I think I'm naturally a skeptic when it comes to people's claims about the paranormal. This might come as a surprise to most, but part of the reason has to do with certain individuals who want to ascribe any unusual event to ghosts, aliens, or Bigfoot. It was with this attitude that I did not immediately believe stories that my high school was haunted.
I grew up in Albuquerque, New Mexico in the Northeast Heights portion of the city. Because of where I lived, I went to the newest high school in the city, called La Cueva. It was on what was then the outskirts of Albuquerque, and was surrounded by new home developments and plenty of open mesa. Considering that my high school was constructed in the late 1980s, I laughed off claims that the second story was haunted.
I first heard about the haunting in my sophomore math class. The second story, where I had a few classes, was becoming noticeably dirty. There were dust bunnies and little piles of trash on the floors, and the white boards were getting quite dingy. Someone asked our teacher what was going on, and he told us about how the janitors refused to clean the upstairs at night because it was supposedly haunted. My teacher wasn't amused by the lack of cleanliness and the poor excuse made for it, as he saw things. This was the same teacher of mine who was an Army Ranger in Vietnam and told us a story once about how he was attacked by a student with a knife when he first returned from his final tour of duty and how quickly he disarmed the kid. I, like my teacher, blew off the reports. The janitors finally started cleaning the upstairs during the daytime, which of course did not please the teachers.
During my junior year I happened to be with a group of students preparing for a DECA competition. We met in our teacher sponsor's classroom, which just happened to be on the second story of the school. It was late at night, and all memory of the haunting stories had been completely forgotten by everyone. Just as we were wrapping things up and about to leave because it was so late, we heard several chairs and tables in the classroom next door move around, like there was a class full of students rearranging from rows to a circle, or vice versa. At first we thought nothing of it, but then quickly remembered it was late and nobody else was in the school, or so we thought.
Several of us stood up and ran to the other classroom's door. There was nobody in there, and there was no way someone could have ran out of the classroom, without making pounding noises and us not seeing them running down the hallway (I was in track, so I ran pretty fast). After the whole incident, I remembered that the janitors were scared to clean the upstairs at night. Let's just say my skepticism about the whole thing started to slide away.
Why was a newer building haunted? At the time it perplexed me, until I heard the urban legends that our school was built on the former landfill for Albuquerque. Since then I've researched that claim and found it was actually located near my high school on a 70-acre plot of land that's still sitting undeveloped. In the end, it's unlikely that the haunting had much of anything to do with the building and likely had something to do with the land.