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The Mass Media

The Mass Media

2-26-24 PDF
February 26, 2024
An inside look at Bobby B. Beacon’s insides. Illustrated by Bianca Oppedisano/ Mass Media Staff.
Bobby's Inside Story
February 26, 2024

Wheatley Horror: The jinxed janitor

Bianca Oppedisano
A scared janitor runs from a ghost through the halls of Wheatley. Illustration by Bianca Oppedisano / Mass Media Staff.

Four weeks. Four bone-chilling stories, guaranteed to send shivers down your spine. Welcome, friends, to the first edition of Wheatley Horror, your peek behind the thin veil that separates the known from the unknown; your plunge into the unfathomable trenches of UMass Boston’s most notoriously spooky building. But be warned: oftentimes, when one goes looking for the paranormal, the paranormal comes looking back. 

James Kevin has worked as a janitor here at UMass Boston for the past year. Being relatively new, he regularly works the dreaded Wheatley night shift. Kevin has always felt that something was a little “off” while roaming the halls, but he always chalked it up to his own imaginative mind. Recently, however, these kooky occurrences have escalated to the point where Kevin truly believes that something… unnatural is responsible. What’s more, Kevin even claims that he may be cursed. 

Joe DiPersio: So, Mr. Kevin, it’s no secret to the UMass Boston community that Wheatley has some weird vibes, but you claim there’s something else going on, something paranormal.

James Kevin: Aye! That be true, me laddie. Demonic scratches on the walls, lone footsteps through the halls, and pained moans wailing away from every direction. Some great mystery lurks in this building, I tell ye.

JD: Do you think it could be a ghost?

JK: No, boyo. I don’t believe in ghosts.

JD: Then what else could it be?

JK: Something wicked! Something evil! I saw it one night with me own two eyes. I was up on the fourth floor, sweeping the cockroaches out of the stairway, when all of a sudden, I felt a chill on me back like the bony hand of death was reaching out to grab me. I spun around to see a wispy, white figure looming in a shroud of mist, floating like a lily on a soft summer breeze.

JD: And then what happened?

JK: It stopped and stared at me with a shallow gaze. It was like a distant echo from a splintered reality being superimposed on to mine, in some sort of cosmic mix-up. Then, as quickly as it appeared, it was gone. Vanished into thin air like a Vegas magic act. Me bowels nearly called it quits.

JD: I have to be honest, what you’re describing sounds an awful lot like a ghost. 

JK: I already told ye, there’s no such thing as ghosts. What I saw was like Obi-Wan Kenobi appearing to Luke on Hoth. What I saw was like Danny Phantom going into that machine to turn his hair silver. What I saw was like Macbeth seeing the ghastly image of his murdered friend sitting at the dinner table eating neeps and tatties. 

JD: Those are literally all examples of ghosts in media. 

JK: I know that, laddie. I’m not dense! I said what I saw was like those things; I didn’t say it was those things. There’s a difference between “like” and “was.” They be two different words, me boy. 

JD: Alright, whatever. So, if it isn’t ghosts you’re seeing, then what’s been haunting Wheatley Hall? 

JK: Specters! 

JD: Are you serious? Specters? What the hell’s the difference between a ghost and a specter?

JK: One’s for mice, and the other’s for men. Specters and ghosts are about as similar as a fleck of sheep’s hair and me grandpappy’s crumpled liver. They’re not very similar at all. 

JD: Okay, well, do you have a history with these ghosts—I mean “specters,” Mr. Kevin, or is this your first time?

JK: Aye! I lost me virginity to a specter just shy of me 24th birthday. Celebrated with candles, and cake got sucked off in the afterparty—more like afterlife, eh?

JD: That’s, uh… you’re joking, right?

JK: Aye, laddie, I’m only yanking your chain! But I do have a past with specters. When I was just but a wee babe, fresh from blastin’ out me mum’s womb, I started getting the heebie-jeebies real bad. Doctors didn’t think I’d pull through, told me mum I suffered from a chronic case. But against all odds, I survived, and look at me now! 

JD: Sorry, but I’m a little perplexed. How did you cure your chronic heebie-jeebies, and what does that have to do with the paranormal?

JK: Oh, bless me heart, I forgot to mention. Me mum performed a satanic ritual to exchange me heebie-jeebies for her soul. Saw the Devil himself grab me mum’s spirit right out of her chest and crawl back into the fiery crack from whence he came. I’ve always had a running suspicion that the Devil cursed me that day, the bastard! 

JD: Holy s—! What makes you think that? Are you really cursed?

JK: Well, he may have cured me chronic heebie-jeebies, but ever since, I’ve suffered from chronic s— luck. This past year’s been a b— beyond the rest. For starters, I got manipulated into throwing all me money into a half-assed Ponzi scheme. Next thing you know, I’m ass-deep in the do-or-die gambling pit of Caesar’s Palace, being hunted by ravenous loan sharks at every turn. If I wasn’t fortunate enough to have walked in on that murder, I never would have gotten into witness protection. Changed me name, changed me accent, took a job mopping s— at a s— school—probably shouldn’t have said that—and now these bloody specters have the audacity to come here and taunt me? So, yeah, you could say that I’m cursed. 

JD: Just one more question, Mr. Kevin. When you see these “specters” roaming around Wheatley, how do you feel physically? 

JK: I feel weak in the knees and light in the head. Me breathing becomes iffy and blood squirts out me nose. Sometimes I even feel a little tingly in me throat like a wee-bitty kitten is in there rubbing up and down. On really bad days, me ears start ringing and I feel like I’m gonna lose me lunch, and no matter what, there’s always this awful aroma of rotten eggs. I suppose you could liken it to general flu-like symptoms with a side order of stank, but I guess that’s what you get when your mum plays hokey pokey with the Devil! 

Note: After completing this interview, James Kevin disappeared. UMass Boston declined to comment.

About the Contributors
Joe DiPersio, Humor Editor
Bianca Oppedisano, Illustrator