At the end of Albany Road, behind Mac and Field, lies the Old Albany Cemetery. The burial ground has carried a rich history since the village of Deerfield was established in the late 1600s after the destruction of the English settlement, Pocumtuck in King Philip’s War. The villagers also often clashed with the surrounding Native American tribes. Many of these people died of infectious diseases, others of natural causes, and 56 of them lost their lives during the Deerfield Massacre in 1704.
While the dead are laid to rest there, some believe that their spirits live on, haunting the Deerfield campus.
Justice Chukwuma ’18 became aware of the presence of ghosts on campus his freshman year when he was living in New Dorm. One night, he decided to go ghost hunting in his dorm to find real evidence of the supernatural creatures.
Chukwuma narrated, “Alex Platt, Reid Shilling, Ollie Hollo, Bryce Khelm, Harrison Lane, and I went down into the basement. Reid was recording on his phone. [Once we were down in the basement], we asked the ghost to signal or make a sound if he or she was present.”
“We heard a THUMP,” Chukwuma continued.“We ran upstairs and listened to the recording on the speaker. We heard a voice on the recording that wasn’t one of ours.”
Similar to Chukwuma, Zakiya Newman ’17 had a supernatural encounter when she was also in the ninth grade. As a resident of Pocumtuck, she had heard about Violet, a ghost who spent her free time dying students’ sheets purple and randomly closing doors in the halls.
About three years prior to Newman’s freshman year, Mr. Jan Flaska helped bring a spiritual advisor to campus to inform the students about the supernatural and cleanse the dormitory of any disturbing spirits, including Violet. However, after a terrifying discovery during the winter term, Newman was no longer fully convinced that the dormitory was ghost-free.
One night after dinner, Newman was spending time with two of her friends on Poc II when she decided to raise the shades covering her windows.
After lifting the shades, “one of [her friends] noticed that there was a huge handprint at the very top of the window.” She noted that “someone had speculated that it was a handprint of a guy friend of [hers], but [she] brushed off this theory, as he hadn’t been in [her] room since late November.”
“The imprint would’ve evaporated,” she reasoned, “and even if it hadn’t, [my friend] wasn’t tall enough to reach the top of my window.”
Whose handprint was it? Newman still doesn’t know. “The handprint was at the very top of the window and very clear and distinct, as if someone had repeatedly hit the window with his/her palm to intentionally leave a mark,” she recounted.
On the other side of campus, two years after the incident in New Dorm, Alex Platt ’18 was working in the basement of Denunzio. It was dark and no other students or faculty members were present. He heard a sound and then watched as the blinds of his window rolled up.
Similarly, Geraud Richards ’18 was working late one night in Gozzy Nwogbo ’18’ s room. According to Chukwuma, who recalled the story, Richards got up to to use the restroom.
“As Geraud exited and looked left towards the end of the hall, he saw the end of a leg—as if a person had just walked past the door and he had only caught a glimpse,” Chukwuma said. “Geraud had seen dark pants and a heavy black boot. He ran back into Gozzy’s room and shut the door.” There were no further explanations for what he saw.