Sherwood’s Own Chamber of Secrets
by Jake Fullmer ’11
Names have been changed to protect the identity of some included in this article.
Doors: essential to our everyday life. Doors have been a part of human existence, from the damp, green leaves of a caveman’s cave, to Narnia’s magical wardrobe. They can keep us safe from the dark, dangerous outside world or restrain us, like the cold, hard bars of a prison door. Every year that goes by, a new door gets a new mystery, and the doors at Sherwood are no exception.
Some of you may know of the padlocked door in the downstairs art hallway and have wondered what is behind it. What does it hide? Maybe it’s just a wall of dirt, or maybe it’s something more. These questions constantly swam through my mind ever since I first saw that door during my freshman year. Three years later, I finally decided to find out. I knew I needed to study up on conspiracy theories. If I’ve learned anything at Sherwood, it is that nothing is as it seems (See my previous article “Third Floor Pool Party”) I have learned that there is always a leader, a guardian per-say, of the secret. I immediately got to work.
I surveyed a variety of students, asking what they knew about the door. Many just stared blankly at me, unaware that Sherwood contained such a door. But some were ready to spill all that they knew about it. “It’s the I-Hall of course! Ever notice how the school skips that letter? We jump straight from H to J,” explained one shifty-eyed junior named James. Another student who asked to remain anonymous claimed that, “It’s where the old administrators and teachers go. They’re all robots, and THEY throw all the old ones behind that door!” The tin-foil hat led me to believe that his particular theory was probably wrong.
Nonetheless, I kept looking, until that one fateful day. I was going over my conspiracy notes in class, when my AP Stat teacher caught me and gave me detention for not paying attention. As I was silently serving my time, like the good student that I am, muttering curses about the door, I spotted a janitor taking out the trash. I was desperate for answers, so I questioned him. At this, his eyes widened and he nervously glanced around. Making sure we were alone, he started:
“Many years ago, that hall was open. Flowers grew, and the sun shone bright. It was a happier time. Then one day, all that changed. One of the teachers, whose name I can’t recall, was on his way to school when he was hit by a car. He got up, okay for the most part, until a little old lady in her wheelchair sideswiped him and took off his arm. He never was able to get over the trauma … but I digress. Anyways, after the incident they hired a new teacher. Mr. Stuart was a mean, nasty man. He hated everything about life. He hated smiles, sunshine, but most of all, he hated flowers. The moment he stepped into that hallway he snapped. One day he came to school, dressed in a hooded robe and blue suede shoes. He tortured the smiles off his students and after school he stomped out all the flowers. As he continued, the walls started to crumble around him, weakened by the loss of the flower’s roots, crushing him. I was asked to install and lock that door to hide the shameful scene, but even to this day, you can still hear the haunting screams of Mr. Stuart, trying to rip out the flowers and stop the walls.”
I couldn’t believe it. A real life ghost story! Here at Sherwood! I tried to interrogate him further, but his distant gaze told me now was not the time.
The next day I was determined to get into the hall. I got together an elite team of three students, secured a camera, and confronted the janitor from the day before. After constant badgering, and a promise I would never mention his name to another, he finally broke down. We got to the door, and he started fumbling with his keys, unlocked the door and slowly opened it. A wave of musty air immediately hit us. The janitor explained that this was as far as he dared go. We thanked him and embarked on the journey. What we saw was unbelievable. There was rubble everywhere, and a tunnel that stretched as far as the eye could see. The ceiling got lower the further we went on – or did the floor get higher? In either case, we had to start crawling. After 10 minutes of this, we decided to take a break and rest against the walls. Then someone screamed. We rushed over and soon found the reason. Upon inspection of the ground around us, we found footprints, as if someone had angrily stomped around. The color drained from Johnny’s, our strongest member face. Nervously smiling, his eyes widened. The single flashlight flickered at the exact same time, with screams erupting from all of us soon after.
After the incident, had a head count and found out that we were missing Johnny. Seconds later we heard a cackle. We decided to ditch our efforts and book it out of there. After running for 10 minutes, we realized that in our panic, we had lost our way. Trying to find some clue as to where we were, we looked around, and saw shackles littering the ground. Sarah, another member of the team, plunged into hysterics and started running off. Seconds later we heard a long, high-pitched scream and then silence. Shining our lights in Sarah’s direction, we saw nothing. Paul and I took one look at each other and hurriedly started off in the opposite direction. When we finally found the door, we shared a quick smile, when at that very second he heard another cackle and saw a shadowy, human figure hovering in front of us. It threw itself at Paul, and I took off towards the door to fend for myself. The moment I was through the door, I slammed it shut and locked it. Breathing heavily, beads of sweat rolling down my forehead, I saw the janitor look at me. I could tell he was wondering about the others. I shook my head and knew he had gotten my message. After what seemed like forever in silence, he and I walked back down the art hall, determined never to go near the door again.
Doors come in many different shapes and sizes. They can lead to anywhere, anywhere in the world. While they can be tempting, some doors are best left unopened.