life and times
hiram who
birth of the auto
border cities
sports heritage

The Ghost of Colonel Bishop School

by Phil Hernandez

As a new teacher at Colonel Bishop School, I was quite eager to do a lot of extra planning during the Christmas vacation. So I borrowed one of the three keys available to teachers for the school. The school was an old one located on Hazel Street in La Salle.

I arrived at about one o’clock in the afternoon. The day was rather gloomy; it had snowed earlier and the sky was still overcast. I entered through the front door, which had an old pneumatic spring to pull the door closed that made a loud hissing noise while doing its job. My classroom was around the corner of the gym. You had to pass through the gym in order to get from one side of the school to the other or to get to the rooms down the hall from my room.

I was working quietly for about an hour when I heard the front door open, someone stamp their feet on the carpet and proceed to walk across the gym floor to the other side of the school. I heard several doors, all much in need of oil, creak open. I never gave much heed to who it might be, as I knew other teachers had also borrowed keys for the building.

After a half hour, I decided to check who else was in the school. I went through the gym to the staff room, which was about half way down the hall on the other side, and put on the kettle to make coffee for myself and the other teacher.

I went through the creaky doors and looked into the hallway only to find them in darkness. Both of the classrooms on the lower level were empty and dark. I turned on the light to go up to the second floor; I peered down the hall from the top of the stairs – none of the rooms had any lights on.

I had been very involved in my work, I decided, and whoever had come in had already left. I went back downstairs, made myself a coffee and returned to my room.

About fifteen minutes later I again heard the front door open, someone enter the building, stamp their feet to get the snow off of their shoes, and proceed across the gym floor. This time I got up right away to see who had come into the building. When I entered the gym, the footsteps suddenly ceased. There was no one there.

I was stumped for a moment; it must be the neighbourhood kids, who were fond of playing tricks on the teachers. They had ways of getting into the school and playing with the gym equipment on bad weather days; you could often see their muddy footprints on the gym floor when we returned after a weekend.

Well, I thought, if you want to play tricks, I can play too. I sat on the front stage, which was just inside of the entrance of the gym, but in a place where you couldn’t be seen, and waited.

I only had to wait for about five minutes before I heard the front door open (without the sound of a key going into the lock), someone enter the building and stamp their feet on the carpet. At that point, I jumped down and went around the corner to confront the culprit – only to find no one there!!! To say I was surprised would be an understatement!

I glanced down on the carpet to check for unmelted snow from someone’s shoes, to see only the watermarks left from my own shoes. I was flabbergasted.
I turned and began walking back to my classroom. Suddenly, I could distinctly hear the sound of footsteps following me. I was too frightened to turn around to see what was making them. They followed me all the way to my classroom door.

I went into my classroom and closed the door behind me. I still didn’t look back. My room had a fire escape, which led right directly outside. I exited through that door, went around to the front of the school and checked that the front door was locked. I got into my car and drove home, shaking all the way.

On my return after the Christmas vacation, I told my story to the elderly Irish caretaker who had worked at the school for about twenty years. “Well, you’ve met him,” he announced. “Our beastie. Our Ghosty!” He then proceeded to tell me all of the strange happenings that had taken place at the school during his tenure there.

Many other strange occurrances happened during my twelve-year stay at the school. One time a psychic (whom I don’t believe in, incidentally) visited and she told me that she could definitely feel a presence in the building.

The students playfully named our spirit the “Ghost of Colonel Bishop.” Indeed, they could tell many stories of their own.

It was an experience I’ll never forget.

Phil Hernandez retired from teaching in June 2002. He lives in Staples, just outside of Windsor. In his opinion, the spirit of a long-ago teacher, who died at the school, and not Colonel Bishop, is the “ghost.”
Colonel Bishop School closed in 1999 and is now the Colonel Bishop Community Centre.



©1999-2015— Walkerville Publishing — All Rights Reserved