As I mentioned in my interest in the paranormal, I've been interested in both the fictional Ghostbusters world of the paranormal, as well as the real life world and investigations that you see in shows like Ghost Hunters. I've even had a handful of experiences of my own! Most of these occurred while I was working on my undergraduate degree at Northeastern Illinois University (NEIU).
In 2001 I joined the campus newspaper, The Independent. My friend Carole talked me into it (and by talked, I mean tricked). The office had two rooms - a front work area that you'd enter from the hallway, and then a back room where we kept all the computers. In the very back of this room was a large pipe near the ceiling in the corner - we referred to this as the "haunted corner". At the time there were four computers in the room, two of which actually worked - a Windows computer in the haunted corner, and a Mac computer toward the front right next to the door. The Mac in between, and the other Windows computer in the haunted corner, were both dead. Usually, the person editing or laying out the paper (ie, me, for two semesters as I was production editor) had priority on the Mac because that was the only computer where we could do layout. Anyone else who wanted to be on a computer had to use the one in the haunted corner. At times when there wasn't a pressing need for layout, there would be fights over who got to use the Mac. We never really saw anything in that corner, at least, not that I recall, but there was just this sensation of "keep out of here!" from that corner.
The one solid experience I did have in that office happened one day when I first walked in. I had been in the office late the night before, and I'd been the last one out and locked up. I was the first one in the next morning, and I knew no one else had been in the office since I locked up. Right as I was opening the door, I heard the distinctive sound of keys falling from the back office. I searched both rooms, and I did not find a single object out of place from the night before, nor anything that could possibly have made that distinctive sound.
My other experiences happened in the theatre. The Stage Center Theatre has been in use for over 40 years now, since back when my mom was a student. The stage is sort of funky the way it's set up, because it was never meant to be a permanent stage. It was always supposed to be a temporary space until the real stage was built. Over 40 years later, they're still doing productions in that space (there's blueprints for a renovated F-building, which was supposed to be done a couple of years ago, but it hasn't happened yet). The stage is a very tiny thrust stage, with almost no backstage area, and the lobby hallway is behind the stage. The tech booth and actual "backstage" area is actually behind the audience. It's also a very intimate space - only 109 permanent seats (you can squeeze around 115 in with extra chairs sat at the end of rows), and no one is more than 4 rows away from the stage.
Of course, being a theatre it is quite haunted. I've had friends tell me of experiences with audience seats moving down by themselves, seeing a depression on the green room couch as if someone invisible was sitting there, and even invisible hands saving someone from a fall off a ladder. The general consensus is that the main ghost is a young girl, who had appeared in a production at the Stage Center before dying very young, and so she came back to where she had been happy and had fun. My friends and I always got the sense that she wasn't alone though.
I had two personal experiences that I'm pretty sure were ghostly related, though one of them my friend claimed was an electrical fault. The first one happened during the very first production I worked on there, a Children's Theatre production of Anastasia and Drizella (it's the Cinderella story told from the perspective of the stepsisters, quite hilarious). I ran lights for most of the semester (except for a couple of performances where they made me get on stage as understudy for Ella). At one point, when the Fairy Godmother appears, we had a special lighting effect called a "chase" - push a button on the secondary lighting board, and a row of different colored lights flashed on and off in a rainbowy strobe. One day, I had stood up to stretch as I had a couple of minutes between cues. I was standing at the back of the booth, about as far away from the boards as I could get, when our sound man said "The chase is on!" I turned around and sure enough, the chase had started itself. I quickly stopped it and the performance continued without issues, but I'm pretty sure our resident ghost was responsible (the other guys in the booth claim it was the light board acting up).
The other experience I had was some time later, during a main stage show, Inspecting Carol. This was a fun comedy that was a play within a play, about a theatre company putting on a performance of A Christmas Carol and dealing with an Inspector investigating a mysterious death that happened in the theatre. Our set was even done as a stage within a stage - we had a thrust stage, with a slightly raised upstage portion, built on top of our thrust stage. There was a trap door just a little off of center on this raised portion, for one of the ghosts. Again, I was running lights (as well as being Assistant Stage Manager). At the top of the show, after we had everyone in from the house, the first cues were a gradual fade to complete black, then a dark blue-only cue (basically just a couple of dim blue lights for actors/crew to get in place), then lights up. Except, one evening, I faded to black and it wasn't completely black. There was a single, solitary spotlight directly on the center of the raised portion upstage. My first instinct was to check the light board - we had a monitor that listed off all the dimmer numbers in the theatre (no catwalks here - all the lights were right on the ceiling), and a second number below to show how bright they were. Not a single dimmer was listed as being on. I then quickly overrode and went to the next cue, and the show proceeded normally. The stage manager ran in and asked what was going on, to which I said I couldn't find anything. She went to remind people to leave the work lights off (there were a couple of bulbs that could be turned on in the tiny backstage for people to see during rehearsal & pre-show activities), but those were turned off and hadn't been on. The kicker came after the show. Remember that all of these lights are on the ceiling - so it's easy to stand on stage and see where spots are pointing. After we cleared the house I went and stood right in the spot where I'd seen the light and looked up. I could not see a single light pointed at that spot on the stage. I'm pretty certain that was a ghost light, because I could not find any real explanation. (I had seriously doubted the work lights were it, as those would not have made the clear distinct pool of light I saw). That really spooked me, and I was never comfortable locking that theatre up alone.
So that's what I've experienced so far! Maybe one day I'll get to go on an investigation with TAPS and experience something more.