There’s a store in the West County Mall that sells antiques. One student, sophomore Daun Pawlicki, went there and bought earrings. The earrings, they said, were haunted.
“We like to go there because it’s got all sorts of really cool stuff. Sometimes you find something. Sometimes you don’t, but that’s very rare. Honestly, I think every time I’ve gone the I’ve found something that was like, ‘Yo, I’m cursed or haunted,’” Pawlicki said.
“There’s a tingling feeling you get in your fingers,” Pawlicki said. “It’s really hard to explain. I don’t know if anyone who’s never felt it would get it.”
“A lot of these things that were happening to them have never happened to them before in their life. They’ve been cutting their hair for five years and one day they just suddenly slipped with the scissors and cut their ear on it, in a very specific location on their ear. That was pretty suspicious,” sophomore and friend of Pawlicki River Padilla said. “They’re having trouble seeing, like they think everything’s 2D or something; they’re seeing like it’s a virtual reality headset instead of actual real life. It’s just crazy.”
The friends decided to contact the ghost.
“The four of us practice Wicca. It’s a form of Paganism. We were doing a seance in order to communicate with a ghost that was inside one of our friend’s’ earrings,” junior MJ Ryan said.
“We don’t play with Ouija boards because they tend to open up a lot more than just like that specific ghost or spirit you’re tying to talk to. They tend to be kinda dangerous in some senses, so we stick to pendulums and dice and stuff like that. I’m usually really skeptical about these sorts of things. If a ghost is like, ‘Hey, I’m Queen Elizabeth,’ or something, I’m not gonna believe that. If the queen actually had any unfinished business or stuck around, I’m sure she wouldn’t be in St. Louis, in America, in the Midwest,” Pawlicki said.
The friends made contact with the ghost.
“We did [connect] briefly,” sophomore Ange Lopilito said. “It was cold, colder than when we walked in, and given that there was five people in there. I was only there briefly because we had to move and then they went to the park.”
“I’ve talked with ghosts before. This is the first time I’m helping with an exorcism. It’s pretty cool so far,” Padilla said.
“We try to see if we can help talk to the ghost, using a pendulum and a ‘yes’ or ‘no’ map. We try to get ghosts to answer questions like, ‘Are you intentionally harming this person’ or ‘Are you aware that you’re possessing them,’ that sort of thing. We use that [‘yes’ or ‘no’ map] to indicate if we can sort out an agreement with the ghost and get them to stop possessing us,” Padilla said.
Sometimes it works.
“Yes, the effects will wear off [if it works]. It will probably be a descent [gradual wearing off] of the effects wearing off instead of a boom done. We can still talk to the ghost if we wanted to. We can’t kick it out of its object,” Padilla said.
Sometimes it doesn’t.
“The plan for that [not working] is we try to coax it out slowly over multiple sessions. It’s like therapy, keep coming back for it and hopefully over a long period of time, get it out or at least stop some of the bad effects it has on our friend,” Padilla said.
This time, it did.
“We asked, ‘Yes or no, does you name start with A, B, C, D.’ Ended up with Katherine E. Jackson. We asked for time frame and then we started asking for specific days,” Pawlicki said.
“We ended up looking up later. We did find a gravestone with the name Katherine Elizabeth Jackson an hour and 10 minutes away from where I live. The birth and death dates were perfectly aligned,” Pawlicki said.Ghost contacting is a frequent activity for the friends.
“Contacting a ghost. It’s a very normal occurrence for us,” Pawlicki said.
“Whenever they have time and they’re like, ‘Hey, you wanna talk to ghosts with us,’ I’m like, ‘Yes.’ Then we just do that and hang out. It’s always fun,” Padilla said.
“I believe there’s all kinds [of ghosts]. There are varieties of ghosts I’ve talked to. There’s ones that are super crazy and like, ‘Leave me alone; I don’t want to be near you,’ and there are ones that are like, ‘Hi, I wanna be your friend.’ It’s like human personalities. They’re all over the map. There’s no specifically bad ones. They’re all just morally gray,” Padilla said.
Not all objects are haunted.
“Usually, the kind of possession is haunting an object that’s run in your family for awhile and is an antique or something. Those tend to hold souls more. Usually, it’s unfinished business, but sometimes it’s just people who just wanna hang around for fun and giggles, chill. There are people who decide to go to the afterlife and chill down there instead, but there are definitely ones who stick around here too.
While it wasn’t as crazy as the name implies, the exorcism worked.
“I think in some ways, they didn’t cut their ear again, so that’s a plus, so I think so [that it worked], but I don’t think the ghost disappeared. It was less malicious, less violent. We gotta return the earrings to the graveyard,” Padilla said.
“I wanna go [to the cemetery]. I wanna see what’s going on there. I wanna go before October ends because it’s spookier,” Pawlicki said.
This will be Lydia Urice’s third year on ECHO staff. She made several contributions while taking journalism class her freshman year. She was Podcast Editor for her first year on staff, and Junior Editor her second year.