Dime, por que?August 27, 2011
I recently graduated from Altos de Chavón School of Design in Dominican Republic last year. I spent the 2 most interesting years of my life there. The small school (125 students) is hidden inside a very popular tourist site in La Romana, Dominican Republic, if any of you have ever taken a trip down to the DR, you may have heard of it or even visited Chavón. The school was built in the 80’s by an Italian architect to resemble a 17th century italian village. Here’s an aerial view of the plateau it’s built on. It’s common knowledge down on the island that Chavón was built on the remains of Taino villages (sickeningly stereotypical kind of place for paranormal activity, I know), there’s even a museum in the center of the grounds that displays the artifacts and several skeletons of natives that were discovered in and around the area while the place was being constructed. It’s also common knowledge to the students and staff that Chavón is a hotbed for paranormal activity.
Anyways, on to the interesting parts. I’ve got a couple things to share, so I’ll probably be writing some down in the comments later tonight or right after I finish writing this one.
The first thing I wanna share doesn’t even have to do with the history behind Chavón (at least I don’t think so), but more with a well covered up event that happened a couple years prior to my enrollment at the school. Unlike living here in the states, it’s very easy for things to be covered up from the media, especially in a place like Chavón run by filthy rich people with quite a bit of influence. There had always been rumors about a few suicides that happened in the school within the last few years. It wasn’t till my second and last year studying there that the rumors were confirmed. The residence we lived in always had a supervisor (sorry if thats not the right word for it, I’m using the direct translation of the word). The lady was in charge of keeping order and also being the resident nurse. Anyways, the current librarian used to be the old supervisor a few years back, she was a really quiet lady and usually kept to herself. After spending a lot of time in the library researching for projects I decided to ask her if the suicide rumors were true, she told me they were, and that it really pained her to remember those days. I apologized for bringing it up, and went to go ask one of my teachers about it, she was younger and we had become good friends during my time at the school. She told me the same that the librarian did, and in more detail. Apparently one suicide had been a girl, a really quiet, depressed girl who had come to the school from the states. She apparently hung herself from the support beams of the wooden ceiling of her room. The second suicide was a guy, who turns out lived in room #8, which was my room. He went up to the third floor and jumped head first onto the stones in front of what was my room. Here’s a visual aid.
During the time I lived in that room I was in a constant state of unease, it was just like the mood in that room was depressing, so much so that me and my roommates found every excuse to work somewhere else, another dorm or in one of the classrooms. This was even before I knew the full story about the guy who jumped. A lot of times I’d be left alone working in the room, since I was studying graphic design and it’s where I had my computer set up. Whenever I was left alone I’d constantly here talking coming from the back room, as if someone was talking to himself. The only thing that separated the back room with the beds from the kitchen and living room was a wooden panel, a sort of divider with no door, just kind of jutting out of the wall and blocking the bedrooms from the view of the door. I could easily just peek in and see that no one was there, but I could clearly hear the voice, mumbling to himself. At other times I’d be showering, and the bathroom shared a wall with a small storage room in the back of the room, with a small wooden shutter that really served no purpose other than connecting the bathroom with that storage room, which was always full of our junk and had the lights off. Several times while showering someone would start to talk to me through the shutter, the first time I thought it was my roommate, and I answered back, but got no response, I thought it was weird since I had my roommates key and the front door was locked, leaving him no other choice but to wait till I could open the door for him. A few days later, while I was showering, i heard the voice much clearer, and this time I could understand most of it, it said “unintelligible noise…dime, por que?” (translates to, “tell me, why?), confused, not sure who’s talking I respond and ask him what he’s talking about. He responds much more clearly this time “QUE ME DIGAS POR QUE!!!” (YOU NEED TO TELL ME WHY!!) and immediately slams the shutter door so hard it swings open and nearly slams me upside the head. I immediately stick my head through the window ready to punch my roomy in the face for scaring the crap out of me, but all I see is the empty storage room, boxes and art supplies laying all over the place as usual, and the lights off. At this point I’m terrified, and quickly get out of the shower, get dressed and leave the room to ask my roommate if it really was him, he was in the middle of a painting and seemed annoyed at my insisting for a logical answer. I’m convinced the mood in that room is directly related to the guy who killed himself and the overall mood in that room. What’s just as interesting is that I keep in contact with the guy who is now living in that same room, an old friend of mine I met while attending a summer program in that school. I purposely didn’t tell him about what happened to me there, so that if he told me anything that happened to him I would know it was genuine. Recently he’s been telling me about his bed being shaken at night and his someone pulling his feet while he slept, and that the other night, he awoke in the middle of the night to find his bed cover missing, and after searching for like 10 minutes he found it in the storage room.
What I believe is the most unnerving part of having had these experiences in that school, is that they were shared. Many of the same things that happened to me happened to other people. Before I enrolled in the school I took a 2 week summer drawing class, and stayed in one of the bigger dorms, since I was placed with 3 other roommates instead of just 1 as is typical in that school. We had been told that that room was “haunted” by people who at the time were assuming were just trying to scare us. But as the days passed I realized that maybe they were right. A lot of times I’d be downstairs and I’d hear the scraping of the wooden stools above me on the wooden floor, knowing that there was nobody there I’d go upstairs to investigate and would often find the stools on the opposite side of the room instead of at the desk where they belong. This would happen to all my roommates at least once during the 2 weeks we spent there.
Another incident happened when I was making some dinner for a girl I had just met and was kind of interested in at the time. The stove was really tiny so I placed a pot of sauce I had just finished cooking on top of the fridge until i needed it again. Scared that it was gonna fall and spill everywhere I pushed it towards the back of the fridge, there was absolutely NO WAY it was going to fall off on it’s own. Me and the girl stepped outside for a moment to get out of the heat of the kitchen for a moment and stood outside the door of the dorm. after a couple minutes we hear a loud CLANG! and my immediate reaction is “FUCK, the pot fell!” I run in and look toward the kitchen expecting to see sauce EVERYWHERE, but no, nothing. I look at the top of the fridge and the pot is gone. The girl turns to me and with a shocked look on her face says “oh shit it’s right there!” and behind me, next to the couch, is the pot, upside down, sauce spilled all over the place on the floor around the couches and on the couches themselves. Now the thing is the couches are a good 10-12 feet from the fridge, and we distinctly heard 1 loud clang, not several as it would have been had the pot bounced across the floor, besides, if it had bounced I would expect there to be some splattered sauce on the way to where it came to a stop.
In my 2nd year at the school I learned that a friend of mine who had studied there the year before me, had almost the exact same experience, he stepped out for a smoke, and the pot he was cooking on the stove ended up about 6 ft away, with its contents splattered on the wall.