The old building on Siler Road on the south side of Santa Fe, N.M., sits in an industrial area. It’s housed a printer’s shop and a line of small businesses – it’s also home to something destructive.
Sally Blakemore rented a space in a newly built addition in the upper reaches of the building when she discovered something was wrong.
“I was a member of a large 10-person marimba band that plays 1,000-year-old Shona music from Zimbabwe at the time,” she said. “This music traditionally was channeled to the African people and they interpreted it through singing. It is used to contact the ancestors for ancestor worship rituals in Africa. We just play it for fun.”
The band members stored their instruments in Blakemore’s studio and, during a rehearsal one night, something let the band know it didn’t want them there.
“As we played, the water dispenser in the studio, which had just been filled, literally exploded off its stand,” Blakemore said. “It was the kind of dispenser where the plastic bottle fits upside down into the holder and a spigot for filling up your glass.”
As they played, the water bottle and a potted plant Blakemore had sat atop it, “literally threw themselves up and out of the metal container and smashed on the floor spewing water everywhere and smashing the plant to pieces,” she said.
Band members initially thought vibrations from their instruments may have caused the crash, but quickly dismissed it.
“It just didn’t make any physical sense because the weight of the water, to pull it up and out, could not have been achieved by vibrations in the water,” she said. “We were baffled and a little freaked out about it and ended rehearsal early.”
Blakemore, who designs pop-up books, was later working on project with her assistant when she realized something was definitely wrong with the building. They were sitting on the floor in front of a sofa when a thud pulled their attention away from their project.
A bar of handmade soap a friend had recently given Blakemore sat on the rug. She had earlier placed it on a table on the opposite side of the sofa.
“The soap had literally thrown itself up in the air, over the sofa and landed on the carpet where we were working,” she said. “We were astonished. How could this happen?”
She investigated the history of the building and found her incidents were not alone.
“An older Spanish man who had been a printer at the printing company for 20 years said, ‘One night, it was late, and I was printing a rush job for the next day. Something made me look up from what I was doing and I saw a face in the glass window cut in the door to the print room,’” she said.
The man stopped the press, grabbed a metal bar and ran down the hall to confront this person who wasn’t supposed to be in the building. He saw “‘two legs wearing blue jeans rush into the photo room,’” Blakemore said.
The figure appeared to be a 17-year-old boy. The man yelled after him and ran into the photo room. No one was there. It disturbed the man enough he left the building and described what happened to the owners the next day.
A story Blakemore uncovered may explain what the man saw.
“The building at one time had been some kind of youth detention center,” she said. “The story is that a boy had hung himself in the back room area where the printer was now working.”
Blakemore soon moved out of the building due to financial issues, but a year later moved back in to a studio on a lower floor of the building – the floor where the printer saw the teenaged boy.
“There was a definite creepiness in that hall,” she said.
Things were quiet when she first moved back to the building, but after a few months the destruction started again. Over a weekend, behind the locked studio door, something ripped apart a large framed mirror.
“The mirror, which was hung on a very large nail and frame support, had been literally torn apart as if someone had taken the edges of the frame and pulled them revealing four-inch nails that had been forced from the frame,” she said. “The wire still hung on the frame hanger and the pieces of frame were pulled out and all distorted around the dropped glass into a trapezoid, torn apart.”
The mirror itself was intact, laying in the floor “as if it was placed there,” Blakemore said. “My hair stood straight up in horror.”
During another rehearsal, a coo-coo clock threw itself off the wall and slammed into a door. The adults in the room only saw the clock; the children saw something different.
“Children who play in a children’s band … all looked toward the door of the room,” Blakemore said. “After we finished the song they asked who the guy was standing in the door.”
Since then, band members have started trying to appease whatever spirit haunts the building.
“The children thought we should make a place above a stair area as a spirit house for the uncomfortable spirit,” she said. “They placed a little basket up there with some candy in it and flowers and some paper offerings of blessings. Since that time we have not had an incident. The room seems calm now.”
Copyright 2009 by Jason Offutt
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