech booth, mischievously moving things and messing with buttons, said Courtney Guaco. “I’ve been on and around the auditorium at all hours of the night with our plays,” she said. “It’s a creepy place. Even in the day it’s so dark and creepy.”
Ken Adams, currently Morgan School District superintendent, but also a former Morgan High student and educator, has heard the stories of Bouncing Betty, although they were not whispered while he was a student there.
The version he has heard is that she was a Native American girl, a sweetheart with a broken heart.
“If she exists, she is friendly,” Adams said. “I have walked the halls alone in the high school on many late nights. There are bangs, bumps, and noises. There are closing doors, footsteps, and phones ringing without someone on the other line late at night. I have had doors shake and rattle by themselves. If that is her, she is a nice, kind-hearted person.”
Adams said that a small boy enjoying a family event in the high school commons area years ago was sure he had seen a “little girl,” but no one else in the group could see her.
Over the years, Adams said students have dangled a dummy from a rope in the auditorium to keep the Bouncing Betty story alive. At the dedication of the Trojan Century Center in May, students placed a film about Bouncing Betty in a time capsule.
It seems the legend is not bound to “die” any time soon.
But Bouncing Betty may not be alone.
While a high school teacher, Terry Allen had his psychology students spend the night as part of a sensory deprivation study about six years ago. Armed with sleeping bags, students were placed throughout the school so they could be completely alone.
“It is interesting. Their minds heard noises, voices, and they were feeling things,” Allen said. “I can’t discount the things they said.”
Those students sleeping in corners of the auditorium and on the stage reported the intense feeling of being watched.
One male student sleeping in the doorway of a classroom heard talking and reported being touched. He was so disturbed, he refused to continue spending the night and left for home.
One student sleeping on a balcony of the gym saw red eyes watching him from the opposite balcony. When he descended the stairs to exit the gym, the eyes followed him.
Allen had a “freaky” experience of his own late one night in the high school auditorium. He and three other coaches were in the coach’s office talking when the door between the office and the boys’ locker room opened and shut by itself. One of them suspected former football coach Jan Smith, who died in 1991. He coached at Morgan for 17 years and suffered from multiple sclerosis.
About four years ago, while abating a mice problem around the time the new high school commons area was being constructed, abaters found a shed snake skin in the ceiling of the auditorium, Adams said.
Students have heard that, and attribute it to the science experiment that got away years earlier. Maybe the snake was surviving on those pesky mice. And maybe that’s why a cat has been seen on surveillance cameras walking the high school halls.
Adams said that once a rattlesnake did escape in a science room, but it was found and caught by the animal control officer.
There are also tales of two kids buried in the high school during construction that now haunt the halls by the gym.
However, to his knowledge, no person, student or adult has ever died at the high school, even during its construction.
“The closest thing to someone dying is when a school board member fell asleep during baccalaureate services and another board member caught him before he fell off the stage,” Adams said with a laugh.
The high school isn’t the only haunted educational facility in the district, according to other urban legends.
Some say there is a farmer that haunts Morgan Elementary School because it was built on his old chicken coop. Elementary students claim that the school was built on an ancient Indian burial ground.
And Morgan Middle School Principal Terry Allen wonders about his school, as well.
One night, Allen was working until midnight. He heard a door open, and then children’s voices. He got out of his chair and looked up and down the halls, not spotting anything. When he heard a door open again, he sprang out of his chair in an effort to see who was there. This time, he saw the media center door close shut.
“I decided it was time to go home,” Allen said.