OUIJA: Room 9 and my real-life ghost story

New York, Writing, YA Fiction

I was pretty flattered to have been asked by Wattpad to contribute a story in support of Universal Pictures’ theatrical release of Ouija: The Movie. The only requirement for the story’s plot was that it feature a ouija board.

Seriously… no problem.

When I was a student at NYU, it was common knowledge that the school’s biggest freshman dorm, Rubin Hall, had been an apartment building before being converted into the Hotel Grosvenor in 1925, and then was turned into a dormitory in 1964.

Assigned to a room on the twelfth floor as a freshman, I hear rumors about strange occurrences on other floors all the time. There was (terrifyingly) one corner room at the end of a dark hallway that was sealed and unavailable for student occupancy, and as far as any residents knew, it always had been. Equally scary was room 903. The girls who lived there said that the water in the bathroom dripped constantly from the sink and tub unless you marched in there and demanded that it stop. Then, it did. Without fail. Items went missing in that room, doors closed on their own. The occupants never felt unsafe, but were all convinced that the room was haunted by a benevolent ghost who just enjoyed messing with them. He, who they called Stanley, just wanted attention.

This was the early nineties, a few years before all college students had their own computers and could easily Google the history of their dorm room assignment. The stories about the haunted rooms at Rubin were passed down in a vocal history that spanned decades. Another common rumor about the hotel was that Mark Twain had once lived there back when it was a hotel, and that Rick Rubin began his career as a music producer in his own room there, hosting parties at which the Beastie Boys were in attendance (sources are conflicted on the latter rumor, as it’s also believed that Def Jam originated a few blocks away at Weinstein Hall).

I did not have a ghostly disturbance in my room freshman year, although I did have two bothersome roommates. However, my luck ran out the summer between sophomore and junior years when I landed in Room 903 by myself for a few weeks. Like the girls I’d known as a freshman, I never felt like I was surrounded by an evil presence in the room, but I also never felt… alone.

My experience that summer inspired my contribution to the Ouija marketing campaign, Room 9C, which quickly found a fan in Poland who asked Universal Pictures if she could translate it into Polish.

Ouija cover

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Room 9C in Polish

 

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