Written by Alondra Baez, Class of ’21, Alden Room Research Assistant
A couple of years ago, one of the student workers in the Alden Room reported a few things that no one would believe. There had been a strong rainstorm during a third floor construction project and rainwater flooded into the Alden Room, reaching the carpet and baseboard. A whole wall of bookshelves as well as books and furniture had to be moved while the area was dried out over the summer. Sarah, the student worker, returned to work in the Fall semester to find that the Alden Room was in a state of chaos with furniture everywhere. She made it her business to put the Alden Room back in place. It was on a Friday that Sarah was returning the furniture back to the original locations, and she was trying to move a desk, but it would not move at all. It was a heavy, wooden, double-sided desk that had been Dr. Royal Netzer’s (Dr. Netzer was College President during the 1950s and 1960s). Sarah tried for hours to move this desk, and at some point got frustrated and momentarily gave up. She sat on the floor next to the desk and yelled out, “If anyone is in here and can hear me, I’d really love some help moving this desk! I’m just trying to put the room back together for Heather!” After a while she decided to try moving the desk one more time. When she did, it immediately moved across the floor! She was surprised by how fast and easily the desk moved. Sarah was convinced that Dr. Netzer helped her move the desk.
This was not the only paranormal activity Sarah experienced. One day, Sarah came in to the Alden Room through the back staff entrance. When she opened the door, she saw something very strange: a lady in a white dress that appeared to be from the early 1900s. This lady was sitting in the blue chair (the only blue chair in the Alden Room), and Sarah claimed that she could see right through the lady to the back of the chair. Sarah rubbed her eyes for a quick second and when she opened them again, the lady was gone. At first Sarah was terrified from the encounter. She decided to bring her aunt to the Alden Room, since she believed the room was haunted and she wanted her feelings validated. Apparently, her aunt did sense a spiritual vibe in the room and perceived multiple ghosts, and discerned that the ghosts meant no harm. After this experience, Sarah saw a photograph of someone who looked exactly like the ghost she saw in the blue chair: Jessica Alden. Ms. Alden was the first librarian at the college back when the college was the Oneonta Normal School, and appropriately the Alden Room is named after her.
Because Sarah had such unusual experiences in the Alden Room, she felt relief when she returned the next day, turned on the lights, and did not see any ghosts. However, being respectful, Sarah did make it part of her routine to greet the ghost in the Alden Room every time she came in for work.