On the campus of Centre College, there is a garden used for relaxation and study. Students gather here on a regular basis when not in class to enjoy the scenery. However, the peaceful and serene atmosphere changes upon nightfall. Many mysterious events have taken place here at night.
One mysterious experience in particular has been that of a senior English major, Mary Kate Ashton, and her mysterious date. Mary Kate had taken a walk around the city of Danville and around the campus of Centre. She ended her walk in front of Sutcliffe in the garden area. Tired, she lounged in the bench before trekking back to her dorm.
A young man walked up to her and asked if he could sit beside her. The other benches were empty but she allowed him to sit with her, being the nice girl that she was.
The young man struck up a conversation with her and they talked for half an hour about their families. About ten minutes before twelve, the young man looked at his watch and said he had to leave. Mary Kate told him that she would like to see him again and he said, “Meet me here tomorrow. Same time, same place.”
The next night, Mary Kate met the man on the same bench and they talked about their career goals this time. “I want to be a biochemical engineer,” she told him. “What do you want to be?”
He hesitated and then replied, “Well, I, uh. . . a history teacher. I can’t really make up my mind.”
“You can be whatever you want to be,” she told him.
“Well, my father wants me to be a doctor.”
“A doctor is fine. Don’t you want to be one?”
“No, I would rather be a teacher or someone who works with others but not a doctor. My father is one and I don’t want to do that.”
They continued to talk and when the watch read ten minutes until twelve, he excused himself and left the girl. They had agreed to meet at the same time the next day.
This continued for several weeks until the weather became too cold to meet outside. Mary Kate became bogged down with her studies and told the young man that she would see him around campus.
One cold November night, Mary Kate was rehearsing for a play in the Norton Center. She had tried out on a whim and had won the lead role in the play, Antigone. That night, Mary Kate was late getting out of rehearsal and headed to her dorm. She took the quickest route to Nevin Hall by going past Sutcliffe. When she reached Sutcliffe, she saw the young man heading toward the building. She yelled at him to get his attention but he seemed not to hear her. Instead, he entered the building and headed towards the ballroom.
Mary Kate hadn’t seen him in a while and wanted to speak to him. She followed him into the building, up the steps and into the ballroom. What she saw next completely appalled her.
The young man walked to the stage and began to dance. As he danced, the ballroom became full of transparent figures, all laughing at the man. His face twisted in anguish and he began to cry. He then rushed out of the ballroom, walking through Mary Kate and out the doors of Sutcliffe. Mary Kate followed him out of the building and saw him standing in the center of the garden where she had first met him. He now had a gun in his hand and was pointing it at his head. She screamed for him to stop. He ignored her and shot the gun. As soon as the gun went off, the man disappeared.
Mary Kate walked to her dorm, completely shocked. She then looked at her watch to check the time. It was ten minutes until twelve. Days later, when Mary Kate was able to talk about it, she asked some of the professors about any mysterious goings-on in front of Sutcliffe. A history professor told her the true story.
A young man, Jeff, had been forced by his father to major in biology, pre-med. He had rebelled against him once he began college and majored in history. The professor then told her that Jeff had been in a talent show that had lasted until almost midnight. He had been saved for last due to his inability to dance. The organizers of the talent show thought that it would be funny for him to perform last. They had thought it would make a good finale.
Jeff was laughed at and he fled the ballroom. He had carried a concealed gun with him since his childhood in Eastern Kentucky. It was custom in his area for young men to own a gun. Jeff had the gun with him that night and upon reaching the garden area, he decided to end his life. Mary Kate had seen him repeating his death. After this incident, Mary Kate never saw the young man again.
Special K (B. Scott Kelley)
Wayne County High School