With the number of people who pass through them in their lifetime and the high emotions in play, it’s no wonder that high schools are often considered havens of ghosts and other associated paranormal activity.
High school is often one of the best times in a young person’s life, as well as the worst, and the intensity of these often dueling feelings has a way of leaving an impression behind whether you want to or not.
So, what then does it take to be called one of the most haunted high schools in the United States?
It would take more than just your average cold spots and strange noises to earn that coveted title, perhaps with some truly twisted and dark tales that boggle the mind and defy all explanations.
It would take a building with a uniquely imposing visage. It would take countless dead bodies, mysterious missing classrooms, and tales of ghostly girls wandering the halls and reenacting their own gruesome suicides.
It seems unlikely that any school like this could truly exist outside of a campfire story or a cheesy 80s horror movie, but just north of the border in the city of El Paso, one does. In the heart of El Paso High School, the unbelievable is to be believed, and the dead are every bit as restless as the living…
El Paso High School History
Opened for students in 1916, El Paso High School has always been an undeniably beautiful, if imposing campus. Nicknamed “The Lady on the Hill” for her position on a mountainside overlooking the city, El Paso High School bears a stunning silhouette that has made it a city landmark almost from day one.
Unique from its inception for its Greco-Roman inspired architecture, El Paso High has always carried a distinct elegance that has set it apart from any other structure in the city. Marble floors add distinction to the halls, and fine hardwoods do the same for classrooms. Also of note is Jones Stadium, seating 12,000 and bearing the distinction of being one of the first concrete stadiums in the US.
From 1922-1923, the school’s name was changed to Sam Houston High School at the behest of a local chapter of the Ku Klux Klan, but it was a short-lived change after community outrage swelled against the Klan.
On November 17, 1980, El Paso High School officially became a registered historical landmark in the National Register of Historic Places.
Having taught such esteemed alumni as Academy Award-winning actor F. Murray Abraham and representative Beto O’Rourke, El Paso High School remains to this day the oldest operating high school in the city of El Paso.
Between its academics and its highly competitive athletics teams, the Tigers, El Paso High School continues a history of excellence on a gorgeous campus that will hopefully teach Texas’ best and brightest for many years to come.
As it is an absolutely stunning sight, it is one of many must-see locations if you’re ever planning to visit El Paso and see all that this wonderful city has to offer.
The Ghosts of El Paso High School
Of course, with such a long, storied history of excellence and a campus this unique and imposing, there are bound to be a few dark tales here and there, but the sheer breadth of their oddity is what makes El Paso’s history with the paranormal truly unique.
Though encounters with the paranormal and the odd go almost as far back as the school itself, one particular part of its history that cannot be ignored was its time working as an overflow morgue during the World Wars.
The school’s immense and labyrinthine basement temporarily held bodies that were shipped into El Paso in the wake of the Spanish Flu outbreak and combat deaths from World War II until the next of kin could be informed.
If that weren’t odd enough about the basement, there have been reports of faculty and students exploring the basements and discovering classrooms from the early 20th century in pristine condition (save for the dust) yet hastily blocked off, with no stated reasons given by the administration for their abandoned status.
Given the years the school has been in operation and the number of times it has been repeatedly altered to change with the times, discoveries along these lines are not uncommon.
Odd as these anecdotes are, there are more distinctly supernatural tales of bizarre goings-on at El Paso High. Over the years, people have reported slamming doors and the sounds of spectral pep rallies and games going on in the school gym, only to discover the building completely empty on further inspection.
One teacher told a story where, going home after a late night of work, he saw a girl in an old blue dress standing at the end of a hallway. Certain that she was not supposed to be there, he went to tell her to leave school. When she turned to face him, she looked at him sadly, and only then could the teacher realize that she was as intangible as mist and faded away from existence.
The sighting of ghost girls is a common occurrence at this school, with at least one being tied to a girl who’d committed suicide by slitting her wrists and jumping to her death from a balcony within the school. Though the hallway and stairwell leading to it have since been walled off, more than one person has reported seeing a girl standing in that balcony, occasionally leaping from it to her doom.
Those brave enough to have snuck into the blocked off hallways have reported strange slime dripping from the ceiling and a light mist that pours through at least once a day, only to quickly evaporate.
Another of the most famous El Paso ghost stories comes from a class picture taken of the 1985 graduating class. Mixed in among a row of teachers is a faded young woman in a white dress. Only a few people in the picture seem to notice her, and upon questioning, nobody in the picture claims to know who she was.
Others have insisted that she was not in the original picture and has only faded in overtime. Whatever the case, this young woman remains another of the strange, ghostly mysteries that El Paso High School has to offer.
Visiting El Paso High School
Regarded by many in El Paso as the most haunted building in town (which is saying something for a city most seem to regard as quite haunted), El Paso High School is a must-see sight for any supernatural aficionado.
Though access isn’t easy, as it is still an operating high school with its own rules and regulations for visitors, it is definitely a beautiful sight from the outside and worth a visit if just to take in its unique look.
Just remember, if you pass by the gym and hear a game while no one’s around, there might be more going on than meets the eye…
Other haunted places in El Paso: