The heavy metal band Slayer, known for their grim, Satanic lyrics as well as the breakneck speed with which they play, once released an album called Haunting the Chapel. You might call this article Haunting the Urinal.
To begin with, Stephen King wrote a tale of a haunted Men's Room in his anthology book Nightmares and Dreamscapes, which, according to that unimpeachable (and completely impartial) source Wikipedia, was published in 1993. That was 25 years ago, but I've still never read the whole thing. Nor do I intend to ever rectify that.
Be that as it may, I've read his story of the haunted Men's Room, which is entitled, "Sneakers." Better, though, I've experienced something quite similar in my actual life. It didn't happen 25 years ago, but closer to 20. Here's the story:
It was 1999, when I was still struggling through college, that I chanced to get a job as a computer lab assistant at the Robert Bell Building on the Ball State University campus. My girlfriend at the time had the same job, and we often spent the entire night together in the lab, in those early days of the Internet, just surfing around through different websites and trying to stay awake. Usually, the lab was quite full until sometime after midnight, when the crowd started to thin out. The lab never closed, but the rest of the building was securely locked and accessible only to the custodial staff.
One night I was surfing the web when my girlfriend came back into the lab after having gone to get a drink of water. She had an excited, frightened look on her face, and I could tell that something was up.
I asked her what it was. She said, “Honey, I don’t know how to tell you this, but I think I’ve just seen a ghost.”
I thought she was having me on, but she said, “I was at the water fountain, and I looked behind me. There was a man standing there. I didn’t think anything of it, and bent down to get a drink. When I turned around again, just a second or two later, he had vanished!”
She was laughing a little hysterically. I thought maybe she was seeing things out of exhaustion. I didn’t comment. She sat down beside me uncertainly, and seemed to forget about it.
It was not long after that I had to go to the restroom.
I got up and went out the hall and down to the Men’s Room. Standing in the Men’s Room was a tall, solidly built man in a checkered shirt and jeans, with a heavy black moustache and long black bangs parted in the middle. I thought he was a custodian.
I used the urinal, bent to wash my hands, and looked up to see him standing behind me with his arms folded across his chest, staring quizzically. He looked confused, as if he didn’t understand what I was. I then stopped and, shaking my hands off, waited for him to exit the restroom. He preceded me out the door by a second.
The door swung shut.
I swung the door back open.
And he was gone!
I looked up and down the hall, my ears expecting to hear the sounds of footfalls or a door opening and closing. There was nothing. It was empty, and dead silent. He should have still been walking toward the exit, but he wasn’t. He had vanished into thin air.
I went back to the computer lab, sat down, and told my girlfriend that I would never doubt her again.
To sum up: I suppose he could have been a maintenance man who died, unexpectedly, maybe while at work. Perhaps he was still wandering the lonely halls in the wee hours, long after classes were ended for the day, confused, unaware that his shift had finally ended...permanently. The dead are said by some to experience disorientation, a fog-like state in which they can see little, and understand less. And perhaps only sensitives can pick up on their presence, at odd and sundry moments.
I don't know. I'll leave it at that. Now, if you'll excuse me, I have to visit the loo.