Wednesday, February 06, 2013

A Ghost Story?

I work on a university campus which began its life as a military fort, Fort Brady.

Some of the buildings date back to the 1880's.

There are times when I can feel the history of the place...

But Monday, things took  turn for the . . . something.

One of the RA's who lives in Brady Hall fell and hit his head Sunday night.  He does not remember the rest of the night, including a trip to the hospital some time after midnight.

What he does remember is this:

At approximately 2130, he was sitting in the lobby when he noticed two older men entered the building.   They were walking side by side, talking, and appeared to be checking the building out.

After a short time, the older of the two men left the building but second man went downstairs.  The RA followed him and watched him enter a store room which was locked.  When he went in right after, the man was gone.

When he went back upstairs, he saw the older man, who had gone outside, coming up from the basement at the opposite end of the building where he was joined by the man who had gone downstairs into the store room.  The RA then asked the men for identification and was given the names Phil Sheridan and George Hoyt.  When the RA started to ask them questions, however, Sheridan cut him off and said their boss was waiting.  He also said things would be okay.  He then told Hoyt 'this will work' and then said 'the commander is in need of our services'.  Both men then wished the RA a good evening and they left the building.

On Monday morning, the RA, who also works as one of our student auxiliary officers, came in to our office, clearly agitatedr.  He asked me if I knew anyone working on campus by the names of Sheridan or Hoyt and he told me about the encounter he'd had Sunday night.  He also told me about his fall and the fact he didn't remember anything from the night before except his encounter.  I checked and confirmed we don't have any employees with either name.

The RA had to go to class.  I then contacted his supervisor, who explained more about what had happened the night before, including the fact that he had taken the RA to the hospital and that the RA had a concussion.  He chalked up the encounter with the two men as a 'delusion' brought on by the concussion.

I was willing to chalk it up as the same until the RA came back in and practically demanded I google the names.  He was determined to figure out who the men were and why they had keys to his building.

I had been bugged by the feeling I knew the name Phil Sheridan all morning, and when I googled it, I realized why.

Philip Henry Sheridan (1831 - 1888) was a union general during the Civil War.  He was also the general who selected to location of Fort Brady when it was moved from by the St. Mary's River to where the university is now.

There is a street near the school named after him.

When I googled George Hoyt, however, I didn't get anything concrete.  The RA said I should add the letters QM to the front of his name because that was the way it was on his ID...

I asked him if he knew what QM stood for.  He had no idea so I said it stands for Quartermaster.  He had no idea what that meant.

When I googled QM George Hoyt, I came up with a direct link to a Wikipedia entry on...

Fort Brady.

Hoyt was the Assistant Quartermaster who platted the grounds of 'old' Fort Brady in 1894.

It gave me the chills.

The RA described the men as being dressed in uniforms, with long coats; one was in black with brass buttons.  When I showed him a photo of General Sheridan, he got really quiet and then said  "He was older."

I don't know what to think.

Well, I do.  There are three explanations for what happened.

One, he's playing the best prank on me I've ever had played.
Two, it was nothing but a delusion brought on by the concussion.

Three, this young man had an encounter with General Phil Sheridan and QM George Hoyt.

I know which I believe.

How about you?


Rita said...

I'm a bit suspicious as to why the young man didn't google the names himself.

Why did he insist you find out for him? It wouldn't seem logical to me if I had such an encounter and was told no one by those names worked there that I would not have first googled it myself.

Seems even a bit more staged since he added the QM after you said you couldn't find anything. I ink he was eating you up. Not sure why, but something doesn't pass the smell test here.

Rita said...

Greybeard said...

As a Civil War buff I recognized where this was headed right away.
I think the RA is quite proficient at using Google.

troutbirder said...

Ah! I enjoyed the ghost story. A little less angry seems... well good! And your take on the culture war issues was helpful, instructive and I'd give it a 90% rating on my agree with the thought and the tone list. Till the word Obama comes up and we fall back on the usual distortion prose. Too bad. Oh well good try....:)

CJ said...

Rita and Greybeard:

I guess you'd have to know the young man and what he'd been going through. He was dealing with memory loss due to the concussion and struggling to understand something he couldn't understand. I believe he came to me because he knew he could and he knew I wouldn't pat him on the head, you know?

The thing that makes me think it isn't a prank is the quote about "Our commander needs our services." The young man is from Detroit. Where does a Detroit kid hear a phrase like that? Plus, he wrote the incident up and sent it to his supervisor. I know the history of the fort but I'd never heard the name Hoyt. So... who knows?


The usual distortion prose? Distortion, how? Because it doesn't agree with you? My take on things is my take, usually based in fact.